and so the nanny has gone, leaving the kid with me and alvin. the universe’s version of saying haha, i suppose.
let me backtrack. sometime in july, the nanny came to me, saying she had to leave in september because her father was sick and her mother needed help during harvest season. i asked if she would be coming back. she said yes because she wanted to finish her als (alternative learning system) classes (she goes every saturday), which will end in november. i said okay.
then a couple of weeks later, she came again, saying she wouldn’t have to leave because her brother was going to go and stay home from august to january. i said okay.
august came. a-ko stayed with us for two weeks because she had her cataract surgery, which meant she stayed home with roque and the nanny on weekdays. at around this time, we noticed the nanny being on the phone more often than usual, and we learned from a-ko that she apparently had a new suitor, someone she met through facebook.
now, while i’m not one to meddle in someone’s lovelife unless invited to, i would understandably be concerned if you were on the phone most of the day everyday, because then when would you have time to take care of my kid? so alvin spoke to her about it. not harshly, if i may objectively say so, it was all kind of casual, while she was helping him get dinner ready.
then she got mad at a-ko for supposedly tattling on her. which got me mad because how dare she think that a-ko would put her feelings above my son’s safety. and so i spoke to her about it. as nicely and as motherly as i could.
a week later she said she’s decided to go home. she would be leaving at the end of the month, a week away. i asked if it was for good. she said she didn’t know. after i pressed her for a more definite answer, she admitted that no, she would not be coming back. i said okay.
a day later, a sunday morning, she came from her room, sat behind the sofa where i sat watching tv, said she got a call the night before from her sister, who told her that their father had suddenly died, then promptly burst into tears.
she left the following afternoon with all her belongings, a full month’s salary and a little extra from us to help with the funeral expenses. we brought her to where her brother was supposed to pick her up so they could make the trip home together.
fast forward a week. the nanny’s cousin used to work for alvin’s brother’s family and so are friends with the other help at their family’s compound. when they texted her to send their condolences for her uncle’s death, she messaged back, ‘who died?!’
and the whole story started to unfold. the nanny, all sixteen years of her, eloped. i think i was more confused than anything. confused about the need to lie about her father dying when we had already agreed on her leaving in a week’s time. then i became angry. we treated her well during the time she stayed with us. she never went hungry, we were loose with day-offs, her workload was light. i even washed the little ingrate’s clothes, dammit.
so the last couple of weeks have been spent coping. i bring roque with me to work, alvin and i split the chores when we get home. it’s been really tiring, but kind of liberating too, to not have a stranger in our home, to not have to think of anybody else’s welfare apart from my family’s, to be able to do and say anything in my own home without worrying about somebody else seeing or hearing.
i’ve never been comfortable with getting help, and this whole drama has made me even more wary. so we’re going to try it this way for a while and see if we can manage. i’ll work from home when i can, and roque will still spend a couple of days a week at his grandma’s which will give alvin and i time to catch our breath.
wish us luck.
like a typical coward, i ran off to davao two days after hiring the nanny and left my mom-and-sister-in-law in charge of her. granted, it was for work and plane tickets have been booked weeks before i even knew she would be arriving, but the relief i felt at having a few days’ reprieve from having to deal with this new life development was huge.
the night before i was to fly back to manila, i was torn between wanting to go home because i missed alvin and roque so much and wanting to stay so i could further delay facing having to teach a stranger how to blend into our daily lives. i’m sure it took a lot of courage for a sixteen-year-old to leave her home and travel through land and sea to work for a bunch of strangers and she has better reason to be more apprehensive than i am, but i am a terrible introvert and this is a process i really do not enjoy.
to be fair, she seems level-headed and takes direction well. she plays with roque and seems to genuinely like him. to be objective, i (cautiously) think we lucked out.
still, she’s a stranger living in my home and having a stranger live in my home makes me uncomfortable.
and so while adjusting to my recently-acquired role as mother, i’m also trying as hard as i can to adjust to this new role as domestic employer, and googling human cloning developments in my downtime.
i am now a spanking new nanny employer!
i’m not sure how i feel about this new status yet; we never had nannies or live-in help while growing up so the idea of paying somebody to be at my beck and call is very odd to me. when i’m at other people’s houses, i get embarrassed at the thought of asking domestic employees to fetch things, like i’m some big, bad hacienda owner ordering slaves around. and yes, i had to google the politically correct term to use for that sentence.
if it were just me, i would’ve gone on my merry way without paid help forever. i’m used to doing things on my own, to finding ways and adapting to new situations, to making do with whatever is available. but it’s not as easy to make do with a baby. you can’t put a baby down and explain that he has to entertain himself the whole day because mommy and daddy have to work. you can’t just stick a bottle in his mouth every so often and expect him to be okay with it.
another reason i do things on my own is because the process of showing somebody how i want things done stresses me out. i’m one of those crazy people who likes everything done a certain way, which is why it’s so much easier and more convenient to just do it myself. trust me, if there ever was a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ this was it.
the nanny arrived yesterday. she’s almost-sixteen and from samar, the cousin of alvin’s nephew’s former nanny. it’s been a day since i’ve officially become a nanny employer, and i am very, very stressed.