Children · relationships

What is a child’s first love?

Well, if you thought that the correct answer to this question is the mother, I can assure you, it’s WRONG.

For the past 20 months, I’ve been helping bring up my grandson and have been more hands on with him than I was with his mother and aunt simply because my daughter ( his mother) insisted that we keep the care of the boy in-house. So we’ve been managing all this while without a dedicated nanny for the baby. This was not because we didn’t want to increase our household expenditure but because

  • the only help available was from a pool of badly trained, highly paid maids
  • a high turnover of maids thanks to their unprofessional behaviour made her reluctant to expose her little boy to re-adjust to a new nanny every other month
  • the anxiety factor because you don’t know what your child and maid are doing would have added to her stressful day
  • the horror stories we’d heard about children and their maids – including one where the maid actually made a living out of taking her charge out begging on the crossroad nearby while the parents were both out at work,scared us from keeping the young child in another’s charge.

So for 20 months we diligently managed to do without a maid specially for the child. Of course we did have help like our live-in maid, our driver and all the people around in the house who somehow managed to keep tabs on the boy. All was  well till he turned 1 1/2 years and discovered the joys of giving all of us a fright with his dare devil jumps from sofa to sofa. He was quick as lightening when it came to running away during a nappy change and loved leaning dangerously stretching to reach the unreachable star whenever I carried him in my arms.

It was time we thought to get someone dedicated to watching over him simply because we weren’t getting any younger and soon he’d be going to school and birthday parties and other events for which it would be difficult to send him without a carer.

Finally, after much debate we decided on getting a young girl to be his nanny because an old one would be too old and set in her ways while a younger girl would be more easy to train and more swift and agile.

Bee came into our home just yesterday and within a minute our fellow was smitten. First he gave her a shy welcome smile and then  held out his hand to her and showed her all his toys. Of course this was at our prompting but within an hour the two of them were sitting side by side and playing quietly as though they had done this all their lives. He had a particularly happy look of the cat that licked the cream – finally content with having his own personal shadow.

This morning P caIMG_1156me home and after his normal welcome to his loving crew at home, found the nanny in the kitchen. Immediately he left us all and went and stood by her side, staring at her adoringly while she was finishing some work she had started. The rest of the morning was spent with the two of them getting to know his toys and each other. By afternoon he came to my room and wanted to put on the music which we had quite forgotten about and when the familiar strains of Mozart’s Night Music came on, he lovingly called out to her in dulcet tones I’ve never heard before. And when she came, he explained to her that what she was listening to was music. His music.

I was amazed at how easily this little fellow took to this new nanny – with utmost ease and comfort. While I was pleased at this easy transfer of loyalty, my daughter was aghast at how quickly he could  follow someone so trustingly and for the first timeunderstood how it felt for a mother to lose her son’s heart to a strange woman.

For a moment, she actually wondered if we were doing the right thing but then as she sipped her tea in the same room as her son,without any disturbance from him and fear of him knocking the cup down, for the first time in 20 months, she realised that it was worth  the risk of losing her son’s heart to another woman and enjoying a cup of tea!

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