Monday, November 8, 2010

The Nanny - Part 2: And Then There Were Three

It was only a month or so into Yv's stay with us, when I learned I was pregnant. This is him. The first pic of our little Sam the man.

One day I will blog on the nature of my pregnancies, and how the devil I survived them, given how horrible they were for me, but suffice to say I do not do pregnancy well (or rather, the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy well).

When I learned I was pregnant, I told Yv immediately after I told CP. She would find out soon enough anyway. The conversation went something like:
Me: So Yv, it turns out I am pregnant again.
Yv: That's great news!
Me: Yeah, umm... it is. Eventually. But right now it's not all that good for a few reasons. You need to know that I get really sick when I am pregnant. In the next few weeks, when the nausea hits, I am going to be reduced to a blubbering mess, curled up in the fetal position either on the lounge or in my bedroom for the next 6 months. I won't be able to handle the smell of anything. I won't be able to care for myself, let alone the people who have come to depend on me. I won't be able to do anything. I will look like death warmed up for the foreseeable future.
Yv: Ohhhhh....
Me: And that's kind of why I need to tell you this now. When we hired you, in all fairness to you, you only signed on to 2 children. This isn't in your contract. So I won't be at all surprised, and I truly don't mind, if you choose to leave at Easter. Having said that, I would really love you to stay. If you want to stay, and can put up with doing a bit extra for a few months, it will totally pay off down the track. We'll give you more time to yourself in terms of hours to compensate for the overtime you'll be doing for me during the day...
Yv: Sure, that's no problem at all. I want to stay.

Could she be real? She would stay, even though I had just told her she would, in essence, become my slave, as much as I would become a slave to my own body? Nice!

And that's how it went. As I hovered precariously beside the porcelain bus in the bathroom, Yv helped cook, clean, feed and bath my house and family. I could not have planned it better. She spent the quality time with my children that I could not. She became the Mum. I often joke with CP about that time in our lives. The time when he had "2 wives". Two women who could nag him and make demands of him. Ad only one with benefits... except that there were no benefits from either of us, as one worked slavishly to maintain the family routine, and one slouched wearily over the toilet. It was far from a happy family at that time.

Did I mention that I turn into a heinous beast when I am pregnant? My hormones do strange and unusual things to my mind. So it was lovely having Yv to 'look after me' and 'listen' to my ravings. She was the 'wife' I needed at that time. I began to rely on her more and more.

Around the time I learned I was pregnant, we were also going through the initial stages of Darcy's treatment for her turned eyes. I was a mess. I was hormonal and being worried about Darcy didn't help either. It became obvious very early on in Darcy's treatment that she would have to undergo surgery on both eyes. This bothered me terribly. Whenever I was having a 'difficult' moment, Yv was there to help me put things into perspective. When I talked about the possibility of Dars wearing glasses for ever, Yv would remind me that it was possible to have quality of life even with restricted eye sight. She had survived quite nicely with sight in only one eye, after all... We all developed a soft spot for Darcy while she was going through her eye treatment. Yv did especially. I think they had a common bond over their eyes. This bond only strengthened as Yv stayed on. This is Darcy not long after she was first prescribed glasses. She was just over 1 year of age. Fun fun!

At some point near the mid point of my pregnancy (when Yv was due to leave us), she approached me about the possibility of staying on. Yv felt that she was still needed, and that (even though I was improving rapidly, and was a fully functioning adult female again) she was happy to stay until baby number 3 was born, just to make sure we were all ok. It sounded wonderful. And so it was decided, that Yv should stay until after the baby was born.

Yv was with us for other key moments too. She was there for Olivia's first day of Kindergarten. She helped wave goodbye to my biggest baby as she ventured off into the big wide world.

By the middle of the year, Yv had become a good friend. She was more like a sister to me, than someone hired to help look after the kids. We talked my way through my pregnancy (which was the most difficult pregnancy on my marriage). I am certain that without Yv there, things would be very different today.

Did I mention that Yv is one of the fussiest eaters I have ever met? No? She likes potatoes - but not mashed (because the butter and milk interfere with the taste), but will tell you (honestly) that my baked potatoes are the best she has ever eaten. She isn't a big fruit and vege person. She loves peanut butter on everything. She loves cruskits. She loves toast with that chocolate sprinkly stuff that dutch people dig so much! She likes meat, but not the stuff we've home grown. She loves sausages. But I never went out of my way to cook for her. In our house, we have a rule that one meal is cooked, and you either eat it, or get your own. (Unless you are a kid, in which case, you eat it or go hungry). Anyway... back to my story.

On November 3rd, at about 1am in the morning, I went into labour with my baby boy.  Yv came over to the house and stayed with the girls, while CP and I drove to the hospital. She stayed to help look after the girls for the days following, while I rested up in hospital. Upon my arrival at home, Yv told me that she wasn't very good with little babies. But she did just fine with Sam.

The day Yv left the farm was just horrible. We knew that leaving Darcy would be hard for Yv, so we arranged for their goodbyes to be done early in the morning, and then my in laws took Darcy out, so that she wouldn't be there when the actual departure occurred. It was going to be difficult regardless. As my in laws drove Darcy away, I sat in my room and cried. I cried for the real goodbye that Yv and Darcy would never have, and I cried for myself. For having to let go of Yv. We took Olivia to the bus with us. It was a very quiet  hour in the car. If I tried to speak, it would have betrayed my feelings. It all came spilling over as I hugged Yv goodbye one last time. And CP, Liv and I all stood waving at the bus. Crying. So very sad.

When Yv left us to go home, I wrote her a 'thank you' letter of sorts. I reminded her of the time Olivia asked if Yv loved her, and how Yv had said 'no'. I also reminded her that I knew that wasn't true anymore, because you don't feel so much sadness at leaving children you don't love. And she admitted it was true. So even though she started the year being the 'Nanny', she definitely finished the year as part of our family.

I know Yv loves our family. She was exactly what we needed in order to make it through 2008 in one piece. In 2009 she came back to visit. And she sends Christmas and birthday presents for the kids and hubby and I. And when I can remember, we send her token gestures too.

So Yv - sorry about some of these pics. Just wanted you to know that you are missed, and dearly loved too. And you are a big part of who we are today. You just have to look at Darcy and peanut butter to figure that out.


  1. Jessie, you get to my age and can look back and marvel at how people come into and go from our lives and the purpose they have served. I've come to accept everything simply happens for a reason and not to dwell too much on what that reason may be. And I've often been astounded at the profound effect some of them have on our lives. I now regard these people as having been 'sent' because I needed them even if I wasn't aware of it. I know from reading your post how much you appreciate that Yv was sent to you!

  2. I know exactly how you felt driving to that bus. We have put two exchange students on to planes, twelve years apart, who had that same impact on our family. It's heart ripping out sadness... I pray that one day we will be able to visit... free accommodation in Switzerland and Denmark sounds good to me!!! I met a lovely girl who is an au pair at Cubbie at the moment. She is German and really lovely. Made me think of you!


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