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I Want the Baby Back

As I sit here typing this the little boy I nanny is running around with his Superman costume on, hands in a flying position and singing the theme song at the top of his lungs. I can't help but want to cry at how he has grown in our time together and how little time we have left with each other.

I began this job when he was eight months old. This was supposed to be something to pass the time before I got a “real” job after leaving college and coming back home. On the interview the mom left us alone in the living room where we could interact with one another and she could see if I was cut out for this job, I was close to 22 years old with no children of my own but had been around plenty and child development was my major at a point in college. I sat on the floor and helped build blocks with him, squeeze the little toys for him and play the little xylophone. We immediately connected. I picked him up for the first time and within minutes he was asleep, awakening only when I tried to lay him on the floor. We played some more, I changed a diaper or two and I got him to sleep one more time. We were meant to find one another and play a vital role in each other's lives. I began work the next day.

We'd sit outside on their porch in the mornings and he'd soak in the sun, the breeze, the birds, all things around him. He'd coo and smile. We'd go inside and I'd show him colors, animals and we'd sit there for hours while he giggled and touched and learned all new things. He hated baby food, well the vegetables. I'd trick him by putting the vegetable puree at the back of the spoon and some sweet potatoes or bananas on the front so he'd still get all the nutrition he needed. That is when I started calling him "sweet 'tater". Every day I could see a change, a growth and I was excited to see more. When the time came for his nine month old shots, I went with the mom and in his picture where he's looking up and smiling that's me he's looking at because I'm singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to him. The bathtub shot where's he giggling trying to catch a bubble, I'm blowing the bubbles for him to play. The time flew by. Before long he was walking, I was there when he took his first steps. His first word, he spoke it to me. His first birthday, he wore a little white turtleneck and tan corduroy pants and he got chocolate icing all down the front.

He was a demon when he turned two. After I would get off work I'd call my momma and apologize for anything I ever did when I was young. He would test every boundary given to him and he'd test your willpower to see if you'd let him slide just one time. His sweetest moments came when he was asleep. That is when you could count the little tan freckles he had started to get on his nose. I couldn't wait for him to grow out of this phase where I could have my sweet 'tater once again.

His third birthday comes and goes, Thomas the Tank Engine theme. The mother and I decided it would be best to put him in school once a day where he could get used to other people and interact with other children. I picked him up from school and he'd run into my arms. He'd show me the artwork he made and he'd chat about his teachers and all his friends. His “girlfriend” was Chloe. His “boyfriend” was Jesse. He became obsessed with the Wiggles. We listened to their music every time we got in the car. We'd do the dances and sing the songs. I'd get down in the floor to play with him and he'd say “no I need space”. I'd say to him “What? You always want me to play with you.” His response was “I'm gonna be a big boy when I'm four, don't need you to play.” My heart began to crush but this is what I asked for, this is what I was so excited to see. I wanted to watch him grow and he's beginning to grow out of me. I didn't think about that part.

He turned four in January. He tells me now, “I'm going to be five soon and I'll be a huge big boy and go to school at my sister's school.” I smile with a tear and say “yes you will but you're still my lil' sweet 'tater”. He laughs and says “I can't be your little sweet 'tater if I'm a big boy.” I tell him how when he starts school we won't see each other as much and he says “that's okay you're a big girl.” No it's not okay. He went on his pre-K interview today, which he passed with flying colors. I look at him every day and fight back tears, tears that are falling on the keys as I type this out. I want that baby back who depended on me every moment of his life. He hasn't looked back since he's been growing up but I haven't been able to look away.

GoldieMtZion GoldieMtZion 26-30, F 6 Responses Feb 25, 2008

Your Response


You are not losing him. You helped in preparing him for this time. He's entering the new world with many others around him. He needs to embrace this and be okay to let you go. If he were to hang on to you, he wouldn't function well out there. You showed him how to trust himself and become independent so he can thrive in the world out there. You are still teaching him now. He sees you. He knows you and is excited to embark on this journey. That is what you prepared him for. The reason you are so connected happened with his growth and development into a little young man. He wants you to see that. If he had been a baby this whole time cooing, you wouldn't be a mentor, a confidant, his caregiver and trusted friend. like you are now. You are not losing him, but he is watching you and probably doesn't understand why you are sad. He is embracing this life, proud to be growing up. He will not understand why you feel this way. And he loves you, so he will care about it. He is trying to show you he is learning and proud. He wants to grow. Be a young man. He will not know why you don't want the same. Because you are not losing him, you are a part of him. He will carry what you have shared with him always. You influenced him in a positive way, so much, he wants you to be proud of him.
Continue to love him, the way you always have. By sharing in this time with him. Yes your time is limited with him, as is his own mother and father. It is the time to encourage his growth, his trust in the world and let him soar. He loves you so much, he is vulnerable to how you are feeling. Keep loving him, by being there, his reliable, trusted mentor he counts on for support, love and there during this time. Don't waste it by fighting time. You have been a huge important part of his life and always will be, time will not take that from you, only you can by missing out on it. You are not losing him, he is a little man that is a part of you just as you are him forever. You are still teaching him now, do you want him to be afraid to move forward, of change, of growth? Then teach him by setting the right example, and embracing those thing for you as well. take this journey of learning to move, keep moving knowing all that is, is still there. Move forward knowing love you share, will be there. Is there. Show him to enjoy new things and love those changes. Show him to fear nothing, because you will always be there when he needs you. Wipe your tears, and it may be a lesson you learn together, but you still have to lead the way. Embrace watching the life you help nurture into a strong, smart and beautiful man he will soon become. Let that keep your heart filled with love. Be the best you can be for him and yourself. Show him you love who is now, not your tater but a little man and you can't wait to see what he will accomplish because you will be there for him always. Go fly like a superwoman you are, next to him as you both experience embracing change and enjoy it together

Oh yes...I'm going to be devastated here in a couple of months when it ends :(

If you say that, then you will be. Is that what you want him to remember? That you are devastated and somehow it is his fault. He says nice words, and you cry. Do you want him to learn that his growth, his growing up, caused someone he loves, to be devastated? That is what you are showing him. You are thinking of your losses and what is missing in your own life. You are allowing that sadness to influence a very impressionable person. To say you will be devastated is setting yourself up to fail. You are his mentor, is guide, he is relying on you. Your reactions are confusing to him as they would be to any young person. Do you want him to grow, or be a baby. Why are you crying when he is saying nice things, why are you spending today thinking of what may be in months from now when you don't even know what will be by then? It doesn't actually make sense logically. It makes sense to you, because it is about your feelings inside. If you continue this way, you run the risk of damaging the very relationship you worked so hard to build. You risk damaging his progress and your own. You risk damaging how he sees you, this will not nor should it make sense to him. You do not want him to fear change or blame himself for your feelings. He understands letting go and growing up is a great thing. He understands that he will go out there on his own to live his life, learn and love it. You will damage that belief or how he sees you if you handle it this way. If he trust he is right and should be excited to grow and go...and then compares it to your reactions, he will no longer trust you or what you say. He will begin to doubt you and what you have shown him. He will doubt your love and relationship. If you continue to be broken this way and get worse by the sounds of what you are thinking you will do in a few months from now, you will lose him and his respect. You may even damage his whole outlook on life. That will be something worth crying over. You are teaching him to be afraid, sad without any relief, and that it is all his fault somehow. Telling him it isn't his fault because of how you reason in your mind, will not do anything but add to uncertainty in his life. Because it is his fault. You are sad because he is growing up. You shouldn't explain why that is...You should do something that is better then this. If you love him for real, snap out it. Do for yourself so you feel strong and happy. And do that on your time for you and shelter his from those things have a negative effects. Like an adult who cries in devastation because a child is growing up. It sounds cold, but this child, that is what he sees. That is what is happening. As the adult, you need to know that. Because your reaction, doesn't make sense to a child. And it messes with their trust in you. You are better then this. And your sadness is more personal then it is related to him. Keep it that way. You will find your way and have so much love in your life. Don't fear the future now. Enjoy your time. It is all you have, make it count. Do right by him, then yourself. Let him show you how to do it. And let him help you. That is something you can use to feel better and it will give him confidence in himself. Let him make you feel better, let him save your day, and tell him he is right for being excited. That you have learned from him. It will help more then you know for both of you

I'm sorry j4p...He just made me so sad today, well he didn't, he has no idea how the words out of his sweet little mouth can hurt

You're going to make me start crying again...thank you for those words pure

Reading your comments and coming from you two makes the tears come back. Thank you for such lovely words.

What a tribute to the power of women. I know that you are sad because you are losing "little tater"but look at what he has accomplished and what you have taught him. He wouldn't be the magnificent "big boy" today had you not had an influence on his life. You always touch me and make me laugh and that is why I call you friend but this is the most powerful story I have had the honor of reading. You touched me deeply and, I too, am sititng here crying tears into the keyboard as I type.