Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Undercover Mom

I'm about to go off and spy on The Dictator at camp - for the second time.

It's very uncomfortable. For me, for the counselors, for everyone.

Every morning at camp, swim time happens between 11 and 11:30 a.m.

So I will go upstairs, where there is a viewing area to the pool below, behind a large glass window.

So, I guess it's not *really* spying. I mean, it is a viewing window. You are supposed to *view* from it.

The first time I dropped The Dictator off at camp I realized I would have to learn to turn a blind eye. The Dictator has had one-on-one attention since the day she was born.

Nanny Mimi has really been at her beck and call, since the day I brought her home from the hospital. So when I dropped her off at camp, where the ratio is about four 2-3 year-olds for every counselor, I knew this would be different.

My friend also dropped her son off at the same camp with me one day. Her son too, has had one-on-one attention from a nanny, from the day he was born.

As we watched our little darlings climb a swing set, with no one really paying attention, after we dropped them off, I grabbed her arm and said, "We have to go."

"I would never have let him climb that thing alone," she said.

"We have to turn a blind eye. Let's go before we start to cry," I answered.

To a certain extent, I do believe children need their independence and need to learn how to hang like monkeys from swing sets. If they fall, they fall. They're kids.

I needed to learn, so did Nanny Mimi, that we had to let go of The Dictator to a certain extent. Sigh.

Nanny Mimi watches The Dictator swim every single day. I think this is wrong.

Because, I know, from the last time I joined Nanny Mimi at the viewing window, that the counselors started to pay way more attention to The Dictator, once The Dictator saw us and started waving at us.

The counselors were constantly looking up at us watching them. I was pathetic. Every time one of them saw me, literally, I ducked.

I don't necessarily want The Dictator to get special attention, just because Nanny Mimi is watching her every day. Then again, why shouldn't Nanny Mimi watch her to make sure she's having fun and is, um, as safe as can possibly be.

It's her job to make sure my child is alive and also happy.

"Why aren't they giving her The Noodle to hang off of," Nanny Mimi was screaming, when I stood next to her, watching The Dictator in swim. "She likes the Noodle. She likes the Noodle. Come on Guys!!! Give her a Noodle! Why aren't they giving her a noodle."

Of course, the counselors couldn't hear her. (The Noodle is one of those long tube-like things that float in pools. Also called Pool Penises. Or maybe that's just what I call them. Anyway.)

I knew at that moment that I had the best nanny in the world, one who cared about my child as much as I did. And Nanny Mimi has one thing that I don't have. Which is, she doesn't give a crap if the counselors see her spying.

I did. And I do. I can only imagine what they think, which is probably something like, "Rowan's mommy is so annoying. Doesn't she have anything better to do than to spy?"

But, still, I will go spy today because, really, I just like watching The Dictator swim. I mean, the gal now jumps off the side of the ledge (wearing a life jacket) and she can even swim without The Noodle now. (With a life jacket.)

The point is, you can call it spying. I'll call it being a proud parent, with a side benefit of letting other people who take care of my child know that I am watching. Bahahaha.

You say tomato, I say tomato.


Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I totally hear you on that.
Letting go is so hard - next week (for a week) I'm switching from group care to one on one care for a week and I am going through the exact opposite issue from you. I'm afraid he will be overly watched. I am also afraid that he will like her more than me. (and, she is 17 and cool, so the truth is he may) Sad, I know. It's just a thing.
You can never win.
Really, you're right though. Kids have to learn to fall and learn to socialize and all of that stuff. It's just hard to watch.

9:21 AM

Blogger Gabriella said...

I say watch (spy) away! There'll be plenty of moments later on when you won't be around.

9:41 AM

Blogger hautemama said...

You had me at pool penis BWWWHAAAA!! Long time no blog, how the hell are ya?

10:24 AM

Blogger Cindy said...

Pool Penises? That is awesome. I will now be unable to call them anything other than that from now on. Great, one more thing for people to think I'm crazy over.

1:38 PM

Blogger Jezer said...

This was Al's first week at daycare. I purposely told his teachers that I would pick him up at a certain time, only to show up early. Just to see what was happening.

The director has a TV in her office with live video feeds from every classroom in the place. Don't think I won't be dropping in to watch.

5:33 PM

Blogger sunshine scribe said...

I SO get this. And I love that Nanny Mimi is so passionate about the noodle. She loves the Dictator!

Next time you should go with dark glasses and a trench coat just for effect :)

6:05 AM


She's only little, watch her until she tells you to stop. When they get older they will start telling you to go away.
That day will creep up on you fast, very fast.

8:52 AM

Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

Letting go is the hardest thing. My husband and I are so crazy, we once put a tape recorder into J's coat before preschool to make sure he was being treated properly.

Even my friends who HAVE to say "no you're not crazy, it's okay" were like, "UM... YES THAT'S A LITTLE BIT CRAZY!"

So see... a little spying is no big deal! ;)

9:33 AM

Anonymous QueenieCarly said...

I've been missing Lovelorn etc. for months now, but am thrilled to have stumbled on this space.

I love that you duck when they look at you. That cracks me up just to think of it.

4:45 PM

Blogger Mother Bumper said...

I'm trying to wrap my head around leaving Bumper with "other" people. I've actually never done it and I'm having a hard time because I'd like to do things but... well, you know. I'm pretty sure (no actually, positive) that I'd be spying too. And I would be doing it undercover. You are very lucky to have Mimi, who obviously loves the Dictator as much as family.

4:31 PM

Anonymous Mum downunder said...

Glad Im not alone. I find that everyone just seems so relaxed around my 15mth old - except for me, when we're in a different setting.
For example I dropped her off at the hospital daycare which is a free service for mums who have an appointment. I noticed that as I was packing her things away she was playing over at the pretend dressing table with dress ups and lots of things to bang. I was shocked to see that she was .......wait for herself!
Where we're the staff, what we're they doing? What if she ate something too small and started choking! The reality is she was having a ball and there was nothing that could have harmed her. I did casually remind them about her habit of putting things in her mouth ( I know they all do, but I just needed to tell them for the 100th time) and her love of climbing furniture.
When I returned they told me how little 'houdini' kept them quite busy with her constant, non stop desire to climb chairs, tables - anything. Thats my gal I thought, keeping them on their feet!

6:20 AM

Anonymous Angela said...

This post totally made me smile. It reminded me of when I was in University, I went to the States and was a counsellor for this ritsy summer camp. Before parents week in the mid-summer we were told to squeeze toothpaste out of the kids tubes, so that the parents don't complain that their kids aren't bushing their teeth enough! The things we do for stalker mommies...

9:43 AM

Blogger Haley-O said...

Oh, be proud that you're spying, and that you're proud! ;) It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Besides, it's your daughter! You can do what you want, what makes you feel secure about her wellbeing, etc. I'll spy all the time if Joey's camp has a viewing window like that! Sounds like she's having a great time at camp! Probably makes her time even better just knowing that you and Nanny Mimi are there!

7:33 PM

Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Yay for The Dictator! Glad she is enjoying swim lessons.

My girls' daycare has webcams in all the rooms - parents can log on and view anytime. I rarely do - only when they first started there. And when I subbed at their school, I never even thought about the cameras or who might be watching. I just took care of the kids.

9:54 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

Pool penis. LOL. But seriously, I'd be spying/viewing too.

12:02 PM

Anonymous BC Fan said...

Honestly, I am glad she enjoyed her lessons, however, I am sad now that it has been one day since I doscovered you, I have read your entire blog, and there's no new entries.
I am officially addicted and eagerly awaiting my next fix!

3:56 PM

Anonymous Eve in Montreal said...

Ok, next post please! why is there no new post?

7:59 AM

Blogger Fresh Mommy said...

I would totally spy. I haven't even mustered up the courage yet to get a non-family babysitter (we don't get much!).

2:43 PM


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