Both of us caring for young children, we watch over our charges and talk shop.
"Can I ask you something? How much is standard for a nanny to make here in Chicago?"
I tell her what I earned when I was caring for one child four years ago.
"Oh, ha! No," she says, making an I-smell-something-foul face. Her rate is significantly higher than mine.
"Really!" I say. Up go my eyebrows.
"I have 15 years of experience. Totally worth it. My families agree," she confides.
I silently mull this over. Am I not worth that salary? She's pretty. Articulate. Well-dressed. My grammar's alright but my "style" is best described as "well, this t-shirt didn't have stains on it when I arrived this morning and my hair's in a bun because I'd rather not get spaghetti sauce in it today." I always thought I was a pretty darn good nanny but, for a moment, I wonder if perhaps I'm not so good at this. Maybe I give myself more credit than I deserve. My three tiny buddies tackle me, run away and come barreling back to fling their little arms around me as we collapse into a pile of giggles. We imitate animals. We discuss trees they like. They mention dog poop just to see the look of horror on my face as I launch into my oh-my-god-you-guys-that-is-so-gross speech.
Time to head home. The tiny men climb into their stroller, big sister chattering happily. We hear a commotion. My new acquaintance's little one is having a fit. She looks at me, exasperated and mouths, "she does this. all.the.time," before loudly exclaiming, "Look at your friends! They're leaving, too, and THEY aren't acting like you!"
We walk away, waving, and I think to myself, "Nah."
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