I shared that there were some challenging times, but I want to clarify that I'm not opposed to pulling myself out of the valleys. Doing so was actually one of the key motivators that brought me to the Emerald Isle to begin.
Without boring you with the grainy details of my diaper-filled days, I will share that the family I lived with had a very different mentality when it came to rearing children. Now anyone that knows me know that my own furry child, Phoebe Louise, has zero rules and is told that she is perfect on a regular basis. But my puppy pedagogy is quite different than real life, and I'm a firm believer in positive discipline, boundaries, and ultimately- a respectful relationship between the authority and child.
To say that this was nonexistent would be an understatement. So as I adapted my comfort level to fit the needs of this very detail-oriented family (yes, I was required to take their temperatures four times a day, "just in case"), I found that the only constant I could rely on was a very aggressive, defiant, and obstinate child who showered me with a colorful realm of disrespect.
At first, I pulled out all the stops. I harnessed my days in the classroom, and I spent my morning off creating a colorful reward chart. You know, to intrinsically motivate this kid to behave. I placed his favorite toys strategically around the house so I could grab one to distract him when he flew into a fit of rage. I made heart shaped pancakes, smiley face fruit plates, and recited every nursery rhyme known to man. I also succumbed to the gods of bribery as I bought his favorite treats to entice him away from the dark side. All of this was intended to soothe the young boy, but ultimately, it appeared to be in vain.
Anyone who has worked with children will tell you that these are temporary fixes. Dangling a carrot in front of a child will work for a small period of time, but without proper discipline and the instilling of respect? Back to square one. And I found myself with a seemingly permanent ticket to square one.
My frustration mounted as I tried to effectively communicate my concerns, only to be told that he had "never acted this way before!" Let me tell you, that kid did not come up with that number overnight. I felt my spirt falling as I began to daydream about exactly what I would say if I had my Scarlett Johansson moment, found the hidden nanny cam, and got to candidly share my frustration. I finally came to the conclusion that the work environment wasn't conducive to neither myself nor the lad's well-being.
All in all, my quest to be Mary Poppins has been put on the back burner for now. Not only did she unfairly use magic when caring for children, but she also had the on-going support of Dick Van Dyke, and I have yet to see that one-man band!
So yet again, here I am, scratching my head, wondering what this year will bring.
But for now? I'm going to accept the generous offer of friends to use their spare bedroom, take advantage of my new neighborhood, and perhaps head to the Ring of Kerry for a hike.
Perhaps my original dream was too good to be true. But I have a feeling that the best is yet to come.