I was debating which vacation story to submit, and decided on this one. If you’d like to hear another, I would certainly oblige!
This was a family that I had been with for about 5 months at the time. Three kids; a boy age 13, a boy age 11, and a girl age 5. The family typically took a two week vacation around Christmas. In order for both nannies to get to spend time with family we alternated working for a week at a time. I got the post-Christmas shift and my dad drove me to the airport at 4 am on the 26th. The family would be without help for almost a full day because the other nanny left that same morning, which was a disaster in the making. I was flying cross-country to get a connecting flight at LAX which would continue to Hawaii.
As I was hustling through the airport to catch my connection I received a phone call from DB, asking me if I could please change my flight to a different Hawaiian island. I was pretty baffled, and nobody seemed to be able to explain to me what was going on. After a phone call to DB’s assistant I figured out that the family had spent the first week on island one. They then flew to island two for the second week, but after a day decided that it wasn’t to their liking, so they called the plane back and flew right back to island one. After a bit of discussion with various airport employees I finally got my ticket switched and was on my way to Hawaii.
We were staying at a gorgeous resort with rooms that faced the water. The family had three rooms right in a row, and mine was on the end next to the boys. Since the family had been there for a week already they had already gotten over the jet lag and were on Hawaii time. I on the other hand was still on my east coast schedule, so I woke up before the sun. It was actually nice having the time to relax before they were awake. I was told by MB that I needed to make myself scarce unless they called me because they were trying to have “family time”. (Sidenote- this was always stated before vacation, and tended to last like 5 minutes, basically until any of the kids got bored or needed something.) So in the spirit of making myself scarce I spent my mornings at the pool working on my tan. Once MB and DB caught wind of that fact I was asked to reserve lounge chairs for the family since once they woke up they would all be taken for the day. By this time the attendants at the pool already knew my bosses as the most demanding and obnoxious of all their guests.
Every night before going to bed I would pack several bags for the kids. These were filled with their bathing suits, sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, and basically everything else you could think of for going to the pool. MB asked me to lay the stuff out for them to put on in the morning, so I did. And every morning, without fail, I would get a call from MB telling me to go back to the room to get the bags for them because they were on their way to the pool. I would make the long walk back to the rooms, and back to the pool, to find them lounging on the chairs I had saved. Stuff strewn everywhere, hats and shoes missing for me to find. MB would then tell me to put sunscreen on the kids. HA. The 5 year old was easy. My sweet C. She let me get her all ready and then she jumped in like a little fish. And then I spent the next 30 minutes trying to get sunscreen on the boys. MB would sit on her chair and half read, half watch me attempt to get the boys out of the pool. They alternated between ignoring me, splashing me, and trying to pull me into the water.
Once they finally gave in and were sunscreened, I spent the rest of pool time trying to keep them quiet. Because you see, they insisted on swimming in the “quiet pool”. Aka the pool for adults to lounge by. There were 3 other pools nearby where yelling and splashing was allowed, but the entire family felt the need to spend the day at the one pool that required quiet. And the last thing this family was, was quiet. The boys would throw each other in, scream, and take towels from the pool desk and throw them into the water. MB thought this was all great fun, and loved watching her boys “be boys”. That is not the description I would have used. I tried to play with C, but the boys followed us around trying to grab my legs and pull me under. The oldest boy was only 13, but he was about 6 inches taller than me and at least 30 lbs heavier. He would swim under and grab me, and then lift my legs up so my head went under. I really had had enough of them at this point, and repeatedly told him to stop. I could tell that the people sitting around the pool were getting uncomfortable with what was going on, but MB was just sitting on the edge observing, so finally I took matters into my own hands and the next time he grabbed my legs I kicked him right in the head. Hard. Of course he threw a giant hissy fit and acted like I was so horrible and mean, but I have to say that it felt good.
A highlight of every day was lunch, when I got to watch MB and DB charm (*bully*) the hostesses at the pool restaurant into giving us reservations that they neglected to make ahead of time. Of course we always ended up seated within a short period of time. I actually did enjoy the celeb sightings. They must have had their own celebrity beach or pool area, but they ate down with the rest of the “common folk”, so we ended up sitting near quite a few actors. I spent that time pretending I didn’t belong with the family who made the most noise and the most demands, and left the biggest mess.
After lunch I was usually required to play touch football with the boys, so their dad could ignore them. How he gave birth to two athletic children is beyond me. Sometimes MB would join in, running around screaming like a maniac and trying to include C on the sidelines while she happily worked on her sticker book and pretended not to be related to them. If I got lucky I was able to take C over to the kids’ pool or to get an ice cream cone at some point in the day. And if I was really lucky she managed to convince MB that she would absolutely die if she spent another minute in the sun, and we could go back to the room for a bath and a movie.
In the evenings I got the kids ready for dinner. That typically included- instructing the boys 67 times to pick up their wet clothing off of the floor. Searching for their dress clothes that somehow managed to walk off the hangers on their own into a big pile. Telling them that “No you can’t wear that t-shirt to dinner.” “I’m sorry if you don’t like that oxford that I packed, maybe next time you should look through your suitcase before we leave like I asked you to do 74 times.” “Yeah, no t-shirt, for real.” “I don’t know why your khaki’s are all wet; could it possibly be because you left them sitting on the bathroom floor in a puddle of water?” “I have no desire to see you naked. Go back to the bathroom and change in there.” “Seriously. Take that t-shirt off.” Eventually resorting to unplugging the TV because they couldn’t tear their eyes away from it long enough to get dressed. And all while bathing, dressing, and doing the hair of C, who by this point was pretty much a zombie from her busy day.
I wasn’t usually included in the dinner plans, which was absolutely fine by me! I took that time to order at least one movie, and get myself some fabulous room service, always with dessert. While I was waiting for my food I would go into the other rooms and straighten up the kids’ things for the next day, pack their beach bags (which I would inevitably end up going back to get), and sort through the laundry. MB had completely deluded herself into thinking that the boys were taking care of their dirty clothes on their own. In fact, she once told the housekeepers that they would be fired if they cleaned up the kids’ messes. However, the screaming and berating that would happen if the kids couldn’t find the things that they neglected to clean up was definitely worse, so we just let her believe that they were doing it. Not to mention the fact that MB and DB were two of the messiest and most unsanitary people ever, so their children were simply following that example.
At the end of our lovely trip we had a nice long plane ride, like the cherry on top of the sundae. Flying private is the only way to go with a family like this; I don’t think they would be able to deal with following the rules of an actual airport. Much simpler when you can just drive up to the plane and get right on.
Because of MB’s rule about screen time limits, I spent 95% of the flight entertaining someone. Considering the flight was 10 hours long, and middle boy was the king of being bored, it was excruciating. Basically I was instructed to keep him entertained, and then when I gave him a list of activities I had planned, he shot them down one by one. Followed by another lamentation of how bored he was. Luckily he enjoyed being read to, so I lost my voice by reading for 5 hours. My smart C knew the rule about one movie, and she also knew that her parents were completely clueless, so she spent several hours starting her one movie over from the middle when it was almost finished. I certainly wasn’t going to give her away. Eldest boy spent most of the flight complaining about having to study, instead of actually studying. He was stuck studying because he had been failing his classes. Apparently having a tutor help you with all of your homework doesn’t always lead to turning that homework in.
Stopping to refuel in CA was another fun event. MB and DB told all of the children to wash their hands and then left me to make sure that they did it. Of course C was a cinch, and middle boy wasn’t too challenging. Eldest boy however, sat in the waiting area and refused to move. After plenty of cajoling he went inside and came back out 3 milliseconds later with wet hands, which he then proceeded to shove into my face. From the smell I was able to gather that he had not washed his hands, and he must have been keeping them in his pants for most of the flight. I eventually had to go up to the front desk and ask them to turn off the TV in the waiting area; that was the only way the almost high schooler would get up and take care of his basic hygiene. Really, I still can’t believe it.
I did go on several more trips with them, and I worked for them for another 7 months after this. They were not the happiest months.