Until recently, HB and I have never taken care of kids (besides her nephews) together. She goes to her nanny job, I go to mine, we reconvene in the evening to recount the adorable, the frustrating, and the ridiculous.
The approach of the holidays (and the apocalypse) have been throwing everything out of orbit, and consequently our nannying schedules have been different enough from usual that we've had a few opportunities to visit each other during our shifts (with the families' permission).
Last week HB biked all the way to Sasha and Ezra's house with me, and I introduced her to Sasha's mom. While I feel kind of weird around Sasha's dad, I'm super comfortable with her mom and figured she'd be delighted to meet HB -- and she was. "You're totally welcome to hang out any time, you'll have to meet Ezra when he's not napping! And Sasha loves people, I bet she'd love to meet you!" So later that very same day, HB and I met up (Ezra in the Ergo on my chest) and took him, with ponytail and flowery hairclip and baby flannel, to a kid-friendly cafe to play in their kid corner.
A day or two later, I biked to the science museum after handing Athena back to her daddy so I could hang out with HB and her two little charges, Jay and Wren, who are three and one. Afterward we biked them home, fed them dinner, and got them ready for bed together.
This week, since school's out, I took Sasha and Ezra on the bus to the science museum, and HB met us there, meeting Sasha for the first time. (Sasha, for once, was exceptionally compliant and well-behaved, and had a blast.)
We have also done a couple of rounds of evening kid-sitting together, once for Jaden and once for two new charges, Colby and Molly.
The point of all this: I am impressed by how well HB works with the kids. She is patient, respectful, flexible, and attentive -- sometimes more than I am, and I'm the one in school to be a preschool teacher. She goes out of her way to really see things from the kids' perspectives. An illustrative moment (pun totally intended) was when Jay was coloring a picture after HB had said, "We need to clean up and get ready for bed," and when Jay said, "I need to finish coloring this," instead of pulling the crayon away from him (which I did once on a different occasion, and then immediately regretted and felt awful about), she listened to the word "need" and let him finish. When he felt done, he happily cleaned up and got ready for bed.
I'm also surprised and delighted by how well we work with each other with the kids. As a team. Without needing to discuss it, we naturally pick up on each other's thoughts and intentions and needs, and step up to support each other. When one of us announces the approach of a transition time (snack time, bed time, time to go) the other is right there as backup. When the kids run in opposite directions, we arbitrarily pick a kid each and stick with them through whatever activity they're doing, without any confusion or anxiety or need to communicate much about it. Later we just come back together and fill each other in.
I take it as a very good sign that someday we will parent our own (hypothetical) kids together as an effective, efficient team.