5+Us Makes Seven: A Nanny Single Dad Romance
So I can’t say this will be the last book in the series, because when you meet Emma, Joanna’s cousin in this book, you’ll see how cute she is. She might need a book yet.
If you want me to write one, tell me in the reviews!
“Nathaniel, get over here. Clara, what did I tell you about playing with your food? Joshua, I swear to you, if you don’t stop jumping on that couch I’m going to drop you off at school and leave you there!”
“If you can’t get your kids under control, I can’t feed them,” the nanny said.
“Isn’t that what I hired you to do?” I asked.
“You hired me to watch them, not parent them.”
“Then watch them and get them fed so I can go get ready for work,” I said. “Joshua! Stop bouncing on the couch and come eat your breakfast!”
It was like this every morning. Clara would come crawl into bed with me and wake me up with her kisses as the nanny walked through the door. Joshua and Nathaniel would take off after the nanny, and they’d start climbing her like a tree. She couldn’t cook because they always kept demanding other things in the middle of her fixing food and she couldn't wrangle the three of them at once because they never listened. In the past two years, she was the third nanny I had hired, and she was already threatening to quit if I couldn't find a way to help her out.
“Who wants eggs?” the nanny asked.
“Ew, eggs,” Joshua said.
“No eggies,” Clara said.
“Do we have any cereal?” Nathaniel asked.
“But the three of you were excited about eggs when I was cooking them,” the nanny said.
“Sit down and eat what’s been prepared for you or the three of you will spend the rest of your day in your rooms,” I said.
“But I don’t want eggs,” Nathaniel said.
“Then you should’ve thought about that before you asked for eggs,” I said.
“I didn’t ask for eggs, Joshua did.”
“I did not!”
“Yes you did.”
“Did not, Clara! Quit lying!”
My kids were wonderful kids. But they were kids, and they were all under the age of seven. Nathaniel was the oldest, and he was six. Joshua came shortly after him, and he was about to turn five. Clara was just beginning to blossom into her personality and anyone could tell she was raised with brothers. She turned three a couple of weeks ago and she was a rough and tumble as they came. She could outrun, out-spit, out-hit, and out-yell any boy on the block.
And all while wearing her favorite purple tutu.
“If you guys don’t sit down for breakfast, you’re going to be late for school,” the nanny said.
“I’ve really gotta go get ready,” I said.
“Help me get them settled first,” she said.
“Again, that’s what I pay you to do.”
“They don’t listen to me.”
“Then figure out why they don’t and fix it,” I said.
“I can’t. I’ve tried. For seven months I’ve tried to get them to listen to me and they don’t. They’re wild, unruly, and disobedient. They don’t need a nanny. They need a trainer.”
“Hey. My children are not animals. They’re children. You were aware of the circumstances and their ages when I offered you this position. If you didn’t think you could handle it, then you shouldn’t have accepted the job offer.”
“I couldn't turn down the money, Mr. Maxwell. But I can’t handle this.”
“You took three days off last week going into the weekend to get some rest. And I gave it to you because I get it. But now you’re here and I need you here. I can’t do this without you,” I said.
“We want cereal! We want cereal! We want cereal!”
Nathaniel was chanting at the dinner table while Joshua continued to bounce on the couch. Clara was eating the eggs set in front of her, but I could tell she wasn’t happy about it. I went over to the couch and grabbed Joshua in midair, then threw him over my shoulder and sat him down at the table. I scolded Nathaniel with one look before I looked up at my nanny, hoping she got the picture. I wasn’t restricting her need to punish and tame my children. They were in their wild years.
But for fuck’s sake, she had to at least try.
“I can’t do this,” she said.
“No, no, no,” I said. “Don’t leave.”
“Your children are too much, and I can’t handle them. You don’t need a nanny, Mr. Maxwell.”
“You understood the circumstances coming into this. You signed a contract to work for the next year,” I said.
“Then take me court. Anything’s better than this,” she said. “I’m sorry. But I can’t do this with your children every morning and night.”
“I’ll give you weekends off. I’ll bump up your pay. Please, Michelle. Stay. I need someone here to help me.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Maxwell. I really am. I sympathized with you because I know what it’s like to lose a spouse. But this…”
She looked back at my kids as they sat perched at the kitchen table.
“I’m not here to raise your children,” she said. “I’m here to simply assist the efforts you already put in.”
Then she handed me the apron from my closet, picked up her things, and left.
When my wife died, things were hard. Clara was barely one and I felt like I was floundering. I had three kids who needed me and I had no way to be there for them. I was too busy wallowing in the death of the only woman I’d ever loved. I was absent when my children needed me there and they suffered because of it. Because I wasn’t strong enough to choke down my grief and be the father they needed.
I had hired a nanny to help me with them, and in the process I began using them as a crutch.
She was right. A nanny was there to assist me in the efforts I was already taking with my own children. A nanny wasn’t there to raise them or take care of them the way their mother should’ve been. She was there as an assist to what I should’ve stepped up to do for them.
But over the past two years, I’d cycled through three nannies trying to find a replacement.
My heart sank to my toes. Tears were welling in my kids’ eyes as I rushed to them. I gathered them up in my arms as they clung to me, their tiny little hands gripping my t-shirt. They kept asking me if she was coming back and if I was mad at them. Clara asked if she could stay home from school and the boys asked me if they could go to work with me. I buried my face into the crooks of their necks, taking in their scent and finding their mother in every feature etched into their bodies.
I felt empty.
For the past two years, I’d been nothing but empty.
I was tired of looking for nannies. I was tired of trying to build a stable home for my children. Cycling through women in their lives like this wasn’t good and they deserved better than what I was giving them. I poured the three of them bowls of cereal and ate up the eggs they didn’t want. Then I ushered them all upstairs to get ready for school.
I had become the master at washing myself down in the sink.
I cleaned myself up for work and helped Clara get into her newest favorite outfit. A pair of pink sparkling leggings and a bright yellow tunic shirt. She had matching yellow flats and a big pink bow that jingled with little bells in the design. She was carrying a magic wand around in one hand and a baseball in the other, ready to turn people into toads and concuss them at the same time. Girl could throw.
I watched her torment her brothers as they both tried to get dressed.
“Come on, kids. You're already late for school,” I said.
I opened up the doors of my 2018 Lincoln Navigator and watched them crawl into their seats. They buckled themselves up and I drove them into school, dropping them off one by one. Nathaniel and Joshua were in the same elementary school and Clara was at the preschool daycare across the street. I kissed them all goodbye then headed into work, making sure to stop for a very strong cup of coffee.
I was going to need it for the newest nanny search.
“Rough morning?” Logan asked.
“My nanny quit,” I said.
“You got wild animals chasing them off or something?” he asked.
“You’d think that with the way they act sometimes. They’re good kids, Logan. You’ve babysat them, so you know.”
“They’re kids. They run around, jump on things, and demand what they want. The key is to run with them and stick to your guns when you lay down rules. What happened this time?”
“I think this nanny simply didn’t want to put in the time to my kids. Hell, she called out three times last week.”
“Was she sick?”
“No. She said she needed a break and I understood. I’ve got three under seven. They’re good, but they’re all in that one stage where energy is apparently infinite,” I said. “So I gave her the days off. Then she comes in this morning, gets on me about needing a trainer for them, and quits.”
“They’re not fucking animals, Carter. They’re kids. What the hell did she think she was getting into?”
“Exactly,” I said. “But she brought up a good point.”
“What?” he asked.
“I have been using nannies over the past couple of years as a crutch. You know, expecting them to step in and be another parental figure.”
“I had a nanny growing up,” he said. “She practically raised me.”
“So I’m not the only one who thinks a nanny can be that?” I asked.
“I think you hired a slacker for the job. Did your other two nannies ever say anything like that to you?”
“No. The first quit because of health reasons, which I understood.”
“How’s she doing, by the way? Do you know?” he asked.
“We talked a few weeks ago. The cancer treatment’s going well, but she’s still got a long road ahead of her. She seemed to be in good spirits. And the nanny after her quit because she got pregnant.”
“Again, a decent reason.”
“But it still leaves me without someone to help with the kids. And cycling through women like this after losing their mother… it’s not good,” I said.
“Are you looking for another nanny?”
“I have no other choice. You know we’re in the middle of that massive merger, so I can’t duck out and work from home for months on end. I’m needed here,” I said.
“My cousin Natasha’s pretty good with kids. She’s seriously patient, too. Like a saint.”
“Does she have any experience nannying?”
“She babysat a lot as a teenager. Did it all the way through college. She got her degree in Early Childhood Development and got a teaching certificate in case she wanted to teach kindergarten. She could calm the storm that is your house for sure.”
“She sounds qualified, then. You think she’d come in for an interview?” I asked.
“I can bring her in, sure.”
“Would she be able to work full-time?” I asked.
“The hell you interviewing me for? I’m not applying for the job. I love your kids, but they are very energetic.”
“Thanks. I think.”
“But to answer your question, yes. She can work full-time. She just moved back to the area and she hasn’t had much luck finding a job.”
“With her qualifications?”
“Carter. Seriously. She can take a full-time position. I’ll bring her in for an interview tomorrow. How does that sound?” he asked.
“Sounds good,” I said. “Ten in the morning? It’ll give me a couple of hours to decompress and answer any worried phone calls I’m sure the investors will pay me tonight while I’m sound asleep.”
“Not looking forward to the meeting?”
“I never look forward to investor board meetings. They’re all a bunch of whiny old men with deep pockets who want to be coddled,” I said.
“If you want money, you have to coddle. That’s usually how it goes.”
“You sure your cousin would be up for something like this?” I asked. “Because I’m tired of looking for nannies every few months and I’m tired of the look on my children’s faces whenever they walk out.”
“I’m telling you, she’ll be a good fit. And if the interview doesn’t go well, then it’s no skin off your back. Be diligent this time. If she’s not right for the job, don’t offer it to her because you’re desperate. Take the time to find the right one. But I’m telling you, my cousin would be good for your kids.”
“I hope you’re right,” I said. “Because this cycle of women needs to end.”