Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » January 2017 » “Just the Nanny” by Crystal Munoz

“Just the Nanny” by Crystal Munoz

CrystalMunozAre you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, the nanny gets to know her charges.

Just the Nanny
by Crystal Munoz
2 and 4 Years

“She’s just the nanny.”

This is what my four-year-old charge tells the man walking by, as he says that I have beautiful children.

Yes, I’m just the nanny.

We continue on the bike path down toward the public park on this bright sunny day. The kids sit in the “bob.” It’s what their family calls their double stroller. It took me a few times to remember to call it that when ushering the kids out the door for our weekly adventures. Part of being a nanny is learning to take on the nuances of the family, such as my official title, “Auntie Crystal,” and learning that the kids don’t go pee, they go “shi-shi,” which is Hawaiian.

We continue on our adventure to the pool; the kids want to walk. We go at a snail’s pace, it’s like herding stray cats. They want snacks, water, and the two-year-old sister needs a diaper change. We wait until we get to the public restroom. At the playground, they make me tanbark tea. They carefully hold wood chips from the playground in their small hands and carry the spilling pieces to me as I fake drink large gulps of imagined deliciousness. We all giggle at my silliness as I slurp back the wood chips, sending them through the air.

“Mmmm what yummy tea! Might I have another cup please?”

After our great adventure, the kids get back into the bob. We meander home as the two of them giggle and talk gibberish with one another.

At the house, it’s book time. But before we start, Auntie Crystal needs to go shi-shi. I tell them to hide and that I will find them when I’m done. They scurry to find an obvious hiding spot. With a loud, thundering voice, I announce that I just have no idea where they could be; they have found some great hiding spot!

After walking in a circle or two, I announce how great they were at hiding and that Auntie Crystal sure was stumped. I tickle them under their chins and they satisfactorily scamper to find the books that they want me to read them.

We start toward the family couch with our stack. I sit down in the middle of the couch and each of them takes their usual position on either side of me (I learned the importance of this seating arrangement right away).

They get really close to me and listen to the story for about one minute before their attention is drawn away. This time it’s the cat. The two year old is in the habit of loving too hard, and she squeezes its neck and pulls its tail. I gently reprimand and show her what gentle loving looks like. She tries, but the cat is over it and lets her know by giving a nice nip to her hand. She’s used to this reaction and settles back into my side as I wrap my arm around her to continue reading.

Another minute in and she turns toward my face, staring at me with her bright hazel eyes. I can see her looking at my face and studying it. She starts petting my hair hard and continues her studying. She places a finger on a prominent mole located on my face and continues to touch it.

“I like,” she says. “I want,” she continues, as she presses harder on my mole. “I have?” she asks.

I explain to her, in childlike words, that I was born with the mole and that it can’t be taken off my face.

She continues to look at me and becomes disinterested in the mole that she can’t have. She goes back to petting my hair and examining my face.

I carry on with our books, reading in funny voices. Loud voices. Soft voices. Entertaining voices. We giggle together. We go through book after book. They love being read to. I love reading to them.

In that moment the world is simple. They know they are safe. They know they are loved. The attachment is real. We have spent a long time getting to the place where they look forward to seeing Auntie Crystal several times as week. They now ask for me on the in-between days, and on a scheduled day that I can’t come they’re disappointed.

And, yes, I’m still just the nanny.


Crystal Munoz enjoys writing about life. With over ten years of short stories stacking up, she would like to focus on publishing more pieces. She is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work through Portland State University.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jan 17, 2017

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,