So how many of NBC’s planned 5,535 hours of Olympic coverage do YOU plan to watch?
Let’s face it: As busy parents or nannies, few of you have the time to endlessly lounge around on the couch and marvel at how other human beings can bend their bodies in ways you thought possible only with action figures. But hopefully, you caught the Mary Poppins extravaganza at the glorious “Isles of Wonder” opening ceremonies.
The stagecraft included a magical scene of more than two dozen flying nannies using their umbrellas to save the stadium from the evil Lord Voldemort, better known as the Harry Potter villain. The whimsical duel certainly put Poppins and all nannies in a positive light, and it must have been a wonderful surprise to one of the character’s most devoted fans — 2002 “Nanny of the Year” Marni Kent, who was recently featured in this blog’s ongoing look at International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year award recipients.
Kent has collected Poppins memorabilia for the past 20 years, sometimes dresses like her on special occasions and even has a Poppins-themed tattoo!
It turns out that there are numerous aspects of the Olympics that summon the everyday challenges of nannying and/or parenting. Consider the words of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the French historian who founded the International Olympic Committee and is credited for reviving the ancient Greek competition.
The Baron’s full quote was: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Of course, nannies and parents never want to see fighting of any kind. But it’s clear what he meant. Encouraging children to brave new experiences is often more important than who wins or loses. It’s a tough lesson for kids to willingly accept, as any youth sports coach can attest.
Many of you probably experience young children’s own Olympic moments when they go down a steep slide without holding your hand for the first time or proudly show off their biking skills without training wheels. There are no screaming fans or pictures of your charges on a Wheaties cereal box, but the experiences are no less special.
Here are a few other Olympic tidbits that will surely make nannies and parents smile:
1. This is What Happens When You Let Kids Cheat at Monopoly — Ouch. Did you ever think you would see the words “Badminton” and “Scandal” in the same sentence? The Olympic athletes who deliberately lost their matches — to get easier opponents in the next round — are not going to win any role model awards.
2. Biting Your Nails is a Universal Parent Trait — The parents of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman were understandably nervous as a billion television viewers watched their daughter gracefully master the high bar. Watch the video of them in the stands: Do you act like this as you’re watching your children in a school play, youth sports event or Spelling Bee?
3. Surprise, Toddlers Aren’t The Only Ones Who Need Swim Diapers! — Former USA Swimming national team member Carly Geehr was recently featured in Slate Magazine for her reply to this very irreverent but childlike question: “Do Olympic Swimmers Ever Pee in the Pool?” The answer is not that shocking: They are no different than the rest of us. Thank God for chlorine.
4. Check Out The Toy Box Olympics — This is a gem for any adult tripping over Legos on the playroom rug. Take a look at how London’s Guardian newspaper recreated Olympic gymnastics, basketball and fencing in their hilarious and creative Brick-By-Brick video series. Great fuel for the imagination.
Have you seen any Olympic moments that remind you of the nannying experience or overall child development? In case you missed it, nannies already have been directly credited for the ongoing success of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team!