On falling in love with the bus nanny

The most wonderful thing came into our lives recently. Yellow and long, with chunky wheels, squeaky brakes and snotty noses pressed against the window.

It is, of course, the school bus and it saves us two hours a day through no longer trotting backwards and forwards on the school run.

We were on the waiting list for a year and, even now, BB’s ride home is only on ‘stand-by’, but so far there’s been space every day.

With a hop and a skip, he greets the bus nanny on board!
And, though only five years old, it makes him seem so grown up, so independent, all of a sudden. On hearing the bus come trundling down the hill, he bolts outside in a flash.

The doors clap shut and that’s it, he’s gone – his toast left half eaten on the sofa and cartoons still blaring from the TV. The first day I felt quite bereft.

Until I realised I could actually go back to bed for a bit.

Of course, I’ve worried about the ‘what ifs?’ – what mother wouldn’t? – especially as Dubai drivers tend to behave as though they’re riding the dodgems at the fairground and the highways here have at least eight lanes.

But he’s so excited by the bus buddies he’s made – and has fallen in love.

Buses in Dubai for primary school children have bus nannies on board. Ours is a sweet-natured lady from India with a kind smile and beautiful eyes. Her name is Shabina and, most likely, she has kids of her own back home, living with grandparents so she can earn money for their keep in Dubai.

Her days are dedicated to riding EK1 to school, waiting while the children are in lessons, then travelling back to our compound in the afternoon.

It’s not as easy as it sounds – she’s tasked with maintaining order on board and making sure all the kids keep their seat belts – and clothes – on (yes, really, last year someone stripped apparently).

Early this morning, I found BB writing a love note to Shabina on a card he’d made for her. “Muuum-mee, can you help me?” he asked, somewhat sheepishly. “I want to put ‘I love you bus nanny'”

Then he wrapped up a scented candle that was sitting on our bedside table (not a car or a train, like he usually chooses, but a candle! Surprisingly thoughtful!)

He’s adamant he’d rather we didn’t pick him up from school, like we did the other day to surprise him, because he’d prefer to ride home with his beloved bus nanny, who is so sweet she apparently even gives him a good-bye kiss.

So my big boy has his first school-boy crush and thinks he’s going to marry Shabina. When he’s 18 and reading this, he’s going to kill me for spilling the beans!

And if, like many of the Indian, Sri Lankan and Filipino workers over here, she does have her own children, I really hope she gets to go home to see them as often as possible.

11 thoughts on “On falling in love with the bus nanny

    • I’ve been really impressed by her! I was texting her every day to see if there was room, and she’d get back to me instantly. She’s a sweetheart! I think she has quite a hard job, too, keeping order! Hooray for a long weekend now! Enjoy! xxx

  1. That *is* sweet! Bless little boys’ hearts!
    We, too, have a ‘bus nanny’, but it’s a ‘he’ and he is a rather dour-faced Korean gentleman; I doubt anyone is giving him notes OR scented candles! The bus for the school here transports little ones from Reception age (4) all the way up to high school seniors (18) so they provide a monitor to make sure that order is maintained, complete with assigned seats and safety belt checks (also highly desirable in Seoul traffic!), but no lovely nurturing like it sounds like your son is getting!
    Son #2 is now in the back of the bus with all the other teens, but for the first few weeks, his seatmate was a little 5-year-old who fell asleep on his shoulder every afternoon on the long ride home…

    • I love hearing the stories of what goes on on the bus. My 5-yr-old definitely doesn’t sleep – he told me he plays a game with his friend called ‘run the man over’ (using their fingers)..oh dear!

  2. Oh I wish we had a bus nanny! It is a total zoo on our bus with no adult supervision – luckily they are only on it for 5 minutes in the morning, but coming back they are the last to get off, and goodness only knows what goes on.

  3. Aww, that’s so sweet! How lovely. Like Nappy Valley Girl, I think this would be a good idea in other places. Even though we’ve generally been lucky with our bus drivers, they can’t concentrate on driving as well as supervise their passengers, and “incidents” have been known to occur…

  4. No bus nanny here either – and it probably would be a good thing! The driver is at least very nice and the kids seem to like her, which must help. I liked her very much this morning when we were not at the stop on time but she slowed down enough that we were able to run fast and get her attention so my son could ride the bus. (He doesn’t usually ride the bus in the a.m. – maybe four or five times a year on unpredictable dates – and is the only kid to get on at our stop so I was even more amazed that she slowed down!)

    • She sounds a very nice bus driver! It’s such a shame they don’t have school buses in the UK – I don’t know why not, I guess no-one wants to pay for them. They’re such a great invention!

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