She was supposed to be napping. “Jennifer, I think me and Strawberry (her teddy bear) would rather rest on the couch,” she said standing in front of me, looking up with her big green eyes, clutching her rainbow bear. Her curls were extra curly, her cheeks were extra rosy and she gave me a look where I knew that I was going to have a tough time sending her back to her room. She continued making her case, “Strawberry just sometimes doesn’t feel like taking a nap in the bed and I have to be with her otherwise she gets scared.”

I gave in. How could I deny Stawberry’s request?

I have loved Madeline since the day she was born, November 26, 2007. Up until a few months ago I was her fulltime nanny. Of all the jobs I have had in my life; Madeline’s nanny has been the most rewarding, challenging and entertaining job of my life.

She was on the couch for about 20 minutes before she walked into the kitchen holding up her pink-pudgy thumb. “It’s stuck,” she said showing how she had wedged the lower-case letter “a” past her knuckle.

I used olive oil, soap, cold water, ice and even peanut butter. But two hours later, I had to admit, the letter “a,” which was intended to be with the other magnet letters on the fridge, was not budging.

At the suggestion of my sister, I took my little buddy to the fire station. She was sweet and bubbly and polite when we first walked in, she even had a little joke, “I’m A-Ok,” she said sticking out her thumb. The firefighter and captain seemed charmed by the little girl with curls and a teddy bear. They showered her with stickers, a red plastic hat and even offered her a cookie, in which she asked if they had candy corn instead. They seemed pleased to take on the challenge of removing the “a” from her pudgy and now very reddish, purplish thumb.

“So I think what we are going to have to do is use this metal cutter and try to cut it off,” the firefighter said to his captain.

I knew as soon as the words left his mouth, there was going to be trouble.

The stickers, the bear, the hat that she had clenched so tightly, all dropped to the floor. Tears started streaming at a rapid pace and the word “No,” came flying out of her mouth like a lighting bolt and was heard throughout the entire fire station.

There was no negotiating with the little girl wearing light-up shoes and a polka-dotted dress. There was no convincing her that although they would cut the letter, they were not going to cut off her finger.

Firefighters are trained to run toward burning buildings and save lives, but when it comes to a screaming three-year-old who is yelling, “get away from me, I don’t like you anymore,” I’m not sure anyone can prepare for those flames.

45 minutes and countless bribes and promises later, the letter “a” was removed. And despite the trauma they thought they caused the little girl, the next day she delivered two pictures and a hug for each of them.

“So how is your thumb? The captain asked as she handed over her thank-you picture. “It’s A-ok,” Madeline said. “And guess what? My letter “a” can still stick on the fridge with the other magnets. So, did you get candy corn yet?”