Tag Archives: nanny

What do you do when an avian cacophony is keeping you awake?

This.

Or, at least, I do this.

After being a lazy blogger as of late–an incredibly procrastinatorial (not a word at all…but shouldn’t it be?), computer-phobic, sorry excuse for a writer–I am finally attacking the keys because I woke up 45 minutes ago for a drink of water, and now I cannot for the life of me fall back asleep. What with the sun creeping its way over the horizon and the apparently 100,000 birds chirping, twittering, and confabulating outside my window, I had no choice but to give in, open my computer and come to this site to compose a long overdue post.

Resistance is futile.

For the last, oh, two weeks, I have experienced all the symptoms of adult ADHD without the perks of, you know, the drugs: an inability to commit to a task for very long, racing thoughts and the inability to relax, sudden uncharacteristic impulsiveness, a plethora of ideas but no patience or clarity-of-mind to take the time to write them down, etc. On more occasions than I can count, I had great ideas for posts on this here blog, even had 90% of it written in my head…and then I didn’t do squat about it. I had a simply brilliant conversation with my father (rare, but they happen) about regret and catharsis and believing in your own choices, and though in the moment I thought “I am going to go write about this the second he stops talking,” the moment I walked away I couldn’t remember half of what was said or what I even felt. I’ve been meaning to document my trip to Chicago because, frankly, it was so much more than I could have hoped for, but now it’s been a few weeks and the details are growing fuzzy and I no longer can find the words to say how great it was to get the fuck out of Michigan. And for the few people who take inspiration or insight from my struggles with weight loss, well, I’ve truly failed them. I just could not bring myself to dedicate even a moment of my time to say…something. Anything. And I feel very, very bad about that.

But here I am. I’m writing. It’s not an epic poem or a poignant little ditty, it hardly qualifies as coherent, but I am making an effort. I don’t have to time to really do an amazing job here, but I thought I’d just touch base briefly, and update ya’ll on where I am these days, both literally and metaphorically.

I am sick for the first time in months: It seems that, while exceptionally invigorating and fun, travel and I aren’t friends. My little jaunt over to Illinois was so enjoyable and so chock-full of good stuff that I totally forgot to take care of myself for a few days–by, you know, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating at all–and it was a huge blow to my immune system. It’s been two weeks and I still have a very sore throat and a stuffy nose. The last time I can remember having a cold was, what, February? And now I feel like crap and I only have myself to blame. But, what I don’t understand it, why is it taking so goddamn long for my body to get back on track? I’m back to drinking 88oz of water per day, eating quite healthfully, exercising…shouldn’t I be on the mend by now? Grr, immune system, grr to you and yours.

I have applied to take the GRE…again: After allowing a relationship (and a less-than-fulfilling one at that) to derail my life for the last year and a half, I am back on track with the goals I once held near and dear to my optimistic little heart: grad school, career as a professor and/or editor, moving away from Michigan and to a city where people like me can actually breathe. So, for the next two months, I will be studying my ass off so that come the day I sit down at that loathsome computer and attempt to prove that I am a valid candidate for furthering my education, this time, my verbal score won’t totally blow. I have never been all that good at studying, and have rarely needed to in the past, but it’s something I have attempted and succeeded at in times of trouble, so I’m hoping the fact that I’m more than a little rusty with the whole academic process won’t completely sap me of the ability to achieve a stellar score. Maybe I’m two years late, but I want to go back to school so badly, and I hope that I don’t end up standing in my own way.

I have admitted to myself that I condemned myself to limbo: As above-mentioned, for a few shameful years, I acted like a stupid girl and let my love for a boy distract me from all the things I wanted to achieve. I stayed in MI and didn’t apply for schools or out-of-state jobs because I was scared of what would happen (re: breaking up) if I left. This is not at all his doing: he never asked me to shy away from graduate school; he never asked me to abandon my dreams for a life of housewifery and loneliness. That was me…all me. And it’s hard to fess us to that, but, I think, knowing that I’m capable of being my own worst enemy isn’t the worst thing. I know what I’m capable of, and might be able to prevent a future derailment of my life. I also think I can forgive myself for losing sight of…everything…because, maybe, I had to lose myself to find myself. Maybe I had to make those mistakes to finally see that I was right all along (or at least up until I was wrong). Maybe, just maybe, I had to take my sweet old time to see what everyone else seemed to see–that we were a doomed couple and I was a fool–because in the process of fucking up my life, I learned an awful lot about life.

There is no place like home: My parents might make me crazy, and they might have made some questionable parenting choices in the past, but I owe them so much these days. Not only am I saving bank by living for free under their roof, but I’m finding a little respite in this bedroom I slept in as a child. All my friends who know I’ve never had a good relationship with my dad are shocked to hear that, hey, life here isn’t so bad. I’m, dare I say it, happy to be home. It’s still a messy messy house and my dad is still an alcoholic and my mom is still overly religion–dependent, but those things don’t bother me so much right now. I am actually happy to come home every day…and I honestly NEVER thought I’d be happy in this place ever again.

I won’t be a nanny much longer: I had better find writing-related work come fall, because whether I am ready or not, the babies won’t be under my care come September. It turns out preschool is effing pricey, and my employers can’t afford me at my current rate AND school for their daughter at the same time…so the end is near. This is both sad and very, very exciting. I love those children, I love them so much…but I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to work in a place where I have grown-ups to talk to. I’m ready to get the fuck out of limbo. Although…

We are all in limbo: No one–not business owners, not priests, not my parents, not even retired billionaires with everything they could ever ask for–is where they are hoping to be. Once you achieve one goal or all of your goals, you only set yourself new ones. It’s when we stop having goals that we stop living. There is always something to aim for, something to hope for, something to look ahead towards and think, “yeah…that’s where I’m headed.” And it’s not like when you make it there you’ll just…be there. There is no final destination, there are just stops along the way. So, maybe, I can stop saying I want to get out of limbo…because I never will be. And that’s alright.

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I like my job

Maybe taking care of babies isn’t the most glamorous gig, but, seriously, do you get to play with Play-doh at your job?

Godzilla

 

I made this little guy to appease the curly-haired chica who wanted me to play with her, but then, well, I got a little carried away…

 

Deep breath and...

Deep breath and...

 

...BREATHE FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nannying FTW!

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The Good, the Bad, and…the HORROR!

In the last two hours, I have heard a two-year-old girl scream at the top of her lungs for 15 minutes straight and then mere moments later hug me and say embarrassedly,  “I love you, Pammy”; I have been kicked (hard) in the gut, the ribs, and the boob by a tiny yet strong little dude; and I’ve cleaned up the equivalent of half a can of peaches, a small pancake, and a cup of Cheerios off the floor.

I am glad it’s nap time.

I enjoy my job…most of the time. But there is no denying that caring for children can have its share of headaches, backaches, and brainaches. And since I am busy thinking about all the pros and cons of my job, I figure, hey, let’s put it in writing. And thus we have

The Good, the Bad, and…the HORROR! Oh, the HORROR!…of Nannying


The Good

  • Innocent Affection: I had been taking care of Edy and Graham for about a month when I first knew I was making an impact on the kiddies’ lives. Their mom informed me that during the weekend (when I don’t work) Edy had awoken in the middle of the night, and after calling for Momma and Daddy for about 10 minutes, she started up with calls of “Pana! Oh, Pana!” Pana meant me. My heart just melted. Days later I got an offer from another family but even though they were offering me a bit more money, I turned them down instantly. I belonged to those babies. I have never looked back. Now that Graham leans out of his mom’s arms towards me, and both of them just light up when I walk in every morning, well, I know I made the right choice sticking around.
  • A Walk Down Memory Lane: The first time I pulled Where the Wild Things Are off the shelf to read to Edy before her nap, I started crying–happy, wistful tears– before I even opened the cover. These old favorites of my own childhood just make every day so joyful. I giggle uncontrollably each time I read “My shoe is off, my foot is cold” in Dr. Seuss’ One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Blowing bubbles outside, I am just as mesmerized by the iridescent orbs floating away over the rooftops as the tots are. And don’t even get me started on old school episodes of Sesame Street. OH MY GOD, do I love Sesame Street.
  • Simple Minds: I very much appreciate when creators of children’s programming slip little jokes in here and there for the poor, suffering grown-ups (that’s the #1 sign of a good kids’ show), but now that Edy is in the “Why? Why Why WHY?!” phase, any time I so much as chuckle she demands, “What’s funny?” And then I proceed to try to explain why a book called “The Wonderful World of Concrete” on a particular show tickled my funny bone. It’s impossible. But after my explanation, she always fake-laughs, which is my favorite. I also love her naive little view of the world. She said to me last week, very seriously, “I have nipples. You have nipples, too, Pammy.” And just yesterday I had to try to explain why you can’t unscramble an egg. It can’t be done! It really can’t! But I adore her inquisitive nature.
  • Candid Moments: This morning (before the screaming fit) I stood in the corner and watched Edy spin around the the center of the living room singing, “You do the Hokey Hokey and you spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin.” She didn’t know I was there, and she would have gone on forever if I hadn’t interrupted. And little Graham, who’s not so little anymore and getting so smart, has dozens of moments a day that amaze and amuse me. After using loose socks as chew toys for weeks, out of the blue he picked one up, set it on top of his foot, and then clapped. He didn’t need my praise: he knew he had just figured out what that thing is supposed to do and praised himself. It was perfection.
  • Constant Motion: An inch fell off my hips after I started this gig. I am on my feet at least seven of my nine hours every day, and that ADDS UP.

The Bad

  • Self-Neglect: On my really hectic days, when Graham won’t nap and Edy won’t eat and everybody is cranky–me especially–I will go six hours before I realize how badly I need to pee. A few times I’ve just forgotten to eat or drink anything all day. Their tininess and their close ages make them quite the handful on even the best days, so on fussy days, well, I won’t get a second to breathe or sip water until nap time…and even then sometimes that doesn’t even happen.
  • NO PRIVACY: I have never been able to pee without having one or both of them in the bathroom. NEVER.
  • My Poor Clothes: I am forever being covered in drool, spit-up (well, not so much now, but when I started and Graham was two-months-old with acid reflux…you better believe it), carrot and green bean mush, marker (wielded as if it is a sword by a certain little lady), strawberries (they are surprisingly aerodynamic), and formula. Most of the stains have come out…but not all of them.
  • The Burn: I poured scalding water on myself one morning. I was making tea for myself, Edy called for me, I turned with the mug of boiling water in my hand, and my hand hit the wall. The water splashed onto my face, my chest, and my stomach, and the mug shattered. I was HURT and I knew it, but I had to put the babies first. I cleaned up the broken mug before Edy could traipse through it, I tried to sooth a shocked, screaming Graham, and put something hypnotizing on TV so Edy would sit still before I had a chance to get cold compresses onto myself. It only took a total of 4 minutes, but with serious burns, literally every second counts. With any other job I would have gone to the doctor, or at least home to care for myself, but there’s no “I” in nanny. So I was in pain, awful pain, all day, and for days and days following. And today, I have a lovely scar that takes up most of my left breast and a couple scars that look more like peculiarly shaped tans on my abdomen. Huzzah.

The HORROR

  • “Headstrong and Intelligent”: Have I mentioned Edy is two? Yes, I have, but I need to say it again…SHE’S TWO. Guess what? That “terrible twos” thing? Not a myth. At all. And this two year old, well, on certain days she could be the poster child for what you don’t want. I have seen her slap her father across the face. She’s hit me more times than I can count. When you tell her “no” one too many times, she will get right in your face and hit the highest note she can as loudly as she can. She has sass down to a science. And she’s smart, so tries to work the system. I remember when she told her first lie. It was a few days after she had had the stomach flu, and I had announced that TV time was over. She had spent two days on the couch doing nothing but watch TV, so that was not happening. She screamed “NO NO NO!” and pulled her hand back to hit me, so I grabber her hand and scooped her up to put her in time out. When I set her in her crib and went to leave the room, she hollered, “I’m GONNA THROW UP!” I knew she was lying. I knew it. But I couldn’t risk it. So I carted her back downstairs, where she brightened up and said, “I want a snack.” Little lying brat. She’s trouble, that one. Trouble with a capital “T” that rhymes with “E” that stands for “Eden.” Or “Evil.”
  • #2: I don’t want to go here, but I have to go here. Did you know that babies learn very early on that touching themselves is enjoyable? I didn’t. So seeing a little girl hanging out with her hand in her diaper was a bit disconcerting. Turns out, it’s normal. But it also can cause messes. Diaper+hand= Figure it out. I have had a few baaaddddd days when Edy’s hand has acted of its own accord at the very worst time.
  • Sleep Wars: First, it was colic. Now it’s downright stubbornness. Graham will not nap for shit.  He is one, He should still be sleeping 4 hours during the day. NO. No, he is happy with one 45 minute nap. You wish you could reason with him: “Hey buddy bear, I would give anything to be expected to nap twice a day, everyday. For the love of all that’s drowsy, GO TO SLEEP.” But his rationality hasn’t developed yet. So now it’s just endless singing of “Golden Slumbers” and lots of praying to the Sandman. Oh, lovely, he just started crying. Well, at least today it was a little over an hour.

Sooooo, clearly, being a nanny ain’t the fab life. I do get to use the washer and dryer here, which sorta rules, and I can mooch as much coffee as I want (but I’m not drinking coffee these days so there goes that perk), and, yes, I love the babies. But, sometimes, oh, what wouldn’t I give for a job–any job— where I don’t get rice cereal sneezed all over me. Seriously.

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