Sunday, December 14, 2014

"You Go to Heaven, Mama!"

Children are no different than adults. Really.
When exhausted, hungry or jealous both kids and grown-ups seem to explode into a variety of complex, and often times, unacceptable moods that can only be viewed as eye-rolling.
The Cousin has a grandpa in Sonora, CA and she and 'Lil Sis, along with their parentals, spent the Thanksgiving holiday there.  On the long drive home, laden with exhaustion and out of her routine, I'm told she played a little "test" on her mom.
"Please stop squeezing that toy." Her mother politely asked, showing a great deal of restraint even though the high-pitched squeaky sound was ear piercing.
(If you want to really annoy your friends who have young children, give their kids loud and obnoxious toys during this holiday season.)
The Cousin continues to squeeze the toy, offering up full-on eye contact while doing so.
"I said, I need you to stop squeezing that. It's hurting mommy's ears."

Ignoring someone's words is such a fantastic weapon. It's strong, forceful and gets instant results.

The Cousin continues.
Her mom then reaches over and grabs the damn toy right out of her hands!

The Cousin bursts into a loud and uncontrollable cry that bounces off the walls of their vehicle. The tears flow like a mighty rain and the screaming is almost as bad as the squeaky toy.

With a beet red, puffed out face and an index finger shaking straight at her mother's nose, The Cousin responds like any of us would...



When my friend, Barbara Tieken, first visited us in Monterey, I hosted a small gathering of whimsical and free-thinking women folk at our cozy abode on Hermann St and Barbara analyzed all of our handwriting.
It was quite interesting and made for some good laughs. My pal, Angela and I were told, due to the loop in the top half and the intentional line in the bottom, that we had the "Go to Hell K" in our writings.  She then asked us if that rang true to form. I can't speak for Ange, but as for me, well, if the shoe fits, proudly wear it.

The Cousin, in all her innocence, and thanks to her wonderful parents, has never heard the saying 
"go to hell" but she has heard that her great grandmother now resides in heaven.  Evidently, she wished her mama would join her.

I love this kid so much. Her little sister "Ginger" also. And for those of you who have been long-term, faithful followers, Sweet Pea is equally forever etched into my heart. There's a new one too. Sweet Pea's mom gave birth 3 days ago to a stocky little boy named Will who I have yet to meet...
Life, as they know it and as we know it, is changing. And isn't that really the only thing we can be certain of?  Change. Impermanence. Yet, though even when expected, it's not always easily accepted.
Perhaps this is why it is somewhat difficult to inform y'all of the change that is upon us.

As of this writing, the nanny gig comes to an end, at least in the form that we have all come to 
know and love.
Since many of you have followed this blog from its trailer park beginnings to the 3 girls, whom many you have told me you feel as if you've grown up with them, this is a closure that might be as sad for you as it is for me.
The news had been coming for sometime, so it wasn't a shock. But even when things of importance are "known" they still tug hard at your heartstrings. Not surprising, I burst into tears when The Cousin's mom told me they found a nanny who can work at least 3 days a week, comes highly recommended, lives up the street and, the most knife-stabbing, The Cousin instantly bonded with her! F*#@k! Is she the true Mary Poppins reincarnated?

I began taking care of Sweet Pea when she was 4 months old. She was rough and tough from the very day she shot out of the womb. I recall having to firmly lay my left forearm across her chest while I changed her diaper so that she wouldn't kick me in the face or fly off the changing table. The high chair was a scene as well with food flying every which way and laughter flying with it.  The nanny cleaned up everything from squash to applesauce off floors, chairs and hair. 
Bursting with personality from day one, Sweet Pea strengthened my patience, provided me the stamina to deal with the smelliest of green poops, prepped me for becoming an RN if I ever choose to take that route one day and basically captured my heart so snugly and tightly.  
I knew from the start, I would never be able to let go...


The Cousin was skeptical of me from the start and insisted grandma come to our first few "sessions." She was the polar opposite of Sweet Pea, timid, cautious, reserved. I won her over with my dance moves, storytelling and infamous "project time" where we would create with play-doh, paints, paper mache, and other various artist tools. She and I soon became the best of pals. She endured my singing, humored me by drawing on sidewalks and enjoyed our routine trips to "our" coffee shop for hot cocoa and cinnamon cookies.
Her love for literature, music, art and conversation (and cookies) made us the best of friends. It's a seal that can't be broken.  (Not even by the new "Ms. Perfect" nanny. ;)
When 'Lil Sis arrived on the scene, I thought I had enough training under my belt. Clearly, I live in a dream world. She was a red hot firecracker from day 1 and I almost threw in the towel in the first hour. Armed with piss and vinegar and a very high pitched scream, she made it clear at the early age of 3 months, that I was not her mommy, that she hated that cage we grown-ups refer to as a crib and if my boobs didn't have milk, she wanted nothing to do with the fake rubbery nipple of a bottle. I have never sang a song, especially one as sweet as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, with so much tension in my jaw that it actually throbbed.  She and I battled. Duked it out.  But, then as if magic does exist, I learned to listen to her in a different way. I learned that if I take her outside, that she loved the cool breeze on her face. I learned that she enjoyed the birds chirping and the grass beneath her bare feet. I learned that my chest, though it was not a meal ticket, was an awesome and comfortable mattress for her at nap time. "Ginger", as she will always be to me, etched her way into my heart and it is there she will always remain. After months of sad, pout-face greetings, I am now greeted with a huge smile. She's walking now. And that, my friends, sets her free!

And Will makes 4. Four small beings on this planet; small beings with big ideas. Four little humans full of wonder, curiosity, laughter, love. Four people who hold no prejudices or hate. I think these traits are why I love young children so much. That hippie song, "Teach Your Children Well" resonates because we big folks have the power to make or break kids. But we also have the opportunity to teach them about honoring and respecting differences, about compassion and kindness. We hold so many keys for them if we don't mess it up.
As my role changes with these children from nanny to friend, I feel so hopeful because they have such wonderful parents and role models in their lives. Indeed. And I feel very fortunate to know them and their families.
I'd like to take this moment to thank you all for your following of this blog over the years. It's been a fun ride, hasn't it? From trailer park to nanny...What's next? you might ask.
Well, a haiku/photo book is in the works for me and it will be hot off of some damn press, hopefully, in January 2015! There is a website that I am building as we speak and on that website, though a whole different feel, will be (of course)  a blog.

Stay tuned. Be well. Walk in joy.  And GO TO HEAVEN, Y'ALL!

"No, I don't have a penis. I just need a diaper change." said 'Lil Sis