Friday, December 28, 2012

Arnie & Gertie's Annual Xmas Letter

I didn't watch Sweet Pea and The Cousin this week. Actually miss the little buggers.
I did, however, find some exceptional "bribes" I mean gifts from the moms on my front door step Christmas night.

Seriously, folks, I was stoked! And then as if that wasn't enough to keep me from quitting, this little trivet from Sweet Pea herself.
Doesn't she have big footsies? Now that butterfly has wings!
Love those girls, but love the parental units even more.

You know what?  Xmas isn't my gig. I'll just say it.  And when the world didn't end on the 21st,
I knew I'd have to go through with it.  As I've written many times over the years; I'm not into the whole holiday celebration;
Pre-pre-day-before-Black Friday-start at 3:00 am-sales, or giving to the poor once a year only and mostly, of course, the whole virgin birth thing. That's really a hard pill for me to swallow.
But I do enjoy friends, food and booze.
And I do look forward to Gertie & Arnie's Annual Xmas Letter.

Gertie and Arnie are distant acquatinaces of my mom-in-law.
Actually, she worked with Gertie years and years ago, ever so briefly, and has never even met Arnie
or any of their family.
Gertie is older and I do understand and respect my elders. Really I do, but why in the hell would you send out a depressing, detailed account of every damn thing that went wrong during the year to those you call "friends"?
The front page always has several xeroxed photos.

                           Men enjoying the weather?!!? Shut the front door!  Come on, Gertie!

It's better to type the letter exactly how it's written rather than summarize...

Dear family and friends,

2012 has been a challenge.  Last Christmas I fell off the kitchen bar stool and landed on the tile floor which broke my hip, shoulder and arm.  I got a trip to the hospital by ambulance where I spent 10 days.  Then they moved me to the rehab center for the next weeks for physical therapy.  And home health care for the next three weeks.  It seemed like it was never going to end. I am still using a walker due to balance problems.  Leon told me it was a tough way to avoid putting up the Christmas tree.

April 1 was my sister-in-law's 92nd birthday so we went to visit.
Arnie fell off her kitchen stool and broke his wrist, had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.  They told us it was congestive heart failure.  Arnie said it was so he could get some attention.

One morning, we woke up to find water on the kitchen floor.  
The dishwasher decided to quit, so I called Leon and he came and replaced our diswasher.  One morning, we got up and water was running down the street. A pipe was broken in the main box and had to be replaced. Leon and a friend replaced the pipe. I nearly had a coronary when we got the water bill.

Leon's son had issues with the bank and Leon had to pay his NSF charges which set him back quite a bit.

We went to my sister's 90th birthday in September. There was over 80 people at the party and quite a celebration. I didn't take my walker so I had to stay in one spot. 

This technology is pretty cool instead of writing, I am just talking into the little microphone and it's typing everything that I am saying.
Two weeks after returning from our trip, Arnold fell in the garage and broke both wrists. He was in the hospital for several days, then he was moved to the rehab center. He didn't get good care, so we brought him home.
Now that Arnold has his casts off, being able to drive again makes it easier.
It's been a challenging year.
We are celebrating being married 66 years!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Love, Gertie and Arnie

Oh and last year, you might recall, Arnie tripped over the garden hose and fell in the backyard while chasing a squirrel. He was in a leg cast for a couple of months.

2012 is soon to be a memory for all of us, including Gertie and Arnie. 
I welcome the newness and potential of 2013. 
And I wish y'all the best.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Those Damn Hippies Had It Right

Wednesday.  Why is it I’m the only one that wants a nap? The Cousin hates the word. 
Turns and runs at the very mention of it.  Christ, I can’t even get the "n" sound out of my mouth and she’s gone.  
And Sweet Pea? Well, Sweet Pea is Sweet Pea in all her reigning glory and we all know what her most powerful artillery against napping is:
That ear-piercing cry that I’ve written about for months.  

So, The Cousin got a new toy. 
It's a "spinning egg".  She so digs it, but she digs it alone. She wants her space and I so get that. But as you can see by the hand in the right corner of picture, The Cousin and I had our work cut out for us.  Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea. Why can't you take "no" for an answer?  Actually, my very own mother used to say that to moi.  Hmmmm... 
I guess if there is such a thing as karma, then this whole bloody gig makes sense.  
It was destiny that brought Sweet Pea and me together.

This Wednesday I took some hits.
Sweet Pea bit me to communicate that she wouldn't be going in her baby play seat. 
Her teeth made direct contact with my left shoulder.  
After the bite, she looked me straight in the eyes and smiled.

The same was true with the carrots. Her new trick is to clamp down on the spoon when it's in her mouth and hold on. I end up puling that thing like it's caught in a vice and she digs it. Looks right at me and smiles big through the orange substance.
Carrot puree sprayed all over my glasses from her other new trick: blowing bubbles with food.
She loves the sound of it and she loves my reaction.

When it all goes to hell in a handbag, I get out the rig.

Initially, they are reticent to go.

But I harness them in like roped calves and they don't have a choice. 

I need fresh air. Well, actually, I need a cool, refreshing grown-up beverage, 
but fresh air will have to suffice for now.
After Work Grown-Up Beverage.

I can't write a blog this week without mentioning Sandy Hook Elementary.  Especially when I am surrounded by 2 little children who light up a room when they walk or crawl into it, just like the youngsters who lost their lives that horrible day.

But, I can't help but think that we, as a nation, are not really getting it.  You see, sadly, this is America. Why are we surprised when something this violent happens? We fund every war, involving our nation or not, with our weapons, drones, arms. Very profitable for us. Why aren't we outraged when our drones kill hundreds of children in other countries? We are a nation that advocates the death penalty as a solution to violence. We violently took this country from its native people, then violently built it with slaves...why are we surprised?

Now there were times that, you know, I wanted to pack a small handgun when I managed the park. 
Would've ended a few disputes over so-in-so's dog shitting in so-in-so's carport.  Could've also possibly deterred Ralph from crashing park parties and calling the sheriff on himself...
But seriously people! 

Now I'm not a girl that thinks the solution lies in prayer. 
And I most certainly don't think this act of violence was some God's plan as some extremists suggest.
I think the truth lies in the good old green-back dollar and I think assault weapons 
are a huge, profitable business.
I also think the NRA has its grubby little hands tightly around (and squeezing) the genitals of every political hopeful in D.C.  As Feinstein just said, "You don't need an assault weapon to kill a deer." 

Ban 'em!  It's the only solution, however, 
I wish I were as hopeful about a change or a ban as many of my friends are.
Send me some hopefulness, would y'all!? 

Somehow, I can't help but wish that if we put love before greed and power, love is what we will get.
This year my partner and I are standing up for peace. Well, in this case, lying down for peace.
And for us, it's a laugh or two but really, the truth is, it takes more than a wish, more than a prayer...  
It takes action. 
It takes action from you, from your family, from the politicians we elect (or the ones who get in due to voter machine tampering or paid off Supreme Court Justices).  It takes action from your boss, her brother, the guy selling coffee and a nutty girl like me. 
Maybe 2013 is going to be that kind of year: An Action Year! 
Taking action to speak out against violence, to get laws changed, to say, "NO" to the dudes that are profiting from mass weapon production that not only kills our children, but children world-wide. 

Those damn hippies had it right. 

Give Peas a Chance.

Friday, November 30, 2012


David Bowie sings one of my all-time favorite tunes.
Changes is Bowie's wise exploration down the road of growing older.
He wrote it at the time his wife was pregnant with their son, so he had big changes
going on in his life.  What I didn't realize, when looking up info on the song, was just how much controversy there is about the chorus lyrics. WOW.
Huge, lengthy articles, blogs, research discussing whether Bowie sings "Face the strain" or "Face the strange" or "Face the stranger".
Some of the remarks are down-right volatile!

All 3 interpretations work for me.  When change surrounds you, encompasses you,
It most certainly can be a strain or strange or an actual stranger, i.e. the messenger.
There is no dispute about one thing, though, and that is that Bowie says, "Face it".
Every day, each of us, faces 'the strain' of change. At times, it's painful.
It's an ache that might be so deep and personal that even our closest allies are unaware
of what's really happening.
We face it quietly and we get through it.
I face 'the strange' a lot.  In fact, I deliberately throw rocks at it's window;
wanting 'it' to come out and play with me.
And as for 'the stranger', I've faced them too. Often times, with an open heart because
many who I've encountered, have witnessed much more in their lifetimes than I have.
Therefore, I have a lot to learn from them.  But sometimes, I face a stranger and if I'm a bit worked up, I've been known to offer them the universal sign for "naff off!"
Sing it any way you like.  Ch-ch-ch-Changes...

Change happens to be in the air just about everywhere you look;
the autumn breeze, crisp and new.
The leaves turning from frog-greens to brittle crimsons and browns.
The way hearts turn the corner, only to find their summer joys have slipped away...
Change, unavoidable as it can be, can also be embraced, coveted and often times,
held in highest regard.

Change is in the air at Sweet Pea's house too.
Babies change from week to week. I didn't know that.
Two weeks ago, she was awkwardly "scoot-crawling" and yesterday she was full-on,
straight-up crawling like a wind-up robot.

Just last week, "boob milk" was her only entree.
This week, the menu's changed.
Oatmeal and organic sweet potatoes have been added and she can't get enough. She devours them like she's been on a hunger strike for a month.

SHE LOVES THEM YAMS!  And you can't shove the BPA-free plastic spoon in her mouth fast enough.
She loves them so much, I'm changing her name from Sweet Pea to Sweet Potato for the sake of this blog.

There's modification at the 'changing table' as well. Sweet Potato does not feel she needs to be there, therefore, fights, struggles and flip-flops more than Mitt Romney.  Changing her diaper is reminiscent of an alligator handler grappling with a gnarly beast.

But in all seriousness, (that is if seriousness in fact exists in me)
I felt myself changing this week too. Perhaps it was because we were by ourselves.
(The Cousin was at home with a little bug.) Whatever it was, Sweet Potato and I bonded
like two hogs in mud.
Meaning, there were times, when the swear words that usually dance around in my head were completely absent. Or maybe I'm adapting, adjusting, changing, letting go! Dunno.
But face it folks:
One is easier than two.
Hell, zero is where I'm at, but at least with one, you don't break a sweat or find yourself cramming your face with Hostess GMO products as much.

Another change in this little tot's life...
She's starting to understand the significance of the two-letter word "N O."
And I'll tell you why.
This child loves to approach, grab, tug on, conquer and eat various objects that could cause
damage to her person and cost me my job.
The main items of interest are cable cords, lamp plugs, heater grates and the ficus plant.
Yesterday, she insisted on going for these things numerous times.
She was the most persistent with the lamp cord.
She's made her way to it, then proceeded to do the "split-second-grab-pull-and-eat" motion before I could scoop her up.
Since I come from a long line of enablers, I'm not taken seriously.
I'd look into her baby blues and say, in a firm but pushover manner, "N O."
I'd then move the lil buckeroo all the way across the room, and give her plenty of cute, interesting baby toys to distract her... You guessed it!  Back she'd go for the damn lamp cord.
About the 3rd or 4th time, she'd stop, in route, look back over her shoulder at me,
and smile this kinda "ha ha ha" smile.
I'd say, "N O" and I'll be damned if the little shit kept going.
I call this her "I think it's funny to hear you say, 'No' and then do it anyway" crawl.
                             After I redirected her one too many times, she alerted me of her
                                                            undeniable unhappiness.

This crying thing really messes with our day and my mood.  So in an attempt to take a cheery photo together, I couldn't seem to set the camera and auto-timer up successfully.

But actually, here's some too...

Now, I wouldn't go as far as to say that this kid is totally changing me.
But maybe partially.

Change appears in so many forms; a career move, a box of Clairol, weight gain or loss, the weather...
But more importantly, such things like a closed heart opening, an unexpected
admission of wrong-doing, an unforeseen apology.
These are the precious ones; the ones that matter.

The weather changed today, and with it, my mind-space.
Winds from the North, sounding as fierce as Sweet Potato's cry, and then the rains, powerfully deliberate.
When it downpours with such a venegence, I tend to go inside myself.
My thoughts touch the tipped corners of melancholy and reflection,
and I'm usually best left alone.

But you see, I'm not a girl who easily adapts to change. 
It's taken me 19 years to actually believe that I'm an insulin diabetic, and even then,
I still leave the house without snacks in my satchel.
When the doctor diagnosed me in '94, I told him he was "f@*#ing wrong".
Then I drove to Winchell's and bought a baker's dozen.
Stubborn about change?
Obviously, my lack of knowledge, combined with my extreme stuborness, convinced me that I was far more intelligent than my doctor.

This little girl; this future leader of America, is changing too. She's eating sweet potatoes.
She's babbling in a language all her own.
She's  pulling herself up; standing under the "big" table and feeling so proud of it!
Now that's cool.

But even if we could stop change, would we want to? Now that's something to ponder.

Here's some wisdom on the subject:

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” 
~ Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. 
Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ~Lao Tzu

“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”  ~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"Peace out."~tpg

Thursday, November 15, 2012

50 Shades of Determination

The other day a friend asked me, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get fired writing
about those two babies the way you do in your blog?”
…BIG PAUSE. (followed by) HMMM… (followed by) BIG IDEA
You know, yesterday was actually so damn full of “Disney sweet happy” that
I really have nothing to blog about.  Good moods were had by all, pretty much for 9 hours straight, give or take a couple minor flare-ups.  It was weird.
As if every single care of theirs just melted away when I turned on Pandora and Toddler Radio.  We sang, clapped and danced into the afternoon to such hits like
Raffi’s “Down by the Bay” and Jewel’s version of “And the Green Grass Grows All Around”  and "Play Day" from her album The Merry Goes ‘Round. 
I never realized Jewel was a toddler phenomenon. Who knew?
Yesterday we had a play day! 
Sweet Pea, The Cousin and I got down.  The Cousin loves to dance.
Sweet Pea not so much. 
Sweet Pea’s thing is to stand up, though she’s not yet 7 months. 
Her determination is amazing and quite frankly, I wish some of us grown-ups had even a fraction of it.
Here’s an example:
She spots my backpack on the couch.  Yet, she has the attached pen of The Cousin’s  
toddler-type Etch A Sketch in her right hand and it’s clinched between her lil fingers 
like a jaw-grip. 
The same exact grip she had on my earring the first time we met, hence, I’m earring-less on Wednesdays.
Anyway, so she sees my bag and begins her infamous scoot-crawl toward it, using only 
her left hand on the carpet, as the right is gripping the pen and dragging the Etch A Sketch.  
She reaches the couch, balances herself with her left hand and presses her forehead into the couch cushion, using it for hand-like leverage to stand up.
And she f*#@king succeeds!  And the thing about Sweet Pea is; if you move her away from something she wants; be it, plastic bags, a knife on a counter, cleaning supplies…well, if it’s what she wants, she returns to it again and again. She’s determined and she doesn’t forget! This perturbs The Cousin because Sweet Pea usually wants what The Cousin is playing with.  Sound familiar?
I will climb these bars.

I will figure out how this damn thing opens.

I admire her 50 shades of determination.  It's 100% concentrated persistence and that's what it takes to make changes, to move mountains, to attain goals. What happened to yours and mine? 
Sweet Pea will make the unattainable attainable even though the baby books say she shouldn't be there yet.  She goes full-steam ahead, even though she crashes and burns.  Head bonking is not a deterrent.  She gets right back up.  The Cousin and I are amazed quite frankly.  
This little girl is something else. And I'm not just sayin that to keep my employment.  I look at her and I not only think determined, I think fearless.  
And again I wonder, what happened to mine?  

The Cousin exhibits determination as well, but not as much.  On Halloween, she was clearly determined not wear the sheep costume. Picture #1 indicates the start of her tool of choice: 
the tantrum.
Picture #2 is the full-on foot kicking and pounding of hands on the floor.  But she finally gave in and grandma was delighted.  I predict Sweet Pea won't give in when she hits the big age of 18 months.  Tough luck for grandma with that one.
Picture # 1

Picture # 2

I think it's good to reflect on our lives and the times that stand out with regard to our own personal persistence and determination. The times when we were over taken by huge jolts of both and we reached whatever goal we had our sights set on.  And then with that, came the most wonderful feeling of basking in the satisfaction of our own accomplishment.  
The best ones were of course the quiet ones; the ones we never told a soul. The ones we didn't need an award or recognition of any kind.  The ones where we felt contentment inside ourselves simply because we knew we had it in us.
Maybe we still do.
You can do it!

Life is good.

This song will give y'all a "jump start!" Perhaps offer up just the right amount of determination you might need to get going today!  Make something happen or at the very least, 
have a play day! 
Crank up the volume! ~tpg

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Word Up: The Cousin

I got the phone call at 7:45 a.m. on the day after the election…
"You only have one today. Sweet Pea is sick, so you only have The Cousin.”

SWEET JESUS! Truly a bonus morning! An Obama win!  A Yes on Prop 30! Todd Akin taking 
a legitimate loss! Same-Marriage wins in 4 states!  
But nothing, NOTHING spelled J O Y like the words “You only have one.”
It’s like don’t wake me up from this luscious dream I’m having.  Just tiptoe around the bed, PLEASE!

The Cousin calls me “Bau lee lee” and I hear her calling my name from the back of the apartment 
as soon as I arrive.  She comes out wearing pink tights and a fresh little “onesy" with tiny grey elephants on it.  She has severe “bed head.”  She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. 
She only wants to play with Bau lee lee.  I dig that.  
This morning, I put on a sad face and say to her, “Your cousin, Sweet Pea, is sick today.  
She isn’t coming over.” 
Inside, of course, I’m dancing so hard there's marks on the hardwood, but I’m way more mature than to let it show.

After the mom takes off, we begin our day with our morning beverages of choice and PBS’s  
Curious George, followed by Super Readers and Sesame Street. 
(Thank God Big Bird will continue to be partially federally funded.)

Today’s activity or “word up” in Elmo language is: E X E R C I S E.
We toss our bottles, get down off the couch and stand in the center of the room. 
First word up: S W I N G.  
We each extend our arms out, lock fingers of both hands together just like Pablo “The Panda” at bat and swing! 
1 2 3 4 strong, big girl swings and we’re good to go for the next word up:
B O U N C E.  We squat down at the knees and plunge upward like Blake Sheldon’s index finger…
1 2 3 4 5 times. WHEW! This feels great!  
Final word up: D A N C E.
And boy can The Cousin get down!  We dance way into the commercials, then take our boogie into the kitchen for our bowl of applesauce with cinnamon.

Life was going down a bump-free road until "the explosion" which The Cousin’s mom conveniently forgot to tell me had been happening for the last few days.
So, we're in the living room putting together an opposites puzzle, when B O O M!
Our eyes meet in a sort of emotionally troubled way, and without warning, 
some sort of wheat-colored flood starts seeping out of her elephant “onesy”.  I’m appalled.  
I scoop her up under her armpits and whisk her to the changing table.  
The smell is indescribable. 

She looks terrified and, of course, I begin recalling child development courses I took years ago.
They repeatedly talked about not making a big deal about excessive poop; not making the child feel bad or like something grotesque and horrific is actually coming out of their body.  
I begin saying things to The Cousin like, “It’s okay. It’s just poop. No biggie.” and “Everybody poops.” 
But with my tee shirt up over my nose, I start singing the A B C song.
She knows that song, damn it, but she’s not joining in.
There’s shit everywhere; down her legs, up her back, on the changing table, on my hands, 
and it’s rancid smelling.  It’s way worse than Sweet Pea’s. 
I start wiping with as many Wet-Ones as I can pull out of the package.  
“Word up for me?” T R A U M A T I Z E D. 
Soon I realize, we gotta get to the tub…
And a bathtub makes everything alright, doesn't it ladies? 

                      The Cousin seems to adjust quite well in the tub. I seem to need a cocktail.

Sometimes in life, you know, you just make-do; roll with the punches...make Citrus Martinis from lemons and all that stuff. I recall my mom saying that and it's true.  Whatever your profession or  "calling" in life...whatever obstacles you face, you just fake it til you make.
You just make-do. Word Up: A T T I T U D E and more so, I M P R O V I S E.

I remember, 5 years ago, when the trailer park was my personal little piece of heaven, 
we took a vacation with some pals to Mexico.  We ended up driving our little Chevy S-1 over 
to their house, which is situated in a very nice "low-crime" neighborhood.  We parked the truck there for the duration of our trip.  That was our first error in a trip, that would unforeseeably, host an endless string of comical errors.
But what we didn't expect was to find our truck's tailgate gone when we returned.
It was a clean job. No scratches on the truck. No dints or paint chips. Just a perfect steal.
Anyway, my partner was pissed but resourceful. She made-do.
You see there was a new prefab going in at 29, and when the workers were nowhere to be found, she, her jigsaw in hand, cut up a piece of 29's trailer siding to exact measurements, which made for easy sliding into the grooves of our pickup. 
That damn thing's held up for 5 years now! It does have some chips, as prefab siding is made of cheap, toxic shit, and we sometimes live in fear that, with the right amount of wind gust, 
that mutha might catch and fly up. But you know what? SO WHAT! It's not a big deal unless you're the guy behind us. We miss so much of life when we focus on the big deals.
Just like "Holy Shit! shit" isn't a big deal.  N I K E word up: Just do it! 
The important thing is taking action. Moving forward. Whether it's using our resources to make something useful. Whether it's handling an explosion whose point of origin is a diaper. Or whether it's just taking steps to make it through a difficult can do it!
Word up: F O R T I T U D E!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Elephants, Stars, Balloons: A Montage

                                                       This is how we begin our day.

Sweet Pea's content at the moment because she's guzzling a bottle full of her mom's freshly pumped breast milk. That's Lambie on The Cousin's lap. Or is it Lambert?  They all have f@#king names.



It's very important, during emotional meltdowns, (The Cousin's not mine) to know which one she wants.
The Cousin and I bonded big time yesterday while Sweet Pea was napping.
We played with scoops and shovels in bubble water...

And ate applesauce with mega doses of cinnamon.  

It's not that we don't enjoy Sweet Pea's company. But Sweet Pea has become a beast. Seriously. 
I've seen the change in just 2 short weeks.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, stops her from applying the 'bulldozer method'. Nothing gets in her way on the blanket. Nothing distracts her from her focus. Nothing says "unhappy" quite like this...

Sweet Pea's lungs are as massive as her body and she doesn't give a shit about the cutesy little Playskool toys, the PVC-free corn starch rattles, the soft plush bunnies, the teething rings.  
She now hates conventional infant toys.  She bypasses all of them, plowing through the childproof barricades, trampling every damn toy in her path, in order to get a tag, a Dasani h2o bottle, a magazine, 
the A+D diaper rash ointment tube or her cousin's feet.  All these items have one and only one destination: her mouth.

                  I didn't get to feed her the oatmeal.  Her mom's only "allowing" it at night. issues with the nanny?  I did, however, secretly slip her a faint smear of The Cousin's banana and she about gnawed my finger to the bone, which pretty much told me,
bring it on!

And another thing.  Somehow, Sweet Pea didn't get the memo that states:
Babies crawl before they stand.
This presents a problem for the nanny as you might imagine, because she's pulling herself up on everything, at a jackrabbit's pace, and of course, what goes up...quickly goes SPLAT.

You know, choice words do go through my head, but I can't say what I'm thinking when it all falls apart, because The Cousin is a f@!#ing parrot and I'll get fired.
But when Sweet Pea bonks her head, all hell breaks loose.
Sweet Pea eating a red chair.

Sweet Pea eating a book appropriately titled.
The Cousin has many strengths, but her forte is not clean-up time.  She actually dislikes clean-up time with a passion. I'm trying to set a good example, but the god's truth is, clean-up time's not my specialty either.
Basically yesterday was all about primal survival.  When I got them both in the double stroller (with the help of Sweet Pea's mom and the grandma, both of whom conveniently dropped by to see if I was above water) it was as if a melodic breeze and the motion of a moving stroller worked some sort of wizardry and they both conked out.  When I'm walking with them, I do everything humanly possible
to avoid loud noises such as barking dogs and sirens.  I even silence my cell. Yesterday, I could have stabbed this dude in the jugular and left his body for the crows.  He was using a leaf blower inches away from us.
When Sweet Pea started to stir a bit, my deodorant instantly lost all effectiveness.
"I'm gonna kill that mutha if he wakes them up." 
Upon returning home, I had to carefully lift the monstrosity of a stroller up over several large cement steps to get them inside without waking them. Once in the front door, I wheeled the whole damn thing into the back bedroom, put on the humidifier for background noise and closed the door.  I then proceeded to stuff my face with carob covered malt balls and stare catatonically at Dr. Phil.
I'm sure all the stay-at-home moms or insane nannies all across America were doing the same.
I'd probably sum up "Nanny hood" with this simple one-word logline:
S O S!

It's like the army.  5-minute showers. A wipe of the drool with your own shirt sleeve.  A spoonful of cereal on the run. You can't even take a piss alone.
The Cousin follows me into the bathroom and watches.
And because I can't leave Sweet Pea alone on the floor anymore, I have to either harness her in the Johnny Jumper or strap her in the swing and that goes over like a fart in church.

Well, that's the story on this morning after. It's no joke that I was asleep last night by 8 pm.
I do have one last pic for the montage. I'm teaching The Cousin how to change a diaper.
(I wasn't born yesterday y'all and I see it as beneficial)
So, it isn't age-appropriate. So the hell what!
I think she'll be ready to help me out next week.
The Cousin "in training."


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dear God, Not Oatmeal

It was not a difficult or even borderline choice:
the third and final presidential debate or the final game to determine if the San Francisco Giants
go to the World Series.  It wasn't a grueling decision.
But after watching both, (the debate taped) if I had to choose the most entertaining, because, my lovelies, I DO like to be entertained, I think Scutaro brought it!  Y E A!
I might add, though, that the second debate did leave me with the realization that I, in fact,
have something "special" in common with the governor:
“Governor Romney and I both have binders full of women.”

It’s an eery, gray Tuesday, the morning after rain, and I already have anxiety for tomorrow.  
Seeing Sweet Pea and The Cousin in just 24 hours, somehow makes me want to crawl back under the blankets of my king-size nest and suck my thumb until Thursday.  
Sweet Pea’s mom sent me a text with the earth-shattering news: “SWEET PEA’S EATING HER FIRST FOOD! OATMEAL”
Now that's thrilling and exciting news unless you're the nanny.
A cracker I can deal with, but runny slobbery oats will put me on a bridge.
The thought of feeding her oatmeal sends chills up my spine.
And I don’t mean in a satisfying way.

You know, I might just be getting too old for this stuff.  Runny diapers. Runny noses. Runny oatmeal.  Not to mention, screaming infants and spit-up. 
But then again, my "I can handle anything" super-sonic-bionic action figure takes over just like it did when I managed the park all those years.
Because only the truly brave, fearless and insane mess with me. 
No child under the age of 18 months is going to take me hostage. 

There was this whack-job from space 22 that did attempt it though, and with some success.
Some of you might recall how 'loose' she was when she didn't take her meds... 
               Calling me names from her trailer window, taking a swing at her husband, "Gil" when he came home late one night, calling the cops on her sister for reasons that probably stem back to when they were six and eight.
But the time that my action figure was "on vacation" was when the blonde bombshell at 22 came down to my place, screaming like a Banshee, in front of my pre-fab and dropping 100 more 'F-bombs' than Tom Hanks on Good Morning America.

I almost pissed my pants.  Clearly, if I had boots on, I would have been shaking in them, but in my jammies and bare feet, I hit the shag in my living room and belly-crawled under the single panes to the phone.
I had become a hostage in my own home.  Fact.
But this is rare for me.  She scared the shit out of me and in my mind I was thinking,
"Gil, for Christ-sake, get her a pill." 

She had gone ballistic because we, the management, hadn't trimmed her trees and one of the branches was touching Gil's prize possession, a 1967 Chevy Camaro.

Sweet Pea has lungs like space 22. The Cousin, not so much.
But note to self: Be prepared.
Tonight, I'll need at least 8 hours.  In the morning, I will eat a hearty breakfast.
When I dress, I will hook my bra on the last hook to ensure 9-hour comfort.
I'll arrive with a satchel of toys, books and humor.
And, obviously, the wine will already be in the fridge chilling.
Stay tuned...

Friday, October 12, 2012

From the Trailer Park to the Changing Table... the Saga Continues...

Me: That's a doggie.
The Cousin: Doggie. Woof. Woof.
The Cousin: Doggie?
Me:  Yep. There's another dog.
The Cousin: Woof. Woof.
The Cousin: Doggie?
Me: Doggie. Uh, huh.  Another dog.
The Cousin: Woof. Woof...
This stimulating conversation continues for 30 minutes on the walking path near their house.

That's how we roll, me and The Cousin.  That constant and predictable repetition of verbiage that drives weak caregivers to totally lose it, but not me.
Some things just come with the job. Some things you just accept as part of the territory.
Things like repetitive jargon and poop.  Yes, poop.
Those are two things you can depend on when spending a day with Sweet Pea and The Cousin.
Let me sidetrack for a minute. I know this is random... 

My ‘aunt-n-law’ is a frugal girl from the north, and with the rising cost of cat litter, she informed me that she buys sand ‘in bulk’ from Home Depot, rather than boxed litter, on a regular basis. Evidently, the savings is enormous.
Last week, she headed to HD to buy her 'litter-sand' and after making her purchase,  she gassed up at USA “the cheapest pump in town for Christ-sake” and continued home to change Mao Mao’s urine & feces box.
She thought the bag was “heavier than shit” but paid her thoughts no mind, continuing to clean out the old and pour in the new.
A day or two passed and she went to scoop out Mao Mao’s excretions and the entire box was filled with large, solid, hulking rocks.  Mao Mao’s piss had turned to cement.
I guess she raised some hell at HD for moving the sand to a different area and putting cement in its place.

On Wednesdays, poop's an issue for me too.
How could it not be when you're working with 2 'machines' like the ones I work with?
I learned a big feces lesson last Wednesday: Never try and shake the poop out of the Pamper into the toilet.
This action results in the nuggets missing the toilet bowl completely
and going all over the white tile.

But they're sweet, you say. Yes they are. True that. But there are some 'new developments' brewing.
Y'all have heard of "sibling rivalry" right?  Well, I'd like to give you a brief overview on what I call "cousin envy".

"If I drop my elbow to her chest, it could easily look like an accident."

"Look at those locks. I bet I could take one without her knowing it."
You see, The Cousin was used to livin the high life; agreeable, easy and alone before Sweet Pea came along.
'Attention' was her middle name and she bathed in it like a pig in sunshine.
She was la reina, the queen, and that felt good to her, I'm sure.
But things have changed for her highness, as things often do.  And 'sometimes', (I could say 'often'  but I know their moms read my blog) she just can't refrain from a quick and covetous smack with the This Little Piggy Book  right across Sweet Pea's cheek or a right hook to her ribs. We had to have a conversation about pinching and squeezing her cousin's face and I think I made progress although her response was " Ibah... abin... gibby... ga... goo."  
Which for all I know translates, "Go to hell".

Once I noticed her take the plastic sifting shovel, and what started out as a gentle rub-pat on Sweet Pea's back, quickly became a hard pounding.  

I get it, though.   I grew up in a house with a mom that always believed me.  I have since apologized profusely to my little brother for the torture and antagonizing, the teasing, the egging him on until he reached a boiling point in which he couldn't take it any more. He'd then haul off and hit me and I'd then run crying to mommy. 
Yep, he'd get in serious trouble.  I'd get a hug.

As the Wednesday Nanny, I try to assess each situation individually and with fairness. 
Sweet Pea's no bowl of cherries, believe me.
Basically my strategy is simple.  I run it like boot camp.
This is especially effective when they are both awake.
However, when one's asleep, I ease up and I must admit, super cool things do happen. Like turning on PBS and getting down with Elmo the Musical: "...yip... yip... unky... the Elmo dance, it's funky" is what The Cousin and I find our groove to.
Also, exploring painting with water.  We went through two sets of clothes, but hell, I don't do the laundry!

Dipping big brushes in big bowls of water and 'painting' the chair, the pumpkins, the table is 100% pure, unadulterated fun.
(We both shared a moment of silence; a prayer if you will,  prior to this activity. We asked God to keep Sweet Pea asleep for as long as possible).
But Sweet Pea does eventually wake up, and when she does, it briefly looks like this:

And this is nice while it lasts.
But of course, it never f*#!ing lasts.
Good thing I have a partner who pops the cork and pours 'the grape' right as I'm walking
in the door.