Saturday, September 29, 2012

W(h)ine Wednesdays

I arrive at 7:45 a.m. and usually she greets me with an infectious smile.  With such a sweet, intimate little greeting, you wouldn't think I'd need 2 cups of coffee, the strong shit, under my belt to make it through the day, but I do.
Extreme situations, call for extreme hard-core leaded.  It's necessary on Wednesdays.
You see, I'm now the "Wednesday Nanny" for this little sweet pea and her
1 year 5 month old cousin.  
When I reflect on all the jobs I've had in my lifetime; pre-school teacher, elementary school teacher, coffeehouse owner, tutor, waitperson, hotel concierge, tea shop extraordinaire and my personal favorite, trailer park manager...
This 9-hour-per-week position should be a piece of cake. But quite honestly, it takes not only the cake, but the frosting, decorative sugary florets and rainbow-colored sprinkles as well.
You're probably saying to yourself right about now, "Awww...she's super cute. Like a little button. 
TPG, you whine but all you really have to do is play all day like all those stay-at-home moms. 
What could be so challenging?  And why the hell are you whining?"
And you're probably thinking, "How could such a sweet face turn devil-child?"
This leads me to two words:
“Shit Show”.
Having never been a mom, never breast-fed, never changed a Pamper of a breast-fed child,
I had no f@#*ing clue what to expect.  I mean who really thinks about these things in the course of a day when it doesn't apply to you, right? But let me simply describe "the show" or plural as it occurs 2 or even 3 times, per pooper, per day. Allow me to describe it in a small, but powerful fragment of a sentence:
an oozing river of mustardy goop. And I mean oozing. Come to find out,  breast milk causes this yellowish messy substance and because it is odorless (its single redeeming quality) it oozes on my jeans, oozes on the changing table, oozes on the Safari Rainforest Magic Blanket and oozes
on the toy set.
But not so in the case of her older cousin who is on lots of  solid foods and eats a banana like she was a ravenous alligator devouring raw meat.
Her 'contribution' consists of GINORMOUS, dark brown balls, the size of 1lb. truffles and solid as rocks.  They have a familiar shitty smell that at least gives me a "heads up" when she needs changing, unlike Sweet Pea's whose runs out of her diaper and straight up her back and neck like a gushing river.

I know I've got what it takes.
I know there's a rhythm to be found in a job like this. Changing the diapers, like the changing of the guards, will in fact one day become a timely event; masterminded and easily woven together with feeding times, stroller times, nap times
and play times.
One prays for all of these things to fall into place without any wailing.  But you know what?
The wailing comes! And that little "Sweet Pea" has lungs! They call her "Slugger" but I call her "Fog Horn" and boy when that horn starts to blow, it does not let up!
Ships could find their way to us in a matter of seconds, even through the most dense fog.

Seriously, I'm surprised the neighbors haven't phoned CPS on me.  It begins with a slight, breathless panting and a quivering lower lip. You try everything in your power to avoid what is to come.
You shake rattles. You check her diaper.  You pick her up and blow on her tummy.  You get out the "crunchy book" she loved last Wednesday. You put her in the Ergo. You bounce her on your knee. You warm the bottle of pumped breast milk (liquid gold).  But you don't succeed and the horn blows, sending a screeching vibration that penetrates the walls. All the while you're singing, "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and telling her cousin, 
"No, honey take the crayon out of your mouth, please. 
Crayons aren't food." 

Getting both the little buggers in the 2-child stroller is a classic act of poise and dignity. As they both initially fight it, the passerby's stare at me with the same damn stare I used to give parents who were out in public with screaming children.  You know, the stare that says, "What are you doing to them? What kind of a mother are you? Can't you see those children need something?" 
I just keep my composure and my "sweet as maple syrup voice" the one that says "please" and "good job" and I get the girls harnessed in.  Soon we're off.  Hitting the pavement does something miracluous. Let me tell you. The first time I took them for a walk, I couldn't believe it.
It was as if God herself stepped out from curbside and said, "Here is my precious gift to you, Valerie."  I'm talking about the sweet gift of having both girls fall asleep simultaneously.
The baby is snoring by the time we turn the first corner and her cousin, who I call Ms. "I love cinnamon, apple sauce, hitting my cousin with the toy camera and tossing all the books all over the floor 5-times just to watch you pick them all up" is sawing logs after about 10 minutes of walking and I am so relieved I can barely see straight.  I breathe deeply and say a prayer that parents everywhere get this kind of a break.
I walk them up and down the path next to the ocean.  I don't know which is a lovelier sight:
the ocean or the two sleeping babies?  No, wait a sec.
I do know.  Hands down,  it's the sleeping babies.

                         When the cousins are engaged, it's blissful and sweet as Gummy Bears.

                           So this is an Ergo. It's a pack thing you can resort to when all else fails.

Ergos, like strollers, car seats and even Pampers are fairly simple to hook, put on or use
unless you're me.
Here's a perfect example of a helpless child dangling in an Ergo that has been put on incorrectly.

I start looking at the clock around 4:30 p.m.
I smell of breast milk spit up, Bamba peanut butter crackers and crushed bananas.  I have Exhaustipation.

ex*haus*ti*pa*tion     (noun)    a condition in which one is so tired they don't give a shit.

I haven't been this wiped since the carport inspections in which a half-dozen residents gave me hell for walking with my clipboard on their properties.  Stressful stuff like that happened often. Like telling "Naked Man" at space 31 that he couldn't keep all those goddamn chickens in the back of his carport.  Or having to ask space 22 to stop putting her sanitary napkins down the toilet.  "It's my f@*#ing toilet" I recall her shouting at me from her front porch, as I took off the latex gloves, set the bleach in my wheelbarrow and gave her a "mental middle finger".
"The Chronicles of a Wednesday Nanny" will surely bring some 'situations' that are right up there with my "Park Tales".

At 5:00 o'clock, I hand off my new little friends to their parents like a quarterback under pressure
and head out into "road rage traffic" which I have absolutely no patience for.
Suddenly, I realize I 'm out of wine.
I make a jarring and deliberate right turn into Safeway, where Lerry, that's spelled  L E R R Y, greets me.  He's a middle-aged white guy with a big belly hiding under his Safeway
apron, which has all these pins on it telling you which gift cards to buy.
Lerry's got a look that says, "I hate my job as a Safeway checker but I owe alimony and child support so I'm here".
I put my bottle of cheap Syrah, a salmon filet and can of peanuts on the belt.  It's Wednesday but I don't expect Lerry to listen to a grown woman whine, so I hold back and muster up a courteous "Hello."
I'm totally spent and I'm feeling pretty unsociable.  I'm still humming "The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round "  in my head.  I'm wound tight.

"I forgot my bag, Lerry, so may I have paper not plastic?"
He takes out a brown paper bag, but then puts my salmon in a plastic bag.
"You need this plastic bag so it won't leak in your other bag." 
"No, I don't Lerry. It's ok cuz I'm not going far."
"Yes, you do.  You'll thank me when you get home.  It's just one plastic bag."

I lose it big time.  Nanny Goes Ballistic read the headlines.
And after I'm done yelling at Lerry and educating him about our oceans and pollution,
I yank the plastic bag off my salmon fillet and toss it at his apron.
It's just another Wine Wednesday.
L'Chaim! (To Life!) 



  1. omg, hilarious on so many levels! where to start...ok, the photo of you with the Ergo and the kid is f'ing priceless! but the idea of you as a Weds. nanny is really cracking me up. not because i don't believe you'd be fantastic- kids love you and you are a shitload (pardon the expression) of fun! but just because you and i are on the same plane when it comes to the little ones and i know how i'd feel on Weds. if that was me! haha! now understand, i love kids (other peoples') but holy hell i can't imagine doing that every day. bless those moms out there! but i'll tell you this- you will need LOTS of wine on Wednesdays!! good luck Nanny Val! xoxoxo

    1. OMG!! I had such a good, deep belly laugh reading this! So funny. I, too, enjoyed the image of the dangling baby in the Ergo. Jeez...I can totally relate to it having been there before, but TWO at the same time must be HELL when it's not going smoothly. My hats off to you, Val!

  2. Val...what can I say but you crack me up. I sooooo look forward to your blogs and this one hit home and made me laugh to where my sides hurt. Good luck on Wednesdays and I will be thinking of you : )

  3. Good one Val! My advice...start buying wine by the case? Hang in there nanny! oxo <3 ~ Elida

  4. Hands down the only thing to say is Awesome.
    And the only thing I am sure won't leave my mind is that photo of you and Sweet Pee Yellow Poo is the Ergo photo. What is that? A backwards backpack with a child in the front? Just amazing. But truly there's no one better for the job.....

  5. I'm thinking I need to SEND you a case of wine; you should not be running out.......!!

  6. Just the thing to perk me up at the end of a Monday, Val! A comedienne! Your outgrageous, caffeinated humor combined with (hyper!)sensitivity is always a shocking delight. Thanks for the laughs and the w(h)ine...:)

    Dani B.

  7. Val....checking in early before leaving for my appt. in Victoria, and I'm having a bowl of laughs for breakfast after reading your blog. As a former breast-feeding mom of three, I can relate! Those really were the days of wine and roses...except for me it was beer and bridge, and lots of both. Sanity hung in the balance, and often I lost it. You see, there are some women who just love having babies to tend...well, that ain't me!! Give me my wonderful grown-up kids any day, or at least kids who are potty-trained....our generation did this feat at a year, max, and you can clearly see why! Desperation is its name! Actually, breast feeding was great and I wouldn't have had it any other way, though it left no time for anything else. Nada! Can you imagine Nancy breast-feeding her twins? Now that was truly heroic. One word of advice, BFF....sell flowers on a street corner, make tea and coffee in a coffee house, mix drinks in a bar, wait tables, sweep would be better than W(h)ine Wednesdays!! Trust me! But, oh, do keep these funny, funny blogs coming my way in Texas...they're the greatest!
    Much love to you in this "adventure." Hope to read of your "escape from hell" in your next blog! xoxox