Thursday, July 25, 2013

Buddha Buddha and Other Necessary Emotions

"I'm just really thinking about it, Wallery."   

"Are you angry? Is that why you bit your cousin?"

"Wallery, I'm thinking."

"When you're mad, you say Buddha, Buddha, don't you?"

"Stop talking, Wallery."

And so begins our Wednesday.
She does say, "Buddha, Buddha" when she's angry.  I've always thought it to be significant and appropriate in a Zen sorta way.  I figure, if she's calling out to the Great Spirit of the Universe, while her teeth are clinched and steam is pouring out her ears, then that Great Spirit will certainly miraculously intervene.
We converse about feelings a lot, The Cousin and I.  We converse about many things.
I always acknowledge her plethora of feelings, reassuring her that they are all okay to have, but that some of them, especially anger, has to be funneled and expressed in such a way that we don't send others to the hospital.

                                                       "Show me your sad face."

                                                     "Show me your happy face!"

"Show me your surprised face."

"Show me your angry face."

" I am woman hear me roar."

She and I do have great conversations about the world in general.

"Wallery, do you like bees?"

"Yes, I love bees. We need bees to make our honey."

"Do you like spiders?"

"Yes, I like spiders too."

"Do you like all the animals?"

"I love the animals."

"Wallery, do you like ants?"

(Now this is a moment of truth for me, as I'm currently battling an army of the bastards at my house, yet I don't want to lie to the child.)

"Ummm...I like ants if they live outside, but not inside my house."

"Grandma doesn't like ants."

"She doesn't?"

"She has ants in her house."

"What does she do with the ants?"

"She calls the ant man."


Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Oh, the places Sweet Pea goes (and climbs) when we are not paying attention.

"Anybody noticing me?"

Sweet Pea is a carb-aholic. She goes ballistic over the word "cracker" or "cookie" and yesterday, while The Cousin was sleeping, I indulged her in one of her favorite entrees: Macaroni and cheese with minced broccoli.

"Kraft, I'm your girl!"

"It's the same crap you had when you were a kid, Baa Bee"

"Bring on the carbs, baby!"

"Is that all there is?"

True. Kraft Parmesan has been around since I was a kid. The stuff never loses it's popularity. Generation after generation, especially those that can't afford Chevre or aged Gouda, have shaken this container on their noodles. Hell, it's good shit!

Sweet Pea had 3 outfit changes yesterday, due to the massive carb party, a spitting of blueberry coconut smoothie and a diaper leakage of 'poop puree'.
The final outfit was a tribute to President Obama and his beloved dog, Bo.

Sweet Pea is a "hands-on" girl, as you know.  She loves dirt, rocks and anything she can climb. 
Put a harness, seatbelt or even a sweatshirt hood on her though, and she breaks loose like a caged bird. She digs her freedom. She's a real explorer and a shadow-kisser too.

There's a little bit of Sweet Pea in all of us.  But there's a little bit of The Cousin in all of us as well.
She's the thinker, the artist, the dreamer...

"Did you have a nice nap?"

"Yes, Wallery."

"Did you have a dream?"


"What did you dream about?"

"I dream about birdies."

"Oh! What were the birdies doing?"

"They were dancing!"

The dreamers:

The 'jump head first into a wall' explorers:

"You gotta an ouchie too, Baa Bee?"

When we look at our own selves, our own personalities and the components that make each of us the unique individuals that we are...
Isn't it such a glorious world of so many colorful hues?!

Keep being yourselves y'all!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What Part of "NO" Don't You Understand?

"You're very tall, Wallery."
Vocabulary is a wonderful thing.  When youngins begin forming complete sentences, their loving admirers are filled with pride and delight.  Then the sentences become grander; the words multi-syllabic and the content rich with ideas and cute nuances.  It's a wonderful time for all!
The Cousin's language has always been advanced in my opinion.  Her parentals read to her constantly and speak to her in full, grown-up sentences rather than baby goo goo's and gah gah's.
I'm certain she'll earn 100 of those ridiculous "My Child Made the Honor Roll" bumper stickers during her school career.

"It's time to clean up, friends."  
I say this about a fifty times in a day. Sharing the load and cleaning up what one takes out is big for these families. Well, big for the moms and dads, but for the girls, not so much.
I start singing the clean-up song...
"Clean up! Clean up! Everybody do your share. Clean up! Clean up! Everybody show you care."
It wouldn't be such a big deal for me, except they live in a 10 x 10 apartment and Sweet Pea has this lovely fetish, which brings her lots of satisfaction and laughs: She digs dumping all the toys out, throwing all the books off the shelf in one arm swoops and then taking out every puzzle she can find, all the while, mixing the pieces up. The awesome thing is, she has no intention of playing with any of it. She finds pure pleasure in the dumping and throwing.

"Let's clean up so we can go outside and explore!" My rationale is that the outside in nature thing might be a fairly healthy bribe.

This is when the rich vocabulary kick in.
"I'm busy Wallery. Right now, I'm very busy."
"I see that, but I need your help." 
"In a minute, Wallery. I am busy right now."

What could be more important than at least clearing a path to walk?
"What are you doing?"

"I'm putting sunscreen on my baby."

"Can you take that shit away from her?"

When children find their words AND discover their power...Look Out!
Take this kid for instance. She's recently stumbled upon her power and now resorts to
asserting it 24/7.

"Let's go change your diaper."
"It doesn't feel good to have a poopy diaper."

Now, we want little girls to grow to be strong women, dont' we?
Of course we do, but Sweet Pea, as recent as last week, just found her voice and it's a one-word sentence. And damn-it, she's going use it like there's no tomorrow.

Now, if you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. That resonating, firm, defiant one-syllable word that comes flying out of their little mouths at the most undesirable times.
But hey, we taught them it, right? Jimmy's running into the street, "No, Jimmy. Come back here!"
Betty Sue takes the candy from Louise, "No, Betty, that's Louise's candy."
And in the case of The Cousin and Sweet Pea, well, The Cousin has been saying "NO!" to Sweet Pea her entire life. Sweet Pea has learned from the best.

"Sweet Pea, it's time to clean up. I need your help."
"What part of "NO" don't you understand?"

I come from the hippie, old-school way of talking with children.  "Positive reinforcement" was the buzz word back in the day. Rather than say, "Don't put that cup on the floor." We'd say, "I like it when you put the cup on the table."  Or instead of, "Do not hit your cousin!" We'd flip it to a positive and say, "It's nice to watch you be gentle with your cousin."  
Sometimes, a negative does slip out.  I mean, imagine in this situation calmly saying, "I'd really like it if you'd remove that flaming cigarette from your mouth."

As you know The Cousin will have a baby brother or sister arriving, special delivery, in October.
The preparation for this arrival started months ago.  I think everybody's a bit worried about the baby surviving a choke-hold in the first week.  In order to prepare The Cousin, they've bought her babies to take care of, read her numerous books on how special baby brothers and sisters are and are even including her in the name of the child.  Her aunt recently took her to a parent/toddler class.
These classes have a variety of subjects; sometimes, there's "Kids Jam" sometimes "Story Hour" and this particular one was all about "Baby Siblings". 

When I asked if she wanted a baby brother or sister, she said, "I want a baby brother, Wallery." 
Perhaps the decision was made after she played with this anatomically correct doll at the toddler class.
"Look! Momma gave birth to E.T."
Getting kids outside frees their souls.  When I was a kid, we always played outside. We'd play kickball in the street, ride our bikes until sunset, build blanket forts in the backyard.  It was safe 'back in the day' and I have so many awesome memories of those outside times.  Very little structure.  No need for much discipline by adults.  We kids worked it out.
There's something so important and fundamental about children playing together in the great outdoors on a regular basis.

"Outdoors language" requires very little discipline, very little adult control.
It's pure and unfiltered glee. Cooperation is on overload.

Well, that is until it's time to leave...



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quittin Time

Sometimes 5:00 p.m. can't come soon enough. I say this because last week, I had to dig deep to make it to quittin time.  It was my own doing, as the week prior had been an exhausting week, filled with hills and valleys.
Can't really blame that on the dynamic duo.
No matter what profession one is in, and I do consider the position of nanny as an esteemed profession; No, matter what it is, you need to be on your best game in order to make it to the beautiful hour of 5:00 p.m. Kitty, who was also barely hangin on, and I needed coffee by 2:30.
"Gawd, Is it 5:00 yet?"
Back in the day, when I got my degree and thought I'd live and die in an elementary school classroom, prior to the plethora of other roads I took including that of  "Revered Trailer Park Manager, I was a dreamer and a believer that one never use television, videos or electronic games to entertain a child.
It was my firm and judgmental belief, that in doing so, you were "medicating the child. It was what "bad" teachers did, what "bad" parents did, what "bad" nannies did.  You know all those lazy asses that couldn't or wouldn't interact with children in a healthy way. You'd NEVER see me put in a DVD! Are you f*#king kidding me?
"I can save your ass today!"
Meet Caillou, my new BFF.  When there's a meltdown, either theirs or mine, I plug this bad boy in and suddenly silence fills the air as sweet as fresh whipping cream. Ahhhh...
With Caillou taking charge, everything I believed in goes way the hell out the window.  With Caillou at the helm, Kitty and I can take a brief, much-deserved coffee break.
She becomes catatonic. Yes, mesmerized.  And for a few precious minutes, I am free to clean off the changing table and get the Playdoh out of my hair.   
Caillou is actually a meaningful, healthy kid.  (That's how I justify putting him on.)  Seriously, he teaches many lessons and we can only hope The Cousin is getting them... Lessons around sharing, helping with chores, using the toilet.  Ah, yes, using the toilet.  Seems the sticker bribery technique is not really all that it's cracked up to be. Last week I asked The Cousin,
"Do you want to use the toilet? "
No response.
"You can give it a try!"
No response.
"There's some cool zebra stickers if you try."

"No, thank-you Wallery."

At least the kid's polite about it. 
So I put this episode on.  You know I went through the whole spiel about what a big boy Caillou is and how good he must feel when he uses the toilet.  She stared at me as if she was hanging on my every word. I thought I had her for a second.  Then, she asked for a cookie.

Caillou is like the perfect kid. He always makes good choices. Always makes friends easily. Always shares his toys with those friends.  His parents are perfect too, Doris and Boris are their names.  Although, Doris is usually too busy doing "mom-like things" to play with Caillou, Boris usually finds time for his son.  They're heterosexual, of course, although when I look at the dad, I sometimes see an androgynous woman and I begin wishful thinking, that Caillou and his sister have lesbian moms.  
I'm a weirdo, I know.  But check 'em out!
Bonnie and Barbara with their two kids.

You know nap time is as effective as Caillou.  I actually got them both to fall asleep at the same time last week; miracle # 1, and if I produce a second, the Catholic Church will canonize me to sainthood.  
I have to admit, they wake up in such sweet little moods.  It's as if, during their slumber, the lavender sparkle fairies, from the Good Ship Lollipop, sprinkle all kinds of niceness dust and cousin chumminess all over their bodies.
"I'm so refreshed."

"I'll pretend I'm mellow just to make them happy." 

I got her that tee shirt when she first popped out of her mom.  Little did I know "Future NFL Linebacker" would have been a more appropriate logo.  Sweet Pea does like books.  She really digs ripping the pages and eating the covers best of all.
Here's a few fun games we played after nap...

Smelly Feet.
Smelly Diaper.

And the traditional Hide-n-Seek.
"Shall we have bananas for snack, girls?"  My weak attempt to break them of the cookie habit.
"YEA!!!!!" they yell in harmony.  So we head to the kitchen, as bananas require a booster seat and a high chair to alleviate spot clean-up later.  No sooner than I give 'em their healthy bite of potassium, Sweet Pea gives me a gift to remember.

"Gee thanks, doll. Is it quittin time yet?"

"What's not to love?"

Let me tell ya, that face can get away with Dexter-style murder.  She'll charm the pants right off ya and 5 bucks also, to have them dry-cleaned.

And this one's charming too...

And oh, my dedicated readers, I hope you feel as if you know these two lovlies. Because, believe you me, they're so worth knowing.
See you on the flip side!