Walmartians, Hummers and Anacondas – Oh My

As I pull my minivan into the farthest spot from the front door in the fully packed parking lot of the Walmart Superstore, my mood begins to slip in a southerly direction at an alarming rate. Weekly grocery shopping is not one of my favorite Nanny duties on a good day, but add torrential downpour, two cranky children with drippy noses and attitudes to match, and the task can slide from tolerable to excruciating in no time flat.

Sighing deeply, I open the car door, step directly into an ankle deep puddle and begin to wrestle with the umbrella that has not been the same since turning inside-out and losing part of its material during the last hurricane. I turn my attention to the job of extricating the children from their car seats. The eldest is a boy of four, who, upon exiting the vehicle, expertly announces, “It’s raining, Nanny,” just in case it has slipped my notice. His younger sister, a two year-old princess takes my hand and wrinkles her nose in distaste. “What is this place, Nanny?”

“Well it’s Hell, dear.” I say in my mind. Outwardly I say, “It’s Walmart, Honey. Now hurry!” The three of us sprint the quarter mile toward the door, only partially covered by our lopsided umbrella with three metal poles awkwardly sticking out of one side like lightning rods.

By the time we make it to the building, we are drenched and my already foul mood dips into the dreadful category. “Good morning,” says the sweet, elderly greeter. “Welcome to Walmart, enjoy your shopping.” I smile and nod in answer, while muttering under my breath, “I’d rather have a rectal exam.”

The two youngsters insist upon riding in an extra-long, double-seater shopping cart. I affectionately call them “Hummers.”

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These beasts are notoriously difficult to maneuver around corners, and I may or may not have been the guilty party who once demolished an eight foot tower of Bush’s Baked Beans with the right front bumper of one of these monstrosities – I cannot recall. Thank goodness small eye witnesses can be silenced by stuffing mouths with large lollipops.

I begin shoving the hulking Hummer through crowded aisles, leaving loosely stacked items teetering at every crossroad. I despise this place. The fact that it draws the most curiously dressed herd within a 50 mile radius doesn’t offend me in the least. I am much more bothered by people who amble aimlessly or pose and deliberate for great lengths of time in the middle of crowded aisles. Then there is the Coup de gras – twenty four beautifully stocked check-out lanes with no more than two open at a time.

I am awakened from my trance by the realization that the two tots have been more quiet than usual, which indicates trouble is afoot. They are inspecting a small object with great interest that the boy holds in his hand.

“What are you two juvenile delinquents looking at?” I ask. I should know better. But now it is too late as the small boy looks at me with immense wonder sparkling in his eyes.

“Look at my dinky, Nanny!” He says, bursting with pride. “It’s so big!” I now see that the boy’s miniature man-part has somehow escaped the confines of his pants and Spiderman underwear. He is holding it between his thumb and forefinger, stretching it as far as it will go.

“Oh Dear!” I say, throwing my head around, checking for perverts so fast it makes me dizzy. “I do see your dinky. But, honey – why? Why is your dinky out of your pants?” I ask, trying to cover him with my jacket.

“Sometimes I just like to take it out.” He says calmly. “It’s fun.”

“As much fun as that sounds, Sweetheart, we don’t take our dinkies – or our berries – as a matter of fact – out of our pants, at Walmart.”

“Berries.” His little sister giggles.

“Mommy says we can’t say NUTS!” he says by way of educating his sister. “But Jack at my school calls them NUTS.”

Two elderly women, who have been thumping melons, overhear the conversation and immediately cease thumping, giving me the pinched faced look of disapproval. One of them has her mouth open in utter shock. Great! Now I’m the pervert.

Ignoring the old biddies, I say, “Mommy is right. You have berries.”

“Why don’t I have NUTS?” he asks.

“Because you don’t get those until you are old and wrinkly.” I say.

“OOOOhhhh,” he says, contemplatively. “Does Daddy have NUTS?”

I thought this conversation had already hit rock bottom – but I believe we just found the basement. “Look at Nanny.” I say, stopping the Hummer to look directly into the little boy’s eyes. “I’m not talking about Daddy. I’m talking about why you should not take your dinky out of your pants in Walmart.”

“But Whyyyyy, Nanny?” he whines.

“Because our dinkies and our berries are our very own special private bits and pieces. They are not for the people at Walmart. You don’t see anyone else walking around with their dinky hanging out, do you?”

The moment the words exit my mouth, I am aware that there is at least a forty percent chance of spotting a Walmartian sporting a rogue dinky on any shopping excursion at Walmart. I hold my breath.

The child scans the horizon, and spotting no genitalia, lowers his head and says, “No, but I still like to take it out and look at it.”

“I’m sure you do.” I say. “I’m also sure you will continue to enjoy doing so for many years to come. However, you will just have to remember that Walmart is not the best place for this kind of fun. Now, I would like for you to put your dinky and your berries away and we will talk about what else the two of you would like to do today. A museum? The library?”

The tot stuffs his tiny man-part back into his pants with great effort, as though it is truly the size of a giant anaconda. He then grins mischievously. “How about Target, Nanny?”

NANNY’S MAGIC LUMP

tumblr_nbt9y7ykth1rzb6k4o1_500As occasionally happens in Nannydom, I am asked to stay over a weekend with the children while parents enjoy some peaceful, mucous-free alone time.  Obviously my job is to ensure their little darlings remain alive and within acceptable limits of physical and emotional wellbeing in their absence – sometimes easier said than done. During these weekends, there is inevitably some sort of calamity, regardless of the Nanny’s years of experience, or hours spent preparing.  Although the details differ, I’ve found that most disasters follow a few standard plot lines. Over the  years, I have maintained my sanity by giving these debacles special code names.  Here are a few of my favorites:


“THE JERRY SPRINGER”

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This fiasco falls in the physical category and occurs when siblings engage in hand-to-hand combat, although household items can be used as weapons if one prefers to keep one’s hands clean. Toothbrushes, dog bones, Barbie doll body parts, carrots and roughly shaken cans of soda are among the more creative household items used as weapons.  The results are cuts, bruises, torn clothing, and in severe cases – hair or tooth extraction.  


“THE EXORCIST”

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A foodborne or pathogen-acquired gastric illness resulting in the most vile examples of projectile vomiting, that are remarkable for not only volume and frequency, but for force and distance. The same title may be used for “ODE’s” (out-of-diaper-experiences) where a foul yellow-green liquid is over-produced by tiny bottoms with violent force.


“THE FREDDY KRUEGER”

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Known mainly for its element of surprise and ability to induce raw fear. It occurs in total darkness, and involves the most spine-chilling night terror, in which the Nanny is jolted from her bed by gut-wrenching screams.  So alarming are these howls, that they send the Nanny banging into walls and sailing over furniture. The children involved almost never remember the terrifying incidents the following day, while the sleep-deprived Nanny nurses bumps and bruises with bags of frozen peas.


“THE BOY GEORGE” (AKA the crying game)

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The most dreary and Godforsaken of all the disasters. This apocalypse involves hours upon hours of ear splitting wailing, buckets of streaming tears and equal amounts of gooey snot.  The causes range from lunch choices to clothing preferences, to squeezie yogurt flavors, to Barbie accessories.  All of which result in the kind of complete emotional breakdown seen in only the most epic of Greek Tragedies.


My recent weekender gifted me with not one but TWO new calamitous categories. In this instance, I would spend Friday morning through Sunday evening in the company of two small children, one puppy, two African Dwarf Aquatic Frogs, and one Leopard Gecko named Houdini for his special ability to escape his aquarium and skitter around the house with said puppy in hot pursuit.

In preparation, I have carefully copied the parent’s license tag and social security numbers, and have the Chief of Police on speed dial, just in case the adults have a bit too much fun with Jose Cuervo and decide to make a run for Zihuatanejo.

With the help of Walt Disney and cheese pizza, Friday night passes without a hitch. Saturday, however, begins just a tad early (3:45am). I am awakened by the eldest of the two children, a very serious four-year-old girl, whose face is approximately 2 inches from my own.

“Nanny!”  She says in a harsh whisper.  “I want to tell you some stuff.”

“Oh Good.” I say without moving.  “I’m so glad you didn’t wait until later–that would never do.”

“I think I have something crunchy right here.” She points to her forehead with one finger–although I see three fingers pointing. “I picked at it, but it won’t come off.  And there’s something outside my window that sounds like this ‘IIEEEEEEEKKAAA,’ ‘IIEEEEEEEEKKAA’.” Then she is silent for a beat.

“Is that all?” I ask hopefully.

“No.” She announces.  “Did you know your mouth-air is hot and bad like Mommy’s and Daddy’s at night?”  She pauses again.

“Is that all?” I ask again.

“Yes, but what ARE they?” She asks, disturbed.

“What is what?” I ask with a yawn.  “My bad mouth-air?”

“No!” She whines, exasperated. “The noise and the crunchy thing!”

I sit up, knowing there is no escape and turn on the bedside lamp.  Moving her hair aside, I inspect her forehead. Then, I put one hand to my ear and listen intently.  

“Ah-Ha!” I say. “I believe I have your answers. The crunchy thing on your head is definitely a dried booger. I promise it will come off in the bath, and the noise is the sound birds make when they lay eggs at night.”

“Why do they make that sound?” She asks.

“Have you ever tried to lay an egg?” I ask. “It’s probably not very comfortable.”

“I don’t like the crunchy booger or the noise.” She says, tears welling in her eyes.  “Can I…?”

“Get in.” I say, moving the covers aside. “Although, you are just going to have to deal with the hot, bad mouth-air.”

She cuddles in and falls asleep, as do I, with a small heel kicking me in the liver and an extremely pokey elbow jabbing me in the neck.

I awaken at 6a.m. with a child sleeping next to me, and her younger brother still asnooze in his own bed. I step into the shower doing a VERY small happy dance (in order to prevent excess jiggle), knowing that I have skated by this weekend with a mishap so minor, it hardly deserves mention, much less it’s own code name.  

I multitask my way through the shower, lathering quickly, humming “Oh Happy Day,” reviewing the planned activities and counting down the hours to the end of the weekend, when I am frozen in my tracks by a tiny sound coming from behind me.  My backside is facing the glass shower door and I am in the bent-over, rear in the air, foot-washing position.  Was it a mouse squeak, a tiny sneeze? I decide it’s probably best if I abort the offensive position.  Standing slowly, I turn to find the two year-old boy sitting, crisscross-applesauce directly in front of the shower door, looking up at what had to have been quite a disturbing view a few short moments ago.  Upon seeing the tot, I emit a strangled squawk and jump high enough to cause a frightening amount of movement among my numerous wobbly bits. I am now facing the poor child, and his eyebrows raise slightly as I perform an awkward modern dance involving splashing, squawking, and flapping as I desperately attempt to cover my wildly swinging parts with a ridiculously inadequate washcloth. 

Deciding once again that my buttocks is the safest view for the young child, I turn my back to him.  “Is there something you need, Sweetheart?” I ask with a shaky voice.

“No.” He says casually. “I’m hungry, Nanny.”

How he could be hungry after the scene he just witnessed is beyond me. “Okay, honey,” I say, trying to remain calm. “Why don’t you go to your room and play while Nanny finishes up here.  Then I will be right in to make you something to eat.”

“Okay Nanny.” He stands and turns to leave. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and begin to rinse the shampoo from my hair. With my head under the running water, I hear the click of the glass shower door behind me. A small finger pokes me in the backside of my right hip. I freeze. “What’s this lump, Nanny?” asks the tot.

I have died and gone to Nanny Hell. There are few things worse than being completely naked in the shower, with a two-year-old pointing out your fatty parts.  Of course this child doesn’t know what this lump is. He’s never seen anything like it in his short life. I think of his young parents, so thin and fit. Right now, I really don’t like them very much.

“Honey,” I say, trying to remain calm. “You really need to go play in your room and let Nanny finish here.  Then we can talk over breakfast, okay?”

He pauses a moment, weighing his options, shrugs and turns to leave.  “Okay Nanny.” He says and disappears again.

Upon making breakfast for the two children, the youngest, who unfortunately has not forgotten our shower conversation, once again pokes me with one tiny finger in the backside of my right hip while I am removing milk from the refrigerator.  “What is this lump, Nanny?”

I sigh deeply and come up with a toddler appropriate answer – “It’s where I keep all of my special Nanny-magic.”


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“Whoa,” says the boy’s older sister, completely hooked.  “What kind of Nanny-magic?”

“The kind that lets me know exactly where you are and what you are doing even when I cannot see you.  The kind that can fix the most terrible booboo with nothing but a Band-Aid and a kiss. The kind of magic that means I never run out of snacks or juice boxes.”

“Cool!” Says the older girl, now poking me in the left love handle.  “You got LOTS of magic, Nanny!”

“But what’s IN there?” Asks her younger brother, now squeezing my lump like he’s evaluating a tomato for ripeness.  

“Cupcakes and bacon.” I snap, tired of this lengthy conversation regarding my hefty hips.  “Now eat your breakfast!”

Satisfied, the elder child begins to eat.  The youngest, however, looks at his breakfast plate contemplatively. 

“I want to have a magic Nanny lump too.” He says sadly.

“EAT!” I nearly shout, painfully aware of the irony, and sounding exactly like my Jewish Grandmother.

I am extremely thankful that this weekend draws to a close without further emotional harm to either the children, or myself.  Naked modern dancing is kept private and all wobbly bits remain well restrained.  The damage, however, has already been done and the weekend needs a code name.  I decide to call it either – 

“The Dr. Phil”–demonstrating the amount of therapy required,

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or “The Jenny Craig”–for obvious reasons.

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ZOLOFT CAKE

One day a dear friend asks if I would be able to assist her in planning and shopping for her four year-old granddaughter’s upcoming birthday party. Like most little girls of four in America, my friend’s granddaughter is obsessed with the Walt Disney movie “Frozen”. “I’m completely out of practice and haven’t even seen the silly movie.” My friend explains as we shop for party decorations, paper place settings and a princess dress for the Guest of Honor. Our final stop is to Walmart to order the child’s birthday cake. It is getting late and my friend and I are hungry. “Don’t worry.” She says, “I know exactly what she wants.”

She speed-walks to the bakery with my short legs double-timing behind, and rings the service bell on the counter approximately 47 times. A freckled teenager burst through a backroom door to see if the bakery is on fire. “Can I help you?” she asks, annoyed. She removes the bell from the counter as my friend continues to pound on it. “Yes.” My friend says. “I need to order a cake for my granddaughter’s birthday.”

“Okay.” Says the girl. “Would you like to look at our character cakes?” She pulls out a large three-ring binder full of photos of princess and superhero cakes, but my friend brushes it aside. “No.” she says. “I already know, I would like a Zoloft cake.”

The teen pauses, pushing her glasses up on her nose in order to better inspect my friend. “Excuse me?”

My friend repeats herself irritably. “You know, a Zoloft cake! Everyone’s getting them these days.”

“I think you need the pharmacy.” The teen responds, slowly.

“What?” snaps my Yankee friend, preparing to unleash multiple obscenities upon the innocent child.

The two confused women cock their heads at one another, and this – for me, is just way too fun.

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“I’ve got this.” I tell my friend, placing a hand gently upon her arm, and I turn to the teen who is clearly looking for me to make sense out of complete nonsense. “You are familiar with Disney’s movie Frozen, right?” I ask.

“Of course.” She says.

“Well then, you must have heard of the spin off that’s scheduled to come out in late February called “Fruity”

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Everyone’s talking about it. It follows a similar storyline, although the characters give it an interesting new twist.

In Fruity, Queen Elavil, queen-elavil  struggles to manage her emotions and spends years locked in her bedroom, giving everyone the cold shoulder.

Princess Ambien, princess-ambien  her younger sister, suffers from sleep disorders due to a head injury she sustained as a child at the hands of her sister who, in a fit of uncontrolled anger, hit her in the head with a block of ice.

The two build a clinically depressed, yet lovable snowman named Zoloft, zolaft3

whose antics provide much needed comic relief.

Together, the mentally unstable trio attend enough group therapy to reach the conclusion that love melts the frozen heart. Such a lovely message.” I sigh, touching my own heart, and dabbing invisible tears – a beautiful performance.

Now, both my friend and the teen are staring at me, mouths agape, heads cocked. “However!” I nearly shout, holding my forefinger high in the air, causing both women to jump. “Given the age of the child, and the mature subject matter, I suggest going with the old-school Frozen “Olaf” cake.”

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My friend and I order the cake without further trauma and exit the store. On our way out, my friend looks at me suspiciously. “I have absolutely no idea what you were babbling on about back there.” She says.

“Let it go,” I say. “Just let it go.”

“I’m hungry.” She groans.

“I know.” I say. “I could really go for a warm piece of Zoloft cake right now.  Couldn’t you?”

KIDS AROUND THE WATER COOLER – Episode 1: 2016 Presidential Election

America is exactly 60 days away from election day, and if you have been watching any amount of national news, you are probably beginning to feel the mild nausea and tension headache that accompany the back and forth bickering of the beloved campaign trail.  Flying accusations, twitter wars and name calling leave our choices appearing more like squabbling children than future leaders of our country.  Therefore, I thought it best to pull together a panel of esteemed experts to give insight and clarity where we, as adults struggle to find the slightest bit of sanity.

 

I would like to thank our esteemed panel of experts for their insight and honesty.  It is an extremely difficult time in our nation as well as a challenging decision to make.  I found myself struggling with either choice prior to the making of this video, but thanks to the advice of our panel, my decision has become crystal clear…

 

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You can never go wrong with a duck!

BEWARE of Toddlers with Technology

untitled (2)It is not uncommon these days to see a young child adeptly pressing icons on an iPad, typing away on a computer or completely engrossed in a conversation on a cell phone.  I am, however, uncomfortable asking a five year-old to get me “un-stuck” while trying to navigate the three remotes on an Apple TV.  I suppose it’s pointless to say that I have never been considered a technological genius, although I know enough about children to say, that just because a toddler knows how to use technology, doesn’t necessarily mean he or she should!

CASE IN POINT: 

One of the families for whom I worked in the past, had quite a complicated system of linked electronics.  All phones, computers, pads and TVs were Apple products and everything was synced.  For example, photos that were taken on one phone could be viewed on the computer, pad, other phones and automatically played gallery style on the Apple TV when there was no other programming being streamed.  It goes without saying that the children in this home, from oldest to youngest, knew how to use all of this equipment better than I.

One rainy day, the children were watching an episode of “The Magic School Bus”  with two neighborhood friends.  When the show ended, the screen automatically began running family photos from the computer, on the television.  There were Christmas memories, beach vacations, snow pictures, school plays, Halloween costumes – and then something odd.  The blurry, oddly shaped, flesh colored blob filled the entire 70 inch television screen and was then replaced by an Easter Egg hunt.  I cocked my head, wondering what on earth I had just seen.

A few minutes later, there was another blurry flesh colored blob.  However this time, the thing had a head and blonde hair.  It was then I realized, that the blob filling the entire television screen was a poor quality photo of the children’s mother in what appeared to be a state of either total, or near total undress.  The odd body position continued to baffle me a bit, although much less of a concern than the early education of the minors present.

“Look Nanny!” squealed the four year old, pointing at the TV while I dove for one of the three remotes. “That’s Mommy’s bottom and fluffy bits!  I took her picture with her phone.”

I lunged for the remote and began madly pushing buttons.  Nothing happened – wrong remote.  However, the X-rated picture was replaced by a sweet one commemorating the first day of Preschool.  I knew that it was only a matter of time.  I had to find the correct remote and press the correct button, or explain to the neighbor children and their parents why Mommy was naked on television.

Then it came to me – naked bottoms and fluffy bits are funny.  But when you are a child, ice cream trumps.

“I’VE GOT POPSICLES!” I shouted.  Instantly all unclothed body parts were forgotten, as an ear-splitting cheer arose from the squatty crowd, and the tots moved like a swarm of bees to the kitchen.  With the children safely slurping away on popsicles, I had plenty of time to push enough buttons on all three remotes in order to end the unintended adult movie.

 

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At the end of the day, I gave the children’s Father the daily report:

  1.  “You are out of popsicles for some reason.”
  2. “I might have messed up all three of the remotes – again.”
  3. “Could you please remove the naked pictures of your wife that your four year-old took from all of the electronics, so that I do not have to figure out how to teach Toddler Sex-Ed tomorrow?”

Note:  The odd body positions were explained following a lengthy and humorous discussion with the children’s Mother.  Apparently the child had been given Mommy’s iPhone for entertainment while Mom dressed for work.  Beware Mommies and Daddies everywhere – Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder!

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“I thought she was playing Candy Crush!”

Pre-K is No Place for Sissies

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Upon picking up my two charges from school one hot spring day, I arrive to find the younger child looking as though she has been dragged through the school yard by a team of raging buffalo.  A mere seven hours earlier, I drop off the sparkling child at the very same location with perfectly symmetrical pigtails, a cleanly scrubbed face, freshly pressed clothing, well fed and ready to face the day.  At 3:00pm, however, I barely recognize the dirt encrusted, tornado blown dreary creature that is delivered back to me.

As I am buckling the child into her carseat, we have the following conversation:

Child:  “Nanny, is this the day that means we don’t have to come back to this place tomorrow?”

Nanny:  “Do you mean Friday?  No, sweetheart.  Today is just Tuesday.”

Child:  “Well how many more days until the day when we don’t have to come back here tomorrow?”

Nanny:  “Three more days.”

Child:  (Sighing loudly)  “That’s a lot of days, Nanny.”

Nanny:  “I hear you!” I say conspiratorially.  “Did you have a bad day in Pre-K?”

Child:  “No, not really.”

Nanny:  (gesturing wildly around the child’s head) “What exactly happened in this area?”  Expecting to hear that she has been dragged by the hair around the jungle gym by a hulking first grader, known only as ‘Brutus.

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Go ahead, make my day.

The real story is even more disturbing.

Child:  “Well I was pooping and EVERYTHING just fell out.  But don’t worry,  I fixed it myself.”

Nanny:  (Embracing the “Don’t ask – Don’t tell” policy)  “I see – It sounds like you really did have a tough day.  I completely understand.”

Just then the child’s much older brother, who is already in Kindergarten breaks in with his perspective:

Brother:  “No Nanny, you don’t understand.  Big people don’t get it because they don’t have to go to school all day.  They just get to sit around and do whatever they want.”

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What he thinks I do all day.

 

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What I think I do all day.

Nanny:  (Making the big mistake of trying to use reality on the child)  “Big people have to go to work every single day.  Isn’t that the same thing?”

Brother:  “It’s not the same.  At school we have people bossing us around all the time.  Big people never get bossed around.  This life is just not fair.”

Nanny:  “Wow!  This is worse than I thought.  We better go home and have a double apple juice on-the-rocks.

Child:  “Nanny, do you think I could have a cookie with that?”

Brother:  “Yeah Nanny, cause sometimes apple juice all by itself,  just isn’t enough.”

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“Your Mommy is a Butthole”

 

I have been a Professional Nanny for enough years to find that there are few things that come from the mouths of babes that can actually surprise me.  However, rarely does a day pass that I am not moved to fits of side splitting, eye watering, pant wetting laughter over the verbal shenanigans of children.  The following, is one of my very favorite case studies.

 

While on a group playdate with my two tots, I had the extreme pleasure to observe this interaction between my dear friend, Ashley and her two beautiful children, Gracyn (5) and Lane (3).

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Gracyn:  “Mommy?  What’s a bad word?”

Ashley:  “Why are you asking, honey?”‘

Gracyn:  “Our teacher told us kids to stop using bad words.”

Ashley:  “Well, what bad words were being used, Sweetheart?”

Gracyn:  “I don’t want to say.”

Ashley:  “Don’t be afraid, Sweetie.  Nothing you say will get you in trouble.  What words were used?”

Gracyn:  “Butt.”

Ashley:  “Well, okay.  There’s nothing really wrong with the word butt.  However, you can use it in a mean or bad way.”

Gracyn:  “Like if you call someone a Butthole?”

Ashley:  “YEP!  That’s not nice!”

Gracyn:  “Uhm – Mom?  I have something to tell you.

Ashley:  “Okay.”

Gracyn:  “Tommy from my class called you a Butthole.”

Ashley:  “WHAT?”

Gracyn:  “I told him my mom is NOT a Butthole, then I told the teacher.”

Ashley:  “Do you think I am a Butthole?”

Gracyn:  “No.”

Ashley:  “I have always tried to be super nice to the kids in your class.  I bring cookies and great snacks, so it kind-of hurts my feelings that Tommy would say that.”

Lane:  (Age 3, coming in for the big win!)  “TOMMY IS A BUTTHOLE!”

 

…And conversation over.  Gotta give it to him.  Some people just know how to wrap things up in a neat little package.  No doubt a gift that will serve him well in the future.

 

As I think about my funny, sweet friend, Ashley, I feel a little sorry for her.  I know she is clueless as to why she has been appointed class Butthole, having done nothing to earn the scandalous title.  Yet, as I watch my two charges play peacefully with their friends, there is one tiny part of me doing a private “WooHoo!”  Because just this once – it’s someone else’s turn.  Yes, just this one time – NANNY’S NOT THE BUTTHOLE!  WOOHOO!

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My Friend Ashley – Definitely NOT a Butthole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck e Cheese – Where a Kid Can Be a Kid…and a Parent Can Be in Hell!

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I hadn’t patronized one of these exhilarating establishments in the past 10 years…until yesterday, when a group of parents and I had the bright idea to take nine, end-of-summer crazed preschoolers.  The next bit of dim-wittedness that somehow emerged from the minds of the adults, was for each of us to use a coupon to purchase 100 game tokens for a mere $20…might as well get a good deal while you are there, right?

It was about two hours later that I decided the air must be slightly spiked with nitrous oxide, otherwise there would be no way four intelligent women would purchase 100 game tokens each, knowing that preschoolers not only need assistance at every game, but take twice as long playing them.

There are a few other exciting things that occur while visiting this enchanting joint.

– A giant rat will appear at some point during your visit, causing some children to scream uncontrollably.

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– There will be actual extreme toddler cage fighting…without the cage.

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– The pizza will be extra greasy and cold, although your children will devour it as though you have not fed them in three days.

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– The salad bar resembles a high school science project, and should be renamed:  Hepatitis Bar.

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– Someone in your group will likely throw-up.  The longer you stay…the higher the likelihood.

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– Adults exit with a migraine, and a heightened risk of seizure activity, looking something like this:

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– Children exit jacked-up on high fructose corn syrup and adrenalin, looking something like this:

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Well fear not Chuck e Cheese, for I have a plan.  Kids can still be kids…but parents no longer have to be suicidal.  A few simple changes and we are on our way to peace and harmony for young and old alike.  Let me introduce my brilliant plan in hopes that someone in the upper echelon of the Chuck e Cheese Corporation catches wind and wants to hire me on the spot for my boundless gift.

Chuck e Cheese, Gourmet Coffee, Wine and Pasta Bar:  where a kid can be a kid and a parent can be blissful

How it works:

Staffing:  This establishment should hire one referee per 15 square feet.  These persons should appear slightly intimidating and should be paid on a commission basis per fight intervention in order to maintain high motivation.

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A nurse should be on staff to care for the injured.  Ten teenagers should be hired to assist younger children with game playing.  The teens are to be paid in pizza and iTunes cards.

The Adult Section:

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The Gourmet coffee, wine, pasta bar should be located on the same property, although in a separate room.  Parents should be able to see their children playing through a two-way mirror, although volume and lighting should be GREATLY reduced.  Each seat should be equipped with a microphone through which every parent would be able to yell at his/her child over a loud-speaker without leaving ones seated position.

Throw in some fancy coffee drinks, free wifi, comfy chairs, drinkable wine and I guarantee a full house.  I hate to be boastful ladies and gentlemen…but this idea is absolute genius!  Who’s with me?

End of the Innocence: The Children’s Disturbing Discovery of Mommy and Daddy’s Vibrating, Marital Enhancement Device


***DISCLAIMER***

In an attempt to prevent my current employers from entering a Witness Protection Program, let it be known that this post does not represent my present placement.  All names have been either omitted or changed to protect the innocent.  Attempts to uncover the the specific family by way of bribery will be highly frowned upon, unless or until the payoff exceeds my ten year salary amount…including bonuses.


I suppose something of this nature is bound to happen when one works for so many years in peoples’ private living spaces. One does their very best to avoid areas that might contain adult or intimate paraphernalia, such as unmarked boxes in the master bedroom, drawers or closets in the master bathroom and one of the most suspicious locations of all…bedside tables.

In general, I find that the “Don’t Peek, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy works pretty well under most circumstances. However…TODDLER’S HAPPEN…and when they “happen” there are a few things you can count on:

     1.  The result will not be pretty

     2.  There will be casualties

     3.  Clean-up and recovery will be long and arduous

The day begins innocently…almost too predictably.  I should be suspicious.  In this particular home, I have two charges, a three year-old precocious tomboy, and her 18 month-old, slobber covered brother.  We are settling into an after breakfast playdate with two neighborhood delinquents, ages three and four.  As usual, I am multi-tasking…folding clothes while watching the older children squabble over who gets to be Batman, and who has to endure the humiliation of being the scrawny sidekick, Robin.

There are three older children, one coveted Batman costume, one fairly acceptable Spiderman costume whose mask makes the younger sibling scream…added bonus.  Then there is the “dumb” Robin suit, who nobody wants to wear because “Robin doesn’t do anything cool.”  Due to the ongoing battle, there is a chart on the wall which indicates who wore which costume last.  One would think this is the type of forward thinking that would terminate a fray before it even gets started.  However, in toddler-land…one would be sorely mistaken.  The children are all shouting at once, sounding like a gaggle  of short, angry stock brokers.

My charge, the squatty, red-faced damsel in distress rushes me, until her nose is an inch away from my own.  “Nanny, it’s my turn to be Batman!”  She shouts.  “Clancy ALWAYS thinks it’s his turn, but it’s not!  I can remember whose turn it is to be Batman, cause I’m the biggest.  First it was Eddie’s turn, next it was Clancy’s, and now it’s mine.  I ALWAYS remember cause I’m the biggest!”

Having starred in this psycho-drama a hundred times, I sigh and rise calmly from the table where I am folding what seems to be a mountain of underwear and socks.  “Let’s all take a look at the chart and buy a vowel, shall we?”  I say, swishing dramatically toward the wall, doing my very best ‘Vanna White’ impression.  Three sets of watery eyes stare at me, while Eddie stuffs a finger as far up his nose as it will go.  They don’t get it…and it was a really good ‘Vanna White’, I must say.

At the chart, the three tots are jockeying for front row positions, but as usual, my charge makes sure she is front and center.  “It’s MY house, so I get to be in front!”  She shouts at the two cowering boys.

“Well Miss Sassy Pants!”  I announce.  “It seems as though you don’t ALWAYS remember whose turn it is to be Batman, because it’s not your turn.  It’s actually Eddie’s.”  Her face is frozen in utter shock.  “Oh, and by the way…you are a big girl, but Clancy is just a little bigger than you are right now.  So…how about it?  Think we can be a little nicer to our friends so they will want to come over and play with us again?”

Her bottom lip quivers.  Betrayed by her own Nanny.  Now she’s really mad.  “Come on!”  She commands, saving face.  “I want to play cars and trucks, not dumb ol’ Batman.  The two boys silently obey and follow the surly toddler down the hall.

Her perpetually slobber covered 18 month-old brother, who has been rummaging through the dress-up cabinet throughout this scene, emerges in what appears to be some sort of Ninja-Butterfly-Drag Queen outfit , and waddles down the hall to join the cheerful three, blowing bubbles in his own ooze.

I sit back down and continue to fold clothes where I have a full view of the hallway and bedrooms.  The children’s conversation turns from contentious to cooperative soon after the toys emerge, and peace reigns supreme.

There is nothing more satisfying than achieving a successful period of toddler play that is not interrupted by mental breakdown or bodily injury.  With the exception of the earlier emotional collapse, this playdate is a winner.  I can’t believe how much I am accomplishing and how happy everyone is.  Yet…as I am emptying the dishwasher, something begins to bother me…a slight buzzing noise in my ears.  It’s sporadic and annoying.  I shake my head, trying to make it go away, and then walk from room to room, in an attempt to locate the source.  Entering the master bedroom, I find the children in a circle on the floor, surrounded by cars and trucks.  My three-year old charge jumps to her feet, and holds an object up to my face for inspection.

“Look wat we found under Mommy and Daddy’s bed, Nanny!”  She shouts, as she thrusts a battery operated, intimate activity aide a little too close to my face for comfort.  I notice the buzzing has stopped.  “What is it?”  She asks.

Taking one small step backward, I stumble loudly into the bedroom door, holding tightly to the knob for support.  I hear myself trying to speak, but only a strange combination of bodily noises escape, as I clutch my chest…”Squeak, Grunt, Gasp…”  Someone grab the paddles, I may go down.

“It’s a hot dog.”  Says Clancy, ignoring my cardiac event.

“Why do Mommy and Daddy get to eat in their room and I don’t?”  Miss Large-and-in-Charge is mad again.

“I wonder if my Mommy and Daddy have one pink hot dog under their bed in case they get hungry at night?”  Eddie speculates thoughtfully.

“They musta already ate the bun.”  Clancy guess, as the grabs at the naughty item.

As the older children clamor for the pornographic accessory, the tiny motor roars to life once again, filling the large room with a mosquito-like buzzing.  They all stop and stare at the vibrating pink hot dog.

“See?”  Says my tyrannical charge, snatching the indecent object from the hands of her friend.  “I told you it wasn’t a hot dog.  Hot dogs don’t make that noise.  It’s a toy car, but it’s broke.  The wheels fell off.  I got lotsa cars that make noise like that.”

She tosses the kinky paraphernalia aside and it lands directly in front of the slime covered 18 month-old, who instantly picks it up, and as if in slow motion, opens his gaping maw in an attempt to do the unthinkable…the unfathomable.  For me, the world goes dark, with the exception of an X-rated car without wheels, slowly moving toward the face of an extremely sticky, oddly dressed cherub.

This cannot happen on my watch.  My myocardial infarction will have to wait.  Springing into action, I dive toward the toddler like a crazed Ninja-Nanny, flying through the air, screaming “NNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” and manage to snatch the offensive object away from the tot’s mouth at the very last moment, making him cry hysterically.

“NANNY!”  Shouts the tot’s older sister in surprise, not having seen her chubby Nanny do a great many action movie stunts like the one she just witnessed.  “Why can’t he have that broken car?”

I stand on shaky legs…hair cockeyed, and try to come up with a reasonable explanation.  “Uhm…I can’t…you don’t…let’s not play with that, okay?  It’ uhm…dirty.

“Why?”  Asks Eddie.

“Because…it’s…well, it’s poop.”  I say, settling on the #1 icky item understood by toddlers around the world.

“But why’s it pink?”  My charge asks suspiciously.

I begin to sweat as their small eyes bore holes of doubt into my explanation…I’m losing them.  I have to think faster…why would poop be pink?  Desperately searching the room, I spot a new photo of the family dressed in their Easter best, taken only a few weeks prior, and the answer simply falls out…

“It’s Easter Bunny poop.”

That does it.  The four children circle me firing staccato questions, while jumping up at the perverted thing that I am now holding above my head.  I catch a quick glimpse of the scene in the dresser mirror.  If there is such a thing as Nanny PTSD, this is where it is born.

“Why doesn’t it smell like poop?”

“Why is it so big and bunnies are so small?”

“Why is it under Mommy and Daddy’s bed?”

“Why does it make that noise?”

“Okay, Okay!”  I shout over terrible the din.  “I will answer all of your questions, but first let’s get out of Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom.  I know they usually let you play in here, but today we are going to stay in our own space.  Amazingly, the children agree without argument, and as they wait for me in the playroom, I am left with another dilemma…what to do with “it.”  Should I fling it upon the mound of decorative pillows?  Place it in the bathroom sink?  Toss it into the dog house…the possibilities are infinite.

“NANNY?!”  My demanding charge summons me.  I toss it under the bed and and run from the area, wiping my hands vigorously  on my clothes.

“Tell me about the Easter Bunny poop.”  requests my charge, before I have even entered the room.

I take a deep breath and enter the room with confidence.  “Okay, look…I will tell you about this quickly and then we are going to move on to something else because it’s really not a big deal and I, for one, would like to have some fun today.  Easter Bunny poop doesn’t really smell bad because, well…it’s the Easter Bunny, not a big, stinky rhinoceros.  The poop is big because the Easter Bunny is big.  How else do you think he can carry enough Easter eggs and candy for everyone in the whole world?  Big bunny = big poop.  It’s in Mommy and Daddy’s room because they probably forgot to clean it up after Easter.  The Easter Bunny is mostly house-broken, but he sometimes has accidents while delivering goodies.  Because his poop is magic, it makes that noise so that you can find it the day after Easter and clean it up……………………..Now, who wants to make cookies?”

“Me…Me…I do…I do!”  They all shout, jumping up and down excitedly.

I tried that day.  God knows I did everything humanly possible to induce amnesia.  This event occurred after breakfast, and I had the rest of the day to pack full of activities in hopes that the unfortunate event of the morning would get lost in the sheer volume of details.  We baked, and intricately decorated sugar cookies.  We made sock puppets, wrote, and performed a full-length, version of “The Princess and the Pea.”  We made kites and went to the park to fly them.  We even made up a new sport called “Waterfall Kickball,” which is kickball with the use of sprinklers and a slip-n-slide.  At the end of the day, the neighbors stumbled home with eyes at half-mast.  My two charges could barely hold up their heads.  I am cautiously optimistic…We might just get away with this, without mentally scarring anyone.

We might get away with this, without mentally scarring anyone, if it were not for one small factor…these are toddlers.  I realize that even if I took the children on a Disney Cruise following this incident, the outcome has “disaster” written all over it.

Mommy and Daddy arrive home from a busy day at work at approximately the same time, and greet their exhausted children with hugs and kisses.  “What did you do today?”  Mommy inquires.  The children are quiet for a moment…maybe they forgot.  Perhaps they will talk about the cookies…the kites, puppets, or waterfall kickball.

“We had a busy day.”  I interject hopefully.

But just as my hope reaches its peak, the eldest answers without looking up from her coloring book.  “Nanny wouldn’t let us play in your room today because you forgot to clean up the Easter Bunny poop that was under your bed.  How come I have to clean up my room and you don’t?”  Both parent’s look at her, then to me, completely confused.  Then…God help me…she continues, “Clancy thought it was a hot dog, but I said it wasn’t because hot dogs don’t make that funny buzzy noise.”

That was the light bulb moment.  Both parents looked at one another red-faced, and with open accusation in their eyes which clearly read:  “I can’t believe you left it under the bed, you idiot!”

“Why don’t you two go pick up your toys in the playroom while we finish talking to Nanny.”  The children’s mother said to the tots.

“I don’t know why we have to clean up.”  The elder groused.  “We don’t have poop in our playroom.”

“GO!”  Shouts Mommy, a little too harshly, causing both of the children to jump.

Alone in the kitchen with the parents, I busy myself picking up crayons.  The children’s father seems intently focused on clearing his vest of invisible lint and the mother is vigorously massaging her temples in silence.  When I think I will explode from the mortifying awkwardness, I face both parents squarely and say, “I have a great idea. Let’s just…NOT.  Everything is okay, although the two of you might want to find a more child-proof hiding spot.”

A teary mother hugs me and apologizes profusely, as a shaky father slaps me on the shoulder and quickly pours himself a double whisky.  These employers and I never really discuss this incident further during my placement with them.  However, eight months later, I receive a small Christmas package in the mail.  It is a beautifully wrapped box, although I cannot imagine why the family didn’t give it to me at work.  Inside the box is a toy car whose wheels have been removed and a card which reads:  “Thank you for NOT.”

I remain friends with this family, and think of them as every Easter passes, and of the magical Easter Bunny poop.  I can’t help but think of them at Christmas as well, when I must resist the yearly urge to send them the gift of one pink hot dog.  I’m sure, when they read this post, I will receive a note in the mail which will once again read:  “Dear Nanny, Thank you for NOT!”

Toddlers, butt-cracks and bosoms

Wrong!  They are mushrooms.

Wrong! They are mushrooms.

Working late one evening, two sleepy toddlers snuggled against my chest, as I read our fourth bedtime story.  At the end of the story, the three of us sat in a moment of rare silence.  Suddenly, the eldest, a curious fellow of four, leaned back, took both of my breasts in his hands, gave them a considerable ‘honk’, and said…

“Nanny, what do you call these big things?”

Here we go.

“These are Nanny’s fluffy bits.” I said casually, removing his hands and snuggling him again.

“Mommy says they are for feeding tiny babies.  You don’t have any tiny babies.  So, what do you use your fluffy bits for?” he inquired.

Smart toddlers…can’t live with them.  Can’t use dog crates and duct tape.

“You’re right, smart boy.  I explained.  Mine are built-in safety devices.  You see, if I fall forward, I would bounce right back up without hurting myself.  When I go swimming, I never have to remember floaties…mine are attached!  When I’m not falling or floating, I can use them as pillows for people I love.”

“That’s neat!”  He said.

This prompted the boy’s younger sister to grab the top of my shirt with both hands, pulling it roughly away from my body to inspect what was hidden beneath.  She sucked in her breath sharply.

“Nanny…why is your bottom way up here?”  She shrieked, as she stuck one tiny finger directly into my cleavage.

At first I didn’t understand what she meant….

Note:  These are not mine...unfortunately

Note: These are not mine…unfortunately

Note:  neither of these are mine...fortunately

Note: neither of these are mine…fortunately

But now her point has become crystal clear.

This conversation has undeniably headed south, from “Goodnight Moon” to cleavage and butt-cracks at an alarming rate, which is a clear indicator of immediate bedtime.  However, when I kissed the four-year-old goodnight, he appeared to have one last comment…

“Nanny, when I grow up, I want to have great big fluffy bits just like you.” he says with a yawn.

Oh crap…here we go again.

“Well, honey…Boy’s don’t usually grow great big fluffy bits.” His eyes filled with tears and he began to sob uncontrollably.

“It’s not fair…I want big fluffy bits too!” He wailed.

I sat next to him on the bed, and in a hushed tone, said “But I didn’t tell you the worst part of having big fluffy bits yet.  I thought your little sister might be afraid.” He immediately stopped crying, excited that he might harbor secret information before his little sister.

“What is it, Nanny?”  He asked, eyes wide.

“It’s the horrible contraption we have to wear every single day to tie them down and keep them out of the way.  It’s called…

“The Over-the-Shoulder-Fluffy-Bit-Holder”:

Straitjacket

“It’s made of rubber bands, rope, nails, wire, hot glue and poison ivy.”

“Can I see it, Nanny?”  he asked.

“No, sweetheart.  But ask your Mommy tomorrow, and maybe she will show you hers.”

“I don’t want to wear one of those.”  he said, before rolling over to go to sleep.

“Me either, Bud.”

He seems to have accepted this unfair difference between the sexes and no longer laments his woeful lack of large fluffy bits.  A few days later, he created this moving portrait of he and I together, which now lives on my refrigerator.

It is entitled:

ODE DE HEAFTY FLUFFY BITS:  NATURE’S CRUEL AND UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH

notice that I am not smiling

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