Yesterday I *thought* the funniest thing that was going to happen at work was gonna be what Elroy said when when I picked him up from preschool. I gave him a hug and had him sit in my lap while I retied his shoes. He made a face and said, “What did you have for lunch? Your breath smells like…”
“No!…[more faces, thinking]…rotten shark!”
That’s funny, right? Some kids don’t like greek pizza and cranberry kombucha. More for us nasty grownups.
Since Elroy had a good report from his teacher, we headed over to the coffeeshop for a lollipop (Elroy) and green tea (me) and attitude from the baristas. I like to imagine that they’re aloof jerks to me because they can tell my job sucks less than theirs and they think it’s a competition, or else they hate enthusiastic adorable children. Who knows. There’s always too many people behind the counter for an afternoon shift at this place, so I doubt any of them are making enough off the divided tips. That’s why I definitely always tip (duh), about 3 times a week when school’s in, for more than a year now. I wish they would drop the Mean Girls routine already–you can dress awesome and still be nice to other young women. I used to pull espresso and hustle people for tips with sometimes fake, sometimes genuine smiles…the intersection of customer service and capitalist patriarchy blows, c’mon, I get it! Sometimes I feel impressed that none of them have genuine eye contact or an honest smile for me and Elroy yet(?). Sometimes we just go to the Starbucks across the street because the people behind the counter there are friendlier and seem happier (bet they have healthcare?) and it’s easier to get a stroller through that door.
Anyway, then we take the Elroy Show out the door and a couple blocks over to the little playground near his house, where there are about half a dozen bundled-up kids and assorted parents and nannies. One of my favorite kids Ever is there, this impossibly social and very beautiful 5 year old girl who says W’s for her R sounds and talks in perfect Muppet cadence, chirpy up-down and sing-song-y that always comes off endearing instead of Elmo-y. She and her little brother tend to be exceedingly kind to each other, agreeable with their grownups, like who Are these fairybook children? kind of children. I push her on the swing while keeping Elroy in visual range, and trying to make friendly eye contact with her new nanny, who I haven’t seen before and is acting shy.
This kid has a lot of things to tell me about pwe school, and then very politely interjects, “Excuse me, but awe you owd enough to dwink coffee?”
“Yes honey, I’m 30. And actually this is tea.”
She has more questions for me (no, I’m not Elroy’s mommy, where’s Elroy’s mommy, actually Elroy has 2 daddies) and then she explains to me that she has three nannies, ticks off their names, and her new nanny works at the Westawant! She said westawant like 5 times, it was so cute that I didn’t get an accompanying wave of nausea? as I realized that her parents probably own a restaurant and get some of their staff to watch their kids too. I guess there’s nothing particularly wrong or infuriating about that, it can just be so disorienting to chat with the incredibly wealthy kids and parents on this playground. It’s like playing a game, trying to act unsurprised and unoffended and that I can basically relate to their story about deciding between which elite schools their kids got into or how long it’s taking to get their house in the Poconos remodeled or whatever. Meanwhile this kid’s nanny who isn’t really meeting my eyes is maybe having a complicated and kind of shitty time being the only non-English speaker and person of color on this playground. And what the hell do I have to offer her, anyway? Some kind of nanny solidarity head-nod?
I end up leading an impromptu group activity that attracts all of the park’s 4/5 year olds, smashing things between the boards of a broken picnic table. Ice, sticks, my paper cup. This gives moppet’s nanny a chance to talk on the phone for a long time. That’s probably the best I can offer today. “Nice to meet you, bye bye.”
But because they ask about everything, I also get to tell a bunch of little kids that the bright red streak in my hair is natural, that’s what color it comes out of my head right there, and that the shaved part on the side of my head is that short because I was mean to my parents, and their hair will stop growing too if they’re mean like I was.
“No, I’m just messing with you guys, my hair’s like this because I’m a superfamous rockstar. What color would you like to dye your hair someday?” etc.
Blogreaders, I got distracted trying to tell you the blow by blow of this fairly typical workday so I haven’t even told you the Funniest Thing yet. Later in the afternoon, after some TV and snacktime at home, me and Elroy are over his friend’s house, a triple playdate with two of my favorite nanny friends, who are from Jersey like me, call them Jamie and Colleen. One of Elroy’s parents texts me will I please do bathtime and stuff an hour earlier than usual because they’re going out for dinner at Ikea tonight, just the two of them, cause his other dad is getting a colonoscopy and has to take laxatives all night. TMI!!!
This cracks me up so I tell Jamie and Colleen about it, which starts off storytelling about embarrassment over their own or their boyfriend or husband’s colonoscopies and rectal exams, and do gay men have to get colonoscopies more often because of you know…butt sex…and then I get to explain that actually plenty of gay men don’t have sex like that, and that I’ve read that having sexy times with your butt decreases your chances of prostate cancer and increases general butt health, y’know, more blood flow and everything (making stuff up? haa). Jamie’s like, it’s so cool how you’re always teaching us stuff! So since Elroy’s adopted, did they, like, have sex with a surrogate?
I guess it’s not that surprising, especially if you know me, but I’ve been doing a Lot of sex education and explaining where babies come from lately. We remember to check on the boys and Colleen comes back into the room with three pairs of underwear in her hand and a funny look on her face. Turns out while we were talking about butts, on the other side of the house, the kids were secretly taking off their underwear and putting on pull-ups. Elroy’s got his pants on backwards and denies EVERYTHING. Good one!!