sick day #5

oh man, i’ve been in bed a lot of the day for days now with some bug that i’m caving in and going to the doctor’s to get antibiotics for tomorrow.  we live in bodies.  tv lives on the internet.

so anyway, here’s a totally metaphysical article about how to teach kids about time.

http://movingsmartblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/impatient-zone.html?spref=tw

i’m sure i’ll feel better “soon.”

happy mother’s day yall

hey OPB blog.  i’m waiting for my parents to get here so we can go birdwatching and have a picnic.  cause it’s mother’s day!  shout out to everybody who does mothering work.  here’s 2 things.

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edaxLq7QSxQ

2) and from a message i wrote friday:

“today at work i bought all the groceries, picked up the now-fixed coffee machine from the repair shop at the totally other end of the city, did the semi-therapeutic-parenting-style childcare, did the bungee cording bookcases-for-toys-that-i’ll-assemble-and-reorganize-the-house-on-behalf-of-on-monday onto the top of my car (w bungee cords that i only happened to impulse-buy while target groceryshopping) while 5 yr old boy ran semi-amok with his stuffed animal and ikea carts, y’know, arranged for playing with the neighbor kids and chit chatting with the neighbor mom, bathtime, fucken, all the things…. and THEN managed to feel a tickle of envy when elroy gave his dads cute presents they made at preschool for mother’s day. GROSS! it’s awesome that his preschool teachers made gender neutral mother’s day presents for elroy (all the other kids had 1 muffin in a paper bag with a poem in it, but elroy got 2 to take home with “i love you” instead of “happy mother’s day”). but when is it feminized labor worker day? i want a goddamned muffin. LOL”

and y’know what, actually The Cadet’s mom gave me a donut at the end of my workweek for them.  fuck yeah, i was gonna say, ATR, nannies get muffins…but really, what am i complaining about.  maybe i’m bringing donuts to the playground on monday.

what am i doing, etc.

Oh hey there, OPB blog.  i’m not totally sure what i’m trying to do with this blog here so i stopped writing in it for a while.  i don’t think the internet is in especial need of my kids-say-the-darnedest things type stories, i’m a little skittish about people/parents i work with discovering all the mean  (and brilliantly incisively TRUE!) things i might say about them and their kids, also i’m kind of lazy and got busy with how my collective house fell apart for two months while i was also still doing a lot of work for the landtrust we’re part of and anyway who am i even writing this for, blah blah blah omg so boring are you still awake?

eh.  so.  last time i wrote on here, there was ice.  ice!  now it’s may.  may!  a lot has happened.  y’know those adorable fairybook moppet kids?  i learned some more about their mom and have a long story with a pretty good (for me) narrative arc and a punchline that used to be my The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Heard On The Playground story, until only a couple days later when i accidentally overheard my nanny friend Colleen’s newly former employer (she had just quit) tell some other rich moms that she and her husband were so upset and felt so betrayed that their nanny quit, it was “like being raped.  i mean, you have someone in your home…”

Yo.  people are CRAZY.  that woman might be especially crazy on account of growing up in a rich white family in apartheid era South Africa.  (is that why she has unreal expectations about childcare workers being her servants who don’t ever need to know how late they’re working until?  i mean i used to just think that it was a case of double doctor Assholes…)  and _I_ might be especially responsible for talking like that with anybody who wanted to gossip about that family’s dad freaking out in front of lots of people at preschool pickup time, shouting at Colleen when he saw her babysitting some other kids a week or two after she stopped working 50 hours/week for them but being paid for 40 hours (“salary” is usually bullshit in nannyland, y’all), stopped putting up with their skepticism and impressively patronizing condescension about her sick days (“do you think you might be…pregnant?”), etc.  Ech.  Colleen fucking rules, fuck those people, good luck to their poor kids.

Soo i don’t know, man.  Spreading rumors is fine but it’s petty.  I’m thinking maybe this blog eventually turns into something bigger, as I start to learn and read and do more childcare worker organizing.  I care a lot about reproductive labor, the low-status, feminized work of taking care and helping others be ready for “productive” labor type work.  Expect me to say more, more eloquently, and/or to start posting links and quotes from some of my favorite articles and books and writers and organizers cough cough Selma James has been on tour in the States for the past month or so cough cough.

Cause it just never ends.  About a month ago, Elroy’s parents were starting to pay me to be their new Household Manager.  Y’know, keep track of which groceries they need, buy shit at Target, assemble their Ikea furniture, reorganize their cabinets.  I said yes!  Hell yeah, pay me $3 more per hour to take your broken coffee machine to the repair shop than you do to raise your kid for you, after all, I gotta use my brain and occasionally a computer for the household management, it’s professional and not like childcare which i naturally do with my body since i’m a woman!

I said no to meal planning– “I will execute your decisions but I don’t want to make them for you.”–for a bunch of reasons.  For one, I have a certificate in holistic nutrition and trying to tell people what’s for dinner is an expensive skill and takes up more of my brain than I wanna give them.  For another, I basically respect these people and I want to keep it that way.  It’s complicated.  I like doing this stuff and I’m good at it and it’s one of the best day jobs I’ve ever had; I also think people should do most of these things for themselves if they’re able-bodied adults.  Another thing- is it homophobic to think that the gay men you work for just want to pay you to do all the wifey and mommy things so they don’t have to?  Y’know.  Emotional labor is weird, and it seems like with the very affluent, it’s often the workers who have to hold the line about what is Too Much.

Case in point, Elroy almost got kicked out of preschool again this week, some combination of his low impulse control and aggression twinned with the general lack of consistent limit setting etc with his parents.  To be fair, Elroy’s the kind of handful that kinda needs some superstar level parenting skills, so we’ve been limping along with yours truly superstar nanny, but I’m also superduper clear that Special Needs Classroom Assistant is Not in my job description nor among my career interests.  Just no no no thanks. Elroy pulled all kinds of appalling terrible bullshit this month, and his parents are finally taking my advice to see therapists and specialists.  It’s a victory…of sorts.

By the way OPB blog, I still also watch my friends’ awesome 8 month old, and I am really excited about becoming friends with this other witchy femmey nanny in the neighborhood who also likes to dress her kiddo in  punkrock outfits that match her own.  Summertime, we’re coming for you.

typical day, extra on the butt talk

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…”
“Ice cream?”
“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.”
“Teeaa?”

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.
“Weawy?!”
“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!!