“i don’t NEED! feelings!”

dear nanny blog,

i promise to never again write a blithe little post about how great such-and-such an age is.  it’s been a rough 2 weeks.

being five sucks!  you shit your drawers at the hardware store that one time but they still won’t let you wear your soft soft pullups no matter how much you wheedle and you tell your teachers and nanny that you’re going to kill them with the toy gun you got for yr birthday that your idiot dads actually let you play with but now they won’t and you get 3 timeouts a day and for some reason you can’t figure out how to listen to grownups instead of your aggressive impulses, even though you JUST WERE DOING IT so well for so many weeks, so you get demoted to the younger kids’ class at preschool and it’s like you might NEVER get to watch tv at dinner like EVER again.

not only that, but your current nanny is scheming behind your back on sending you to a behavioral therapist and THAT is gonna be annoying and also sending you to an allergist so your days of stupid delicious sugary breakfasts are probably numbered.

and your nanny from age 18 months to 3 1/2 is about to have a baby and you can’t really decide which you’re more worried about: whether she’ll get hurt when the baby comes out (out of her mouth?) or whether you’ll ever get that chair back from her that used to be in your room that your dads gave away without telling you.

and now all you have is a stupid weird beanbag chair thing that’s like, supposed to be a giant football.

elroy: i fucken feel for you, little bro.  and your bullying prowess is impressive.  But.  you gotta stop giving death threats and lying [badly] to grown ups, and you gotta stop punching/kicking/throwing dirt at/trying to cut the hair of other kids.  also you shouldn’t ever put a pen in the toaster again.  turns out that is a BAAAD idea.  especially the fancy v-ball kind.

meanwhile, on the other planet, me and The Cadet have been Tearing It Up.  maybe i’ll blog about it when she’s sleepin tomorrow.

“I can’t believe I’m FIVE!”

Elroy turned 5 this week!  A couple weeks ago we agreed that i should probably get him dolphins from outer space for his birthday, but it was just a lot easier to get him My Neighbor Totoro, which is more or less Our Favorite Movie.

Afterschool Understatements:

“When I first met you, I thought you were STUPID.”

“Yeah, we didn’t get along very well at first, Elroy.  It took us a while to get to know each other.”

“Yeah, but now we like each other”

“Yup!”

It’s all true.  And never has it taken this long for me and a kid to really Get each other.  I like his parents and they’re good employers; otherwise I wouldn’t’ve lasted through this much talking about hot rods and why you shouldn’t punch kids at preschool or stomp on the tail of the cute cat at the playground.  I think that Adventure Time (cartoon network) and Kitty City (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX3iLfcMDCw) played big roles in giving us inside jokes to crack each other up about.  But also Elroy totally missed me when I went away for the month of October, and that was good for everybody to realize.  Aaand not to mention that I’ve been spending about 30 hours a week with him for the past year.  A lot of emotional labor, dudes, and the moments when I see him becoming more of a human–congratulating his friend when he’s jealous of the friend!–make me feel psyched about humans and like I’m doing a good job.

Like yesterday.  After a long discussion/explanation from me about why it can’t be morning ALL the time, but that because of Outer Space it’s always morning somewhere, and especially when it’s summertime near the North Pole, etc, Elroy explained to me how Peter Pan believes in aliens, but Captain Hook doesn’t.  And that “I’m not picking my nose, I’m touching my brain.”  Coool!  Four year old Elroy was some badass stuff (getting kicked out of Ikea’s playland!  taking a dump on the science museum’s front lawn!); here’s to being FIVE.

“you have defeated a baby”

it’s a new year and i’ve got another baby to sit on!  her name is The Cadet and she’s 4 months old and her parents are dear friends and housemates with my partner.  there’s really nothing like being friends with people while they’re pregnant, hangin out with them while they’re in labor, spending at least half your nights in their house, etc, to already LOVE somebody’s baby.

so it’s pretty great.  i got a bangin early-to-bed-early-to-rise thing [newly] goin on, and a full 40 hours/ week with OPB.  somehow i’ve come out the end of my 20s as a nanny musician herbalist type.  fuck yeah, i haven’t loved my dayjob/lifework balance this much since before my nonprofit meltdown in the south philly heydays of my barely-supervised youth organizer job.  blogreaders, i am happy to say i’m pretty happy.  hope y’alls new years are getting off to a good start too.

so.  one of the main things about hanging out with The Cadet, if you’re not one of her parents, is the screaming.  she’s a well-attached baby who’s used to nursing when she wants, so if her mom or dad aren’t around, she’s, y’know, understandably upset.  we used to hang out sometimes and sing songs and look at the world together and other non-screaming awake activities, but she and her brain just recently got smart enough to tell the difference between adults a little bit better.  so i’m patiently earning my way back to more non-screaming awake time with The Cadet, earplugs in place.

that’s right, i am Learning About Babies.  they are different than toddlers and preschoolers.  and it might that i’m wearing my [new] glasses, which are worn by all the other adults The Cadet trusts, but truth be told, we are having more and more non-screaming awake time (NSAT?) daily.  screaming’s cool, though!  these days i like all kinds of screaming in my music, for instance.  i’ve had to keep reminding myself that babies don’t cry for the same reasons older humans cry– most of the time The Cadet’s not sad or pissed off, she’s just got gas bubbles that she could use somebody’s help to thump out.  i can totally help her with that!  blogreaders, soon you will recognize me by the size of my giant upper-back and arm muscles.  all the same, it has taken some effort to not take The Cadet’s crying personally.  In that vein though, it’s fun to think of all the cuss words she’s using (WHY DONT YOU ASSHOLES EVER FUCKING FEED ME?  NO ONE HAS EVER FED ME, NOT EVEN ONCE!  FUUCK!).  but whatever.  babies cry.  i get it.  they sleep too!  that’s why i’m blogging right now!  when The Cadet falls asleep, it’s better than winning.

lastly, blogreaders, i’m really tempted to brag about the clever ways i slacked off during last week’s afternoons with Elroy to compensate for adjusting to a new work schedule, but those kind of secrets get told in person, not on a blog.  …i did FINALLY break 24,000 points at Chuck E Cheese’s skeeball, i’ll tell you that much.

“Dont Tell Mom The Babysitter is Rad”

Ok, ok.  Here’s a blog about my dayjob: I nanny a 4 year old menace in one of my city’s richest neighborhoods; hilarity ensues.  That sort of thing.  Let’s keep it anonymous; that’s good for keeping one’s dayjob.  We’ll pretend my young charge’s name is Elroy because that’s funny.  Oh, and as jobs go, I mostly love my job.  That’s important.

So, new blog, this was a big week for head injuries.  Elroy hit his head everyday Monday-Wednesday, like go-get-an-ice-pack kind of hit his head.  Like, watch for signs of concussion (Monday), apologize that keeping him from running away from the time-out spot led to a head bonk but he’s still in time-out (Tuesday), knock on neighbors-who-are-doctors’ doors for stitches vs butterfly bandages consultation (Wednesday) kind of head-hitting.  I’m happy to report that Thursday and Friday were injury-free, and enhanced by an adorable cartoon bandaid and steri-strip situation straddling the bridge of Elroy’s nose.  He’s fine, you guys, I’m not a total jerk.  I did drink almost all of his hot chocolate today, though.

One time I was taking care of two almost-2 yr-old boys, and I turned around from locking the front door just in time to watch their double stroller roll down the front walk, down half a dozen steps, and smash their foreheads against the sidewalk.  (I thought the stroller was fully unfolded but it wasn’t, so when I kicked the brake-stopper into the wheel, it didn’t take.)  THAT was the worst.  It took me a week or two to be able to talk about it without crying.

Miraculously, the kids were fine; double-miraculously, their parents weren’t upset with me and continued to pay me to take care of their kids.  Okay, okay, one of the kids got a little egg on his forehead and a bit of a bruise for a day or two, but he wasn’t afraid of me or the stroller the next day.  In fact, and ah, once it was clear that their kids were okay, the parents were really nice to me and tagteam told me all kinds of stories about times when they were responsible for their kids getting hurt, or almost hurt, and how scary and terrible and inevitable it is.  Then I called my mom, told her about it, (cried some more,) and my mom told me all about when I was a baby and she let my leg get burned by a hot seatbelt buckle.  That made *her* cry, and I told her it was okay, I definitely forgive her.

So besides creating opportunities to do serious early childhood trauma reconciliation work with your parents, here are some other thing can be useful about minor injuries at the childcare workplace:

1. It is useful to know what the register of crying sounds like for when a kid is truly hurt and scared, since kids do a lot of crying just for attention & comfort.  I’m down for giving attention and comfort, obvi.  It’s just nice to know whether to join them in flipping out.

2. Oh yeah, *that’s* why we told you not to jump on your bed, Elroy.  It’s not that we hate fun, we just didn’t want you to bust your face on the clean lines of your contemporary modern new big-kid bed.  20 points for the international adult conspiracy.

3. If the minor injury results in your kiddo looking really cute and a little pathetic, it’s easier to try to be nice and act like a creative, emotionally-grounded grown-up when he’s yelling at you, being shitty to his friends, trying to pull your hair, etc.

4. If you can’t be nice, you can make up funny nicknames like Bandaid-Face or Young Master Bandaid-Face.  You can sneak cellphone pictures of Bandaid-Face and send messages to your friends, “This site 0 days without accidents.”

5. Oh yeah.  I’ve been meaning to get re-certified in CPR & First Aid.  And to invite the other nannies on the playground to come along too.  And then talk about what our jobs are like without kids or parents around.  And then start a domestic workers union.