Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why I Hate the Housekeeper; or It All Boils Down to Steve Guttenberg

I don't know how many of you are Steven Guttenberg fans, but I personally heart The Gutt, especially when his co-star is a quirky robot. But I digress....

You see, it's Thursday, the "cleanest day of the week" here at MoMP's urban HQ (also known as the day the kids can literally eat off the floors - we have about a one minute rule after the housekeeper has made her weekly dust cattle drive). The housekeeper is in her fifth year of service here, and for most of those five years I've dreamed of throttling her (even while I was employed elsewhere - perhaps I'm a little obsessed...). She's a meddlesome creature, always trying to foist her opinions on childrearing on me.

Her favorite activity is undermining my authority. As I am a type-Aish, Aries-ey kind of gal, you can see how this might not sit so well with me. Example: I take a loose approach to balanced eating. I figure as long as the kids are getting all of their food groups, I don't care about the order of the courses. On the Thursday in question, I gave O a bowl of miniature cheese ravioli, a bowl of apple slices, and a glass of milk. He's merrily eating away, alternating between ravioli and apples, and I'm having my PB&J (BabyPants lurves the PB&J). Between trips to the feather duster and the vacuum cleaner, she keeps coming over to the table, moving his apples out of his reach, and saying, "No, no. First your ravioli, then you have the apple." During this exchange, I am sitting right there.


Trying to avoid a conflict, I take the passive aggressive road, and give him back his apples when her back is turned. Three more times she comes over and "corrects" his eating. Three more times I play possum and just slide the apple bowl on over to him when she leaves the room.

It made me crazy.

Another example: the family is redoing the master bedroom right now, and there has been a veritable army of contractors around here. The guys have access to the two bathrooms in the kids' rooms during the day, since otherwise they'd have to trek downstairs to use the "guest bath" on the second floor. All I ask of them is that they use whichever one doesn't have a sleeping child in it. Fair enough, right? These guys are nice - I like them. They respect the fact that we have to live here during all this nonsense. It's cool.

Two weeks ago, while O&I were out playing, the housekeeper lectured the lead carpenter about using the bathroom in E&J's room. She told them they were dirty men and that they should never use Miss E's bathroom. When I came home, and eventually put O down for his nap, the lead guy says to me, "So now which bath should my guys use?"

I answer, "The other bedroom, of course."

He tells me about his encounter with the housekeeper, and I assure him that my employers, the homeowners, and financers of the remodel, are fine with them using which ever bathroom is available to them at the time.

Now, I can appreciate her concerns. I can. But instead of telling off the contractors, shouldn't she have voiced her concerns to me, or to the bosses directly? The whole thing bugs me, because I had made sure to establish an easy, respectful relationship with the carpenters, and she was blowing it. I have to share the house with these guys eight hours a day, for six weeks. She's here for four hours on Thursday. Gah!

You likely think I'm psycho by now.

Lastly, and this is me at my most petty. She sounds like a Latina version of Johnny-Five. Don't get me wrong. I love that robot, but his vocal timbre is not attractive on a 55 year old Domincan woman.

Steve Guttenberg, please come and collect her! She needs to go back to the lab to be disassembled!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Season of the Sexy Bees!

Ahh, spring, beautiful season of birdsong and crocuses... and the waspy critters that nest in our roofline. What exact breed they are escapes me. We haved dubbed them the "Sexy Bees" for their sleek, steamlined bods and their mating-danceesque behavior.

We saw them emerge this evening, to reestablish their reign of terror over our yard.

Held hostage by the sexy bees. How embarrassing....


The Book I've Been Waiting For Happened!

Laurie of Crazy Aunt Purl has been published! Ignore the reviews at Amazon - they're poor at best, and check out Laurie's post on the topic.

Let me promise you, you needn't be drunk, divorced, or covered in cat hair to appreciate the warmth, wit, and sheer bravery of this woman. Her blog tells it like it is, and I sometimes really wish she was my actual friend, not just a truly admirable blogger (now Author) who lives 3000 miles away from me and wouldn't know I was a dedicated reader if she tripped over me at the LYS.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Tough Morning At the Office

It is 82 degrees in Boston this lovely Monday. 82 degrees!

O&I had one small errand to run for Mommy; taking her black pants to the tailor for a new lining. On the way there, we encountered a street construction project underway. After leaving the pants with the tailor (cheapest hems on Charles Street, and her stitches are lovely!), we stopped to watch the excavator/dumptruck duo dig up a portion of the street.

We stayed for an hour and a half! O plunked himself down on the sidewalk with his Goldfish crackers and his Nalgene sippy bottle and watched this excavator work. He didn't talk. He didn't fidget. It was quite simply mindblowing.

After a while, Nana happened to pass us on the sidewalk. She joined us for a few minutes, did some errands, and then returned. At that point we waved a vigorous "bye-bye" to the crew and headed off to explore the Common and the Public Garden under the guise of walking Nana home.

Back at home, we dragged out O's Tonka cement mixer and some chalk and played on the street for a few minutes. While out there we were lucky enough to spend some quality time with Ace and Bailey, the neighborhood Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

He's all tuckered out now, and I'm looking forward to a nice long nap for both of us!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Glory Be!

Oh, the sun!

Marvelous. Yesterday was spent cleaning, and we had an impromptu dinner on the deck with the incomparable L&T and Team M (bringing the dog and toddler show down from Maynahd, yo!). Our soon to be ex-neighbor J came over (oh, yes, he of the odd sense of propriety) with some of his beer collection and a bottle of The Glenlivet. This was enjoyed by the menfolk after the meats were done grilling, not out of any women's solidarity movement, but more because none of us like Scotch (oh, and I can't have it, anyway). It was a pleasant evening, with the deck all set up; I hope the first of many.

Last night I had a vibrant dream of going to the prom with a man named Sean, who looked like someone I used to know, but I can't quite put my finger on who he actually was...

Today I have laundry to do, and more spring cleaning (with an eye to thinning out my wardrobe for the yard sale and Salvation Army bags). I'm hoping to get outside and pick rocks out of my front garden, since the rubble from the porch demolition is stunting the growth of my heirloom primroses.

Oooh, don't I sound fancy!

I think maybe I'm just high on the fresh air and sunshine!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Baby on Board

I've been a broken record of exhaustion, crank, and illness for more than few weeks, now, and I feel I owe my readers an apology. You see, MoMP is expecting in November (11/6 to be as precise as modern medicine will allow). I am not having an easy go of it, and that has leaked into my "writing." Most of my regular readers (ie: my six friends) now know, so this is just a general announcement for any lurkers (Welcome!) our there who might have objected to my tone in weeks past.

Please to enjoy, Babypants!


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Free Cone Day!

There are New Englanders, and there are crazy people. I'll leave it to you to decide which we are.

Fibby and M, O, Miss E, and I had our playdate, our lunch, and then we headed out into the mist, across the Public Garden, to the Scoop Shop at the Park Plaza. Midway there, the real rain, and the sleet happened. By the time we were huddled under the awning at 20 Park Plaza eating our free ice cream, the wind was howling, and the sleet had gotten more severe. We made it back across the Public Garden, Fibby and I giggling about our craziness, and I returned Fibby and M to Brookline. I'm pretty sure Miss E still hasn't forgiven me. She doesn't like to be wet or cold...


This Year's Ark

So sick was I this weekend! I'm still not feeling quite right... I had one heck of a stomach virus. I'll spare y'all the details, but suffice it to say it was gross.

It spoiled by birthday dinner, and my birthday weekend plans, and I was CRANKY. Now, it's Tuesday, and instead of a quiet day with O, I get "sick" Miss E (more like overtired Miss E, but she gets to miss school for a hangnail, so what can I do? Ok, that was unfair... I'm just irked because O and I have a playdate with Fibby and M, and I don't want to listen to her whine...)

Could I grump a little more? Probably!

Let me complain about the weather, - it has been raining for 40 days and 40 nights. It's time for me to start taking applications for this year's Ark.

This year, MoMP's Ark is looking for folks especially talented in amusement, particularly the amusement of me. Also, any Animals, Two-By-Two are welcomed (save, of course, dogs, as Maurice and Amelie have filled those positions - all other dogs simply need to demonstrate a secondary talent to secure a place on the Ark), provided they sign the release form indicating that I'm not held responsible for any predator-prey activities onboard. Oh, and Lawyers, since those are always in plentiful supply!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am 30 today. Yipes.

OK, I'm over it.

Time for Pomegranate Cocktails!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ten Years Ago...

I turn 30 in less than 24 hours. I'm mostly fine with this, but it does bring about my nostalgic side...

I remember my 20th birthday quite clearly, which is impressive, given the amount of alcohol (what?! underage?!) I consumed. There was a triple birthday party for myself, and pals Y and B, who were turning 19 and 21 - we were all in a row! I wore a red shirt and danced on a table! I had a pink stuffed lobster on my head and a bouquet of tulips perched in my cleavage. The party was in Frank and Glenn and Company's suite on 6th floor Milliken. There was SoCo... ooops.

It's strange to think that was 10 years ago. Sometimes, it still feels like yesterday. Those friends are mostly still in my life, though, and that is one of the things I treasure most. Of course, we're all quite respectable these days, more than a few married or shacked up, a kid or two running around... and we've buried one of our own, but I think that's what happens when you can tuck a decade of friendship between so many people into your pockets.

This weekend, I'll celebrate with some local friends, a small group of loved friends, and I'm sure I'll get sloppy and nostalgic about the early days of my friendships with them, too. 'Cause that's how I roll. Y'all know. (Thanks Purl for that one....)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Kudos to the Boston Fire Department!

Today, while waiting to cross the corner of beacon and Charles Streets, around 11:45 AM, we saw two BFD Engines come roaring around the corner under full siren and flashers. They were clearly on their way somewhere in a hurry.

That said, the driver of the first engine noticed little O standing on the corner waving, and stuck and arm out the window in vigorous hello as they rounded the corner. It made a little boy's morning.

I'm proud to have that crew out there saving lives. That's all.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Forget About Big Brother: Complete Strangers Are Watching

Through a a joke from friend of a friend, I discovered the world of nanny tattletale blogs.

I work in an industry fraught with issues, both real and media-fabricated. It's easy to say, "Just a nanny," but it's just not so. I walk a fine line between being a parent and being a domestic employee. In the absence of my employers, I am expected to fill their shoes - but not too full, mind you, as I'm not actually the parent. I have to provide structure and discipline, as well as creativity and fun. Like most nannies, I plan outings, read stories, facilitate playdates, drive the carpool, play games, bandage wounds, change diapers, help with homework, do laundry, wash dishe, and cook, often three meals a day. In my specific case, I also run selected errands, do some food shopping, sign for packages, and field home-owner-style troubles, such as supervising appliance repair, etc. I have been trusted by my employers to bring their kids up. That's huge. They hired me believing that I would do so to the best of my ability, and feeling that my childrearing ideas and techniques complemented theirs.

These kind of websites (introducing I Saw Your Nanny) foster every negative stereotype about my fellow nannies. Let me begin by saying that posting on these sites you're opening yourself up to the same judgement you're handing down. You say you saw a nanny on her cell phone at the playground. Do you, as a parent, never have a cell phone conversation yourself? You say you saw a nanny shout at a child. Have you, as a parent, never gotten so frustrated that you raised your voice? You saw a nanny reading a book, knitting, chatting with another nanny while Junior dumped sand or water on himself in the sandbox? Junior's just being a kid, maybe that should be ok. ... Oh, grow up, and stop tattletaling!

First off, how can you be *absolutely* sure she's the nanny? Black woman with white child? Could be an aunt, an adoptive mother, a family friend. Looks too young to be Mom? Could be a vastly older sibling, young aunt, cousin, next door neighbor. Latina with white child? See above.

Of course, perhaps worse, is that there are surely parents reading this blog. If you need to check a tattler blog to see if your nanny is reliable, perhaps you hired the wrong woman?

I can't stand the idea that this blog is treated like a valid source of information! Where is the tattler blog for corporate financiers? "Today, at Starbucks on Blahblah Street, I saw your bank teller order a double shot. She told her coworker she had a wretched hangover..." Ugh. We are a society of jackals without enough meaningful things to do in our days, if this is the drivel we get up to in our spare time.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April Foolishness

I managed to salvage a few photos for YOTN, mostly from uploads that I hadn't filed and from my phone, so the damage isn't as serious as I once thought. Chances are (and it's true, I don't exactly remember) y'all missed some dog pictures, and maybe some of the wacky weather we had for a few days at the end of last month....

Speaking of wacky weather, though, it was hailing this morning when I took the dogs out at 6:15! Tiny hail, but certainly hail. It downgraded to sleetish rain by 7, and the skies were cloudy by sans precipitation by the time I made it to Boston at 8. I love spring in New England.

Plans are now officially being made for a yard sale Chez Fallingdownhouse, and we're both getting into the spirit. Mark's looking at stuff, and saying, "That's going in the yard sale!" (Things like the TV cabinet and kitchen table and chairs!) I'm not sure how much we'll really sell, but it's worth a shot. If it doesn't sell, it'll be going on the charity truck (which looks suspiciously like a VW Jetta wagon), Clean House style! Meanwhile, the flooring (and in some spots, subflooring) is coming up in what will be the downstairs bath, and maybe by the end of thee summer, we'll have some semblance of a bathroom there.

If we luck out and the weather turns mild for my birthday, I want to have the deck set up (including our new umbrella and hammock!). I declare, things are starting to come together - though you'd never know it by the looks of it right now. We're awash in a sea of dog hair and mud tracked in from 47,000 trips out to let the puppy pee.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007


It's painfully obvious that I've not kept up with uploading pictures for Year of the Nanny, and my laziness has bitten me in the ass at last.

I let O have the camera earlier this afternoon, and in addition to perhaps taking some incredible blurry photographs of the floor, he inadvertently deleted my memmory card, leaving me sans pictures for more or less the last two weeks.

I'm calling it a setback, and moving forward (and maybe someday I'll get that film developed...).

Off I go to salvage what I can...