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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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Couldn't Have Graduated Without Him

This post is a little late in coming.

It took me a while to find this photo in the chaos that is our fallingdownhouse.

I'll miss you, Best Dog in Maine.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

In to the Lab

Sometimes I love what the kids imagine. Sometimes it makes me cringe. On rare occasions, it does both.

For instance, just a few minutes ago, Miss E headed off for the secret room (a small understairs closet off the 2nd floor bath that the kids use as a kind of club house, see this post for other references) with a doll she calls Sarah, and called out for O to come into "The Lab." O jumped up, and yelling, "Lab!" at the top of his lungs disappeared into the bathroom and under the stairs.

I called out, "Just try not to do too many experiments on your brother, OK?" as the door closed.



Tuesday, January 22, 2008

964 Places Left to See Before I Die

Mr. Boss got this book for Father's Day this past year, and I page through it sometimes when I'm bored. I've just now gotten through the US and Canada, and it turns out that I've got more than a few of these ticked off. Who knew?

1. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
2. California's Wine Country, CA
3. Mystic Seaport, CT
4. Key West, FL
5. Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL
6. Savannah's Historic District, GA
7. Maui, HI
8. Oahu, HI
9. Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID
10. The Freedom Trail, Boston and Charleston, MA
11. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA
12. Legal Sea Foods (really!), Boston, MA
13. Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod, MA
14. Martha's Vinyard, MA
15. Mount Washington, NH
16. The Adirondacks, NY
17. The Catskills, NY
18. The Finger Lakes, NY
19. The Hudson Valley, NY
20. New York City, NY
21. Museum Mile, New York, NY
22. Saratoga Springs, NY
23. Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA
24. Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
25. Manchester Village, VT
26. Stowe Mountain Resort, VT
27. Monticello, VA
28. Pikes Place Market, Seattle, WA
29. The National Mall and Monuments, DC
30. The Smithsonian, DC
31. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
32. London, England
33. Pompeii, Italy
34. Rome, Italy, (six out of the top ten)
35. Florence, Italy (six out of the top ten)
36. Venice, Italy (five out of the top ten)


The Gear Report

Recently, I was asked by my mother to gather up a list of baby products that I felt were useful, if not necessary, and a good value, for my sister-in-law, who's expecting in May. The same day, pal Fibby asked a few of her friends the same question via email. I thought, aha! here's a relevant topic for the blog, so, forgive me, Fibs, here is the meat of that email, edited for blog format. Feel free to find my thoughts preposterous, you know I don't mind.

I heart:

~The Fisher Price Space Saver Highchair, because it works for infants as a seat, all the way through to a meal time toddler booster, and it just attaches to your existing chairs - no extra space needed!

~The Infantino Giddy Up & Go Gym, and
~The Tiny Love Tiny Smarts 5 Pack
**I got these two gifts together, and Felix LOVES them! He spends hours playing in the gym, at 2 months - it's a miracle!

~I love my Vera Bradley diaper bag, since it's classy and functional, and I've added a Purseket to it, for added organization

~While I'm not a Baby Einstein believer, I do love Bard the Dragon from the original Baby Mozart, and so does Mark, so we picked the Graco Baby Einstein Exersaucer.

~We've used this sleep positioner since the day he came home, and it's inexpensive but good if you feel the need to have one, but the best bedtime thing when he was tiny was this sleep sack, since we don't keep the heat very high in our house, especially at night.

~I needed a tough, adaptable urban assault stroller for the mean streets of Boston, in all weathers, due to work, and while those Bugaboo ones are awfully sexy, after much research, I discovered the Britax Vigour stroller, and Companion infant car seat, and they are all the best of the Bugaboo's features for about half the price, even with the car seat, which is an add on, and you'd still have to buy the car seat and an adapter kit for your Bugaboo. I've tricked my stroller out for city nannying outings with a rain cover, sun shade, and stroller caddy.

~We registered for, and use, the Fisher Price Baby Papasan, but Felix actually enjoys the Carter's Bouncy Seat that the family I work for saved for our use. It's not on the market anymore, makes a similar one. What I like about this style seat versus the Papasan is that you can hang/interchange different toys, which keeps my little one happier longer.

~If you're looking for a breast pump for occasional pumping, versus serious pumping for going back to work, I recommend the Avent system. The hand held Isis model is inexpensive, easy to use, and effective.

~Any board book by Sandra Boynton!!!!! My personal favorites are "Snuggle Puppy," "But Not the Hippopotamus," "The Going to Bed Book," and "Birthday Monsters."

~Cloth diapers for burp cloths. They're super absorbent, bleachable, and cheap. A dozen gets us through two weeks, on average.

~A Dutaillier glider rocker and footstool AND Boppy pillow for the nursery, especially if you're nursing. I know the gliders are pricey, but you can usually get good deals on them on Craigslist and Ebay, since people sell them after they're done having babies.

~I use this changing pad because I like the Serta Sheep, and I don't recommend a cover, it's just more laundry to do. This cleans up nicely in a pinch with baby wipes, and with dish soap and warm water for a more serious clean.

~I DON'T recommend our monitor. We got the Graco Digital iMonitor, since it had a lot of the monitor features I wanted, but what it also has is one of those rechargeable battery packs, like you find in a cordless phone, and it doesn't hold a charge when it's out of its dock for more than about five minutes, so you're limited to places near an outlet. I'd go for one that uses regular batteries in the receiver. That way you can recharge your own batteries.

I'm sure there's more, and I'm sure I'll have more to say on the subject as Felix gets bigger and more active, but that's it for now.

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To Wear or Not To Wear: Something On One's Bottom Half

By the time I'm done with the 2007 holiday knitting, it will be time to start on 2008.

It's an absolute truth, people. I just cast on for yet another belated gift. This one I hope to have on its way to Maine by Valentine's Day. Merry Valentinmas?

I've still got a scarf, two pairs of fingerless gloves, and a golf club cover to do after this. There's also Felix's baby blanket on needles, and three other projects from last summer that I abandoned in favor of holiday knitting. Hmmmm... When will I get to knit all the socks I want to try?

Yesterday, while I finished Miss E's hat, she spent the day in a t-shirt and undies, complaining of the cold, and hoarding blankets on the couch. When I, ever so foolishly, suggested pants, she looked at me like I was a single-cell life form, and said, "I don't have to wear pants in the house."

While this is, technically, true, I was irritated by her tone, and reminded her that pants, while not strictly required, would keep her warm, and away from the confines of the couch. No luck. Pantless, she continued to complain, and I continued to be unsympathetic.

Did I mention that the house is heated to a balmy 72 degrees? Bet she'd wear pants at my house... we keep it at 62 degrees.

She had opted to stay home with O, Felix, and I while their Dad took Big Brother J skiing at Mount Sunapee for the day. I think she somehow thought a day home would be nonstop excitement. I had been looking forward to a quiet day with the little boys, largely occupied by playing trains and trucks, knitting, and napping, so needless to say, she was mildly disappointed. Miss E is a great one for needing entertainment. Recently, she's started reading chapter books, which helps, but heaven help a nanny if she hasn't got a bagful of suggestions when the reading no longer cuts it. At 6, *my* Mom sent me to play with my toys until I was called for lunch, and made me take an hour's rest after lunch before being sent off to play again until supper. She also asked that we wear something on our bottom half, and I feel I had quite a nice upbringing.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Show & Tell: Hats

I know you all read this blog for the witty observations (ahem...), but today's a little show and tell. I've been knitting like a fiend over the holidays, even since I've been back to work, and I have a few things to show for it! The funny thing is, many, many of these things were hats. And here they are:

Me, modeling Big Brother J's hat, first in a coordinating series of hats for the kids.

Me, modeling O's hat, second in the coordinating hat series.

Miss E modeling her hat. Third in the series.

Me, again, in my new hat, a luscious cashmere and merino Brioche stitch hat.

So, those were the hats. Enjoy your MLK day.


Friday, January 18, 2008

OK, so when I say full recovery...

... I was underestimating the length of the rest of the day.

Felix woke up from an hour's nap, around 3pm, and yikes! did he not feel well. He shrieked and shrieked, obviously feeling the "fussiness" that the Doctor warned me about. I, foolishly, assumed that in a house with three kids, one not quite three years old, there would still be some infant's Tylenol kicking around, so I didn't sweat it.

Big mistake. Huge.

There was no infant's formula, and as my Doctor expressly forbid the use of any other product, I was stuck. O was napping, I was the lone adult in the house, and Gary Drug was taunting me from two blocks away.

I was 6pm, yes, three hours later, by the time I was able to get to the drug store, by which time my son was a whole case of baskets. The Tylenol did its belated magic, and Felix was able to calm down, and even smile before the time came to pack it in and return to suburbia at 7.

He had a rough evening, and finally gave up at 9:30, crashing in my lap after a feeding, drooling a little on his stripey pajamas.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just Like A Man

Today marks ten weeks of Felix, and was also his two month visit to the pediatrician. He was in high spirits as he was stripped, measured, and weighed. He continued to be high spirits as he peed twice, spouting fountainous urine into the exam room scale and across the exam table. Everyone was laughing, including O, who had come along for the ride, and Felix just lay back in the scale, naked, and smiling the smile of an empty bladder.

Later in the visit, he got innoculated against a laundry list of bacterias and diseases (in the photo he's calmly awaiting the nurses, half dressed on the recently cleaned and dried exam table), and in three injections, lost his cool. Luckily for him, his mother was there with a reassuring snuggle and snack combo. O watched over him in the car, as he slept, and by lunchtime he'd made a full recovery.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back to Work

If Mary Poppins herself had also been a mother, would she have transported her offspring in that carpet bag? "Well, darlings, we're off to rescue another family from spoilt children and absentee fathers. Come along, dears, into the bag you go. Oh, do watch out for that hat rack as you go!"

If only it was that simple.

It is however, not quite as complicated, or as exhausting, as I'd fretted it might be.

Felix and I have come in to work since Tuesday. We're done today, because the bosses don't want me burning out in the first stretch and giving up, which I truly appreciate, and the woman who's filled my shoes these last nine weeks has been here most of the time, too. It's almost like having a nanny for the nanny :)

On the home front, the Great Rewiring Project of Late 2007 is coming towards a close, and it can't happen soon enough. Having a half finished house is one thing, so long as the finished half looks finished. When the finished half has holes, open switch boxes, and capped wiring sticking out of the walls, it can get slightly annoying. I can't even harangue the contractor too much, since he's also Felix's dad, and my husband, and a stand-up guy, who leaves his job only to come home to more of the same.

Perhaps we're both cursed that way?

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Say A Little Prayer for You

If I believe in any higher power, what/whomever it is loves pets as much as it loves their owners. And while I don't normally pray, I do ask whatever higher power it is to go easy on the best dog in Maine. 'Cause I love him, and his family loves him the most.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Nitty Gritty of the New Year

To avoid resolutions and the usual trotting out of platitudes, I've stayed away from public introspection on this here blog during the New Year's Eve/New Year's Day double whammy, and I'll stand by that choice. Suffice it to say, 2007 was lovely. It was also good, bad, ugly, and altogether a year in my life. I have high hopes for 2008. Moving on.

On this, the 2nd of the year, Felix and I are having my morning coffee in the kitchen, pondering my return to work, which quite suddenly looms in front of me. Not that permanent housewifedom would suit me, but I've really enjoyed most of the last eight weeks. Not the all night crying jags, the endless feeding sessions that go nowhere, and the swamping sense of isolation that drives women to go the mall for stimulation, but the chance to actually see Mark during the workweek, the chance to play with my little boy (which largely constitutes me making silly faces at him, and puffing into his belly button, but you get my drift...), and the extra time to get some projects done around the house. And then there are the projects I haven't gotten done... and we're back to the looming.

I am excited about getting back out into the world with my little guy. I miss my work friends, and the kids, and the foolishness of Beacon Hill. I'm nervous as hell about the long hours, and how that's going to affect Mark, never mind me. He's gotten pretty used to having us around. I'm afraid, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I won't be able to hack it, and I'll be looking for a job or contemplating single income living before the year's out, and neither one of those prospects in particularly attractive.

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