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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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Walk in the Gardens

This morning, while I was on my own while O was out on a trip to the Museum of Science, I took Felix for a walk in the Public Gardens, to play with my new camera and to remind myself what I love about where I work. The Swan Boats are back in service for the season, and I stopped for a while in my favorite spot to watch the tourists rising around the duck pond. I still love to ride them every now and again, especially with the kids. It's one of the best deals in town, as far as tourist attractions go.

I couldn't resist the chance to photograph the luscious pink blossoms on this tree while I was here. The new camera has a digital macro setting that allows super close ups with a little point and shoot, and I've been dying to give it a try.

The tulip beds in the Public Gardens are always gorgeous, and my favorite ones are the primary colored beds on the west side of the bridge. I wasn't the only one photographing the tulips this morning. I actually had to wait in an informal sort of queue. It was pretty amusing. Lucky for me, Felix was sleeping, so I was able to wait as long as it took.

This guy didn't give a whit that I was there. The digital zoom helped a little... He was actually sitting next to a man and his son who were enabling throwing crumbs for the ducks, and I imagine he got thrown one or two in the melee.

When we got to the ducklings, I was hoping Felix would be awake to mug for the lens a little, but he was indulging in a fresh air nap, so how could I wake him? And one or two exceptions, it's not like the ducklings are going anywhere, are they?

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Memories of the Casbah

I heard the Clash in the car this morning, and thought of my grandmother.

In 1982, when The Clash released Combat Rock, I didn't know who The Clash was, or what a casbah was, or why we were rockin' one. I had just turned five, and was finishing my last month at preschool.

What I did know was that I should be shaking what I had when the song came on on MTV. Yes MTV, when it used to play music videos.

The funny thing is that we didn't have cable of any kind growing up, so there was no MTV at my house. Our neighborhood was in an odd position for utility service. We were separated from the rest of our town by an airport (no telephone poles from town), so our phone service came from the city adjacent, but the cable company wouldn't do us the same courtesy for many years. The point of all this is that the place where I watched the MTV was my grandmother's house. She would indulge my youthful need to shake it, and allow me to watch Solid Gold (oh, Dionne Warwick!) and a little bit of MTV, and I worshipped her TV!

I have one distinct memory of dancing in her living room to Rock the Casbah while she looked on, astonished and somewhat confused by my odd need to dance to the "noisy music," but indulging and loving, nonetheless. I wonder how she'd feel to know that twenty six years later, I still remember her fondly when I hear the Clash on my iPod?

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Friday, April 25, 2008

But I Never Wonder...

... how we created this one...


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


... I wonder how Mark & I ever managed to create this gorgeous child....


You Can Leave Your (Fire) Hat On

O cracks me up. Even when I'm determined to be annoyed with him.

He turned three in March and still shows no interest in the potty. I'm not sweating it for his sake, but with Felix here, I'm changing a lot of diapers. Also, and please excuse the indelicacy, there's a big difference between a three year old's poopy diaper and that of a six month old.

So, early this morning, I lined the boys up to change diapers, and O had pooped and not told me, which only amplifies the mess I have to clean up due to prolonged exposure to his tush. In response, I was trying the, "You're old enough for me to speak frankly to you. Poop goes in the toilet," line on him, only to have it fall on deaf ears. While he was already half undressed for clean up, I had him take off his jammy shirt, so we could put on clothes for the day. While I turned my attention, assembly line style, to Felix, O was left to his own devices.

When I turned back to him, I laughed so hard I cried. There he was, standing naked as a jaybird in his living room, with a plastic fireman's helmet on his head.

"I nudie," says he.



Saturday, April 19, 2008


I'm willing to try new things to succeed at this whole weight loss thing. Anyone who has known me for a few years in the real world, knows I did it once before. The knowing that I have done it, and therefore can do it again, is sometimes more daunting than walking into my first Weight Watchers meeting without a clue more than eight years ago.

Last week, coming off of a few weeks of throwing the whole effort out of the window, I went back to meeting, and I promised myself two things. One, I would journal every bite that went into my mouth, even when I was blowing my day on leftover birthday cake. The other, that I would make every effort to rack up 10,000 steps on my pedometer.

Well, I didn't completely succeed at either goal, but I still managed to take off 2.4 of the pounds that had crept back on while I was throwing it all out the window. Staying for the meeting helped, too.

The truth is, the more I stay constantly vigilant and accountable for my actions, the better I do. It may seem obvious, but it's a fundamental truth at meetings, and it's something I have to struggle with daily.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Book Club 2008: 2nd Month

I forgot to post a review of my second book in the book circle. This was the first selection from another reader, so I was excited to get into it. It was originally going to be What Is Mine by Anne Holt, but it got switched at the last minute to The Third Secret by Steve Berry.

The Third Secret, by Steve Berry

Let me start by saying that I've read his work before. I thoroughly enjoyed both The Templar Legacy and The Romanov Prophecy. This novel centers around the pope (it was written before Pope Benedict, and tells the story of the Pope after John Paul II) and past accounts of Marian visions around Europe, particular the visions at Fatima. I love Vactican intrigue stories, so this was an easy read for me. Add to it a novel which questions Catholic dogma and reaches slightly different conclusions than you might expect, a good love story, murder and mayhem, and you've got this book. I'd recommend it, especially if you like your yummy fiction with a little thought on top.

Next month: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. (and yes, I know I'm the last person on the planet to read this book...)


Academy of an Unquiet Mind

Since sometime in my third trimester, which coincided with the end of sanity sleep as I knew it, I started having a recurring dreamscape. It's always the same academic setting, kind of an amalgam of Worcester Academy (oskeewowwow, in my dreams...) and Middlebury, with a dash of film imagery, think Hogwarts meets Baird (HOOwah!). The central plot is that I've consistently missed my history class with Mr. Woodhouse (my actual high school history teacher), and I'll fail the class if don't start showing up. The conflict is always different. In some dreams I'm lost, or can't find the right classroom, sometimes I'm so late, I just bail on the class, sometimes social engagements keep me from getting to class.

Peculiarly, the dreams always seem to feature either long lost friends from school, or casual acquaintances and friends of friends from school. For example, last night I couldn't get to class because I couldn't find my clothes in my messy dorm room, and my roommate was a guy, a former roommate of a friend, and he briefly dated another friend of mine in college. Odd, to say the least. The new twist in this latest dream was that my teacher ran into me, and expressed concern that I'd been missing class and wanted to help me make everything up before the end of the semester.

These dreams always come when I'm stressed and over tired, and it's not that hard to see where they're coming from. Still, it's eye opening to get a "time to relax and get some sleep!" warning from your subconscious, and to know exactly what it is. Now, if I could only get Felix to go back to sleeping through the night, so I could comply.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Strawberries and Ketchup

It's Tax Day. Have you filed?

Today's adventures include...

...spending an extra minute this morning planning what in my bathroom (Yes, my bathroom. Wanna make something of it?) I was going to vacuum with the object of my objectiphilia the new Dyson.

...teething. Yikes. Like a wild animal. My knuckles are bruised from tiny gums working out their pain.

...finding out that the stoooopid Health Care Mega Corporpation, which accidentally canceled our policy a month before they should have, is now refusing claims made during the disputed period. The upside? We used to owe them a month's premiums. Now, they owe me $33.50. In the end, when I pay the one outstanding claim from the month in question in cash, I'll still have $750 in my pocket from not paying for any premiums that month. More evidence that health care insurance is totally messed up.

...O asking for ketchup for his lunchtime chicken nuggets, and then using it as a topping for his fresh strawberries. The upside? Lycopene and vitamin C, people. Antioxidents like you read about!

...cold calling a new dentist to get a crown done on the root canal tooth, since my previous dentist doesn't accept our new dental coverage, and crowns are not cheap.

...discovering that I walk 1.5 to 2 miles every day just around the house and neighborhood. I bought a pedometer this past weekend, and it's been such a great addition to my routine. I'm walking a little more to rack up the steps and get Activity Points added back into my day, and with the pedometer I can actually figure it out, and see my progress as I go. In any case, I feel that any step I can take to get control of my weight loss efforts is a good step.

...noticing that despite everyone hyping Boston's new status as Tinseltown by the Charles, the catering company servicing the filming near the Common is based from LA, New York, and Nashville. Improving the local economy, my left ear.

And just think, it's only just the early afternoon.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Absolute Animal

Isn't that sexy? I saw it at Target the other day, and told Mark about how, in a perfect world, I would own such a vacuum, and live a slightly cleaner existence, with less stress and fewer hours spent combating the hair from Lola, Maurice, and Amelie.

When Mark came home with Felix yesterday (that in itself being quite an early birthday gift - three hours to myself!!!), they'd been to Target, where they procured for me my very own Animal. While some of you might say, "A vacuum cleaner? As a birthday gift?" I counter that it was something I truly desired, something I never would have bought myself, amd something I could certainly have lived without, so I think it was a marvelous gift.

I also was able, using birthday funds, to finally order an upgraded digital camera. The one we have is super slow, and doesn't really do a good job of capturing video. Since Mark and I aren't the type to carry an actual video camera, I wanted a point and shoot that would capture decent video with audio for those moments we just have to get on video. Here's hoping my research paid off. I can't wait for it to come!

From a gifty standpoint, it was rather a stellar birthday. What's even better, I had a lovely day, both with and without my husband and son, and got to enjoy my family's visit in the evening. Sort of makes up for being "older than dirt," as the kids at work say. (I could kill whoever taught them that phrase.)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Nine to Five

I think the sentence I most often hear is some variation on, "How do you manage?" It refers to the handling of four children, I guess. I hear it more often now, that one of the kids is my own, on top of the brood at work. I routinely answer that I'm handling it fine, and that's truth. Once you're used to more than one, up to a point what doesn't kill you makes you stronger it's not that hard to add another every once in a while.

What I find hardest in my particular situation is the length of the workday. I work 8:30am to 7:00pm. Before Felix, I had my time to myself during naps or while various kids were at various schools and activities, but that is, of course, no longer the case. So, I work a ten and a half hour day, with no guarantee of a break, and I commute and hour and a half to two hours round trip, so I'm pretty much never home, and that's a strain. It's worth it to me at this point for a number of reasons (health care, two incomes and no daycare costs, the love of J, E, & O), but sometimes I wish I worked nine to five (or another eight hour day), so that I could put my feet up after dinner our son could spend more time with his Dad. It's exhausting, getting out of the car after almost thirteen hours of work, having to get dinner together (even with the help and support of my beloved Mr. MoMP), get Felix settled, and have time to pat my dogs, and maybe watch something on the DVR, before it's time to get in bed at 10:00pm, so that I've had enough sleep to do it all again.

I know that I chose this, and I find it great work. I love all my kids, and someday, when I have that nine-to-fiver, I'll miss them terribly. Everyone gets tired every once in a while, though, right?

I was talking today with one of O's preschool teachers, who's a part time nanny on top of teaching. She's just been offered a full time teaching position of next year, and she was rejoicing that she'd now have time to eat meals at home, go to the gym, maybe meet someone, and I nearly cried, so intense was the sudden jealousy. It passed, as did the urge to sob, but in that moment of weakness, I also had a moment of clarity. Whatever I do next, I will not work these kinds of hours.


When Life Gives You...

...lemons, you make a lemon genoise with lemon buttercream and fresh raspberries lemonade. We are watching what we eat, after all. When life gives you the worst case of explosive baby poo that you've ever seen, you get out the blunt end craft scissors and cut your child out of his undershirt.

Yep, that was me last night. Felix was enjoying some quality time in his bouncy seat, watching the older boys play Wii baseball while I made dinner. When he started complaining, I went in to investigate and discovered that he'd pooped through his diaper and pants, and that it had spread up his front back, and both sides, thoroughly saturating his undershirt from the ribcage down. Sheesh, the stuff moves fast...

I've been changing gross diapers for more than ten years, they don't usually stump me. I can extract most babies from a poop explosion with minimal clean-up. Here, I was completely at a standstill. There was no way to get him out of that shirt without getting poop on his face, and that's just icky. So, I called for Big Brother J (who's apparently my clean up flunkie) to stand with Felix at the changing mat while I got the craft scissors and a plastic grocery bag.

After stripping him down, giving him a sponge baby wipe bath, and getting him into a clean shirt, I gathered up the poopy clothes, diapers, and wipes in the bag, and took the scissors to the sink to rinse before putting them into the dishwasher.

Big Brother J was appalled that I destroyed the undershirt. (It was a little snug, and one of a $3 five-pack at Target. I do not mourn its passing overmuch.) He was also nearly hysterical at the idea of poop smearing out of a diaper. Because he is, you know, male nine years old. I was pretty loopy myself by the end of it. Wouldn't you be?

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Everything Happens on Tuesday

Preschoolers are funny people. Living alongside a person who is learning to quantify, identify, and describe the world around them can be a challenging, and rather delightful, experience. This post, for instance, is being written on Tuesday, because that's the day in O's world when things happen. If he asks someone to come over to play, it's on "Tuesday." If he knows he's going somewhere, his day of departure is "Tuesday." If there was something fun in his recent past, it happened on "Tuesday."

The numerical equivalent of Tuesday is 5. When we play board games, every card he draws is a "5." The time always starts with a "5." (The best example was today. He was playing airplane, and he announced that "plane-ah fly five-seven-one-five." If anyone knows what time that is, please let me know. I'd hate to miss the flight, as they are serving soda and donuts, and the in-flight movie is "Buzz 2(Toy Story 2, for the uninitiated).")

"Breakfast," usually the first meal of the day for most of us, for O specifically refers to breakfast foods from the freezer. If it isn't French toast sticks, frozen pancakes or waffles, or bacon, it isn't breakfast. When you suggest yogurt, fruit, or cereal to him, he looks at you as if you had four heads, and says, "No, C. Dat no beckfest. Dat 'nack." So, I have, in reference to this phenomenon, created a new meal, the before breakfast snack, in order to get more fruits and dairy into his convenience-carbohydrate laden diet.

I think, because O was slower than the other kids to speak, that I'm perhaps more sensitive to how he expresses himself, now that the words, if not the precise diction, are here. Pretty amazing that seven months ago, he had little more than a handful of words, and called me "Lala."