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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Monday, May 31, 2010

Pancakes, Wind Turbines, Audiokinetics, & Barbeque

Yesterday, we spent the day playing tourist in Cambridge and Boston, which is ironic, since we used to live and work there, and were somewhat mocking of the tourists. Turnabout is fair play and all that, I'm sure we were mocked at some point. I'm okay with that.

I can't speak for Mark, but when I used to mock tourists, is was the gentle mocking reserved for family, because yes, they might be taking photos of the T signs (it's a subway! who cares?), but they thought my home city was cool enough to vacation in! Right?

We drove into the city and parked the car near my former "office" and took the T across the river into Cambridge. We had breakfast in Kendall Square, Mark's old neighborhood, at this kitchy, yummy place called The Friendly Toast, and then walked to the Museum of Science.

Felix has been there before, on trips with the Boss kids, but never as the star of the show. It was hilarious! He raced around, checking out solar powered cars, newborn chicks, a large scale model of a firefly. His favorite things? The George Rhodes audiokinetic sculpture, wonderfully titled Archimedian Excogitation, the running track at the Science In the Park exhibit (of which he put himself in charge for a good long while), and the Catching the Wind exhibit.

Along with trains, emergency vehicles, construction machines, and race cars, this kid capital-L Loves wind turbines. If he were old enough, he'd totally be campaigning for Cape Wind. He sat in front a computer terminal, clicking through turbine specs and photographs for about fifteen minutes, each time crying joyfully, "Mama! Look! Anoder turBINE!"

So far as I can tell, the fascination was born when we noticed a giant turbine on the hill east of route 146 in Worcester. We discovered it was erected by Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School as part of their Green Initiative. Cool, huh? Subsequently, the new SuperWalMart down the hill, adjacent to 146 on the west side, built a mini-windfarm of Skystream Turbines atop the lights in the parking lot. I'm not a huge fan of WalMart overall, but this move is certainly a good one. Now, he notices them everywhere. He observes whether they're spinning, and if so how fast. We've talked about how the turbines use wind energy to make electricity, which he understands as the driving force behind the television and the stuff Mama tells him not to waste when he gets caught flicking light switches. It's a start.

We ended the day with a trip along the Harbor Walk, and another ride on the T, before collecting the car and heading back out to the 'burbs, with a stop for take-out barbeque at Blue Ribbon.

It was an excellent family day.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eviction of the Fluffeh Bunnehs

Karma is coming to get me. But before it does, thanks to CaneWife of Three Pugs and a Baby for inspiring the title.

A few nights ago I evicted five juvenile rabbits from their nest. In my defense it was a foot from Felix's sandbox. They are known carriers of parasites, disease and deer ticks. They are an obvious threat to my burgeoning vegetable garden.

Their huge damp eyes and shivering paws as they ran off to recolonize under our shed will haunt me at least until tomorrow.

There's been neither hide nor hair (hare?) of their mother, nor had we seen them before the night in question, despite their close proximity to a regular backyard haunt, which led me to wonder if she's merely done rearing them, or if something nefarious happened to her. Either way, I had Mark shoo them from the area, and we pulled apart the nest with a stick. They headed for under our shed, but I figured they'd eventually head under the fence for the big, bad woods and marshland behind our neighbors house.

Lo, not three hours later, there they all are, huddled along the fence near the now demolished nest. I am picturing myself with a construction order, a hard hat, and a wrecking ball while the bunnies cower and weep at my cruelty. I am seriously doubting my earlier eviction notice. I scatter them, gently nudging them with a leafy branch, until they head for the safety of under the shed.

Next morning, three of them have returned. They are healthy, cheeky, and no longer frightened of me. I have visions of Watership Down. I feel awful, but mostly? Still afraid of deer ticks and parasites. Sigh. So, I upped the ante. I sicced my dogs on them.

Oh, don't get all horrified. Have you met my dogs? Their natural enemy is their own bed. Dangerous predators they are not. They made a big show of barking and chasing, but all three bunnies left the property alive and relatively unharmed.

I say relatively because if bunnies have pride, theirs is shattered. They ought to send me their bunny therapy bills. One decided the best route to safety was through the spokes of Felix's tricycle wheel. Maurice caught it trying to squeeze through, and nipped at it's tail. It ran off with tail intact. No harm, no foul. Amelie got as far as getting her mouth (her soft, gentle, Golden Retriever mouth) around a bunny. It squeaked (for those who don't know, rabbits scream when they're hurt, so I was largely unconcerned), and she jumped like she'd been stung. I called them off, and inspected the victim. It was breathing and unmarked, but still.

I said very softly, "It's okay, but you should go now."

Then, as if the little guy heard me, he rolled back onto his feet, shook himself (yuck! dog drool!), and hopped, as nonchalantly as possible, to the gap in the fence, where he squeezed under and was never seen again.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

Every spring, usually sometime between Mother's Day and Memorial Day, my Mom plants flowers at her mother's grave. Growing up, I often accompanied her. I would fetch water and help with the planting. My maternal grandmother passed away before I was born, so those trips helped me to forge a connection with her memory. She loved hyacinths, something I know from asking Mom about the engraving on her headstone.

Felix and I spent the day at my parents house to day, and our morning outing was to plant petunias and marigolds at the cemetery. Felix is no stranger to cemetery trips with Mom and me (though I am surprised he didn't ask where the picnic was), so he was game. In fact, he aided me in my traditional water-bearer duties, before helping Gramma with the planting.

It was sweet to watch them watering flowers and planting together, and while not a strict interpretation of Memorial Day, I certainly think it's fitting.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


Just when I was really gearing up for a summer of FUNemployment opportunities, a crazy thing happened.

I got a job!

I know, right? I'm going to have to change the text in my "About Me" widget.

I'm going to start in two weeks nannying for a new family. We'll call them the Concords. They have two kids. Felix will be able to come to work with me. One of the perks is that we get to ease our way into the working world again. Until the end of the summer, we're only working mornings. Home for nap and my afternoon workout.

I'm really looking forward to contributing financially to our household, but if I'm being completely honest, I've had a great time staying at home. I'm going to miss the easy pace of days at home with just Felix.

That said, the Concords seem like a nice family, and they're offering me a lot of the things that we as a family need out of my job situation. It's hard to feel anything but grateful that this opportunity came my way.

Remind me of that when I'm up to my chin in spit up and newborn diapers and sleep schedules and preschoolers. Please. Thank you.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Clicking Publish

I have a whole lot of nothing to post about. Usually, when that's the case, I don't post. Of course, I've built up some momentum again in terms of posting regularly, and I like that. I've been at this for more than four years, and I think the five friends who initially read it are still with me. And then there are the couple people I don't even know who read here. Whoa.

It's like a miracle, that.

But lately, I've been both over and underwhelmed. I have a new job to post about. Felix is forever being cute, annoying, goofy, and miserable--easy material. And yet. Stymied.

Also stuck on the baby novel. I was on fire for a few weeks, and I cranked out a lot. Then. Nada. Zip. Zero. Naught.

I had a very wise writing professor at Middlebury who asked us, as part of a non-fiction writing course, to write a certain amount of words every day. Let's call it 500 (since I don't really remember the exact number). We had to turn in these manidtory, pen-to-paper, stream-of-consciousness ramblings to prove we were doing them, and the exercise actually led to some of the essays I write for the proper class assignments.

That's one of the reasons I started blogging. To make myself write. To see if I still had a voice. So, today, I started with what was in my head--writer's block--and began to type. Instead of turning it in, I'm going to hit Publish when I get to the end of the last coherent sentence that falls near 300 words.

I always wonder what other bloggers/writers/essayists/authors do when they hit a wall. Step back? Listen? Crank out five pages of awkward garbage in the hopes it will undo the clog between brain and fingertips?

Yesterday, I unplugged after starting two useless posts and watched three episodes of Glee.I could have been doing dishes, working out, or researching things I need to get done before I start my new job. I ended up feeling guilty about not doing those things, and not blogging, and watching television.

Guilt is so not productive and I ended up in a worse funk.

So, today, I publish. It's a step.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mama, Do You Need This One?

I don't know about other mothers of toddlers/preschoolers out there, but when I'm with Felix, I don't have a lot of privacy. He likes to "help" when I go to the bathroom, which means handing me toilet paper and flushing the toilet for me. He keeps me company while I dress. He follows me pretty much everywhere.

This has also been the case with the three toddlers who preceded him. I tell people I haven't peed alone in a decade.

Yesterday, I'm in the master bedroom, getting dressed--I was most of the way there; underwear, bra, capris, and pulling my head through my purple tee-shirt. As my vision cleared of purple stretch cotton, there's Felix, holding out my favorite lace bra like a ceremonial offering.

"Mama, do you need this one?" he asks, all helpfulness and sunshine.

"Nope, honey," I respond, stifling a giggle. I gesture to the bra I'm wearing. "Mama's already got one on."

I set about getting my arms into the sleeves of my shirt. Felix brings my lace bra over, and, vary carefully, stretches up and applies it across my stomach, upside down.

"Here, Mama."


Friday, May 21, 2010

15 Years

I've blogged about my 15th Reunion in terms of my personal goals, but I neglected to mention what a truly wonderful time I had.

Isn't it funny, at reunions, how you first see someone and you think, "Wow, they look so different!" Then five minutes later they're exactly the same as they were in high school? The bond, the love, strips away the surface changes, so you can see what really matters is still the same.

For the record, I went to a prep school with about 60 people in my graduating class, so yes, I was friendly with a majority of the people I graduated with. Makes reunions less angsty, I think.

If anything, even if we've gained weight/lost weight/have a few wrinkles/less pimples/more grays or whatever, the people we were have been honed a little by life, and are even more dimensional and complex people than we were.

I had a blast. I love my friends.

May more people come home for the 20th!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Big Boy Bed

Last Friday we made the transition from crib to bed, and I was, to say the least, apprehensive. I underestimated my little munchkin, not to mention my own parenting skills. I know how to transition. I've been there before, and the the tee shirt is old, stained, and holey.

He took to it beautifully, even "helped" the delivery guys set it up (and by "helped," I mean he played with his GeoTraks on the floor nearby, and chatted with Jackson, the truck driver, and his assistant). He's slept in it happily for a week, and has been on the phone to both Memere and Gramma to tell them the news. He even brought our friends upstairs to see it when they were over for dinner this past weekend.

From a design perspective, it's a little big for the room, and should be oriented with the headboard against the wall, but until I'm sure he won't hurl himself out, one side stays against the wall. I only want to buy one bed rail.

Things I love? The robot sheets I found at Home Goods, and the cars & trucks duvet from IKEA. The quilt and bed skirt came from Circo by Target. The bed came from Bob's Discount Furniture. Nothing fancy, no Pottery Barn, no Land of Nod, no pricey theme. Oh, and storage drawers? In a room with a teeny closet, those are a godsend!

So, here it is. The Big Boy Bed:
I love his 80's stylin one leg up on the jammies. Also, it took him less than two minutes to start using it for trains. Kid is seriously a vehicular junkie.!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Doctor's Word

I was talking with (okay, emailing with, but let's not split hairs) my Weight Watchers buddy today, and she told me a story about her doctor that got me thinking.

As part of this whole love-my-body, self-care trip I'm on, I've been trying to go back and pinpoint when, and more importantly, why my relationship with food and my body image went wrong. It's a multifaceted issue, not one easily dissected in a blog post, but one particular event stands out in my mind.

When our family practician retired, my Mom continued to take us to the woman who had taken over for him in the office. It made sense, the offices were familiar, and finding a new doctor is a huge hassle, so why not.

This woman, we'll call her Dr. G to protect her, was no MD ingenue. She'd been around a while. This probably made my Mom more confident in making the switch. The first time I went to see her, I was a young teen. Maybe thirteen or so. She examined me, frowned, wrote on her chart. She released me to my mother with my health form for school in hand, my Mom payed for the visit, and we left.

Somewhere during that process I looked at the medical form for school. This is what I saw, on a piece of paper that would be in my file. At. School.


In reality, it was one of three checked off items in a long column, but in my head, in my heart, it looked that. Huge. Red. Seething with shame.

I was fat.

I was too ashamed to ask my mom what she thought. The doctor hadn't said anything to me. She'd just left a ticking time bomb of horror and fear and shame in a teen-aged girl's hands.

When I think about it, I still get a swooping sense of vertigo and burning embarrassment. Looking back on it through far older and hopefully wiser eyes, I feel rage for that girl. Silent and horrified that she'd both betrayed and been betrayed by her body.

You see, before that I knew that I wasn't the skinniest girl in school, but I wasn't the fattest either. I wasn't super into sports, and I had developed a few dangerous eating habits due to the availability of crappy food both in my school's cafeteria and at the house I went to after school for a few hours before my parents got home from work. I had a pretty strong sense of self at that point. I can see it start to erode from that day until some time in my twenties when I found myself again.

Seeing that word, with no actual knowledge to back it up made me retreat into the fat-girl corner. If you've ever been a fat girl, you know about the corner. It's quiet and dark and lonely, and no one notices you.

Ultimately, I was too much of an extrovert to stay there, so I became the happy, funny, smart girl in order to combat the feelings of inadequacy that develop from poor body image and general teen-age angst. I was akward about my body, which translated to awkward with boys, so boys weren't interested in dating me--which is a feedback loop of misery. Even if they didn't know it at the time, I was an emotional molotov cocktail, and I thank my friends and family for loving me enough to keep it from breaking open and destroying me.

I wonder now, would things have been different if the doctor had said to me, "I'm concerned about your weight. I'd like to see you try to get more exercise. How about riding your bike? And I want to help you make better choices when you eat. Try more fruits and veggies, and less snacks."

I'm fairly certain the teen-aged me would have been embarrassed, dismissive, and surly. Surely, though, after a conversation like that, the word, the awful word, might not have had such a lasting impact.

It's very likely I would have struggled with my weight no matter what, but that secret pain, just under my skin, never made it any easier.


Mustard-Pistachio Crusted Mahi-Mahi

Dinner on Sunday was so good, I just had to share.

To begin with, I borrowed this grilled brussells sprouts recipe from Lex at It's another blag on the intertruck. Yum, and fat free. Ironically, I'm trying to add a little olive oil into my days, since healthy fats are, you know, actually good for you. So, I added 2 teaspoons of olive oil in with the spices, after the microwave "blanching."

The protein on the menu tonight was mahi-mahi filets, which I usually just slap on a hot grill pan with some salt, pepper, and a finish drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice, but I was bored. I turned to you, internets, and, as per usual, you gave me what I needed. I took a perfectly good recipe, tore it apart, and put it back together the way I wanted it. I give you:

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mustard-Pistachio Crust

Preheat the grill to medium low. You don't want to scorch this.
I use an oiled veggie/fish pan on the grill for this, but you should proceed as you normally would.
First, prep the sprouts up through skewering them.
Now, gather:

@ 1 pound Mahi-Mahi filets
salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 c. yellow mustard
1/4 c. bread crumbs (panko are the bestest, but whatever you like/have in the pantry)
3 t. Salted, dry roasted pistachio meats, chopped
assortment of fresh or dry herbs, to taste.*
  • Season the fish with the salt and pepper.
  • Spread the mustard out on a plate.
  • Chuck the crumbs, nuts, and herbs in a mini chopper, or a molcajete, or a mezzaluna, or whatever you like to use to make tiny bits, then spread them on a second plate.
  • Smear the fish in the mustard, then roll in the crumb mixture to create a crust. Set the fish down on the grill pan, add the skewers of sprouts.
  • Grill on medium low for 5 minutes per side. The fish should be opaque throughout, but not dry.
  • We enjoyed ours with some jasmine rice. Delish!

*I used fresh sage, parsley, and chives from my kitchen garden--yum!


Monday, May 17, 2010


Due to the constant remodeling of our house, my husband's line of work, and the frightening grasp my 2 year old has on words, Felix can label a fair amount of carpentry and home improvement items that you don't find on Handy Manny.

So, we're in Home Depot yesterday, buying tomato seedlings, cages, seeds, peat pots, stakes for marking deck footings, citronella torches for the backyard, and caulk.

Say it out loud, now, and allow yourself the giggle. Caulk.

Felix is riding in the race car cart (best. invention. ever.), which Mark is holding onto while he inspects different kinds of stakes. He's absorbed by the choices. (Cedar? It's what I've always used... Aluminum? It's resuable! Plastic? Ick.) He's physically holding the cart, but his brain is already on tomorrow's job site.

I am about six feet away, contemplating pulleys and line for a clothesline.

"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"
"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?"

Felix is straining out of the seat, reaching backwards into the cart for the two tubes of caulk.

A guy between myself and the cart, picking out some kind of hardware, is trying not to snicker. So am I. I have the sense of humor of a fourteen year old boy.

I, who have been around little kids making gaffes in public for a decade, am not easily embarrassed, but Felix is getting louder and more insistent with every repetition, and I'm shocked Mark hasn't answered him.

"Hon!" I say, just a little louder than conversationally. "For the love of Pete, will you just answer the child?"

"What?" he says, looking at me, genuinely puzzled.

"Dad? Can I hold the caulk?" chirps Felix.

Then I lose it. I give over to the giggles.

Mark turns about fourteen shades of embarrassed, then busts out laughing, meanwhile grabbing the two tubes from the cart and handing them to Felix, who brandishes them like batons.

"Mama! Look! Two caulks!"

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Screaming Breakfast Pug

A recent chat on Twitter revealed that our Maurice is not the only Pug who screams.

Seriously. He screams. Like he's being stabbed.

We're treated to this twice a day when it's feeding time, and then anytime we're riding in the car and we arrive. He screams to get out of the car.

It gets me a lot of funny looks at the dog park.
What does that woman do to her dog. Sheeesh. Someone call animal control...

Well, I shot a little home video of this morning's shrieking. It's definitely not the worst he's ever been, but it certainly gives you an idea.

Disclaimer: No pugs are ever harmed, stabbed, starved, or cattle prodded for the Internets benefit. Not that we don't occasionally think about it...

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Felix's Nursery (with Bonus Video)

With all the home improvement posts I've done, I've never really posted much about the nursery. I am so very proud of it, too. I only realized this while I was mentally shuffling furniture around for his Big Boy Bed, which arrives tomorrow.

I thought, Wow. I should take some pictures of the nursery before it's gone.
My baby's not so much a baby anymore.

When we were expecting, I thought about the nursery all the time. I could picture it behind my eyelids when I was falling asleep. I wanted something authentically ours, but also something both playful and put together that our little boy could put his stamp on. There are a lot of family pieces and hand-me-downs in this room--that means a lot to me. There are also more than a couple oooooh!-impulse-buy-for-the-nursery items from my beloved Target and IKEA.

So, to start off my wee tour, I'll show you some befores. I lurve me some befores.
Before: Our walk through, 3/2005
Before: All the baby swag jammed in the room before nesting kicked in. 9/2007
Before: painted, still with a pile of baby swag in the middle of the room. 9/2007

And now, the afters. Yay! Afters!
View from the door, with the bookcase my Dad made me when I was little, and the rocker--which came from Mark's late aunt's estate, and my Mom had recovered.
Perhaps my favorite little bit of the room--these three Pooh paintings were done by my maternal grandmother, whom I never got know. They hung in my room when I was little, too.
The crib, passed on to us by my former employers (I've put four babies down to sleep in this crib!), with the quilt made my all the women in my family, my Mom's old toy chest, and one of the three Roman shades she made for the room.
This is a section of the growth chart my dear friend Andrea, at Bouncing off the Walls Murals, painted for us.

The changing table/dresser came with the hand-me-down crib--new knobs from Target.
Boy wonder himself, showing off his Adirondack style rocker (and making a really weird face).

And now, the minute, thirty-one seconds you've all been waiting for, Felix's big interview. Hang on, kids, this is some serious docu-drama!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dog Beds: My Own Personal Brand of Insanity, Part II

The new bed lasted eight days.

Eight. Days.

They got mad at me for leaving them home after putting on my rain boots (which they associate with the muddy dog park--though that was not where I went on that occasion), and they shredded the zipper, leaving the batting exposed, vulnerable to further tomfoolery.

They're sleeping peacefully on it as we speak. The exposed, unzipped bits have been sprayed liberally with Grannick's Bitter Apple. It's holding, for now.

So be it.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Knight Errant, Just As I Am

I've tagged all my weight and body image posts with "Knight Errant" since I first broached the topic. I think that it's because I see myself, wandering through different attempts to work though my difficulties with food and eating and fitness, always wanting to prove that I am worth my ideal body, but ultimately not loving myself enough to follow through.

from Wikipedia:
A knight-errant (plural: knights-errant) is a figure of medieval chivalric romance literature. "Errant," meaning wandering or roving, indicates how the knight-errant would typically wander the land in search of adventures to prove himself as a knight, such as in a pas d'Armes.

Back in January, I hinted at a secret project with a projected end date. That date came and went this past Saturday, and while I didn't post any celebratory updates, I actually succeeded.

I didn't succeed in any of the ways that I thought I would, but I think the ways in which I did are more constructive and positive.

I set out, 129 days ago, to lose some of the post baby weight and get in better shape before my 15th high school reunion. That, technically, didn't happen.

Here's what did happen: I gained 10 pounds, and came to a decision. I must not hate myself for being overweight anymore. I cannot continue to want to be thin because this is better. Instead, I want to be healthier because I deserve the best health I can achieve, for myself, for my family. I want to be a Mom who can run and play with her young son. I want him to have a positive role model and a realistic image of womanhood, not someone starving herself to be thin because thin is better.

That decision prompted me to return to Weight Watchers meetings nine and half weeks ago. I've been paying attention to physical hunger, to why I reach for food, and what I reach for. I started taking care of myself, dressing the body I have now, and forgiving myself when I make bad choices.

I got the opportunity to test drive a WiiFit about a month ago, and a funny thing happened. For the first time since I can't remember how long, I'm excited about exercise. I've been on that balance board more than twenty out of the last thirty days. I've lost the ten pounds I gained back, plus one and a half more. The WiiFit tells me I am stronger, more physically balanced, and I am more attuned to myself than I've been in a while. I am enjoying becoming healthier.

I recently reread an old post in which I come clean about food and addictions and some of my struggles. I had a flash of wisdom there, and I'm going to try to remain mindful of that while I'm loving myself--in the immortal words of Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy--just as I am.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Hugs (Non) Receivable

Let me start with this question: Who could resist a hug from this kid?

A few salient points: I nannied for the same kids over 10 years. Felix was with me for nearly 2 of those years. Mrs. Boss's Mother never really cared for how I did things, and was never more than cordial and often less than polite to me, and worse, dismissive toward my toddler. She stole my job in a well-played caregiver coup d'etat. I am now going on my seventh month of being unemployed.

So, I mentioned that I took Felix in to see Big Brother J's Little League game on Wednesday evening. As one might expect, she was there supervising O. I politely said hello (my Mom raised me right, after all), and then settled in to watch both Felix and the game.

When it was time to leave, Felix was doling out hugs, to J, to O, to Mr. Boss, to my former colleague, and then to Mrs. Boss's Mother. After all, he knew her, and she was there.

Let me reiterate: He hugged her. Voluntarily.

She didn't even so much as look down at him. The kid pictured above hugged her, out of the goodness of his heart, and she didn't even acknowledge he existed. What kind of heartless beast does that?

Would a pat on the head have been so goddamned hard for her?

I should get a medal for not slugging her.

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

You Can Visit, but You Can't Go Back

Did you know it's Marine Week in Boston? If so, you're one up on me.

I drove into the city last night with Felix to see Big Brother J play Little League baseball, and to give Felix the opportunity to run around with O. The weather was scrumptious, the traffic awful, everything that is familiar about Boston in spring.

What shocked me was coming up out of the parking garage under the Common to see half a dozen military vehicles (four massive Marine helicopters), a trio of event tents, and a motherload of people milling about on the emerald turf of the parade grounds.

Did I mention that my traveling companion is a 2 year old with a vehicle obsession?

We watched J play centerfield (and hit a runner home, even if he was tagged out at first), Felix played with his erstwhile brother-figure, and I got the chance to catch up with a former colleague whose company and conversation I'd always enjoyed.

After the game, we went to look at the helicopters, and Felix discovered that the carousel is back on the Common. There was no avoiding that, so I shelled out the $3. After our ride, on the walk back to the car, we met a French Bulldog puppy, who was enthusiastically pleased to meet us.

So, to sum up: his idol playing Little League, running around with his friend, giant military helicopters, a carousel ride, and a puppy. He won the preschooler lottery.

So why then, did I come home feeling so utterly crappy?

Because, in part, you can't go back. When they decided to let me go last fall, I left with a lot of unresolved hurt and bewilderment, not to mention a healthy dose of resentment. It was all made more complicated by the fact that I genuinely like and respect my former employers. Then there's the fact that I love their kids, and so does Felix. He's missed them so much.

I hated being on the outside. I hated having to be polite to the woman who stole my job, and now looks like she's sucking a lemon whenever I see her. I never knew why she didn't care for me as a caregiver for her grandchildren, and since I'll never have the opportunity to ask her, I try not to dwell on it. She doesn't look happy to be the one in charge, but then, I rarely saw a smile reach her eyes, so I might not recognize it if she did look happy.

My former colleague was chatty, but we don't have as much in common now that I'm not a daily part of the neighborhood, so that was weird.

And of course, I'm still unemployed, which is a large purple elephant following me around.

When I left before, it was my choice, and it was planned for, and everyone got what they needed. I never felt like an outsider when I visited. This time has been different. And not in a good way.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Blog Post, Interrupted: A Breakfast Tale

I fired up Blogger Dashboard this morning feeling al kinds of post-y (postal? no... that's wrong), but then life happened.

Felix wanted yogurt for breakfast. Okay. He only likes lemon and vanilla yogurt, so I ask him which one.

"What kind of yogurt, sweet pea?"

"Reg-ler kind,"

"Which flavor is regular?" I ask. I am foolish sometimes, despite this not being my first time at the toddler rodeo.

"Reg-LER!" he bellows at me, as if I am am inbecile.

I choose the vanilla cup. I show it to him.

"No-OHHHHH-oooooo-OOOOOH!" he wails, tearing up and grimacing like a Carnivale mask.

"Ohhhhkay, then. Lemon," I offer tentatively.

"Lemon," he says with a sunshiney smile. He climbs into his booster seat, grabs the proffered spoon and digs in. Between bites, he says, "Can I have my bite-min?"

I pause at the cabinet, hand on the Berkley & Jensen gummy-vitamin bottle.

"Please, Mama?" he asks, still shoveling Stonyfield's lemon into his face.

I give him the vitamin, grab a yogurt to have with him, and sit down.

"Can I have a waffle wif my wohgurt?"

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