Sunday, October 25, 2009

"My daddy's a..........."

"Wisteria Lane" can be a very interesting place. Being that I have watched the children of ten families on the same street I know all of the dirt on everyone. Most all of the families are also friends with each other. This does not mean that they always get along nor do they have the same parenting skills. Some are closer than others but when a sticky situation arises they are always there for each other. I am usually around during the sticky situations.

This brings me to one of my favorite stories. I must first introduce the "Kramer" family. At this point in time they only had one child fully functioning and one in the oven. "Nash" is the big brother to all the girls on the block being that he is the only boy. Mom was very pregnant at the time with his soon to be little sister not yet named. So here is the pickle, please try to stay with me. The Workman family and the Kramer family are very close friends. They do a lot of things together and get along very well. So, Mrs. Workman decides to take her two oldest girls to Tahoe skiing. Mr. Kramer goes too. Leaving Mrs. Kramer at home pregnant and Mr. Workman at home with their youngest. Mr. Workman has to work so I stay the week with him and Chuckie.

So to clarify we have dad from one family and mom from another vacationing together across the country. The babysitter spending the night with the other dad. Then the poor mom who is preggers home alone with the kid. This is hilarious to me being that this was not at all as it may seem. Mrs. Workman actually met her mom in Tahoe for her birthday and Mr. Kramer was on business. I barely saw Mr. Workman the whole time and Mrs. Kramer works so naturally Nash was in daycare. The week flew by fairly quickly and before everyone knew it the drama on Wisteria Lane was at an end. As much as it can be.

A few days before Mr. Kramer returned I went across the way to watch Nash while Mrs. Kramer ran some errands. When I arrive she is changing his diaper so he is stuck talking to us for a few minutes. She says "Nash, tell Mrs. Lauren what your daddy is." He says "My daddy's a douchebag!" Laughing hysterically Mrs. Kramer tells me that she taught him that and he went to school saying it because it obviously gets a great response. I think it is one of the funniest things I have ever heard come out of a kid's mouth. I mean, can't you just see career day when he gets a little older and he still thinks his daddy is a douchebag. Little Johnny's dad is a firefighter and little Leila's dad is a Police Officer. Little Nash's dad is still a douchebag. Please note that he is not at all a douchebag and that at most it was a sarcastic remark made by Mrs. Kramer that just became funny enough to teach the kid. Simple as that!

As time went by their beautiful little girl was born. I will call her "Missy" and she is one of my favorite kids of all time. She isn't scared to get a little dirty and she really likes food. I really like that she likes food because picky eaters can be very difficult. She also has this little attitude that cracks me up (kinda like her momma)! She is a firecracker. And every time I see her I just wanna squeeze her little chipmunk-esque cheeks. She once had a computer dropped on her foot that resulted in her toenail falling off and it barely phased her. I bet my nanny powers that Nash is gonna get in some fist-fights because of her! Maybe even some fist-fights with her!

Thanks for reading guys! I want to apologize for falling off the blogger wagon for a few weeks. Europe was really fun and sort of mentally wiped me out! Is that a believable excuse? Really just haven't had much time. But I am back! I promise I will find some time next week to write and in the meantime I hope everyone has a great one!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The most unfortunate...........

Not sure if I have mentioned this yet but almost all of these families live in the same cul-de-sac. If not the same one then the one over. Most are very close and participate in each others block parties, christenings, birthday parties, etc. Years ago there was only one family that didn't. I am going to call them the ''Acorn's" and I worked for them. I guess you could say that this was my first real nanny position.

At the time they had one child that no one in the neighborhood ever saw unless she was getting in or out of the car. "A.J." was a very sweet little girl that, if you didn't know any better, you may have thought she was a deaf mute. Kid didn't say a word most of the time and if you asked her to do something she would just stare at you with this blank look as if you were speaking a foreign language. In fact the only way that I knew for sure she could speak and hear was because she really liked to sing along to my Dwight Yoakam albums. Anyway, A.J's parents were certifiable.

Mother Acorn was in real estate and only worked a few days a week. She got pregnant before she married Mr. Acorn. This caused most of the issues in this house. I personally believe that it is ok to have a baby out of wedlock. I mean divorce is expensive and just because you choose to have the child does not mean that you are going to magically get along. Mrs. Acorn didn't feel the same way. She had A.J., kicked Mr. Acorn out, and became a born-again Christian. Mr. Acorn still had his office in her house and would stop by randomly throughout the day.

You see, he used to be a tennis pro and possibly at some point was a charmer. That charming aspect whittled away throughout the years and he is now weird and socially awkward. It may have something to do with the fact that Mrs. Acorn quit sleeping with him and made him move to a condo across the street. Did I mention that all of this happened AFTER the kid was born? Oh that's right, I did! So eventually they get married and leave the cul-de-sac. They move to a giant house across town that they can't afford.

Going back to before the marriage and the house Mrs. Acorn had a hard time dealing with most things. I guess that is why she stayed in her house most of the time. Poor A.J. never did normal kid stuff. She never had a birthday party with other kids. She had never been in a swimming pool. She was very familiar with the T.V. and basically knew nothing about the outside world. I was not only their childcare provider but also their maid and personal counselor. They would leave dishes and laundry for me from the whole weekend. I am talking about nasty ass curdled milk and such. My main job, as far as I was concerned, was to get this child socialized as quickly as possible. This proved to be a very difficult task.

With all the above things mentioned lets not forget that they were also neurotic first time parents. I truly believe that they loved her and wanted the best for her however keeping her trapped in the house was the worst way to protect her. It took me an entire year to get her excited and comfortable about playing with other children. Then they choose to move her to another neighborhood where their are no other children? Great parenting if you ask me. I always heard about selfish parents that only have children to make themselves feel better or to manipulate the father into marriage. Never thought I would work for one of these families.

One day after they were married Mrs. Acorn came home so excited. She was pregnant. She had decided that she was going to quit her job to stay home with them once he was born. Several weeks later I quit. I hit a point with them where I felt that any day I was going to explode. The day that I left that position was the last day I ever saw or heard from them for almost 4 years. They had to move back into the old house because they couldn't afford the new one. The truth is I don't give two shits about Mr. and Mrs. Acorn. They are horrible people. I do care about the kids! I mean who wants to have their kids sitting around looking like the photo above? I can only pray that they end up as well-adjusted semi-normal kids. Hoping that they play together and learn from each other since they aren't getting it anywhere else. The fact that this may not be possible is the most unfortunate thing of all.

Ok guys, sorry about the rant this week but this family really pisses me off. I love everyone I have ever worked for except these people. On a lighter note, I will be in Germany for Oktoberfest next week and will not be around to post my blog. When I get back you will meet the "Kramer's" and they are freakin' hilarious! I will also tell you one of the funniest stories ever to happen on "Wisteria Lane". (For those of you that ever watched "Desperate Housewives" you will understand.) Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fancy Pants...................

Anna: "Miss Lauren, can we watch a movie tonight?"
Me: "Sure, whatcha thinkin'?"
Anna: "Well, the new Wizards of Waverly place movie premieres on Disney channel!"
Abby: "Oh man, I love that movie."
Anna: "But you've never even seen it cause today is the first day!"
Abby: "Yes I have too."
Chuckie: (Petting the dogs while sucking her thumb.)
Me: "Well we can all watch it together tonight."
Anna: "But I wanna watch it by myself and not with the little kids."
Abby: "But Anna that's not fair cause you always watch it by yourself."
Chuckie: (Wrestling with the dogs.)
Me: "How about if you guys each watch it on a separate T.V.?"
Abby: " Cause its too scary and I wanna watch it with Anna!"
Anna: "Well, I don't wanna watch it with Abby."
Me: "Since we can't compromise then I guess no one watches it!"
Chuckie: (Diving off the back of the couch to jump on the dogs, thumb still in mouth.)
Anna & Abby: (Crying as they run to their separate rooms.) "That's not fair! You are mean!"

So the scenario ends with the girls coming out of their rooms minutes later with a solution. Anna will watch downstairs and Abby will watch upstairs with Chuckie (who could care less). They also each get to invite a friend over. This type of argument is not rare among the Workman girls. They are all fiercely independent in most ways but every once in a while there is that longing for sisterly bonding. In most cases that longing doesn't happen at the same time. So, I made popcorn and everyone had a blast! By the end of the night I was no longer "mean" or "unfair"! In fact, I had restored my title as the coolest babysitter on the planet!

"Anna" is the older sister. She goes to public school and does normal kid things. She can't decide between softball, soccer, or guitar lessons. (I vote for the guitar lessons.) She longs to make friends which is hard these days. Not that she doesn't have them, just that she wants to be friends with the "cool" kids. She doesn't know yet that those kids are gonna go through life acting bratty then end up getting DUI's or being pregnant at 18. I hope she ends up being one of the nerdy kids. Mrs. Workman disagrees. She wants her to be somewhere in between, though I am not sure that place exists. I can see Anna now, riding her Vespa to high school theater or band practice with some cute little black rimmed glasses and purple Chuck Taylor's. My point is that I don't think it is fair that there is a social awkwardness in third grade. There is no need for these kids to have i-pods or cellphones. Parents should just let their kids be kids. If your child is bratty and mean by nature don't give them expensive things to boost their egos. It just makes them feel as if they better than others when they probably shouldn't. Through all the pressures she sees every day, Anna treats everyone well. She has a big heart.

"Abby" is very similar to Anna in many ways. She looks up to her big sister and learns from her. I met the Workman's before she could even talk. She is now in Kindergarten at an immersion school for foreign languages. She gets one hour of English a day and the rest is in Mandarin Chinese. Being the middle child I love that her parents decided she should do something special that sets her apart. In the future I see Abby doing great things. She is gonna be the funky, socialite jet-setter type. She has great social skills and is able to adapt to almost any situation with little difficulty. She is definitely the one in the family that is happy to sport electric blue lame leggings (see above photo) from American Apparel with a crazy sundress and plastic jewelry. I hope they let her wear them to school with her frumpy uniform!

Last but not least is Miss "Chuckie". Calling her the wild-child of the family is an understatement. I was making dinner for the girls one afternoon and had to use the restroom. So I left them in the kitchen coloring for 20-30 seconds to relieve myself. I walk back in to find that Chuckie had pushed her step stool over to the trash can. She climbed on top and was now sitting on the counter playing with her father's very expensive coffee maker. She can not be trusted. She is also a hair cutter and a trouble-maker. The great thing about this is that I don't much have to worry about her. If she falls down she gets up, usually, with no problem. Her best friend is the only boy in the neighborhood and she would rather run around with no clothes on than a princess dress. To be so wild she doesn't have much of an opinion when it comes to activities. She will eat and drink pretty much anything you put in front of her (scary) and doesn't seem to care what activities we do. To be the craziest she very well may be the most agreeable.

Let me remind you folks that ALL children are different with me than they are with their parents. My idea of these kids are probably very different than their parent's. These girls are very similar but very different. It is extremely important in their family that they are their own person. If you ask me I think that is one of the most valuable things to teach your kids. Don't get me wrong a little structure is great. What I am saying is that this family has worked out a strong balance of both.

Thanks for stopping by! See ya next week!
P.S. The Workman's got a new dog after Chuckie got a little older. Luna is a Newfoundland. Luna and Cash are best buddies!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Dog Thief..........

So I received a message on Facebook a few days ago from Mr. "Workman" asking if I would at all be interested in watching his "urchins" this Friday so that he and the wife can go see the Drive By Truckers at a local music venue. By urchins he meant his three lovely little girls. Also known as "demons" on occasion they are my sunshine on a rainy day. There are many reasons why I love this family and the best way to break it down would be by doing exactly that.

Mrs. Workman is the stay at home mom type with a twist. As far as parenting skills go we very much see eye to eye. She has high hopes for her children but allows them to succeed while being individuals. This does however result in knock-down drag-outs between the girls every once in a while. Which she handles famously. Just looking at her you would never guess that she secretly wants to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Or that on more than one occasion she has considered becoming a drug dealer. (Not heroin or anything dangerous, more like Mary Louise Parker's character on "Weeds".) She also is the type to dress her toddler up as "Chuckie" for Halloween. Yes folks, the above picture is very real. Doesn't get much better than that.

Mr. Workman is fantastic as well. It is always cool when you can talk music and movies with your boss. The funny part about knowing a family as well as I know the Workman's is you get to see them transition with their kids. He is a Hobby Connoisseur. First it was the theater room, then the speaker system installed in every room (to provide the option to play music really loud throughout the house), then the sophisticated wine collection, and lately the fine art of coffee brewing. Don't take me the wrong way from the previous statement he is an excellent host. I guess I just prefer "Two Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's. He is a lover of Widespread Panic and dogs. The "Panic" part I can forgive him for. The dog part is the next portion of this story.

You see Mr. Workman is a lawyer and was trying to make partner at his firm several years ago. At that time "Anna" and "Abby" were the only kids in the house. He successfully talked Mrs. Workman in to getting two dogs. They decided on the golden-doodle breed. Shadow and Goldie were are force to be reckoned with. They tore things up and had problems keeping their bowels under control as sometimes puppies do. Then here comes "Chuckie" and suddenly the idea of being preggers with her third child and cleaning up dog shit became a little less than romantic.

So one day she calls me to ask if I was interested in taking one of the dogs. Goldie was given to a gay-couple down the street already. So half jokingly I agreed thinking that he would never allow this to happen. In the back of my mind I wasn't so sure. I go over there one day to watch the kids and at the end of the night I pack my car with the dog and all of his doggie stuff. I was sure that she had told him about these happenings. Generally a late-night worker, it wasn't strange that he wasn't there to confirm. The thought that he wasn't cool with it did not even cross my mind. We hop in the car and get to the stop sign in the neighborhood. Who pulls up next to me but Mr. Workman. Naturally I paused, rolled down the window, and said "Hello". I got the death stare. He says "I am not very happy about the fact that my dog is in your backseat right now"! My stomach dropped to my toes realizing that he had no idea that she would really give his dog away. She sure as shit did! Talk about the most awkward situation ever. At that time, that one took the cake.

I am gonna leave it at that for this week. Next time I will dabble a bit into the lives of the girls. You will see why the little one is being referred to as "Chuckie" and hear more about the lot of them. Also, for those of you that paid any attention I am sorry about last weeks post. I was at the beach visiting my niece and had limited interweb access. Thanks a bunch for stopping by!

P.S. My dog's name is no longer Shadow. He is now Cash or Cash Money or Money or Money get the point.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Boobie Chronicles..............

So on we go to the Flanders family. Eccentric would be the best way to explain them with one word. They are the perfect example of the fact that being smart and educated doesn't at all mean that you have any couth. In fact it seems to be the opposite. I am now a firm believer that as long as you flash that black AmEx the "manners" thing goes out the window.

Mother Flanders was an Architect when I started working for them. She was a fan of 80's power suits and was still living in a time where mustache waxing was not a priority. She may also be the most openly flatulent person on the planet. At that time they only had one child. When the second daughter was born is when I accepted the position with them and then stayed through the third. Cleanliness was a big issue on all levels. The house wreaked of cat urine mostly because instead of putting the litter box in a closet like most people they strategically placed it in the garden tub in their bedroom. The bedroom was by the kitchen so as soon as you walked in the house the smell smacked you across the face like "Homie" the clown.

This brings me to Daddy Flanders. He was a lawyer for a large firm uptown. He was also a foot model when he was in college. I think that he is sort of stuck there a bit being that he still rocks stone-washed denim. One day they decided they wanted to clean out their attic so, as a good employee, I offered to help. There was so much crap in that 100 degree attic that for several days I didn't know my ass from my elbow. Finally we got the mess under control and all that was left was to stack boxes. I get to a box labeled with the father's name. I had overlooked this box so I opened it to see the contents for organizational purposes. It was chocked full of 80's porno. That day I came to find out that his family was in the porn/toy business. So it's not only that you don't know someone until you have seen or lived in their house but also until you have rifled through their stuff. That was an interesting conversation to say the least.

The kids on the other hand were a whole different story. Now don't get me wrong I love these girls very much and always wanted the best for them but when you are raised my wolves you are probably going to take on many wolf like traits. The oldest daughter was a drooler at a young age which just made her the least desirable kid on the block. Everyone loves to hang out with the clean cut kid that dresses cute and smells nice. Not so much the one with ratty hair and dirty clothes. (See photo above!) You get my drift? She also had the habit of humping her favorite stuffed animal which was slightly repulsive. Mother Flanders did not have very much input on these things. In fact it is possible the lax environment caused these things to happen. This leads me to some of my favorite stories.

Mother Flanders was the type that simply didn't care what people thought about her. One day after her second child was born we all went to the public library so that the oldest child could get some books. This seems like a very harmless activity that many normal people do on a daily basis. Not this day! We were sitting there in the library when the baby starts to cry. She is hungry as babies sometimes are. The problem was that she was being breast fed and I obviously can't help with that. I turned to the mother to tell her I would be happy to hang out with the other kid while she politely excuses herself to feed her infant. But no, she had already plopped her boob out and was feeding her in the middle of the library. Baby in one hand and latest copy of Guinness Book of World Records in the other. Bare-breasted in the library with children and families running around everywhere. I made a comment about leaving. Her response was "Oh, I don't care, like these kids haven't seen a boob before." Well, I cared. I was mortified!

Not two weeks later we were at the local YMCA pool. It was a hot summer day so what better way to spend it, right? We were just swimming and hanging out when the oldest child has to pee as sometimes kids do. I am holding the infant assuming that Mother Flanders is going to help her with the potty break. Oh she helped, instead of rushing her to the bathroom or even just telling her to pee in the pool where it wasn't noticeable to the public she had her do something else. Propped her up on the side of the pool, pulled her bathing suit bottoms to the side, and told her to pee right there where she was standing. When she was done she jumped back in the pool as if nothing had happened. She then splashed pool water on the pee to "sanitize" it. People were staring at her in a way that I had never seen. The worst part is that most everyone knew her from being a part-time swim coach at the YMCA. I was at a loss for words.

I would now like to set you up for next week with my second family the Workmans'. I love them! They have three of the sweetest little girls I have ever laid eyes on and they are cool to boot! I will also be introducing my dog whose name used to be Shadow. The Workman family kinda gave him to me. Check back Monday to see exactly what "kinda" means. Hope everyone has a great week! Thanks for reading!

P.S. I became an Aunt for the first time this week on 8-8-09. Sooooo exciting!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Time out for Jesus.............

The next portion of this is my life as a Pre-school teacher. I worked at a up and coming Christian facility in a small South Carolina town. In the Palmetto state the kid to teacher ratio was 13-1. So the director assigned 10 boys and 3 girls to my class of 3 year old children. Needless to say this was a challenge being that I was only 18 years old myself.

The director of this facility, lets say her name is Sally, had a very interesting idea of punishment. "Jesus is disappointed!" she would say. Another being " I am going to need you to sit in time out and think about what Jesus would say about your actions!" Now I have nothing against Jesus but I am pretty sure he isn't worried about the fact little Steven kicked me in the shin when I reprimanded him for biting little Sean. The idea of a Religious environment for children was always interesting to me. This environment was particularly interesting to me.

You had your slightly off director and her husband/business partner that was only really around for the maintenance portion. Then there is your very gay but not yet out of the closet assistant director. My personal favorite was our crotchety old lunch lady Miss Janine. She ran a tight ship in that kitchen and you could barely understand a word she said. Miss Janine hated giving away seconds, so god forbid a kid wanted another corn dog or dollop of mashed potatoes. As an adult I even hated to ask her for anything! She could have been a character straight out of the "Black Lagoon" children's book series. You know "Crazy Southern Lunch Lady from the Black Lagoon" or something to that effect. I am pretty sure one of her eyes had a slight twitch to it as well.

Anyhoo, I could go on and on about the staff but really the kids were the gems. Little Steven was practically the devil reincarnate. About once a day his head would spin around and he would spit pea soup. No really, he was a biter, spitter, kicker, hitter, cusser, toy stealer, hair puller, and all around meanie-head. Refused to sit in time out and would do all of these things to me if I tried to make him. Only kid I have ever known to actually get kicked out of daycare.

Second is sweet Enrique. His lovely family moved from Spain in the middle of the school year. He did not speak a lick of English and I did not speak a lick of Spanish. He was the sweetest and most kind little fella in my class. Unless you tried to take away his "Speederman" toy that he brought to school everyday. This "Spiderman" toy was not only the only word he knew in English but it was the only thing he was interested in. If you messed with that toy he was on you like gravy on rice. The great thing about Enrique was that he learned English really quick he also smelled really good. Wish I knew how to get in touch with his mother to find out what kind of laundry detergent she used. Back then I was to embarrased to ask. It was fantastic!

Third there was Buddy. Buddy's dad was a fireman and mommy was a psychologist. I used to watch Buddy at his house when his parents went out for the evening. My fondest moment with Buddy was one evening after watching "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in its entirety 3 times. He had a dirty diaper so naturally I changed it. He then proceeds to say "Hey, Hey Miss Lauren. Buddy has a big penis." I was sure that I heard him wrong so I asked him to repeat himself. To my surprise, that was exactly what he said! I waited for the parents to get home. They were drunk, 2 hours late, and they were fully clothed but soaking wet. They explained to me that they had jumped in their neighbors pool to sober up. I then realized that I wasn't dealing with your typical family. I was dealing with a family that teaches their son the meaning of "big penis". A family that waits till they get home to sober up. Every school day after that incident was slightly awkward for me and Buddy's parents. I am sure you understand why.

Last but not least was Cowboy Sean. Sean was the definition of cutie-patootie. On most days his attire was a cowboy hat, boots, Oshkosh overalls, and a button down shirt. He liked to dress that way because he wanted to look like his dad. The exception to this was Halloween. Some young boys want to be cowboys for Halloween. Since Sean was a cowboy everyday he chose to be a Devil. Can you imagine a Devil costume that looks very much like a Carebear? This was it! Red and fuzzy, the horns and the tail each has hearts at the ends. Not a very scary Devil if I do say so myself. Well, here comes Miss Sally the director to ruin Sean's day. She told him, as if this reasoning is going to make any sense to a 3 year old, that his costume was not appropriate for a Christian daycare. She told him that "we" don't like the devil and that his costume was "too scary" for school. She forced that little boy to take off his costume. He cried all day! I personally thought this was a brash decision made by Miss Sally.

Gradually I tired of all the excitment and began looking for other jobs. I heard about nannying and figured I would give it a try. I took a part time position with a family here in Charlotte, NC. I call them my "first family". They will be known as the Flanders' and get ready to hear all about them! Thanks for reading this week guys! Monday I will have a brand new story! I promise to TRY not to disappoint! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Purpose...........

When I was around fifteen years old I was caught with Marijuana in my wallet. Not just any day either. Happened to be the day of 9th grade registration. I left my social security card at home in "said" wallet and being that I was so young my mother left me in line at school to fetch it herself. She found the cellophane wrapped goodies. This is how I became a nanny. I suppose it is slightly unconventional but truly so is my whole story.

I am not your "Nanny 911" or your "Take Home Nanny". In fact I am everything but. I am however excellent with the kiddos! The purpose of this blog is to share with the world (or anyone that is bored enough to read this) all of my lovely, heartwarming stories about being an in-home childcare provider. Also all of the grimy details about their crazy parents and strange living habits. So fasten your seat belts folks and get ready for the ride of your life. Actually the ride of mine, so far!

So here's the scoop. After the school registration issue my mother asked the director at my younger brother's pre-school if they needed any "help" for the summer break. My time was graciously volunteered by my mother to assist with the summer camp program. Still a kid myself I had no idea I was learning a skill that would teach me everything I would ever need to know.

Next week and every week from now on I will be posting a story. I have worked with eleven different families. That means over 35 Children! Trust me these stories are VERY interesting! See ya next week!

*Please note that no real names or photos will be provided in any of these scenarios.