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 Maker...................you get the point.
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!
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! :)
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.