The Exploits of a Nanny

New family May 22, 2007

Filed under: baby behavior,baby development,milestones,my man — S @ 1:20 am

Rose is leaving.  She’s moving to Seattle in August.  So we’re interviewing new families to find a replacement.  I met the first one (only mom and baby) today and they seem like the best match so far in terms of age, but I also found out that Rose’s end date is later than we thought it was going to be and 2 and a half months after this potential family’s desired start date.  Hum.

Rose started crawling last week.  She’s still getting good at it, but she can make it pretty well around the room…eventually.  Liz has started pulling herself up and she reached for me while her mom was holding her for the first time last week.  She’s started crawling over to me and trying to pull herself up on my legs which is very endearing.

Mike is going to be in Chicago Wednesday only a few miles away, and I don’t get to see him 😦   Friday…friday….friday


Oh My! May 21, 2007

Filed under: the city,things kids say — S @ 5:27 pm

More from Overheard in Chicago:

Little Girl: “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor or a stripper.”

Teacher: (in utter disbelief) “What?! Why?!”

Little Girl: “Doctors help a lot of people and mommy says daddy loves all the strippers he sees. I want to help my daddy, too!”

– North Shore Elementary School


Taking the pain May 14, 2007

Filed under: baby behavior,nanny issues,the apartment,the bad — S @ 7:03 pm

My neck, chest, and bossom (or is it the plural bossoms?  This is a hot topic in the apartment) take quite a beating while I’m rocking Liz to sleep.

Yes, she cannot yet put herself down, and she’s still sleeping in her swing.  It’s not what I would chose, but I respect the parent wishes.  I don’t think it’s horrible either.  She’ll learn in her own time.  Besides, she’s going to grow out of that swing soon, and then a new situation will have to be found and she will have to adjust.

Ok, back to the topic at hand.  Liz likes to slap, claw and pinch me in an attempt to keep herself awake.  Ouch.  But what can I do?  She doesn’t know that she’s hurting me.  She doesn’t really understand that concept yet.  At least her mom has started trimming her nails more.  There were a few weeks where it was really painful.  I do what I can to discourage her, and try and at least get the concept across that she shouldn’t do that, but it often helps keep her awake.  Grrr…


Nanny Hell May 9, 2007

Filed under: nanny moments,out and about,the bad,the good — S @ 7:49 pm

How you know when you’re in nanny hell.

When you have cramps, need to pee so badly you think you might have a situation on your hands, are staving because it’s after 2 and you still haven’t had a chance to eat lunch, and have two cranky, cranky babies who are hungry and tired but are refusing to eat or sleep.

How you know the nanny gods hate you.

When you found out that same morning that one of your families is moving to Seattle and you job has suddenly become very uncertain.

You truly are in the deepest darkest inner circles of hades when…

You carry two still tired and cranky babies (because they didn’t sleep long enough) down three flights of stairs, bundle them into the stroller only to discover there’s not enough room to get between the cars to get the stroller out and have to carry two, even more cranky, babies back up three flights of stairs.

But you’re back in heaven again…

watching your babies’ faces as they discover the joys of swinging.


Personal space in the city or Why I’m having visions of rabid squirrels April 19, 2007

Filed under: nanny moments,out and about,the city,Uncategorized — S @ 6:33 pm

Yesterday during my daily walk with the girls, I was thinking about the differences between my personal space when I’m alone vs. when I’m with the girls. I tend to have a smaller personal space boundary than many because of my time in Africa as a child. Different cultures tend to have a fair consistent distance that people stand from one another, depending of course on context and the relationship of those involved. There are of course, as with most things cultural, alot of factors that go into how much space a person needs to feel comfortable, but what society you are from plays a key role. Americans have one of the largest “bubbles”. Very rarely have I had my boundaries pushed, but it’s been happening more and more as I take the girls out.

Yesterday it happened in the most dramatic way yet. I was just entering the downtown area when I crossed paths with a man probably in his 40s. Now being the small town girl that I am, I tend to make eye contact with the people I pass on the street and smile. I do this even more when I’m with the girls, because I tend to attract more attention. This gentleman didn’t smile back, and I held his gaze probably a little longer than I normally would in anticipation of some form of acknowledgment. I know, very un-citiesque of me. So when he still didn’t smile back I just kept on walking thinking to myself, “fine Mr. Grumpy-pants, don’t find any joy in life, if two little baby girls don’t make you smile, nothing will”.

I was a little shocked, however, when I realized that he had turned around a couple paces behind me and was following me. I turned to see if he wanted to ask me a questions, or why he had turned around. Suddenly he had is finger in my face shouting “Why are you looking at me? Don’t look at me like that!” My jaw dropped, I dropped my gaze, I started to respond, realized that this man definitely had a mental disease of some kind and quickly turned and walked away as fast as I could with my head ducked in case he tried to hit me. My adrenalin shot sky high. The man followed a couple steps before crossing the street still yelling “F***ing Bitch“, “I’ll F*** you” “crazy over sexed…“. I was terrified.

Luckily, a man and a woman were walking nearby and stopped to make sure I was ok. The gentleman walked me across the street to make sure that the guy didn’t come back. After the immediate danger seemed to be over, I almost started crying. The girls seemed fine. Liz had let out a small cry a half a minute or so after the man was gone, but she was soothed by my reassurances that “everything was fine” I had started saying this almost immediately after the man crossed the street, partly because I was concerned for the girls, but most to reassure myself. The girls were faced away from the whole scene which I am most grateful for, and they were too young to really understand what was happening enough to be scared.

I, however, was not as fine, and it took a couple blocks before my shoulders relaxed and my legs stopped feeling shaky. I considered calling the police, but had decided not to when a squad car turned the corner I was approaching. I waved him down and described what had happened. Unfortunately I could only tell him the location, that the man was Caucasian, a rough age estimate, and the direction the man was headed after he crossed the street. I couldn’t describe him any better than that because I was trying not to look at him as much as possible since that was obviously what had set him off.

For the rest of the walk I was a bit on edge, and very aware of everything around me. I steered well clear of where it had happened and the mental home that is located a couple blocks away and more than likely he is a resident of.  I found that it was still difficult for me not to meet people’s eyes and smile, if a bit more timidly than before.  Old habits are hard to break.  Nothing about this man’s behavior before he turned and followed me seemed out of place.  Danger is not always something you can anticipate. Going home, even the squirrels received a suspicious glance if they got too close.


Any advice welcome April 18, 2007

Filed under: baby behavior,discipline,tools of the trade — S @ 6:23 pm

The girls seem to enjoy being read to, and I try to read to them every day, but it’s starting to become a frustrating experience for all of us.  Both girls, but Rose particularly, love to get their hands on one (or two) of the books, and of course what’s in the hand ends up in the mouth.  There are a couple books that are either plastic or cloth, and in the past having those has been enough to pacify them.  No longer.  So I’ve started giving each of them a cardboard book during story time, but attempt to not let them chew on them.  A paci in the mouth is a temporary fix, but they are often spit out in order to obtain the more enjoyable book corners.  I tell the girls no (with sign) and gently pull the book away from their mouths often re-insert the pacifier, but I’m not sure they’re old enough to process what’s happening.  Will repetition be enough to teach them not to chew on the books?  I’d like to eventually be able to take them to the library for story time, and the sooner the better, but I want to wait until I know that they can be trusted with at least a cardboard book.  It’s also hard to read a book and monitor both girls with their books at the same time.  What have other’s experiences been with teaching babies how to treat books?  I’m not just concerned with teaching them how to treat books either.  When they chew/suck on the cardboard the dye and other chemicals in it leach out and end up in the girl’s mouths.  Not good.


Back to blogging April 13, 2007

I tend to bounce back and forth between my blogs, so to catch up on the other side of my life, and to hear some fantastic news, go here.

So there’s alot to catch up on, and so many things I’ve thought of to blog about and then didn’t, so I think I’ll list some stuff, forget some stuff, and slowly catch up as things come to me.

Rose clapped and waved for the first time last week. It was very exciting. There have been a couple of times where all three of us have had clappingfests. Sitting in a circle all clapping our hands. It never lasts long, but it’s so cool to see the excitement on their faces.

Another moment I love is when the girls look up from their little circle of toys and realize there’s another baby sitting across from them. If they time it right, and both become aware of each other at the same time, they start talking to each other. Their little babble conversations are one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Liz is becoming much more mobile, but not actually crawling yet. She mostly rolls where she wants to go and then sits up. She just started sitting up on her own this week.

Two things need to happen soon, or I’m going to need to say something.  I’ve been told both things are going to happen repeatedly in the last month, but I come back the next day or after the weekend, and they’re still undone. Liz’s crib needs to be lowered, which right now isn’t really a problem while I’m here because she’s still not using it during the day, but that’s hopefully going to change soon, and I think her parents use it sometimes in the evenings.  She has the strength to pull herself up and now that she can sit up on her own, she could potentially fall out.  The second is a more immediate concern of mine because I’ve started getting really nervous every time I leave the girls alone upstairs to make a bottle or use the restroom.  Liz’s mobile enough that she could find her way over to the stairs and fall down them.  A very, very scary thought indeed.  I’ve started putting her in the exersauser or putting a really fat pillow in front of the entrance when I leave, but really, a gate should be put up.I get to try out the double stroller for the first time today! Yay for sun!


Raffi March 28, 2007

Filed under: my roommates,tools of the trade — S @ 7:12 pm

I’ve been rediscovering a childhood favorite. Raffi is children’s music legend and mixes messages of peace, understanding, and environmental stewardship into his kid friendly repertoire. I just bought these albums. I’m excited that I get to share something I loved as a child with my girls.


The Corner Grocery Store

Evergreen, Everblue

In honor of my roommate Becca, here are the lyrics to his song C-A-N-A-D-A 😀

Tell me what’s a Douglas Fir
Betcha never heard a bobcat purr
Have you ever seen a lobster crawl?
In Canada, we get to see them all.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest wheat fields growing tall
In C-A-N-A-D-A, where we see the reversing falls -or- In C-A-N-A-D-A, where adventure ever calls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Tell me, what’s a tidal bore,
Have you ever heard the ocean roar?
Just listen to that wild goose call.
In Canada, we get to see them all

Have you ever heard a maple creak?
Betcha never seen a mountain peak.
In the land of the big snowball.
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Have you ever seen a magnetic hill?
Or a lady on a dollar bill?
Betcha never seen the autumn fall.
In Canada, we get to see them all.


As my roommates look at pictures I just printed off of the girls March 25, 2007

Filed under: my roommates — S @ 9:04 pm

How do you take care of these girls without your uterus crying on a regular basis?


Signing and sitting up March 13, 2007

Music: Hey Jude by the Beatles

I had tentatively started using signs with the girls in the past month or so, but wasn’t sure about the timing. Was it too soon for it to be of any use? But I recently discovered a community of nanny bloggers (yippee!) Several of them talk about signing with their kids, and I asked Shel when she started and her response was 6 months. So I’m a little behind with Liz, but I don’t think it’s going to be much a problem. Today I started using the signs for hungry, tired, water, sleep, eat, no, finished, calm, and ILU. Getting them to make eye contact can be a challenge, and I’ve been more successful with finding times to use them with Liz, but it’s exciting. I do have some reservations, but they have nothing to do with childcare, maybe I’ll go into that another time.
Rose’s sitting up on her own! I still have to sit behind her in case she loses her balance, but it’s exciting. We’ve been working toward this for about a month now. She’s doing pretty well at correcting when she starts to lose her balance, but there are still times when she topples over.
Yesterday I was told for the first time that one of the girls looks like my child. On our walk a woman who was probably about 4-6 months pregnant told me that Rose looks like me. The was even after I had told her that I was only the nanny. My roommates thought it was because of the eyes; Rose and I both have big eyes with long lashes that sort of dominate the face. But hers are brilliant blue and mine are just plain brown.
It’s glorious today! Can’t wait for our walk.