The Exploits of a Nanny

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

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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.

 

Syllables and job leads February 22, 2007

Music: Arms of a woman by Amos Lee

Liz has started saying syllables like “ba” and “ma”. And she uses the “ma” when she’s unhappy. The other day she was in her exersauser and I was feeding Rose a bottle, and Liz started getting fussy, and I swear she said “ma, ma” and was looking toward the stairs. It made me so sad. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t connect the “word” as a label for her mother, but that it’s more of an innate usage of the sound. I wonder why that is? She uses “ba” when she’s happy or excited. “BABABABABA”

Liz was fussy again today while I was giving Rose her bottle. I had tried to feed Liz to sleep, but she wasn’t taking kindly to the idea and after an ounce she refused to eat any more even though half an hour later she was hungry enough to eat 3 more ounces. She knew that if she kept eating she would go to sleep. It’s amazing the will power these babies have. So I set Liz down on the blankets, supplied her with plenty of her favorite toys, and made Rose a bottle. So Liz starts getting fussy, just like I knew she would, but she’s not all out wailing like I thought she might. Instead she was desperately trying to distract herself. She’s let out a couple half hearted wails and then pump her legs a couple times and tug at a toy then repeat. Awww…

Daily walks have started up again. They make the day much more manageable. Rose has started arching her back when she’s falling asleep and since I have her in a front carrier, it’s kind of a funny sensation to have her head arching into my chest. She also does this low, guttural, sustained gurgle when she’s tired to try and keep herself awake. It’s quite funny.

I’m often asked about the girls when I go on walks. Most people assume they are twins. I’ve started saying “thankyou” when people say they are beautiful and stead of being awkward. I guess I haven’t contributed to their beauty in any way, but I do feel a bit possessive of them. But seriously people. They’re both blond and blue eyed. I’m a dark brunette with brown eyes.

I passed a woman with a dog and two youngish children one day and she turned and seeing Liz in the stroller said “Oh! two babies.” See most people think that I’m an idiot and carry my baby in a packer, and push an empty stroller… I love looking like a dimwit. So back to the woman. I turned slightly, smiled and said “yep :)” and started walking again. She followed this with the exclamation “you look good!” I turned back a bit confused and said thanks. I was turning back toward my walk when I realized that she thought they were mine and that I had lost all my pregnancy weight already. I turned back saying “oh! they’re not mine”

Today another woman with her own baby in a carrier and also with a couple kids in tow struck up a sidewalk conversation with me, and upon finding out that I was their nanny, asked “is it all week?” I guess she knows someone with a one month old who wants someone for a few days a week. Nothing like getting leads on the job. Not that I’m looking to move away from my current job, it’s pretty near ideal, but it’s interesting how once you have a job, others seem to line up at your door.

I have Friday off because I’m going to Seattle this weekend, so tomorrow’s my last day this week. Yippee!

 

in the city… August 23, 2006

Filed under: the city — S @ 7:03 pm

cheap sushi, whatever ethnic food you want, Thai!, belly dancing classes, the awkward feeling that you’re always in someone’s way.

 

Evanston August 16, 2006

Filed under: the apartment,the city — S @ 6:54 pm

We have arrived! Yesterday was an enjoyable day walking around Evanston with the girls. We got to see the apartment we’re going to be living in. I’m so excited! We also found a comfy couch with a hide-a-bed on the side of the street. It doesn’t smell and is in really good condition. I started work today. The days are going to be long, but I just have to keep reminding myself that I have 3 day weekends! I think I’m going to enjoy this job.
Back to Goshen tomorrow.