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Does this onsie make me look fat?

Does my bum look fat in this diaper?

If infants could really understand what strangers and family alike are saying to them regarding their cute rolls, I think this inner dialogue could begin to develop just as soon as a first word?

E and I were walking down the street the other day..well I was walking..she was sporting her onsie in the stroller sucking on her hand, chatting it up with herself and waving to inanimate objects. Suddenly this woman appeared before our very eyes. Her hair was gray and her eyes were dark and big! She squatted down a bit and stared at the baby. E stared back, disinterested and engrossed in the relief of her swollen gums. Her onsie was super cute, or so I thought, as I had dressed her. I thought it accentuated every curve and roll with dignity and grace. It had tiny little cars on it. it was a hot day and the sun had been beating down on us. She was cool, calm and collected under the awning of her stroller.

I pondered what a great pair we were as I looked down at her, suddenly aware that this gawker was still there. Back into the moment, I listened as the woman went on about how cute she was, and her cheeks and her rolls and her fat legs and how she wanted to eat them up and bite them. Awkward. I thanked her for the compliments….and looked down proudly as if I had personally birthed this child who happened to be 9 lbs the day she entered the world. Um…nope.

The gray haired women and I exchanged smiles. Then E and I went along our merry way.  Baby E was now engrossed with the cover of her bottle that I gave her, exploring the plastic clear texture within her curious mouth and hands. As I was walking, thoughts of my thirst (Had I brought enough water?), my day ahead (Should I do my laundry tonight?), and the fact that my hair has been awfully dry lately (Should I go to Sally’s Beauty Supply and buy another hopeful hair product for my crazy, curly locks?) fluttered in and out of my mind like a little colorful butterfly. (Some call this Attention Deficit Disorder!)

It was then that I began pondering the enthralled passerby’s words. How very interesting that this kind of language was culturally acceptable when speaking of a baby’s cute leg chub. If someone on the street (or actually even someone I know) started telling me how cute my chub was and how they just wanted to bite me, I would be a bit alarmed if not flattered!

Then I began thinking about our culture. When do we go from such adorable baby chubba and squeezablly delicious, consumable cheeks to judgements as to  “what is this parent feeding this child?” When does adoring, respecting, and loving an innocent little body go to explaining not to worry …that three year old will be “outgrowing” her baby fat soon.

It is such an interesting concept about how fat is perceived. It just gave me something to think about. Cultural norms and expectations fascinate me.

As I work on my own personal recovery from an eating disorder and weight fluctuations, I think about how I would love it someone told me that my rolls were so cute and adorable. I would definitely draw the line, however, at the “I just want to bite them and eat them up” comments; I would secretly be flattered, I’m certain….but not until after I called the cops and filed a restraining order!

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…And there goes the breast milk….

I have never breast fed. Since I have recently decided that having my own children will conflict with my selfish, on-the-go, sleep-loving lifestyle, I will never breastfeed. I am an advocate of it, however, as I know there are many health benefits and emotional bonds and connections formed as a result of this personal choice. I also think it is a beautiful choice. It’s a blessing to people who can do it.  Personally, I see breastfeeding (for myself) as mixing business with pleasure. Therefore, if I were to have children, I would not do this. Maybe I would pump? I am getting ahead of myself here.

I have been thinking about the idea of breast milk and the commodity it has become in our society. I am even more intrigued that it is sold on the “black market.” After providing childcare for several infants who have been on varying spectra of the breast-feeding circuit, I have come to appreciate how precious breast milk is. This is ultimately why I mourn the following mishaps that I have fallen victim to. 

  • The “wrong-nipple” mishap: This is where I quickly grab the accoutrements  for an outdoor adventure. I stuff the nipple into the top and then put the cover on it only to realize mid-trip that I stuffed the wrong nipple on and there is now breast milk all over the bottom of my bag.
  • The “wrong pipe” mishap: This is when I am giving the baby the bottle and she suddenly coughs as if the milk has traveled down the wrong pipe. Yes. The milk is now all over, covering face, shirt, hair. Mine,not hers.
  • The “loosen the bottle top” mishap: This occurs when I decide that I will combine two small bottles into one for easy transport. I accidentally loosen the top of one bottle before doing the “shake” to counteract the milk separation. Then I shake the 3/4 of the bottle onto myself, the floor, in the cat dishes, and once again, in my hair. This is one of the worst mishaps without a doubt.
  • The “mistaken food” mishap: I use the same little bowls for our breakfast. I mix baby’s cereal with a bit of breast milk. Then I put my oatmeal (or other breakfast-y item) into my bowl. As I am waiting for the baby to finish “chewing” her spoonful, I absentmindedly grab the spoon, thinking it’s from my bowl, and am JUST about to shove it into my mouth when I notice at the last minute (with utter horror) what just went down. Phew, I think to myself, as I breathe out slowly.
  • The “unsteady hand” mishap: This occurs because of my own shaky hands. Exhaustion or too much caffeine will do it. I begin to feed cereal with milk (or other meal mixed with breast milk) to the little pumpkin only to spill it on me while it is en route from bowl to baby’s mouth. This always happens at the beginning of a day where I forget to bring a change of clothes.  This can also occur when the baby flails around excitedly or with aggravation and the food (and milk) go everywhere.

…And there goes the break milk…commodity as it is. I cannot imagine what it feels like to have a pump suck the milk out of one’s breast. I appreciate how very sacred this milk is and how a spill cannot be bandaged by a quick trip to the market for another half gallon.

I CAN however imagine how awkward it is to have someone’s breast milk on your body. I CAN vouch for what it is like on a hot day with no change of clothes (lesson learned, my friends). I CAN imagine the bond that you form with a parent after you have their breast milk stain on your shirt and tangled up in your naturally curly, dark hair. And ultimately, I CAN imagine that this may be a post that is not relative to many of you or that may have grossed out the squeamish readers. Let’s face it though. This stuff is on the black market for a reason!

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11 New, Interesting Adult Uses for Random Baby Things

I have keenly noticed that many baby and children’s items are actually very useful to adults. Not because they are such wonderful inventions to make childcare and parenting easier, either, but because they add convenience to our crazy, busy lives. Even if you are not a parent, they are practical and fun. And before all the fresh people start thing that I mean pacifiers, diapers and swaddle blankets, read along…I mean.. unless that’s your “thing;” however, then I think you may be looking for a different type of blog!

1. The Boppy — This is not only wonderful when holding/feeding a baby to prevent backache or for general support. The boppy can be used as a mini computer “desk” support for your small laptop or tablet. This is handy when you are watching TV, for example! I am using one right now actually!

2. The Bottle Brush–We all have random cups, vases, and such that we need to clean more efficiently. I thought of this idea one day when one of my plastic water bottles could not be cleaned to my Type A personality liking. I perish the thought of black-lighting them! The mouth of the bottle is too small and the “sippy” part is difficult to clean by hand when you do not have a dishwasher, like myself. I know, it’s 2013 and I don’t have a dishwasher; however, this is one of my favorite, unbreakable (even by me!) bottles. I bought a baby brush (Dollar Tree people! We are not talking about a huge investment!). I can now scrub the crap out of the inside and use the nipple brush to clean the sippy part!

3. Toddler Wipes–This are wonderful because they are flushable, unlike actual baby wipes! Also, if you buy the store brand or scout around you can find deals that are so much better than the Charmin Flushables. The main difference is that the toddler ones are a bit smaller. They work just the same. They smell good and usually have aloe in them. Who doesn’t want the freshest smelling and feeling bum.

4. Baby Powder–This is pretty obvious, but since my bathroom looks similar to a flour tsunami as a result of my liberal daily usage, I must add this to the list. Unless you are Kate Moss, you likely have small crevices you would like to keep dry! Let’s just talk like adults here. Also, there’s nothing like not having to worry about chafing or SWASS when you are strolling around the neighborhood on a hot, humid day pushing a 25lb or larger baby or kiddo! Use before and after!

5. Baby Spoons/Bowls–All I can say about this is: Portion Control!

6. Baby Shampoo/Wash–I use this for not only cleaning my nethers (let’s face it, it’s gentle, non-perfumy, and if you can wash a baby body with it, then you can venture other sensitive territories!). My other use is for my ear piercings. I use it to gently swish around my “non-traditional” ear piercings and swish under hot water. It does a great job of gently cleaning out the area.

7. Baby Lotions/Creams–These are also obvious, but for me I love the smells of lavender, calendula, shea butter, cocoa butter, etc. So many of the all natural and organic baby products are made especially for baby so they are gentle and smell yums! Two of my favorites are Burts Bees and California Baby! Who doesn’t love sniffing a recently bathed and lotioned baby!

8. Diaper Bags–I’m not talking about the bags that truly look like diaper bags! I would not want you to look like a total creeper! But there are some fun bags that you could totally get away with wearing, especially if you are the “need the biggest bag in the world to carry every item you think you may need at any given time” type. I am definitely that type.

9. Old, stained baby clothing–If you are crafty, you can cut pieces of these items (the non-stained portions) and make a little patchwork item. You can use the pieces to collage, sew, etc. You can make really sentimental keepsakes for the baby in your life! Or you could cut them into little baby napkins, wipes.

10. Baby food squeeze pouches–These are great to add to salads, sauces, marinades, etc. You can buy organic and creatively mix up the flavors and textures of everyday foods! No need to worry about additives and fat content! They are fruits and veggies! If you choose to use the jar baby food, make sure to recycle them into little containers for paper clips, staples, thumbtacks, etc.

11.Burp cloths–If you are a tree hugger, hippie (or attain to just save the world one paper towel at a time), you can use these for wiping spills, napkins, washing dishes, etc. Many times parents can get tons of free ones from hospitals!

These are ideas that I came up with, although some have most likely already been thought of! Please know that I am aware of this. I hope this provides some entertainment and realistic re-purposing of items that may even be in your house anyway. Don’t forget to look for coupons, samples, freebies for these items. Even if you are not a parent, you can definitely be on mailing lists for these types of things. Also, think thrift shops, wholesale clubs (powder in bulk really helps me maintain my habit!), dollar stores, ebates, craigslist, and freecycle!

Have fun! I hope you all have a softer tooshie, less chafing, and cleaner water bottles!

 

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OH The People You Meet

I was sitting in the library last week with the baby, who I shall name Baby E. She’s 7 months old and we were playing with puzzle pieces. This mom a few feet away was playing with her daughter and smiled and said, “Your baby looks just like you.” Usually I will take the full credit for birthing such an adorable little being; however, I told her she was not mine, but thanks for the compliment.. I mean, think about it; if the baby is a cutie, well then, I must be too…. just speculating!

Sometimes I feel like I am in a Sesame Street episode. Isn’t there some song that goes, “These are the people that you meeeet, when you’re walking down the streeeet…?” Anyway, we stroll and sometimes speed walk through the ‘hood of Somerville and Cambridge and meet all sorts of people each day. Most are really sweet and smile. I mean, who doesn’t smile when they walk by a baby? Serial Killers, sociopaths, those at the bus stop who clearly just got out of detox or McLean, and miserable human beings with not a hope left in the world…. I can understand that they may not be happy enough to smile.

There are some very diverse people in this area. Allow me to expand upon a few experiences:

1. The Unamused Old Man

We were dining casually in Au Bon Pan. This nanny needed a damn sandwich! E and I ordered a sandwich. While I devoured my delicious sandwich, I placed E into the high chair, which she immediately began eating. Yes, the dirty high chair. I pulled out her bib, her water sippy cup, and her little container of something mushy that was nonetheless appealing to her. Naturally, every time I feed her, I am covered in her goo which consists of food and drool. She is too cute, though. She’s goo-ing and gaaagaaa-ing and turns around sees this old man sitting at a table close by. It seems she thinks this man is the president of the United States with the way she is eye-stalking him! She starts to talk to him, giggle, etc. Not for ONE moment did this angry, old man look up from his stuffy newspaper to even give a tiny smile! Really. I try not to judge, but this man’s day would have undoubtedly been better if he had looked up for one tiny moment.

2. The Oblivious Woman

We had finally arrived at our destination: Davis Square. I am very happy that E finally fell asleep on the long walk there as she had been boycotting it for a bit.  Suddenly this woman flew by out of no where stopping only to recite her soliloquy about how sleeping babies are so cute, etc., etc….Her wonderfully sing-song loud voice echoed in the street. Suddenly, eyes open, and there goes the nap.

And then there are the typical people who make one’s day a little more agitating:

*The cars and trucks who do not stop in the  cross walk or whiz through yellow lights.

*The people who have no sensitivity regarding personal space follow so closely behind that you are sure you will see yourself on Dateline in the next few weeks. This isn’t Manhattan, people ! There is plenty of sidewalk room!

*The people who crash into you, Market Basket style, because they are texting and have their phones eye level, completely oblivious to any other thing occurring in the world around them.

*The bikers that for some reason ride on the sidewalk. This is rare, but we were definitely nearly sideswiped by a biker. My annoying sign and look of disdain produced not one apology.

*The people who refuse to shovel their sidewalks or salt their property.

*Teenagers who walk by screaming all sorts of unnecessary obscenities, just because they can.

One of the things I have learned through nannying is that if you do not have children or have never provided childcare, you do not really think about these things. So after I scream at them in my mind and take mental notes as to what they look like so that I can accurately construct a voodoo doll of them, I keep in mind that they are human too. Sometimes one just does not understand that I’m not just pushing around a doll for amusement. There is really a baby who is being affected by these actions!

 

 

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Nanny Blurbs

I have been feeling a little distant from my blog. I have an urge to reconnect with all that is in my mind each day regarding my career, my life, my life calling.  I hope you will join me in this endeavor!

I have recently left the family that I was working with. I soon began working for another family. This family has become a sort of muse for me. This family is truly amazing and has given me some inspiration, self-confidence, and desire to be the best nanny I can be. Don’t get me wrong. I have always been inspired and passionate about caring for children, especially since I have decided to forgo birthing and raising my own! Way too much pain and lack of precious sleep. I have a hard enough time carrying around my own excess weight never mind caring for a 15 pound ever-growing infant! I digress….

I love my job. I am sometimes bored as adult interaction is often scarce. I daydream endlessly while the baby sleeps and I putter around making baby food, petting the kitties, and cleaning up teethers, pop-up toys, balls, and crumbs of food.  Ultimately, though, I love watching an infant grown into a toddler and in turn, a toddler emerging into his/her own personal little being. I love “being my own boss.” Not exactly my own boss, but I do work for myself and have a bit more flexibility in seeking what I desire from my work experience. I allow myself to work on other part-time endeavors and gigs. I make ultimately make my own schedule, choosing which hours/times/days I am willing to work.

I am fortunate to find a family where our mutual values and morals meet and mesh beautifully. I feel important and valued. I am trusted and loved. This ultimately is worth more than any kind of salary. I am in no way negating the value of working for enough of a salary to maintain my cost of living; however, I have been blessed with choice. I have actually been even more blessed with my knowledge that I can make choices based on my goals, interests, needs, and desire for career fulfillment. 

Do I want childcare to be my ultimate career choice? I would say no, although, I have other beliefs regarding the ideals of the notion of career. I believe that it is not necessary for one to choose ONE, lonely, single career for life. That is so 1975.This notion does not take into account that people grow, develop into different types of people… I believe that as a human being I have many loves, interests, hobbies, etc. I am constantly seeking to fulfill my thirst for knowledge and learning to skills. I could spend my entire life at bookstores, libraries, poetry readings, and seminars.

At this point in my life, in my career, I am choosing to essentially help a family care for, teach, and love their most precious, little peanut. For me, that makes me feel whole. My passion has allowed me to ponder and think outside of the “blog text box.” I am pondering and researching the idea of publishing E-books based upon my experiences, knowledge, and ideas. I would love to share what I have come to learn as a result of earning my Bachelors and two Master’s degrees as well as my work with all age groups from early infancy through high-school aged. In this blog, however, I plan on keeping my ideas and writing based upon early childhood teaching and nanny experiences. I  hope you will help me create a following and support my endeavors. I also welcome ideas, thoughts, constructive criticisms, etc. I value different opinions, ideals, and perspectives.

Sharing, learning, teaching: values that I am currently living by. I hope to transmit true hope and insight on the passion of work and childcare, in particular. Please grab that hope and follow your dreams, too!

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Therapy Fund

I have decided that when and if I have children I will begin a therapy fund. It is only natural. I also feel that whenever a baby enters this very interesting world, there should be a mandatory law that every child should have one of these. It is really quite simple. And trust me, my future child will likely be laden with “perfectionistic” tendencies and crazy hair!

Hospital and doctor co-pays are going up. Who the hell knows where they will be in the far away future. I figure that since no one really knows what he or she is doing precisely as parents (there really is not a one size fits all manual), there needs to be a plan in action to act as a sort of insurance for these little beings. Ha.

A couple of days ago, I was at work. I was working with a 4 month old infant. I feel that I am relatively competent and knowledgeable when it comes to childcare; however, the baby was really upset and had a psychotic break…for an hour.I truly felt terrible because the baby seemed very anxious and when I picked her up and tried to comfort her, she would stiffen up. Poor thing! The thought running through my mind? “OMG, this poor little munchkin is going to relive repressed thoughts about me when she is 23 and finally in therapy!” The screaming was incessant. I thought my head was going to fall off. I thought she would never stop. I tried thinking about what it would be like for me to be a parent. I abruptly saw my biological clock in my mind’s eye become smashed by a Mack truck. Really. How do parents do it? I know many of you who are reading my blog are parents. Let me personally tell you that you are truly amazing. And once again as I was bouncing around the room gently trying to comfort her, I thought for sure that this inability to soothe her would one day become a full-on year’s worth of therapy sessions when she finally turned 18.

So ultimately, I covered all my bases: eat, poop, gas, bored, tired. I thought for a moment that she possibly deliberately set out to ruin my life.  Then, by the end of the infant’s psychotic snap an hour later, she finally fell asleep. Also, even if she was not really tired, she sure as hell did a wonderful job making herself utterly exhausted. This is just one reason that I believe there should be a well-established therapy fund for all children upon birth. I am sure that incident scarred her as much as it did me.

My last nanny job was an interesting one. I had never met parents quite like these ones. The mom arrived home one day from a long day at work and was surprisingly very happy. Usually she was pretty miserable, as I would be, working as an engineer. During our “PowWow” as she liked to call it, where we have a half hour to catch up, “stategize” (because she always seemed to have an issue with me or something I did… )as she called it, play with the baby together, etc., she excitedly told me that the baby now had a Gmail account!

I wondered for a moment. I was amused and concerned simultaneously. Why? Why would a parent create an email account for her 9 month old infant? When I inquired, she told me that she was fearful that there were not going to be any Gmail accounts left when the baby was a teenager. She proceeded to tell me what the email address was.. maybe in case I got a sudden urge to send her a random email? Either way, this also explains how one person’s neurosis is another person’s therapy patient. Upon further contemplation, however, who knows.. she IS the engineer. Maybe she is right!