Posts Tagged ‘adventures in nannying’

Kindness

March 10, 2017

I was blown away by a conversation I had with my boss today.

It started out as a bit of a joke around how I didn’t strike yesterday for International Hooha day yesterday.

That’s Women’s Day for you.

But you know what I mean.

I told her it just didn’t feel right to strike on my job when I work for a mom who runs her own business and has three children.

We joked a bit and the conversation turned to family and I found myself sharing things with her that I have not shared with previous employers.

I found myself sharing as though she were my friend.

Cautiously.

Yes.

I mean I needn’t go into gory details.

But.

I did tell her a bit more about my family.

Specifically my dad.

Which I found myself quietly feeling out the words to explain the relationship and also, and here I was really surprised by my openness, that I was thinking about going and seeing him this July when the family is traveling in Europe.

They will be gone for three weeks.

And.

I was just told tonight as I was leaving that they have the dates for their trip and also the dates for a work trip the dad will be taking at the end of this month.

I am going to help out while he is away for a week.

I’m not sure exactly what that will look like, but I will be helping out more.

I also suspect that I won’t mind at all.

She, the mom, is really becoming my friend and it’s a different relationship with a boss than I have had.

Granted.

I have had some amazing.

AMAZING.

Parents that I have gotten to work with.

Let me repeat that.

Amazing.

I am really lucky to call the majority of them my friends.

But I would also say that it was more after the fact than during the beginning of the work relationship.

I just find myself so at ease with her and I feel like I am a different person than the nanny I was when I first started.

I am also much more sure of myself and I am very aware of how good I am.

Which is not ego, but humility.

It would be false pride to belittle what I do or to downplay it.

“I could not do what you do,” my person told me last Saturday, “you really do astound me with how good you are, I still remember how you just pulled out a bag of snacks that one time I ran into you with the boys.”

She recounted a time years back when I was first began doing recovery work with her and I had a nanny gig at the time in Cole Valley.

I ran into her and some fellows and I had one of my charges with me and I had snacks and diapers and back up clothes and milk and wet wipes and god only knows what else, probably a teething ring or three and bags to put wet clothes in and hand disinfectant and the kitchen sink and…

She remembers, though and recounted it, not for the first time, with awe, and I don’t think anything of it, that’s just how I roll, prepared.

There used to be a time though when I was a lot more uncertain of myself and my worth.

I don’t think I was ever uncertain of my abilities, just not of my worth.

I  remember fondly an “intervention” some friends of mine did at Samovar Tea Lounge after I had just moved back from Paris.

It was a combination welcome home and you’re amazing and should be making more money at your job and we want to help you do that.

Eventually all that peer support sunk in and I got the picture.

I started to advocate more for myself and I started to get better jobs.

And now.

Well.

It may really be the best nanny gig I have.

Health insurance.

Paid vacation.

Sick leave.

Invitations to imbibe of their food, nice food, organic food, really nice procured stuff.

I drink nice tea and have all the coffee I could possibly want.

I get to be out and about with my charges.

I have a credit card in my name.

Of course, I can’t get cash with it and they are fully aware of what I use it for, but it’s so handy, I pick up dry cleaning, I use the card, I run to Whole Foods or Rainbow, ditto, I have it to put extra money on the Clipper card (the MUNI pass for the trains), or to take my charges to Dolores Park Cafe for mini pizza.

I have the dream nanny job.

And.

I LOVE my boss.

I feel appreciated, understood, and we talk.

Like we have conversations about the world, the state of the nation under the current administration, art, Paris, Burning Man, San Francisco, homelessness, the mayor, rent and rent control, health insurance, school stuff.

I mean.

I have shared a lot.

So today it was not new exactly, it was just sharing on a slightly deeper level and twice I found myself tearing up in empathy for her kindness and good heartedness and how she just looked at me with her big blue/green eyes and it seemed as though she got it.

She got me.

In fact.

I felt like I was in the field with her.

The field is a psychology term that I liken to be in a therapy session.

There is intuition there and connection and things are seen from both sides, the therapist and the client.

There is often a kind of subconscious connection and things pop up and out and it happened today.

I thought something as she handed me the baby and then she said exactly what I was thinking.

I have found things like that happen to me when I am in tune with another, but I don’t know that it has ever happened with an employer, although as soon as I write that I have curiosity about that statement.

Regardless

It happened.

We connected.

It was a moment of awe that I got to take in and I was just super grateful for her.

And for the little lady bug who tonight when I was making dinner stopped me, looked up, and said, “Carmen I love you, and Carmen,” she said and paused almost shyly, “Carmen, you’re beautiful.”

I stopped stirring the pot and looked at her, this little fairy elven woods creature with big saucer blue eyes and the fey downy blonde eyebrows on her face rose as her eyes widened, and she looked up at me, “you want to hug me now don’t you?”

“Yes,” I do, F__________.”

“Ok.”

I put the wooden spoon down and gathered her up and hugged her.

“I love you too.”

And I do.

Very.

Very.

Very much.

I am such a lucky girl.

Luckiest girl in the world.

And.

I’m also a school girl.

Tomorrow is my first day back to school.

So.

Off to bed I go.

See you on the flip.

Sweet dreams my loves.

Sweet dreams.

Hello Monday

February 28, 2017

Let’s be friends.

Today was not a bad day to start the week.

It was sunny.

Hello.

No rain.

So grateful to ride my scooter to and from work, such a gift.

I heard someone complaining, “yeah, it’s sunny, but it’s freezing.”

Shut the fuck up bitch.

It’s NOT raining.

I will take sunny and cold over rain any damn day.

Grateful the drought is finally over, but I think we are amply replenished and the weather can just give it a rest for a minute.

Plus.

I had a really nice leisurely morning with no homework.

I got it done this past weekend, the reading, so my normal go to reading time I spent on doing some extra personal writing and yes, I cleaned the house before I left for work, clean bathroom, clean kitchen, swept the floors.

It was super nice to come home to.

I came home to some nice roast chicken dinner too.

Very glad I had done the food prep this weekend, it was super easy to come home, peel a couple of carrots to nosh on and heat up my turmeric and garlic brown rice and a roast chicken breast and have a hot, homemade dinner.

I love self-care.

I’ve gotten better and better at it.

From going to the dentist and paying for it all up front.

To paying my rent and utilities early for March.

To going to yoga.

To having extra boxes of my favorite tea in the house.

To lighting up the candles when I get home.

It really helps me to be able to navigate the world with kindness and love when I have first taken care of myself.

And I needed that good self-care today.

Both my charges were home.

I had expected that they would be in school, ski week vacation is over and school is back in.

But.

It was grandma’s last day before flying back home so both of the older kids stayed home to see her off.

We had a very sweet day.

Built a Lego model, colored, watched a Cat in The Hat video, and read a lot of books.

I also cooked lunch and dinner for them.

I love cooking.

It is such a nice thing that it is part of my job.

Tonight for dinner I made sautéed ground chicken with onions and garlic in a rosemary infused bechamel sauce and served it over penne pasta.   I made a side of regular mac and cheese, albeit the fancy kind for the kids, as well as maple and soy glazed Julienne carrots and zucchini.

“Carmen!  You are the best cooker ever!” My little lady charge told me, “it is so yummy!”

She likes to sit with me when I have my lunch and nibble whatever I’m having as well as her own meals.

It’s rather endearing.

“More of the corn,” she told me today with these big saucer blue eyes full of merriment and mischievousness.

I was eating a bowl of homemade chicken soup with brown rice and vegetables.

“I’ll have a carrot now,” she said next, pointing to the one in the bowl she wanted.

I just laughed and spooned it into her mouth.

When I got home tonight after work and doing the deal over at 7th and Irving, I had a very kind text message from the dad too, saying basically how grateful he was to come home from a hard day at work to a really nice dinner.

That too makes my day.

I don’t need to be validated, but damn, it is nice to get it, especially from new employers.

I really am quite happy to be with them and so grateful to be in an environment where I feel like I’m totally being of service and also that I am really appreciated for my skills and the job I do.

Usefulness makes for happiness.

I am happy.

I am happy too that I spent some time before work crunching my numbers and saw quite clearly that despite the unexpected out go of the money for the dental stuff, I will be quite fine this upcoming month.

My costs will be covered and I shouldn’t have any problems with making ends meet.

It helps that I have some cash in savings, so I don’t feel stressed out.

I put 3/4s of my tax return straight into savings.

So even though it feels like I don’t have any money, I in fact, do.

I just don’t want to touch it.

I have one savings account that is for travel and I have one that is the meager beginnings of a prudent reserve.

Plus.

The month of March, five weeks.

So I’ll get a little extra there and although I’m not big on working extra hours past 40, I will one week in March as the dad will be on a business trip and I’m going to help out the family more that week.

I’m not quite sure what that looks like, but I said I would help and I am happy to do so.

A lot of that comes from feeling on top of my school work and my next action steps around my practicum placement and my internship.

I have a workshop that I will be attending the next weekend of school to acquire all the paperwork and take the next steps and then that following week I’ll be going to my supervisor with the paperwork and starting the next phase of the practicum.

So exciting.

There are lots of things happening.

But I don’t feel overwhelmed and I’m not trying to figure anything out.

I just keep showing up day-to-day.

Taking whatever next action is in front of me and letting go of the results.

Because the results are not mine anyway.

They never have been.

I can’t control the outcome of anything.

I can just take some simple actions and love myself for trying.

That’s it.

Pretty damn simple.

It is.

Seriously.

 

End Days

December 15, 2016

I had my last day with the family up in Noe Valley today.

My key ring is just a little bit lighter.

And my heart a little bit softer and sad.

But a sweet kind of sad.

A grateful kind of melting in my heart, all the brood wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, even the dog cuddled under my arm, the oldest boy reading his own book, the middle boy and I counting meerkats in the find the meerkat book, and the littlest girl on my lap intermittently reading Pete the Cat with me.

It was pretty awesome.

We even had a special bubble bath, heaps of bubbles and finger painting soap.

It was hilarious.

I was a little remiss to discover that I had the full afternoon to myself and the baby and the boys were getting picked up by grandma to do cookie baking.

I had thought I would have all three the whole day.

I had plans.

Oh well.

But.

I still got to have some time alone with all of them and it was good.

I also kicked myself a little for not bringing my Psychopathology with me to work on, I could have knocked out another couple of hours.

But this morning I decided I wasn’t going to lug around all the books and notebooks, I have never had a Wednesday when I was able to get time alone to do homework.

Let alone breathe, most of the time juggling three is a new level of nannying for me.

It was good practice though and the experience will not be lost on me as I transition to the next family and their soon to be three children–mom is due on December 30th.

I start on January 2nd.

That’s not so far away and yet feels like years away.

So much in between here and there.

Just knocking them out day by day.

Doing yoga.

Got up again today and went.

It was hard.

Super fucking hard.

There are some poses that my body just can’t get to, I’m too tight, too stiff, have had too much damage done, bad ankles, bad knees.

I leaked tears.

I have a really hard time doing any of the squatting poses and I tried, I really did, but between the shoulder that’s been a pester and my ankles being awful (I mean I may have sustained that ankle injury two years ago, but that bitch flairs up all the time, ALL the time) I ended up seizing up.

My legs cramped.

I got a Charley horse.

And my foot began to cramp.

I fell out of the pose and tried to catch my breath in child’s pose while the rest of the class blithely went about doing it as if it were nothing.

I cried, but it was not an angry kind of cry.

It was sort of surrendering to the moment cry and the tears were yes because I was in pain, but also, there was some emotional baggage there that I just didn’t even realize until a little more time had pass and the class was winding down.

As I lay there on the mat, eyes closed, tears sliding down my face, I made an amends to myself.

Out of nowhere, this part of me just sobbed, inside, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

And then.

I forgave myself.

I beat my body up.

I used my body as a shield.

I over ate to protect my too tender heat not realizing how harmful it was going to be later down the line.

I took relief and succor where I could find it.

It did not serve.

My brain perhaps, it alleviated the pain of being in my body, in this world, with all the suffering contingent therein.

I didn’t know any better.

And I did the best I could.

I wore shitty shoes and didn’t exercise and ate crap for decades.

Until I didn’t.

But it took awhile and instead of going to that place I do sometimes in my brain when I want to explain to everyone around me why I can’t do something, why my body, older by far than the whippet lithe bodies of twenty year olds around me, wasn’t capable of doing what everyone else could do, I stopped.

I don’t need to tell anyone my story, I don’t need to justify my experience, I don’t have to explain.

I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

All that matters is that I showed up.

And when I think about all the abuse I have been through and all the abuse I have heaped upon myself and all the things I put into my body, well, fuck, thank  God I still have a body to walk around in, to do yoga in, to make love in, to sleep in, to enjoy eating food in.

Because if life were fair.

I’d be dead.

Seriously.

So as I lay on that mat, softly tearing up, welling with emotions, I forgave myself, I forgave myself for it all and I made a promise, to my body, from my heart, I will do the best I can to take care of you, body, I will love you and nourish you and treat you kindly and exercise and keep showing up for yoga and it will be a life long amends.

I felt soothed and relieved and wiped out and it wasn’t even time to go to work yet.

A hot shower.

A hot cup of coffee.

Some oatmeal.

And work.

And love.

And yeah, so I didn’t get to that paper today, it would have been interrupted anyway, I did have a wonderful day with the baby and the boys and I took a long walk and I wrote the last of my Christmas cards and I sent out little reminders to friends about Sunday and brunch on my birthday.

My birthday feels so far away.

Until I finish the last paper, it all feels very far away.

Anyway.

Right here.

Right now.

I’m tired.

I’m going to make some more tea and snuggle into my cozy bed, watch my Christmas tree, revel in my body, grateful for all the places it has carried me today.

So grateful to be in this body.

Especially.

As I sit quietly waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in.

Seriously.

Burn The Mother Fucking

November 23, 2016

House down.

I mean burn it the fuck down.

Any question?

ACK.

Ok.

Perhaps I am being a tiny bit dramatic.

But as I just took another load of clothes out to the washing machine to be washed in special detergent I have some reason for the drama.

I have.

Ugh.

I have.

Grrr.

I have lice.

FUCK MY LIFE.

Ok.

Done being a drama queen.

I don’t have lice any more, at least not on my head, I sat for a three-hour treatment at Hair Fairies on Fillmore.

This was not what I had planned for my day.

NOT AT ALL.

Sigh.

And it was a weirdo day to begin with anyway.

I had to go over to Scooter Centre and get some things straighten out.

Considering that the California State Franchise Tax Board sent me a nice little notice telling me that they were going to be garnishing my wages and levying a fine on me since I had failed to register my Vespa.

Um.

Excuse me.

The Vespa that I signed over to Scooter Centre to be junked because it’s not really a Vespa.

Over a year and a half ago?

That Vespa?

The gift that keeps on giving, I thought to myself, but then I also thought, hmm, could be worse things and it made me think of my friend who had sold me the scooter and I realized that though I missed him a lot after the whole deal went sour and I lost my $2600 investment on a fake scooter, I hadn’t thought of him in a while.

I hope he is well.

And so.

I went to Scooter Centre to straighten it out, after having gone to yoga to work the kinks out, and they were great, found my paper work, took the notice from the tax board, took care of it and said, no worries, you’re all clear, we got this.

Then I went to Rainbow to grab a few things for the trip to Nevada for Thanksgiving.

A trip that I ended up canceling today after finding out I had lice.

God.

It is just yuck, yuck, and more yuck, but I have had moments of it being funny and I’m sure I’ll be over it once my house stops smelling like tea tree oil and whatever else is in the washing spray that I have been using on everything.

After I went to Rainbow, I went to work.

The dad informed me that the boys and the mom had lice.

I instantly felt my scalp itch.

The thing is.

It’s been itchy scratchy for weeks.

But.

I never once thought lice.

Oh God.

I thought I was having a psycho somatic response to old trauma being stirred up from work I was doing in grad school.

I thought I was having a reoccurrence of excoriation from when I first got sober.

I thought maybe I had stress induced psoriasis.

I thought, maybe it’s dandruff.

I thought, maybe my shampoo or conditioner or hair products changed and I didn’t know.

I pondered briefly bed bugs.

Yes.

I did.

But it was contained to my scalp and so I thought, literally, this is all in my head.

No.

No.

No.

Martines, it’s not all in your head, it’s all on your head.

ARGH.

When the mom and the boys got back I expressed that I felt symptomatic and that it was probably something I had as well.

They were great, called Hair Fairies and set me up with an appointment to be screened and if needed to be treated.

And guess what?

I have lice.

She swiped once through my hair and found an egg.

She swiped a few more times and found a louse.

Shivers.

She said, “we may not be able to give you a full treatment today as I’m done at five and it’s already after four.”

NOOOOOOOOO.

I didn’t cry, but I was upset.

I actually didn’t cry until I got home and blew  a fuse on the washing machine because I had overloaded it with my bedding and then I didn’t just cry.

I screamed a big bloody “fuck you!”

Then I went and made dinner.

Then I messaged a friend, checked the fuse box, flipped the fuse, reset the power and voila, the machine works, and is now on its second load of laundry, this time all my towels.

At the shop the woman helping me flagged in another and another and another.

Four different people worked on my head.

I called a bunch of folks that I had worked with recently and told them I had lice.

Nothing says sexy like telling someone you have lice.

Blech.

The treatment killed anything that they didn’t comb out of my head.

But.

I had to make a second appointment.

They said it’s not a guarantee with the amount of hair I have and the thickness of it.

70% gone, but not 100% gone.

They were adamant about booking me another treatment.

I was adamant about accepting.

And grateful that my employers had called a head and given over their credit card info.

All said and done.

$303 for the treatment and products.

Fuck.

But better that than shave my head.

I had to cancel my Thanksgiving plans, which I was super bummed about, but I am very grateful my friend wasn’t on the road driving from Nevada when I called her, that would have sucked.

But yeah.

I had to cancel.

And I made another appointment to go in for the second treatment on Saturday.

So.

I’m in town this week.

Not working.

NOT CONTAGIOUS.

I repeat.

Not contagious.

The little fuckers are gone.

I just have to continue to wash laundry for a while in case there are any eggs laying about for another week.

Which is a hassle, but whatever, like I said, at least I didn’t have bedbugs, then I’d really be burning down the house.

And one of my friends whom I called and gave the alert to invited me to Thanksgiving in Marin.

I’ll be doing the deal at Strawberry Hill.

Cool beans.

So.

Yeah.

I’m in town.

If you want to hang and aren’t afraid of cooties, hit me up.

Otherwise.

I foresee reading for school, reading for school, and more reading for school.

Some yoga.

Walks on the beach.

And maybe a trip to the MOMA.

I’ll be around.

And I suspect that something awesome will happen.

It usually does.

I could use some awesome.

Seriously.

 

Transitions

September 20, 2016

And I don’t mean the sunglasses.

Thank you very much.

My current family has confirmed that next semester, starting in January, they will only need coverage two days a week.

They would love to keep me.

But.

Understand that I may want to be full-time with another family.

Uh.

Yeah.

I don’t want a bunch of part-time hours here and there, I like routine, regularity, and benefits.

I live in San Francisco.

The most expensive city in America.

Rent is not cheap.

“You pay what for rent?” My uncle asked in aghast as he strolled through my tiny studio in Nob Hill eight years ago.  “That’s more than the mortgage on our house.”

Yeah.

Rents haven’t really gone down since that time either.

Then again, I don’t live in Wisconsin, so what I pay in rent would not be indicative of a house mortgage here.

Anyway.

I digress.

I had an interesting, albeit slightly uncomfortable conversation which started out with the mom telling me that she’d received a really amazing compliment regarding my nanny skills.

Ok.

I could feel myself go on alert, but I just listened.

Turns out a family that goes to the same school as my current family, needs some help on Mondays for the next few months.

And.

My current family does not need me as many hours as they have been giving me and would I be interested in talking to the other family and seeing if I could help.

I was a bit flummoxed.

Frankly I felt fobbed off and passed around and a little I don’t know, farmed out?

But once I got over that, I realized it was a huge compliment, the parents that asked have seen me a few times at play dates and I liked them and I adored their kids and they are sweet people.

And.

Get this.

Child psychologists.

Which I did not know when I first met them.

So, yeah, that is a compliment.

I discussed a bit more with my current employer and then we went over the plan for the day and I headed up to do the laundry and cooking and all the other sorts and bits and stuff.

I felt a bit overwhelmed and not sure what to do.

And.

Then.

I flipped it.

First, maybe a change of scenery might be helpful.

Second.

I do really like their kids and it’s been a minute since I worked with a baby, they have a 20 month old, a 4-year-old and a six-year-old.

Plus, if they were able to pay my current wage it could actually work out in my favor, that being I would probably get paid cash and a little more than I am making now since they want me for a few extra hours than what I currently work on Mondays.

Next.

I realized that the family had given me a golden opportunity.

Really.

That of the luxury of looking for work while I am currently employed.

I have 90 days, give or take to find a new situation that will work for me.

Fast forward a little to right about now.

I have a new job starting Monday.

I talked with one of the parents about a half hour ago, she explained the situation, told me what their needs were and I told her what my needs were and we agreed we could probably work this out.

She then checked in with her partner to confirm that they could pay me what I am making now and if the situation works for all involved.

And.

I got the confirmation e-mail about three minutes ago.

It’s on.

I’ll be starting on Monday, this coming Monday.

They have agreed to my terms and I to theirs.

Now that I feel a little more settled with what is happening I can see that this may transition perfectly for me.

The new family wants me Mondays until December 12th.

Perfect.

Then I will give the current family my notice, I’ll probably be talking to them further, but I know the mom realizes that I will need full-time work or close to it and that I prefer one situation to multiplies.

So.

Hey parents!

If you are looking for a nanny come January let me know.

I prefer to go back to working with the babies.

I miss the babies.

I will get to work with a 20 month old for a few weeks and that feels special and I already bonded with her last year when she was about a year old and I gave the parents a break to go for a swim in the pool.

I wore her in a little snuggly and she napped against my chest.

I do miss the weight of a child on my shoulder.

The sweet warm smell of surrender to sleep.

Naps.

Oh.

I shall love to have a day with a baby nap in it again.

I am in transition.

I am in the dark hallway.

But.

I have been here before and I know that I will be taken care of.

I always am.

New horizons.

New adventures.

New experiences.

Change.

Although I don’t always like it.

Never like it.

Even when it’s good.

I don’t like it.

But.

I know that this is ultimately a good change for me.

I embrace it.

I say.

Ok!

Let’s try this.

Let’s, I don’t know, give it the old college try.

I can be of service, I can be of assistance, I can nanny a little girl for a little while.

And her cute older brother, they really are adorable kids.

And I’ll get to have baby naps again in my life.

Life is good.

When I can shift my perspective and not be in fear.

Realizing that every step of the way I am taken care of.

Whether or not I am in fear.

Always.

There is the love.

Love.

And more love.

Thank God for perspective.

Faith.

Hope.

Joy.

All the things.

And new opportunities to learn and grow.

All of that too.

New job starts Monday.

Bang!

Here we go.

Here we go again.

Just when you think (think) you’re in control
Just when you think (think) you’ve got a hold
Just when you get on a roll
Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again
I should have known, should have known, should have known again
But here it goes again
Oh, here it goes again

 

Hello Monday

April 14, 2015

Let’s be friends.

I wrote that this morning as I was sitting and thinking about what my day would look like, how it would go, where I would go, what I would do, and then further, how I was going to be.

Happy.

That was my choice.

Happy is a choice.

Sometimes happy happens all on its own and that is lovely and surprising and I am always grateful for it.

Then there are other times, Monday’s, when I have to put myself in that mode and get happy.

I put my hair in pony tails.

I wore some electric blue and some purple.

I stuck a couple of big purple and teal flowers in my hair.

And I did my make up to match–shimmery purple glitter on the whole lid complimented with some teal eyeliner set off by a black winged cats eye and two layers of black water proof mascara.

Waterproofing.

I should have known.

I think I was subconsciously telling myself, but i didn’t hear it.

I was busy getting happy and doing my writing in my pink glitter notebook and thinking I should make a run on Flax and pick up a notebook and that I needed some new stickers, I’m almost out and what could I do to guarantee I would continue bright and upbeat and not let Monday have its way with me.

“Swimming, swimming, we’re going swimming,” the mom was singing to the boys when I walked in this morning.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I whispered under my breath.

Of course.

It was a family swim day.

Spring Break you’re going to kill me.

But, I put myself in the happy place, breathe and pray, and got into it.

“Carmen? Carmen! Carmen!”  The oldest came hustling down the stairs and ran into the kitchen where I was putting together stacks of snacks for the trip to the pool and back.

Swimming makes for hungry little boys.

“You’re here!” He hugged me, “it’s so good to see you, I missed you!”

I missed you too, my sweet guy.

I picked him up and gave him a big squeeze.

“Sometimes you hug so hard I think it’s going to hurt,” he told me, “but it never does.”

I felt a small hand reach inside my heart and squeeze it.

These kids get me.

I have thought before when transitioning to a new family from another that I wouldn’t love the kids as much or there would be differences and I wouldn’t be accepted or, whatever it was, that there wasn’t enough love in me to go out to another child.

And yet.

There always is.

There are times when I have a moment with the little guy and he’s my favorite and the best and wouldn’t trade him in for millions.

Then the oldest does something like hug me and kiss my face and ask me to sit by him and write out “a very secret story that only you and I share,” and he snuggles into me while dictating the words to the secret story, so secret that I can’t even look, and then, yes, he is my favorite.

The best.

The most awesome.

Then I see my little Junebug and Charlie Reno squished up on the top bunk of Charlie’s bed–my screen saver on my phone, Junie’s eyes wide, saucer like, glowing like love lamps and my heart squishes and she is it, oh goodness, so much it breaks me in half and then in half and in half again, times infinity and beyond.

“My favorite number is 20 hundred plus infinity,” the older one informed me out of the blue.

Yeah.

Like that.

Love it doesn’t wear out or go away or get smaller, it just grows, and like a flower forever blooming it only grows sweeter and better even when the person is not close to me or gone another way.

I have this note that a dear friend, who is currently not talking to me, but that’s another story, wrote me this past year about how much I inspire him and that I will never understand how much and that I have loved him more than he deserves and that for that he will always love me more than I will know.

And another note, on two yellow stickies about me on my playa bike and how she thinks of me with love, and it accompanied a necklace sent from my best friend in Wisconsin.

Then there’s the photograph of me and my darling girl friend, who takes a lot of random ass, I’m freaking out, need to talk me down from the ledge moments, of her and I doing the tourist photograph from Alcatraz.

I have postcards and note cards and “love letters” all over my fridge.

I have the most amazing print from a friend who signs it “Love you Carmen.”

And I know she does.

And I love her.

Love.

It’s so nice.

And it’s a good thing to remember when the two and 3/4 year old boy, half-naked, then completely naked, launches into the longest temper tantrum I have ever experienced.

Second only in severity to the one he threw in the bathroom at Mission Playground.

This one happened at La Petite Bailene, in the locker room, that space that is the echo chamber to end all echo chambers, a locker room.

The screams.

It was horror.

He lost it.

Lost it.

Lost it.

The tantrum was prefaced by him not wanting to get out of the pool, which is so amazing, a few weeks ago he was adamantly against the pool and I remember telling the mom that it would change, patience and practice and gentle repetition and before you know it, he will love the pool.

He loves it so much that when the family swim was over, and my eye makeup had been dashed and sprayed and doused in water and he was swimming with nanny the raccoon, he wouldn’t get out.

And he didn’t have a choice.

Open swim was over.

Try telling that to a stubborn child who has his heart set on swimming and all the wonder of it.

Poor baby.

The mom and I managed, the older brother managed, the snickering of the German mom changing her small children out of their co-ordinated racer back swimsuits in the corner, I could have done without, but you know, what ever, tantrums happen and one day you’ll get yours lady.

The mom got him out of his swim suit and wet trunks, but getting him into clothes was impossible.

Executive decision time, out to the car naked, but he pulled the one trick out of the bag to get back into the swimming pool facility.

He stopped wailing and in the calmest voice ever, said, “I have to pee.”

Oh good gravy.

Kid.

You are killing me.

I looked at the mom, “I’ll do it, give me his clothes,” I ran him back inside, got him in a stall, he tried to escape, I knew he wanted back to the pool and the tantrum exploded again.

Mad little naked monkey.

I did eventually get him changed and dressed and out the door and into the car seat and back home and he napped and then the world became a much quieter place, but for a moment, I had the Monday blues.

Oh yes I did.

Then the day ended and he sat in my lap and snuggled and said, “please, oh please, eat your food,” he likes my beans and rice dishes.

He curled up with his stuffed cat in my chair and ate beans and rice and I fed his brother and we did bath time and it was all good.

Love.

It doesn’t go away when things get hard or screaming happens, all the emotions, all the big feels, they are just a part of the journey.

And even though Monday was not quite as happy as I had planned it to be.

It was still full and wonderful even when it was tough and heartrending.

That might be the best definition for love I have.

And I can always use a little more.

Or a lot more.

Like.

20 hundred plus infinity.

I Want My Privilege Back!

April 9, 2015

He screamed.

He could barely breathe.

He slapped me.

He kicked me.

He threw himself around the room.

He was naked.

No.

This is not a picture of any man I have dated.

Second thought.

Yes.

It actually could be, but not any one I have dated recently (at least not in the last fifteen years), I swear.

Just the little guy I work for, the big boss, the 2 and 3/4 boy who also whipped a metal fork so hard across the table that it bounced up and smashed into a window.

I pulled him up and took him out of the high chair and there was no more dinner.

I pulled him up and took him out of the bath after the three count.

“M………. please stop throwing water out of the tub,” I said.

“M…………second time, please stop tossing water out, I will take you out, I will.”

“M………..last time, dude, you can enjoy the rest of bath time or you can get out.”

“M…………you lost your privilege, let’s go, out of the tub.”

I had already asked his older brother to pull the drain plug up, bath time was about to be over anyhow, which was a blessing, I was about done in today, although not as bad as yesterday.

Despite the little guys nap being shorter today, I actually managed my time better and made myself sit down and eat and rest.

I have to be on point.

Tomorrow begins Spring Break.

Which means I have both boys full throttle, all things go, zoom.

For the next two days and then Monday through Thursday of next week.

The nice thing, though, the family is taking a long weekend next weekend, and yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, I have next Friday off.

Three day weekend!

I haven’t gotten there yet, I still have a nice weekend a head of me and two days of two boys yet to go.

I will be going in a half hour early every day from tomorrow on until the family leaves for their mini vacation.

This is balanced by being able to leave a half hour early.

But I was a little resentful this morning and had a lot of chatter in my head about how it was going to go today and what I was being asked to do, some extra work, some extra time with the boys, all the marketing, cooking, laundry, etc.

You know.

Work.

So I did some inventory and sent it off in a voicemail and what do you now.

The chatter stopped and I was present.

Present to go with the little guy to BiRIte and get some really nice fruit to have around the house for the next couple of days.

Present to make a really nice meal for the family (marinated chicken breasts in my own marinade–orange juice, tangerine zest, grape seed oil, sea salt, black pepper, thyme, rosemary, garlic–with sushi rice and corn on the cob for the parents and for the boys toasted Acme bread with smoke whitefish salad and avocado plus fruit salad from all the nice fruit I picked up at BiRite).

Present to snuggle with the monkeys when they needed snuggling, to see the park from their eyes, to run around Dolores Park and ride the wiggly slide and sit by the sandbox and watch them bury dinosaur eggs (I mean, duh, the Easter Bunny brought them dinosaur eggs, not peeps, please) that I had filled with “special snacks” to lure them out of the house with and to the park.

Present to laugh and sing and be jolly and silly and do my job.

“You just get to practice telling the family that your priority is going to be the boys and being present and energized for them,” she suggested to me over the phone.  “Which means, that you take a break when you need to, you sit down to eat lunch, you let some things slide.”

Ack.

I don’t like letting things slide.

I always want to be on top of it all.

I want the dishes not only loaded in the dishwasher, but I want the timing to be so that it coincides with the sushi rice being made in the rice cooker, so that I can unload said dishwasher and have all the food wrapped and prepped and washed and chopped and managed.

I want the laundry folded and arranged, with towels ready by the bath and pajamas, tops and bottoms and little boy, er excuse me, “big boy” underpants, at the ready, so that after bath time I can transition them to be ready for their parents and go to bed as I am leaving.

No such luck tonight.

I had a banshee of a little boy, running naked up and down the hall screaming about wanting his privilege back.

“IWANTMYPRIVILEGEBACK!!!”

I finally got him settled down and though breathing heavily and wriggling like only a slippery two-year old boy can, I brushed back his hair and said, “M……….., I have something for you.”

I held out my hand, flat, offered it to him.

“This is for you.”

He looked at my empty hand.

He looked at me.

“Here’s your privilege bunny, you can have it back.”

He snatched it out of my hand and ran back to the bathtub and tried to climb back in.

My tactic backfired.

He wailed when he saw that all the water had drained out.

“I want my bath!” He yelled and cried, and I knew I was about done.

I only have to get through the next ten minutes.

That’s all.

And the dad came up and helped and the Meow Meow was found and the pajamas got in and then.

Oh.

“M………… can you tell Carmen thank you,” the dad said.  “Can you give her a hug.”

He launched himself at me, “thank you Carmen!”

He kissed me, both sides, European style, sloppy, wet, heavy, delicious kisses.

“I love you.”

Sigh.

Kid.

I love you too.

And you get all your privileges.

I promise.

I really can’t deny you a one.

Because, ultimately.

The privilege is all mine.

See you bright and early in the morning.

Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

(What a horrible saying, who still says this?)

Tomorrow is another day full of privilege.

Sunshine.

Love.

Adventure.

And boys.


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