December 15, 2018

sorry, have these sweatshirts inconvenienced you? #6-13

This is the locker that is technically
 Lad's.  While he is away at college I keep
the kids sweatshirts and diapers in here.  Can
you imagine ordering me to find another place for
 the other families' things because her husband
couldn't be bothered with details.  The nerve.
Bear with me - this is saving me lots of dough because I am venting here rather than heading to my therapist's office.  It's them, not me, right?  Work with me here, people.  I would love to read your comments about Narcey and Arrogant and the behavior they find acceptable:

6.  'Can we just put these sweatshirts somewhere else?':  In the fall when the weather is chilly in the mornings, but hot as Hell in the afternoons, most kids I sit for show up with a sweatshirt.  Arrogant reached into the mudroom locker where I keep all of the babysitting kids' stuff and grabbed all of the sweatshirts and brought them home.  Regularly.  Narcey would show up the next morning and replace the sweatshirts that didn't belong to her kids.  One day she hollered, 'Can we just keep these somewhere else?'  Other people's stuff was confusing her husband and inconveniencing her.  Exhibit A of how the world revolves around Narcey.  Um, maybe you need to tell Arrogant to look at the label and see if his kids' names are in there.

7.  'I will bring his food.'  Narcey and I brainstormed one day about ways to try to get Zach to eat better.  Maybe he would prefer lunch from home?  She agreed one day to pack his lunch.  The next day she showed up and told me that she didn't bring his lunch, because 'it really isn't a texture thing'.  Eventually when the puking persisted, she did bring his food . . . and Suzie's.  Why?  Because she said, 'it wouldn't be fair.'

8.  'What do they eat for breakfast?':  Out of the blue Narcey asks me this after the door slam incident.  Weird?!  Like suddenly what I was offering (a bowl of cereal and a banana) wasn't sufficient.  Hello,  microscope!

9.  'You can't believe anything they say' with a laugh rather than a correction.:  Narcey asked me one day in October if they were eating OK for me.  (I apologize that this is out of order, because the #8 breakfast comment happened long after this issue.  I am operating on a stream of consciousness mindset).  I pointed out that I only offered them breakfast on the mornings when they told me they hadn't eaten at home.  Most mornings (starting in the middle of October - when they were just picking at their breakfast) they told me that they had already eaten breakfast.  She laughed and said she NEVER fed them in the morning and that I couldn't believe anything they said.  I was confused about why she was laughing.  They are 4 years old.  Don't you want to tell them that it isn't OK to lie?  I also suspect that they did eat a little something before coming to my house, because I don't think they were making it up.  I think she just wanted them to be offered more food.

10.  wardrobe malfunction -the over-sized shirt under the tiny shirt:  I am all about being on a budget.  My kids wore hand-me-downs from cousins and friends for as long as they were offered.  My kids never, ever looked silly.  Narcey regularly dressed Suzie in a super-big, over-sized Disney t-shirt in the fall.  She also wore leggings and a teeny-tiny long sleeved shirt over the short-sleeved shirt.  If Arrogant is driving a Tesla I am guessing that they might be able to budget for some clothing that fits the kids properly.  Not to mention, why would you layer clothes that don't layer well?  Put her in a sweatshirt of a sweater.

11.  doesn't teach them to wipe or wash hands:  about 3 weeks ago, I alerted Narcey that her kids needed to be able to wipe themselves.  They are 4.  I assume it is a requirement at the preschool anyway.  Narcey agreed.  I told her that I showed Suzie how to wipe that day.  Last week, Zach was pooping with the bathroom door open.  I poked my head in and asked him if he knew how to wipe.  No.  He didn't.  Why hadn't she shown them this?  Suzie failed to flush in the basement bathroom one day last week.  After school, I asked the kids who pooped in the basement.  Suzie admitted it was her.  There was very little toilet paper in the pot.  Had she washed her hands?  No.  I didn't think she could wash her hands on her own and I had told her multiple times to come and find me so that I could help her wash her hands whenever she pooped.  Why in the world would Narcey not have drilled that into her too?  Gross.
OK, I know..  My sketches don't look
like 4 year olds.  Maybe that is because
 they are sporting huge crucifixions around
 their little spindly necks?  Ever think about that? 
I know, I could have spent  more time on the
sketches, but God knows I have some Christmas
 prep to do too.  Tree is undercoated.  Gifts are
not wrapped - not all of them are bought yet
either.  Work with me here.  These idiots have
 thrown me into a frenzy.  AND it's Christmas time.

12.  undershirts in 90 degree weather:  No idea.  I would strip their undershirts off of them when we were out at a park.  Why????

13.  crucifixion wall hangings tied around their necks with a shoestring:  I am all about religion, but I fail to understand why Narcey sent her kids to my house ince wearing a small crucifixion tied around their neck with a shoestring.  (6 inches by 3 inches -small for a wall, but enormous for these 4 year olds who wear like a size 2 or 3T)  She once asked me not to let the kids play on my swing-set unless I was outside.  I adjusted my rules and said they could only play on my gated deck unless someone was outside with them, even though I could see everyone at my swing-set clearly thru my kitchen window and they were 4 not 2!  Anyway, if she is so interested in their safety how was she not concerned that they were not going to jump off my toy castle in the basement and get their wall-hanging caught on the turret and impale themselves?

December 13, 2018

defining normal by example of NOT normal

Before I had even responded to Narcey's text message, I looked at  Were there any normal teachers out there in search of a sitter mid-year?  What to my wondering eyes did appear . . . a job posting by someone named 'Narcey' looking to hire a nanny for in her home.  Aha!

First of all, her text message requested that I call her.  I didn't think there was much to talk about in the first place.  Now, why would I call her when I knew that she was already looking for a nanny to come to her house?  She posted her job listing 3 hours after her rant in my kitchen AND before she ever texted me requesting to talk.

I was in disbelief.  I turned other families away over the summer because I had no more space.  I had to wonder if those other families were more mainstream than these wack-a-doodles.  It is hard to know when offering to babysit for people whether or not they will be 'normal.'  While everyone defines 'normal' differently, the other 4 moms/dads I sit for are classic 'normal'.  Thank God.

These moms give me a heads up if I need to know anything about their kids, which is rare.  (ie:  Didn't sleep well, must be getting teeth, etc.).  They appreciate my care.  They chat about what we did during the day at pick-up.  Ask me if I need more diapers.  Let me know in advance when the baby/tot won't be there because grandma is visiting, etc.

Here is what I found NOT normal about Narcey and her husband Arrogant:

1.  'No thank you':  They say this over and over, but not when they are uninterested in eating a food.  'No thAnk you' for unacceptable behavior.  For example, one kid hits another kid.  Kid that got hit:  'No thank you.'  I find it bazaar.  They never say, 'Please don't do that.'  'Stop it.'

2.  sock removal:  The kids started here in the summer and the parents would arrive and have them take their shoes and socks off in my mudroom.  Whenever we wanted to go outside, which was often, I had to help all of them put their socks back on.  So strange.  The kids said it was so they could climb things better.  I told them to keep their socks on.

3.  kid is a puker:  Zach has struggled to keep his food down.  I could write an entire post about it.  He would sit and eat lunch and suddenly puke on my table.  He started out in August eating at the same pace as the other kids, then he lost his appetite and would vomit - not everyday, but sometimes.  His folks said it was nerves.  He did it at home too.  On days when he didn't puke, it would take him FOREVER to eat.  I had to start lunch so early so that he could eat something before the preschool bus. 

4.  'My dad's car is nicer than yours.'  Arrogant drives a Tesla.  He usually picks up.  He stands on the driveway and opens the trunk where two of the kids sit.  He makes a big production about opening the hood, the doors.  It's like a car show every day.  The 6 year old, Matt, told one of the other moms once, 'Is that your car?  My dad's car is nicer than yours.'

5.  sideways glances while loudly commenting on child's advanced mathematical skills:  Nacrey told me when we met that her oldest, Matt, is very good at math.  The first few days that Matt was in kindergarten, she would ask Matt questions about whether or not the kids on the bus or the teachers had noticed his math gift yet.  All the time she grilled him, she would glance to the side at me to see if I was picking up on it.  'So, did the teacher give you more 4th grade math sheets to do?'

AND THAT'S JUST THE BEGINNING, you go ahead and think holiday thoughts.  Don't mind me - I will just continue to share this family's weirdness
. . .

December 11, 2018

Narcey Cissim's text message

This is our home.  It is not a commercial building that houses a daycare complete with a vestibule.  In the warmer weather, I would occasionally reach into the mudroom past Arrogant (the triplets' dad) or Narcey as they stood their getting kids' shoes on/off, etc.  I would say, 'Just going to close the door, so we don't get a ton of flies in here.'

Hello, McFly?!  Figure it out!  Between our quest to keep the air conditioning/heat  circulating inside and our attempt to keep the swarm of flies outside zipping around the garbage cans in the garage, a propped open door is counter productive.   

The family I no longer sit for drove me nuts.  Coach rarely witnessed the real nitty-gritty nonsense.  He believed me, because he saw their ridiculous parenting style take shape frequently over the three years I cared for their kids.

But this was different . . . a true unwarranted parental explosion.   

We sat there for a moment after Narcey's rant and dramatic exit.  Coach chose to use her behavior as a teaching moment.  'Did you see that?  She was being inconsiderate by leaving the door open.  Mommy basically pointed it out by closing the door.  Then Narcey's statements all started with "I".  "I have been very sick."  "I had a bunch of people staying in my house."  Apparently the world revolves around her.  This is a very selfish person.'

The kids continued to eat their cereal, but nodded in agreement.  I just kept saying:  'Wow!  Did that just happen?'  I assumed at the end of the day, she would walk in and mumble something like:  'sorry about this morning.  I haven't been feeling well.'  Arrogant is usually the one to pick up, so I wasn't even sure she would be there to explain herself.

Instead she texted me at noon.  It was long and wordy and insulting.  Now there were more fingers to point.  It wasn't just that she was sick.  (By the way, she is a teacher working with young kids.  If she was really as sick as she insisted, why was she not calling herself out?  Staying in bed?  Keeping her crazy-ass self away from us?)  Now she lashed out at me for my cluttered entryway and more . . .

I was a tad rattled by this.  Treating her like a child?  Insisting that we needed to talk about this?  How about the blow by blow of which of her children were stepping where?  To me it was so much simpler than that.  I CLOSED THE FUCKING DOOR BECAUSE IT WAS FUCKING COLD.  I thought my response would simmer her down.  'Not an intentional door slam.'  Nope, she wasn't done (see above).

Coach read it and laughed.  'She definitely doesn't want you to treat her kids like they were your own.  If that was our kids, you would have grabbed them by the hood of their coat and launched them into the mudroom.' 

I was confused by the 'treat my kids like they were your own' comment.  Was she requesting my help in getting her kids into my house?  Was it really worth trying to get into her head to figure it all out?  As always with these kinds of situations, there is more.  MUCH MORE . . . 

December 9, 2018

to slam the door, or not slam the door

There are a lot of nutty people in the world.  As luck would have it a decent, random-sample of them manage to cross paths with me.  More specifically, they hire me to watch their kids.  

This morning, I was trying to conduct a makeshift workout in my family room.  I didn’t have much time before the tots started to get dropped off.  Coach was home, so I could have gone to the health club early.  There weren’t any classes that I wanted to attend, and I have not recovered from running 4 miles last weekend.  I opted to stay home, workout a bit in my house, and be here when the kids got dropped off vs. have Coach handle the babysitting kid drop off.  

My makeshift workout includes things like jumping rope, ‘stair’ stepping on the fireplace hearth, skaters, and putting a towel under each foot and doing a mountain climber on the hardwood floor.  Let’s not forget lunges, bicycles, planks, and bridges.  

I should have included some boxing moves, so that I was prepared.

One 18 month old was in the family room with me when I started to wind down.  I could hear the mom of the triplets arrive.  The mudroom opens to the kitchen.  I couldn’t see the mudroom from the parallel family room.  The 3 high schoolers were eating at the kitchen table.  Coach was making breakfast at the island.  The triplets entrance seemed to be delayed.  Eddie shot me a look.  He mouthed to me that he was freezing and motioned to me to close the interior door to the garage.  We live in Chicago.  It was COLD.  My kids were in their pajamas.  

This photo is a recreation.  This is the back
 of Eddie sitting at my kitchen table -
 right where he was that fateful morning.
  In front of him is the family room where
I had no view of the mudroom.  To the far
left is our mudroom and the white door
that you can partially see is the door that
was unintentionally slammed.  Missing is a
 small, frazzled woman dealing with two four
 year olds who typically enter crying because
 they want to get their way and she struggles
 to figure out how to make them
 happy vs. just telling them that life isn't fair.  
What to do when people are freezing and a door is left open?  In my book, you close it.  I leaned into the mudroom.  The triplets mom was standing in the garage dealing with her two 4 year olds that she was about to drop off.  It is always something with them.  They enter in tears because they want to carry a backpack, or had hoped to unbuckle themselves from the car seat, or thought they might open the door themselves.

I said, ‘We have to keep this closed.’  And I closed the door.  I admit the door slammed shut.  Not really my intention to slam it in their faces, but I don’t do anything in slow motion in the morning.  I keep things at a pretty quick pace.  

Narcey (rhymes with Marcy and is short for Narcissism) entered the house a split second later.  She hollered, ‘Really!?’  Then she huffed about how that was not a ‘good morning’.  I just looked at her and said, ‘My kids were eating breakfast and they were cold, so they asked me to close the door.’  

I think she corrected me further.  Then Narcey said, 'I am VERY sick.  I had 12 people sleeping in my house over Thanksgiving!'  Then she said something about how it was only like 30 seconds (that the door was open).  Then, confident that she had shared adequate irrelevant information, Narcey stormed out.  I spun around and faced my family.  They were all frozen in disbelief- maybe a little frozen with the climate of the room, too.

What just happened?

December 7, 2018

why leave it up to a retainer-less, laundry sabotager?!

I assumed Tank failing the rules of the road test was a joke.  Had to be, RIGHT?  Even when Mini texted to assure me that it wasn’t a joke, I envisioned Tank, Mini, and Coach all yucking it up in the car having a good chuckle at the fast-one they had just pulled on me.  

No such luck.  He really had NOT PASSED the ‘Rules of the Road’ test.  He tried to throw me under the bus, (maybe a transportation related joke isn’t in the best taste here) by insisting that I had told him he only needed to know the signs.  Gross misrepresentation of what I said. 

Coach dropped the kids off at home after his nightmare afternoon at the DMV.  Then he drove away.  Where he went?  No idea.  Apparently he needed some space.  I would say that he needed to let off some steam, but Tank assured me that Coach had practically lost his voice yelling at him in the car after the incident.  (And by incident I mean nightmare.)

Mini walked into the house and looked dazed and confused.  It was 4:15.  Her half day all used up  She had wasted it hanging out in the waiting area of the flipping DMV.  Her aggravation was palpable.  

I would never say this to Coach - like EVER, because I suspect that sitting in a waiting room at the DMV for 2.5 hours and having the afternoon end in such frustration was probably punishment enough, but why (WHY?!)  did he not review the material with this kid while they sat there?

Coach did inform me - like much later when he had regained the power of speech - that he HAD asked Tank if he needed to review and Tank said that he didn’t.  Not to beat a dead horse, but who would believe this kid who hides entire laundry rooms full of clothes in order to not get busted for not putting his laundry away?  Long story, but - yes, that happened.

Just went up in Tank's room to snap a photo
of his retainer.  Not in the case.  Shock.  But hey,
 the dirty laundry littering the room in the
 background adds a nice touch, don't you think?
When I asked Tank, and by ask I mean SCREAMED, why he didn’t review, he told me it was because he didn’t have enough space on his phone to download the info or something.  My response:  borrow Daddy’s phone or better yet, ask the people at the desk for a hard copy to review while waiting.

Tank:  ‘Because the lines were crazy long.’  Well, there you have it.  Why wait in line, while waiting?

Tank didn’t originally have an ortho appointment.  A small perk that I enjoy as the busy babysitter that I am is that Coach now drives the kids to their ortho appointments.  Coach said to me one day, 'I don't think Tank has been wearing his retainer!'  Unfortunately, this was true.  Tank needed to be fitted for a new retainer.

Anyway, that's when I realized that I didn't even know my son had a retainer.  It seems twisted, but believe me when I tell you that I celebrated my lack of knowledge here.  LIFE IS GOOD!

December 5, 2018

Will we laugh about this someday?

I interrupt my Irish dancing saga to share a not-so-delightful moment we experienced with Tank before Halloween . . . maybe we’ll laugh about this someday.  According to Coach that won’t be possible.  

Tank turns 16 today.  December 5th.  In case you are interested, he arrived a few days early in 2002 - because the doctors pulled the plug on his womb time that had clearly become a feeding frenzy.  They thought he was going to be big.  No one thought he would be 10 lbs 3 oz though.  Except me.  I knew he was gi-normous. 

Anyway, fast-forward to present day:  he hounded us all summer to register him for driver's ed.  He can't take the preferable class at the high school, because of his schedule.  Tank has to take two math classes because math is a struggle for him.  Imagine how much he loves that.   

Coach and I have dragged our feet on having Tank out on the roads.  I would start to search online for private places to enroll him for drivers ed, but I would switch gears.  Those of you in Illinois, you’re welcome.

When I finally did the math in the fall, I realized that Tank had to hold a permit for at least 9 months before getting a driver's license.  I may be crazy, but I am not crazy enough to screw up my life by having NO teenage driver positioned to assume Eddie’s roll when he leaves for college.

I did my part.  I gathered paperwork.  In excess.  Having taken a kid for a permit with  insufficient paperwork, well - let's just say:  that’s a mistake you make once.

I asked Coach if he would take Tank to the DMV one of the mornings when he doesn't do patient care.  Tank could be late for school.  After attending parent/teacher conferences, I am confident that Tank just wanders the halls or samples the water at various drinking fountains.  Arriving late or ditching his PE class wouldn’t throw off his educational progress by much.  

Coach brought up a good point.  Had Tank studied the Rules of the Road?  I reminded Tank about this minor detail.  I told him he could probably look them up on his phone.  I consider myself fairly organized, but do not ask me to locate a hard copy of the ‘Rules of the Road’ in my house after the booklet hasn't been used for two years.
This is the hard copy that Tank borrowed
 the next day from his golf coach,
 who teaches the class at the high school.

I assured Tank that the test isn't that difficult, it is a lot of signs, etc.  'Etc.' is key here.  If this were a high school English class it would be an example of 'foreshadowing.'  About a week later, he told me he was familiar with the material and that he was ready to go to the DMV.  Coach was taking Mini and Tank to the ortho on their half day, so  I suggested that he take Tank to the DMV afterwards.  

I thought Coach might bring Mini home after the ortho so that she wouldn’t be stuck going to the DMV.  He didn’t.  He opted to go to the DMV located north of the orthodontist office instead of the one that is west of our house.  

I got a few text updates that afternoon.  ‘This place is a zoo.’  ‘Waiting forever.’  And at last, I got a text from Mini:  ‘He failed.  I am so mad right now.’

Wait, was this a joke???

December 3, 2018

keeping the bonus room under wraps

It took a few minutes for Ernie to find a room for us.  I found this a little nerve racking.  Love a little rush of adrenaline. 

'Hmm, not seeing any available rooms.  Are you sure you won't take a room with a king bed?'  Nope.  I wanted two beds.  Mini was prepared to sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag, but I reserved a room with two beds, and I really didn't want to share a bed.  Sometimes I don't sleep great the night before a competition.  I did not want to worry about whether or not I was keeping Curly awake.  At last she spoke words that were like music to my ears:  'Oh, I have a room for you.'

Bonus room!
I asked if I could get a microwave in our room.  I had called in advance, but they had only agreed to put in a request for one.  Turns out they do not have microwaves.  What?  They don't wheel one in from housekeeping even if you have Celiac disease and bring your own food.  Why in the world did the guy that answered the phone a few days prior agree to put one on hold for me.  Where was the one he was holding for me?  Best Buy?

In my desperate attempt to score a microwave, before I realized they they literally do not offer them, I discovered that my name buddy not only shared my name, but she and I both had Celiac disease.  Seriously?!

Regular room.
When the bellhop followed us into the room, I noticed that it appeared that the door to the adjoining room was open.  I was only paying for one room, but I didn't want him to close off the door.  I mean two rooms!?  Come on, how awesome would that be?   We don't have that much space when we travel with the entire family!

View - if you look down you can see a riverboat.
Mini did not pick up on my 'let's keep this our little secret' vibe.  'Oh, what is this over here?  Do we get this room too?' she squealed.  Real subtle, fever girl.  Bellhop boy seemed as surprised as we were.  We soon discovered that this extra room was bigger than our actual hotel room, complete with a wet bar, an additional bathroom, a pullout couch, a TV, AND a walkout balcony overlooking the water, the city lights, and the river boats.  It was nothing short of AMAZING!

Bellhop boy admitted to being terrified of heights - our room was on the 24th floor.  The tower went up to the 25th floor, but the top floor was a restaurant.   He asked if we minded if he peeked out on the balcony.  We were happy to share our new bonus features with him.  He kept one foot firmly grounded inside the room while he checked out our view.

Old picture - taken on my
 old pukey counter tops.
I dished out homemade chili from my favorite travel companion:  my Stanley Thermos.  We celebrated our good fortune at landing this room with a party room attached.  Perfect place for fever girl to sleep.  The space was so big, we decided that Curly could also practice there if the spirit moved her. 

Curly announced that we could have our dance friends back to our room after she danced on Sunday  night, 'If she danced well'.  I corrected her:  'WHEN you dance well.'