Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Smell of Failure Can Be Purchased at Bath & Body Works

You know what I've discovered? Mary Poppins doesn't exist. Really. I spent all this time searching for the perfect nanny/sitter for our little wonder girls and she doesn't exist. I'd go ahead and hire Julie Andrews because I think she's practically perfect in every way, but I think she charges a little more than $15 an hour. And she's booked. 'Til, like, 2020.

So we hired a sitter who said she was cool with our weird hours, agreed to no TV or video games, has lots of experience and doesn't smoke. Bug is OK with her and the sitter can tolerate Dos' loudest, most prolonged protestations. So far, so good.


Two minor things:

First, she wears a TON of perfume or something equally stinky. For the record, I HATE scented lotions or perfumed body washes. Plus, heavy scents make me really Sneezy. The first couple of times Sitter came, I opened the windows to air the house out. It's too cold to do that now. Plus, she's holding Dos a lot and I can smell Sitter's perfume on the poor baby hours after she's gone. I have to change Dos' clothes and give her a bath when Sitter leaves. Blech. I can smell it now, just thinking about it.

It's more than just the strong aroma. It's the scent of failure to me. I smell that perfume and it says, "You CAN'T do it after all. Someone else has to take care of your baby. You left your baby with a stranger. A smelly stranger. YOU. FAILED." I know, right? I'm just being honest here.

Next, she's a real sitter. I mean, she just sits there. A lot. Bug needs to move. All kids do. Without some physical activity, they get crabby and whiny and become total pains in the ass. Dos is happy to crawl around a lot. Climbing on a parent, the sofa and pushing chairs around is a lot of physical exercise for her. But Bug needs to run! And JUMP! And RUN some more! She gets that a lot when Grinch and I are watching her, but Sitter just sits.


Do I tell her she smells and sits around too much? I'd find a nicer way to say it of course. Maybe. Or should we just appreciate that she's not soused and locking the baby in the closet?

Have I mentioned that I hate confrontation? Mergh.

What would you do?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I'm the last child my parents had. The "baby" as people like to say. I'm the seventh child.

My next-oldest sister enjoyed "baby of the family" status for five glorious years until I showed up. She likes to tell people that "We were The Brady Bunch until Heather came along and screwed everything up." Obviously, she's still not over losing her title. We hated each other growing up and now we're best friends. I still want to belt her when she makes the Brady Bunch comment, though.

So I came along and six became seven. Lucky number seven? Meh. Probably not. I think seven kids pretty much torched the last of my mom's sanity. In family pictures, she looks like she held it together right up until kid number five, then you see the screws coming loose. By the time I arrived, she was OVER. IT. Every picture of her after my birth, she's practically climbing out of the frame. I just have two kids and I can't say that I blame her.

Instead of The Brady Bunch, we became the Seven Dwarves. At least, that's what everyone hooted when they heard "seven kids." "Harharharhar! Seven kids! You're the seven dwarves! HARHARHAR!" Yeah. That never gets old. And it wasn't enough just to point out the Snow White connection. Idiots who point that kind of crap out always have to ask, "SO! Which dwarf are you?!"

May I use this opportunity to educate you? Thanks.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is a very old story. It goes back to the middle 1800's at least. In some versions, the dwarves are knights. Mostly, they're just short dudes who let Snow White crash with them in exchange for cooking and cleaning. The dwarves weren't named until that Disney came along. Suddenly, every dwarf needed a name. Every dwarf needed a label. Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. Well, fine.

So when people asked us which dwarf we were, my brothers were all too happy to start throwing labels around. Guess who got to be Dopey each and every time? Harumph.

Monday, November 17, 2008

!Buenos Tag!

In high school and college, I took a lot of Spanish classes. By the time I was done, I could carry on a half-decent conversation in Spanish without much effort. After graduation, though, I barely spoke Spanish at all so over the years I've forgotten most of my grammar. Now I worry too much about tense and pronouns and posessives to say much more than "Dos margaritas fresada sin sal, por favor." and then I do so rather self-consciously.

I got suckered into a couple of French classes here and there. It just wasn't my thing. The language itself sounds beautiful, but I felt pretentious just learning it. The best result of those classes was the laugh I got when a college French teacher implored a very tight jawed fellow to "open your mouth. Open. Your. Mouth!" He muttered to her though his clenched jaw, "That's as far as it goes."

I've tried half-heartedly to learn German to impress the in-laws. But, hello? Could it be any more difficult? Die, du, deine....I'm already starting to feel light-headed.

For many months after the bug was born, I faked my way through her German books, stuttering "Schneewitchen und der sieben Zwerge" and I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But a few months ago, as I blathered on about "...Julia's dreirad, und teddy ist immer dabei", Bug put her fingers to my lips and said, "You don't read German, Mommy. DADDY reads German." Kaput.

Still, old habits and old languages die hard. I give the bug instructions and finish with, "Entiende?" I pat mis bolsillos, muttering, "¿Dónde están mis llaves?" and ask the bug for "Eine moment, bitte." I take things from little hands and scold, "Das ist nicht für dich."

Sometimes the languages collide and I end up using Spanish and German in on sentence. "Necisito una Löffel." "Este juguete ist kaput, schatz." I don't know if I'm the best language model for young ears, but I'm trying.

I do know this: if my girls ever need to send back their meals at a German restaurant in Spain, they can fall back on their mother's example and implore the waiter to "Vaya rápidamente, mach schnell!"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Name that Critter

For the bug's 3rd birthday, my sister and neice gave her a very nice world map made out of felt.

To go along with the map, there are about 25 little felt critters with velcro on their backs. The idea is to put the animals on their home continents. Most of the critters are easily identifiable, like these:

Top to bottom, left to right, we figure these guys are a panda, giraffe, zerba, lion, eagle, butterfly, kangaroo, hedgehog, flamingo, rabbit, hawk and camel. Easy peasy, right? There are some that are not so easily identifiable, like these guys:

After months of deliberation, we've decided that they are a roadrunner, moose (with really dinky antlers, poor fellow. OH! Maybe it's a reindeer?), crow (bor-RING!), and turkey. Believe it or not, that turkey took a LONG time to identify. Three college educated adults and a very smart teenager turned that sucker a million different ways before it finally made sense.

If you're counting, there are still nine critters outstanding. What the hell are these?

Now, we're not complete knuckleheads. We figure the grey dude with the tusks is a warthog. His neighbor is squirrel of some sort (artic, perhaps?), and the black thing with the horns and the white U-shape on his face is a bull. Maybe? But what is the brown thing with feet and a tail? A Darwinian pile of poo? On what continent does that live, exactly? Is his grey cousin on the bottom row just a cold weather version of him?

So, I'm turning to you, all-knowing internet, to help us identify these creatures and point us to their happy homes. Beacuse the bug has named the black-and-white critter at the top Boo-ba-dee and I don't know if that's its genus or phylum. Get to work. Name those critters.