This is the first image that shows up in a google image search for “nanny.” Don’t let this be you.

For a less serious topic, I thought I’d tackle the most difficult sartorial aspect of my job: the plumber’s area. My job involves a lot of bending over and squatting. As in, I’m ALWAYS bending over and/or squatting. The worst part about this isn’t even the potential embarrassment, as I’m usually in the boys’ home, but the fact that it creates a DRAFT. A DRAFT DOWN MY BUTT. Now, I’m one of those people who “runs cold” (in fact, I run practically hypothermic), so this isn’t just inconvenient, it harshes my mellow to an obscene degree.

I currently have a work-uniform that breaks many laws of fashion, but I don’t really care. I view my work clothes as akin to scrubs for doctors: purely utilitarian. I have given up on trying to be cute, which I could kind of get away with with the Schmoops who were pretty benign in terms of mess and time spent chasing/carrying, but no more. The boys are rough, messy, and require every ounce of strength and energy I have. I can’t afford to spend one iota of that energy on getting dressed in the morning. So… I commit the sin of bib overalls. “Plumber’s Area” is pretty apt since I look like I’m going to get down to some hard labor on the construction site. I care not, I built entire cities out of blocks!

Yep. Waffle shirt, hoodie, overalls and red Mary Janes. (Mine are Dansko and super-comfy.) Inside the house, I even wear fuzzy slippers. Warm, cozy, and best of all: I can get painted on, barfed on, pooped on, and my clothes all just go right in the wash when I get home. (I carry a change of clothes in my car consisting of an extra shirt, yoga pants, and socks – yes, socks, you have no idea how quickly they get besmirched in the event of all out mess, especially where bodily fluids are concerned. I highly recommend ALL childcare workers have a change of clothes handy as both times I’ve been puked on, I didn’t have a spare set and ended up using a blanket as a skirt while my pants went through the wash.) My plumber’s area is protected and I have umpteen pockets for clean/dirty tissues, that thing that the child just gave me that he wants me to hold on to, chapstick, and a pen in case I have a SPARE MOMENT to write something down.

If you don’t want to go for the overalls, I recommend a long cardigan, which is a look that I rocked pretty much all last winter. I had to run around the city of Boston all day long with kids in tow, and this was my default back then.

Yeah, I really am “Red Sonika.” My closet palette is all earth tones with red (and the occasional pink) accessories. My winter coat is red. My purse is red. My wallet is red. My iPhone case is red. The staples of my wardrobe are grey, brown, and green, with hints of orange. I refuse to own anything blue or purple as going into “cool colors” isn’t my territory. Since making these arbitrary sartorial decisions, shopping is much easier and I don’t ever have to think very hard about “does this match?”

On my off days… I’m a little more fashionable in a very boho kind of way. I like to think of my style as “urban bohemian” – also very feminine with a few tomboy accents.

Since it is effin’ freezing out here most of the winter, all outfits are topped with one of my excellent coats. At least, I find them excellent as they are both a) warm and b) not totally butt ugly, a combo that is surprisingly hard to find. Don’t worry, my fur coat (which is more awesome than the one pictured) is totally fake. I like to refer to it as my “No Animals Were Harmed in The Making Of This Coat. Coat.”

And there you have it. Polyvore proof that I am one of the most sartorially boring, if also totally obsessive, human beings alive. But I am also WARM.


End of the day.

November 25, 2009

You may have noticed that my blog posts are always made in the morning. You may have even been observant enough to notice that they’re always timestamped between 645 and 715AM. I am not a great morning person, and this is not when my posts are written, but I like to get business done before I go to work…

Because THIS is what I look like when I come home:

Yep. Nuno started telling me about his day and linguistics and robots, which was all very interesting, and I started falling asleep on his knee. It’s been an especially tiring day for everybody in the work ‘fam since DadBoss was in various stages of around the house and the kiddos could sense a pre-holiday Disturbance in the Force. Holy cow. They were both so wound up by the time mom got home that they were literally running around the yard like banshees. No one napped. Especially not me.

I love my job so much, but I’m so tired and the kids aren’t even mine yet! At the same time, I’m going up to my parents’ for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and what on earth am I going to do without toddlers for FOUR WHOLE DAYS?

Other than nap. Because I’m sure as hell going to nap.

Nanny 911.

August 28, 2009

nanny 911

I haven’t had cable TV in eons. Well, ok, over year, but that’s practically its own geologic age in TV years. I’ve seen Jo the nanny on whatever show she’s got, and thought it was kind of redonk, but that was a long time ago and before I started nannying full-time. So, tonight I’m sitting on the couch while my partner is jury-rigging my computer back together so that I can type something other than just a continuous string of the letter “z,” and there it is. Nanny 911.

I was somehow biologically compelled to watch this. Like if I didn’t watch at least one full episode of Nanny 911, my kidneys were going to go on strike. I was expecting to roll my eyes back into my head to the point of requiring surgical removal, but I did it anyway.

And actually, I really kind of loved it. The episode I saw featured Nanny Deb and a family with three sets of twins. Three sets of twins who were all trying to kill each other. The typical whining and hitting nightmare. Nanny Deb had a week to “fix” things, which of course, sounds impossible.

But lo! At least as far as the viewing audience at home is concerned, she prevailed! Who knows what happened after that week, but we saw a few tearful shots of reconciliation and a nice denouement over a peaceful dinner. What magic did she work? What was in her bag of tricks? What did she put into their water?


*Of course* there’s a Nanny 911 game.

I swear it’s almost becoming like Rule 34: If you can think of it, a video game exists of it.

Here’s Nanny Deb’s super-magic secret: She talked to them. She got down on her knees and looked directly into the kids’ eyes and kindly, but firmly, TALKED to them. I heard so much of myself in her, it was frightening. My partner made a joke “Oh look, that’s you in ten years!” but seriously… that’s me in ten years. I heard the same words that I say all day long coming out of someone else’s mouth, ON TV, and it was a bit jarring.

What amazes me more is the fact that this show probably does help a *lot* of parents, and not just the ones who are on the show, because there are so, so many parents who honestly do not know how to talk to kids. So many adults in general don’t know, and just kind of assume that once you have kids, you’ll magically be aware of how to talk to them. And it’s just not true.

If you want well-behaved kids, there are very few things that you need to do, but you need to do them all the time. You need to talk to the children, you need to LISTEN to them when they talk to you, and you need to be consistent. And that’s what Nanny Deb got these parents to do and their lives! They improved! Almost instantaneously! Just talk to them! I know it sounds corny, but phrases like “I need you to use your words.” and “I’m sorry that made you feel upset.” go a LONG WAY. Also listening to children and understanding that it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you that Jojo got the blue fork – it is a big deal to kids. And most of the time – more than anything else, they just want this acknowledged.

I could go on and on, but really, it just amazes me how little some truly caring parents understand about talking to kids. Be calm, be firm, be kind. Be consistent. If you say No, that has to mean no. That can’t mean “No, but if you keep screaming, I’ll say yes.” But truly, if you talk to a child about what’s bothering them, you really won’t have to say no very often. I honestly only ever give firm NOs to dangerous behavior. Everything else is negotiable.

Also, I try to instill in children the Golden Rule that my mother taught me: No whining, no crying, no begging. It was mostly in the context of the grocery store, but it’s a pretty good rule.


August 19, 2009


I’m not above playing silly games. Oh no. I’ve spent more of my life than is in any way healthy playing “Sally’s Spa” on my iPhone. Far be it from me to cast a stone.

But… Nanny Mania?! NANNY? MANIA? They made a game of MY JOB? I mean, I guess playing the spa game is someone else’s job, and it would seem equally redonk to them that you’re playing a game in your free time that requires giving someone else a pedicure (and yeah, honestly, the “clipping toenails” graphic was a bit much, thnx)… but…

This job not only can’t be as fun as the real thing: there are no real flowers from real little boys or endless cards being shoved in your bag from five year old girls, but it also is missing out on a lot of crucial elements. It can’t be a real simulation of nannying unless it involves a computer recreation of the “I’m going to hold your legs with one hand, and take off your poopy diaper, wipe your butt, and then put on your clean diaper with the other hand in twenty seconds while you scream your tiny little head off and alternately try to kick me or put your feet in your own poo” move, or has a voice that asks you “Why?” after each time you hit a button. Any button. For any reason.


I do like the “House Chaos” meter. Nice touch there.

Y’know, I’m sitting here thinking about this and thinking that I could seriously enjoy a barista game where I could “make” coffees and problem solve about doing things quickly and efficiently, but I would never, ever want my old job back. Thinking about a nanny game? While, ok, yeah, the poop… but really, the best parts of the job aren’t things that would ever be captur-able in computer form. The game is not going to come up to you all smiling and start drooling its popsicle right into your lap. When computer technology can simulate the smell of sleepy toddler, then maybe we’ll talk.

Until then, I’ve got to go and do laundry mania that I may return to nanny mania tomorrow with clean pants.

And I am going to start imagining this banner appearing on my car every day at 5PM.