substitute my coke for gin ...
the kid, she was sick all weekend -- a stretch of 72 hours, of which she (and, through the transitive property of parent-child rest, we) spent 3 asleep. so come monday she was in a particular state. in fact she was so sour and so quick to erupt into tears of rage and indignation that we decided to rechristen her. for the duration of this post she shall be known as Shorty Shortfuse McSourcrabs.
Shorty's timing could not have been worse. our nanny is gone for three weeks (she had hemorrhoid surgery! on her hemorrhoids! which she has had since her first born was born. which was TWENTY SIX YEARS AGO. oh, sweet jesus preparation H christ, can you imagine!?). on monday, when Ms. McSourcrabs was at her most crabbily sour, our substitute nanny came for a little acclimation action.
people, let me tell you, there is nothing in this world to make you love your nanny to death more than hiring a substitute nanny. long since our rocky first days i have come around to the nanny -- she's great, we have gotten reports from spies that she's good with the kid, she clearly likes the kid and the kid clearly likes her. (quick thought -- what if all her nanny powers are centered, samson-like, in her hemorrhoids? will the surgery render her non compos nanny? oh no!) so i love our nanny. finding a substitute, however temporarily, was never going to be a walk in the park given how great our nanny is. but the gig is for just three weeks so we figured we could tap into the russian nanny mafia on our block and find someone who needed a quick, temporary baby fix. we found someone with good references and figured we were good to go.
and then, on monday, she arrived. monday being my day home with the kid, it fell to me to show substitute nanny the ropes from about 10 am to 2 pm. Shorty Shortfuse being in her particular state was in no mood to show anybody any kind of rope except maybe for one tied in a noose. the russian substitute did little to quell my concerns.
Shorty Shortfuse woke up from her morning nap not long before the substitute nanny arrived. she had had her bottle and i was grabbing clothes for her to wear. it was hot, so i picked out short shorts and a t-shirt.
russian mafia substitute nanny: "no. she wears dress today."
mr nice guy: "um, i think shorts and a t-shirt is probably fine."
"no. too hot! she wears dress."
"fine. whatever. fine. here's a dress."
"wash her face!"
"what? she had a bath before she went to bed."
"wash her face! make her fresh. now!"
suddenly i found myself in the bizarre situation of absolutely refusing to wash my own child's face. this lunatic russkie barges into my home and tells me how to care for my daughter? oh no you di'n't, girl!
mr nice guy: "really, i think washing her face is just going to upset her. she's sick."
russian mafia substitute nanny: "sick? sick?! so you wash her face!"
(grabbing washcloth) "fuck! fine! jesus!"
"not with washcloth! with hands. do it nice! how come she is sick?"
"how come? i think she had a playdate with some friends of ours and their baby had a cold."
"tsk, tsk, tsk."
"never let her play with babies when they are sick. you can see your friends other time. it's not nice for her to get sick just so you can see friends."
"wow it's amazing how quickly you've figured me out. i didn't even have to mention that my 'friends' are all transvestite hookers and our 'playdate' was at a roach-infested chinatown opium den at 3 am. mrs nice guy hadn't come home for like eight days in a row, so she wasn't an option. i just needed my fix so bad that i had to drag the kid along with me. we need to work harder at not being so selfish. thank you, substitute nanny for helping me be a better parent."
Shorty Shortfuse then proceeded to snuffle and sneeze, reminding me that she needed a little dose of medicine. i administered her drugs with a dropper, a process that the baby appeared to enjoy as much as one would a barbed-wire enema. i picked her up afterwords and tried to soothe her.
"shhh, babygirl. you're ok. no more medicine. you're all done. shhh."
russian mafia substitute nanny chose this precise moment to get all up in Shorty's grill: "LOOK AT THE KITTY! DON'T CRY! LOOK, BABY! KITTY. DO YOU SEE MY EARRINGS?! LOOK!"
"whoa. she's ok. you know, it might help -- and this is just an untested theory -- but it could possibly help her calm down if you would just chill the fuck out."
and then, with the baby still crying, the russian mafia substitute nanny rushes right up and starts wiping her snotty teary-eyed face with a kleenex! she just gets right up in there while the baby is still in the throes of meltdown. finally, i snapped.
"STOP. NOW. STOP. GET OUT OF HER FACE. NOW."
and she did. then, i kid you not, she said this: "you wash her toys every day yes? soap and water?"
"what the fuck are you talking about?"
"the cats. the fur. you must wash her toys."
"yes. of course. we wash her toys. sometimes 5 times a day. now. if you issue me, your employer, one more order i am going to have to give you a time out. a permanent time out. forever. a time out that will last forever because you'll be dead. because i'm going to kill you. i'm going to kill you very, very much."
good lord. i did let the nanny have some time alone with the kid so they could start getting used to each other. russian mafia substitute nanny seemed incapable of putting the baby down or letting her do her own thing. she's the quintessential hovercraft nanny. it was stressing me out, i can only imagine what the baby thought of this sudden change in caretaker style. finally, i decided: not my problem, really. it's only 3 weeks. the baby needs to learn how to roll with life's curveballs anyway, or something.
at 2 pm the russian mafia substitute nanny left. i was just about to prepare the baby's lunch. as the nanny was leaving, i had pulled an egg out of the refrigerator. she couldn't resist just one more comment before heading out:
"you are going to cook it first, yes?"
and, to be honest, i couldn't resist either: "hey, that's a great idea. thanks!"