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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

substitute my coke for gin ...

so apparently i am down to one post a week these days. sorry about the outage -- been swamped like a gator at work. hopefully i'll find time to slack on my employer's dime. like ... right now!

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.


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!"


Anonymous Jess said...

Good lord, I got stressed out just reading that. I HATE when people order me around. Good luck!

8/09/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"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"
That right there is an insight we could have used about a month ago. I fired two substitute nannies in a week. One of had fallen asleep on the sofa with the TV blaring when she should have been watching our 15 month old and the other kept complaining about how hard it was to keep up with her all day long. The second one was so bad that at 1 p.m. I had a hushed call from our cleaning lady, telling me that she will stay a few hours extra to make sure our daughter was OK because she thought the nanny was incompetent. I thanked her profusely, ended my meeting early, came home and fired the second nanny that minute. My husband and I spent the next two weeks alternating with childcare, and working through the night. There is a reason why "substitute nannies" are substitutes. No one in their right mind gives them a full time job. Good luck.

8/09/2006 4:19 PM  
Anonymous samantha Jo Campen said...

Kinda like Bill Engvall's stand-up comedy routine "Here's Your Sign" because she was asking such stoopid questions!

I needed a Xanax just to get through that post. Poor baby nice guy. Hope she feels better and good luck waiting for the Good One to return!

8/09/2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger The other me said...

Now I know why I have stayed at home with all 6 of my kids.
I was the nanny.....I am sure that when I was the nanny the parents were the 'boss' the nanny did what the parents thought was best. Old fashioned I know but sheesh......the sub is INSANE!

8/09/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Catharine said...

It was clear to Russian substitute mafia nanny (as it would be to anyone) that, because you are a man, you are utterly incapable of caring for your child.

I know its just for three weeks, but I really think that if you keep RSMN, one of you will have to die. And she's pretty tough, NG.


8/09/2006 8:47 PM  
Blogger KristieD said...

omg- i dont think i could have handled that as smoothly as you. i would have just killed her right off the bat. ;) fun days ahead.

8/09/2006 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

Hahahahahaha wash the toys everyday. I don't even get to the dishes EVERY day. I don't wash me or the baby EVERY DAY. In fact some days, if he is sticky, or sweaty or ummm covered in hair (that kid finds every dog hair and human hair in the house and gets it stuck in his creases.)

It is safe to say his toys have been washed... never (ok, not true sometimes I rinse the teethers in the sink)

I have had haemorrhoids for almost five months now. Let me tell you those chairs in the "special care nursery" should be banned under the geneva convention. Not to mention it is doctors orders that you LIE DOWN once in awhile after you give birth. It did serious damage to my feet because of the crazy swelling.

Somebody tell me my feet, my butt, and my "lady bits" will someday go back to normal. And god help me, won't get worse after each kid because I am not planning on stopping after one.

Here is a thought (because I agree with Catharine, if you keep RSMN one of you will end up dead) maybe one of your friends and nanny would be willing to let you drop her off at their house to be watched by their nanny, for extra money of course. A three week play date!

Because I think anonymous is right about substitute nannies being too awful to get a permanent job.

8/09/2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

Ok, as a nanny I can emphazise with you both. Subing doesn't mean you aren't good enough to be hired long term. In her defense she could have been between positions as you don't always have one lined up when your leaving your former. It could also mean that nannying isn't her full time profession. Quite a few teachers and college students are taking nanny positions for the summer. This probably isn't the case with her. Then there are people who like temping as it often pays better than regular positions and offers you diversity. Whatever the reason, be grateful you found someone competent available to help you. As for the questions, it sounds like she was trying to establish early on that she was qualified to be left alone with your child, that she knows the proper methods for caring for a young child. It also sounds like she was trying to establish control early on. This I can totally emphasize with as I don't like to work while the parents are around. I like to know when I'm working that I'm in charge. Who wants to work with their boss looking over their shoulder?

The reality is you hired a Russian, so English isn't her first language which means she wasn't as delicate in finding out information as she could have been. The Russians I've known in the past have tended to generally be more direct then what Americans consider appropriate. It wasn't helped by the fact that your tired after such a gruesome weekend. Hang in there, ask your neighbors to keep an eye on her and if you feel that your child is unsafe, fire her immediatly. However its not going to hurt your daughter in the long term to be hovered over for a couple of weeks, then things will go back to normal. We all have different styles and this woman won't be a long term employee. You may end up warming to her no nonsense, take charge style which could make some feel more secure that they are leaving their child in good hands.

On the plus side, at least she's not a live-in Nanny.

Chin up,

8/10/2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Fantasy said...

Jiminy, I think you win the prize for "Inspirer of Super Long Comments from Friends & Strangers". Your blog is THE BEST. Do it more often, will ya?

8/10/2006 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Pickle's Papa said...

Dude, is my mom still nannying for you guys? Cuz she hasn't been by in a couple of days to tell me how everything I do is wrong.

8/10/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

Thank you for convincing me to remain a SAHD for a least a while longer...I'm going to get a drink now to calm my nerves.

8/11/2006 12:04 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

Yikes. I think this woman needs to go. I like the paying someone else's nanny extra to watch your kid for a three week playdate idea.

8/11/2006 1:29 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Note to self: don't call russian mafia when seeking new nanny.

8/13/2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous damian said...

...i'm here because i googled "russian", "mafia", "fuse", "drugs" and "fuck" while killing some time at work.

8/16/2006 11:54 PM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

damian, you just made my day. if i weren't already married, i'd ask for your hand. instead i'll settle for a little extramarital manlove.

8/18/2006 12:27 PM  
Blogger Whitney said...

You know, when we hired a nanny, we were actually hoping she would boss us around. Tell us how babies work. Give us some lessons. Our nanny is wonderful, but nothing stellar in the leadership department. We have a sub right now - a college girl. She is the best sub I could have imagined, but again, she's not bossing me around. Send the Russian out to California. I would like to be schooled.

PS I am working on a dad link round up for RookieMoms and was hoping to find a outing or adventure written up on your site. Let me know if you have any favorite daddy special outings.

8/24/2006 12:12 AM  

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