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Friday, April 28, 2006

spies like us

internet, let this be a warning to you. mr nice guy fights dirty. he hits below the belt. he's a sneaky bastard.

this may be New York City, but let me tell you something internet: Park Slope is a small town. (Paul Auster has a great line to that effect in his new book, Brooklyn Follies, but i can't find it again. maybe i imagined it.) anyway -- i have many friends, acquaintances, fellow-moms, and i have enlisted every single last one of them to watch the nanny and report back to us. i am not ashamed to say it: i have asked people to spy on my nanny. you hear that, nannywoman? WE'RE WATCHING.

and Operation Nanny Stalker is already yielding information. just yesterday a good mom-friend of mine said she saw nanny and baby at the tot lot around the corner. here's how the conversation -- which sent me into a blind burning rage -- went:

"the baby had been sitting in the nanny's lap. then the nanny put her on the ground."
"was she ignoring the baby?"
"she was kind of ignoring her, yeah. she was talking to other nannies and the baby was just sitting there for a while. but she didn't seem upset."
"if it was your son, would it have bothered you?"
[pause] "yeah. i wouldn't have liked that."

do you have any idea how much the image of my baby sitting on the ground being ignored rips my heart to tiny shreds? do you have any idea how much hurt i want to put on the nanny?

and yet maybe i'm being hypocritical. lord knows i ignore the baby sometimes. she's sitting on the floor right now as i type this, playing with an open bottle of Drano. i've seen mrs nice guy chat with one of her friends while the baby crawled around, ultimately grabbing a piece of sidewalk chalk and popping it into her mouth. so it's not like we have a leg to stand on.

still, this is not good news in the nanny's first week. as mrs nice guy puts it: do we think she's a bad nanny? no. is she an indifferent nanny? she won't be if we get another report like this. we'll be sure to mention that her ample form will keep the Gowanus Canal fish happily feasting for a loooong itme. YOU GOT THAT, NANNYFRIEND? I WILL KILL YOU AS MESSILY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE IF I HAVE TO. you best check yourself, lady.

Monday, April 24, 2006

nanny nanny billygoat

so i have not really had an occasion to call New Mom on her day off, so i don't know what song she has on her voice mail. but i did happen to be in the room the other day when her phone rang. "rang" is perhaps the wrong word. it seems she is a fan of ringtones. specifically, it seems she is a fan of Destiny's Child ringtones. or maybe it's En Vogue? Eve 6? i am afraid my girl group knowledge starts at around the Boswell Sisters and stops short at the Sweet Inspirations. but i do know that when Mom 2.0's phone rings, it sings like some fine lookin' lady who has finally given up on waiting to exhale. still, at least New Mom is listening to soul stirring girlfriend-he-ain't-no-good divalicious grrrl power slow jams and not let-me-pour-burning-hot-oils-on-your-fine-shapely-booty slow jams. so there's that.

there's also this: New Mom is from St. Lucia, an island about which i know nothing. so we got to talking. "ahh, the caribbean," i said. "now be honest, don't you just love listening to reggae while smoking spliffs bigger than your own femur?" New Mom replied, without missing a beat, "reggae's ok, but i prefer soca." curse you, New Mom! you are too wily for mr. nice guy.

anyway, the baby hasn't exactly warmed up to Mom 2.0 as quickly as she was letting on at first -- i suspect she was engaging in cunning reverse psychology: "look dad! i love the nanny! i don't need you anymore." this would make me jealous and then make me fire New Mom. well, it did indeed make me jealous but Mom 1.0 will not let me fire the nanny. the baby has figured this out. so she has adopted a new tactic: getting her first molars.

holy crap molars are a bitch, people. let me tell you something: i started getting happy when the nanny showed up to work -- here, lady, she's all yours. she may be feverish, screaming and squirmy, but at least she's refusing to eat or be bathed. and christ, the drooling! i lifted her over my head the other day and it was like someone opened the floodgates on the Three Fucking Gorges Dam. i had expectoration all over my shirt, smeared across my cheek, dangling from my chin. clearly she is trying to render the nanny unable to work by driving her insane.

but the nanny, she is tenacious. she repeatedly tells me "it will take a month, you'll see. she'll get used to me. one of my former babies is all grown up now and he still calls me all the time." the scary thing: i believe her. why is that scary? because it means i really do have to go back to work next Tuesday. that's in just eight days. i haven't sat in my office since August! can you imagine? but now i must return, the time has come ... unless some kind soul out there sends me a million dollars.




Thursday, April 20, 2006

mr nice guy, meet fork. fork, mr nice guy.

i owe you a post don't i?

i got nothin'. sorry.

i went to LA alone for easter/passover. a good long weekend from which i have yet to recover.

the nanny started yesterday. a bad long week from which i have yet to recover. not because she isn't a good nanny. she is a fucking fantastic nanny. maybe that's the problem: mr nice guy is now obsolete-dad. he has handed his beloved baton off to someone else. stick a fork in him.

i could probably tell you 7,235,392 crazy stories from the past week (eastover was great -- seder followed by much drinking and a 2 am Fatburger run. "medium rare with bacon, cheese, chili and a fried egg on top, thankyouverymuch"). but i am not going to bore you with details about my brother's
insanely fancy new whip or his insanely short hair cut. i will not go on and on about the fact that mater nice guy reads this site every day and constantly reminds me that she was deeply betrayed by this unspeakably cruel and dastardly entry. i'll hold back on telling you about how my aunt sang along to marty robbins' excellent "el paso" at easter brunch, pointing out her favorite lyric: "i caught a good one; it looked like it could run." i will not play civic booster and tell you that the next time you go to LA you must must must must visit the polo lounge at the beverly hills hotel for pitch-perfect manhattans and obsequious-yet-irony-rich service.

no. you will not get any of that from me. i am fried. i am a little bit depressed. ok, i am a lot depressed. i am handing over the torch. mr nice guy is no longer the primary caregiver. the nanny is the new sheriff in town. i am just a part-time parent now. i am sad.

the nanny -- let's call her NEW MOM -- she started yesterday. new mom made it clear that she was taking control. it was imperative that new mom be left alone with the child -- the Brainwashing could only take root if both parents were completely removed from the scene. so i left them to get to know each other. i went to the gym; got a hair cut. i was doing pretty good on my own.

i went on walkabout. i ambled. i sauntered. i loitered. i wandered the town much like (some of) my people wandered the desert for 40 years. i became parched. i drank. i got lonely. i began to miss my daughter. i came home to see how she was doing and ... she wasn't there. i sat on the couch pretending to read some new yorker article -- either about our certain death from global warming meltdown or our certain death stemming from our impending nuclear invasion of iran, i forget which -- as i waited like a jilted lover until baby and new mom came back. then they came back. they came back in the midst of a fucking lovefest. they returned from the park, all grimy with tot lot dirt, just loving the hell out of each other. the message was clear. baby nice guy was going to get along just fine with new mom. and dad? who's dad? obsolete. stick a fork in him. he's done.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


today the baby turned 11 months old. and today it finally dawned on me that my ladies are conspiring to do me in. they are secretly working in tandem to destroy me.

the other night mrs nice guy went out on a mom's night on the town (with moms who actually stay home momming all day, so, technically, i should have been the one to get the mom's night out, but why split hairs, HUH, WHY?) . anyway, she gets home after i am all tucked in. i am in a blissful place: lights out, ipod humming, baby asleep. mrs nice guy returns from her evening out. she slips silently into bed beside me. she slides her arm across my rippling pectoral muscles. she gives me a warm kiss. too warm, in fact. a little chunky even. and, if my taste buds do not deceive me, chocolatey.

and then the full horror of the situation dawned on me: would you like to know what my wife did to me the other night? she came home late from brooklyn's seediest dens of gomorrah, still wobbly from her orgy of booze and whoredom, grabbed a few chocolate chips from the kitchen, chewed them up and, instead of swallowing them, pulled me back from the brink of blissful sleep to kiss REGURGITATED CHUNKY CHOCOLATE SALIVA BITS INTO MY MINTY FRESH MOUTH. why you might ask, like a rational human being. why would she do something so cruel to the man who tenderly cares for her first born? why, of course, because she thought it would be funny.

i have to hand it to her: impenetrable logic. still, if i had done this to her -- if i had woken her up in the dead of deadest night to french kiss half-chewed food into her mouth -- i would be sleeping on the balcony under flood lights and on fire for the rest of my life.

(true story, when i was 15 i had an eight-day-long summer camp fling with a cutie pants named holly. once, when she was just finishing a delicious belgian waffle, i asked if i could see what she tasted like -- cut me some slack, i was 15. she said "sure" and then french kissed chewed-up waffle bits into my mouth. i sulked for the rest of the summer.)

so that happened. and then this happened: yesterday at the tot lot my daughter bit me. hard. i was sitting on a bench. she was standing, facing away from me, propped up between my legs. she took in the playground scene. she turned to look up at her old man. she smiled sweetly. then, with her rabbit-sharp incisors, she took about 2 inches of flesh out of my inner thigh. i didn't know whether to laugh or cry. so i did both. it was a funny sound.

it wasn't a one-time fluke either -- she bit me again today! i was crouched over her and an eight month old boy she was flirting with at the tot lot. she suddenly got very coy, very shy. she buried her face into my shoulder. then she champed at the bit of my collar bone. yowee.

so, yeah. the women in my life are turning on me. i am a cornered man. help a brother out, won't you? you'll recognize my by the haunted look in my eye. i'll be muttering, just barely under my breath: what did i do that was so bad? take me in. hold me. i might startle easily. a glass of wine will help soothe the nerves.

just don't offer me any chocolate chips.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

shhh, don't speak

our child is a social child. at the tot lot, she will cruise right on up to the big bad 2 and 3 three year olds and proceed to reach out and wave at, touch on, hair-pull or shout near them. this mystifies me. my entire life was lived in unspeakable dread of the older kids. to this day when i find myself meeting people who were just one grade above me in school, i strike a submissive pose and show them my belly. anyway, the baby likes older kids.

she also likes to talk. oh man, we got a talker on our hands. i cower in fear of our phone bills 12 years from now.

please don't mistake this as bragging ... it's just the truth: she's working on her first word. when she gets it right, i am pretty sure it will be "cat." she is freakin' obsessed with our two obese slow-moving felines. every mealtime consists of me desperately attempting to flag her attention away from the cats in order to sneak some of mom's tasty homemade niblets into her mouth. fortunately she gets so slack-jawed hypnotized by the cats that i could sneak a buick into her mouth without so much as a whimper of discomfort.

so i decided to turn lunchtime into a learning opportunity. every time she gets focused with hubble-like precision on her furry friends, i slowly and clearly enunciate CAT. "do you see the CAT?!" "are you looking at the CAT?!" "who wants to claw your face off to death? is it the CAT?"

this week it began: she started repeating me. i say "CAT." she replies "TA!" (hey, it's a start.) sometimes the response is "TA-ck." other times it's "CKKKKU!" occasionally she even says: "GGGG TA MAMA FMF FADSKj iiijIGHSAKGG blllll." obviously no matter how you slice it, she's trying to say "cat." i know this because if i try to catch her off guard, like when she's in the bath, by suddenly shouting "where's ... the CAT?!," she'll start looking around the room, in search of her first love. when she sees one of them, she waves at it and says "GLLLLLLLLA SCHHHVEISS!" mrs nice guy is convinced that the baby speaks fluent german.

so, she understands words. this is not entirely new: for a while now she has made it plain that she knows what her name is. she always turns her head when she hears it (and then she makes a disappointed face as if to say "crap! i must remember to never let on how much i know.") she also knows the word "dance." if she's standing and propped up against the couch and hears the word "dance," she will grin, drool and begin bouncing up and down. do you have any idea how many times a day i delight in shouting "DANCE FOR ME MONKEY GIRL!" ... and then watching her actually do it? i love it. please don't send me to jail.

Friday, April 07, 2006

my skin crawls too

i admit it, i lied. when i said that really only three important things happened in vermont over the weekend, i left out one major thing. mostly i wanted to dedicate an entire post to it. also, i forgot.

the news? the baby, now she crawls.

one day she couldn't crawl, the next she could.

and just like that, full mobility achieved. life as we knew it has ended.

for a few days it was clear that she could see what she wanted to do, she just couldn't figure out how. she would lay on her belly and push herself backwards. she would get up on her knees and then do a faceplant. she would be sitting up and then suddenly lurch forward, as if to chase one of the cats, only to become perplexed as to what to do next.

(true story: once she was cruising, propped up against the couch, when the cat walked past her. she grabbed the cat's tail. the cat took off running. the baby held on tight and got a free ride halfway across the apartment. i was too busy laughing to save her.)

anyway, now she can crawl. it's so weird to see her do something new. it's ridiculously cute, her little body all balled up and inching along. but mostly it's just plain incongruous with our current understanding of her as a floppy fishbaby -- one morning, sitting with her omi and opi, she saw something she wanted. so she up and crawled right over and grabbed it. how dare she?!

worse: now she can pull herself up too. what's next? walking? more than once, when i have gone to get her after her nap, i've found her standing in the crib! we had to instantly replace our rickety old tv stand because she kept using it to heave herself off the ground, promising to someday entertain us with a live-action reenactment of bambi meets godzilla.

i can't tell you how many times i have placed her on the floor so i could do some chore, like empty the dishwasher or pour myself eight fingers of brandy. i turn my back for about 12 seconds and when i turn around again to check on her, she's standing! do you have any idea how creepy this is? it's like i'm living in a japanese horror movie.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

wherein mr nice guy gets a little touchy-feely

well it was quite a weekend. wasn't supposed to be quite a weekend, but that's what it ended up being: quite a weekend.

mrs nice guy and i had to take an impromptu trip back to her hometown. the husband of her mother's best friend unexpectedly passed away and we had a sad surprise funeral on our hands. not exactly the kind of thing that gets a body excited for the weekend. but, there it was.

we flew into burlington, vt, on thursday morning for the memorial service later that afternoon. it was, as these things tend to be, a very sad affair. i didn't know the man well, but mrs nice guy had known him for most of her life. she babysat their kids; his wife married us. this was baby nice guy's first funeral and she behaved perfectly. for a 10-month-old. meaning not well at all. i sat out for the bulk of the service, walking the baby, cruising with the baby, cursing the baby for her habit of screaming every time we came within four feet of the chapel's nave.

so that was thursday. if the occasion that brought us to vermont was quietly tragic, the rest of the weekend ended up being quite nice. wonderful, really. lovely. restful (well, restful after we decided not to switch sides of the bed anymore). fun.

some things that happened:

1. we had our nine-year live-together anniversary. mrs nice guy and i started out as platonic roommates NINE YEARS ago. nine! 1997! that's almost a decade ago! i was just 22. the calculator hadn't been invented yet. calvin coolidge was president.

i haven't lived with anyone (much less been friends with anyone) for nine straight years without having attempted to steal from (or murder) them at least once. it's fitting that we moved in together (platonically) on april fool's day. an omen. the first kiss wouldn't come until the following november. so this fall we'll have our eighth anniversary as a couple. someday, maybe, i'll tell you that story.

2. we hired a nanny. i have to go back to work in may. denial was turning out to be an ineffective method of finding someone responsible to look after my kid. "but i really thought the ferns could handle it, officer." nope. so we hired someone who we met through a colleague. she has stellar references and was very impressive in person, if a little stern. stern is good.

still, neither mrs nice guy or i have ever heard her outgoing voicemail. she always picks up the phone when we call, which i reckon is a good sign. but i just don't want to call her next week and hear "feelin' on yo booty," though, you know?

anyway, apparently she is so good that she can command ... FIFTEEN GODDAMN DOLLARS AN HOUR. we did the math: after i go back to work, all of my income after taxes is going into her pockets. so, basically, i am hiring a nanny so i can go back to work so i can make enough money to pay the nanny. makes perfect sense, right?

3. we went on a date. since omi and opi were on the scene, the wife and i went out for a lovely dinner in burlington. we even saw a moving picture show! in an actual movie theater! (spike lee's new joint: it was quite good, even if it totally unravelled in the third act [you love it when i drop terminology like "third act," admit it]. it gets a nice guy endorsement.)

if you've never been to burlington and environs, you really ought to pass through. a lovely part of the country. if you venture away from downtown, though, be careful of the Hill People.

basically, the weather was stunning most of the weekend. we ate really well, we all had some nice heart-to-hearts, fueled only a little bit by gallons of wine. (warning: trite earnest banalities to follow, proceed without irony) sometimes the death of someone you know, even casually, helps bring the world into tighter focus. you realize how truly blessed you are.

life (my life, anyway) is so sweet. i spent four days surrounded by people i love, and i tried to hug them just a little tighter, even when they were nagging me or pooping in their pants.