Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Nannies

Back in our old neighborhood, Bob and I would make the daily trek across Robertson Blvd to the “good neighborhood” to play at the park since the park on our side of the great divide was sort of garbage-y and men-in-long-shorts-with-white-knee-socks-riding-on-children’s-bikes-ish.

Bob and I showed up around the same time everyday and over time I got to know some of the other regulars. The two I saw every 3:30 without fail were The Nannies. Soledad and Sandra were women in their late twenties. They both had children of their own, close in age to the kids in their charge. Everyday, they would leave the kids with their grandmothers and commute over an hour to go to work, caring for other families.

Although I am a couple of fourteen-ish years older than these ladies, they were both vastly more experienced in the world of childrearing and I often went to them for advice.

One afternoon in the sandbox, I asked them if they’d ever had a problem with any of the kids using bad language. Soledad said, “Oh yes, Jean Luc said C-R-A-P the other day. I know he heard it from his father.” We all laughed and I made a mental note that “crap” was considered bad language.

Sandra said, “I heard Skylar tell her mother,” she lowered her voice to a stage whisper, “to shut up.” More laughing.

“What do you do?” I said.

“I have found that if I don’t make a big deal out of it, she’ll move on to something else,” said Sandra. “She’s just looking for a reaction.”

“I try to correct him and just tell him that he’s using the wrong word and give him a better one,” said Soledad. “Why? Did Bob say something?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Really bad?”

“He said, G-O-D D-A-M-N it.” I laughed feebly. They did not join in. Soledad and Sandra exchanged looks.

“That’s terrible,” said Sandra.

“That’s really bad,” added Soledad.

Sandra said, “Where did he hear that?”

A montage of my expletive filled moments raced through my head. In contrast, I thought of my sweet non-swearing husband.

“From Jeff.” I found that I had crossed my fingers behind my back as I said this because apparently lying of any kind immediately reduces my maturity level by 38 years.

The ladies nodded. “Of course,” said Sandra.


  1. Yes! You did what any good woman would do when faced with this dilemma. You gave up your husband.

    We have always been permissive about language at our house and we ended up with one that swears like a sailor and one that tells me it's time to watch "Blank's Kitchen". It's a crap shoot and I mean that in the most wholesome way.

  2. I love this story. Shamed by the Nanny's! I laugh because I know your pain.
    My 3 year old and grandma were in the car going somewhere. I had to slam on the brakes because someone cut me off. My darling child yells "Jesus Christ! Are you kidding me people?" The blurts out the "s" word. My mom just gave me one of those eyebrow raising looks then burst out laughing. (Sigh)

    Karen Peterson Matchinga

  3. My favorite from my 11 year old stepson: "Holy Shiitake Mushroooms!!"

  4. Hahaha! I love this post. I don't have children yet, but I know that when I do I will need to be very careful. I swear like a sailor.

    "...and I made a mental note that “crap” was considered bad language." Haha, love it.

  5. My son yelled "crap" the other day. I laughed.

  6. What I have discovered and it's only taken me .... ohhh ... almost twenty years and ten kids, is that it's not the words the kids say that you have to worry about... (unless your worried more about your reputation from the kids behavior than the kids hearts)

    ... But the attitude and motive behind them.

  7. Sande - Good thought. It may be too early in the game to know whether or not I am screwed...

  8. I tell my adult English as a second language students that it's important to know what the bad words are because they need to know when they're appropriate and when they're not.

    Except that comes to bite me in the ass cuz I have to stop muttering under my breath after I do my swear word lesson.

  9. Here's one that's awful:

    My nephew and sister were at the library playing with some toys made out of felt. After awhile my nephew lost interest and said "this is gay." (He is three.)

  10. Too funny! When my daughter was 2-ish, she overheard my mother say the same thing after spilling an entire box of couscous on the floor. After that my daughter would walk around dropping goldfish crackers on the floor and saying "godamit" over and over again... practicing, I guess...