Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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?”
“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.