Archive of ‘Nanny’ category

The Nip in the Air

By Natalie

I walked into the Harris Teeter this morning to grab a bag of tortilla chips which I forgot on my original grocery shop yesterday. I’ve planned to make a dairy free Mexican layer dip this week, which I have been oddly craving for quite some time, and finally decided that the only way I’d be able to have it dairy free would be if I made it myself. This layer dip has been on my mind for so long, and I remembered every ingredient for it, except for the tortilla chips! Can you believe that?

I grabbed a couple bushels of firewood on my way out since the chilly air has finally made its way here. And we’ll hopefully be enjoying a fire this very night.

imageWe’re obsessed with our fireplace around here, didn’t you know? And when I say we I mean Brandon is obsessed with creating them, I am mesmerized, and cling to the warmth of them, and Bingley will plop very nearly too close the second those flames pop up. I think he will be devastated if our next place doesn’t have a fire. To be honest it’s another thing to set at the top of our priority list! Which is really the beauty of renting, because we have lived in such different spaces we’ve learned what functions well, and what to avoid.

Speaking of… Chilly weather.. Chilly weather, and three boys is possibly the most stressful mix ever. Did you know? Now that the weather has gotten cold enough for the necessity of coats, shoes, and hats there has been quite the wrangling going on at the Coggins back door. I’m pretty sad to say goodbye to barefoot, and swim shorts. image

I’ve got two socks, and one shoe on Ryder. One sock on Caleb that isn’t fit quite right, and I’m battling with him to put a coat on. Grant is totally aware now of the fact that putting shoes on means we’re going out, so he reaches for the doorknob like a trapped prisoner.

“Why do we have to wear coats?” Caleb says.

“Because it’s cold outside, and I want you to be warm.”

“Why is it cold?”

“Because it’s winter now.”

“Why is it winter?”

“Because the season changed.” (Mind you, I’m holding this conversation yelling over Bailey’s whining, and shrill barks. You might ask, “Why don’t you just let Bailey out while you get them ready Natalie?” To which I’d answer, “Because God forbid I did, then Grant would crumple to the floor in anger that I didn’t let him out barefoot, and coatless too.” It’s really a matter of preference.)

Caleb continues, while I pull a hoodie over a frustrated Ryder. He gets a particular sort of upset when you put a hoodie on him instead of a coat. Like you’ve just betrayed him by dressing him in something he cannot take off. But that is in fact why we put it on him, because otherwise he’d be frolicking in the nip shirtless!

“Why did the seasons change Matalie?”

“Alright Caleb, that’s enough questions, put this on.” I hand him a jacket, and help him with the zipper.

By this point Ryder is ready, Grant’s got shoes on, Caleb has a coat on, but insisted on changing his shoes. Pullover, pullover, where is Grant’s pullover? I grab it off the couch, and slide it over his head to which he always giggles, and that helps relieve the commotion a bit.

Somehow I’m always the last to put my shoes on, but I’m not silly enough to wear anything that takes more than a slip onto my feet when I’m with them. So I’m ready quickly, and open the door. The boys, and Bailey all trample past one another, spilling outside like a waterfall.

Of course, on a good day, I get each of them ready individually, in secret, before Bailey even hears anyone utter the words Outside.



Lazy 5 Ranch Adventure

By Natalie

imageThe last week of summer break I drove the boys up to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville. Which was easily one of my proudest moments as a nanny. An hour road trip with three boys, and no fuss, I think I did pretty good. Mandy totally let me borrow the van complete with a Wiggles soundtrack. Let me admit to you that it was so comfortable for the 4 of us. We’re quite the rowdy bunch, and a little extra leg room for our drive was very much appreciated.

imageimageOnce we pulled in the boys spilled out like jumping beans and headed straight for the playground, while I sat with Grant at a picnic table he was adamantly attempting to climb.

imageOnce the sweet things burned off some energy we hopped back in the van, and started our little drive through safari adventure.

After snapping this ↓ perfect photo I showed it to Caleb and said, “Look, he’s saying, hey Caleb! What’s up?!” To which Caleb giddily replied, “Noo, what is that lamb saying?”

Hehe. That kid. Every animal there he called a lamb.


imageCaleb’s back in school now, and I soo miss having him around.

Yesterday I was talking to him with my back turned preparing a snack for Ryder, and Caleb ran up behind me and wrapped his arms around my middle to hug me. I crave those little heartmelting reassuring moments. And I’m absolutely in love when they express their affection.

imageThese guys licked my hand, and they were pretty sweet whenever we’d roll up to them. But after looking a little closer I started to really get freaked by their eyes. Creepy right?



imageWoah. This Zebra was right up on us, and after seeing a sign that said don’t pet the zebras, Caleb and I agreed we’d best leave the windows up.

Also… I’m going to say they’re certainly white with black stripes. What do you think?

imageLook at that llama trying to pose as a giraffe.

imageHelloooo Deer.

imageimageThis was as close as Caleb would allow me to get to this beast. Which I felt was alright with me, since as you can see he was sort of charging toward us in hopes that we had some grub for him. Ryder, on the other hand was standing in the center of the van pointing, and shouting at the window. He was all about it.image

Does that not seem like the most fun outing ever? I’m so ready to go back!

The Difference Between a Nanny & a Sitter

By Natalie

imageMy sister told me recently that she caught a snippet of Mary Poppins, and thought of me. I could not have asked for a better compliment. While I have a serious knack for tidying up, and a decent sized bag full of goodies, I have to admit I am far from Mary Poppins. The birds out back sadly don’t land on my finger to sing with me, and the boys take their medicine just fine. But we do jump into rain puddles, and sing about made up words. Getting the best use out of our imaginations while we play.

Perhaps if I had that fabulous apron, and a very large floating umbrella I would be complete. Spit Spot.

I’m also not even close to a governess, but fraulein Maria continues to be a source of inspiration. Running, and skipping about while children chase behind me. Cuddling them close during thunderstorms, and caring for them as my own. I could almost guarantee you that had I lived back then, Governess would be my career of choice. imageOther notable nannies I’ve related myself to…

The nanny from Baby’s Day Out


The nanny from The Nanny Diaries

Although, thank goodness I am not nannying for a family living in the Upper West Side.

imageTo be referred to as a nanny is to say that you care for one family of children, and have been doing so for some time. We are not ones who come to spend a few hours with children while their parents are out. It is possibly my greatest pet peeve to be called a baby sitter, when in fact my job entails much more than monitoring, and playing.

After Grant’s morning nap today we drove to the mall to pass some time. We stepped into the kids play area, and Grant immediately began playing peekaboo with me from behind the big yellow duck. Sitting across from me was an older man watching his grandson play. His grandson, close to G’s age began chasing him, sending G off in the other direction squealing. Turning every so often to be sure that his friend was still close behind.

I stepped out of the play area for just a moment to grasp Grant’s hand when he wandered too far, and I spoke to him as if he understood exactly what I was saying. “Nope, nope, lets go back to the big yellow duck.”

Once he ran off again the older man sitting on the bench called out to me. “Ma’am” he said.

Knowing I was the only one around I made eye contact with him, and said, “Yes?”

“Are you that little boy’s nanny?” He asked.

I smiled knowing his blonde hair, matched with my tan skin was a dead giveaway. “I am.” I said.

Then the man pushed his glasses up, and motioned for me to come sit next to him. “Come here I want to tell you something.”

So I sat down next to him anxious to hear his wisdom.

“I just wanted to tell you that I had a nanny when I was a boy. She was with us for seven years. And now I’m seventy something, and I still remember her. I loved that woman.”

Unable to control the large grateful lump in my throat I smiled, and said. “Really??”

He continued. “You should know that everything you’re instilling in that boy, he’s going to remember it. You have a great purpose.”

And I knew right then that God placed me right where he wants me. I thanked the man over and over again for his kind words and encouragement, and sat there with him for the remainder of his stay to chat about the boys. All the while Grant would walk over every few minutes to rest his head on my leg, checking in to be sure I was still around. When the man stood up to leave he shook my hand with the sweetest smile you’ve ever seen, and I said “It was so good to meet you.”

imageThat friends, was the beginning of the most sentimental day I’ve lived. Everything I did with Grant seemed to be happening at a reduced pace. Life, slowing itself down for me to gather up all the moments in my memory. When we got home, we had lunch, read a few stories, set up the camera to photograph the day I never want to forget, (Which by the way, Bailey rolling around in the grass was comically unplanned, and perfect) until finally it was naptime, and I was not ready to put him down. So we sat together in the glider listening to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star play softly on the monitor. I watched as my hand upon his back rose and fell with his growing baby breaths. His little hands brushing alongside the glider’s soft fabric, and I really wanted to tear up, but I knew that would be silly.

I set Grant down in his crib after he drifted off to sleep, and stood at his door for another few minutes. My mind ripping forward memories of him when he was three months old, and we were just getting to know eachother. “I am but one person in his life.” I thought. In the grand scheme of things, I am so small.

With the largest heart for these boys, I want to be everything I need to be for them. I can only hope that they too will grow older, and reminisce on the time we shared together.

Good Company

By Natalie

imageI must tell you that these three vivacious little boys have increased my stamina this summer. Solely throughout the day. Then I get home, and pass out on my dinner plate, but I stress to you that it’s the best sort of exaustion.

We discovered this awesome little outdoor play area near Southpark Mall’s food court. When I saw that it had those blue sail like shade panels I knew we’d have to check it out, cause this summer’s sun has been no joke. The boys have been retreating to the small shaded spots of the playgrounds, Unwilling to play due to the extreme heat.

At the parks moms, and grandmas have been sneaking glances over at me, and playfully stating, “So, three boys…”

And I’ll respond, “Yep, they’re wonderful little balls of energy. But the real hero is their mom. I’m just the nanny.”

Then the women become even more curious, by my care, and affection for these kiddos. imageI’ve started to notice some similarities between the boys, like the fact that after I set their lunch plates down, and before I can manage to get a bite of my own lunch, all three have scarfed everything down, and are asking for more. Those boys can eat! And all I can do is pray over the fridge in that kitchen, for the food to stretch, and multiply. There’s just no other way around keeping up with it.

imageLook at that handsome kid!!! He just turned ONE. Can you believe it!? He’s been walking all over the place, and loving to explore on those feet.


In efforts to beat this summer’s humidity we’ve been swimming at the neighborhood pool nearly every day!! By doing so the boys and I are happily avoiding laying limp on the sidewalk like a plate of cooked spinach.

imageOne day on our walk back to the house from the pool there were these neighborhood kids who had set up a lemonade stand on the sidewalk. Lost in the bliss of summer leisure Caleb and I found ourselves unable to resist a dollar a cup lemonade, from a genuine kid run lemonade stand. So we strolled back to the house, raced down the driveway, grabbed four quarters, and headed back up toward the stand.

All the way I was quizzing Caleb on how many quarters were in a dollar. He’d slow his skipping down the street to peak into his fistful of change, and respond FOUR!!

Check. Out. That. Grin. ↓ You just can’t put a price on it.

imageWe also discovered this fabulous little splashground just around the corner, where we sat for lunch, and stayed for play.

imageThough these brothers share some strikingly similar qualities, they remind me daily that they’re each their own little man.


constantly surprises me with his knowledge. I’ve loved getting to know him better on his summer break. There was a day this summer when Grant wasn’t feeling so hot, and got sick in his carseat on our way to camp. I decided to pull over into the library after hearing Ry say “Eww, nas-tyyy, nas-tyy!” Caleb, worried about Grant’s inability to keep his breakfast down, was not so sure what to do. He was confused and sensed a change in schedule, his sweet little mind allowing a bit of anxiety to wash over him.

I looked back at him and I said calmly, “Caleb, I’m going to pull over. Grantsy doesn’t feel well, so I’m going to stop, and clean him up super fast, and then I’m going to drop you and Ryder off at camp! And you are going to have so much fun at camp today, because you love camp!”

He calmed down a bit, but was still pretty uncertain about the slight change in plans. A moment later he reached his hand forward and said in a distressed tone “Madalie, hold my hand.. hold my hand please Madalie.”

I reached my hand back to squeeze his, as we drove into the library parking lot just like that.

I consider myself blessed to be someone who is able to walk him through the unfamiliar.. blessed in such a way that I don’t know I could describe. Whenever he is uncertain about things, and searching for my signals on how he should respond a wave of compassion rolls over me, and I think about how much I love him. How much I want for his future. If I can aid in him getting there, I have quenched something so great in me that no other job could ever satisfy.


is the quirkiest, silliest, curliest, tank of an affection-craver. I pushed him to tell me “Ryder’s Turn” when he wanted a shot on the backyard swing. Now, with minimal effort he says it in the sweetest way possible, and I never ever want to forget it.



has sort of turned into a mini Ryder. Eyeing my breakfast banana while he smacks his lips in expectancy. Don’t you pull your baby tricks on me Grantsy. I know all the secrets, cause I’ve pulled them all too.

He’s developling this strong personality. And most often he wishes to be close to where the action’s at. He loves games, and squeezes, and under the chin tickles which is where I’ve found the best belly laugh out of him. He definitely knows what he wants, and goes right for it. He has incredible focus, and I can already see how his qualities will develop into some wonderful assets in a man.

A few days ago I spotted a big ol bug on the dining room floor, and I squealed, and yelled for Caleb to grab his Croc, and smash it. I am not in the business of trapping bugs, and carrying them outside. Too much can happen on the trip outside, and I’d rather not risk being touched by them or potentially losing them. Bugs in the house get squashed when I’m around.

So Caleb runs to grab his Croc, and Ryder is squatting down to inspect this creature. I noticed Ryder’s intrigue and quickly screamed for him not to touch it. But of course that only intrigued him more, reaching for the bug now with a smirk on his face. Caleb got to it first, and began slamming his shoe on the little centipede looking thing.

At this point Grant was interested in all the ruckus, and he was making his way over to the action. “No Grant!” I yelled, as he peaked back at me. Caleb kept smacking against the floor, the lifeless bug flying in the air with each hit. Ryder kept trying to grab at it, and Grant was getting closer and closer to the whole mess. So I grabbed a paper towel and squeeled as I scooped the bug to toss him. The boys were giggling at my disgust all the while.

I thought to myself, these boys… My little bug smashers… They are exactly who I want to be around.

Summer So Far

By Natalie

Laura came to Charlotte for a week. Which meant we essentially had the opportunity to have a mini staycation while we showed her all around town.


We went to a Knights game, where we ate our fill of peanuts and cracker jacks.


After the game we ran across the street to Romare Bearden Park, cause I had been wanting to visit. And the lights out there were just too magnificent to pass up. imageWe tromped around through the grass, past a black lab chasing after a light up ball. Past some guys doing a little meditation, and past the color changing waterfall. Silly things happened at Romare Bearden. Some very silly things. image


Carowinds is essentially in our back yard, so we decided to spend the day there. And it was hot hot hot. Which is why logically we stood in line for a good 30-40 minutes for this white water rapids ride. Oh yes, we did. It’s part of the experience.



How lucky was I to have a buddy spend the day with me on my birthday??

We ran a few errands before heading to breakfast at my favorite brunch spot uptown (where I succesfully parked on the street! Go me!!), only to realize they only serve brunch on the weekends. Womp womp.

After peeking at the lunch menu we decided to stick around for the chicken salad sandwiches, and run to Amelie’s after for our coffee fix… and we had a couple macaroons there too, not gonna lie. After a long totally soul satisfying girly chat on life, and futures we ran over to Freedom Park, to show Laura some of Charlotte’s green.

Once B came home we all got ready to go to my birthday dinner at Fahrenheit. Which was not only a delectable dinner and dessert seated on the 21st floor, but right outside was this spectacular view.




We hit up Mama’s Coffeehouse for breakfast so Brandon could nail this pano of us behind every door. And so Laura could leave her mark in Charlotte. imageimage


How sweet is that? ↑

Pause for these little cuties.

We went on a much too long, so long I may have developed blisters on my feet walk along the greenway.

You see, the thing about this greenway is that it doesn’t loop, So I keep walking, and walking, not wanting to turn back too soon. And that’s how we ended up strolling for 3 miles. But deep down I really don’t mind it, because there is something about the sippy cups in the back pocket, swaying next to the baby wipes. Something about a morning stroll through the trees that really makes me feel like a true nanny.  image

The Thursday after Laura flew home my sisters came for a visit, which was a bit of a surprise since I was originally expecting Nem, and our mom. Mom stayed behind (Don’t worry, she’s here now!) so that Nadir, and Norah could suprise me for the best ever belated birthday present.

That’s right. My niece’s first road trip was to see her Titi!The auntie version of Tia, if you don’t already know.

And we had some beautiful sister time that I had been craving… which p.s. how odd is it that now we have this fourth member to add to our girl clan? Norah!! You have Rodriguez girl in you.

imageAnd yep.. we like to bring our guests here. It’s our fave coffee spot, can you tell?

We met up with Mandy and little G so all my family could meet eachother. And it was perfect. imageimageYou’re about to find out that I have a thing for babies wrapped in blankets. Perhaps I should have my baby in the winter..imageimageNorah went to the mall with us!!! And she did amazing! Even when her Titi’s took too long in the dressing rooms. She just went along for the stroll, happy to be a part of our very first foursome shopping spree.

imageNorah wrapped in the blankey I made her. ↓ My first time sewing with satin binding. Not too shabby eh?

When I rocked this sweet girl to sleep I couldn’t help but stare at those sleepy little eyelids of hers. Thinking to myself how innocent and pure she is. How small she is. How she has no idea how many people love her so much. And all I could do as we rocked was pray for her. For her precious mind to be guarded, and her innocence to keep. For her to feel the love around her, and to give her parents the strength, and patience to raise her.

Sleeping babies, they really get you thinking.

imageWhen Norah’s not power napping she’s working out those cheek muscles and giving out smiles to those who are worthy. Go on Norah take us out with a smile!

GOOD-NESS My heart is melting. image

Life Lately…

By Natalie

2015 is rolling right along, and so much has grabbed my attention, that I thought I’d give you a quick recap of Life Lately. Hang with me, we’re goin fast!


My beautiful sister Nadir gave birth to her first born last month! I’m amazed by my sister’s strength, and overwhlemed with the beauty of a woman’s ability to go through pregnancy, and childbirth! It’s alot of work to bring life into the world! I was so excited to visit just a couple days later to share in their blessing.

imageNorah did not dissappoint. She’s pretty stinking adorable, and she’s leaving the whole family smitten with love for her. Passing down my crown of being the youngest isn’t half bad.


School is almost out! Which means I get to see more of this cool kid ↓↓

Bring on the summertime fun!


If you follow me on Instagram you know I found the best Farmer’s Market ever!  On Saturday I excused  myself past people to grab a giant 34 cent carrot.. Have I grown up, or have I grown up?

My first visit I stood over baskets of strawberries with giddiness in my eyes, because those strawberries were tantalizingly bright red, and gorgeous. After the man who proudly grew them noticed I was interested he said, “Go ahead and try them there strawberries.” Tickled by his accent, and guiltlessly wanting a taste I picked up a little red guy and bit just below the green. And it.. was.. the best dang strawberry I’ve ever tasted.

The next week when I asked B to tag along he insited we grab a cantaloupe. But once we got to the pile we stared at the cantaloupe, and then at eachother. How do you pick a good cantaloupe? There’s so many rules to ripeness.. how will I possibly remember them all? This one’s too green.. this one’s too hard.. this one doesn’t smell strong enough.

“I think you smell the butt.” I said to B.

To which he replied. “But they all smell so good.”

“Whenna you gonna cut it?” An older man asked, noticing we were in need of assistance.

“Umm probably today.” I said. Then he proceeded to grab at the cantaloupe, and handed us a good one, and moved on. And it was a GOOD one.


Cherries just like the ones we’d pick off of the tree when I was little. How could I pass that up?

When I was 2 or 3 I’d galavant through the backyard with cherries in hand, and when my mom asked me what they were I’d say “Gwapes” and she’d say “They’re Cherries!”


Plants!!! call me crazy, but I had no idea there’d be more than produce, and fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. I stared at an oversized pot full of Elephant Ears as tall as I am, for 10 minutes. Deliberating… Because, I really, really, wanted those guys in my home. But, I settled for a hanging pot of succulents to accompany the bedroom window. And really, can you go wrong with succulents?


Speaking of plants…

I found this precious nursery not too far from where I work. imageI wasn’t expecting too much, but once I walked in I followed the sign for houseplants, and I stepped into this beautiful haven. Mhmm I’ll take one of each pretty please.

During a casual Wednesday morning trip to Jo-Ann’s with little Grant I spotted this fabric, and could not get over how it had our entire living room color scheme. After getting a couple feet cut for a bunting I grabbed some matching bias tape, and whipped out my coupons. Because Jo-Ann’s ALWAYS has coupons. Total for this DIY was five dollars! [And lots of leftover scrap fabric for other projects.]image

When I got home I popped in an old musical, and got to tracing, cutting, and sewing.

Since we’re living in a rental I’ve been using as many Command hooks as possible to avoid holes in the wall, and it hasn’t been too big a deal aside from the fact that I miss our curtains. But this bunting has been a stunning alternative!



In case you wondered..

Bingley wanted to say hello.


Oh! And I thought you’d like this pretty decent little drawing we spotted on our table at Mama’s Coffeehouse. image

Life’s been pretty sweet huh?

The Misunderstood Middle

By Natalie

It has come to my attention that being a middle child can be the pits.

My middle sister has always spoken out about the struggles of being in the middle, but as I was the baby, and had most things handed to me, I of course had no idea what she was talking about.


On a Tuesday afternoon Ryder awoke from his nap to the sound of his older brother kicking off his shoes, and chattering on about how he needed to get ready for swim team in an hour.

Thinking nothing of it I lead Ryder down the ladder of his bunk, to and from the potty, and straight to his afternoon snack. Where of course, in no more than 2 minutes he emptied his cup of water. Because napping is a dehydrating business.

After finishing his snack, and wrestling with Caleb, Ryder excitedly ran about the house when Dad came home. But Caleb was to be taken to swim class, and Ryder was to stay home with me.. Whom we’ll refer to as Chop Liver.. no, no, I get it. Three year old boy finds Dad and older brother riding on a longboard down to the pool much more fun than staying at home with baby brother, and nanny.

Just before the door shut Ryder excitedly pranced behind his brother and quickly waved back at me yelling “Bye! Bye!” And when I told him he was staying behind, and Daddy shut the door, the saddest little tears came pouring, and pouring out.

“Oh Ry.” I said as I knelt down. “We’ll do anything you want! Caleb and Daddy will be right back. And do you know who else will be here soon?” He looked into my eyes expectantly. “Mommy.” I said. And the tears stopped.

I grabbed his hand and walked to the playroom with him where I finally set Grant down infront of a toy car. Because that kid is on the move these days, and if you set him down for a second, poof! Before you know it he’s in the next room.

I set an array of toys, and books around Grant, and tickled him to hear that happy distinct baby giggle he loves to express. And then I looked up to find Ryder staring at the books, meandering around the playroom, mumbling new words to himself. And it hit me. Everything my sister has tried to express.

Don’t forget about the middle.


There he was sort of content, but more so used to the fact that big brother gets to go do big brother things, and baby brother has to be monitored to prevent little hands from finding the zillions of things that are choking hazard size, and the numerous amounts of bumps and bruises that could be. The fast crawling, wanting to stand, and lean on everything baby.. It’s like your eyes grow accustomed to realizing just how treacherous the world is out there two feet from the floor.

“Pick out a book.” I said to Ryder by the bookshelf. Where he of course picked out his same favorites and brought them over to me. I took my time reading them on the floor with him in my lap. “Does a kangaroo have a mother too?” He looked over at the floor mirror to see our reflection, and my facial expressions as I read. “Yes! A kangaroo has a mother. Just like me, and you.” And he loves that part because I give Yes a special infliction, and then point to myself, and then to him. Reading aloud is all about the dynamics.

So there we sat, happily on the playroom floor. Grant was occupied, and in view, and Ryder was getting all the attention he’d been craving. “Ryder.” I said, spinning him around. “You are extra special, you know. My silly, fellow curly headed friend.”


The other day, after a morning full of park fun we put Grant down for his nap, and stepped into the boys room. We sat down, and I pulled Ryder’s shoes, and socks off. Told him to grab his Giraffe off the dresser to nap with, and he ran back over to me on the floor excitedly throwing his arms around my neck, and squeezing.


And I knew it was his way of telling me he’d had a wonderful day.


How about, I didn’t even realize I matched him to his cup until this photo. Go me.

How Tricking a Baby Taught Me Trust

By Natalie

I must apologize to you dear Grant because I, your nanny of the past 6 months (Which is more than half your life) have been fooling you.

imageWhen you are ready for your bottle, and I have it warming on the countertop, I flip you around, and twist my arm behind my back to pull it out of the mug, and test the temperature. Do you know what happens when you catch a glimpse of that thing and it’s not ready for you yet? Something along the lines of when I smell fresh bacon, waffles, and coffee on a Saturday morning. We both have an I need that now reaction.

When you’re finishing your bottle, and I see it nearing the end I know you’re going to be just a bit upset, and I’m sorry little one but there’s not much I can do about that. So as I sit you up to burp I set the bottle out of sight. Otherwise you’ll twist and turn staring at the bottle which torments you with it’s emptiness. And I do this for you Grant, because you don’t quite understand the concept of emptiness yet. So until then I’ll keep the bottle hidden.

When you’re eating your peas, and you’re confused as to why they’re not as sweet as your much preferred banana, I smile, and reassure you that peas are in fact delicious too. You’re right Grant. Fruit is much more fun than veggies. But I trick you, because the greens are just as important.

When Ryder needs help buttoning his pants after the potty I sit you down with a toy as distraction. I sneakily grinch-like tiptoe out of the room to help your brother, and rush back hopefully before you notice I’m gone. Because when I leave your side you get pretty sad, and that’s alright because it’s sort of sweet, and I’m all about quality time.

I’ve tricked you into thinking that books are just as cool as gadgets and toys, because in the real world G, they can be! So I show you all the colorful cardboard books in the playroom. Because within every new book, lies a new adventure.


After I shot a basket with Caleb by the basketball hoop I took a peak back to see you sitting in the grass. You reached up to your mouth with a fistfull of grass, and I ran over to you faster than you could open your mouth. That’s where I convinced you that Paci was a better option to munch on. You can eat dirt when you’re older kid. But for right now let’s just stick to baby food.

When I’m trying to get you to crawl I hop down in front of you, and make you think it’s the greatest thing on earth to be on your belly. Because I want you to grow strong, and get moving places you want to go. You little backwards scooter you.

When I took you to the doctor, and they took your temperature, you looked up at me with surprised, uncertain eyes. And I once again smiled at you in reassurance that everything was fine. And you believed me! I don’t know how you believed me on that one. But you did. And I got to thinking about trust in that patient room. As you wriggled in your diaper on the crinkly paper, set on tearing it apart. We tend to trust the ones who care for us, the ones who are by our side convincing us it’ll all be ok. Putting our trust in someone is a pretty big deal, and we should make sure we’re putting our trust in the right people. Otherwise we’re not going to learn. We’re not going to grow, and get stronger.

Thanks little G, for teaching me that life lesson.

Conversations with Caleb

By Natalie

After Caleb gets off the bus from school we cut across the yard chit chatting about the weather, and step inside the house. He and I have an afternoon routine. He quickly sheds his shoes once inside, as he peers over at the kitchen table where there’s a snack I’ve prepared for him. But before he can grab a bite, I flip him around, and say “Gimme hugs.” to which he quickly responds. Maybe he’s alright with it, maybe he’s trying to get his snack out of it. Either way is fine by me.

I sit across from him while he eats his snack eager to hear about his day, and luckily for me he’s usually up for chatting. Our conversations go a little like this…

  • Caleb: Where’s Ryder?
  • Me: At school
  • Caleb: Where’s mommy?
  • Me: She’s working
  • Caleb: Where’s daddy?
  • Me: He’s working too
  • Caleb: Playing soccer?
  • Me: Yep
  • Caleb: Where’s Brandon?
  • Me: He’s at work
  • Caleb: Where’s Brandon’s daddy?
  • Me: Probably working too
  • Caleb: Where’s Bingley?
  • Me: He’s sleeping in his bed
  • Caleb: Where are you?
  • Me: I’m at work!
  • Caleb: *Eyes wide, then giggles* No you’re not! You’re at home!

That boy, he’s right. I’m right at home.

After he finishes his snack, and we’ve decided that everyone is where they usually are in the afternoons we determine if it’s any sort of decent weather. And if it is we head outside to play.

  • Caleb: Play soccer with me?
  • Me: Always

I stand by the gate, while he dribbles the ball. And I can tell you I’m so embarassed to play goalie with him, because this kid is good. Nearly never misses a shot. Once he’s bored of me trying he yells out “Get me!” and I come after him so we can dribble the soccer ball back and forth through the grass.

It’s a pretty sweet gig yeah? Being a Nanny.

Today I sat on the playroom floor, and I started reading the pout pout fish to Ryder, and Grant. He’s a pout pout fish with a pout pout face, and he spreads the dreary wearies all over the place. It’s one of those repetitive books, with the same lines every other page to teach kids recognition. So this pout pout fish, every other page he goes Blub.. Bluub.. Bluuuuuub. And you better believe I exaggerate those Blubs. Giving out belly tickles to Ryder, then Grant, then Ryder again. And they eat it up those boys.

Mr. Fish says to clam I’m a pout pout fish with a pout pout face, and I spread the dreary wearies all over the place. Then their sweet little faces get real expectant because they know what’s coming. Belly tickles with every Blub.. Bluuub.. Bluuuuuub.

Sillies, and tickles, and smiles, and giggles. Playgrounds, and swings, and soccer, and wriggles. Who would have known all those things make me feel right at home.

Missed Buses & Baby Talk

By Natalie

This morning, we missed the bus.

It was to arrive late for the two hour delay, and we missed it. I was granted extra time, and we missed it. Within the ten minute window I opened the front door to peer out the storm door just in case the bus showed up early. Caleb was ready to go, with his back pack on, but I found myself in between burping Grant after his bottle, and putting on my shoes so I was ready to run out. Apparently the bus in the morning is different from the afternoon bus so when a bus stopped at the end of the driveway that I didn’t recognize, I took too long to ponder the fact that it indeed was his bus. “Come on Caleb!” I shouted, and grabbed his hand to catch it, but the bus drove off. “Well that’s that.” I thought, looking down at Ryder who was staring back at me like “What’s going on? What’s the rush?”

“We’ve got to get you dressed silly boy.” I said, while he sat in his jammies.

It was a beautiful frigid 15 degree morning in Charlotte, and I would have never enjoyed that freezing air had I not played tetris with car seats in my car this morning. So many buckles. So many boys. Once I rounded them up I hopped in the driver’s seat to head to Caleb’s school much to the boys confusion. Their faces read “Where are you taking us?” and “Who cares? We’re going on an adventure!” All at the same time.

So we get to the school and I have a plan. Grant in the car seat on my left arm, Ryder holding my right hand. Then I filled Caleb in. “Caleb, you hold Ryder’s hand, and you don’t let it go until we’re inside.” Across the parking lot and into the front office I signed Caleb in and headed to his classroom to drop him off. “We made it.” I told Ryder. “Almost half an hour later, and we’re headed back home!” Then Ryder scrunched his face, and laughed. As always when I say something silly to him.

Back at the house around lunchtime I realized some things…

It’s official. All this time, and I’ve finally developed my boy vocabulary. Including all dialects of vroom sounds and rocket take offs. It’s taken some practice, but I’d like to believe the boys are impressed. It’s nearly impossible to play with little boys unless you’re able to produce such sounds, and nearly impossible to entertain babies for prolonged periods of time without staying animated.

I’ve also noticed that I am unable to feed Grant with out making odd shapes with my mouth. He opens his mouth for the next bite, and I can’t help but create an O with my own mouth. He takes the bite and then pauses. “Uh oh” I’ll think to myself. “He’s realized it’s carrots.” Well, let’s be honest sometimes I think it to myself, and sometimes I mention it to Ryder who is much too preoccupied with his own lunch.

While we’re on the topic of Ryder and his lunch… You know how they say when you get married sometimes you eat more because you’re mirroring your husband? Well, I’ve found that when I’m around kids I want to eat the things they’re eating. When I was a kid’s church teacher I’d go around pouring them Goldfish, and then be like “Oh what’s this? An extra dixie cup? Don’t mind if I do…” Don’t even get me started on those squeezable applesauce packs. I like applesauce too. But that’s ok, I’ll skip the convenience and buy myself a giant jug of it to put in my own containers. I’m an adult now, I should be eating my applesauce with a spoon. Right?

Quickly trying to get a smile back on Grant’s face rather than a sad look of betrayal I smile wide, and say “It’s gooood Grant, nom nom nom nom.” In the babiest of baby voices. He ponders my words, his eyes gazing at the expressions on my face that he’s still learning. Then.. a smile, and maybe even a coo if I’m lucky. Orange drool is spilling out but that’s alright, he’s happy. Now he’s ready to try another bite. Some days we go on like this the entire feeding. Some days he’s into it, and let’s face it some days not even we adults want to eat our peas and carrots.

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