I guess it’s a bit of a cliche that Los Angeles neighborhoods are noisy. I’ve been excusing one loud morning after another since we moved here (this house, where we moved to get away from “the noise,” this house which is somehow noisier than both of our old apartments combined). At first I thought it was just all of the simultaneous construction going on. But that has ended, and there’s still something waking us up early every single morning.

Today: a woodshredder, followed by a chainsaw. – gardeners across the street.

Yesterday: A saw, followed by a chainsaw. – gardeners on the right.

Wednesday: Leafblowers – gardeners on the left.

Tuesday: Lawnmowers – gardeners across the street.

Monday: Lawnmower and leafblowers. Okay, that was because of our gardeners, but they don’t come until close to noon and they get everything done in thirty minutes, and technically they’re the landlord’s gardeners.

The woodshredder this morning was so loud that in my sleepy haze I thought it was an air raid siren. I used to hear them when I lived in Mississippi for tornado warnings. I woke up from my strange dream where Chris Rock and Howard Stern were talking to me on a couch and thought it was time to hide in a bathtub.

I can’t even tell you the number of Howard Stern dreams I’ve had since I wake up every morning to his radio program.

I was particularly tired this morning since yesterday was a big day. Jessica and I babysat the five-month old Micah Rose. And I’m happy to announce the grand opening of the…

Hesitant Nanny Baby Service

Mothers and Fathers! Need a few hours to get away? Would you like an evening to yourselves? Well, look no further than the fabulous Hesitant Nanny Baby Service.

Two women in their mid to late twenties to early thirties (It’s a range. It’s a real range. Shut up.) will come to your door with looks on their faces that clearly read, “I hear there’s a baby in here.” They will walk around pretending to understand bottles and diapers and crib doors. When you hold the baby up and say, “Who wants to take her first?” pay no attention to the quick look they give each other, wondering which one is brave enough to hold the baby in front of the mother. Oh, it’s fun when they joke about giving your baby daughter her first martini, or promising they’ll clean her up before you get home. They’re just fun, single girls. They mean no harm.

Watch the Hesitant Nannies wave a nervous good-bye as you leave. That silent sound after you close the door happens to be the two of them in feverish prayer, hoping you return before the baby notices you are gone.

Then the fun begins! The Hesitant Nannies will pick up around your house, because cleaning apartments is something they actually know something about. Babies? Not so much. You’d think two women with almost sixty years of life between them would be able to take care of a child, but the three or four hours they’re about to spend with your most precious human being will be the longest either of them have ever been in charge of another life. So first bonus of Hesitant Nanny Baby Service: A cleaner apartment than the one you left!

Second bonus: The Hesitant Nannies promise to never steal your husband or hit on your wife. They’re way too self-absorbed to notice anyone but themselves! In fact, while they hold and care for your child, mostly they’ll just be evaluating their own lives, wondering why they aren’t married with children, wondering if they’re unwanted spinsters, or simply cows that give their milk away for free.

Speaking of milk… how many Hesitant Nannies does it take to feed a baby her bottle? Two! Sometimes three! One to hold the baby, the other to slowly heat up the bottle, testing a drop on the wrist every six seconds, trying to guess the right temperature a baby likes to eat. Then there’s one to hold the bottle, another to figure out how to release the air bubbles, and that third to keep the baby amused while she gets frustrated that these women are so clueless! With the Hesitant Nannies, your baby will get the constant attention she deserves! Wait, you say there wasn’t a third Nanny at your house? Well, I’m sure the girls made do somehow. They’re crafty. I mean, look how far they’ve gotten in life without men!

But the attention doesn’t stop there! The Hesitant Nannies know all kinds of FUN GAMES to keep your babies from ever offering up a single yawn. The list includes:

  • The Funny Silly Dance
  • The Funny Silly Dance With Funny Silly Song
  • The Baby’s Upside Down
  • Has Anyone Seen The Dog?
  • I’m Getting Closer to the Baby/ Now I’m Far Away
  • My Mouth Is Open / Now My Mouth Is Closed
  • Name that Wet Spot
  • Where’s Your Nose? / There’s Your Nose!
  • I Suck On Your Hand
  • The Baby Has My Lip In Her Firm, Firm Grip
  • Yes, My Hair’s a Pull Toy
  • What Does This Thing Do?
  • Should We Change Her?
  • Do You Like Mr. Elephant?
  • Seriously, Have You Seen the Dog? / I Didn’t Know They Had a Dog
  • Does A Five Month Old Know How To Crawl? / No, Not At All
  • Is She Hungry Again?
  • Searching for Pacifiers
  • I’m Gonna Go Outside and Look for the Dog
  • Baby Drool Art
  • I Found the Dog in the Laundry Basket
  • Artistic Diaper Changing — Think Outside the Box
  • Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow – The Baby’s Got My Jugular

And the Hesitant Nannies also know songs! They’ll sing to your child all night long. In fact, since your baby’s happiest when she hears singing, the Hesitant Nannies will sing to each other as they talk. They’ll have an entire rock opera in your living room to discuss why Friends is a repeat once-a-fucking-gain, discussing contracts and sitcoms and shows they can’t stand.

A sample of the Hesitant Nanny songlist includes:

  • “Blackbird”
  • “Love Me Do”
  • “Michelle”
  • “The Very Thought of You”
  • “Leader of the Pack”
  • “I Will Survive.”

Some of the Hestiant Nannies original songs include:

  • “I Ain’t Havin’ No Funsie (I Hate Bein’ In a Onesie)”
  • “My Nose Is the Size of a Nickel”
  • “Micah Rose, Micah Rose! (I Like To Touch My Toes)”
  • “Can Your Boob Feed Me Too?”
  • “I Know You Aren’t My Parents And I’m Fixin’ To Call The Cops”

The Hesitant Nannies have the perfect tag-team system. One of them tries what her mother did with her — “I sang the song from King and I: she hated it. But then I did that humming noise my mom made, and that worked but then it stopped working. Your turn!” Then the other nanny will come up with something even more brilliant — “Why am I standing in this corner? Well, it’s darker over here. And I’m near a picture of her parents.”

Yes, once your baby starts crying (“I can’t believe you went out for a smoke break. She hasn’t stopped screaming since you walked out the door!” “How is this my fault? Babies cry!” “Not like this!” “Yes, like this.” “It’s so loud!”) the Hesitant Nannies will bounce, coo, stroke, cuddle, rock, serenade and soothe your baby, doing the bottle/pacifier dance until your baby finally gives up and hiccups herself to sleep. Then they’ll be stuck holding your baby for an hour, wondering just how you do it.

“Oh, man. I don’t know if I have this kind of free time.”

“And what am I supposed to do now that she’s asleep on my elbow?”

“Move in?”

But the Hesitant Nannies know how to work their certain magic, and together the two of them will gently carry your sixteen-pound darling to her crib, sing to her and keep her company for another fifteen minutes to make sure she’s really, really, really sleeping, and then quietly duck out of the room. They will share a high-five and collapse on couches, so proud of themselves.

And when the Santa Ana winds knock over something in the bedroom, causing the baby to wake up shrieking because her parents still aren’t there, the Hesitant Nannies will once again tirelessly tend to your child, rocking and singing and cooing and soothing, singing to each other, wondering why babies are such light sleepers.

But then the baby will be quiet and the house will be calm. That’s when you, the parents, will come home. And your arrival will make the dog go into a frenzy, waking the child with its barking. The child will begin screaming. The dog will somehow catch a claw on the carpet, and its foot will begin to bleed, tracking blood along the kitchen floor. There’s blood everywhere and the baby’s screaming and for some reason the Hesitant Nannies are lying in your bed with your screaming child between them and you’ll be filled with that unmistakable feeling: “We can never leave this house again. Look what happens when we leave our home to The Nannies.”

And really, isn’t it nice to be needed?

[db]

We drove back to my baby-less place exhausted. We thought we were rewarding ourselves with some Glitter-esque, Crossroads-ish fun by renting Swept Away. Good golly, that movie is so bad. You’d think there would be some satisfaction in watching someone beat the crap out of Madonna while half-naked pretty people walk around. But it is as joyless as it is soulless. And the commentary goes a little something like:

[scripty]
GUY
I don’t remember why we cut that scene.

PRODUCER
I didn’t know we did.

GUY
What was wrong with it?

PRODUCER
Well…

GUY
Yeah. I think I didn’t like his performance in that scene.

PRODUCER
Many things… it was… lets talk about shagging people again.

GUY
I have sex with Madonna.

PRODUCER
Yeah, that’s cool.

GUY
Not as cool as you’d think it’d be.

PRODUCER
Yeah, you seem to be taking out a few issues on her in this film.

GUY
If only that other guy wasn’t such a bad actor. That’s really been Madonna’s problem. She’s never been able to find an actor that was as good as she was so she really stood out.

PRODUCER
You know, you’re right. I never thought of it like that. But Rosanna Arquette, Antonio Banderas, Sean Penn…

GUY
Some of the worst actors this world has to offer.
[/scripty]

The following I didn’t make up.

[scripty]
PRODUCER
Oh, look. He kicked Madonna again. I don’t understand why people had such a problem with this scene.

GUY
The rape scene. Yeah. I don’t get it. Because he doesn’t actually rape her.

PRODUCER
Right.

GUY
I think it says a lot about him, actually, that he doesn’t. Most men just would.

PRODUCER
Yeah, he’s a nice guy.

GUY
There he is, snogging my wife. He was so nervous doing this scene. Everybody had a hard time watching it.

PRODUCER
Do people actually do it… when they do it in movies?

GUY
What?

PRODUCER
Do you think people actually… you know… do it… when they do it in movies?

GUY
Sure. You mean like in porno?

PRODUCER
No, I know in porno. But do you think in other movies they sometimes actually do it?

GUY
That’s my wife. She’s Madonna.
[/scripty]

And apparently she’s hurt we didn’t love this movie. Well, if she experience a quarter of the pain we felt watching her “act” like she was spitting up food, “acting” like she wanted to call that man “Master,” then she still needs to drop something heavy on her foot to have any idea what we went through.

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Currently reading: The Hours. Yes, I’m the last person on Earth to do it. Thanks for asking.

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