“you should have asked me nicely” by Julia on the 4

Monday September 24, 2018
7:22pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 4 bus

A fallen chestnut narrowly misses the baby’s head I am in charge of protecgjng.
It comes directly after thinking how if a chestnut fell it would gash a chunk out of her head. Good thing that won’t happen. As if mother’s aren’t pushing their babies down chestnut tree lined streets. When it falls and bounces off the rim of the stroller instead of her it feels the way stopping an inch short of getting shat on buy a pigeon toremnting in the rafters feels.
All luck and karma and universal flow rolled up into a warning.

“I think you’re really mean” By Julia on her bed

Friday March 30, 2018

1:49pm

5 minutes

Not Fair

Lilly Allen

The little girl says this to me after I tell her that I’m not mad at her for breaking my crayon box. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to feel bad but she feels bad and now she thinks every word out of my mouth is going to shame her head into the sand. This comment is followed by a lot of screaming for me not to talk to her. Nobody is allowed to talk to her. And I have to let it pass because she is not my child and she doesn’t know that I am trying to hold her. Minutes earlier she is flinging her arms around me and telling me she loves me. I wonder about the size of a three year old’s emotions. I ask myself, how do such big feelings fit into such small bodies. Her hands, when she lets me squeeze them, a tiny pillow for all the unknowing in the space between us. Her curls, when she lets me comb them, a bouncy castle of dreams.

“Your nanny today was” by Julia at S and M’s house

Friday November 3, 2017
10:15pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

Sabryn is smart. Like her mother. Sharp, rather (According to the book Drew Barrymore is quoting). Apparently you’re not supposed to say smart. Or tell your kid that they are. I don’t know why. I’m not a mother. I’m someone’s replacement for the evening. I’m their “older sister” who lets them watch one extra show before bed. I’m the one who tells their mother that they’re smart. So their mother will feel good about her job as someone’s mother. Some have been at it longer than others. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter if their kids are one or twelve, mothers want to hear that their kids are smart. Sharp. And I only say it if it’s true. I only tell them anecdotes that will make them love their own offspring more when it is genuine. I’m not in the business of lying to parents about how great their children are. They do enough of that on their own. I simply provide a service in which I keep their kids from killing each other while their parents are at the Guns & Roses concert and maybe teach them the joys of MadLibs.

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“thank you for your hate” by Sasha on her couch


Monday October 27, 2014
11:42pm
5 minutes
from an e-mail

I’m gonna be a caterpillar for Halloween. I’m going to be a caterpillar with a fuzzy body and a million legs. My babysitter Pho is going to make my costume and she used to be a seamstress in Cambodia so it’s going to be the best costume in the parade at school. I used to think, like, last week, that I wanted to be a sunflower, but I changed my mind. “Stop changing your mind!” Pho said, while she ironed Daddy’s blouses. Oh, no. I mean, shirts. Men do not wear blouses. At least, that’s what Pho says. So I made up a contract and I told Pho to sign it and I signed it and it says that I will not change my mind about being a caterpillar.

“Ha parlato troppo” by Sasha at the International Plaza Hotel


Friday July 11, 2014
12:33am
5 minutes
overheard on Corydon

You call me and you’re breathless
You’re sobbing
You’re hiccuping.
I say,
“Breath Betsy, breath…”
And you try to listen
But it’s hard.
You tell me that they’ve been killed
the little girls you nanny
five and nine
brown hair in braids you tied.
I say,
“Breath Betsy…”
And you try.
“They haven’t found who did it…”
You repeat
as if it might help.
“Come over,” I say,
And you silently decline.
You’d been there five hours earlier
And then their mother had come home
had forgotten something at the grocery store
“Zucchini,” you say.
She’d gone out to get it
Leaving the girls alone.
She’d done it before.
When she got back
the house was quiet.

“With lots of ice-creams” by Sasha at Moksha Yoga Downtown


Saturday March 1, 2014 at Moksha Yoga Downtown
5:14pm
5 minutes
My Dream World
Parul Naveen


You got those leetle ice-creams that aren’t reeeealy ice-creams but they look like them in those leetle cookie cones. Monique says, “Why you not put the diapers in the kitchen garbage? Smells like poop in Isabelle’s room!” Monique isn’t the boss of me but I pretend it’s ok for her to talk like this to me. “I put, I put…” I say, quiet. I put those diapers in the downstairs garbage but it’s full so I bring it to the garage. Nice garage. You know, this word, “garage”? Strange strange. I look at all Missus’ nice boxes with big labels and I think about how much they have they don’t use ever. In the box. In the garage. Monique says none of my business. I say, is my business because this is my job.