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His Name is Butter.

I'm a nanny. As such, I frequent libraries and play centers as much as twenty-something "men" frequent topless bars, only I get less out of it.

After five years in this career, here it is: I'm sick of moms. Oh, sure, I want to BE a mom. I just can't stand them in large collections. Rich moms, poor moms, frumpy, happy moms. At Book Babies , our local library's baby book group, they are legion. I usually can't move two inches to my right or left once seated on the ground, so I send my little charge out alone into the mosh pit of diapered readers-to-be, a churning mass of thumb-suckers who accidentally wipe boogers all over each other..

This is a particular challenge to me since even two moms together in one room can send me to the windows, clawing for escape. Once one mom has the attention of another adult-interaction-starved mom, she launches into tales of woe involving sleepless nights, diaper rashes, or the need to upgrade from a cramped four-bed, three-bath into a fifty-bed, thirty-bath house now that little Only Child is getting bigger and taking up so much space. She tells stories about Baby: "So this morning, Montana put some of her oatmeal on her nose and said, 'Ba-ba la-la!' Isn't that adorable?" Only to you.

And then there are the complaints about their husbands.

First Mom: "Henry and I haven't had any alone time in over three days. He doesn't seem to get that I need out of the house!"

Second Mom: "Tell me about it. It's been five weeks since Mike and I went on a date!"

First Mom: "I don't count the cruise-"

Second Mom: "Or the trip to Barbados because--"

In commiserating unison: "The kids were with us!"

Boy, oh, boy, Ladies. Cry me an ocean. If I can manage a date with a man who doesn't have a deadly addiction or a wife, it's a good week. At least your husband showers. Wait, what did you say his name is? Crap, I think I... Never mind.

And then there are the names of the children. A rough estimate would put the number of male and female children in a given room named Morgan at about fifty percent. The remaining children are all named Madison, Hunter or Dakota. Actually, my sister's best friend from high school named her son Hunter Dakota. Mine named hers River Elijah. Look, there are no rules to what you get to name your child. You get to name them after wealthy land barons, monopoly holders or geographic locations if you want to. But I get to be sick of it. It's the same principle that applies to trends like red cowboy boots and man-crack peeking out over rock-star skinny jeans worn two sizes too small. There is only so much trend I can take before I start slapping.

"This is my son Truck." Shut up or I'll slap you.

I might not even name my children, so sick of the name game will I be when it's my turn. I might adopt the ancient Chinese tradition of calling my kids Number One Son or Number Five Daughter. Then, when they're old enough to talk, I'll let them name themselves anything they want, like Purple or Butter.

It's not just the wealthy moms or the trendy moms. It's also the really, really happy moms. Those are the hardest to be around for the obvious and petty reason that they have what I don't. Around my single, brilliant, gorgeous girlfriends, I'm content. I'm certain that there is more to being happy than being in a relationship with a wonderful man, and I live my life to the fullest. I study, I go to shows. I have slumber parties with my little sisters. I write, I paint and I have "me" time. I read books in bed and sleep in and travel because I can, because I have no man to consider and no children to care for.

Put me in a library with fifty moms and one-hundred babies, though, and something happens to my perfectly balanced single psyche. I become sad-hearted and evil-eyed. I lose sight of the advantages of the life I lead and covet the lives of the women who have found their soul mates and begun to bring children into their marriages.

This morning I sat next to a little blonde lady and her son. We stripped our children of their coats and hats and coaxed them to go forth and mingle. As one, the two toddlers suddenly overcame their shyness and, wooed by the toy bin in the front of the room, shot away from us, crashing into each other. We pulled them into our arms, clucking and cooing, kissing and reassuring them that they were just fine.

"Okay, you're alright," Blonde Lady said to her son. "Go play, Takota."

I glared at her.

-Coop

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