Tuesday, January 27, 2009

songbird asks, SarcastiCarrie cannot answer

songbird asked: what if you can't find childcare that costs less than what you would make working? what if childcare costs all of your take home pay?

Well, now, isn't that a rotten situation. It's a dilly of a pickle, if you will. Let's take it as a series of questions.

  • Is there someone else in the family bringing home a pay check?
  • Do you like your job?
  • Is your job a stepping stone to later rewards (like training to be a doctor or an architect with a low salary now that will pay better later once certification is attained)?
  • Does your job provide some other benefit that you want/need (health insurance, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) match)?
  • Do you qualify for child care assistance through a state agency?
  • Do you want to stay home?
  • Can the other parent (if there is one) stay home?
  • Can you get a better job (one you like more or pays better or is closer to home)?
  • Can you get training in a reasonable length of time so that you can get a different job?

Depending on the answers, you have your answer. It would be a shame if someone wanted to work but couldn't because of the financials of it. This is one of those situations where meaningful, odd-hour (so childcare wouldn't be an issue) part-time work would be awesome. But, as I've said, those jobs are few and far between.

I have known people who were teachers going to work for a Sylvan Learning Center in the off-hours, and I've known fancy downtown accountants take part-time jobs doing the books for small offices in the suburbs (and they save the time and expense of commuting). But, depending on your skill set, this may not be an option, and it certainly isn't a very good option if you don't want to stay home.

Comments, anyone?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Only Place We're Allowed to Talk About the Unspeakable Thing

I hereby make this post the place where we can talk about the toddler who was murdered.

The little boy was 16-months old, and his name was Benjamin Kingan. His twin sister , Emily. was in the room when he was murdered. I can't even imagine how this affects the family, including 3-year old brother Jacob.

Apparently, the woman who killed him feels just awful about it. ANd you know what? I don't care how she feels. I try not to judge. It was my Lenten Resolution a few years back (April 200&). I try. But you know what I am doing right now? Judging Judging Judging and condemning. Innocent until proven guilty, whatever. She's admitted to it. The facts are not in question. It's just a question of her sentencing now. If she gets anything lighter than life in prison, I will be terribly terribly disappointed.

So, are you allowed to talk about it with your friends and family or are people just too horrified and you have it all bottled up inside?

And if you work outside the home, does it make you scared that your childcare arrangement isn't as good as you thought it was?

I did ask some questions about a certain caregiver at Chuckles's school after I saw how she treated her own children. She left his school a very short time after that (maybe a week). My priority is my children and there are trade-offs and compromises that I make.

Here is a brain dump of my thoughts....
If you're single, you need to work. Just get the best childcare you can.
If you're married and can afford to and want to stay home, stay home.
If you're married and need the money, work and get the best childcare you can.
If you're married and don't need to work for the money, weigh your options carefully. This is me. I like working. I feel like I'm a better person and a better mother when I work, but if I didn't have good childcare, I would quit in a heartbeat (or I would have my husband quit). If meaningful part-time opportunities existed in my field, I would do that, but they do not exist. I have looked. Oh, how I have looked. And I am in no way judging this family's decision because by all accounts this was a good center and just one rotten, isolated crummy caregiver.

And I am scared that something will happen to my children (in day care, in my care, freak accidents, SIDS, car crashes, genetic defect, in the yard with a stray dog...I have a limitless imagination that trends toward the terrible).

And I have no way to end this post other than to say that I am sending my condolences to the family.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two Months

Bobo is two months old.

Back in the prehistoric times of the 1970s, my little baby would already be eating baby food (and would have been doing so for some time).

My "little" baby weighs 14 lbs, 1 ounce. And is 24" long. With a 40 cm head circumference.
At birth, Bobo was 90th percentile for length and 50-75th for weight.
At two months, length is 50-75th percentile, weight is 75-90th percentile and head is 25-50th, which is surprising because his head is HUGE.
Overall, he is doing great with his cooing and whatnot.

Chuckles is 40" tall and weighs 37-1/4 lbs.

My baby got three shots and some liquid drops to protect winter babies from rotavirus. I waffled on that one. Rotavirus is not usually fatal but can cause hospitalization and dehydration. We've already had a kid in the hospital for dehydration and I know that's not fun but I'm totally able to handle it. Ultimately, we went with the pediatrician's recommendation (which is immunize kids who are babies during rotavirus season...kids like ours).

I also relented on the Hep B vaccine which I did not permit at birth. I didn't want to, but again, I deferred to the ped who said it was up to us but he got it for his kids "just in case". I have no idea what the in case is, but he mentioned blood transfusions. OK, then. We're all up-to-date then.

Sensitive Topic:
A toddler was murdered in a day care in suburban Chicago last week. By his caregiver. In a big center. I always thought center care would be safer because there is always someone around watching you and you're never alone with a child. Apparently, I had deluded myself and given myself false-security. These are the primary reasons I sent (and will send) my kids to a big center with a large staff. I cannot talk about this with real people in my real life because everyone keeps cutting me off. My husband said, "We will never speak of this again." And my BFF said, "No. Stop. We can't talk about it. Ever."
The details are unspeakably horrible. There are a few details that really knock the wind out of me. The first is that the murderer was not alone in the toddler room at the time but the other girl in the room says she didn't see/hear anything. Next is that the murderer was frustrated by some of the other kids. She just took it out on this totally other kid. NOt that it matters because you don't kill even misbehaving kids, but it just makes it that much sadder for me. THirdly, she dropped him on his head or threw him down on his head or something and (here's the really sad part) he crawled over to get his blankie and curled up in his favorite vibrating bouncy chair where he slipped into unconsciousness and never woke up again (I guess, at least he had his comfort objects or something with him but now I'm tearing up again and oh, it's just so horrible).

I hate that. We've all had bad days with toddlers. Trust me. I have lost my patience, and I have put myself in time out to cool down before. I have never never ever hit my child (or anyone else's) in anger. I swatted a hand away from the stove once, and I swatted a rear end that ran away from me in a parking lot once, but I have never hit in anger. I have yelled in anger. I have walked away and ignored bad bahavior (which made my kid cry). You don't hit kids. You don't shake babies. You do not throw children to the ground. Give yourself a time out. Take a breather. It's fine. Did this center allow employees that kind of flexibility to take 5 minutes (outside, in the office, in the bathroom) to regroup? Does my center allow that?

Dry Skin of Motherhood

I got a free sample of Curel's new lotion specifically designed for pregnancy and motherhood. It smells nice (but I don't like to use anything with added fragrances because of skin sensitivity issues, but since it was a little tiny one-use packet and it was free.....).

Anyway, I have heard that dry skin can strike during pregnancy. It did not hit me (oily skin notsomuch either). But the dry skin of motherhood has hit me big-time. I thought maybe it was because it is winter and well, dry. But that doesn't account for all of it. No. I know why I have dry skin. Showering is something I can do and leave teh kids with my husband without anyone thinking I am shirking off. And When I Am In The Shower, I can hear no one crying or smarting off or whining. My showers are LONG. And that, my friends, is where the dry skin of motherhood comes from.

Friday, January 16, 2009

well, that's revealing

one-handed typing...forgive typos.

chuckles & i were talking about how bobo only drinks milk.

me: what do you drink?
chuckles: milk. and water. and sometimes juice.
me: what dies daddy drink?
chuckles: water.
me: what do i drink?
chuckles: milk and tea (long pause) and wine.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On Socks and Sex and things that go bump in the night

You get a numbered list because effort is not what I am all about these days.

  1. Socks - the #1 reason socks are changed in this house is because they have poop on them. Really. And not just Baby No Elf Ear who kicks into his own filth during diaper changes. #2 is because you are walking around and notice the bottom of your foot is kind of cold and sticking to the linoleum so you look and there's a ##$( hole in the bottom again. I swear to Vishnu that if I ever find that errant nail we keep stepping on I will pound it down with the biggest hammer I can find.
  2. The cleanest place in my house in the floor next to the changing table that gets doused with baby pee every single day. And then wiped up. Cleanest place.
  3. I made homemade chocolate chip cookies yesterday and bribed Chuckles with them. Eat your veggies, go outside and "shovel" the snow, then you get a cookie. It worked. Am winner mother. He needed to go outside and run around because
  4. Seriously, I hate weather blogging but this is ridiculous. It's 12 below zero air temperature. In the last month, we have had: wind chill, air chill, thundersnow, an honest-to-god blizzard, snow showers, ice storm, state of ice emergency when all roads were closed (even the mail didn't come...so much for not letting the weather get in the way of their appointed rounds), flooding, flash flooding, flurries, rain, and i have no idea what else, but really. It is too cold to go outside today. There is ice on the inside of my windows. Even the good new windows.
  5. I got my Mirena IUD. So far, I like it. Insertion was painless for sure. It felt like a pap smear, which is not pleasant, but certainly bearable without painkillers. THe painful part was teh $870 I had to pay upfront because my insurance doesn't cover it. Since it's good for 5 years, the cost is fine, but really, upfront. And they had no idea how to bill me so they called the central billing but it was 12:01 (lunch time). Un-fun. I just used up my whole flex spending allottment for the year and it's only half-way through January.
  6. I went to a moms' forum last night. Nursed in Public. Had a good time. My kid's not the only crazy one. But he is meaner than I thought. He winged a car at one of his teachers one day but no one ever mentioned it. Until last night. Was quite embarassed. But felt better about my anal retentiveness when I heard about another mom's idiosyncracies.
  7. As his gift to me, Bobo slept through the night New Year's Eve. Mind you, I didn't. At 3:30 am, I woke up with huge, full, sore breasts. Of course, when BObo did wake to eat, he only took one side. After that, I went to pump the other side. I filled the bottle, so I had to stop but it was good all around. He has slept through (until 5 or 6 am) a handful of times since then. He's a great baby. He eats a lot during the day, but really, it's OK.
  8. I spend a lot of time doing various mundane tasks. 4-5 hrs/day nursing, 1 hr/day changing diapers, 45 minutes wiping snotty noses (mine and the noses of others), 2 hrs/day answering questions and then being told that my answers are wrong, 30 minutes eating pretend food, 20 minutes brushing teeth (mine and others), and so on.
  9. Brushing Teeth is the bane of my existence. Seriously. We brush them every night. This should not be a surprise. If we get them brushed quickly, we'll have more time for the good stuff like stories and snuggles. Just open your fricken mouth already kiddo. I tried games, I tried letting him brush himself, I tried letting him brush me while I brush him, I pried open the mouth, I bought fun toothbrushes, and toothpaste, to no avail. End of rope. Of course, he sat in the chair nicely at the dentist and opened big. They cleaned his teeth. He even let them take x-rays. Angelic for others, demon for me. BUt he's sweet and cute and well, you get the idea. Note to Self: Make Mr. Long-Suffering handle the toothbrushing.
  10. Second time mom is way more laid back. BUt much more houseridden. I'm not sure whether it's because it's winter or because I have two kids but I am not getting out enough. Am stir crazy with a side order of cabin fever (thus the reason I went out during a blizzard to a moms' forum). But I am using babysitters (grandmas and grandpas) far more this time around so I can get out and have alone time. Sure, grocery shopping isn't glamorous, but it's rather enjoyable when I'm by myself. And solo Target trips are like manna from heaven.
  11. I made homemade mole chicken (that's pronounces mole-ay) on Sunday. Mr. L-S was surprised it was good. Dude, I followed the recipe...mostly. It should have been good. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand but made logical substitutions (no stock, use boullion, no tomatillos, use diced tomatoes, etc).
  12. I put on my pre-pregnancy jeans, pulled them up, laid back on the bed, and zipped and buttoned them. At 8 weeks post-partum. I feel like ANgelina Jolie. Sure, it didn't look good. And sure, I couldn't breathe, but this was a full 2 months earlier than with Chuckles. And sure, the button was under such a tensile strain that I could've blinded a passerby in the street if the button had given way, but I DID IT. Woo Hoo. And Hoot. And Hooray for me. OK, so they were my "big jeans". Still.
  13. I made two New Year's Resolutions. 10 sit ups/day (and I am doing fine with this...I missed a day but did 20 the next day). Sit ups are hard after a c-section in case you are wondering what the deal is with TEN. And I stilll have to cheat a little to get all the way up, but I can tell it's coming along.
  14. The second resolution is to have more rhymes with hecks in 2009. Not a hard thing to accomplish since I was on pelvic rest half of the year or more. First trimester, third trimester, half of 2nd trimester, and 6 weeks post-partum (to which I did not adhere). So, this should be easy to do. Plus I have that IUD. Gotta make it cost-effective.