Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Little Tuesday Morning Vent


I have a love/hate relationship with daycare.  In general, I think daycare is kinda great for kids.  I would have preferred not to have my kids in full time daycare as infants, but as toddlers and preschoolers I am behind it 100%.

I'm not sure that I'd want to be home 24/7 with two children.  So daycare allows me that.  My kids have walked early, talked early, fed themselves early...I would like to take all the credit for my amazing children, but I also know that daycare plays a role.  They are constantly around children of varying age and ability.  It pushes them to take that step early or ask for a drink early.

There are quite a few things about daycare that I don't like.  The kids are always sick.  I have very limited time with the kids.  Someone else gets to spend all day with them.  I don't get to know and see every detail of their daily routine.

However, at my specific daycare I have another issue.  The owner.  We don't mesh well.  Now, if my life had been normal over the last year and a half, I would have taken my kids out of this place.  Not because it's dirty, or unorganized, or that my kids aren't loved.  It is immaculately clean.  The owner is meticulous.  The owner and her staff love my children.  But she and I, we just don't always see eye to eye.  She doesn't deliberately defy me, but she often disagrees with me in an argumentative way.  She's not super professional.

For instance, Freddie bit a child a couple of months ago.  In the past, when I had the kids in a professionally run daycare center, if a kid was bit or did bite the parent heard about it.  But there were no names involved.  Ainsley got bit a few times, and I never knew who.  When Freddie bit a boy while they were playing (not out of anger or aggression), the owner told me about it in front of other mothers and told me who he bit.  It would stand to reason that she also told the mother of the bit child.  She then proceeded to ask me to "Please talk to him at home."  She wanted me to please talk to my 22 month old about biting?  Not when it actually happened, but hours later when we were home?  Hmmm...I just don't see that sticking.

I didn't like that she said anything in front of other mothers.  I don't want Freddie to be known as the kid that bites.  If one of those kids gets bit by another kid, I don't want them to assume it's Freddie. 

Just last night we had another altercation.  Over baby wipes.  I have always felt that this daycare uses WAY too many wipes.  I am constantly bringing them wipes, almost weekly.  Since I use cloth diapers, I clean them out when I get home.  Sometimes I find 10-15 wipes rolled up in a wet (non dirty) diaper.  That is insane!  I've never said anything, because I don't want to tell her how to run her business...but it does bother me.

On Thursday they asked for more wipes (shocker!).  Thursday was a busy night of laundry and packing for our weekend trip.  I didn't have time in my evening to run out to get wipes.  So I gave her what I had at home.  A half pack of wipes.  It was on my mental list to get more this week.  These wipes should have lasted 2-3 days.

Yesterday, she asks for wipes again.  In my mind I wanted to scream.  But I opened my mouth to say "Okay" when she started.  It was something along the lines of "We asked for wipes and you only brought in a few and I can't be using other people's wipes on your children."  And just something about the way she said it made me snap a little bit...but I kept my calm. 

I said "I know I didn't bring you a lot, but I think what I brought should have lasted a few days.  I'm planning on bringing you more this week."  But she didn't listen to me...she just talked over me.  And because I was just getting angrier, I didn't listen to her - I just kept talking.

I left and just got angrier and angrier.  It makes me want to start my kids in a new daycare tomorrow.

But I know that wouldn't be good for them.  We've already made the decision that Ainsley should stay there until she starts school in September.  We just don't like the idea of moving her now and moving her again for school.

So 4 months...then Freddie will move to a more convenient location and Ainsley will start Kindergarten.  It's just so frustrating, but I do believe it's best for the kids.

I'll just have to bite my tongue until then.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Letting Go

Each step your child takes towards an independent life is both exhilarating and crushing.  To see this little kid take a gigantic leap forward is amazing.  I mean you knew her when she was squirmy and tiny and could barely hold her head up.  And that was just a few short years ago.

We've been working on bike riding.  It's going way better than I could have imagined.

Freddie's already coasting for a few seconds at a time on the balance bike.  Ainsley is pedaling so fast that I can barely keep up with her.

I hold the bike as she climbs on.  She says "Okay, we will go really fast down the hill then when we get to that black mailbox you let go.  Or I will tell you to let go."

I hold her shoulders and she begins pedaling, I don't even have to push, just steady every once in awhile, but really she's gotten that down too.

I run beside her and she screams "Let go, let go!"

But I can't, not completely.  I still sense her shakiness.  I can feel the wobbles in her balance.

She's ready to make the leap and go on her own.  I'm afraid to see her fall.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Freddie's World

Okay so this is really late...but you'll just have to deal with it late.  My life lately?  It's been crazy.

Anyway, that's not what I'm writing about...

We had a birthday party for Freddie!

All the usual characters were there.



Currently Freddie's fave.

Most mornings, after he stretches and whines and fights to open his eyes...he brightens and says "Eweddie waTCH Elmo?" (Freddie watch Elmo?)

Freddie loved the giant Elmo balloon, even when the cool weather and rain kept it on the ground for most of the day.

My mother in law even let me paint her dining room red for the occasion.

Kidding...it was already red silly!

So now I officially have a two year old.  I think no matter how long I live, or how many kids I raise, or how many kids I know...I will always be most fascinated by their language development.  Rolling, crawling, walking...yeah, it's all cool.  But the way they just suddenly start spitting out sentences and then stories and monologues?  Without me doing anything to promote it really?  That is un-freaking-believable!

Freddie can say anything.  I mean anything.  If you say "Freddie, say monkey," he says "montey."  If you say "Freddie, say basketball hoop," he says "bat-ball hOOp."  If you say "Freddie, say Quantum Physics," he says "tata piz."  Seriously, I tried it.

This from a little munchkin that could only say ball and momma 6 months ago.  Currently, my favorite Freddie-ism is the repetative story.  Yes it's annoying, and yes you always know the answer...but man is it cute.

For instance, awhile back Ainsley and Freddie had balloons.  Ainsley's balloon escaped to the clouds.  There were tears.

Freddie asked non stop "A Adey boon doe?" (Where did Ainsley's balloon go?)  So we had a little fun with the kid.  We told him it went to the moon, and then just to make it really interesting we told him it went to Jupiter.

So now, he'll tell anyone that will listen...

"Adey boon, fy moon, a dupter." (Ainsley's balloon flew to the moon and Jupiter.)

But the kicker, was when Freddie also lost a balloon...yes there were tears, but now we get to have this conversation...

Mommy: Freddie, where's your balloon?
Freddie: A fy way.
Mommy: Where did it fly?
Freddie: A moon.
Mommy: Then where?
Freddie: A dupter.
Mommy: And who is it with?
Freddie: Adey boon.

Cracks me up every time!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fresh Starts

At the end of 2008 I was at my parents house for Christmas.  It was the first time in awhile that my whole family was together for a holiday. 

Clif and I were thinking about another baby and were also determined to get out of debt within the next two years.  We had a budget and a plan and we were excited about the coming year.  I even said "2009's going to be a really good year."

2009 was not a good year.  Within weeks of me saying those silly words,  my parents would split up, Clif would lose his job and I would be pregnant. A month or so later, I would miscarry.  It would be 5 months before I was pregnant again.  So 2009 would not be the year of financial freedom or the year of a sibling for Ainsley.  It ended up being one of the hardest years of my life.  And I know, if that's as bad as it gets, I'm lucky.  But that one year, set us back...way back.  Financially - our debt tripled.  Emotionally - we would worry more, argue more, cry more.  Physically - I gained about 20 pounds.

In 2010, after 18 months of unemployment Clif found a job.  A job that would move us away from our beloved Richmond.  A job that would take us back to Northern Virgina, a place I really never wanted to return to...but a job.  Also in 2010, Freddie was born.  Definitely one of the best days of my life.  So 2010 was a good year.  It was still hard.  We were still living paycheck to paycheck, but at least we were on the right path.

2011 started with me joining Clif in Northern Virginia...in his parent's house.  Those first few months were very hard.  I don't struggle with depression or anxiety...but those first few months are the closest I've ever come.  I could not see past my anger, pain, and humiliation.  I cried daily.  I pulled away from everyone.  I couldn't face the world.  I went through the motions.

So now here were are, 2012.  We've got tenants in both our properties.  We've managed to save some money and pay off all of our medical bills.  Granted that was a small portion of our debt, but it's something.  We've got two beautiful children, growing up way too fast.  I've lost 12 pounds...it's taken forever, but it's happening.  And now, we are moving out of Kip and Denise's house.  We signed a lease Wednesday night.  We'll be in by the end of the month.

I'm excited and nervous and worried...all those things you go through when you're going out on your own...only this time, I know all the pitfalls.  So, I can try to plan for them, but also it scares me more.

Mostly it feels good.  It feels like we're finally making a fresh start, that our life in limbo land is coming to an end and we can finally start taking a few steps forward.  Financially, it's still going to be a struggle.  We've already cut way back on spending...we started that 3 years ago.  But we won't be able to save as much, we won't be able to pay things off as quickly.  Our 2 year plan from 2008 looks more like a 4 year plan now.  But now I'm thinking...so what.  It would be great to have my debt erased and my savings account padded.  It would be awesome to have a nice little nest egg for each of my kids.  I would LOVE a vacation.  But right now, none of that is in the cards...but I know it will be.  We just have to be patient and let the next few years happen.

However, I wouldn't say I'm the most patient person...
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