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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Olympics and Four Years Ago

It's funny how things take you back.  

Late last week I started watching a little bit of the Olympic coverage on TV.  I hadn't planned on it and flipped it on after the twins were asleep.  I got caught up in some of the personal stories of the athletes.  A few nights ago I watched Bode Miller for the first time and heard how popular he was and how he is a past Olympian.  And I thought, why don't I remember him?  My mind went back four years.

Four years ago this week I was newly (about 10 weeks) pregnant with the twins.  I had just met with a realtor, who became a friend, and put my little house on the market.  I was house hunting in a neighboring town to be closer to family and friends for help with the babies, and for a bigger, more family friendly house.  I was tired.  I was nauseous.  I was certainly not watching TV and definitely not watching the Olympics.  It was my fourth pregnancy in as twice as many attempts with the prior three ending in losses.  It's odd how I was more sure, less cautious this time. Somehow this pregnancy, pregnancy number four, had me sure enough that I was selling my house and moving into a big family neighborhood - a house and neighborhood which would have been impossible to live in if I found myself without a family.

What a difference four years makes.  I wonder if I'll be reflecting on this time in our lives four years from now during the next Olympics...

Friday, January 31, 2014

So January Sucked

Right.  You haven't heard from us in months and I'm going to post about the current one and how sucky it's been.  Honestly the other months were a bore compared to January: they were fine, Christmas was great, kids sat on Santa's lap for the first time and loved it, they're making great strides in toddlerhood.  Blah, blah, blah.

But January?  Here are the highlights:

  • Both kids were sick and Sweet Potato ended up in the ER where he was then admitted to the hospital overnight.  He had Atelectasis which is similar to pneumonia, RSV, low blood oxygen and dehydration.  Awesome.  To think I almost didn't even take them to the doctor and when I got there, the doctor said, "Go to the ER.  Right now.  Do not stop anywhere, just go."  When I got there, they told me we should have come by ambulance.
  • I took a look at my finances and came to the conclusion that I have been completely irresponsible to think I could afford full-time daycare until the boys start kindergarten. I've been pulling from my quickly depleting savings account every month to make it work and it's just foolish. Not to mention, I have not been very happy with the center. I did an all-out search to find new childcare with the ideal scenario of having someone come to my house since I work from home and would be there too. I had someone lined up, she offered me at least a 1-year commitment, I gave my 2-week notice at the YMCA daycare to which they promptly filled our spots, and then the sitter bailed. While I do think we dodged a bullet, it put me in a huge bind.  I found someone new on a babysitting website and she's set to start Monday. Please let her show up and work out.
  • Our second family, Fabulous D and company, is moving out of state tomorrow. Besides the loss I feel, her boys and my boys are brothers in every sense of the word.  And I'm sad for them.
In other news, my job is great, the boys are generally happy and currently healthy, I toured a preschool and liked it (because now that they won't be in daycare in the fall, they should go to preschool and the spots fill up fast - no UPK available where we live), and Grandma is coming for a long weekend visit in five weeks.  


Looking forward to February!

Update: I should have waited one more day to write this post.  On the way to picking up the kids at daycare yesterday (1/31), I got pulled over by TWO police cars.  My inspection expired in SEPTEMBER.  Oops.  And I was asked about my (fairly illegal) tinted windows I had done to block the sun for the boys when they were babies.  Luckily he let me go without a ticket.  So long January!  (car inspection scheduled for tomorrow!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

MeAndBaby Bits (and a crap-load of pictures)

  • Hello friends!  (not technically a "bit" but worthy of its own bullet just the same.)  :)
  • The boys and I had a great summer.  We spent a lot of time in the backyard with a slip-n-slide and kiddie pool, at the local parks, and tried a few new things like our first visit to an indoor bounce play center.






  • I attended a Parents Without Partners event (mentioned here).  It was meh.  It was a gathering at someone's house with a bonfire, tree house and trampoline. He basically lives in the woods (while also being in the suburbs) and his yard is a bit rugged and on a slope.  Not ideal for toddlers with a 1:2 adult child ratio.  I was hoping to meet other single parents, and I did, but most of the kids were older than mine.  I'll probably try another event when my boys are a little older.
The Dynamo walking down one of the flatest parts of the yard.
  • The twins turned THREE at the end of August.  And, so far?  Hardest age to parent.  I had a party for them at a toddler gym and it was a complete success, however.  So much fun and it accommodated a wide range of ages.  
Fabulous D's boys helping out...

Cupcakes for all!  Yes, there are 3 candles on each cupcake!
We opened gifts at the party.  The gift-givers presented their gifts one by one.
Then it was the twins turn handing out personalized party favors...
  • The boys started at a new daycare this fall through the YMCA.  I was very excited for this change but not sold on it just yet.  They hated it at first but have adjusted pretty well.  Me? Time will tell but I am keeping an open mind.  
1st day of YMCA Preschool.
  • Awesome sitter moved away a few days ago.  I'm really sad.  She means so much to the boys, and to me.  

Rock adventures with Awesome (former) sitter in our back yard.
  • We got some early Christmas gifts: family memberships to our local zoo and children's museum.  I finally am able to take the boys on my own to both places so these are great weekend activities!  
  • Speaking of Christmas, Santa gave me a gift early too.  (The picture isn't great - it's much nicer in person.) Santa asked me to wrap it for him and put it under our tree to be opened with the boys.  He doesn't want them to think Santa forgot about Mommy.   
Initials plus birthstone necklace.  Love.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Changes

My life is full of constant change.  Before the twins were born and before TTC, everything seemed to stay the same and while routines are a must for our family, change is inevitable.  As the boys grow, I have to grow too and adjust.  I have to remind myself of this often.  And it happens so fast, I usually miss the last routine, and the reason I had it in the first place. 

1.  Childcare

The daycare center the twins attend is charging a hefty additional fee for the summer.  I was not aware of this fee when I enrolled them and while I admit there is a tiny (so-tiny-not-worthy-for-the-table-of-contents) line in the Family Handbook, it does not say what the summer fee actually is. The summer camp cost for 18-month-olds to age three at my center is an additional $125 per kid and for kids older than four, it's $225.  There was a letter on the boys cubbies at pick-up one day last week saying it's due in two weeks and not optional.  My boys are too young to attend field trips so this charge is for in-house events.  When I asked the director about it, she said they plan to bring a bounce house in and have a reptile guy come in.  Big whip. 

I have two problems with this:  1.) Short of the blurb in the handbook, I didn't know about the fee.  It was never a discussion during my lengthy conversations with the director back in November and December before we enrolled.  She said, "We don't really think about it when it's so far away".  How helpful.  2.) The amount is excessive. If it was $50, I would probably be slightly annoyed but would pay it and forget it.  But $125?  I asked around on Facebook and found out some centers charge no fee up to maybe $50 for this age.  One friend pays nothing additional for her 3 year-old and pays $75 for her 7 year-old. 

Fortunately for me, my awesome sitter saw my FB post and offered to sit with the boys for the summer full-time!  She had been part-time before they started daycare and had not previously wanted full-time, not to mention, I could not have afforded to pay her full-time.  She offered to watch them for less than what I pay daycare.  Without the summer fee, it will likely be a wash cost-wise since I will have to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks now but still a savings overall.  This will be an adjustment for sure but I'm looking forward to it.  Since I work at home, I'll get more time with the boys and won't need to leave the house to take them to school.  They get a lot out of daycare learning wise and socially, so that's a small drawback but they'll be back there (or another center possibly) in September.   Awesome Sitter starts on June 24th. 

2.  Physical Support

As I've previously mentioned, the twins' only grandparent, my mother, moved six hours away in February.  The adjustment has been okay.  We have video chats at least once a week.  These calls are mostly great with her only saying a few silly things to the twins like, "Do you need a hug?" (really) and I think the boys look forward to the calls.  Her departure left me with less physical support and I'm losing even more later this year.  Awesome Sitter is heading south this fall and Fabulous D and her family are heading there too in December or January.  I've known these changes are coming and I'm really sad.  Selfishly, I want them all here for me and the twins.  They are our second family.  Fabulous D's boys and my boys are half-brothers and my boys ADORE her boys.  They talk about them non-stop. 

Having Awesome Sitter and Fabulous D nearby gives me sense of security for emergencies or sickness.  Knowing they won't be here has given me anxiety.  I really have no one else I can call in a pinch.  None of my other close friends live close by or are in a position where they could help.  Short of knocking on a neighbor's door for big emergencies, I'm stuck.

Now, before I get blasted for choosing to be a SMC, let me say, I know.  I know it was my choice to do this on my own.  It is my responsibility to line up help and I will do that.  This blog is my place to document my fears and anxieties and get support and advice from my blog readers.  That's why I'm writing about this now. 

I'll figure it out.  Like I always do. 

3. Joining

I've been toying with the idea of joining a local division of Parents Without Partners.  They have lots of events and after paying the $40 annual membership to PWP, admission fees to lots of places when attended as a group are discounted.  The group goes on hikes and camps out and has picnics.  Now, more than ever (see item 2 above), I need more people in our lives and short of my readers, I know no other single parents.  I don't actually have a lot of friends with small children in general and zero single ones. 

The initial meet and greet to join the group is at a coffee shop each month, kids welcomed.  Okay, but I have two toddlers who often want to go in two different directions. I might be able to park them in chairs and let them color (I probably will try), but me running around a coffee shop chasing after one or both doesn't sound too doable.  Not yet anyway.  This ranks up there with me taking them by myself to the public library and even the park.  If it's a big park, forget it.  I just can't. 

It is getting easier but really, I find this age to be harder than infanthood! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

More on Potty Training

First off, thank you for the supportive comments on my last post.  I appreciate it!

I wanted to elaborate on the potty training.  The boys occassionally use the potty at school.  In fact, the Dynamo actually POOPED on the big potty at daycare on his second day there.  Seriously.  And he was only 2 years and 4 months old at the time.  At home, both boys sometimes use the little potties I have set up in our bathrooms.  We talk about it all the time; sometimes they're into it, sometimes not.  The Dynamo has figured out that it's a good stalling tactic at bedtime.  I don't push it, scold, or reward short of big applause and high fives.  I probably should start to work on it more and find a reward system that works for us.  With Sweet Pototoe's allergies, we don't really eat sweets but stickers might be a good option.  (If anyone has any good recommendations for a sticker chart or other non-food reward system, I'm all ears!)

It's true - I can be lazy when it comes to potty training.  We have a night time routine and when I add the potty time in, it bumps our routine by up to 45 minutes.  And, I don't know if it is because they're boys, but they could care less if their diaper needs to be changed.  They rarely tell me.  They don't like the actual changing of the diaper and I do talk about how they won't have to have it changed when they use the potty, but unless it's a major blowout, and sometimes not even then, they don't ask to have it changed.

I do like their teacher but he ticked me off (obviously) with the lazy comment.  I told him what we do at home and he said "parents are lazy" right after I told him clearly meaning that I was.  He does know that I am a SMC and has said more than once how he thinks it's great how I became a parent.  He tells the boys all the time in front of me how their mommy works hard.   

He also thinks every kid should be potty trained by age 3.  I have a toddler book that says boys and girls are different and the average age for boys is 39 months.  I think my boys are on track.  Honestly, I hope they are completely diaper free soon and I will step up my efforts at home but please, don't call me lazy.  Or any mother for that matter.  That's just rude.