My mom watches the twins at my house three days per week while I am at work. Among other things, she will make my coffee, feed the cat, do the twins' laundry, make my bed, and wash baby bowls and bottles*. Many nights she helps me put the twins down and will entertain one while I bathe the other. She'll stay until I get the Dynamo down - he usually goes to bed about thirty minutes before Sweet Potato - and then she goes home. I pay her one-third of what it would cost if I had them in daycare or had my other babysitter watching them instead.
She's a huge help. I'm really lucky to have her. I'm not sure I could afford childcare if I didn't have her.
That being said, she's starting to tick me off.
When I was pregnant and we discussed her babysitting the twins, I had a few concerns. Mainly they stemmed from my lack of experience with babies and from their to-be-determined temperaments. I wasn't sure how hard they would be to handle for one person both emotionally and physically. She wanted to watch them five days per week. She would quit her part-time job (she's 72 years-old, retired, and still working part-time at a supermarket) and work for me full-time. I knew I didn't want that. I wanted most of her time with the twins to be "Grandma time" - fun and not work. I wanted this for them and for her. I also feared she would undermine some of my decisions when it came to caring for them. Don't get me wrong - she raised three kids on her own and I value her experience. But Grandma has a strong personality. And she's (how do I say this nicely?) -not always open to other opinions. We discussed my concerns and settled on her babysitting a few days per week to start. If it was too much, we would adjust the schedule.
Up until recently, it's been really good. There have been some minor disagreements here and there but for the most part she has deferred to me when it came to baby decisions. And lucky for me, the twins are pretty easy going. With the exception of the Dynamo's witching hour phase during month three (note: earlier bedtime!), I think I've been pretty lucky.
The issues have been two biggies for infants: feeding and sleeping.
Feedings: Gram has gone with me to every well-child visit except one. At the last two visits, she's heard the pediatrician say, "Wait three to four days before introducing new foods." While I know this may not be necessary, I'm doing it. Especially with Sweet Potato's skin issues. Not only did she hear the doc say it, I would remind her -at breakfast. What would she do? Give them something new -for breakfast! when they just had something new the day before. When she would tell me what they ate and I would remind her of our chat, she would say she forgot. Or she misunderstood. I would repeat the conversation from the doctor and ask her if she understood (nicely, I swear) and she would get defensive (typical) and say something like, "Yes. I'm not an idiot." I let it go.
This week on Tuesday and Wednesday, the twins had a first time food - a combo jar of pears and raspberries with their cereal. Sweet Potato's eczema looked a little worse to me. I wondered out loud if the berries had something to do with it. Then I said we should wait to give them the apple-strawberry-banana mixed tub** for a few days because of the strawberries - they've never had them. What did she do yesterday? Take out the A-S-B mix for breakfast. Grrrr. I caught it before I left work and took out plain bananas. When I asked her about it she said thought she picked up bananas. I would have been okay with that until she added, "I didn't check." You didn't check? YOU DIDN'T CHECK? How can you not check?
Yesterday before breakfast Grandma was feeding Sweet Potato his morning bottle. She started to tell me a story and as she told it, pulled the bottle out of his mouth, never looking at him as she spoke. He began to move his arms and motion towards the bottle and squeak a little. I interrupted and pointed this out. She got pissed and stopped talking. She gave him back the bottle, which in all honesty, he was nearly done with, and when I asked her to continue her story she said, "Nevermind. It wasn't important." To which I replied, "They are always going to come first. I will interrupt you every time. That's not going to change." And it's not just story telling - it's the TV, the computer, the phone. She focuses on those things when I think she should be focusing on them. Does she neglect them? Never. Would Sweet Potato make it known if he was really hungry. You bet. I don't care. Pay attention to them.
Onto sleeping: The Dynamo is a great crib sleeper. Naps, nighttime, he's a fan of the crib. Momma is a fan of this! Sweet Potato? Not a fan of the crib. Before this week, I was getting up with Sweet Potato usually three times at night. Once before midnight and then twice before dawn. After a really rough night where he was up about every two hours, I decided enough was enough. Tuesday and Wednesday night I let him CIO***. And it's been working.
Naps in the crib were coming along with Sweet Potato not lasting as long as the Dynamo, but getting there. Naps in the cribs for both babies has been happening twice a day AT THE SAME TIME (Yay!) for a couple of weeks with a stray off day here and there. Yesterday Sweet Potato fell asleep in the swing. Grandma carried him upstairs, laid him in the crib where he woke up and began to fuss -typical Sweet Potato behavior. She thought he "looked pitiful" so she PICKED HIM UP and brought him back downstairs. Ugh. She told me this in an email. It's a good thing there were computers and miles between us. I wrote her back and told her if I have to let him cry at night (something she agrees with), she has to do it during the day. And that she would have been better off leaving him in the swing than laying him in the crib only to pick him up when he cries. I feel like she's undoing some of my hard work. And if you've done any type of CIO, you know it's hard work!
Fortunately for me, no damage was done. Sweet Potato fussed a little last night around 9 PM, I tried to give him a bottle which he refused (rare), he went back to sleep in the crib after a few cries and didn't make a peep until 5:15 this morning! I left him with his occasion chatter for about an hour. (Dynamo sleeps through Sweet Potato's cries every night. I am soooo lucky.)
Am I over-reacting? Probably. Part of the reason for this blog is that I get to vent, irrational or not, and get feedback from those who have been there. I know how lucky I am in so many ways but this could be just the tip of the iceberg as the twins grow up. I sure hope not.
*These things are an enormous help to me and she does them without me asking. That being said, it would be okay with me if she did fewer chores and played with the twins more.
** While I admit to purchasing the combo jar of pears and raspberries, the apple-strawberry-banana tubs came in a variety box of baby food. I'm going to purchase individual flavors for awhile so I can pick and choose.
***My version of CIO is letting them fuss and yell but not really cry. When they sound like they are crying enough to make tears, I go get them.