Monday, May 15, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen. . . We Have Daycare

We've been on waiting lists for daycare for about a year. Apparently, I should have sign ed E up as soon as J made his "donation" at the clinic. It just would have been easier.

Actually, to be completely honest, I had control issues AND I bought into the "daycare bad, mom's care good" rhetoric hook line and sinker.* What that has meant is a patchwork of sitters for the last 20 months. I have already exposed E to TEN caretakers. Let's review, shall we?

Spring 2005: We had the tag team of Nanny L and Nanny J. L did her best, but was a little cowed by our demanding three-month old. Just as L exited when E was 7 months did she seem to have it down. J was the oldest of 7 kids and was wonderful. Of course, she was scooped out from under us by a family in Park City, CO. We just couldn't compete.

Summer 2005: Disaster. Sitter D (I can't call her a nanny) had knee surgery after about a week on the job. Rehab meant she couldn't lift anything. Her friends S and C filled in, but it was no good and I was sitter-less by the first week of July.

Fall 2005: In August E started going to another mom's house. J was very nice and had a baby almost the same age. She was every bit the earth mother and could actually tie her baby on her back just like the native moms where she had served in the Peace Corps. J was a little appalled at my willingness to let E cry it out that first nap time, but trust me, she needed at least one baby to go to sleep. Her little girl had to be nursed and rocked down which was difficult with two in the house. Unfortunately, J seemed to have a latent case of postpartum depression and things went downhill quickly. We stopped going there by the end of October. I hear she has been accepted to a homeopathy program in the West and I wish her well.

October 2005-April 2006. We had Nanny J, Nanny M, and Nanny S. They started as friends who wanted to share the hours. In December, Nanny S assaulted Nanny M and went to jail for a night and was sentenced to community service and anger management. I kept her and fired Nanny M. It is hard to explain at this point, but it was the right call. Nanny J smelled vaguely of smoke, but was very sweet and was with us the longest. Being wives/ fiances of pro hockey players they are all gone for the off-season.

May 2006. Nanny A., a former student who did NOT write a horrible paper . She is quite good with E, but she is costing me dearly. Plus, she'll only be available a few months. Nanny A answered the phone today when the daycare center called so she knows this may be a short gig. Fortunately, I know someone who wants her half-time so she won't be unemployed for long.

Reasons I am excited about daycare:

  • E will be around other children her age and older. Right now, her closest pal is 9 months younger and holding her back. OK, her friend isn't really holding her back, but she isn't quite a toddler yet and there are development differences.
  • E will have to eat what they serve for lunch and snacks. She has morphed into the pickiest eater in the world so I'm hoping toddler peer pressure works wonders.
  • I haven't been able to afford full-time nanny care so I am frequently frustrated by feeling behind on everything. My productivity may increase which will make me a more relaxed mama. At the very least, E will see fewer Elmo tapes because I won't be trying to answer email, return student messages, and do work while caring for her. Family time can be family time.
  • I'm pregnant and exhausted. This is going to help.
  • I'm tired of having people in my house every day. It's not that I plan to revert to total chaos and slobdom, but I feel the pressure to clean the house before the nannies arrive. Now, when there are days that I can't make the bed, clean the counters, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe down the sinks and hide whatever I don't want seen (umm. . Poise pads, Tucks, Maternity undergarments and HUGE utilitarian bras among other items) all by 8:30, it is OK. In fact, now I can take early walks with E before we start our day and clean when I get home from dropping her off.
  • I can REALLY work from home. No sitter popping her head into the office to ask if it is OK to turn on the AC. No pounding on office door by E.

Reasons I am worried:

  • I'm about to send my beautiful little girl out into the big, bad world.
  • She is used to being home.
  • Will she nap?
  • What if peer pressure doesn't work? Will she starve at lunch?
  • Will she feels abandoned?
  • What if she is bullied?
  • What if she is a bully?
  • What if this leads to additional ear infections?
  • What if I cry in front of her while dropping her off?
  • What if this is a huge mistake?

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic. This center is my second choice mainly because I don't like the baby room (thinking ahead for little brother/sister). J is going to call our first choice tomorrow just to see if a miracle spot has opened. If not, we'll proceed with this center and hope for the best.

*I think this is true to an extent when the baby is very young, but mainly I think this is yet another way to control women and generate conflict and angst.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Eek! 100 days to go!

Turns out that 25w5d is the last day of triple digits. Tomorrow? Single digits. 99 days. Eek.

So much to do. So little time. Time to get serious. Where to start?

The nursery. The sad, sad truth is that we never quite finished the nursery for E. You see, we bought this house in June 2004 and needed to renovate. We did paint the nursery, purchase and assemble a crib, and get the dresser inside. However, we didn't get the bead-board up until she was a year old and we haven't really painted it. The closet door almost closes. We planned to hang Curious George prints, and I almost got them framed. Now we need to move E to a big girl bed in about two months. To do that, we have to acquire said bed, select linens, window treatments, and paint. Then we'll be able to finish painting the nursery. At last.

My text. Yes, it is still waiting. Yes, the publisher is still a bit much to handle. Yes, I'm still very much in avoidance mode. However, I have a coauthor now so I only have to finish three more chapters over the summer. Should be a piece of cake, right? Sure, if I find the discipline to make myself sit down with it. I am so good at finding other things to do. Like shopping. Pondering the meaning of the universe. Taking walks with my little girl. You know, not writing. Somehow, I need to force myself to finish this. I do not want the pesky publisher after me two weeks after I give birth.

The FROG. That is Finished Room Over Garage in real estate language. So what's up with my FROG. Well, it has become a storage facility. There are boxes of bamboo flooring stacked in a corner. There are boxes that have not been opened since we moved two years ago. There are boxes that may not have been opened since we moved to Charleston almost eight years ago. There is baby equipment. Old computers (anyone in the market for super-speedy 486?). I get a headache thinking of what it will take to get this in order. Yet I know that if we are to have visitors, they will need a place to stay. So it is on the list.

The list is longer, but a certain somebody is kicking my bladder and the day is getting old. I think I'll sleep on what I have.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I haven’t been writing too much lately, and we have my students to thank for it. They sucked the life out of me this semester. As if bitching, whining, moaning and practically camping in my office weren’t enough, they wrote horrible papers. Horrible. In the end, I saved my sanity by speed grading.

Speed grading is similar to the old technique of throwing the papers down a flight of stairs and assigning grades according to the piles in which they land. First, I checked whether they had followed formatting directions. Title? Check. Name on title page? Check. ASA citation style and references? Check. Black ink? Check. If they neglected to follow directions, I took at least ten points off for each infraction. You might be surprised by how many lost points this way. (Q: Who turns in a paper printed in red ink? A: The same student who thinks Glamour magazine is an academic source.) Next, I checked to make sure all the sections of the paper were present. Once again, I was shocked by how many students turned in incomplete papers. Finally, I looked at content. It was painful, but I just gave points based on the general quality. Categories included sucks-but-has-its- moments, sucks-bad, and sucks-so-bad-I-am–surprised-you-are-still-in-college. The good news is that I am done. No more students until Fall 2007. I can live with that. Grading bad papers is a bit like childbirth. You forget how awful it was until the next time.

So I am done with school and working through my bitterness. It helps that the provost signed off on my maternity leave and my proposal for modified activities this fall. This was not a certainty because she can be an asshole depending on when paperwork makes it to her. For instance, she signed off on my leave, but denied sabbatical pay for my chair the next day.

What else is happening? I’m growing. It is 25 weeks and four days. The baby has a chance of surviving if born now. Not that I want that, but with my anxiety over this, it seems like I may be able to take a deep breath soon. Maybe.

Here are a few observations about pregnancy a second time. I don’t know if this is normal or if it is just me, but I’ll share.

•More anxiety. Honestly, this is probably pathological at this time. But considering the pronouncements of Dr. Negative and Nurse Joy(less), is it any wonder that I’m a bit of a nutcase? I feel like this is our only shot. I worried while pregnant with E, but not like this. Today, for instance, I was frantically Googling to find out if occasional globs of discharge are OK. I think they are, but maybe not.

•More leg cramps. Which is why I am writing now. I woke up with a dreadful calf and foot cramp and could not fall asleep again. Leg cramps are just cruel. To go instantly from a sound and comfortable sleep to sudden state of alertness in which you quickly realize that your leg and foot are possessed.

•More of me. I’m a few pounds ahead of where I was with the last pregnancy. This is not a problem with my OB because I am in the healthy range for weight gain, but I have to go to the pool and the beach soon. I am not yet at the stage that people will so distracted by my large belly that they will fail to notice my now immense rear end and thighs.

•More fatigue. Well, I am hypothyroid, so that may be a factor. My endocrinologist raised my thyroid dose so I’m hopeful for a little more energy soon.

I am going to try and keep up with this blog a bit more. Thanks for those of you who posted about boys. While I still have fear of squirting, you helped. Really.