Thursday, December 30, 2010

Presents and parents

I saw the twins today for the first time in a week. I have to admit that I dropped my stuff practically right inside the door and ran up to the nursery; I've missed them. They have all sorts of cool new toys, too (only I would say that): Elefun, an easel, the Melissa & Doug pizza, Click Clack Splish Splash, and more. We had a very playful morning, and I drew about twelve spiders on pieces of paper for them. Thank goodness those are easy to draw, as I lack any noticeable artistic talent.

I was talking to their mom after I put them down for nap, and she was mentioning how artistic Patrick is. "The lilt of his hand when he has markers at the easel...it's hilarious, and adorable. He definitely doesn't get it from my side of the family." Apparently he also uses the pretend hair dryer to fix her hair, even floufing it when he's done. She told me, "He's going to grow up and be very artistic, or gay. And I'm okay with either one." She said that again later in the conversation. I love how relaxed she is about the entire thing; she lets him wear bows just like his sister (he actually wears them more), and it's not a big deal, or a premonition of doom to come. It's just what he wants to do at the ripe age of two.

Well, wear bows, and see how many times he can take his shoes off and on. At least he can put them on by himself now. I love velcro.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Birthday delay

As yesterday was the anniversary of my emergence, as someone phrased it on Facebook, I'm still considering myself on holiday. And, to my great delight, I'm off all week with the minor exceptions of watching the twins Thursday morning and Friday evening. Busy week nonetheless. My parents are coming in for a quick visit, then a friend is crashing here, then V and I are headed south for a wedding. This will be a quiet week on the blog.

That doesn't mean that I still thumbed through every page of the cute Fisher Price baby stuff catalog that I somehow ended up with. I did throw it away afterward, though.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

Happy holidays to all. It's snowy here with V's family, and there's been some ups and downs. But it's still Christmas, and we've still snuck in a few secret kisses.

Merry celebrations - my birthday is in forty-eight hours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Slightly unsafe nanny

Today, after the twins, I thought I had time to meet V at the bank and pull out money so she could handle paying January's rent. I was wrong. Apparently, it's December 23rd.

So, I was running late to my second job, and I was supposed to pick up Timothy from a friend's and then collect Tessa from the neighbor's. Their mom had sent me the name, address, and number of the mom who had Timothy. Thankfully I had my laptop, because at a red light, I pulled up that email and saved the number to my phone.

You know you're a nanny when you not only have your kids' mom's phone number saved, but you also have your kids' friends' moms' numbers. Oh yeah.

Anyway, I called and let her know I was late, and she didn't mind, and I was only a quarter of an hour behind, anyway. It's been a laid-back day since; Timothy and I played chess, which has been our latest time-passer, and Tessa stayed playing with the neighbor girls. Now they're watching the Garfield movie on tv, and I'm counting down till I get to see my V again.

Tomorrow we're headed to her house for a few days, so you probably won't hear much from me. I don't work again till Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus

I haven't been feeling well (again) lately, so I threw on random clothes and made it over to the twins' this morning, planning for a quiet day. The first thing I hear when I open the door is their mom calling "Hello!" from upstairs, and when I went up to investigate, I see her rummaging through the closet and both kids playing in the hallway. "I thought we'd go see Santa today!"

Now, despite my slight nausea, this prospect greatly excited me. I love being out with kids, and I love doing things that make me feel like part of the family. We got Patrick and Lilly dressed, fed them breakfast, and then I rode in the van with them and their dad, while their mom followed in the other car (their dad was staying at the mall longer than we were). The mall we were headed to was half an hour away, so that didn't help my not-feeling-well. Chatted with their dad on the way up. Parked, popped up two strollers, and I pushed Lilly while their mom pushed Patrick.

Most heartwarming moment of the morning (though it doesn't sound like it at first): both parents squatting on either side of Santa, each with one kid, and me by the camera guy, when a crying, scared Lilly stretches her arms out toward me and yells my name. Poor kid...but I felt so loved. (And, not going to lie, proud that their mom saw that moment.) In the end, a decent picture was taken, and we shuffled them back out to the car. When their mom and I arrived home with them, I was pretty motion sick, and she let me go home early, which I was grateful for. But I'm so glad I got to go!

Their mom also told me that she talked to the occupational therapy team who visited awhile back, and apparently the team raved about me and how good I was with the kids. So, physical health is -5, mental health is +10.

Monday, December 20, 2010

No children, just a lesbian rant

Every now and then, I seem to nix the nannying part of this blog. It happened when I posted the other day about finding car insurance, and before that when I talked about health insurance. I know I've referenced my engagement/wedding as well. But pardon me for a moment while I go big picture.

I was listening to NPR tonight, and they were talking about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal. Obviously I'm thrilled at the repeal; it's about time. I'm sick and tired of segregation just based on attraction preferences. Are soldiers going to be suddenly terrified that they'll be flirted with by their fellow men? Most of the world is heterosexual, yes, and yet I don't think most people live their lives in terror of possibly being found attractive. It's like the crazy argument when someone comes out and people are terrified that person will "like" them. I'm not madly stalking all my male friends; why would I do the same to you?

What bothers me even more, though, is the promotion of a culture of secrecy. I'm not talking the big privacy issues that keep cropping up (Facebook, WikiLeaks). It's the idea that it's okay to make someone hide something that isn't harmful. Whether it's the military or a school that will remain unnamed, institutions that force suppression only hurt people. I know. V and I graduated from a school where the wrong word to the wrong person would have gotten us kicked out. I spent a year hiding the most important thing that ever happened to me. It's not just keeping the fact that I had a girlfriend secret; it was not being able to write a spiritual memoir for a class that really dealt with my current spiritual status, because the teacher could have sent it to the Dean of Students. It was coming up with an excuse for why V and I were seeing a counselor, when really it was just to have a dose of sanity and reassurance. It was staying two feet apart every time we were on campus, in case somebody thought the wrong thing. Were we over-vigilant? Of course. We were both graduating with fairly impressive academic records (if I say so myself), and didn't want to jeopardize that.

Have you heard any of the news out of Belmont University? They fired their winning soccer coach because she announced she was going to have a baby with her partner. Part of my brain is blown that a "Christian" school would even have accepted knowing that she was a lesbian, but that shows you what I'm used to. I'm just tired of it. This post is a long way to say it, but I'm tired of people having to fit in little boxes in order to feel like a legitimate human being in the world. And sometimes I just want to yell it, because I couldn't for more than a year:

I have a girlfriend. We're getting married. I'm going to spend my entire life with her. And just because she happens to have matching chromosomes to me doesn't mean we're plotting the downfall of your society, so please, remember that we're normal, and stop trying to pretend we're either the devil or nonexistent.

When spiders are good

There are few things in life that compare to the shy grin Patrick gives when Itsy Bitsy Spider comes on and I look at him. It makes him so happy. Of course, the times he doesn't do his adorable shy grin, he spazzes around the room flailing his arms and squealing. Happy toddlers.

Speaking of, they've actually been pretty good today. A bit of brattiness, and a warning from their mom that they were cranky all weekend with colds, but for the most part, really cute. Of course, I just finished reading eleven books to Lilly. She, by the way, has learned the phrase "Come back!" which is oh so lovely when I escape into the kitchen while they're eating to try to do the dishes.

Lilly has down "head" and "toes," but she still needs a little work on "shoulders" and "knees."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Afternoon tiredness

I was scheduled to watch Katie and Sean today at 11:45 so their parents could go to a football game, and last night when I was there, I mentioned my roommate (code for V, of course) would just drop me off after church. Their mom immediately said she was welcome to stay, too - she knows that V is also in childcare. So, off we went after church today, and we were there until 4:45.

Sean napped and Katie had quiet time in her room, so we did get a bit of a reprieve, but Katie is one of the most hyperactive children I know. When she was downstairs with us, it was: swing me around your back, push me fast on this car, squeeze me between your legs and see if I can get out. I was exhausted. Sean, though, is as quiet and adorable and snuggly as can be, and makes me want a little boy (I still want a girl first, though).

When we left, V and I went to dinner and then came back and exchanged stockings, which is all the Christmas we're doing for each other. Then we went through our books to try to pare down our lives. Oddly, I enjoyed both those activities almost to the same degree. But I will always take stockings given a choice. It's felt good making money this weekend. December's been a tight month, but with V's sitting picking up, we're pulling things back together. I'm just ready to not be sitting both nights every weekend.

Deck the houses

One of the things I love about babysitting at various people's houses is that I can see their decorating style. My families are all so different, and it's reflected. I love it even more at Christmas, I'm realizing; people do so many different things with their holiday decor.

I've seen about four trees, and a gamut of reindeer-decked tea towels, snowmen figurines, red and green table runners, and door wreaths. It's fun. I wouldn't decorate like any single one of my families, but it's an interesting study in how personality is reflected in holidays.

This rambling entry is brought to you by my tired, brain-dead, just-home self.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Same-Sex Win!

Over Thanksgiving, my dad turned the title to my car (that is, the car he purchased for me to drive at school) over to me. Last week, I got it registered. I needed to switch from his insurance policy onto my own, and ideally, I wanted one where V could be on the same policy, as my spouse after March.

She's on Progressive, which would allow us to do that. I, through my dad, was with USAA, and I wasn't sure of their views. Everything I read online was dated at least a year ago, but said that apparently same sex couples had gotten burned by them. I called in (I love their customer service), and was told that I could easily put her as my spouse come March, and if I chose to start a policy with them now, I could add her as a cohabitant until then.

I danced around the room excitedly. Long story short, after minimal hassle, we are both covered through USAA, and in two and a half months we'll be married and covered. I don't do a lot of whining about the difficulties of having a girlfriend on here (except for that one health insurance post). But to counteract them, I want to point out the times when it's no more hassle than if V stood for... Valdemar? Which happens to be Scandinavian for "famous ruler." Or Vladimir. Or Vaughn. You get the picture.

This entry is dedicated to an organization that recognizes that we are people too.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sometime not now

I have a new satisfaction in life. It's watching my beloved girlfriend turn from someone who was on the fence about kids to someone who texts me "I want to be a mommy!" after comforting a sick two-year-old.

I'm currently against kids - you can't quote me on that - because last night and this morning, Patrick and Lilly were hellions. The kind of hellions two year old twins can be. It was terrible.

But, my own kids, or rather, V's and my kids, are an entirely different story. And I love that she wants them now, actively. And tells me so. And is getting practice. Here's to the future!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kid-free time

I need some time without kids. I'm with the twins tonight, while their parents at at dinner, and I'm going crazy and wanting to snap at them much more than I like. Due to snow, I didn't go see Timothy and Tessa today. Somehow that wasn't enough of a break (though it let V and I run some wedding-related errands).

My schedule lately:
Let's see, last Thursday I was sick; Friday I was still a little sick, but I watched the twins that evening; Saturday I watched the twins at night; Monday was twins, then Timothy and Tessa; Tuesday was errands in the morning, then Timothy and Tessa, then co-sitting with V for two boys; Wednesday was twins, then Seth and Isabella.

Today is twins, tomorrow is twins and then T&T, Saturday I'm watching Katie and Sean but they should already be in bed, Sunday is Katie and Sean again, then the week begins! At least it will be short because of the holiday.

But, in other words, I want some kid-free time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saturated

I spent from ten to four with the twins (though they went down for naps at 2:30), and then from four to eight with Seth and Isabella (though they were napping till 5). I can officially say I'm saturated when it comes to youngsters. I love all four of those kids dearly, but my brain is enjoying the rest of the night off. We're supposed to get some pretty rough weather tonight and tomorrow, so who knows what I'll be up to tomorrow - though I'm supposed to watch the twins tomorrow night as well.

Lilly threw up in her crib as soon as I put her down for her nap and went back downstairs. She was lying on her back, so it was all over her shirt, her hair, her face, and her blanket. Thankfully there's a waterproof liner-sheet in the crib, so I just had to unsnap that and the crib was usable again, but since it was so all over her, I ended up stripping her and standing her up in the tub while I rinsed her off and tried to get it out of her hair. Poor sleepy thing was just saying "nap, nap" the whole time. Only her bigger blankie had gotten contaminated, so she still had her little blankie, her lambie, and her kitty to sleep with. She asked about her other blankie, and when I told her that I had to wash it, she looked at me sadly and said, "Sick me."

I do officially believe today was a test of my nannying capabilities. I think I passed. The twins' mom texted me and thanked me for everything I did with Lilly today. I just hope it doesn't happen again.

Not that old

Yesterday, Timothy was asking me about the legos I had when I was younger. I told him that I mostly just had pieces, not sets.

Timothy: Oh, I guess that makes sense. I know they didn't start making sets for awhile.
Me: No, they had them, I just didn't own-
Timothy: No no, I know. You just had different pieces. My dad said they didn't come out with sets till like the 1970s.

In other news, the twins have a new cd, but it's burned, and just says "Preschool Songs." I really like it, so I put it on my computer, but iTunes couldn't find it.

Patrick has picked up my signature phrase, "Oh goodness." As in, he can't get a piece in the shape sorter, "Oh goo-ness." He opens Pirate Potato Head and it's totally full, "Oh goo-ness." Though I guess it's better than Lilly, who, according to her parents, has picked up her father's frustrated habit of "Come on! ...damnit." I have yet to hear this, but oh I want to. And then I will say, as their mother said to do, "We say darnit."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Toddler's world

One of the little snippets I read somewhere has really changed the way I handle toddlers. I actually don't even like the word "handle," like they were show dogs (nevermind that Patrick has taken to wearing bows everyday). The way I interact with toddlers, let's say.

I couldn't tell you what I actually read; suffice it to say that it mentioned toddlers always being rushed through an adult's fast-paced world. I'd never thought about it before, but it's true. As we grow up, we get used to hurrying from one task to the other, and if something takes longer than it has to, it's a problem.

For example, Patrick likes to squirm around in his crib for awhile in the morning. I pull Lilly out of hers, get her dressed, and go get him, but he's rarely ready. Usually I grab him within the first few seconds, because after I get him dressed, we go downstairs for breakfast. It's occurred to me lately, though - what is the big rush to get to breakfast? Does it matter if I starts ten minutes later than it sometimes does?

This has bled over into everything we do. I don't always maintain my same sense of calm, relaxed timing, but I'm learning to stop and question why I always have to accomplish things on my timetable. So what if I call them to their chairs to eat, and they grin at me from the other side of the room, wiggling their little diapered bottoms? They'll come running at me in a minute, arms outstretched, grins even wider.

I can hear the counterclaim that they're learning to disrespect. If I ask them to come, and they don't, isn't that disobedience? But my brain is telling me that there are more important things, like them enjoying life at their own pace. As I said, they will come. And it will be much happier than if I'd gone over and grabbed them. Their timing is becoming more important than mine, and I like it.

And now, the chicken dance just came on one of the twins' cds, and I started doing it. Lilly is staring at me like I'm a complete idiot. So, I stopped.

Conversations

Lilly just walked into the kitchen, where I'm doing the dishes, and said, "Hey! What you doing?"

A few minutes later, after she was just staring at me, I asked her if she was bored. She paused for a second and said, "I'll go get book."

The makings of a great one, right there.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bedtime

The twins' bedtime, not mine, though I'd gladly let it be mine.

I think I could put them to bed every night. Seriously, I want to tell their parents, if you ever just want me to drop by at ten for half an hour, I'll do it. They have a lullaby cd, and their bottle, and their fuzzy sleeper jammies. I get them dressed, turn down the light, give them their bottles, and start the music. I stretch for awhile, which is pleasant in and of itself. When they're halfway done, I turn the light all the way off, leaving just the small turtle lamp they have as a nightlight. I burp Lilly. Eventually I take Patrick (who always finishes his milk first) to brush his teeth, then come back and get Lilly. I pick them up, one at a time, and give and receive a squeeze of two little arms around my neck. I lie them down, telling them I love them and to sleep well.

It's always hard to come back downstairs to the harsh kitchen light and the leftover dishes. I want to stay in that somnolent, peaceful room for hours; I want to fall asleep like that. I want to be able to do this every night.

Cute moments from toddler-land

I'm still feeling poorly tonight, and it hasn't been a good day for my respiratory system, so babysitting is not exactly my occupation of choice. Times like these lead to me being a less than exceptional nanny; last night I was making angel crafts, and tonight I'm on skype. I introduced one of my friends to the twins, and when I closed the window (Patrick was intent on pushing buttons) Lilly asked where she had gone.

I sneezed (of course), and Lilly brought me the tea towel they play with (they love to "clean") to wipe my nose on. When I got an actual tissue, Patrick came running with the trash can so I could throw it away.

I keep trying to get good photobooth pictures of them, but oddly, they're a little uncertain about it. I really wasn't expecting that, and it's sad, because I don't have too many pictures. I'll have to ask their mom for some.

Lilly was playing with her Princess Potato Head, and all I heard was "thank you welcome, thank you welcome."

Their parents ordered a pizza for dinner, and I set both of them up on the counter while I cut it. They thought it was so cute, and kept stealing bites off their plates. Their mom popped into the kitchen and commented that they were getting spoiled tonight. I said, "Yeah, how is it that I'm the one not feeling well, and you guys are getting spoiled?"

Lilly is learning to sing along with some of her toys, so now I have to keep pushing a bunny that sings "Jesus Loves Me." She hits about every other word: "love me I know for tell so yes love me yes love me." Which, when typed out, sounds rather like the toddlers' creed.

I love these two. I really do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Strep throat and playdoh fingers

Now that I've been on antibiotics for over twenty-four hours, I'm not contagious, and therefore...I'm watching the twins. I didn't want to deny their parents the Christmas party they're attending, and I need to make up some money since I've missed one day with them and two days with Timothy and Tessa. I'm feeling up to it, though I figured the evening would be low-key.

That was before I arrived and heard "markers!" followed quickly by "playdoh!" I stole an idea from V, who did a craft with the three-year-old she watches, and traced their hands to make angel wings and let them color a piece of paper for the angel gown. They're pretty cute.



Now we're mostly calmly playing in the nursery, which is good, because I'm tired. I only had one real nap today, and apparently I still need more than that. Thankfully tomorrow is Saturday, and I can rest all day before coming back here in the evening. The twins' parents get quite a few Christmas party invitations!

On a website I was on, Lilly noticed a triangle, so now they're watching my computer like two little hawks for any other shapes they can pick out. I think it might be time to put this away.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It catches up to me

I don't know whom I picked it up from, but it's official: I have strep throat. As if the four am to seven am feverish vomiting session didn't already tell me that. But, I'm on antibiotics now, and V is taking the most excellent care of me. I won't get to see the twins in the morning, naturally; I'm scheduled to watch them tomorrow night, when I'll be non-contagious, but their mom might still think it's too close for comfort. Guess I'll find out soon.

I feel really bad for messing up my parents' schedules! Obviously it's nothing I can control (as the twins' dad told me), but still. I've apologized lots. And slept lots.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Interactive play

One of the things that's great about twins (and despite how much I swear I'll never have them, there are some up sides) is that they learn to play together so young. Of course, they learn things like sharing. But, as I noticed this morning, they also learn how to interact with each other and play games that will later turn into "house" and "vet."

For example, as I was doing the dishes, I watched Lilly wave and say "bye-bye" to Patrick as he walked down the hall, and then "hi" as he walked back. This happened a few times, completely of their own volition. For two years and two months old, I'm pretty impressed. Then, when Patrick brought her a toy, he said "Thank you welcome." Nice prompting action.

It's really neat, watching two kids the same age, who have been together all their lives. I still don't want twins of my own, certainly. But I like borrowing them.

And now Patrick wants a bow in his hair because Lilly has one. He wore one all day Monday for the same reason.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas preparations

A moment of nanny bragging (well, not really):
I bought each of my regular kids (Patrick, Lilly, Timothy, Tessa, Seth, Isabella, and two others) a small ornament for Christmas, and I just wrote out Christmas cards to their parents. V and I actually just did a bunch of cards. We both feel grown-up at the moment, but in a good, not stressful, way. And I feel on top of my little nanny world. I have regular families; I'm writing them notes; I know their kids birthdays and allergies and homework schedules.

V and I have been talking about getting business cards. I've been thinking of doing it for awhile, just because I'm tired of writing down my name, number, and email for moms I meet. Since I give out her info on a night I'm busy, and vice versa, we figured we'd just do cards with both sets of contact information. Of course, then we need a "business name" to put on the card, and that's where we're stuck.

I feel like this little business is actually going somewhere. Sure, it's just nannying, but a few word-of-mouth referrals and some high praise has gone to my head. Next thing you know, I'll be pressing business cards into everyone's hands.

2 girls + X = baby

I probably shouldn't be tired of the "Do you know how you'll try to conceive?" question yet, given that we haven't even started and already I've been asked more than a few times. Of course, by the time we've started trying, the answer will be much more set (and rather ongoing). For now, nothing is settled; there's just an ideal world in which I get pregnant quickly.

Yes, definitely I. I've been wanting to be pregnant and have a baby for years, and V isn't entirely sure how she feels about the small-person-growing-inside-your-body deal. I'm more than happy to carry and labor; I'd probably ask if we could try to get pregnant tomorrow except that I've promised we'll be married first.

Honestly, we'd like to use a known donor. It's simpler (in some ways), cheaper, and would keep the baby's biological father in the picture. Obviously the hitch there is knowing a donor, and that's something we haven't addressed beyond tossing ideas at each other. Best case scenario? We have a wonderful friend who is more than willing, and I get pregnant on the first try.

How do I feel about all this? Uncertain. Very certain about having a baby, no doubt. Very certain about raising that baby with V. But still a little weirded out by the fact that half of the baby's genes will be from someone totally unrelated to us. I grew up with the "couple falls in love, couple marries, couple makes baby" mindset, and this just seems strange.

I try not to think about the argument my brain occasionally poses, that if V's and my relationship were "natural," we would be able to conceive (or at least legitimately try) together. I love her, I want a baby with her, and this is the way to do it. So be it. Maybe I'll get more comfortable as it gets closer. Maybe not. But I'll do anything for a baby, and a good friend's "contribution" is as good a scenario as any, barring miraculous V-and-I conception.

(See? This isn't something I could have dictated.)

Attempts

This is weird.

I'm not sure I can do this.

I'm going to be done before not too long.

---

This is V, over at Synthesis Searching, otherwise known as the girlfriend. Lina is finishing up a puzzle, but wanting to finish her puzzle and make a blog post, I offered to let her dictate a post to me. The above is what began as the dictation. It didn't get very far. And it's full of subtext.

So, enjoy her scattered thoughts while she realizes that she thinks while she types, not talks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Party girls

You know how in the Nutcracker, Clara is upstairs while her parents have the party downstairs? Okay, maybe it's not the Nutcracker (I haven't seen that in years), but it's definitely a theme in various old stories. I thought it was an old sort of theme.

Apparently not. Last night, my job was to keep the kids happy upstairs, while the adults "played" (the twins' mom's wording) downstairs. It was probably the only moment in that nursery I would have described as "classy," simply because I was the nanny with the children, and there was a Christmas party going on. It felt like I was in some hundred-year-old tale.

Of course, various parental coworkers and relatives came and camped out in the nursery. That was the more frustrating part. For awhile, I had two additional two-year-olds, plus Patrick and Lilly - and they all played together beautifully! I got to take my twins downstairs briefly, and everyone oohed and aahed over their cuteness.

Plus, V was downstairs bartending (I love my girl). Once the kids went to bed, which doesn't happen until about 10:15, I was free to join the party, and V was set free from behind the bar. We promptly drank a little more wine than we should've - though it wasn't our fault, since the twins' dad poured large glasses. We chatted with some people, snacked on dip and brownies and crackers, and I gave thanks that Lilly hadn't thrown up on my dress. (I did have the foresight to bring a backup outfit though, just in case!)

The lesson of the night: the way to be the popular girl at a party is to carry around an adorable two-year-old. (Though everyone seemed to be raving about me, too - wow!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Grandma go home

This entry might be a little bit of a rant. Timothy and Tessa's grandmother has been in town for two weeks, and I'm ready for her to go home. She leaves in the morning (hallelujah). Honestly, I'm just more used to the kids. Yes, she has known them longer, but I see their day-in-day-out more. And I know how Fridays go.

It's the end of the week, and they're tired. I stay late so their parents can go out; we three go out to eat too usually. Tessa has at least one minor breakdown. The two can never agree on a restaurant quickly, and she gets frustrated and starts crying.

When this happened today, the grandmother (who was in the car with us, after Timothy's basketball practice) practically lost it and snapped at the kids that it was either O'Charley's (Timothy's choice) or home. Naturally, that aggravated Tessa even more.

I ended up suggesting we drive about twenty minutes away where most of the restaurants are, and the grandmother said to drop her at home because she didn't want to go that far. As soon as we did, the kids were fine, and we three had a blast at Friday's.

I wanted to snap at the woman for snapping at her grandkids. Yes, Tessa was upset, but seriously - is it the end of the world? How do I, at 22, manage to keep a calm voice and smooth things over easily, when she can't even handle one little meltdown? I'm so glad she won't be there next week. No more her looking over my shoulder or me feeling like I have to watch my every move, and no more messing with my kids!

Guess I have a protective streak. Hm.

How many kids do I watch?

I spent the morning with the twins, obviously, and as two-year-olds, one of the obvious gestures is holding arms up to be picked up. It's pretty standard practice with any toddler: "Do you want me to hold you?" followed by arms reaching up.

So explain to me, then, why (after a morning of doing that) I come home and walk over to my cat, sitting on a chair. She looks up at me, and I say, "Do you want me to hold you?"

And she stretches her paws up onto my chest.

And yes, I held her, for no less than nine minutes.

Where are mommy and daddy?

Lilly's been running around with a little purse on her arm for the past few minutes. I asked her where she was going in such a hurry.

"Work."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cuteness and snow

Lately I feel like all my posts (the few that there have been) have just been snippets of kids, not any sort of reflections on anything. I should change that soon: it isn't that things aren't going on in my head, they just don't quite make it to computer. This will be no exception.

It's been flurrying all day today! It's so pretty, and the twins thought it was amazing. Lilly kept saying "no, no, no!" until I realized she was saying "snow." I bundled them up and took them out in the stroller, and they giggled and giggled at the snowflakes hitting their faces.

It was really good to have a happy day with them. It's my third in a row, and I may end up working tomorrow too. Definitely Friday, then Saturday night during their parents' Christmas party - though I can come downstairs after the party, and V will be there, bartending!

In other news, this is the first afternoon I've had off in awhile, and in an hour I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, put together a desk, replied to a few emails, and ate lunch. Free time is amazing! Now for my puzzle.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Politeness

This morning, I sneezed in the kitchen, twice. From the dining room, I hear Lilly's little voice:

"Bess oo."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday morning musings

I've been a little remiss at (with?) blogging, mostly because I was away for the holiday, and then felt sick over the weekend. I'm not sure what was up with me, but today things are better, thankfully. I'm sitting in the nursery with Patrick and Lilly, while they each play on their "puters" and read books. They've been good today, which is a relief.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. As many of you know, I had some misgivings about going to visit my dad's side of the family, but it went better than I thought (then again, I'm a worse-case-scenario person). It was good to see my brothers (3) and sisters-in-law (2) and nephews (2) and parents (...2). V and I watched my nephews so my oldest stepbrother and his wife could go spend some time with friends, and when they came back, V and I talked to my sister-in-law for over two hours.

Turns out, she's pregnant! My family doesn't really pass information around, so it's not a huge surprise that I didn't know, but she's having a little girl in April. I'm so excited--and just a little jealous. But talking to her was a breath of fresh air. She's the one who, about V and I, said, "I don't agree, but you're still my sister and I still love you." She's offered relationship advice, asked about plans, and that night when we were talking, she asked about wedding plans and if we knew how we wanted to get pregnant and when. I knew she didn't necessarily condone our relationship, but that wasn't even a part of the conversation. She just wanted to know about us.

Then last night, some friends from church invited V and me to watch How to Train Your Dragon (cute movie - I almost cried), and we talked for hours afterward. They asked how we ended up together, and we got to tell "our story." I don't remember the last time we did. We both love telling it.

Who buys Pirate and Princess Potato Heads for two-year-olds? I'm going to throw these toys out the window.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Home sweet kitties

Sometimes it's nice to be able to go away for a few days, leave the kitties at home, and relax. That doesn't mean I suddenly don't want kids, though.

Er, that might not make sense. I'm tired. V and I are safely back from what was actually a rather good Thanksgiving trip. Found out my sister-in-law is pregnant again! More on that later.

Everyone else needs to stop having babies. When is it my turn?

Though, I probably won't say this again for a long time, but right in this moment, I'm content.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Almost the holidays

It's almost Thanksgiving. For those who don't know, the last part of the year has never been my favorite. Combine this with the fact that both my jobs seem to have started last-minute schedule changes, and you see my stress level rising. I'm as bad as a toddler in how much I need my routine, and neither holidays nor scheduling helps that.

V and I are headed to visit some family (my side) tomorrow , so we'll see how much posting I get done. Of course, I have the twins in the morning still, and after Lilly's attitude this morning, I'm very much not looking forward to that. But then I have a few days off from them. I am very much looking forward to that.

I'm glad I know that even mothers want some time off from their kids.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fate and families

For those who don't know, V got a job! She's going to be watching a three-year-old girl. And for those wondering, yes, I am jealous.

It's actually made me think a lot about work and families and how things came about. When I first started working with the twins, we needed income. V hadn't started bartending yet, and I'd failed at finding anything so far. So I took it, and it seemed perfect: it was money, it was with kids, it was with toddlers for that matter, it was close.

Watching V search for jobs has been interesting. I'm making money now, so she's not under as much pressure as I was back in July. I'm not saying she can take her time and pick and choose, but there's still a difference (rent will get paid regardless). And her finding this three-year-old is making me want one.

Of course, this is coming at a time when Lilly throws up at least once every time I'm there (yep, this morning too), and they're both started fighting a lot more, and I feel more than ever like I'm not living up to their mother's standards. So it's partially understandable.

But I've always had this subconscious belief that things happen for a reason and work out the way they do... I don't know how to explain it other than the vague notion of "fate." And I remember saying, on more than one occasion, that the families I'd ended up with seemed given to me, in a good way. I'm tangling myself in words. And I'm in a contract with the twins, regardless, and I do like them.

But at the moment, a little three-year-old girl sounds like heaven.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Personality

A recent blog post by a friend of mine (What is an Introvert) got me thinking about introverts and extroverts again. I'm an introvert and always have been; unless I have time away from people to recharge, I will snap and blow up the world, or something like that. I avoid social situations if I can help it, and meeting new people puts a cannonball of fear through me, especially if they are my age.

Yet, every time I tell a mom I'm babysitting for that I'm more along the quiet introverted type, her response is inevitably, "I never would have guessed that!" I chalk a lot up to being a pastor's kid, having to meet and interact with strange adults on a semi-frequent basis. And the fact that they are adults or children helps; put me with other twenty-somethings and I tend to freeze up. But I'm good at "pretending" to be outgoing, though it isn't always pretense, nor is it always even forced. I can be a chatterbox.

I've known extroverted introverts, but I don't think I'm quite to that point yet. I don't like people enough. But I'm an introvert who thrives off professional (and sometimes social) contact. I'm just starting to realize this, and I don't know what to do with it. (I know, I know: why do I have to do anything with it?) I've always been such an introvert.

In other news, remember the "angel at the park" I met awhile back, the mom who basically adopted me in half an hour? V and I are having dinner at her house tomorrow. She and I have continued to email, and I'm excited to reconnect with her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shopping trip

A friend is in town, and she wanted to go to Plato's Closet earlier. It's right next to Once Upon a Child (of course, since it's the same company).

I lasted about four minutes in Plato's Closet before it drove me crazy and I sought refuge next door. And actually found a Combi double stroller that almost made me want twins. (Kidding.)

Didn't buy anything, in case you were wondering.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peace part two

This is a continuation of an early ramble related to the Parenting in Peace article. It's a fairly disorganized ramble, though by definition it might be required to be. To resume...

The ideas the author presents don't seem like they should be revolutionary. That's what gets me with that article. She talks about understanding that your child is an individual apart from yourself, with different interests. Obviously. But it goes deeper than "I was a near-champion swimmer, so I'm going to start my daughter in swimming lessons when she's two!" It also applies to personality traits; the example the author gives is a shy, introverted parent urging her social child to not be quite so enthusiastic about people. (Or telling her child that strangers love to kidnap little blond blue-eyed girls, but that's a different story...and part of my problems with V's mother.) That segues (because I say so) into not holding your child to a higher standard than yourself. Spanking is a separate post, certainly, but one of my hypocritical moments occurs when I catch Lilly hitting Patrick, and my first response is to smack her hand and say "No hitting!" I don't, but it's still my first though, and, really, what kind of a message does that send? That (logically) segues into respecting your child. I like her summary:

"Respect your children by listening to them, accepting their individuality, accepting that they are not perfect, allowing them to make mistakes, and allowing them to make decisions and have input about things that affect them (as age appropriate). And remember, if you must demand a child's respect, you don't really have it."

Pause button on the ramble again, because two certain twins are starting to get out of hand. Or rather, Lilly's starting to have quite good control of her hand, and it's aimed at Patrick's face.

Anger

Lilly has anger problems. Of course, that's a statement that would probably apply to most toddlers, but it's much more evident in her than in her brother. He tends to throw himself across the room, diving into his little chair, when something upsets him and he doesn't get his way. Lilly, on the other hand, has taken to squeezing, pinching, and hitting Patrick. Sometimes I'll walk out of the kitchen to find them in the dining room, him on the Thomas ride-on, Lilly violently pinching any portion of his face she can reach, her other arm raised to smack if necessary. It's startling, and often startles me into a more violent reaction than I would like - I grab her away, or hold her arm, or otherwise abruptly stop the scene. Patrick rarely cares, which I find amusing once the whole thing is over. But I'm not used to toddler anger like this.

In other news, their latest phrase is "No smushing," because it's what I tell them related to cheese, cheerios, and, as far as Lilly just told me, apples. She's currently nibbling off my apple (or rather, I'm cutting her tiny bites), and knows she shouldn't...try to make applesauce?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Afternoon off

I, miraculously, had an amazing morning with the twins. We read books; they ran around in circles; we giggled a lot; they drew me pictures. And now I'm home, and don't have anywhere else to be since it is Wednesday.

This is good for my sanity. Very, very good. And V is prohibiting me from thinking about anything work-related. Which, at the moment, includes this rather work-related blog.

Enjoy the day off, everyone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Falling short

I almost ended yesterday's post with a disclaimer of how that article sounds like what I would want to be, but it should go without saying that it's not how I am. Even though I didn't put the disclaimed, I really didn't need it proven to me.

I try to be good. I do. I have read that article a few times, and (as you'll see in coming posts) it's changed a lot of how I interact with kids, especially the twins. But on days when I really just don't feel like going to see them (today), it's hard. And sometimes I lose it.

"Losing it," in this case, means grabbing Lilly, snapping at her, and plopping her into a corner for timeout, then walking away. It doesn't matter that she'd taken a toy out of her brother's hand for the third time in a row, or smacked him in the face when he took it back. There are always better ways. Sometimes I can do them.

Sometimes I can't. But I try. And, little by little, I think I'm improving. It's the moments - not ten minutes after the timeout incident - when I want to just grab their poppers and put them away, so we can speed up the lunch process, but I breathe, and wait for them to do it, and smile, and hug them after.

I'm learning.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Peace & pride

A friend of mine recently posted an article on facebook which both meshed with where my "parenting" philosophy has been heading, and also shook up my "parenting" world at the same time. It's called Parenting in Peace, and everyone who ever plans to have children or spend time with them should read it.

The author, Daisy Hall, gives a few pointers for parent-child interaction which are easily adapted to nanny-child, uncle-child, teacher-child, or any other circumstance with kids. I'll get to that in a minute, but it's the overall idea that really grabbed me. "Many parents are at 'war' with their children," she states in the second sentence, and that's where I had to pause. It's so true, in so many cases: childhood is a seen as a struggle for parents. Sleepless nights turn into terrible twos turn into "thank heaven you're in school," which turns into bratty behavior which turns into rebellious behavior. That's not exactly how I want to view the eighteen years after I give birth.

On a side note, I've been doing a lot of reading about natural birth and making it a more peaceful process. It doesn't make sense to dedicate nine months to easing a child into the world, only to spend the next two decades scolding him or her.

Back to Daisy Hall, and my mother. My mom's philosophy has always been "pick your battles." It's good to keep in mind, and makes it easier to let truly unimportant fights slide. But now it poses a new question to me: why are you expecting so many battles in the first place? Expect a few battles; parents do actually know better, and often have to make that clear. But the little things are rarely as important as they can seem.

Which brings me to pride. I realized this with Patrick the other day, when he was carrying around his ride-on Thomas train and saying "Heavy! Heavy!" I told him he should put it down because he could drop it or trip, and after about the third time, I thought- why am I so worried over this? It was unlikely he would hurt himself this way, plus, he was learning about carrying things and balance and all that two-year-old stuff. But I ran into another problem: I'm the adult, I'm the smart one, and I told him he couldn't carry it. I can't change my mind now! Now, there is something to be said for not letting kids think they can wear you down, but the less-acknowledged reverse side is that there's also a place for letting a child know you've made a mistake. So I told him that he could carry it, but to please be careful.

This is about to turn into a series, because I have to run to the grocery and pick up V's prescription. In the meantime, read Parenting in Peace and let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Interlude

So, I promise a good post soon, but I'm tired. V came with me to watch the twins tonight, after I emailed their mom to ask; it's been a rough week emotionally, and we've hardly seen each other, so I just needed her. Ended up being a huge help, since Lilly threw up on herself, the bathroom floor, and me, after finishing her nighttime bottle. V changed her into new pajamas while I stripped, and then she ran downstairs to get the jacket she'd brought, which was about halfway to knee-length (or maybe not quite), so I could run around in that. Hazards of the job.

I love being around V when we're both around little kids. Watching her interact with them, her watching me interact with them - it's just so happy. I can't wait to start a family. Patience, patience.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I promise I'm thinking

It's just that the stuff I'm thinking about isn't ready to come out yet.

Lilly threw up on me today. Not bad, but still. Thankfully I had a cami on, so I could run around it in while my shirt was drying after I doused it in water.

V is sick(ish). The taking care of people never ends these days. (I shouldn't complain.)

Did flirt with the cute waitress at Red Robin, where I ate with Timothy and Tessa. Probably a little too flirty, but I needed to cheer myself up. It worked (for a bit).

Scattered thoughts, I know. Coherency is on tomorrow's to-do list, along with the dishes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A not-so-bright moment

The lesson of the day: driving aimlessly to explore is fun; walking for the same reason, less so.

Let me explain. (No, there is too much. Let me sum up.) Today was a very beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and I thought I would take Patrick and Lilly out in the stroller. We've done all our usual walks so much, though, that they've become boring, so I figured I'd continue up a road we walk on, rather than turning off toward home like we normally do. I continued...and continued...and turned right onto another road I know. And continued, and continued, continued up a giant hill, and continued. About halfway through all that continuing, we entered a park that I know of, but don't know very well. Or, you know, know where anything is in it.

Let me say again that I was pushing a double stroller. Occupied. And I hadn't brought any water. By the time we reach the top of the hill, I'm about to die, and all that there is to be seen is grass, trees, and a boring road. I turn right. Above me, shining like a light-tan-colored beacon, is a giant structure that most likely houses bathrooms and - glory be - a water fountain. After that, I'll need to find a place to let the borderline-impatient kids run around.

I can't figure out how to get up to the beacon on the hill. There's a large staircase, which would work, except for that whole "double stroller" bit. After a moment of contemplation (my brain wasn't working too well), I decide the only way to get up there (since I don't know how big the hill is and am too tired to go around) is to charge the grass hill. With aforementioned double stroller. In, I might add, shoes with no traction.

I make it halfway up the hill and get stuck. (Hold on. I know it's a long story, but seriously. You need to share my pain, then you may mock my idiocy.) I can't go back down, because the hill is steep enough that the stroller would flip. After another moment of contemplation, I turn the stroller around so the kids are facing down the hill, lie it on its back (so the kids are facing the sky), sit down, loop the handle over my knees, and pull. I backwards-crab-walked up a hill, dragging a stroller. Does that even need a comment?

And the stupid building didn't have bathrooms or water. I was about to pass out, so I lay down on the marble in a shady spot, while the twins stared at me like I was insane. Once I recovered enough, we went down a small road on the other side of the hill (which was shorter anyway), found a swingset, and then - glory be, for real this time - found a water fountain.

Watching Patrick and Lilly trying to drink from the fountain almost made the whole thing worth it. Almost. But it was a two hour round trip and I don't even know how many miles. They were awfully cute, though. Alright- commence commenting on my silliness.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh no!

Clearly, it was such a rough day that I made an egregious typo in my title.

I'm going to overcome my pride and not fix it, just to prove how out of it I was this morning.

That is all.

I delcare this day over, k?

It's eleven thirty, and I'm ready to call it quits. I've been awake for three hours.

I woke up with a sinus cold, so my head is trying to slide down my throat into my [insert random internal organ here], and the part that hasn't succeeded is throbbing and making focusing difficult. My reproductive system is making itself known, painfully. Nothing is making Lilly happy except Barney (which I don't allow over breakfast, just lunch) or poking "buttins!" on my "puter puter!" And, while I was trying to get the dishes done, Patrick tripped in the dining room and busted his mouth up a bit - thankfully no crying, just looked a little confused, but I had to get the bleeding to stop and make sure it wasn't serious.

I hurt. And Lilly is acting like if I don't push the button to make her stuffed rabbit sing "Jesus Loves Me" one more time, the world is going to end. Sorry kid, but I don't think Jesus cares.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bad days and big dresses

Last night was, for no reason I can totally pinpoint, one of the harder babysitting times I've had. In general (aside from when the twins are being two), I love going to my job, whether it's a regular family or just a one-night-sit (as opposed to a one-night-stand - I don't do those). But yesterday, V and I overlapped (again) (she only has eleven days left!), and we only had an hour and a half together before I had to leave. Jacob and Caroline, my first after-school kids, were in town for the weekend, and V was watching them at our house for the last half-hour we overlapped, as well as for a few hours by herself.

I went to a new family: Seth and Isabella's mom had recommended me to a friend of hers whose sitter had canceled last minute, and she had a four-year-old boy, a two-year-old boy, and a three-month-old girl (who was asleep when I got there and never woke up). The kids were okay, but there was no crazy connection (I'm spoiled on that), and the parents were a bit awkward, and the three hours after the boys went to bed dragged on and on and on. I was tired, and I wanted home. Plus I was hungry and had read the book and magazine I'd brought. Long story short, the mom said she'd definitely call me again, and of course I'll sit for her if I'm free, but I'm not dying to (like I am, oddly enough, with my other families).

In other news, I drove V to work today, and went to Once Upon a Child to kill some time. This resulted in me walking out with a gorgeous $9 Mimi maternity dress that fits me great now, with room to expand (I love sashes). V hasn't seen it yet. Tehehe...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moments with toddlers

(Now that the dirty diaper has been resolved.)

Me, to myself: Oh goodness.
Lilly: Gooness. Gooness gooness gooness.

*****

Patrick: (spluttering and blowing bubbles) Noise! Noise!!!

*****

Lilly: O-side! [outside]
Me: It's cold outside.
Lilly: Code o-side. Code.
[she repeats this line off and on for the next hour]

*****

Me: Somebody has a dirty diaper.
Patrick: Ewwwww! (holds his nose)

*****

As I'm trying to type this, Lilly is hovering next to the chair, pointing at my phone and laptop and "narrating"-
"Phone. Phone. Puter! Buttons. Buttons. Buttons. Phone. Buttons. Buttons. Puter!"

*****

Every time I bring my laptop here, Lilly looks at the cover and tells me "Apple!"

Terrible person confession

I'm putting off going upstairs with the twins because one of them has a horrifically dirty diaper, and I don't want to deal with it yet.

"Wait till I finish my yogurt, then we'll go up."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boring

Patrick and Lilly are being better. Still age two, but at least inciting less desire to throw out the baby and the bathwater. It's been a long time since I brought my laptop to work with me, but I came early this morning at their father's request. Of course, that didn't stop Patrick from waking up early, but at least I get to import some of their Sandra Boynton cds into itunes.

I have the rest of today off! You really wouldn't know that Timothy and Tessa are out of town, though, at the rate I'm finding other things to do: watching Seth and Isabella last night, watching more kids tomorrow night, and watching a 5 year old Russian boy on Saturday. Plus, since Timothy and Tessa are the ones who went on vacation, not me, I'm still getting paid. (Really convenient, given the wedding and all.)

I feel like this blog has been boring lately. Sorry, everyone. I'll try to have better stories than "So this one time, I really wanted to throw a toddler out the window..." (Note: Not true. I have never wanted to throw a toddler out the window. Me, maybe.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I can do this, right?

I think I'm just PMSing. Lame girl excuse, you can say, all you like. But I missed the twins while I was gone, and now that I'm back, they were terrible, and I think I'm losing it.

Also, apparently I use too many commas when I don't feel well.

It was good to see them this morning, and I got my wonderful pre-nap hugs. But they are two-year-olds: throwing food on the floor, throwing toys down the stairs, spilling milk for the joy of it.

And I don't feel like I can handle it. I think life things are just getting in the way, and I'll adapt, and they'll grow up and learn not to like timeouts, but until then-

I can do this, right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Away from the kids

V and I are visiting our old college town and our old college friends, which is a weird experience. Timothy and Tessa are in Disney, and I've moved the twins to later this week. I don't remember the last time I went this long without watching any children.

I still want my own.

But, we went to the used bookstore that we both miss, and picked up exciting memoirs on pregnancy. So of course I'm 110 pages into one already.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Who's raising baby?

One of the standard arguments against gay parents is that "children need a mother and father in their lives." Taking out the percentage of kids raised by single parents, I realized the other night that this still doesn't make sense.

I may be totally off in my chain of logic, but this is how it sounds to me:
Children need a mother and father, as in, they need one parent of each gender in order to give them proper role models and input into their lives. This implies that there aren't any other significant people in their child's life. Doesn't it? The old saying that it takes a village to raise a child seems to fly out the window. If a village were involved, would it matter so much whether the child was living with two women or two men, since he or she would have an entire village of people at his or her disposal?

I'm confused. When V and I have a baby, or more than one, we want men in her life just like she'll have us. We want strong "uncles," or whatever we decide to call them. (Side note: I always use "her" when talking about our future baby. Power of positive thinking?) She'll have lots of close relationships with men, in a way having more than one father (just without the title and living arrangements, which frequently don't exist anyway), just as she'll have more than one mother. She'll have other women beyond us, too, because everyone knows sometimes you need someone other than your mother(s) to talk to.

Am I anywhere near right in thinking that the idea of raising a child with one mother and one father as the only way is exclusionary to everyone else in the child's life? Yes, our baby will live with us, and we will pick her name and her school and her first Halloween costume. But she will be surrounded by other adults, of any and all genders, who love her (almost) as much as we do, and are just as invested in her life.

I'm tired

On a normal week, I watch Patrick and Lilly three times - usually Monday, Thursday, Friday.

This week, it's been Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, today, and tomorrow.
This week also coincides with them hitting terrible twos.

I really don't want to babysit tomorrow. Really. I'm good with not seeing them for a bit. Love them, but not now.

At least I limit myself to seven sentences of complaining? Some of which aren't even sentences.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The past few days

The twins were getting on my last nerve this morning. My very last one. The kind where I just stare at them, then walk out of the room for a minute until I no longer feel like kicking something. (I said something. Not someone.) I watched them Monday, Tuesday, and today, and I have tomorrow and Saturday. They can be such two-year-olds!

As I was driving around with Timothy and Tessa today, we passed two moms, one with a full double stroller and one walking a dog, with two more kids trailing them. Timothy made a comment about how that was a lot of kids, and I said it was probably two moms with both their kids. His reply was, "Or they could be married." Did I mention that T&T moved here from Vermont? Love them. Told their mom about V's and my engagement the other day, and she gave a resounding "Good for you!"

Oh, strep returning... Well, only sorta. Timothy came down with it on Tuesday, but seemed to make a full recovery by that evening, and today shows no sign. Good thing, because the family is going to Disney on Sunday for a week! I'm jealous.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I need to update

And I will. But for now, V and I are trying to figure out where to go to dinner. It's been a lovely day of puzzles and pajamas, printing off contracts, clearing off the kitchen table, and now going to dinner.

All of which has nothing to do with kids. So, later, I will write about yesterday, and the Return of the Strep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Leaves, nature's greatest toy

There are few cuter sights than a two year old boy and girl tromping around in leaves. We played outside for almost an hour, throwing leaves up (they made great faces), moving them across the driveway (their idea; I call them the reverse leaf-blower), and ripping them up (finally, something they can rip up, unlike their books).

And that's all, because I'm exhausted. But I told the twins' dad I could watch them tomorrow morning as well. Weddingcartravelloans.

Thank heaven I have a bathtub.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day Off

Dishes done, clothes put away, puzzle finished, internet scoured, breakfast eaten, kitties entertained, phone call made, daydreaming completed.

Bring on a date with V!

I made a friend!

My CPR class was much better than I thought it was, mostly thanks to the awesome and adorable pregnant twenty-five year old who I chattered with and went to lunch with. She wants to be a lactation consultant; I told her that V is interested in being a doula. She has a two and a half year old, and I want to see her again. We had fun in class, which is definitely more than I thought I'd say.

After a two hour break, one of which I spent seeing V at her job, I watched Seth and Isabella tonight. I love those kids. They're happy and relaxed and Isabella has the most amazing grin. And they both can say my name!

So now, I'm exhausted. I have a day off tomorrow. Halle-freakin'-lujah.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My afternoon

Timothy and Tessa have two very, very, very hyper puppies, who just so happened to break free of the constraints that hold them and, well, as I was holding two collars trying to corral them back into the fenced-in yard, I bit the dust (which ironically is a phrase I explained to Timothy today as he sang "Another One Bites the Dust" in the backseat). My hip now looks like this:



It's going to bruise, painfully. And of course it's right where pants sit, so they hurt. On the upside, we went to Michael's and Target, and got crafty! This little fellow came home with me:



CPR class in the morning. Six hours straight. I'm not looking forward to it. Sunday, I sleep in!

Happy moments

When I put the twins down for a nap, we follow a pretty set ritual. I pick up Patrick, give him a hug, kiss his cheek, say, "I love you, sleep well," and lie him down in his crib. Then I do the same with Lilly. I've been doing this for awhile, but it's only lately that they've really caught on.

It's become one of those moments in the day that I just pause to breathe and relax. I pick Patrick up, he squeezes me around the neck, I tell him I love him, and he said "Uv you too." After setting him down, I pick up his sister, who gives me an equally big squeeze and tells me she loves me.

Regardless of how they've been acting the previous four hours, at that moment, they're some of the most wonderful, precious creatures in my life.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Musical taste

As I mentioned a little awhile, Rock Band has introduced Timothy (and Tessa) to a variety of songs that make me pleased to know him. We've had a Queen singalong, he's spouted off the Offspring to me, and we've had a small conversation about White Wedding.

However, when I turned the car on today and heard "Don't stop, make it pop, DJ blow my speakers up," followed by Timothy exclaiming, "I love this song!" - a small part of me died. I told him it drove me crazy and I thought it was annoying.

His voice from the backseat was incredulous. "You don't like Tik Tok??" He sang along.

Sigh.

Angels in the park

I was going to write about seeing the twins again (they were sleepy all morning) or driving to soccer practice with three kids in the backseat (Timothy had a friend over) imitating Indiana Jones driving a tank off a cliff (I think). But then I talked to someone for forty-five minutes at the park during soccer.

We'd chit-chatted before, during other practices; she's there every Thursday like I am. I'm not sure why, since her boys are 4 and 6, but it's when they come play. I'd told her a little about V and me, and how to make granola (she'd asked, when she overheard me tell Tessa that I made the snack I carry around in a jar everywhere). We struck up a conversation again today. She ranted a bit about how she's usually so organized but everything seems to be falling apart--"Just faceplant and get a bloody lip," she called in the direction of her four-year-old, "It'll just round out the week perfectly." I told her about the school I graduated from, and meeting V, and our process of learning that love was more important than theology. I told her that all I wanted from people was not to be judged based on who I happened to be with. She listened. I talked about growing up with responsibility, between my half-siblings and being a pastor's daughter, and she said that didn't leave much of a place for childhood. I told her that I craved responsibility, though; she couldn't believe I'm not yet twenty-two.

She asked if she could give me a hug, as she was rounding up her boys to head home for dinner. I almost cried. She told me that she appreciated my willingness to talk to her, and didn't think it was an accident we were at the park together. I'd given her my email. I came home to--"If you ever need a friend/older sister, I would be happy to listen. I would love to be here for you if you need to talk. Sounds odd, I know, but I mean it. I don't think it's an accident that we met at the park!"

I guess I just postponed the crying till now. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. And I think I want an older sister.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And if that diamond ring turns brass...

For those who aren't aware, my lovely and amazing V proposed to me two and a half weeks ago, and now we're in the thick of wedding planning. It's going to be a tiny ceremony with our closest friends, so the planning isn't stressful at all (aside from money). I'm loving researching cupcakes and B&Bs and recycled metal jewelry and (dirt cheap) photography. And, it's distracting me from baby obsessions.

I almost convinced V to let me put something baby-related on our Target registry, but I couldn't find anything perfect. She was going to let me, too - after all, she put down alphabet magnets. Friends have already joked not to let me register at Babies-R-Us. As if I would! That will get its own special registry when the time comes. Along with Buy Buy Baby and Land of Nod and...

Anyway, life goes on. Wednesday is my day off, as usual, and as I don't seem to be sick, I'm doing what I love to do on days off: stay in bed absurdly late, then go to thrift stores. Tomorrow I see the twins again! (They're going to be so cranky with their schedule all messed up.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oops

For the first time, I skipped more than one day blogging. Oops! The twins' dad, who is in real estate, asked me to take some pictures of various properties while they are on vacation, and so I've been running an hour away most days since Friday. But, I get to drive his Saab when I do it, and I love that part!

Risks of the job: I'm not with Timothy and Tessa today, because I woke up to an email from their mom saying that Timothy came down with strep. Being the type of paranoid person I am, I told V that her job is to tell me I don't have strep. The change in the weather is messing with me a bit, though, so I haven't been feeling 100%.

That's all for today. No kids in my life. The twins get back from vacation tomorrow, so Thursday I'll see them again. This Saturday is a six hour CPR class, then to babysitting. That's all the current excitement in my life.

I will not get sick. I will not get sick. I will not get sick.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Identity (I need to nix one-word titles)

The tagline to this blog starts off, "Attempts of an early-twenties lesbian to hit snooze...," and I don't like it. I love the idea, but is all I am an "early-twenties lesbian"? I almost didn't state it like that, because it's taken me a long time to come to terms with the word "lesbian," and I'm still not sure I'm there. Besides, it comes with a whole host of stereotypes that, more often than not, I don't embody. (I even wrote an almost-poem about that. Those who know me know I won't admit to writing poetry.)

But simply putting "early-twenties girl" doesn't necessarily give enough information. A huge chunk of this blog is made of my thoughts on V's and my relationship and eventually child or children. If I don't give people a heads-up from the beginning, will they realize she's a girl? Would they still have read, if they knew? This is the part of me speaking that feels the need to keep hush about my relationship. I don't feel like I can or should put "lesbian" in the header, because it might offend people. Am I offensive?

So, I put it, originally, as my rebellion. This is my blog, and it isn't a space I should feel like I have to hide (there are enough of those). But now, I'm wondering if it's too limiting. If it announces, "I have a girlfriend! But now we can talk about other stuff." Is it necessary? Should I change it to girl?

These are the sorts of things that keep me up at night. Sad, I know--but this post has been in the works for a few weeks. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Convergence

This is supposed to be a blog post about this morning, but V is curled up next to me, going to sleep since she has to be at work early in the morning. I'm tired too, but my brain is much more awake than hers, and it knows that it can sleep in a bit tomorrow.

Today was busy, the fielding phone calls from a mom I'm babysitting for tomorrow, while looking stuff up for the twins' dad, while plotting how to make it to my afterschool kids on time. The twins are on vacation, and their dad, who is in real estate, asked me to take some pictures of some properties for him. One was an hour away, which caused my worries about lateness, but he let me drive his Saab out to it, which was awesome. Though I need to stop driving other people's cars, or I won't be able to put up with mine much longer. (It's just amazing when pushing the accelerator prompts a reaction!)

Then, out to Timothy and Tessa, and detox time for me; they watched Home Alone and ate frozen pizza while I did the dishes and took a moment to breathe. Oh, and we made popcorn on the stove, for kicks.

This is a weekend I am ready for. Plus, I'm babysitting for a new family tomorrow night (as briefly alluded to), though I think the kids will already be asleep. And I have more houses to take pictures of. Other than that - bring on my weekend!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Queen

V came to work with me today (which always makes me happy), and as we were driving Timothy to soccer, Killer Queen came on the radio. V and I both love Queen, so I turned it up and we started singing, and within seconds, Timothy and Tessa chimed in from the backseat. Awesome kids. Rock Band is good for something; who knew?

Also, I've introduced the twins to the concept of freckles. It's blowing their two-year-old minds. They point, I say "freckle," they say "eckle," I said "yes, freckle," they say "boo boo?" and I say "no, just a freckle." Repeat twenty times, and you have my lunch conversation. It's adorable.

Tomorrow I have off! And the twins are traveling, so I won't see them again until next Thursday. Which will give my arms time to recover from another grueling round of wagon-pulling.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trends

I just realized that in my ten entries so far in October, two of them have been called "Loving my job/s."

This bodes well for the month.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eating habits

As I think I've mentioned before, Timothy and Tessa's biggest downfall is eating. They both are junk lovers, to the degree that I've already set rules for snacktime after school. Their mom has explained and categorized snacks into healthy, semi-healthy, and junk; both kids are so pro-junk that I think if I could manage to convince them that apples were junk, they'd eat four a day.

The way we operate, on the four days I'm there, is that they can have a junk snack one day, a healthy snack one day, and semi-healthy on the other two days. They pick the days, so that they don't feel like I'm controlling their lives (somewhat). Last Thursday, which was Tessa's junk day, she picked popcorn. I explained that popcorn was actually fairly healthy, and much better than the rest of the junk category - oreos, cheetos. Her reply was, "Well, I'll call it junk though, because I like it, and I like junk."

Help.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Transcript. And boobs.

My phone rang as I was driving to Timothy and Tessa's yesterday. It was V, also driving to work, in the opposite direction.

Me: Hello love.
V: I know why you want to have kids so badly!
Me: ...why?
V: I was reading in the Parents magazine that came today* about kids asking questions moms may not know how to answer, and one was why boys have nipples. Apparently they form in the womb on every baby, and it's only the girls who have estrogen later that makes them turn into breasts.
Me: ...okay...
V: So, you must have lots of estrogen, since you're so tiny but your boobs are big!
Me: [laughing] So I want babies?
V: Yeah. Maternal instinct and all.
Me: I love you. Very much. Go to work.

I do, indeed, love my girlfriend. She makes me laugh.

*It was a $2 subscription deal. Don't judge me.

Loving my jobs

Today was one of those days where I absolutely loved my jobs. The little frustrating moments - "Lilly, drink your milk!"; "Tessa, pull yourself together or we're not going to dinner" - disappear, in light of pushing a double stroller along a sunny sidewalk, my girlfriend next to me, and tromping through pumpkins after two schoolkids glad it's Friday.

I would write more, but it's late, and I worked twelve hours today. But I needed to take a moment and tell the world how grateful I am to be able to do what I do.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Idioms

As Tessa and I were sitting at the playground by Robert's soccer field, I noticed she was chewing on a bobby pin.

Me: Please tell me that didn't come from off the ground.
Tessa: Nope! It came out of nowhere.
Me: Things can't just come from nowhere.
Tessa: Yes they can! It's like when you're in the bathtub, and your dad just appears from out of nowhere.

...touche.

If you're pathetic and you know it...

V and I have – well, they aren’t really proper fights, so I don’t know what to call them. But about two or three times a year (really, that’s it), we just clash. She thinks I’m who-knows-what; I think she’s ridiculous. We stop talking. We throw angry texts. Correction: I throw passive aggressive texts to try to get a rise out of her. I don’t know what her logic is.

All this to set up one of those moments where you feel like it’s the most pathetic moment of your life. Am I the only one who has those?

I had Patrick and Lilly in the stroller, on a gorgeous fall day, full of snacks and books for them at the coffee shop I like to walk them down to. And as I pushed the side-by-side strolled down the sidewalk of a fairly main road, I was sobbing under my sunglasses. Sunglasses which I had, in fact, put on just so people wouldn’t see the tears.

Yeah, pathetic, I know. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to the coffee shop.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day off

Wonderful day off. V was off too, so we spent the entire day together, which we hadn't been able to lately.

Around 11:30 my phone rang; it was the twins' dad. Something had come up and he wanted to know if there was any way I could come spend a few hours with Patrick and Lilly. I asked if V could come, and he didn't have a problem, so the two of us headed over at lunchtime.

Sweetest moment of the day: seeing Lilly stretch her arms up to V to be picked up, and the smile on V's face. Yes, I want children with this woman.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just when I think I've got it down...

V came to work with me today, and met Timothy and Tessa (and, briefly, their mom). They loved her, she loved them, as I'd expect. I've really been enjoying those kids! Timothy had soccer today, and at the last minute Tessa decided she wanted to stay with her friend next door instead of come with us. That threw me off, but Timothy and V and I drove to the soccer field. As he was hopping out of the car, he asked, "Ball?"

Well, that was on the kitchen counter at home. With his water bottle. Twelve minutes away.

He stayed at practice and we drove back to get it; on our return trip, I missed a call from his mom, who was meeting us at the field, wondering where we were. V kept telling me that mothers forget things all the time, but still. I'm kicking myself.

Tomorrow starts my new schedule with Wednesdays off!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Party for the two-year-olds

Last night, V and I attended Patrick and Lilly's second birthday party. While it was certainly Barney themed (balloons, plates), it wasn't outrageous, thankfully. I met grandparents, aunts, cousins, and family friends; everyone seemed pleased to get to know me and told V she had a beautiful name. During the goodbyes, there was a round of "Hopefully we'll see you again."

This morning, I received a text from the twins' mom, thanking me for coming and for helping out (because I, y'know, got the twins some milk at one point, so difficult), saying how wonderful it was to finally meet V, and joking that if she survived the party, we should all get together sometime.

Can I just say I LOVE my families?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Loving my job

Today is one of the last pretty days around here before long sleeves become a necessity (not that I mind them), so I popped the twins in their double stroller and we walked about fifteen minutes away to a little town square. I love a coffee shop there, and there's outdoor seating. I ordered a yogurt (which came with grapes on the side). Patrick munched on Goldfish that I'd brought; Lilly ate some of my grapes. And, an added bonus, the girl who rang me up and carried my plate outside (because maneuvering a double stroller (side-by-side) through a doorway is tough) was really adorable.

Good day, good food, good kids... Happy birthday twins!

Happy and sad

Happy birthday Patrick and Lilly! Today they turn two, and I'm about to go over and spend the morning with them. I wish I'd planned something fun, but this week has had too much going on for that. Still, their party is tomorrow evening, and I'm excited for that!

This afternoon marks my last day with Jacob and Caroline. Their mom is home, and we're all going to go over to a bookstore and get a snack and who knows what else. Since they just live around the corner, I'm sure I'll see them this next week until they move, but after today that's it.

More later. I have to go wake the twins up on their birthday!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Timothy & Tessa

I've had two days now with my new afterschool kids, so it's time to introduce them properly. Timothy is in third grade and Tessa is in second, and I love them both. They're sweet, friendly, polite, funny, and they seem to like me from the start. There are only two things that I'm not a huge fan of: they have two very wild and hyper puppies, and the kids live on junk food. Those aside (the dogs stay outside and I'm working on reforming snack time), the past two days have been phenomenal.

Although I now have to commute half an hour instead of walking around the corner, the drive isn't terrible (tree-lined curvy roads! or the interstate). Their house is huge, more on the scale of gigantic. I use their third car to shuttle the kids around; I've learned very fast that I like driving a Subaru Forrester. Homework was a breeze, they listen well, and they make me laugh.

I'm sure we'll run into plenty of issues, but for now, I'm excited to be with them. Just need to work on the fruits-and-veggies issue.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Literary Toddlers

Throughout my past few months with the twins, Lilly has gone through multiple book obsessions. Both she and her brother love books, though he's more inclined to "read" on his own, and she always brings them to me (though she puts in the animal sound effects herself, where applicable). First, she introduced me to Is Your Mama a Llama, which is one of my favorite board books now. Then Goodnight Gorilla, then Tails, then an Usborne Zoo book, and, most recently, Goodnight Moon. And when I say obsession, I mean we read it start to finish two or three times, and in another twenty minutes she brings it back for more.

So please, whatever you do, please don't discuss llamas, gorillas, or great green rooms. And now if you'll excuse me, the adorable redhead would like to hear about the telephone and red balloon for the third time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heart-melt

When I left Jacob and Caroline's house today, I was talking to their mother just before walking out the door, and they were in the other room. Usually I say goodbye to them, but it completely slipped my mind. Just as I made it to my front door, my phone rang - a call from their mother's cell phone.

"Hello?"
[childish voice] Hello!"
"Hi there."
"Goodbye!"
"Are you being silly?"
"No, I wanted to say goodbye to you! Goodbye."
"Aw, okay. I'll see you tomorrow."

Caroline has a sentimental side. And yes, three posts in one day is absurd, but rest assured it most likely will not happen again. I just wanted to post that before it got lost in the flurry that will be tomorrow.

Anticipation

Good thing I like kids (no duh). My life is full of them. This afternoon I had Jacob and Caroline as usual (only two more days!), and then watched Seth and Isabella. I've watched them once before - the last time I posted about running from family to family - and they're great kids. Their mom was a coworker of Jacob and Caroline's mom, which is how I came into the picture. Apparently their mom gives rave reviews, and Seth and Isabella's told me tonight that she loves having me come watch her kids and she's so glad she met me. I can't believe all these families who want me and like me. And their kids are always so great.

Tomorrow, though, is going to be crazy, especially coming off today. Patrick and Lilly in the morning, per usual, and then straight out of town half an hour for my first day with my new afterschool kids (with their mom there), then straight to Jacob and Caroline's since every Wednesday evening I watch them while their parents are at church choir practice. So, from 4pm today to 9pm tomorrow, I'll have five sets of kids with only one repeat. And thanks to allergies, I've been exhausted. Hopefully I can actually sleep tonight and so I'll be ready to attack tomorrow. If not, oh well!

Part-time teacher

Off and on throughout life, I've considered being a teacher. For awhile I wanted to teach kindergarten, and then that underwent a radical shift and I would only consider teaching college or maybe private high school. I don't think I'm cut out for the teaching profession, but, in part thanks to being homeschooled, I love working with people and helping them learn. I've been an algebra tutor, a paper editor, a class schedule planner, and, most recently, a multiplication teacher.

Jacob and Caroline are in third and first grades, respectively, and Caroline adores math. While I have to urge Jacob to complete his math homework (well, any homework), she does hers as soon as she gets it and begs for more. He is learning multiplication; she is learning subtraction. And, because she wants to, multiplication.

When I write math sheets for Caroline, she always wants a bonus or extra, harder, problems. Yesterday I wrote "3x1" as her bonus, and she stared at me. I explained to her that it was the number 3, one time. I wrote a 3, and she grasped quickly that the answer was three. We moved on to 3x2, and I explained that the answer was 3, two times, so I wrote two threes and told her the answer was adding them up. We've worked off and on yesterday and today. The last problem I gave her today was 2x0 (we haven't talked about zero yet); she looked up at me and said, "Two zero times? That's zero!"

I was so proud. I love the sense of accomplishment, and she wants to learn. Her class worksheets may be working on "take away two," but at home we're doing "times two" along with it. I really am so, so proud!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Obligation

Okay, so if I don't post tonight (or technically in the next forty minutes), it will be three days between gaps, and that's unheard of in the short life of Finding Snooze. So here I am, sleepy, congested, and with a purring kitty on my lap.

I splurged at our awesome thrift store today and bought a changing table (sorry V, though you will have seen it at home by the time you read this). It is a changing table no longer, however: behold (in your mind's eye), the greatest and fullest puzzle and game shelf this apartment has ever seen. It really does look pretty awesome. And it's white, a bit chipped, and on the light blue walls it pops nicely. (Of course, it does make me picture the room as a nursery even more. Even though I think changing tables are unnecessary.)

And now, I really have to sleep away this sinus/allergy/cold/ickiness. Though with a cat on my lap, I'm not entirely sure how to best go about that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why we need kids

Earlier today, V and I wandered through a Halloween store, the kind that pop up about this time to furnish people with appropriate masks, dismembered limbs, and chalky face paint. We were browsing the kids' section (of course), and I saw a costume for "Rainbow Fairy" in bright colors.

Lina: That's what we should get our daughter to be one year!
V: Yes! 'What are you for Halloween?' 'I'm the gay agenda!'

I doubled over laughing. Yes, we want a daughter to be the gay agenda for Halloween. (Ironically, I mentioned the phrase "gay agenda" to a friend with no religious (or at least evangelical) background, and he had absolutely no clue what I was talking about.)

Oh, and I bought something at Babies'R'Us. I bought a hula hoop for V.

Less bitter

After doing some more research, I've learned that the place V works provides benefits for full-time employees that include domestic partner coverage. There's hope, at least. But, since it's Saturday, I'm refusing to think about it.

I'm watching the twins currently, or rather, I watched them go down for naps and now I'm just sitting in the kitchen. Originally I was out of here in ten minutes, but their mom texted me (as I was typing that) and said it'll be closer to 4. Which doesn't bother me, though this is a little bit of a me-being-pampered weekend. Which means...

We're going to Babies'R'Us!!!

Yep, I get that excited about it. It's one of my de-stress places, and I can just walk around and look at pretty mobiles and new bottle designs. I'm very good about not buying anything (though occasionally V has to intervene).

Our second bedroom would be a perfect nursery. I keep trying to not think that. I fail.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So much for my eventual family

This is going to be a little bitter. Consider yourself warned.

For the past few days, I've been looking into health insurance for V and me. It's a complicated enough task (and I thought car insurance was bad!), but it's only made worse by the fact that we aren't legally anything. Buying two individual plans is expensive, and I'm bitter about the line that I keep seeing for family plans:

"Spouse gender must be different from primary applicant gender."

I have a couple things to say to that, but I haven't let them escape my head yet. It's just infuriating. We've been together a year and a half. We live at the same residence and share expenses. But no, not even if we drove to Iowa and picked up some rings on the way home. That marriage wouldn't be recognized here, and no insurance company would care. Some cover through employers: in my brief stint at a daycare, I would have eventually been able to have both of us covered. (It would have killed my soul, but that's a different story.) But for two girls just trying to live, there's nothing.

If you happen to be against gay marriage, stop for a moment and think of all the little details you're denying couples just like you and your friends. It's not just that your child might see two men holding hands (which, if you disagree with it, provides a great opening to talk to your child about what you do believe). It's that when you pay your health insurance and do your taxes, you're experiencing a simplicity that probably doesn't even cross your mind. Yes, I just said your taxes were simple, or at least simpler.

And when we have a baby? I don't even want to think about it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Countdown

I only have six more days with Jacob and Caroline. Today, tomorrow, and next week minus Wednesday (or maybe just later on Wednesday). At the moment, I'm okay with this, because this week they've been driving me crazy, and I've been exhausted. I'd really, really like for the bus to not arrive in ten minutes. Or, if it's intent on arriving, for someone else to handle the two who will come off of it.

But still. I know them; I know their routines, and how to make Jacob work on his journal, and how to convince Caroline to dress for soccer (okay, that one might be a stretch). And now I'm going to have to learn two new kids, similar in so many ways (ages, sports, pets), but whose school habits and listening skills I'm oblivious to. What if I don't like them? What if they don't like me? Questions that went through my mind at the start of this job, too, but have long since faded. Come Wednesday, I'll be a bundle of nerves. I really, really hate feeling nervous, just about as much as I currently don't want the bus to come.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oh right. A blog.

This has not been my day, and, naturally, it's therefore not my day for writing either. The twins were alright this morning - had to give Patrick a nebulizer treatment, which he's great about but it still weird. I also happened upon their baby books in their dresser, which I flipped through. They were two copies of "My (Preemie) Baby Book" or something like that, and had pages for radiation bed pictures and surgeries, etc. Honestly, it was fascinating to look through, in a slightly scary way. I just want everything to be simple when it's my turn.

Then Caroline drove me up a wall, and I did not want to stay with them till 9. I griped to V via text, which made me feel better, and now all I want is a bubble bath and my puzzle. I like the time of day when all I have to figure out is which one should come first. No more of this where's-the-pacifier, what-to-do-for-dinner, who-pushed-whom business. Bubbles and puzzle pieces. And tea.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grr

Okay, so now that I've proclaimed how great it is to leave the kids behind, I went and had a day that reminded me of the frustrations that come with not being the parent. I don't get to make the decisions, and on a day like today, when Patrick and I both were feeling the allergy crush, it sucked.

I woke up feeling like dirty diaper material, and apparently he did too. We spent time snuggling in the rocker; I made the executive decision that he could have his pacifier even though it wasn't naptime yet. But my head still wasn't thrilled. If they were my kids, they would have gotten a bit extra TV time, or I would've seen if V was around, or I would've let them do their own thing a bit more. But since I'm getting paid to watch them, I felt like I couldn't just check out. And my brain had never checked in.

Lunch was a nightmare. He didn't want to eat; on one hand, I couldn't blame him, since I hadn't felt like it all day either, though the caretaker part of me kept trying to force food into him. He ate a tiny bit of fruits and veggies before ending up in hysterics even when I offered him chicken nuggets, his favorite. Down for nap it was. And I went home and did the same.

If only they were mine. In a few ways, the stress would have been easier. I know, everyone is thinking that the other stresses far outweigh. But my head hurts; let me whine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On call

One of those great things about my job is that I get to leave the kid(s) behind, like I'm a grandparent or aunt or something. For the twins, when they go down for their nap, I go out the door. After school, when dad gets home, I leave. Days always end.

Which makes it ironic that earlier, on Sunday, my only child-free day, I ended up texting the moms of both my families. Caroline and Jacob's mom let me know that only Caroline would be on the bus tomorrow, as she was taking Jacob to the doctor. While I was replying to that text, the twins' mom asked me if Patrick had a dirty diaper last night. I had to laugh. I love how personal my job is, and every now and then that gets proven to me while I'm cleaning the kitchen and my phone keeps going off.

But I'm a weird little part of the family. I pride myself on being flexible and available. And texting really is a great invention; I probably would not be quite as pleased if my phone kept ringing. Send me all the message you want; they're (sort of in a weird not quite totally true way) my kids too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

There's hope, and I need a kid

I went to the thrift store I'm obsessed with today, and they had an entire new row of board books. Fifty cents each. Twenty-five percent off the total purchase. Needless to say, I bought 12. After putting 6 back.

Why? Because one day there will be a baby in the house, and I believe in libraries, and where else am I going to find Goodnight Moon for fifty cents? (And Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Brown Bear Brown Bear, and Is Your Mama a Llama, and The View From Saturday, and...)

I texted my mom, "I'm investing in my child's future. At the thrift store buying the view from saturday, very hungry caterpillar, goodnight moon, etc." Her response made my day, because, as I've mentioned before, I have no idea what will happen when V and I have children. "Buy Pat the Bunny new. Or let "Granny" do that when the child is born ;)"

She and I have never explicitly talked about me having kids with V, but she's always known I want them, and I've dropped a few casual references to a few years down the road when we want to start trying. And I think she'll be there for it - she's been there so far, even if somewhat reluctantly, and I think our baby (or babies) will have at least one grandmother. Though I may quibble with her over her being called Granny...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Too many kids

Yesterday was crazier than usual. I was with the twins from 10-2, and thankfully they had another wonderful day. This time, Patrick slept in till almost 11, and Lilly and I had breakfast together. I realized that I'm used to holding toddlers during everything, but I can't because there are two of them; when it was just Lilly and I, I carried her all around the kitchen with me preparing breakfast. I've missed that closeness!

From there, it was on to Jacob and Caroline, who had a fairly decent day. Jacob went on a misogynist streak, oddly, and tried to tell me that Barak Obama (who he admires) made a law saying women could never be president. That led to a conversation about the constitution. Which led to quickly dropping him off at soccer.

Their mom had connected me with a work partner of hers who wanted to go to a meeting last night but whose husband was working late. So, off I went to watch a 3 year old and a 1 year old. The kids were great and I enjoyed meeting the mom, but I was ready to be done with children after that! When Jacob and Caroline's mom gave me the lady's number, she made a joke about how I was turning into "the nanny of the neighborhood" since both of them as well as my twins all live within ten minutes. I am very okay with this!

To top off my day, I went home, relaxed, and V made me a drink. Of course that led to staying up too late and having a sleepy Friday, but since Jacob, Caroline, and I have Friday Fun every week, all I had to do (after the twins) was drive to ice cream!

Proud Mommy Moment

This morning at breakfast, Lilly looked up at me and said, "Work. Mommy." As I was about to say, "Yes, that's where Mommy is," she interrupted me to say, "Mommy at work!"

My little girl is starting to string words and make sentences!!! I love the age when they develop real language capabilities. It happens so fast, and it's so adorable.

That's all. Just had to brag.