Friday, September 30, 2011

Down day

Today was V's last day with her girls.
It was also the day I found out that my (13 year old, 140k miles) car needs $600 in brake repair, which I don't think we're willing to put in it.  We've been planning to get a new one, but plans may have just rapidly accelerated.

We stayed over Essie and Anne's for an hour and a half after their parents came home, drinking wine and talking.  It was really, really nice.

There have been lots of tears today.  That's my first car sitting out there, parked on the street, with its highly defective brakes (and bald tires, too).  V's plans haven't quite come through as quickly as we'd hoped.  We've been planning a big trip (overseas!) around New Year's, and that might have to be canceled.

Life is sad right now.  But:
We have our house, our two kitties, and each other.  And at the moment, a delicious salad (kale, clementine, crasins, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and Annie's raspberry vinaigrette).  We'll get through this.

We might need some cookie dough, though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Angels and demons

Today, I was treated to some highlights such as Lilly screaming "No!" at me, twice, in a public place (thankfully with no one else around), her telling her brother "I wanna break your fishie," and her hitting Patrick.  It was the closest I've ever come to cursing around one of them; I honestly just wanted to yell at her to pull her $%&@ together and get over it.

Before lunch, she finally blew my last nerve, and I put her in her crib.  She stayed up there for about ten minutes.  I think it actually gave her a chance to calm down, because she then proceeded to eat lunch with no tantrums.  In thirty minutes.  Thirty minutes!  That's never happened!

Three days until they turn three.  I'm nervous how the next two days will go...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Background

And now we will commence lesson one, Why I Am The Way I Am (With Kids):

Yesterday, I sent a text out to five or so friends.
"Two three year olds, two pumpkins, two paintbrushes, three paint colors, two bowls of water, and paper towels.  No way this could go wrong, right?"

Responses ranged from "I'll be praying for you" to "riiight, let me know how that goes" to "oh god why."

Then came my mother's response: "Ooh fun!!! I miss doing that!!"

This concludes our lesson.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Redo

I got tired of the old look of the blog.  Very tired, as evidenced by the drastic change.  We'll see if this sticks or not; the background at the moment is a picture of Lilly.

And now for dropping a bomb: this coming week is V's last week with Essie and Anne.  We found out Thursday.  In brief, it's nothing she/we did, the girls' mom has been crying a lot, we've been crying a lot.  We don't really know what's coming, but I'm not worried about the job/income side.  These things always happen, and we always get through.  The emotional side has been rough, rough, rough on all of us, though.  We lost two of our little girls.

I'd been waiting to write about it until I could write a more full-length essay getting into my feelings, which I finally did this afternoon.  That cleansed.  Good wishes and prayers for V this week, though, please; the sense of loss is strong.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thieves

Various things overheard, as I tweak things on the blog, while V is reading her homework:

V, to cat in her lap: I see you staring at me.  Yep, still do.

V, to me: Uh, the cat just watched me underline.  As in, her head craned to follow my hand.

V, to me: She just picked up my pen like it was a bone and walked off with it!

V, to cat: No, you can't have this pen too!  You have one halfway across the room!

And the ever popular: I don't feel like playing with you right now; leave me alone!

For those wondering, no, it usually doesn't feel like we are done with kids at the end of the day.

Firsts

As a nanny, I don't get to see a lot of firsts.  Were I watching infants and babies I would, probably; with toddlers, though, firsts come in the form of places and events - first dentist visit (which I actually was at), first plane trip, first time at the beach.

Today, I watched Lilly take her first pony ride.  V and I took them to an amazing park/farm/playground, with pony and wagon rides, a petting zoo, a giant dairy barn converted into a playplace (which, yes, V and I took just as much advantage of as the kids).  Lilly pet the pony, and when I asked her if she wanted a ride, she said yes.  When I asked Patrick, he said, "I don't like riding the horses."  As if he's ever tried.

It was one of those days that didn't feel like work; a big part of that was having V with me.  It was just us out with our kids on a mostly-pretty Saturday, watching them spazz and Lilly run three different directions in her excitement.

Friday, September 23, 2011

High/low lights

Today at school, Lilly used the potty after snack.  Later, during lunch at home, she told me she had to pee, used the potty again, and came back to continue lunch.  I'm proud of her.  After the family vacation in October, the potty training will get serious, but I'm enjoying this laid-back version for the moment.

She's still on a screaming streak, though, and it only seems to be getting worse.  Both at gymnastics yesterday and school today she ended up separated from the other kids, in time out, because she wouldn't listen and then started screaming when she went into time out.  It's very frustrating.

Tonight, V and I are with her girls (Essie and Anne).  We did a photoshoot with them, but she hasn't loaded the pictures on her computer yet.  I can't wait to see them!  The parents know, so this one won't be a surprise; it's still exciting though.  I'm hoping her photography really takes off.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interlude

Patrick and Lilly, especially Lilly, were terrible today.  Did I jinx myself by posting yesterday how wonderful it was to feel part of the family?  Coming from that this morning, I'm going over to Bug and Andrew's in an hour, and... I am so over kids right now.  Last time I went over there, the evening went great.  After the dinner where Bug made herself throw up twice.  And I almost broke down in tears.

I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.  Or should it be, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can?

At gymnastics today, I apparently surprised someone by being a nanny.  Not only did she think I was youngish (which I'm okay with), but she told me I interacted with the kids like I was their mom.  I'm still not entirely sure what this means - it's not the first time I've heard it - but it always makes me smile.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Almost family

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the new digital picture frame at the twins, and how it made me sad that I'd missed out on so much of their lives.  What made me even sadder was that I wasn't in any pictures.  I didn't have the prospect of being in any pictures.  I felt like no one except me cared if I was in any pictures.

Since V and I did the kids' pictures, we took a few of me with both of them.  They're perfect.  They're precious.  They blow my mind.

When we gave the pictures to their parents, their mom asked if I was in any of the photos.  I almost cried.  When we told her yes, she was pleased.  Obviously so.  I almost cried again.

I've been with them for fourteen months.  I think I've made it.

W(h)ine

I've had some whiny grouches lately.  Patrick is entering the threes: he's acting out more, including the first act of directed violence against his sister that I've witnessed.  When he couldn't have something yesterday, he tried to kick her.  Today, he tried to run away from me at the playground.

I'm not sure how I'll handle this.  Those sorts of things are what make me lose my temper - though, come to think of it, many tantrums do until I get used to them.  Hopefully I'll settle into dealing with it, and it won't phase me anymore.

There has been too much rain this week.  We went to the Natural History Museum on Monday; I'll never tire of them looking at shiny rocks and skeletons and old telephones.  (There's a whole section on housing and life from first settlement to today.)  Yesterday we had an old-school day of coloring and taking a walk-

Lilly: We go for a walk?
Me: Sure, it's not raining at the moment.
Patrick: You need to get the stroller!
Me: I thought you were walking?
Lilly: Nope, Lina walking.

Again, thanks guys.

Their mom is out of town, so I'm working on Saturday too.  I think V and I are going to take them to a petting zoo/playground that's only open on the weekends.  I'm way more excited than I should be.

This from the girl who this morning said to herself, "I need to remember lipstick; we're going to storytime."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Snip

Obviously I can't post pictures of Patrick and Lilly on here, but there are a few that aren't too identifying.  It makes me sad that I have to censor, because this was by far V's best set and she's gotten so many compliments on them.  There are a ton of advertising and promo opportunities coming her way, too!








Railroad

Lilly: I hear a train!
Me: Hmm, I wonder where it is?
Lilly: I think it's on the tracks.

...yes, thank you.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy tears

V and I gave the twins' parents their book with the pictures and handprints yesterday.  Their mom cried; I've never seen her be emotional.  It was the highlight of my (otherwise very rough) week.

I can't type any more, because I've started the hundred pushups program.  And by started, I mean that I literally just got up off the floor from day one.  Therefore, my arms are shaking, and this post has been rather painstaking.  On that rhyme, goodnight.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Surprise

V and I are putting the final touches on what has become the twins' present to their parents: a small, twelve page book with pictures, their handprints, their names, some artwork, and a poem I wrote at the end.  I absolutely cannot wait to give it to them.  As in, I want to go storm their house now.  But since I can't do that, I thought I'd share the poem with you all.  It seems especially perfect for them, since they were premies in the NICU for awhile.  Sometimes I love writing so very much. 

When we were tiny, you took our hands,
And look how far you've brought us.
In response, we'll take your hearts,
Keeping them forever.

Now we're three and growing more,
Our world is getting bigger.
Surrounded by your love and care,
We're free to go explore.

Mommy and Daddy, our hearts to you,
Each day and every night.
As it has been since we were small,
And cradled in your hands.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Missing

I miss my kids.  Yesterday we were supposed to go to a class at the zoo on animal colors, and today is a gymnastics day.  I should be set to work tomorrow, but still...  I haven't seen them since Tuesday, and I miss them!

Their mom told me last weekend that someone in her mom's group was worried about hiring a nanny because she was worried the nanny would get too invested in the kids.  I'm so thankful I don't work for a family like that; there's no way I could.  Patrick and Lilly's mom told me that, for everyone's sanity, she needs to work (though maybe not quite the hours she does), and so it's in everyone's best interest that the kids be taken care of by someone who loves them as much as she does.

I couldn't do my job if I needed to maintain emotional distance.  It's impossible not to care, when your job is caring.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Unfortunate

V and I are both sick, as of this morning.  She's been fighting something for a few days, and it finally got the best of her, in the form of an upper respiratory infection that seems to be developing into conjunctivitis.  I'm sick in the sense that I'm really congested, pink eye is highly contagious, and I live with her.

The downside is that the place where Essie and Anne's mom works is having one of those "this is kinda one of the biggest days of the year" days.  So for her to get a call at quarter to eight this morning saying neither of us could come was less than optimum.

And that's roughly how today's been going.  V is definitely off tomorrow and was already scheduled off on Friday.  I have no idea what life holds.  We're both stressed, though, because of so much that's going on lately, the money we're losing, and the fact that V is missing class and is going to have tons of makeup work.

At the moment, life's not so great on the home front.  The small upside is that at least we get to spend time together.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marital bliss

A cousin of mine got married yesterday.  She and I are the closest in age of roughly three dozen cousins; she's six months older than I am.  I wrote the beginning of this sad tale back in April.

The pictures are starting to crop up on Facebook now.  I'm about in tears, again.  The reception looks like so much fun; so many extended family members that I never get to see are there.  Are they still my family members?  I honestly don't even know.

People are writing on my cousin's Facebook wall how much their bond has been a blessing, how they have been awesomely used by God and will continue to be, and on how two people cannot possibly be a perfect for each other and full of love as they are.  And I think,

How can they be so perfect and full of love, when the very act they are celebrating is one they explicitly made exclusive and discriminatory?

Right now, I don't want to hear about personal beliefs, and religious preferences.  I don't want to hear about how they still love me, even though they don't believe my marriage is valid in the eyes of God.

I want to know how love can be perfect, when it closes the door to others.
I want to know how they can be a shining example of God's love, when she shut the door in my face.
(I know it's not all about me.  This is different.)
I want to know why she gets a giant family wedding, and I might've had ten people, if I was lucky.
I want to know why her love is sanctioned, and mine is not.
I want to know how people can live with themselves, in their happy little bubbles, and not see that their arbitrary and unnatural distinctions actually impact real people's lives.
I want to know why this still hurts.
I want to know if it will ever go away.

Photogenic

Tonight, as a surprise for Patrick and Lilly's parents, V and I did a photoshoot with them.  They're only a few weeks away from turning three.  The shoot went amazing: despite being on the cusp of three and testing more boundaries daily, they had fun, listened well, and were adorably photogenic.

Like I said, it's a surprise, so we'll see what the reaction is - and if the twins can keep it from their parents.  I'm worried I might get a text from their mom tomorrow, "The kids keep talking about taking pictures last night with V?"  Hopefully not!

There are some pictures of me with them, and I almost had tears.  I haven't seen any pictures of me with them (except an old Photobooth one or two from a night I took my computer).  We all look so happy and comfortable...I love it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Skipped

In early August, I almost wrote up a post and scheduled it to auto-post on August 28th.  Then I thought, nah, I'll remember.  I didn't actually write anything on that date.

Why does this even matter?  Well, it doesn't, really.  Except that it was my one-year anniversary of writing here.

I like to celebrate the little things, like a whim of mine actually lasting (at a decently steady pace, too) over a year.  By now it's second nature to write at least every other day.  It may not be mind-blowing, but I was an English major, so it's at least keeping me disciplined.

Now to work on disciplining those darn kids...kidding!  You all know I love my kids.  If not, surely at least half of the past year's entries have been positive things about them.

My brain stopped working.  I should stop writing.  Happy late anniversary, Finding Snooze!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Love

During gymnastics class today (interruption: SO glad to have back an arena for them to run around and squeal and get their energy out, especially with all this rain), Patrick had a bit of a tantrum and ended up pouting.  As all the kids moved to the next series of activities, I asked if he wanted to join them or not.  He did end up running over and sitting next to his sister.

Lilly, meanwhile, had followed the other kids and sat on the mat; she turned around to ask me where Patrick was, and by then he'd come over and was in front of her.  As soon as he sat down, she grabbed his hand, snuggled into him, and said, "Patrick!"

Yep.  It was adorable.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Young

I've been counting down to the twins' birthday; every day I'll say, "24 [today] days until you turn..." and Lilly yells back, "Three days old!"  It's adorable.  When I say three years, though, they both add on that it's just like Baby Bop.

It's rainy today, and I brought two umbrellas with me.  Well, I grabbed the one in the house, and then I also had one in the car, but I figured there was no way all three of us could use one umbrella.  I didn't realize that I should have brought three, however.  When we left storytime, I was in the rain while they each proudly carried an umbrella all the way to the car.  I have a picture on my phone, but no way to transfer...let me assure you it was adorable though.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Door

Patrick and Lilly have been popping in and out of the nursery for about twenty minutes, updating me with things like "my baby's crying" and "I need to go get milk for my baby; see you later bye bye."

This last one, from Lilly, was the best: "Bye see you later I'm going to the zoo."

I can hear them out in the hallway, through the closed door.  (The whole draw of this is that they can open and close the door constantly.)  Yep, my adorable kids are back.

Though, 1) Lilly has zero interest in the potty, and 2) they turn 3 in less than a month!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wench

My feet are sore, we are both exhausted, and we had so much fun at the Renaissance Faire today.  It also happens to be our six month anniversary; the faire was a perfect celebration.  We dress up every time we go.  V ended up being a belly dancer, thanks to some creative editing of thrift store clothing last night.  I wore layered skirts, my corset, my circlet, and all my other little awesome things that have no other use except this one day per year.  Except we're going to go back in October, too.

All that to say, exhaustion!  And tomorrow marks back to work for me: my first time interacting with children since 2pm Friday.  I have loved the break.

Soft

V and I decided awhile back that our mattress is too hard.  Or firm.  Apparently there's a difference.  Anyway, we picked up a mattress topper yesterday; it was lumpy and noisy.  We're returning it; we don't really feel like figuring out how much we can afford for a new one, and what kind to get.

So we put our futon mattress, which lives in the second bedroom and has no frame, on top of our bed.

And slept like sleepy babies.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vacation

I guess the title should be "staycation" but I really don't like that word.  It just seems weird.

Still, it feels wonderful to have hours upon hours in the apartment, crazy cats notwithstanding.  We've been to the bookstore and to see an absolutely amazing movie (The Names of Love - it's in French - it blew our minds).  Monday, we're headed to the Renaissance Faire, one of our favorite annual events.  Tomorrow may just be low-key, or we may end up doing lunch and/or a photoshoot with some friends.

Either way, I'm starting to feel restored.  It will happen!

Me

In the course of taking the twins to the art museum the other day, I dragged them to my favorite painting.  It's a John Singer Sargent, called "Venetian Girl with a Fan" from 1882, and I can tell you it looks much, much better in person.
Lilly, especially, has lately taken to making comments that echo what I'm always saying to them.  "What you see over there?" and "What that look like?" are the two most predominant ones.  As we walked to the painting above, she looked at it and commented, "What that look like?  That look like Lina!"

It doesn't look much like me, but I'll take the comparison!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crush

I have a crush on one of the parents at the twins' school.  Bad?

Regardless, today was a great (and hot and muddy) day.  The walk in the woods was a bit exhausting because we were in the stony creek bed; Patrick and Lilly both kept asking to be carried.  Another super yummy snack happened, and I'm getting more used to the "new age" -ness of all of it.  We open circle time with, "Stretch up high toward the star of our birth; reach down low to warm mother earth."

I earned points with all the parents, because after the long walk, everyone sat down to storytime and I went and fetched ten little cups of water for the sweaty, tired children.  Three or four moms thanked me later.

But yeah.  One of the little boys in class is seventeen months, and I already loved chatting with his mom all through the morning.  During our walk, while the other kids were stomping around in mud, she sat down with him on her lap, under a tree with morning sun shining through, and nursed him.  Who wouldn't be enamored of that?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homesick

V and I have made the (difficult) decision to stay home this weekend.  We were going to go visit a friend, and I know she's upset at the change of plans, but... I haven't been myself.  I've been a worn, exhausted, grumpy shell of myself.  I need a few days of downtime; if we went away, I wouldn't have that until next weekend.

I've been so much less stressed since we made the call.  We went grocery shopping (felt like I couldn't do that since we were leaving), put off the laundry that needs putting away (no pressure to do it by tomorrow), and am resting peacefully in the knowledge that I can sleep in on Saturday.  And Sunday and Monday, if I want.

Tomorrow is the twins' second day of preschool.  I think it will go well, now that I know what to expect.

Also, Lilly peed through two pairs of underwear today.  One happened two minutes after she got up from ten minutes on the potty.  We're back to diapers for the meantime.