Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mine

I always love the moment when it seems like kids I watch could be mine.  Whether it's being assumed to be the mom at the park (and not correcting the bystander), or snuggling someone in bed without the rest of the world for a moment...those are the times I really love my job.

Today, the twins' dad and I took the kids to swimming lessons (that's a whole different story), and after the lesson, I took Lilly to the locker room, and he took Patrick.  Lilly and I went in the shower, stripped, and played in the water: she didn't want to get out, and I felt like she was my daughter.

I don't know what makes that feeling happen.  But when it does, it's perfect.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Do II

V and I had a good talk last night, about pressures in our lives.  The hours she's been working have made her less available to emotionally keep me going - not that I'm holding this against her, and she knows that.  I generally keep the logic side of things running (I'm the INTJ); she handles the sanity (she's the INFJ).  There haven't been any major mental crises, but apparently I'd just been building.

Not that I now feel the ability to go do everything.  We did just spend an hour and a half cleaning the craft room.  Moving into a way-too-large space means we've sprawled, and that sprawl hasn't been neat.  Long way to go yet - along with painting the kitchen, and hanging up the giant shelf in there so we can get half our pantry off the floor.

We've finally accepted the fact that we're not movie people.  It seems like everyone our age is, but we never really watch movies - yet we have over 60.  Well, after tonight, we have 44, which is at least better.  Even though they rarely see the light of day (or the inside of the dvd player)...some just need to stay.  44, apparently.

Sorry for the sporadic-ness.  Can you say sporadicity?  It seems like you should be able to, but it makes me think of plant spores.  Anyway, V is listening to Mitch Hedberg in the background; his erratic flow of thought apparently triggers mine.  (Though I'm not as funny, of course.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do

I have so much I want to do.  I want to write; there are a few different thoughts in my head.  I want to go for a walk, while the sun's still shining.  I want to put away the dishes and laundry, to keep the house neat.

Motivation has always been a struggle for me, but even more so lately.  I worked on my puzzle.  I read internet randomness.  I'm now eating leftover asparagus and frozen corn for dinner.  V will be home in just over an hour; I've accomplished, quite literally, nothing.  Besides feeding myself, I suppose.

Lack of motivation leads to even less motivation, if that's possible.  I'm going to eat more corn.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Secret

The kids and I have a "secret" playset, and we spent an hour out there tonight.  Their parents were doing some sort of volunteer work, so I did my usual breakfast to nap, and then did nap through dinner and playtime.  Except for dinner, the day went well; when we went back to the playset afterward, we all had a blast.  They got muddy (oh well) sliding down the super fast slide (really super fast: Lilly gets air), we cleared some sticks, and they both peed in the woods.  It was grand.

There's a good chance that around Easter-ish, V and I might have the kids for three full days while their parents go away.  I'm excited about this prospect.

This whole V working fewer hours thing is a dream.  We actually can do things like run to the grocery at 10pm for cookie dough (now whether that's a wise choice is a different matter!) and sit on the couch reading the internet.  I think I'm going to like the foreseeable future.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Speaking of

Speaking of Etsy, V recently sold 3 dictionary bouquets!!  All to the same person, but that's still a big order.  And the girl who bought them was so happy - that's why I love Etsy.  And craft fairs, and that sort of thing.  I love being able to see how genuinely glad people are for things she/we/I can provide.

This is still one of my favorite pictures from our wedding:

Party

V and I are off to photograph a two year old's birthday party.  Rumor has it that there will be a bulldozer appearance!  I still get so nervous before shoots, but I know that will get better the more we do.

We have a wedding in August and another in October that we know we're doing.  An engagement session sometime before October.  A kids' shoot in the next month, and possibly a family shoot in the next two months.

I would love for this to be a steady source of income.  With V cutting back on her "traditional" working hours, it would be great to supplement some of that loss.  She's also working on getting an Etsy shop up and running...well, she has a shop, but adding to it.  We want to do LGBT-friendly onesies and toddler shirts that go beyond "I love my mommies"; there aren't as many options as you'd think.  Hopefully that will bring in some money too.

We're not hurting for money.  But we're not exactly...helping?...for it, either.  In a few years, when she's actually teaching, it will be nice to have, honestly, more money that we can even conceive of right now.  Which is good, since we'll have double the student debt.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quiet

V is at a conference all day, and I'm still trying to get myself up off the couch to deal with the house.  (Note to self: See? This is what you'd give up if you had a baby.)  It's rare that I have the house to myself; it's quiet, except for the cat pushing her water bowl across the floor.

I'm supposed to be cleaning under our bed, our bathtub, and by one of the doors: all the places that the ants keep coming in.  Traps are working well, mostly, but we're both so tired of killing ants all over the house.  It's disheartening.

I guess I should do the dishes too.  But this soft brown blanket on this comfy purple couch is so welcoming.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Judgment

I love Patrick and Lilly more than life.  Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time has (hopefully) picked up on that.  Those kids are amazing, and wonderful, and special, and have a huge chunk of my heart.

Which is why it pisses me off when I have to work extra-hard to get any sort of respect for being with them.  Some people see nannies as hard-working and giving.  I like to think of myself as both; thank you all.  But there are so many people I encounter who make snap judgments when they learn I'm not the "real mom."

1- People assume their real mother doesn't care about them all that much.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  She's the kind of woman who couldn't stay at home 24/7 without going crazy; she's very successful in her career, but that in no way means she does not or cannot love her kids.  She's obsessed with them.  I send her pictures and quotes during the day.  She spends her entire evenings and weekends going places and doing things with them, because she wants to.

2- People assume I don't care about them all that much.  Personally, I couldn't be a nanny and not feel connected to the kids.  Their mom mentioned once that one of her friends was worried her new nanny would get "too close" to her kids, and my twins' mom just stared at her.  "If I'm not the one there with my kids," she told me later, "I want it to be someone who's going to love them as much as I do."  And I have no choice in the matter.  A person can't spend every weekday with two kids, shepherding them from 22 months to 3 1/2 years and beyond, without getting attached.  So don't even imply that I'm in this for the money, or because it's "easy."

3- People assume the kids are neglected.  Um, no.

4- People assume I'm not as invested as a parent would be.  Again, no, and see above.

Sometimes I feel like their mom, their dad, and I are a triad of parenting.  I wouldn't phrase it this way to them, because I always try to be careful not to infringe on what are truly their parental rights, but the feeling remains.  Their mom consults me before most major decisions.  We talk together about how to approach Lilly's tantrums and Patrick's hatred of real fruit.

For people who have a nanny to make it work, they have to include her up to and possibly even beyond the point where she is an equal.  If more parents knew this, and more people knew it in general, I'd get a lot less pissy sometimes.  (And, of course, it's all about me.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tired

Took the kids to the dentist today, with their mom.  That was exhausting.  They aren't the screaming and wailing type, but they both clammed up and it took awhile to coax their mouths open.

The dentist visit, and other recent events, have put me back wondering why I'm doing this.  Why I am investing so much time and energy and emotion into two kids who aren't mine, who will never be mine, and who I'll never have a final say about anyway.

I know the logistics: the money, and why we're not ready to have a baby.  But I want one that's ours.  Where we can make the decisions, and do the raising, and it won't feel like I'm expending myself "uselessly."

It's not useless.  I know.  But sometimes it feels like it.

Interjection...
V, watching ants wobbling around the traps: "Keel over already, guys!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Warm

There's a longer post coming later, about heat and bugs, but for now I give you this:

Me: See, the big yellow bushes are forsythia.
Patrick: Like Sissy! [what he calls Lilly] It's for-sissy-a!

He grinned at me, so proud of himself.  I love this age sometimes.
(Also, speaking of her, Lilly was in a much better mood today.  Not one tantrum; just accidentally shoving a stick down her throat and coughing a ton.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Whiny

I didn't realize I hadn't posted at all this weekend.  Saturday was busy, with a photoshoot and then babysitting the twins (V and I took them to a park for dinner and exhaustion).  Yesterday we spent indoors all day, cleaning and doing work around the house.  I never even got dressed.

The kids and I went to the zoo today, and from the moment she woke up, Lilly was whiny and bratty.  Sometimes I really wish I only had one kid: there are so many moments when I would just say "that's enough; we're going home," but I can't do that to Patrick.

It's no good when Monday afternoon I'm already ready to be done with them.  Hopefully tonight will be restful(ish).  Oh, I'm actually exerting effort to make dinner, though, so there goes some of the rest.  I'll just turn into a whiny one now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Loved

Apparently last night, Lilly and her mother got into a fight, and Lilly said "I don't want you; I want Lina."  Aww.  Though, as I told her mom today, that just begins to make up for all the "I want mommy!" I've had to deal with in the past...20 months?  Wow.

We went up to visit their mom at work again, for lunch, and had lots of fun.  She gave me the biggest ego boost ever, when she introduced our table to a coworker as "This is Patrick, my son, Lilly, my daughter, and Lina, my savior."  I told her how much of a verbal affirmation person I am, and how that comment made my week.

It really did put me in a good mood.  I have them tomorrow night, which I haven't done in awhile, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gems

While driving the kids to gymnastics today, we passed a little boy down the street whom they know.  His babysitter was carrying him inside, hurrying to get out of the rain.  Lilly looked out the window and then asked me, "Why does Joey have a new mom?"

Apparently at the morning preschool class on Tuesday, a little boy had stripped totally, and was in the process of taking his diaper off.  That was curtailed, over his protestations that his "penis is hot!"  Darn, why are we in the boring afternoon class?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fort

The twins have a decent-sized yard, but it's tiered due to a steep hill.  There's a fence at the bottom, and on the other side of that is mostly brush: random bushes, tall trees, lots of ground cover and fallen leaves.  Oh, and an old playset with a slide and swing, buried under all the nature.

With today being as gorgeous as it has been, we spent the day outside, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, and, on a whim, deciding to unearth the playset.  The kids didn't even know it was there; every ten minutes, Patrick would look at me and said, "How come slide here? We can ask Daddy."

We had two kid-sized snow shovels, a trowel, a mini-rake, a broom, and three wet towels, and we went to work.  Those two love cleaning, so they had a blast.  Patrick got the lower wooden level all swept off, while I shoveled leaves off the top part.  All three of us scrubbed who knows how many years of dirt and grass off the slide.  Then, of course, Lilly went down it three times and got the rest with her butt.

I have no idea what their parents will think, as they obviously know it's back there and have made no efforts toward using it with their kids, but hopefully we won't be prohibited.  We still have lots of cleaning to do.  If possible, I want to clear out a path to it (not just a walkable area with large branches removed) and line it with stones or logs, but we'll see.  I haven't done this sort of thing since the days when I followed my older brothers out to their secret forts in the woods.  Come to think of it, I was prohibited from those too.  One day I shall win!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Revenge

Okay, maybe it's harsh of me to title a post "Revenge."  I'm not a vengeful person, and I don't generally wish ill on people.  But there's been an interesting addition to the story of my cousin's marriage, related here and here.  This cousin is part of my extremely Catholic extended family, and she's one of six children.  Five of them, including her, are the marry young, have lots of babies, convert the world type Catholics.  The only son, ironically, doesn't particularly care for Catholicism, or religion much, and in August is marrying a Russian Jewish girl in a fairly nonreligious ceremony officiated by a rabbi.

And V and I are the wedding photographers.

I have NO idea if he's told his family, or what sort of reaction they will have, but it brings a sweet, sweet smile to my face to think that after V was blatantly not invited to his sister's wedding, she'll now be the person behind the camera, telling that same sister to smile.

And damn it's gonna feel good.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Crazed

In the shower this morning-
V: Okay, I want a baby.
Me: Cough up some sperm!
V: It's not in my lungs...

We ended up at Baby Gap earlier today, since it was conveniently right next door to where we were going.  All the boys' clothes were adorable, for either gender.  All the girls' clothes were nauseating.  Which is strange, because I usually love baby girl clothes, but these were weird pastels with writing all over them.  Whereas the boys' line was stripes, plaids, jumpers, and utterly adorable orange and navy knitted bodysuit with kneepads.

And I asked V about her favorite clothes just now, and she was pretty animated in describing things.  Sometimes I don't think we want a baby for a baby's sake, but to give us an excuse to buy all the awesome kids' stuff.  We were also in a museum gift shop today, and there are so many educational kids' crafts and kits and toys.  The homeschooler in me really starts to come out.

We can has baby nao?

Redo

The short version:
On Thursday, I clipped the back of a parked truck with the passenger mirror of the twins' van.  The mirrors are hinged; no damage to truck, no structural damage to mirror, just shattered mirror glass.
Friday, the kids' dad asks me to pull the van out of the garage (which he usually does, as their garage is super narrow).  It's a vote of confidence that I appreciate greatly.  Until I almost take the passenger mirror off while trying to get it out.
Thursday, Friday, and today: I feel like shit.

What the hell is wrong with me lately?!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Allergic

As soon as I rolled the window down to pay for airport parking, as we drove home, I started sneezing.  I think I've gone through half a box of tissues since then (at least).  Plus some coughs, a fuzzy head, and a bit of a bloody nose last night.  Pleasant, huh?

V is almost better: still weak and tired, but eating almost like a normal person, and she's back to work today.  I went back yesterday, and since it was so beautiful, I took the kids to a playground for a few hours.  Of course, it was also incredibly windy, and there were a few times I thought Lilly would blow over.  She didn't.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Down

Tonight, there is less relaxing bath-and-wine time.  We went to a friend's for dinner, V felt sick on the way over and never recovered, and she's thrown up four times now.  I could cry.  We can't seem to go on a trip without one of us getting sick.

Thankfully, tomorrow we transfer to a bed and breakfast, and we may then spend the entire day in our room.  Yes, we love this city, but we've been before and we know we'll be back; apparently we need to recuperate from something.

Stress wasn't supposed to follow me here.  Hoping it's gone tomorrow.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Away

I just left the jacuzzi tub where V and I were drinking wine.  To say that this trip was necessary is an understatement.  We've spent wonderful time with extended and, needless to say, accepting family; we've relaxed like we haven't in weeks.

A successful travel, to me, is where you truly feel in a different world: where after only a few hours, home and reality seem light-years away.  I can't believe that it was only about thirty hours ago that we left to drive to the airport.  That fact makes me so very content.

The glass of wine helps, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moment

I'm curled up on the couch, under my beloved brown fuzzy blanket, trying to take a moment to relax, breathe, and stop this horrific sore throat that I developed yesterday.  It's only getting worse, and now has a headache buddy too.  V is upstairs packing; I did some, and then needed a break.  Did I mention that the sink is overflowing with dishes?  I was supposed to do them about two hours ago.

Why must vacations come with so much stress?