Monday, April 20, 2009

Summer Nanny Search

This past Saturday, the search for a summer nanny began. I posted an ad on and within an hour, my cell phone started ringing. I got 5 messages over the weekend from people who are interested. Mind you, I don't pay well, it's 3 days a week, and it's only from May 15 until August.

I went online to my sittercity account today to check and see who applied. I thought I had 14 applications and thought that was good. Then I clicked onto the Next Page button and realized that I had 14 PAGES of applications, at 10 applications a page, that is 140 people who have applied. I contacted 6 of them -- one because she called, has my same bday and goes to the University of Iowa like I did.

So now we are setting up interviews. Unfortunately, a few of the girls are students and can't come home for an interview until May 10th. That's cutting it a bit close and how can they compete when I have 140 options and many of them can come in for an interview? And do I have them come all the way back for a weekend just to interview for this position? Really?

I'm going to start with the 3 or 4 I have already set up. I'll interview my current nanny's friend --Dave -- Ada might like a manny. And if I don't click with any of those women, then I'll do phone interviews with the 2 at school.

The other bummer about interviewing so many people is the amount of time it takes. We have to prep questions, schedule them, keep track of who's coming, when. And it will eat up a bit of our Saturday. That's a small price to pay to find someone to watch our daughter I guess. And I'm glad to see that we have so many applicants. I think in the future, I'll be more blunt in my posting and say the start date is non-negotiable, the pay is non-negotiable, and you must be available to interview this week or Saturday. Some people are applying just to apply and can't start until June. That isn't helping.

Wish us luck!

Baby Weight (Momma's, not baby's)

In trying to kick the last few pounds of baby weight, which we as a motherhood need to realize isn't really pounds that we need to get rid of... it's fat.

I'll admit I've never been on a diet in my life. I lucked out with good genes and a high metabolism. But I also watch what I eat (so that might count as a diet in one sense of the word), and I've been pretty active... until this past year where I haven't made much time to be active. I thought I was doing well and just carrying an extra inch or so of baby weight when my mom pointed and commented on my gut one day and my husband, much more politely, confirmed it. Rick just said that he thinks it would be good for me to be "more active". "You'd have more energy and feel better all around."

It just so happened that this all coincided this past March with our firm giving up parking spaces at work and me having to walk 10 minutes to the el, up and down two flights of stairs to the platforms, and me making a commitment to start doing yoga at least once a week, if not two or three times. And I must say, everything is so much better now. I still have most of the gut (which is really just a minor blip in my midsection) but I can feel a six pack growing under the layer of flab and I'm encouraged by reading that muscle comes first, then you burn fat, and if I just keep going, I'll have washboard abs in no time(that's if you believe the crap you read). I expect that to happen just in time for me to get knocked up again and watch the whole cycle repeat itself. Great. But at least I feel better and pant a little less when I climb two flights of stairs. Oh, and it's done wonders for my herniated discs in my neck. My symptoms and discomfort are down probably 90%. Amazing.

So for all of you momma's out there, remember that you build muscle before burning fat. It will take time but it is so worth it and can be as easy as taking more walks, eating right, and doing a little yoga (I do yoga with the computer while Ada naps -- for 1 hour sessions and a variety of instructors/experience levels, for 1/2 hour sessions. Both are free and come streaming via the Internet.)

Moral of the story: Get off Facebook, stop stalking your old classmates and start getting buff if that's what you really want. It's not how much you weigh, it's how you look, feel and how your clothes fit. Good luck and much will power.

Ada gets kissed... and what's parent protocol?

Saturday was a beautiful day here in the city. After Ada took a nice afternoon nap (thank goodness she's back on a napping schedule! Yippee!) we headed out to the park for some fun on the baby swing--and an attempt at the slide.

I'm not sure what parks look like in Suburban areas but parks in the city on a nice day are hopping. There must have been 10 kids at this park when we arrive, and either one or both of their parents accompanied them. Then 20 more kids came and went during our visit. It was neat to see the variety of parents in the neighborhood. How different their kids are in age--or really, how close they all seemed to be to Ada's age. However, even though the kids are all similar ages, the parents seem to range from about 27-45. I thought one of the woman might have been a nanny which I thought odd on a Saturday. And one woman appeared to be some one's crazy Aunt as she was having way too much fun--which I know isn't really even possible but she was more excited to be at the park than anyone I've ever seen. She arrived right as we were leaving but it was still interesting.

So here we are in the park. Rick, Ada and I and about 20 other people we don't know. Ada's enjoying the swing, then we move to the little slide. She spun around while going down and almost knocked her head on the side so we moved to the big slide in order to ride with her. That makes sense right? Advance the danger level so we can protect her? Rick went first. This is an older model slide. All metal. Has a metal dome over the top to keep kids from falling over the edge. Rick put Ada on his lap, hunched over so he'd clear the ceiling of the dome, and came shooting out of the slide at top speed. It was about 15 feet high and it is angled funny at the bottom so that it throws you into the ground instead of boosting you into air for your landing. Luckily, Rick was quick enough to prevent a wipe out.

Then I went. A tight fit even for me, and a reminder that I am claustrophobic, we made it down the slide with a similar ending of me almost smashing into the ground at the end. Rick took another turn and then we were saved by our friend Sarah and her little boy Aaron. They distracted us so that Ada could eat some dirt and wood chips while climbing on the jungle gym. A few more parents arrived and the park got pretty full at this point. Aaron was playing ball with a little boy and then ran off to climb the steps to the slide. The little boy, just a few inches taller than Ada--maybe 2 years old, ran to his mom to get a hug and kiss. (We don't know this boy mind you.) Then he crawled down from her arms and ... what's that? He's headed toward Ada with puckered lips. Oh, this is kinda cute. Here it comes. Damn. Why don't I have the camera? Smooch! He gave her a big kiss on the face and then, because he didn't know his own strength, as he was hugging her, he accidentally pushed her over, which ended in Ada bumping her head on the side of the slide. She came up all screams. Mild, fake I'm-fine-but-I-want-some-attention-now-damn-it screams. Poor thing didn't even know what to do. But it was quite funny to see the little boy's parents reaction. They apologized for him knocking her over and went on to a different part of the park. We made light of it and kept playing. No big deal. Ada was fine and went right back to running around and eating dirt so we knew she wasn't hurt at all.

But this brought up the conversation between Rick and I on the walk home.

What is proper parent protocol when your toddlers are playing?
I try to be a very hands-off mom when Ada plays so that she can explore on her own and learn new things and be independent. And when she is fighting with another kid over a toy, chances are she didn't start it because she's very passive. But the other parents frequently jump in and say "Now Billy, that's not how we share. Ada had that first. Let her play with it and then you can have a turn when she's done." Is that how you get your kids to share? How much do they really understand at this age? And what do you do when your kid is the punk at playgroup who can't get along with other kids?

We also talked about how to react when Aaron took Ada's water and started drinking it. I know Ada isn't sick so I wasn't worried or bothered that he was drinking from it. I had another water bottle with me she could use anyway. But Rick said "He can have it. That's fine." And realized later that maybe he should have directed that comment to Sarah instead of to Aaron. As in, "Aaron, how about we ask your mom if you can have Ada's water. Sarah, it's fine with us if he has Ada's water. She isn't sick and we have more. But only if it is okay with you."

That just seems like a whole lot of work to me. Parents have to walk on eggshells all the time trying to teach their kids manners and not tick off the other parents in the park. Is there an easier way? Do parents get less involved once the kids get older?

I also saw a gentleman in the sandbox with his daughter. She picked up another girl's bucket and shovel and he said, "Can you ask her if you can use that?" His daughter didn't say anything but started rubbing her stomach in sign language to say "please" and the girl's parents said, "Oh, it's fine if she plays with that." Then he explained that it is important for him that she's asks to play with it and he encouraged his daughter to use her words since the other little girl might not know the sign for "please".

This parenting stuff is hard work! Who knew.

Eventually I hope to figure all of this out. Maybe I can sign up for a "Mommy's Park Etiquette" class to get on the fast track to being a proper parent. Until then, I'm just going to try to keep my kid from ticking off another kid or parent and do the best to teach her how to mind her manners. But I think I'm going to wait a few more months first. We're still working on saying "mommy" and "daddy" at this point, let alone "please", "thank you", and "may I play with that?"

Have I told you lately how much I love...

My Dust Buster?

No. Really. I do. I love it. I think I've blogged about this before but, just in case, it is worth repeating. I love my Dust Buster.

If you are a mother out there with a crumb creating toddler, you'll understand.

If you have hardwood floors or a tiled kitchen or bathroom, you'll understand.

If you have dust bunnies that multiply faster than bunnies in real life, you'll understand.

Dust Busters are Mom's Best Friend.

And no, I don't have any connection to Dust Buster, my mom bought mine for me as a gift. I just really like it. A lot.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Is your daughter panting at my dog?

Why yes, yes she is.

Nanny Ashley has taught Ada many a trick including how to high five, wave goodbye, locate her belly, pant like a dog, and to bark. I had never seen the last two in action until we all went to watch Rick play soccer on Saturday.

Ada kept trying to crawl onto the field while the game was in play and so I tried to distract her with a cute dog who had come to watch his owner play. We approached the dog and her owner, and the guy said Lucille was a super nice dog, good with kids, etc. So Ada crawls up to her and like all dogs, she licks Ada's face clean of any remaining banana or lunch remnants. Then Ada looks at the dog and starts panting. Totally unprompted. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Then I hear a faint little "woof, woof, woof". The guy looks at me and I look at him and say "Yep. My nanny taught her that. She hasn't mastered Mom or Dad yet but she can pant at your dog."

Gotta love the cute moments when they come. She's full of them.

When your child won't sleep...

Ada hasn't been taking naps very well this past few weeks and I think we've found a solution.

Send in Grandma DD.

We'll hire her out if you don't have one of your own Grandma DD.

And I must disclose that it probably wasn't any sort of magic that DD used but instead, her timing, patience, strong desire to cuddle the munchkin, and a lot of luck.

Rick, Nanny Ashley and I have all been struggling to get Ada to get a consistent nap schedule. I thought we had one for a few weeks around 11 am each day. And then that stopped but Ada's crankiness increased. We've tried a few different things, including using DD as the secret weapon, and today my secret for getting her to nap is to feed her, let her play until she rubs her eyes, feed her a big lunch, let her play some more, and then put her down at 3pm.

She was out until 4:20.


Moral of the story: When in doubt, tucker them out. (and be sure to stuff them if they eat as much as my kid does.)

Who's superstitious?

I'm going to have to admit that I'm not superstitious. And I have to say that because Ada is way too young to have 7 years of bad luck. No one-year-old should have to suffer that curse because her mother said "No Ada, put the hand mirror back." and her father said, "It's fine. It won't break. It's plastic."

You already know how this ends up. Ada made it about 3 minutes before banging the mirror on the kitchen floor and breaking it into about seven different pieces.

I told you so, daddy.

If she has any curse, it's that of being too cute for her own good.

I get by with a little help from...

random, unsuspecting, strangers on their way to get a morning coffee...

Some say it takes a village to raise a child. I would add that it takes the kindness of strangers to help momma's get there Easter pies too.

The Saturday before Easter, I needed to go to a local coffee shop Noble Tree Coffee and Tea to pick up pies I'd ordered earlier in the week from Hoosier Mama Pies. Ada has been fighting naps lately so she went with me on a walk that turned into a stroller nap for her. (Rick got to stay home and replace light bulbs.) Typically, that's a fine scenario. Unfortunately, she was passed out in our big BOB stroller and there was no way I was going to be able to get her and/or the stroller into this Coffee shop. You see, the shop is a former 3 story house that was converted... and it has two stairs that go up to the patio, and then 6 stairs that lead up to a standard size door.... probably with a second vestibule door beyond that with my luck-- I don't know since I've never actually been into the store. So here I was, with Ada passed out, and my big honking stroller, hanging outside the coffee shop, waiting for the Universe to help me out. I could have woken her up, put the stroller on the porch, slung the diaper bag over my shoulder and shimmied into the shop, fearing that the stroller was being stollen while I waited in line and punching myself for waking Ada up since you NEVER wake a sleeping child. EVER. Or I could... um... well... I don't know. How about I just wait here for a minute and see what happens.

Just as I'm getting ready to call Rick to figure out what to do(like he'll have a magical answer--more so I don't look stupid standing here waiting for someone to walk by), a man and woman, about my age, start crossing the street toward me. They look at me and I ask if they are heading into the coffee shop. "Yeah. Is it open?"

"Oh yeah, it's just that I'm in a sort of a bind. My daughter is asleep, I can't get the stroller into the building and I have to pick up two pies I ordered for Easter. I was wondering if you could help me out?"

"Sure." The woman says. "Do you want us to get the pies or stay here with her while you run in to get them?"

Think fast. Do you give them your credit card, or let them watch your child? This is so NOT a tough decision.

"Here's my credit card."

"Great. I'll bring them out for you before we order our coffee." She says.

"Thank you soooo much." I reply.

I sit down and sure enough, within 5 minutes she's coming back with my credit card, the receipt, and the two pie boxes. "Peanut Butter Pie sounds good..."

"I hope so. These are Hoosier Mama Pies. Super good, if you can get them out of the coffee shop." I thank her. She goes back in to enjoy her morning cuppa Joe. And the Universe keeps on.

Moral of the story: Always help a momma out. Pay it forward and good deeds will come back to you ten-fold. And when in doubt, ask the Universe for a little help.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is that Ada?

I find it really funny when people say "Hmmm... who does Ada look like? You or your husband?" and then they try to figure it out and dissect the baby's features.

"I think she has your nose, and Rick's eyes..."

Do people really enjoy doing that? Is it a fun game? Am I missing out on something?

I never, ever, ever, look at a kid and say "Wow, you've got your mom's big honker." or "Luck for you, you didn't get your daddy's receding hairline and big buck teeth darling."
Unless mother and daughter are the spitting image of one another, I really don't notice. And even then I feel like I'm acting the part of captain obvious, just running through the motions as it is the proper thing to do. It just seems like a silly conversation to fill time while we pass through life. Maybe that's just me...
And to make the situation worse, I haven't mastered my response to the comment yet either.

"Uh... she looks like both of us?" "Well, she definitely got Rick's beautiful blue eyes."

Hello. She has 50% of each of our genes and my husband and I happen to look a lot a like, tall thin, blonde hair, similar eye shape, different shades of blue eyes, similar lips -- once even confused for brother and sister -- just once.

And now that Ada is getting a little older, we are starting to get the "she really looks like baby Shiloh..." Now there is something to be proud of... my baby looks like Brangelina's love child! (At least she's cute.)

So I give you a comparison (in case you also really like to play this game of who my baby looks more like.)

Baby Shiloh...
Ada's Dad and Ada's Mom...

Feel free to leave a comment and tell the world wide web what you think. You have a 100% chance of being right really because, well, she's equal part of us and don't all blonde haired, pale skinned, blue-eyed babies look like Shiloh?
Moral of the story: Babies, who come from the loins of their mother and father, are probably going to look like... you guessed it... Shiloh. Oh, I mean, their mother and father. Imagine that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Crib Sheets - Yea!

So a fellow mom gave me some crib she had that she wasn't using and I'm in heaven. They are so much bigger than the ones I had that I feel like a new woman.

If your crib sheets suck, revolt.

Don't wait over a year like I did to find a better sheet. It isn't worth it. Life is just so much better now I can't even tell you.

Moral of the story: Life really is beautiful when you have good crib sheets.

Monday Oprah's Mom Show

As I mentioned before, I took my mom to Oprah. We are going to be in the audience for Monday's show. So exciting.

I guess that means I have to figure out when Oprah is actually on, what channel, and ask my neighbor if I can go up and watch it. Our TV only gets digital channel 2 right now, and we don't have cable, tivo, a dvr or any of that fanciness. I'm just going to have to get creative.

Maybe I can go watch it at a local bar with Ada. That's always an option, right?

Just my luck...

Ada's finally getting a respectable amount of hair now that she is 15+ months old. And like all little monsters, it keeps getting into her eyes and is annoying. So I broke down in a moment of weakness and bought her a high fa-lut-in' barrette with a fancy name from a little boutique that set me back $8.

That wasn't a typo. I bought a barrette for $8. OUCH!

But look how cute it is... (seen here on Eva since I never got a chance to photograph Ada with it in her hair.)

So you can imagine my surprise when I come home today to find it, well, in less than stellar shape. Detached from it's clip and soaked in spit.
My whole point of buying it was like every other cheap mom... to see how it was made and get the stuff to make them myself. That's great and fine and dandy until you go to the fabric store here in the city and have to wait in line for half an hour to get them just to cut the ribbon.
Screw it. I'll shave her head before I do that.
Note: Ada's holiday wish lists all include cute barrettes that stay in her hair, similar to this one above.
Moral of the story: You can't win 'em all.