Monday, September 27, 2010

Apple Pickin'

Two years ago, Labor Day 2008. I am STILL getting that look on a daily basis. Things don't change much, do they?

A friend and I took Noah apple picking this past Labor Day and it was by far one of the best days he and I have had together. He loved running up and down the rows of trees, picking out the best apples to put in the bag, and devouring freshly baked apple cider donuts (deep-fried heaven, seriously). 

He insisted on pulling the wagon for about a foot until 
he was realized the odds were against him.

His thought process: Wait. You mean I can actually 

I love this one. Just LOVE it.

He pulled on this one for a good five minutes 
before it gave in and popped off the tree. 
I'm pretty sure he almost fell flat on his butt.

The apples were soon forgotten once 
he spied this tractor. Boys and their toys. 

This weekend it's pumpkin pickin' time. And my birthday. Just in case you forgot. I sure love fall!

Tell me: what are your favorite fall activities? Are you an apple and pumpkin pickin' fiend like myself or do you prefer your fall weekends full of football and perhaps a pie? Oooooh pie...

Friday, September 17, 2010


Thank you for all your fun answers! It seems most people change into comfy clothes right away, are mixed on the exfoliation (though I know for sure a couple of you use this as do I...two birds, one stone and whatnot), prefer flats to heels, and wear simple jewelry for day-to-day and chunky for fun. We are all alike, are we not?

Noah and I are home today. He had quite the stuffy nose yesterday and didn't nap at all at school so I figured today was a good day to lay low and get some solid rest in. What is incredibly foreign to me is being home when I feel FINE. It's like I called in sick to work but am really lying about it and am watching crap daytime tv instead. I feel a little...sneaky. Obviously SOMEONE has to stay home with a semi-sick kid and being his MOTHER it makes sense that person is me, but it still feels like I'm taking advantage.

So instead of trotting off to work and school this morning, Noah and I lounged in bed for a while, watched a little Sprout and Disney, showered (I amazed myself with that one), and headed out to do some errands that have been put off for weeks. It's wild what you can get done in two hours when you're not at work. And now Noah is sleeping for what I hope will be a multiple hours long nap while I finish laundry and vacuuming and the dishes and general merriment on the home front.

I miss this a little...the being home with my little guy and getting stuff done. The grind of working outside the home and being a parent wears you down so it's days like this when it feels good to recharge. I know working is the right option for us...but these reminders of days gone by are slightly bittersweet.

Enjoy your weekends, friends. I'll definitely be enjoying mine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oooh fun! *clap clap*

I'm stealing this from Not Raising Brats who stole it from K who got it from her big brain and now it is here. If you would, humor me and answer the following questions:

1. If you work outside of the home, do you change your clothes right when you walk in the door or not until you get in your jammies?

2. Do you exfoliate (pertaining to your facial routine) on a regular basis?

3. What is your very favorite pair of shoes? Links are encouraged.

4. Do you prefer chunky jewelry or simple and understated pieces?

Have at it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lil' stinker, seriously

Noah's taken a slight interest in the potty so we've been doing some diaper-free time lately to encourage the using of the potty. Also, the dog has taken to pooping (would you prefer doo-dooing?) in my family room on a regular basis because she's pissed at me for going back to work or something ridiculous...regardless, she gets yelled at a lot. Keep both of these developments in mind. Also, who wants to come over HERE for dinner? Anyone? No?

So the other day we arrived home from work/school and did the whole "No, Lily! No pooping in the house!" dance while wagging my finger back and forth at her and cleaning it up. Later that evening, Noah was having some diaper-free time while playing with his toys in the family room and Tim and I were on our respective computers in the dining room. All of the sudden I hear Noah's fast footsteps coming toward us and I hear him start saying "No, Lily! No pooping in the house!" Noah arrives in the dining room, buck naked, saying "Mommy, Lily pooped in the house. No pooping in the house!  Bad girl!"

Of course I immediately jump up to investigate and I see the dog come trotting into the room from the OPPOSITE side of the house from the family room. Hmmmm. Lo and behold, I find a small mess RIGHT where I left Noah after removing his diaper. Seems to me someone has learned the time-honored tradition of lying to the parents and blaming it on the dog. Lil' stinker, indeed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Great Daycare Debacle: Part 3 (and The End)

We went on like that for a few weeks: text messages from our caregiver every time Noah so much as threw a fit and negative reports when I picked him up in the evenings. Our energy and "bullshit handling" reserves were dwindling fast. On Wednesday, July 21st, the day after Noah's 2nd birthday, the shit hit the fan, the straw finally  broke the camel's back. I received an urgent text message that Noah had hit the baby with a wooden block and had left a bad attention was requested that evening to address the matter. When I arrived to pick up Noah, she thrust the baby at me and pointed out his bruise. There was a small cut and bruise and of course I felt terrible that Noah hit him. I expressed how sorry I was and asked what I could do to remedy the situation.

She informed me that she was concerned about Noah's aggressive behaviors, that she had two more infants starting in a couple of weeks and she was worried that Noah would hit the infants and how was she to explain that to the parents? This is the point when I nearly lost my shit with this woman. Instead I clammed up while I listened to her tell me she needed to see a major improvement in Noah's behavior by the time the infants started or...but she never said what the "or" result would be. Good thing I heard it loud and clear: we had two weeks to shape up or (implied) ship out.

At this point I gathered up Noah, mumbled some more apologies (like a big ol' wuss) and loaded Noah into the car to head home. Once home, I broke down. I called Tim crying that our son was aggressive and anti-social and what happened to our sweet, kind baby? Being the smart man he is, he gently asked me why I thought the problem was only with Noah and perhaps had I considered SHE was the one with the issues? Good point. I decided to write her an email asking, as clear as day, how she planned to keep the infants and toddlers safe, separate and engaged at the same time. I figured that was a good question to ask (again). Her answer: there is only one of her and they will all play and be together other than at nap time. Well then. Do you think she had considered the ramifications of having three immobile infants and two highly active toddlers in the same room all day long? How would she ever be able to manage all the children and meet all their needs, alone? I know there are some in-home caregivers who are masters at this...ours was not.

Tim set his mind to looking for a new daycare for Noah while I was willing to work it out with her (again with the desperate, sheesh). We went back the next day, Noah was a good boy all day, but when it came time for me to pick him up, we had another (and I didn't know at the time, but final) discussion about Noah's behavior. Her tune changed and drastically. Rather than telling me we had to change Noah's behaviors in a matter of days, she began to say how she thought Noah would really benefit from a more structured, school-like setting because he's so smart and she felt she wasn't going to be able to give him the attention he needed what with all the infants coming soon. Now, instead of us getting fired, we were being pushed to resign. Sneaky.

That very next day I called two daycares thinking there wasn't a chance in hell we would get in. Remember, wait lists are the norm. One daycare called back. They had a last minute opening for August 1st in their 2 year old "preschool", would we like to take a tour? Hell yes we would! The tour was that Friday, by Friday afternoon we were turning in our application, by Friday evening we had informed our caregiver Noah's last day would be the 30th. He started at his new school on the 2nd of August and we haven't looked back.

We are absolutely in love with Noah's new "preschool". It is clean, bright, structured, well-appointed and most of all, Noah has great reports everyday (well, he did bite a 3 year old one time but that was totally in self-defense...the kid is like twice his size). And you know what? The teachers handled it. They didn't freak out and call me. They didn't let that one instance affect how they perceived Noah moving forward. They adore him and tell me so. They tell me how he's thriving and learning so much and how they enjoy him. Noah skips into his classroom without a backward glance or any tears. He brings home art projects and can spell S-T-O-P. He can count to 20 and recognize the numbers. He can sing his alphabet and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He's growing. He's learning. He's doing so very well.

Maybe she was right in the end. But that's not the point. The point is that SHE was the caregiver, SHE was the one who positioned herself as the expert in childcare, SHE was the one who decided to open the daycare with mixed ages. And yet, we were the ones made to feel terrible about our poorly behaved child. There were so many things that didn't happen the way I wished they had: I wish I had taken more time vetting her out, I wish I had interviewed more caregivers, I wish I had allowed myself to look at "centers" rather than thinking an in-home would be a better environment for Noah, I wish I had paid better attention to WHY Noah was acting out rather than trying to quickly "fix" him when nothing was broken. I can't take it back, but oh how I wish I could. I wish I had trusted myself a little more and listened to my instincts when they said to "walk away" after that first day.

I'm constantly learning and evolving in this new(ish) role as Mother. I don't have all the answers, I don't always know which way is right or wrong, but I do know that I my son depends on me to take the best care of him that I can. I am so grateful to his new teachers for helping me do that...and in a way, I am grateful to our old caregiver for pushing us to leave. We never would have ended up where we are otherwise. I am learning to trust myself a little more and feel more comfortable in these shoes I wear. If Noah's happiness is any indication, then I'm doing a pretty good job.