Posts Tagged ‘ babysitter ’

Milestone Monday: Is Your Toddler Different At School?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Is it a milestone to suddenly turn shy? To go from boisterous to bashful?

The other day I went to pick Fia up from preschool. I asked the director if she was the wildest one in her class. What she said made no sense to me.

“Fia? No, she’s probably the quietest one.”

Huh? Feral Fia? The one who never stops chatting at home? Who oozes personality and spunk? Who dances and climbs and twirls? Even the other day while we were sitting at dinner, she squeezed her eyes shut, put her hands in prayer position, and went into a yoga chant. Phil and I almost died laughing.

“Fia, where did you learn that?”

“From yoga at school!” she exclaimed.

I’ve seen her do downward dog and tree pose, but the chants blew me away. It was so damn funny.

The school situation has me baffled. They said that during free play, she usually just plays quietly with herself, reading books or coloring. During the structured activities she is with everyone else. But other times she’s kind of a loner.

They told me she often stands back and just watches the other kids; that she is an observer, not a participant. I don’t know why the thought of that breaks my heart, but it does. Is she shy? Scared? Not confident? This is a girl that for months couldn’t stop hugging every kid she met.

She’s 2 years and 7 months. Is this still the age of parallel play? Or is she insecure? This side of her is a mystery to me.

She only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The teachers suggested we bump her up to 3 days in a row. Tue-Wed-Thur. Perhaps the repetition will make her more interactive with the other kids.

I have no doubt this is a great preschool. So it’s not that. Maybe my girl is just more subdued in unfamiliar situations? Or larger crowds? The other day our nanny had 6 kids over. Phil observed from his study that while all the other kids were running through the sprinklers, Fia just stood back and watched. She did that for 10 minutes. When she is one-on-one with a playdate, she is much more engaged. I’ve never seen her just stand back.

Should I tell our nanny and the school to pull her into the group more? Or is this something where you take a hands off approach and let her find her own way? Is going to preschool for 3 days in a row a wise choice, so it becomes more familiar? (It’s only from 9-1 pm).

I’m looking for advice from the moms who have been there before me. I don’t want to overstep my bounds with her, but I don’t want to ignore something either. Thoughts?

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Babysitter Saga–Do You Have One to Share?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

It’s really hard to let someone else watch your kid. But most of us have had to take that leap of faith—whether it’s daycare, a nanny or a babysitter. No one is perfect (including us moms), so of course you’re going to find flaws in the help (i.e. read my sitter chronicles). However, I was appalled at the email I got from a friend about a recent babysitter fiasco. It’s so absurd I had to share. I am calling her kid “Y”. He’s three. And now in much better hands. Can anyone top this?

So I really wanted a drink last night because….

I have this sitter a few mornings per week (so I can work). She’s been with us for almost a year or so. She’s young (27) and an aspiring singer. So, you know–her heart isn’t really in this and she’s kind of dramatic and crazy in that performance-artist kind of way. Also, she has my least favorite quality in a sitter: Instead of asking questions, she pretends like she knows everything and is listening to me, when I suspect she’s not.

One time, she came to watch Y and she had no makeup on. When I came back, she was totally made up. She looked great so I asked her about her eye shadow. She said, “Oh, it’s yours!” Yep. She helped herself to my makeup. Since then, I put out some old “dummy” makeup in case she
goes digging for it again. I hide the rest.

I thought about letting her go then, but it’s hard to find a new person. I dread the process. Hate it actually. Plus, I don’t use her that often and Y loves her. He doesn’t take to many people, so to start from scratch just seems daunting.

So yesterday, she shows up and I compliment her on her outfit. “Ugh,” she says. “I just got my period so I took my underwear off. I need to wash them in your machine.”

Ooookaaaaay…..

I leave to go get my car washed and sit at Starbucks with my computer, to work. I get a call around 4 that Y locked her out of the house.

Amazing, right?

My husband (X) went home (since my car was being washed) and let her go for the day. He’s relatively unfazed. He said, “Well, I guess that’s something that could have happened to us.” It’s like I’m married to an ape. I’m pretty pissed. I asked him if he paid her. He didn’t. Did she tell him not to bother paying since she screwed up? Nope. So now I owe her.

Two nights before this incident, I said she could bring her friend from out of town over. I came home to them all watching Ironman on television (not talking about the Triathlon either). Maybe it’s unrelated, but Y had nightmares that night. The more I think about it, I am going to find someone else. I’m not using her again. But do I still have to pay her for the half-shift she served before she got locked out?

Jill here again: What do you all think? Crazy, right?

 

Picture of Baby by Himself courtesy of Shutterstock

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Introducing My New Blog Title: Fearless Feisty Mama

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Our New Blog Picture

We have a new name! No, not of Emmett or Fia, but of my blog. While we loved Of Fi I Sing, Emmett was excluded. Plus, with two kids I am entering a new phase of my life. As my blog has evolved, we realized my outlook is more than just focusing (and obsessing) on Fia. Motherhood is so all-encompassing and takes on almost all aspects of my life. We wanted the title to reflect that more. Plus, I didn’t want my boy to need (more) major therapy later on for feeling left out.

So after some massive brainstorming sessions in which I thought my computer Thesaurus was going to fire me, we came up with this new one. Introducing:

Fearless Feisty Mama: Candid and Comical Confessions of a Slightly Obsessive Mom

I’m really excited about it. I think it conveys more of my tone and style. We decided on “Fearless” because I’m not afraid to share my story. Whether it be the death of my drug- addicted mom, my decision to stay on antidepressants when pregnant, or my ugly vag issue, I tend to speak my mind and give an open and honest opinion.

We came up with “Feisty,” not only because I love alliteration, but in many ways it is my attitude towards parenting issues. From my annoyance at my babysitters for constantly losing sh-t, to the people who pay their nannies six-figures (ridiculous!), to my adamant stance on sleep training (do it!).

With my new name, we have a new look! My friend Jilly Wendell is an amazing photographer. She was kind enough to come over to our chaos and take a zillion pictures, hoping to get one without Emmett barfing, Fia screaming and me grimacing through a forced smile–though that is probably more realistic of our current state.

I’ll post some of the others this Friday.

Also, you may notice some of the older posts have images missing. And there are a few technical difficulties we are sorting out in changing my blog title. So bear with us and keep coming back. You guys help feed my creative soul.

 

Blog photo courtesy of Jilly Wendell Photography

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The Nanny Price Tag

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Full Disclosure: I paid in excess of 4K to give my cat, Wayne Sanchez a vagina (the whole story is here). But that was to save his life. When it comes to my kids, and yes, I do consider Wayne one of my children, I spare no expense.

However, I was a bit dismayed at this article in the New York Times Magazine. The reporter wrote about the high-priced nanny culture–in which some caregivers get 6-figure salaries, penthouse apartments, beach houses, etc. to take care of other peoples babies.

Don’t get me wrong: I have a full-time nanny myself. I love her. Even though I don’t have a full time 9-6 job, I make no apology for going this route. But I don’t love my kids any less for paying her a fair, market-based salary. I mean, your kid can still have an accident (god forbid). They still tantrum. They poop and they pee and their diapers get changed the same way. And hopefully if you have someone good, they laugh just as hard, dance just as much and sing just as beautifully. So what is the difference here? I think it lies in this part of the reporter’s story, i.e.:

…And then there’s social climbing. “A lot of families, especially new money, are really concerned about their children getting close to other very affluent children,” Greenhouse says. “How do they do that? They find a superstar nanny who already has lots of contacts, lots of other nanny friends who work with other high profile families.” There are the intangibles too. “I’m working with a phenomenal Caribbean nanny right now,” Greenhouse says. “She is drop-dead beautiful. Her presentation is such that you’re proud to have her by your children’s side at the most high-profile events.”

G-R-O-S-S.

I get that your nanny is helping to raise your child and there is no price tag to put on that. But I can’t help feeling like some of the elite who do this are trying to buy their way into proper parenting. Or perhaps buy their way out. Maybe it makes them feel less guilty and more justified in having the help if they are paying them top dollar? And what are their children to them anyway? An accessory?

This whole obsession in our culture with appearance and money is, to use the word again, GROSS. I can’t watch shows like Real Housewives for this very reason–even if it is just escapism television. People who are that out of touch with the rest of the world don’t interest me. Unless it’s to write a blog.

The one person I am happy for in all this is the nanny– though you could pay her half that amount and give the rest to a kick ass charity–and she’d still be making more than most people.  I’m just saying…

One of the nanny’s mentioned came from a poor family in South America. It sounds like she was able to better her entire family’s life–including buying her mother a house and her sister a car. I hope her employers are sleeping better at night.

But come on rich-parents-who-hire-6 figure-nannies–don’t jack up the price and think you’re a better parent. Or that your kid will turn out “better”. Or that your family is more “ideal”. Plus, if enough people pay mucho bucks, you hurt the market for the rest of us “little” people.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Full-Time Help: And Better For It

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I’m not ashamed to say that I now have a full-time nanny. Cleo started part time, with the understanding that we go full time once Emmett arrived. She is an amazing woman with a heart of gold. She is honest as the day is long. She is head over heels in love with my babies. She takes care of me too. For example, last week, she made us a WHOLE chicken–restaurant quality. She helps me with house keeping. And most importantly, she gives me the opportunity to enjoy each of my babies one at a time.

Having Cleo is also preventing me from falling into the “mom martyr complex,” which I’ve seen some of my friends do. They constantly complain about how tired and frustrated they are, how they hate their husbands, yet choose to do nothing about it–whether it be a nanny or part time preschool/daycare, etc. It’s one thing if you can’t afford it. It’s another if you make a choice to be miserable.

I also think it’s really hard to juggle two kids without one inevitably feeling the shaft. If I can just be with Fia or just be with Emmett at different intervals throughout the day, and get some “me time” to boot, I am a happier human being. I know Fia loves having my undivided attention at times. I’m sure Emmett appreciates it too, as I don’t have to let him cry for very long if I have Cleo there to help.  In other words, the reason behind hiring a full time nanny wasn’t so I could go out and play tennis all day, everyday. It’s so I could give 100% of my attention to my children, my writing, my husband, the bill paying, etc, one-at-a-time--without feeling frantic, followed by angry, then losing my sh-t.  Or popping Xanax all day. (Kidding). For me, I’m a better mom because of it.

But I know this is a controversial issue, as seen by my “sitter chronicles” last summer. A handful of moms railed on me for not being with Fia 100% of the time.  And now that I have full time help–gasp–I’m sure some think I’m terribly indulgent. Frankly I just feel lucky and blessed that it’s all worked out this way.

Anyone care to weigh in?

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