Posts Tagged ‘ sitter ’

When To Start Time-Outs?

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

I’ve said it before, but I think I’m going to be saying this for a long, long time. I can’t grasp how the male species has survived. This, after having a boy. An 18-month old boy. A boy who has turned from tame to terror. Albeit, a remarkably happy terrorist.

My friends with boys just laugh it off. They are already in this club and have accepted what it means to have birthed a Y chromosome. For those of us who have girls, it is a rude awakening.

Fia was a wild child. I used to joke she was “like a boy.” I still hear moms saying that about their daughters. Baaahhaaaa. Not even close.

Fia has tons of energy and is still full of spunk. But she isn’t stupid. She didn’t climb up on counters and reach for butcher knives. I wouldn’t turn my back for 3.3 seconds only to find her dangling from a bar. Or climbing in the dryer. Or crawling in a drawer. Or, Or, Or…I could go on and on.

It seems each day I am reaching a new level of madness. It is making me feel like I no longer have control of my house. We are moving and our current place is really hard to childproof. But we are here for 3 more deadly months. Who knows what this tornadic force will do next? I can’t even make supper anymore without him nearly losing a limb. Hello? Calvary? Anyone there?

The thing is, he has about the best temperament of any child I’ve met. He giggles in his sleep and sings in his highchair. And as, um, “active” as he is, he will sit for 30 minutes and page through books. At least he used to do all these things. I’m scared I’m losing that part of him. I’m scared he’s turning into a gorilla.

So what to do? He is starting to get angry when his needs aren’t instantly met. He gets frustrated if he can’t figure out a toy and sends it hurtling across the room. Yesterday I turned my back for 1.3 seconds. He had a glass I had just set down, dumped the water out and as I screamed, “NOOO” he looked at me with that mischievous grin and sent it crashing in a million pieces on the floor. He has discovered that pulling hair makes Fia cry. He thinks “finished” with his food means throwing it all on the ground. “Emmett—NOOOOOO!!!!!” is becoming the dominant phrase in our house.

Oh, but it gets better. He yanked Phil’s prescription sunglasses off his face today and threw them across the room. As usual, we reacted. Phil yelled, “NO EMMETT! “YOU DO NOT DO THAT.” Emmett immediately burst into tears. Wailing. The word NO also equals meltdown. Or, in an act of animalistic defiance, he starts to eat his arm or foot. I am raising a gorilla, a canibal and a crybaby.

My sitter Michele just laughs. She has 5 kids, 4 of them boys. She said Emmett definitely ranks up there as a wild one, but at the end of the day she insists he’s simply “all boy.” She points to how fearless and fun his disposition is. I can’t entirely disagree. My pediatrician has said he is one of the more active babies she’s seen, but the fact that he does (or did??) sit and read and have quiet time made her think he just has a lot of energy to burn. My in-laws say he’s a normal, happy toddler. How can this be? “Normal” is making me pull out my hair. How does the male species justify their insane behavior as “normal???”

I know I’m probably painting a terrible picture of him and it sounds contradictory when I say he is almost always in a great mood. But these little snapshots happen throughout the day. What do I do? Should I start putting him in his crib for a timeout? I feel like he’s too little to “get it.” Am I being had?  Will he begin to understand consequences and boundaries at 18 months? Fia is 3 1/2 and I honestly can’t remember when she had her first time out. But it definitely wasn’t this young. She was far tamer. To date, she’s probably had less than 7 time-outs.

When he turns 2, I’m planning on putting him in preschool 2 mornings a week. I think some structure will help. But that is still 6 months away. A lot can happen.Maybe I just need to embrace this chapter. Let it pass. Or maybe I should find a different preschool… one that will take him now.

Looking for advice, tips and a survival timeline. Please.

 

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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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My Nanny=My Wife

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.

I hired a nanny full time. I better hide behind a duck blind to keep from getting shot, given the outrage from my Sitter Chronicles awhile back. i.e: Why aren’t you raising your kids yourself? –was the gist of many comments. But hear me out:

It takes a village right? Well, I am new to LA. I have no village. No family nearby. And I don’t have a ton of close friends yet–or at least friends who don’t have their own lives, jobs, kids to take care of. And even if I did, I wouldn’t burden them with helping me. I just felt like with 2 babies, I’d be a better mom if I didn’t feel constant pressure to be the “only one.” So here’s how it’s shaping up:

Cleo, my nanny, is part time now. She becomes full time once baby Leroy (working title) comes. This isn’t so I can skip off and take tennis lessons (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I’m not a Desperate Housewife). This is so I can pick and choose the quality time to spend with either Fia or Baby. Or by myself. No one wins a medal for carting two kids around all the time. I mean, plenty of people do it. Many out of necessity. I am just incredibly grateful to have the means to hire help. (I often hear, “Well, our parents did it.” I laugh at that. God, if you had known my parents, you’d know that they are not to be put on pedestals for their stellar parenting!)

A little bit about Cleo: She is the wife I always wanted. She sweeps my floors while Fia naps. She cooks for me! As in homemade soups, salads, black beans from scratch….she can look in the fridge and see meals where I see nothing. She brings me afternoon tea if I’m in my office writing. I don’t ask her to do any of this. She is just a nurturer. I am in love.

I found her on a website/listserv out here called Booby Brigade. She had amazing recommendations. When she walked in, Phil and I both knew. She was the one. Like my friend Teresa said: finding a good nanny is harder than finding your spouse. So I feel like I’ve found both.

She’s from El Salvador and is speaking Spanish to Fia, and will to the new baby as well. She raised 5 kids on her own here. Her youngest daughter is 15 and she sometimes brings her with if she’s watching Fia for our date night. Fia loves them both. I feel like they just add a good energy to our house.

I’m hoping that by having her, I’ll handle the newborn phase a little better than I did with Fia. If nothing else, I should be able to take naps and catch up on sleep with a second set of hands. I think this is a great solution for me in terms of juggling a household, a 2-year old, my freelance work, and a newborn.

Any of your pregnant women planning on full time help even if you don’t have a full time job outside of the home? Dare I ask if you think I’m indulgent or smart?

 

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Nanny Driving=Me Crazy

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

My nanny wants to drive Fia places. Playgrounds, the zoo, playspaces–in other words, do things that Fia loves. This is fantastic news, right? Except that the worry will put me in the looney bin.

In Brooklyn, driving was never an option. No one has cars, plus you walked to everything. Rain, sleet or shine. Didn’t matter. It’s one of the things that kicked my mom ass…the constant schleping.

Now we live in Los Angeles, which is the equivalent of living in the suburbs. There isn’t anything in walking distance. You drive to places.

After a frustrating search, I found this amazing nanny to watch Fia part time. She’ll be full time once the new baby comes. With no family in the area, it takes a village, even if that means hiring the village. So that’s what I’m doing.

I’ll call her M.C. She raised 5 kids on her own, she’s here legally, she’s going to speak Spanish to Fia, and all the moms who have used her said that she drove their kids everywhere. She has a perfect driving record. I have her license and am running a check myself.

But man, putting your baby in someone else’s hands to drive is a whole new thing for me. As my one friend said, “It’s like putting your most prized possession in a death trap.” I drive with Fia everyday. But only I. Or Phil. No one else has driven with her before.

I guess this is where a leap of faith comes in. Another friend of mine once said, “At some point, you have to learn to trust.” Maybe this is one of those times.

I printed out a list of activities in the area that I thought they could go to. None of them requires the interstate and it’s all within a 5 mile radius. Still, I’m torn. It’s not fair to either of them to force them to stay at the house all the time. And to shuttle them around myself seems counterproductive to having help in the first place.

Any thoughts?

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Why Is My Child Having Separation Issues Now?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

My sweet, sad girl when separated

Fia has been a champ when it comes to sitters. I credited it with my superb parenting skills. Having never been a parent before, I’m not sure why I thought I was so brilliant, but I had this theory: by exposing her to a lot of different people from the newborn stage on, she would be used to different caretakers and be okay when I wasn’t around. So what happens to babies at 21 months with their separation issues? Or is Fia just a late bloomer? I thought this was an issue much earlier on in their development. I was feeling relief for dodging that bullet.

Now, anytime one of her sitters walks in, she starts wailing. Real tears and everything. It blows. They tell me as soon as I leave she is fine, and I believe them. But why such angst? I also just enrolled her in this Spanish playgroup thing.  It’s from 9-noon twice a week and I drop her off. It’s not that she cries so much after I leave. It’s more the clinging and whimpering that happens while I’m still there. She knows I’m going to go and gets herself all worked up. Once I’m gone, the teachers say she recovers quickly. But I don’t understand why this is happening now.

I work from home, so my schedule is flexible. Phil also works from home. So we’re probably around more than most people. Could therein lie the problem? Is it possible that the lack of a sitter schedule/routine is throwing her into turmoil? Would I be better off not having the sitters so irregularly and instead when we move to LA find a part time playgroup like the Spanish thing so there is some consistency? Or is this just a phase she will work through?

I await the wisdom of you who have been here before.

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