Posts Tagged ‘ Daycare ’

Need a Nanny? Try Speed Dating.

Monday, June 18th, 2012

With my residency complete, my next task has been to focus on finding a nanny in Massachusetts to take care of Caroline for the summer before her new preschool opens.

(Side note: this new preschool is totally badass.  It’s a Montessori school where she can take Spanish and music and art and yoga and Zumba.  Not joking.  I basically want to go to it myself and send Caroline off to work in my dental office to support us.  I mean, she’s already got the scrubs.  But I digress.)

Faced with this task, I tackled it with my usual crazy-intense full-tilt totally-inappropriate approach: I went all in, you guys.  I did nanny speed dating.

I used to post an ad for a nanny (did not include Caro’s Tumblr, though I should have) and was promptly overwhelmed by over thirty applicants for the job.  In all seriousness, that website is great.  The vast majority of the applicants were well-qualified and seemed very nice, and they do the background checks for you.  No, I’m not getting paid by them to write this– it’s just the truth.

Problem is, with all those applicants and all the online dating I’ve been doing lately, I was afraid I was going to mix up my accounts and start hitting on the nannies and trying to hire the single men.  Which I’m pretty sure is illegal in at least 48 states.  (Although, wait a minute… that actually sounds like a more successful dating strategy than anything else I’ve tried lately…)

Anyway.  I managed to narrow the field to six potential nannies, and scheduled to meet all of them in half-hour blocks this afternoon.  Let’s just pause for a minute and discuss how incredibly awkward I am and should never be allowed to interview anyone for anything, ever.

Okay, good talk.  Glad I could share that with you guys.

It was a rather tedious afternoon of saying the same thing over and over and asking the same questions over and over, trying to politely dismiss them before the next one walked in while we were chatting.  One of the nannies actually called me out on it:

Me: (glancing at the door) Okay, well, thanks for coming by!  I’ll be in touch about the position.  Nice to meet you!

Her: Are you cycling all your potential nannies through here this afternoon, like, one right after another?

Me: What? No. (guilty look)

Her: (irritated) You’re doing this like speed dating, aren’t you?

Me: HAHAHA!  That’s exactly what this is like!  That’s hilarious!  I love it!

Her: ::blank stare::

Yeah, I didn’t hire her.  I don’t think we’re that compatible.  We’d never work out in the long run.  We just want different things, you know?  (It’s not her… it’s me.)

In the end, I found a great girl to come and hang out with Caroline this summer while I’m working, and hopefully help ease her transition to a new home, a new preschool, her father moving away, and whatever else we have in store for us.  Speed dating was a pretty efficient way to find her, too.  And now it’s on to the next task: moving to a new home, with a three year old in tow, and no help.

Anyone know of a speed dating service for movers?

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I Was a New-Mom Germaphobe

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

When I was a brand-new parent, I was a complete and total germaphobe.

Gallon-size jug of hand sanitizer at the entrance to our apartment as a hint to everyone who entered?  Check.  Shopping cart covers and antibacterial cases for her binkies?  Check, check.  Toys washed in diluted bleach, bottles boiled, and pump parts sterilized every night?  Check, check, and check.

To be fair, we did two weeks’ hard time in the NICU for pneumonia, so it was somewhat warranted…

However, I, like most of us, slowly made the transition from germaphobic brand-new parent to, well, it’s not that I want her to be dirty, but if it happens, it happens.  I hadn’t really thought about this until the other day, when we were on a train to Grand Central.  Caroline licked the window of the filthy train and I barely even flinched.

At work last week I walked into the conference room and some of my coworkers were having a conversation about how they think that growing up “too clean” can lead to improper development of kids’ immune systems.  “Hey, Julia,” one of the faculty said.  “You have a baby, right?  Are you a germaphobe about everything she touches?”

I snorted.  “No,” I said.  “Are you kidding?  That kid is constantly filthy.”  They laughed at me.  “I’m serious,” I said.  “If I were to keep her and everything she touched completely spotless and sterilized, I’d never have time to do anything else.”

Maybe it’s that I work at a place where there sometimes is literally hepatitis all over the counter (until I sterilize it, okay?  Don’t freak out), but a little dirt and grime doesn’t get to me like it used to.  Besides, she’s in daycare all day.  I used to whisper to her to stay away from the snotty kid as I was leaving, but she never listened (kids these days!) and anyway they were all “the snotty kid” by mid-December anyway, including her.

In any case, I believe that in many ways it’s counterproductive to raise your kid in a bubble.  I won’t go into technical stuff about the immune system, but I think it’s better for her health and it’s definitely better for my sanity if I don’t go around spraying everything she touches with bleach.  It doesn’t mean I’m a bad or negligent mom… it just means I’m realistic, you know?  For me, relaxing a little bit about stuff like this is sort of part of my development as a parent, just like I’ve slowly tried to let go of my helicopter mom tendencies.

So go forth, child.  Be free, and be dirty.

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My “I-Will-Never’s”: Toddler Edition.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I wrote a post like this, long ago, about things I always said I’d never do once I had a baby that got shot to hell once my baby was actually born.  I think it’s about time for round two: the toddler edition.

“When my kid is a toddler, I’ll never…”

1.  Let her use a pacifier.  Little kids walking around with binkies in their mouths were always a pet peeve of mine.  Well, let me tell you (as I’ve told you before), Caroline is so attached to hers that prying that thing out of her mouth is a lot easier said than done.  We’re pretty much down to naps and nighttime, but I haven’t dared to take the final push just yet.  It has taken me this long to even get to that point because the fact is, I don’t have time to deal with my entire house going up in an apocalyptic mushroom cloud every morning over a stupid piece of plastic and rubber.  I’m late for work, here’s your pacifier.

2. Feed her junk food.  I try not to do this often, but there are several reasons I caved on this one.  First of all, some days she’ll refuse to eat anything at all and if I can get a couple of Goldfish in her so she doesn’t starve and/or stay up all night, then that’s what I’m gonna do. Second, I just don’t have time to whip up wholesome food every single time she eats.  Third, once in awhile I want to eat junk food, and she sees me doing it and makes a beeline for the bag of whatever salty, fatty deliciousness I’m shoving into my own face.  And people, I’ve got enough on my plate as it is.  Let me have my junk food, I beg of you.

3. Let her watch TV.  I was opposed to this because of all the studies that tell you that if you let your kids watch TV they’ll end up with ADHD or Ebola or it’ll make all their teeth fall out or whatever.  But listen, that wonderful machine lets me prepare dinner and clean the house and occasionally get an extra twenty glorious minutes of sleep.  There’s no way I’m ever gonna pass that up.  Everything in moderation, right?

4. Allow her to talk back to me in public.  Haha.  Hahahaha.  Isn’t it hilarious that I ever thought I’d be able to control stuff like that?

5. Carry her everywhere she goes.  Okay, she is getting to be way too big to be carried anywhere, at least for me, since she’s nearly a third of my weight at this point.  And I shouldn’t let her force me to.  But the fact is, sometimes I really need to get somewhere, like work, and she just. will. not. go where I need her to.  So I have to pick her up.  And then she wants to be carried the next time around.  And repeat.  It’s a vicious cycle and I haven’t figured out how to break it.  In the meantime, the kid’s getting carried into daycare every time I’m late.  Which is… every day.

6. Refuse to read books over and over.  Because reading is good for them.  Right?  It feeds their brains.  And sets up good habits for lifelong learning.  Except by the time I’ve read If You Give a Pig a Pancake seventy-five times, there is nothing on this earth that could possibly resuscitate my brain from its childrens-book-coma and make me become a normal person who can function normally in adult society.  The other day, after a particularly long weekend of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, a patient asked for whitening and I came thisclose to asking them if they’d tried something called VOOM.  I wish I were kidding.

Now, it’s up to you: leave your toddler I-will-never’s in the comments, so I don’t feel so bad!

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Potty Training: Can It Really Be This Easy?

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

I love her to death, but nothing about Caroline has ever been easy.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  She slept through the night early on and was pretty consistent about that until I switched her to a big girl bed (at which point she started getting up a million times a night and still hasn’t stopped, five months later).

Other than that, I love her but she’s high-needs to the max.  Starting with the whole NICU experience, through the reflux and the weight loss and the gross motor delay and the picky eating to the extreme and the death grip on the binky, it hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park.  She’s only very recently started to entertain herself for short periods of time, which makes it tough on a single mom who has lots to do.  Let’s just say that I’ve never been one of those moms who has an easygoing kid and thinks parenting is a breeze.

We’ve worked on potty training halfheartedly for months.  I think the real problem was that I was too lazy busy to really get after it.  But she’ll be three this winter, and she’s more than ready for preschool in every other way, so I talked to daycare and we decided to take the plunge.  I put her in big girl underwear and sent her to school with no diapers.  That was yesterday.

She’s had maybe… three accidents total over two days.  She asks to go when she needs to, and just does her thing and gets her little sticker reward.

I can’t help but think …that’s it??  Come on, Caro!  You’ve made everything else a challenge for me!  You’re almost three years old and I still need 17 cups of caffeinated beverage to survive a single day!  You can’t let me get off this easy!  What will I complain about on my blog??  Think of the blog!

Maybe she’s plotting something.  Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and she’ll have fingerpainted her entire room with her own poop.  Maybe I’m going to have to give her a sticker every time she pees until she’s in college.  Maybe she wants something.  That must be it.  Listen, Caro, you can’t have a pony, if that’s what you’re after.  Mommy’s way too poor and this apartment is nowhere near big enough.

Anyway, for now, until she does something diabolical, I’ll take it.  I want to believe that it’s that easy… I just don’t know if I can!

(Any potty training horror stories, please do share in the comments.  Don’t spare me.  I need to know what I might be up against.  Thanks in advance.)

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

It’s Caroline’s favorite word. Anyone who has a toddler will know exactly what I’m talking about. “Ready to go to daycare?” “No!” “Let’s change your diaper.” “No!” “Please eat just one bite of broccoli.” “No!” “Do you know any words other than ‘no’?” “No!”

She’ll say it all day long to anyone and everyone, without a second of hesitation. It drives me nuts, but I’ve been thinking that I really need to follow her example when it comes to some things. And I think a lot of moms have the same problem. I know I’m not the only one who has way too much on my plate, yet says “yes” to any request that comes my way.  I’ve said “yes” to taking on cases at work that I know I can’t handle alone, getting out of bed to pick up a friend after midnight, seeing emergency patients when I should be racing out of the building to get to daycare on time, taking the on-call beeper early, and the list goes on.

Why is it so hard for us moms to say “no”?  Think about all the things we can do, and yet we can’t say that one little word…

We don’t have to do everything for everyone, although I know firsthand that’s easier said than done.  We already juggle work and kids and relationships and “me time”.  Why are we so quick to say “yes” when we know we’ve already got more going on than we can handle?

Personally, I think it’s the mom guilt that is the problem.  I know that I feel mom guilt for everything, from feeding my kid the occasional Happy Meal to working too many long hours to divorcing her father.  I’m too susceptible to it, I guess, so it transfers over to every aspect of my life.  For example, a coresident asks me, “would you want this surgical case?  I’d rather not take it on.”  I think to myself, me either, this should probably go to a specialist, plus I hate surgery and actually this is the last thing I want to deal with right now, or EVER, and then I smile and take the chart and say “sure, I’ll take care of it.”

And then I want to bang my head against the wall.  Just say no, I tell myself.  Take a cue from your daughter. (And the War on Drugs.)  Just say NO.

Moms, I know I’m not alone on this.  How do you keep from letting requests from other people overload your already spread-too-thin selves?  Are you able to give people the toddler “no” when you know you’ve got too much going on?

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