Friday, April 15, 2016

Finding the Right Daycare

I'm a work outside the home mom. We had no plans for me to do anything other than return to work after giving birth two years ago. I took 12 weeks of maternity leave (4 weeks of 100% pay, 4 of 50% pay and 4 weeks unpaid).

Julia was 11 weeks old on her first day of daycare. It was scary. It was heartbreaking. It was necessary.

When I was about 30 weeks pregnant, I started contacting in-home daycares in our small town. I quickly realized that the hours of operation were not going to fit into our work schedules. In home daycares often don't allow drop off until 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. and we both start work at 7:00. It just wasn't going to work. 

Our town doesn't have much but we do have a daycare center. My nieces went to centers and lots of friends had their children in daycare centers as opposed to in home care. This daycare was a second location of their main "branch" and very trusted. I visited, met the teachers and loved it. It was clean and fairly quiet (thanks to being brand new, they had low enrollment at the time). The classrooms were filled with happy kids, toys, books, art supplies. The director was amazing and the teachers were warm. That first impression said a lot.

When Julia was just a few weeks old, we visited again. We put down a deposit and she had a space in the infant room. It was scary. It was heartbreaking. It was necessary.

Julia just moved to her 3rd classroom this week. She has been a "student" there for nearly two years. Never once have I felt anything but comfort, love, safety and understanding from the teachers and director. They are family. They love my daughter. They care about me. When drop off in her new class didn't go well this week, I was embraced (emotionally and physically) by her current and former teachers. I was told by the director that upon getting to work on Julia's first day in her new class, she immediately asked the teacher how she did.

This daycare is the RIGHT choice for us. I have many friends who haven't been so lucky. They have had to move and change child care facilities multiple times. Not only would needing to uproot Julia to another location be challenging for us logistically but it would be devastating for her. She knows the teachers. She loves them. She has friends. She has a routine.

For those working parents out there needing to place their child in daycare, let me share my thoughts:

-You will be okay. Your child will be okay. It will be hard. It gets easier. Sometimes you still cry at drop off. But you will be okay.

-Exposure to germs and illness is GOOD. Sure, during the fall and winter, Julia constantly has a runny nose. She gets a cough a couple times a year. But in the long run, this exposure is GOOD. When she enters elementary school, I think her immune system will be able to fight off little kid germs really well!

-The learning! Oh the learning! Julia learned baby sign language. She knows how to trust people. She knows about friendships and sharing (even if she doesn't want to). She loves to paint and draw and read. She show affection to her friends. She knows the names of her friends and can recognize the parents who enter her classroom to pick up their children. It is amazing to me what she can do at just 2 years old.

-If daycare doesn't feel like a family, maybe it isn't the right fit. These people are caring for your child 10 hours a day. You should form a relationship with them. Even if it isn't your style to be chatty, BE CHATTY. Get to know them. Tell them about yourself. Tell them about your child's routine at home. Yes, they are busy and have a lot of kids to look after but I swear, this relationship building makes a huge difference in being able to walk away at drop off and feel good about your child being cared for by these teachers.

-Don't let anyone tell you sending your kid to daycare is bad. THAT IS WRONG. You are doing what is right for your family. Look at those other parents at drop off and pick up and know they are your community. Your community of parents making it work. And they aren't the only ones. Be at peace with your decision. Watch your child grow and learn and value their experiences.

You are good parents. You are doing the right things.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Well, that went by in a flash.

Happy Second Birthday to my not so tiny love muffin.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I figure I should blog at least once this year

This is my toddler. Last time I blogged, she was 17 months old and now I'm starting to think about her SECOND birthday party.

I've been wanting to blog but (as cliche as it sounds) I just don't have the time. In October, I was promoted at work and I get almost zero desk time so breaks just don't exist. When I'm home, the last thing I want to do is use my brain to type a blog post but I often go to bed with one formulating in my head.

So what is new? Here is a summary:
*J is amazing. She is smart and funny and silly. She is sassy and says "NO" more than I'd like. She loves Elmo and her "ABC's" which she know says. She loves books and the old iphone. She can actually say iphone along with dozens of other words. Over the past few weeks, she will repeat anything and everything that is said to her. As you can see above, she also discovered pockets (pockies, as she calls them) and will ask if you have pockets and fully expects you to utilize your pockies if you have them!

*The same time I was promoted at work (through a long interview process), Chris also applied and interviewed for a position with his company instead of being a contractor. Our situations were so similar and we started our new (but same) jobs just days apart. We are both doing the same job duties which is good but just in more secure positions. Yay for finally being an adult!

*I'm currently training for a half marathon. I am running THIS race, just like I did in 2009. One of the reasons why I love blogging is that I have a record of my past. I'm about 5 weeks into training and up to running 5 miles straight. It hurts but I'm getting there!

If I can find the energy and brain power, I would love to blog about motherhood more. There is so much to say. Until next time.....

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Don't Rush Her

I recall being at the gym over a decade ago. I was on the stationary bike when a mother and her young daughter walked by. The little girl was probably no older than 3. As she walked by the lounge room, she stopped to look at the people watching television. Her mother waited patiently for her daughter's observation time to be over. She didn't grab her arm and drag her away. She did urge her to keep walking.

She allowed her daughter to take her time. She allowed her child to process what she was seeing at her own speed.

I have always remembered this moment. I thought to myself "Be that mom. The mom that doesn't make her child rush when no rush is necessary."

When I pick up Julia from daycare and she is running around playing with no interest in leaving, I let her play.

When she is lingering around the house, taking her time to get out the door, I let her linger.

When she wants to hug my legs instead of going this way or that way, I let her.

When she sits on my lap before I place her in the car seat and she rests her head on my chest, I squeeze her little body and kiss her head. If we sit there for 10 minutes in the driveway or the parking lot, that is okay. I think to myself, "These are the moments. Don't rush her."

I'm rarely in a hurry to get anywhere. I'm already 10 minutes late to work every day. If I'm 11 minutes late because I spent an extra minute with my arms wrapped around my child, I think that was a minute well spent.

Don't rush. These moments are fleeting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Time marches on

She is 16.5 months old. But in my mind, she was just born. The sleepless nights and endless feedings aren't yet a distant memory.

Each phase comes and goes so quickly. You laugh and marvel at her development, thinking back to when she did nothing but sleep and eat. And that funny motion she made with her arms is suddenly gone, never to be repeated again no matter how hard you try to get her to do it.

But there is a new phase. A new skill. Equally fascinating and funny. And with time you understand that before you know it, that will be gone only to be replaced with something else. Rinse and repeat. The cycle of child development is thrilling.

While the world may still see her as a baby, the time you spend with her brings to light just how much she has grown. When the vacuum cord knocks the cat food dish 4 feet to the left, your "baby" picks it up and carries it back to where it belongs. This didn't occur via a parental request. She took it upon herself to fix something that was out of place. And when you see this happen, a lump will form in your throat, your heart will drop into your stomach and you will come to terms with time moving faster than you can even imagine.

The back to school pictures plastered all over social media flash you forward. Will she ever been that kid? Yes. And sooner than you are prepared for.

My friend moved her oldest daughter into her college dorm last week. I sent her a text a few days later to check on her. Her response was heartbreaking:

I'm surprised by how depressed I feel. Really. You tell yourself you know she's going way ahead of time. Does it help? No. Not at all.

I can't relate to moving my child out of my house, away from my protective wings but I do commiserate with the feeling of complete sadness when one phase ends and another begins. Sadness joined together with joy because they are stretching their own wings, experiencing life on their own terms. My friend's daughter is conquering college and living on her own while my child has mastered stepping out of the front door and down to tiny steps without assistance. Independence in two forms.

I remain sentimental about motherhood. I imagine I always will. The picture on my desk at work is of a smiling 3 month old. Her hair is whispy and dark and patchy which is nothing like the blonde locks that fall down in front of her face every morning when I pick her out of her crib. 

Didn't I take that picture yesterday? Isn't she still that small? 

I can't imagine her getting older than she is today. I can't imagine her being anything different than she is now. Motherhood is cruel in that way.

We aren't ready but time marches on.

And it waits for no one.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Favorite Kid, Favorite City

Sausalito, California
August 2, 2015
11 days shy of 16 months

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Another Weight Loss Post

When I complain about gaining weight, my husband says "you work out all the time, how do you gain weight?"

To which I reply, "I LOVE FOOD TOO MUCH!"

The past 15 days, I've restricted my eating in order to retrain my body. I've had no candy, no ice cream, no pastries, no fast food. I have had 2 small pieces of birthday cake and included dark chocolate chunks in the granola balls I made yesterday. But I have made no trips to the vending machine at work. I haven't stopped at the gas station for a morning muffin and there have been no indulging in the mini-drumsticks sitting in my freezer.

And I've proudly lost 7 pounds so far. SO FAR. The problem is that my weight today is my stall out weight. I haven't been able to get below it since birthing my child 15.5 months ago. I've gone up and back down to this exact weight-but never below.

If I can lost 7 pounds in 15 days, I know I can lose another 7 in 15 more days. I'll need to continue with my NO FUN eating plan, count my calories and exercise at least 5 times a week. But more importantly than any of that is not getting discouraged at how hard this might get as my body stalls out.

7 more pounds will put me at the weight I was the day I found out I was pregnant-August 2, 2013.  And while losing more than 7 pounds would be healthy, I am just going to take it 7 pounds at a time, one day at a time.

Here is a list of the food I have consumed so far today: 1150 calories.....

Breakfast Burrito and 4 oz of orange juice
Fruit leather and a small orange
Chopped up Steak and chicken with cheese, salsa and a tortilla (think a Chipotle bowl but not as good)
Pudding cup
Wheat thins
Granola balls

Dinner will consist of sweet potatoes sliced and baked in the oven and probably more steak and chicken (leftovers from a party this weekend).