Monday, March 24, 2014

A Daycare Update

I’ve had many sweet people ask me how our new daycare center is going. And without a moment of hesitation I can answer: good. It’s going really, really well. The night and day difference in Lucan’s demeanor and personality is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my precious little toddler terrorist, but some of the sad things we had seen going on have diminished. He no longer cries every morning at drop-off. Lucan would stand at the door and wrap his arms around my legs and beg me not to go. This was most every day. He no longer says “Miss X screamin” or “Miss X is mean.”

We don’t get reports every day stating how naughty Lucan was or how he didn’t listen. At the end of our time at our old daycare, there was a chart on the wall with a daily goal for each child and Lucan’s goal was to “be nice.” If a child was good in the morning, they would get a morning sticker and if they were good in the afternoon, they would get an afternoon sticker. Lucan rarely had any stickers. I’ve had 5 or 6 daycare teachers come up to me and make a point to tell me how sweet Lucan is, how he helps pick-up and how nice of a boy he is. I’ve wanted to have a notarized note sent to my old daycare provider showing not everyone hates my child. 

We used to drive by the turn-off to go to Miss X’s house and Lucan would cry out in distress saying “don’t wanna go to Miss X’s. No Miss X.” He would do this on weekends and on evenings.
We’ve been off and on potty training for six+ months now. I’m fairly certain that Lucan would have been potty trained at Christmas if we hadn’t had such an unfortunate time at daycare. I had pretty firmly decided that we were not going to buy pull-ups. One day I went to pick him up and Lucan was in a pull-up. From that day on, Lucan wanted pull-ups and was entirely unconcerned if he had an accident in one. We regressed because he would refuse to go to the bathroom anymore – anywhere. Miss X had been setting a timer and every time the timer went off, Lucan had to try the bathroom. Then he started getting really upset by all timers and would start crying anytime one went off. But a couple of weeks ago, Lu’s new daycare teacher said she thought that he was ready to wear underwear. So we really worked on it over the weekend and sent him on Monday in underwear. No accidents. He’s slowly learning to be able to tell when he has to use the bathroom and we do a lot of reminding that it’s time to try. We still put him in a diaper or a pull-up for naps and at bedtime, but he’s potty trained for the most part. We have an occasional opps, but potty training has gone really well.

My parents and in-laws observed how terrified Lucan was of being scolded. Of how he would run and try to hide from you if he thought he did something wrong. Slowly, Lucan is becoming less fearful and trusting of adults again. So when he does something naughty instead of crumbling, he stares me down and does it again (such a toddler). I attended a Cat in the Hat birthday party at daycare and witnessed Lucan and several other children run up to an older daycare worker and give her a big hug. Just because she’s a sweet lady who loves kids.

The thing about a bad daycare situation is that even though your child might not directly tell you something is wrong, there are a multitude of other things he is telling you. In the way he acts around you, how he acts at daycare and their body language around the provider. But most of all, if you spend quiet time with your little one, you start noticing fear in their eyes. Because many times if they are acting out it’s their way of asking for help out of a bad situation. I’m sorry to say, but we let it go on too long out of our own prideful ways. Since Lucan has been born, we have bopped around at several daycare providers and we didn’t want to talk about switching again. Because of our own pride, we left Lucan in a harmful situation and I blame myself. It would be easy to place all of the blame on our old daycare provider, but that wouldn’t be fair. I think it’s quite possible she’s a little bit post-partum depressed and is overwhelmed by all of the kiddos and being stuck inside all winter. But I don’t think she handled things the right way and I’m not sure that doing daycare is the right thing for her. 

So the long and the short of it, if you ask me how our new daycare is going, I will tell you without missing a beat, putting Lucan in a daycare center is the best thing we’ve done for him. You were right all along Erika. I don’t know why I ever doubted you :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

That time I did something bad to my face: oil cleansing.

Have you noticed the oil cleansing movement popping up in the face wash aisle? Or read about it on different blogs? Trust me, it’s out there (here’s one example). I had read about it a couple of different times and was intrigued. It’s cheap, it’s all natural and it sounded reasonable. The basic premise of the idea is that by using soap and normal face washes, you are stripping your face of oils and then making it produce more oil to replace what’s been taken away. In my head, it sort of made sense, I could get behind their rationale. And from what I can see, it works really well for some people. I am not some people.

Holy crap, did my face hate oil cleansing. My oil cleansing mixture consisted of two parts jojoba oil from Trader Joes and one part castor oil (this can be found in the laxative section of most of your standard Targets or Wal-Marts).  It’s all-natural and removes makeup and all other junk. You just smooth onto your dry face at night and then put a hot, steamy washcloth over to steam out all the impurities and rinse. Easy peasy. Your face is clean and moisturized. I had read there is an initial like one to two week adjustment period where your face gets used to non-soap face washing. I fully expected things to go a little wonky which they did at first. I know it’s really important to get all of the oil off with your wash cloth and not to get cold feet in the transition period and start using soap again. Then as time wore on, I started noticing that I was getting pimples not only in my problem zones but also on other parts of my face that have never been acne prone. After two months of having some of the worse breakouts since I had been pregnant (which I’m not pregnant BTW Jessie) and thinking maybe I need to see a dermatologist, I quit oil cleansing. And then my massive breakouts stopped all at once. I went back to my beloved Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser. Oil cleansing was my nemesis.  

If you look at castor oil, it’s really think and gooey. I was spreading layer upon layer of thick and gooey stuff all over my pores and wondering why my face was suddenly so problematic. Castor oil was not my friend. Oil cleansing is not my friend. 

And that’s the tale of the time I did something really bad to my face.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Babysitting: then and now.

Babysitters sure get paid a lot more today than I ever did. I did a quick facebook survey and discovered that anywhere from $7-$12/hour is a pretty common babysitting wage. I vividly remember one hellion of a family I used to babysit for when I was in junior high. They had two boys under the age of seven. One, for sure, must have had some sort of hyperactivity disorder. There’s no other way to explain his extreme NAUGHTINESS. I would have to sit outside his bedroom door to keep him from running out constantly. He never listened and he was always yelling/throwing/hitting/not doing anything I asked. It was not enjoyable. They lived in the same housing development and I remember one night at like 10:30 PM I had to WALK home in the snow because neither of them offered to give me a ride. I also remember my socks being filthy after babysitting there because their house was always dirty. But most of all: I remember being paid $2/hour to babysit there. And being okay with it. That family must have burned through their babysitters quickly because I remember being a junior in high school and having the dad call me up unexpectedly to ask if I wanted to babysit. At that point I was working at a restaurant and getting paid considerably more. I got off the phone with the dad and just laughed. There was no way I was going to babysit for that awful family. I should also note that both of these boys are in COLLEGE now. Gads, I feel old. That was then.   

This is now. Last night we just hired our first ever babysitter. We asked a church friend’s daughter, who had previously watched Lucan in nursery and at a couple of church parties where a babysitter was hired for the group of kids. She has always commented how cute Lucan is and how they have fun together. So I figured she’d be a good candidate for our first official “babysitter” experience.  She drove herself over to the house, finished feeding Lucan supper (and popsicles), built block towers and put him to bed. Pretty low-key. And she didn’t seem at all frazzled or overwhelmed by naughty kids when we returned home. 

Mostly we swap babysitting with one of my friends about once a quarter. She has two kids who are well-behaved and lots of fun. She is in a similar situation where they have no family in town to volunteer to babysit and after a while, paying for a babysitter can get expensive. It’s a nice setup where both families get babysitting without the expense or guilt of feeling like you are infringing on your family or friends goodwill. I highly suggest finding another family to do babysitting swaps with!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Division of labor.

Are there things in your household that you have no idea how to do? Even though one would assume as a fully functioning adult, these are things you should be able to do. For example, our smoke detectors only need their batteries replaced in the middle of the night. We have five (which seems excessive for our 1300 square foot house) and the battery only chirps at 3 AM. Battery replacement falls on Lance. This happened the other night at 3:04 AM.

“Lance. The smoke alarm is beeping.”
Whaattt…  I don’t hear anything.”
“LANCE. The smoke alarm is beeping. Go find which one it is before it sets the rest of them off and wakes up Lucan.”
“Okay, okay, okay. I’m up.”

Yes, since apparently the beeping smoke detector only wakes me up, I could be the one to go and rip the battery out of the alarm and stumble back to bed. But my rationale is Lance is taller (I can barely reach the smoke detector – with the step stool - in the shorter areas and there’s no way I can reach the one on the vaulted ceiling), my eyesight is blurry at best at this time of day and all things mechanical fall under Lance’s responsibility. Besides, it’s cold outside the covers. This is how I figure smoke detector batteries fall under Lance’s duties. 

Truth of the matter, in our marriage there is a division of labor over responsibilities. Lance does our taxes, changes the furnace filter (I don’t even know where the filter is located), writes out the daycare checks, refills the water in the humidifier, pays most bills (the bills I’m in charge of I just setup to autopay) takes care of anything car related, makes waffles and hash brown  and resets the internet router (which apparently I could learn to do because all Lance does is unplug it). Things that fall under my responsibility: all ironing (Lance says that he just puts more wrinkles into things – I think he just doesn’t want to learn), menu planning (if it were up to Lance we’d have leftovers and enchiladas every night), taking care of FSA reimbursements (I let Lance do the medical ones last year because they were coming out of his paycheck. As a result, last week Lance was trying to find receipts for things in October), closet organization and calendar management. 

Oh. I don’t make coffee. I know, I know. We both love coffee and drink it equally. Coffee making should be a shared duty. But I can never remember how many scoops equal how much water; hence Lance always is the one to make the coffee in our house. 

Lucan likes to see us share duties. He gets upset if one of us puts him in his shoes. “Mommy’s turn, Daddy!” We need to share. But there are specific things Lucan has us do for him – I am the only one allowed to trim his nails or put essential oils on his feet. Daddy is the only one allowed to take him to daycare. He gets upset if I try and overstep my duties and drop Lucan off in the morning. I pick out what Lucan is going to wear everyday. Lance gets too stressed out if he has to pick.

How do you split responsibilities at your house?