Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book! Green Babies, Sage Moms

As I mentioned the other day, I just finished reading Green Babies, Sage Moms, by Lynda Fassa. I'm interested in the "green baby" movement, though I feel like I need to have a kid and hop on the bandwagon before it gets too cliche. The name of Lynda's book, besides being clever, piqued my interest - and it was in the clearance section at Half Price Books for $2.

This book is packed with good info, most of which I want to try out. Using baking soda for laundry detergent, a homemade foot scrub, easy recommendations for different levels of committing to cloth or not-your-average-disposable diapers. It's peppered with interviews from various "green gurus" whom the author knows, and she herself founded one of the first organic cotton baby clothes businesses.

What this book is really good for, in addition to all the tips and advice, is inducing panic. She delves very deeply into every level of your life (whether pregnant or with an infant or toddler) and talks about all the dangers. Anything on the skin can soak in and transfer to the developing baby during pregnancy; makeup, nail polish, shampoo, etc, are all filled with "probable carcinogens." And that's just the tip of the iceberg. More than once, I caught myself wondering how any baby ever survives.

For me, that was one of the biggest downfalls of the book. It had good info, but there was too much fear-mongering, though I doubt that was the author's intent. Her style wasn't overly readable, broken up as it was by different interviews and offsets, and the overall effect was a little too intense for my taste. I gleaned useful advice and recipes, but it's not a book I'd recommend, especially not to a pregnant mom - she'd go into hiding immediately!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Better days

I've had better days. This post was originally going to be about how toddlers and migraines don't mix (at all), and what a rough morning this was. But, when the parents of my after-school kids came home from work, they told me that the mom had just taken a job in her hometown, five hours away, and they were hoping to move by early October.

This devastated me, as you can imagine. Not only did my budget just get sliced in half, but two kids I thoroughly enjoyed seeing every day, plus their parents, whom I've loved from the beginning, plus a super friendly and sweet springer spaniel, were no longer going to be in my life. That's one of the hardest realities of being a nanny, babysitter, or caretaker, and one I push to the back of my brain all the time: the kids aren't mine. Not officially, and they can disappear out of my life in a blink. Sure, it's only been three weeks, but I've seen them every day, and come to learn and love them. And just like that, it's over. It's only a very, very small consolation that it's nothing I've done, but I'll still no longer be around them regardless.

I should mention, before I sound too despondent, that two days ago I received an email from a mom on Sittercity (where I've found all my jobs - GREAT site!) asking if I was available to do after school care, and I told her that I already had a position. I called her this afternoon when I got home, and on Thursday I'm going to meet her kids. So, financially it might only be a small pay cut rather than fifty percent (which, understandably, I can't handle). But that doesn't help the emotional side. Nannying is a great substitute for parenting, until the parents make a decision like this. Then it just hurts.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday night already?

I love my job. I really do. But it has one amazingly large benefit, which I'd still somehow gladly trade in: I leave the kids at someone else's house. Yes, I absolutely want my own. Yes, V and I talk about names and nursery decorations. But for now, it's a delight to walk out the front door.

Which is why I'm not ready for Monday. It's somehow been a short weekend, and I don't have the energy to handle the twins in the morning (I just saw them last night!), then tackle homework afterward. So, please, can we have one more day of weekend? I'm not ready to be a (pseudo-) mommy again.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Why is food so complicated?

As I opened a jar of baby food for Lilly earlier (she has some digestive problems that put her a little behind in eating age), my brain once again went off into that "good moms make their own baby food" speech. I just finished reading Green Babies, Sage Moms, by Lynda Fassa. Reading it was eye-opening from the standpoint of revealing how many toxins and dangers are in our world, but it left me wondering how it was possible for anyone to survive. From plastics to parabens (throw out makeup!), everything seems damning. She recommends making your own baby food, of course, which is something I am strongly committed to. For now. Until I'm running on three hours of sleep and my seven month old is starving.

I love the idea of pureeing, then freezing, all sorts of fruits and veggies. But the truth is, I'm terrible at planning ahead. I try, but there is always something better or more immediate to do. My brain isn't set to four days away; I was one of those college kids who wrote papers the night or two before (but they were still good, I promise!). So will I be able to follow through when it comes to baby food? If I can't, will that make me a bad mom? Will it train my kids to like sodium- and sugar-laden food their entire life?

Of course, I could always attempt to delegate the food-making to V... I might have something there!

I should be in bed

But now I have a new toy and I want to fill it up with words. I would pick one of the busiest weeks of my recent past to decide to start writing again. But that part of me that loved being a Writing major (though preferably not one taking five English classes per semester) likes to make itself known at random moments, and spending all day with tiny(ish) tots only encourages it.

I’ve just put the twins, who are almost two, down for their nap and finished cleaning their dishes, so once their father gets home I’ll be on my way. As far as the twins go, it was a pretty good day. I took them for a wagon ride and an older gentleman stopped at a red light told me I had a good-looking family. I hope one day I will, but in the meantime, I can pretend. Soon I’ll be headed over to my after-school kids, with a quick stop to see my girlfriend, V, in between. V is a newly-hired bartender who’s been studying her ears off to learn all the specialty drinks; she’ll only work part-time, but since the fellow she’s training with works constantly, she’s been gone more than she’s been home.

This post has taken twelve hours: I started at 2 after I put the twins down for a nap, and now it’s after midnight and I’m finally home. In moments like this, no matter how much I want my own baby, it’s so nice to have a quiet house. If only there were no cats squabbling in front of me.

By way of introduction

Jumping into the blogging world is always slightly intimidating. Will anyone ever read this? With luck, yes. And when they (you) do, there's a good chance you'll want some information about me. Not that I know a lot.

I'm twenty-one, and currently living in a Midwestern city with my girlfriend; I'm a nanny to pay the rent (and because I love it). I’m originally from the mid-atlantic region (Maryland is neither north nor south, folks), then moved to southeast Tennessee for school. I recently graduated from a conservative, private college with a BA in English with a Writing emphasis, which means that even though my career has nothing to do with writing, I have to write about it. Plus, have you seen some of the things kids do? That kind of comedy doesn’t need to be forgotten.

My girlfriend, V, is a bartender, so the stories we swap about our jobs couldn’t be farther apart—though come to think of it, there are some similarities. Demanding more to drink, for instance. She knows how badly I want children, and fully supports me spending my days with them in hopes to postpone my own pregnancy. But one day we will have kids; until then, we have two cats who practically count.

There are six kids who provide humor and hair-pulling to my days, spread across three families.
First, Patrick and Lilly, almost two year old twins, who are in that delightful stage of learning to talk and how to run away in opposite directions.
Next are Jacob, 8, and Caroline, 6, who I spend every day with after school. They’ve made me officially a soccer almost-mom. A soccer nanny?
Lastly, Shelly, 4, and Paul, 2, who I don’t technically nanny, but spend lots of time with since they’re my friend Eve’s kids.

Now that you’ve put up with my snippets of my own life, the spotlight can change to the rambunctious under-10s and their baby-wanting, girl-loving, slightly-crazy nanny.

A quick note about privacy: the children I watch are not mine to chatter about, so I’ve changed their names as well as the names of their parents or any other characters who may crop up. Just be thankful I resisted the urge to rename them Vladimir and Hildegard. (It would have been funny…)

Last but not least, welcome!