Monday, February 28, 2011

Time off

One of the things I miss most about being in school is the unexpected surprise of a canceled class.  Having a scheduled day off is one thing, but learning day-of that your attendance is not required is a whole other level of freedom.  It's a feeling that's lacking in the working world.

Which is what made this morning wonderful.  I woke up to a text from the twins' dad, saying Lilly had a fever last night, and did I still want to come.  I told him that any other week I wouldn't have cared, but this week I needed to stay healthy.  We decided that I'd come when they were napping, so he could still go get work done: I'm now sitting at their kitchen table, listening to a silent monitor.  Still making money.

I had the morning off.  I don't remember the last time I had a weekday morning off.  I scared the cats with my happy dance, and I've been in such an ebullient mood all day.  It doesn't hurt that we're leaving in three days, either.  I even did the dishes at home, since I wasn't busy doing them at someone else's house!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guilt

I took off the "Limited" list on my Facebook profile today.  I had one, named that, restricting certain people from seeing my relationship statuses - old church moms and extended family, mainly.  But I deleted it totally.

When I first told my dad that V and I were together, one of the things he said surprised me.  Instead of a sound condemnation, he said, "Well, if that's who you feel you are, be that person totally.  Don't hide behind things."  Given that V and I were attending a school where we would have been expelled, I obviously couldn't follow that advice perfectly; now that we've graduated, though, it keeps ringing in my ears.

I don't really want a ton of questions from people.  I don't really want people I haven't talked to in five years sending me accusatory messages.  But I also don't want to spend the next however many years double-checking what I say, in case the wrong person reads it.  I don't want to have to hide what's going on in my life.

I hate the guilt that I still have.  Anytime I mention something about V or the wedding, my internal voice tells me, "You're so mean.  Way to rub it in your family's faces, knowing they'll read it, and it will cause them pain.  Such a nice daughter/sister/cousin/niece."  And I fight it.  I think, there are plenty of hetero couples I'm friends with who advertise their upcoming happy days all over the social network universe, and here I can't even change my status yesterday to say that I'll be married in a week.

I want to get over it.  But there's still a little part of me saying I'm wrong, or that maybe I'm right but other people think I'm wrong, and if I have any consideration, I'll stop throwing my lifestyle out there.  Am I pushing the "gay agenda" by telling the world that I get to marry my love?  (On a side note, apparently the phrase "gay agenda" isn't known outside evangelical circles.)

Wedding pictures will be posted, though.  Relationship statuses will be changed.  And I fully expect some congratulatory comments.  And the world will just have to deal.  I'm just that mean.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Life support

Today would not have happened without V.  (In the back of my head, I hear Big Bird's voice saying, "Today was brought to you by the letter V...")  I'm delightfully starting my period (that's the sarcasm you hear dripping), and so I've spent the day being weak and in pain.  When Lilly threw up after breakfast, I almost started crying.  It got on her, on me, on the couch, on the floor, everywhere but the cat (though her dad said the cat got some last night).

I got everything cleaned up, but barely, and then I laid on the couch and called V.  Thankfully, the twins spent the next half hour playing very nicely by themselves and letting me rest, and then V arrived and switched the laundry, changed Patrick's diaper, and helped me start lunch.  I felt much better by then.  Not only physically, but emotionally - that little ten-minute window was all we saw each other from 10-10 today, and it made life so much better.

Here's to you, girl.  Eight days till the wedding.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Having "that kid"

At 21 months, Bug is so much fun.  She's adorable, she's opinionated (oh boy), and she's talking up a storm.  She generally seems to be at the just-over-two-years level; she's actually not that far behind the twins.  Generally, she's well-behaved.

Then there was yesterday at Gymboree.  As soon as I took off her coat and shoes and set her down on the floor, she ran over to a little girl (who I hadn't seen in that class before) and smacked her across the chest, knocking her down and bringing waves of tears.  I have no idea why.  Ten minutes later, she hit another kid.  At the third offense, we went out of the fun area and had a talk.

I don't know what on earth she was thinking, but let me tell you, I hated feeling like the mom of "that kid."  Bug usually behaves; she's usually friendly, if possessive.  But suddenly I was the "mom" of the terror, that kid who makes other moms shield their young from swinging fists and kicking feet.  Thankfully, the mom of the first little girl to bear Bug's random wrath was understanding, and the other two were just minor offenses.  That doesn't change the fact that I felt awful.

I know it's not Bug's mom's parenting.  Like I said, this was out of character for her - not helped, I'm sure, by the fact that she wasn't feeling 100%.  But that didn't make it any easier to be the one with the problem kid!  I'm not too keen on Gymboree next week now...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our baby, and milk

My mind is a bit blown right now, after reading about how two lesbian mamas share breastfeeding duties.  That is one of the areas which V has admitted to jealousy when we talk about our eventual baby.  I very much want to nurse, hopefully to about a year (though we'll see), and she's mentioned before that my connection to the baby via boob in addition to biology might make her feel understandably left out.

I'll definitely have to do more research into this lactation-induction, but it might be a way to simplify some of the strains that a baby might bring.  Of course, I'm still worried about me:  Harlyn Aisley's essay collection, Confessions of the Other Mother, talks about her feelings of going through labor and then wanting to smack her partner, who picked up the newborn and said something along the lines of "I'm your mother!"

I worry I'll be that person, that partner, that mother.  I want a baby so badly that I worry I'll be possessive, that I would even if her other parent were male.  I want V to be happy - it will be her baby, too.  But will her breastfeeding, if it works, make that feeling even worse?  Not that that is a legitimate reason not to pursue it.

I'm thinking out loud, while she's reading tax info to me.  I know I'm not the most coherent; my brain isn't overly coherent about it, either.  But I'm still in the mind-blown stage that we could even conceive (pun intended) of both nursing our baby.  And hey, less middle of the night work for me!

Tweaks

As you can see, I did some housekeeping around here.  The pages at the top eliminate the messy sidebar lists, and I cleaned up the right sidebar.  Aren't you proud of me?  I picked up my room!

Anyway, if you have any suggestions, let me know.  I do so love feedback.  In the meantime, I'm taking the afternoon off, reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and watching V make pretty paper roses for a yet-unknown purpose at our wedding.

Are you kidding me

The past two days have been some combination of rainy, snowy, windy, and chilly. And the past two days, Lilly has pitched screaming, hanging-from-the-doorknob fits that we can't go outside to play. Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny in the high forties, but I won't be here. Thursday and Friday are back to cold and dreary. Something tells me we'll go out anyway. In the meantime, I've tried every tactic, and she just wants to go outside. I can almost hear her adding an expletive to her demands, which she's picked up from daddy--though I think it's mostly been eradicated from her vocabulary.

So, when does the age hit when they realize, it looks pretty awful out there, I think I want to stay inside?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Catching up

For some reason, it's been hard to keep this blog updated lately. Perhaps it's because V and I leave in ten days for our wedding trip, and that's completely consuming everything. Perhaps it's because I'm a little overdone on kids right now, and very much looking forward to that wedding trip. Perhaps it's because today it's raining, and Lilly has already thrown two fits that I won't let her play outside.

Either way, that's pretty much been life. I haven't had a day without kids since last Sunday, and I won't till next Sunday - but then I'll be so close to four days without kids, one day with, and eight without. Yesterday truly wasn't that bad with kids; V and I watched Bug and Andrew, but Bug went down for her nap twenty minutes after we got there, and V mostly watched Andrew. I fell asleep on the couch.

And here goes another Lilly fit. She's not feeling well, and it's...loudly expressed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A promised story

I casually mentioned passing out the other day. About that, and about what made this week so...well...thankfully over.

I had a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning, just a routine physical and bloodwork. I was supposed to fast the twelve hours before - starting at 9pm. The kitty woke us up a lot that night, so I was exhausted and starved by the time they actually inserted a needle into my arm (sorry to those whom that freaks out). I always think that part is fascinating, so I watched it, and the nurse kept asking if I felt fine. I did, so I told her so. After a few minutes, I said, "I'm getting a little woozy." Then I was in a strange dream, and then I snapped awake, embarrassed that I'd fallen asleep in the exam room. Except apparently I'd passed out.

The next twenty minutes, I lay on the exam room floor (my choice) with a pillow and V trying to get sugar into me. My schedule for the day had been appointment at 9, Bug from 10-2, and then, very out of the ordinary, the twins from 2-5. I first told Bug's mom that I'd be late, but ended up having to cancel on her in favor of a bagel and a nap. The entire rest of my day, I just felt so odd. And V probably got tired of hearing "Remember the part where I passed out?"

Plus, we're both PMSing. And minus some income.
To next week: Be better.
To the world: Goodnight.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So many/not enough children.

It's been a crazy week. I've seen the twins for the past six days; I'm not even sure what to do tomorrow since it doesn't involve them. Not that that is in the least true. V and I are watching Bug and Andrew, and then another week begins.

Things are up in the air right now. The 3 year old that V was watching is no longer an option...her mom was working, replacing someone out on maternity leave, under the assumption that she would still have a job when the woman returned, and this past week she found out that no, she was no longer going to be employed. Therefore, she no longer needs childcare.

It's frustrating, right when our savings have gone into the wedding. Two weeks from today I'll be married. I'm so ready. (Aside from maybe drastically changing up my dress.) But in the meantime, another job for V would be great. Really, really great.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Words of affirmation

Today has been a beautiful day. The weather is gorgeous, so I've been running around in a light cardigan and nothing else. The twins and I went for a long stroller walk, then played on the driveway with a neighbor's granddaughter; Bug and I went for a walk where she proved herself obsessed with gravel.

When I first arrived at the twins', the note from their mom was unusually reassuring. She always leaves me a note with what to feed them for lunch, plus any other pertinent information - laundry to be done, location of new coloring books, etc. This morning, though, it started off-
"Hope you don't get sick of us this week; you'll be here a lot! But the kids love you, so to them it's really special. Thank you for all you do with them. Last night we were outside, and they were looking at the sidewalk chalk drawings saying square, triangle, A, B, C - I really appreciate and value everything you're doing to teach them."
And that's how to start a day off right (as opposed to passing out, which is how to start it off wrong - but more on yesterday later). She's usually more terse, and this is the most appreciative I've ever heard her. It just made me feel so capable, which is a big deal for me. Then Bug and Andrew's mom commented later that Andrew is just calmer when I'm around, and Bug asks for me all the time. I think I'm in the right job.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm going to regret saying this

I'm sure I'll want to eat my words soon enough, but yesterday, it actually crossed my mind that Barney might have it right. The twins and I were watching a video over lunch, and at the end came the Barney song. If you didn't grow up with parodies of that song (I hate you/you hate me/Let's all go and kill Barney) you had a deprived childhood. But listening to it with Lilly (Patrick was already in bed), I realized that the opening words kinda have a bit of truth (or rather, how truth should be): I love you, you love me, we're a happy family.

Comes back to the idea that has somehow become the theme for V's and my wedding. All you need is love, found on a pretty stamp at Michael's, and put on the save-the-dates and announcements and favors. We love each other, and that makes us a good family.

Maybe the big purple guy and I get along better than I thought.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The great outdoors

In an effort to keep them from driving me crazy, I took Patrick and Lilly outside this morning. We didn't stay out too long, but I rocked their world with a new idea: the chalk they color on their chalkboard with can go on the driveway! Lilly looked like she was in heaven. So many grins and giggles.

She also found some moss growing in a crack of the driveway, petted it, and said "fuzzy!" with more giggles. Guess that's the legacy of all the touch-and-feel books they have. Then she proceeded to stomp on it. Mr. Destructive, aka Patrick, was all about stomping on the chalk, so he got it taken away a few times. Seriously. Whose first response to something new or unusual is to step on it? Unless it's a bug. Maybe.

We didn't encounter any of those.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blessings in (not a ton of) disguise

Just to make a big understatement, being part of a two-girl couple can be difficult. We haven't experienced nearly the degree of shunning, discrimination, or hardship as some we know, but it still isn't the walk in the park that sometimes seems handed to straight couples. But, being two girls has forced us to have a very small wedding, and that is one of the best decisions I've ever made (though still a few steps down from the awesome decision to have a wife).

V's brother and his fiance are currently planning their wedding, a typical large family-and-friends affair. The bride-to-be is stressed, because it's all happening fast and there is a lot of pressure. She asked V if she, V, was stressed about wedding planning too, and we both sat and thought, and realized, no, we've never been stressed. The closest we came was when the catering was not working out, and we finally ditched them and decided to go to a restaurant after the ceremony.

Today has been a day of final(ish) wedding details, and it's reminding me over and over of the good parts of planning a not-super-welcome wedding. We've had the freedom to make all our own decisions, without three mothers looking over our shoulders (make that 6, because I think V's counts for 3 all on her own). It's a small enough group that it's easy to change plans, move things around, and make them work however. Nothing in our planning has been annoying or stressful. It's been fun, relaxing, and entertaining.

Today's agenda is tweaking the ceremony, contacting the guests with updates, finishing the favors, and possibly "editing" my dress. Doesn't all that sound like fun?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Intersection

This blog generally revolves around two different categories of life: my being a nanny, and my having a girlfriend. Tonight was a prime example of when they intersect. Both V and I like to tell our families about us, because neither of us likes keeping secrets. I watched Seth and Isabella tonight, whose parents are super thrilled for us, and as soon as I arrived, their mom pointed out my wrapped wedding gift on the counter. Her husband congratulated me many times (he hadn't seen me since finding out about the wedding) and wished us all the best.

Meanwhile, V was sitting for a family she sits for regularly, with twin girls. She ended up telling them all about me and our wedding, and they too were really excited. They asked about our families, and honeymoon plans, and now we're going to send them a wedding announcement too. Of the families we sit for, between the two of us, all but two know we're getting married, and all of them have had positive, supportive reactions. For being a conservative Midwestern place we're in here, we seem to know all the right people.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three-sit days

These days don't come around that often, but they're pretty exhausting when they do. I had the twins this morning, from 10-2:30, then Bug and Andrew from 3-6, and now V and I are watching a fussy 5 month old who is currently, thankfully asleep, but probably not for long.

Sometimes the nanny life is hard. I have many, many moments of going "I get paid for this? Really??" - I do love my job. But it's long hours. It's unpredictable. It's very, very unstable. And it's downright tiring. And sometimes, I wish I just had some "normal" job, with reliable hours, steady work, and...normalcy?

Though that's not true either. I wish V had the above job, and I stayed home with our baby girl.

Invested

Next Wednesday, my schedule is all messed up. I'll be watching Bug and Andrew as usual, but then the twins' dad is out of town, so I'll be heading over there around 2 for a few hours. Before I get there, their grandmother, their dad's mom, who lives nearby, will take care of them: the routine I usually do, breakfast and laundry and playing and lunch, she will take care of.

Being their grandmother, she's done it lots of times before. But perhaps since I know from their mother that she, the grandmother, isn't always the best with them, it's bugging me. I know, I shouldn't want to take the grandmother away from her grandchildren. But I know what they like to play with, and I know how to get them to eat all their food, and I know that "mongoose" means the Barney video with Mother Goose in it.

In reality, this is all part of the "aren't I legitimate too?" streak I've been on. She may be blood related, but I can guarantee I know the kids better. But it's not like they asked her instead of me; I'm not available, so their dad turned to her. I'm glad he has someone. But still. I'm pouting a bit. I want to watch them.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coughs

Lilly, as I may have mentioned, has eating issues. Or rather, digesting issues. I think. Some sort of issues that make feeding her very difficult, because more often than not, the food ends up coming back up. She takes the tiniest bites, and still needs burping a few times per meal, and still throws up probably once every other day. Though, according to her mother, once every other day is a huge improvement.

It's been a lot to learn, and unlearn. She's 28 months, and still gets many of her calories from baby food. It's just easier, and otherwise she wouldn't even eat enough to grow. Chewing is tiring. Feeding her is stressful. I realized the other day that she's conditioning me - I'm quite done with thinking she can handle the food of a normal 28 month old (enough times stripping her mid-lunch and doing an emergency load of laundry has taught me that), but now I think all little kids are always about to lose it.

Yesterday, Bug coughed during lunch. Bug, though only 20 months, has definitely surpassed Lilly's eating level. But that cough sent me into a panic. I caught myself just before jumping out of my chair and grabbing her arms, lifting them over her head, and trying to get her to look up. Of course, I realized who I was dealing with, and she finished clearing her throat and went on with lunch. But I'm on the alert, now, at mealtime. The regurgitation could be moments away.

It's frustrating. I was telling a friend about it last night, and her response was "You definitely earn your pay." Some days I wish I could just give her a plate of cut up "normal food" and let her go to town. She's gotten a lot better. She eats off cheesesticks and pieces of bread, biting pieces and chewing them up. But for the most part, her bites are the size of a pencil eraser. Meals are long events indeed.

XXI

The title, by the way, doesn't refer to the store (or at least that's how Forever 21 seems to be branding itself these days). It's a nod to the fact that in that many days, V and I will stuff two white dresses in our car and drive half a day to our wedding.

I had a dream about it last night. We were late to our own ceremony (impossible, since it's in the b&b we're staying at, but it was a dream, so there), and I was worried, and I couldn't find the strange hood/veil/mantilla I was supposed to be wearing. But recent developments in the wedding world have kept the entire weekend in the forefront of our minds (as if it wasn't there already). I'll share more later, but there are good things in the works that don't seem quite so good on the surface. Cryptic, I know.

Blame it on the two-year-olds. We've had a good morning of playing with magnets, fighting over the choo choo, and singing about laundry.
Round and round and round it goes
Pink and purple, blue and green
It is going very fast
It is getting very clean
I know, I missed my calling, right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mom & dad

In an effort to procrastinate the things I actually need to get done, I was doing those piddly sort of things that are always around the house - filing some papers, straightening the books, etc. I ran across birthday cards of V's from last year, and in glancing through, I saw one signed, "Love, Mom and Dad."

Not a revelation by any means: I've met both her father and mother multiple times, and am more than aware of their existence (but that's a rant for another time). But it just hit me how odd that phrase sounds - "mom and dad." I've never had a card signed like that. My parents were only together till I was 2, and I don't have any of my first or second birthday cards. My cards were always dad-and-stepmom's-name or mom-and-stepdad's-name, or, more recently, for reasons I don't fully understand, single names on three or four separate cards.

As I spent a moment mourning my poor child-of-divorce loss, it occurred to me that my children also will not have cards from "mom and dad." They will read, "all our love, mommy and momma," or whatever other terms we decide to go with. That sounds just as loving to me as the mother and father signature...I think. I'm still getting used to the idea that all the heteronormative facets of my upbringing and daily life are going to be turned on their heads. I haven't quite gotten used to the reality that I'll probably spend years crossing out "father" on forms, writing in "parent," and filling in my name or V's name.

Terminology is a tricky thing. Any Intro to Linguistics class will tell you that. But in addition to carving out a safe space and a new family, we gays (giggle) must also carve out new words. We must make "mommy and mama" as correct-sounding, if not as common, as "mom and dad." My kids aren't going to grow up in a house with a mom and a dad. But it will be for a much better reason than I had.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter sun

I don't like the winter sun. Or rather, I like it; I just dislike its habit of hiding behind clouds for months at a time. I already end up depressed in the winter. I really don't need it exacerbated. And this winter seems to be particularly dreary, which means it needs to move on already. One quarter of February is down! Plus, in 29 days, V and I will be in Florida, where the sun factor should be much better.

What does this have to do with children and/or my girlfriend? Nothing, except that it's making dealing with the former more difficult, and making me more difficult to deal with for the latter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Girls with groceries

V and I are having a "couple day." I just coined that phrase, and I think it's ridiculous. But- we slept in as much as the kitty would allow, went to talk to a very wise friend, shopped at three grocery stores, and are now about to go babysit.

It's one of those days (they do happen occasionally) where I really value our pre-kid life. These kinds of days won't happen as much in the future; I'm perfectly okay with that, but sometimes it's just nice.

Of course, we won't let one kid hamper us too much. It's #2 who will probably totally upset our world.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Home

I found an old essay I'd written on home, and the pleasantness of having a single home where my girl and I can always come back to. I was raised with my parents having joint custody of me, and I spent half the week at one's house, and vice versa. Now, being past all that, as well as college roommates and apartments, it's so reassuring to have our apartment, just for us, always with us.

In the essay I was re-reading, I came across a line that described perfectly how I handled bouncing around so much when I was younger. Contemplating another move, my thoughts ran thus: "I'll have to uproot, wrap all the pieces of myself back into a ball and shove it inside my lungs to live by my heart, slowing my breathing, tightening my chest." Something about that line keeps resonating in my head. It feels so familiar, and yet, I think it's a familiarity that I can finally let go of.

I have a home; we have a home. We'll travel to get married, we'll go on our honeymoon, and we'll come back to this home. One day we'll move into a new home, together. There's something about finding your forever girl that makes the tight balls inside relax, and allows life to flow.

Ten hours of children

It's been a long day, but it ended on a great note. I met Bug and Andrew at Gymboree this morning, then went to the twins, had two hours at home, and then V and I watched Bug and Andrew tonight.

And walking to the door at home, a few minutes ago, I looked at V and said, "Some nights I love our life." It's been a down sort of week, with minimal sun and maximal bleh-ness, but at the moment it's on a wonderful note.

Besides, Andrew just loves me. Happy child.

(Apparently ten hours of children doesn't lead to many coherent, worthwhile thoughts.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chatter

I met up with a friend last night and had an amazing evening of part catch-up, part therapy session, and part ranting. She asked me at one point why childcare, and I told her about waitressing and being a secretary, but missing kids through college, and how natural it was.

It occurred to me today, that I should've known this was where I'd end up. In my Intro to English Studies class, I was in a group that had to do a presentation on New Criticism, including an example. The example I chose, which we analyzed in front of the class? Goosey Goosey Gander. And yes, we showed that video.

Hey, we got an A!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Picture time

This morning, Bug, Andrew, their mom, and I went to the mall to get their pictures taken. Can I say cutest morning ever? Bug is already adorable, and she danced, played peekaboo, flopped on her stomach, and grinned for the photographer. My biggest accomplishment was getting Andrew to smile (told you he smiles at me!), and that picture is now framed in 11x13 on their wall.

We had so much fun. Both the kids were good; when Andrew started fussing, I fed him and then he went to sleep. While their mom picked out pictures, I took Bug for a walk around the mall. We rode up and down the escalators. Yippee. But I always love those moments when she could be mine - we were just walking around, having a normal day.

I'm finally feeling better, as of this morning. Still sleepy, but not needing nearly as much medication. It's a good day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lazy day

Patrick and Lilly slept till 10:30 (instead of their usual 9:45-10), which was quite okay by me, because I'm certainly not feeling all that better either. We've all been sniffly and in need of tissues. Breakfast usually goes roughly 10:30-11:15, but this morning it was more like 11-12. Lunch starts at 1, which works for me, because I don't have the energy to play with them for very long.

Poor Patrick is sneezing out so much gunk that it's taking a whole tissue or more to corral it, and poor Lilly has it all in her chest and is having trouble breathing. Lilly not breathing well is a recipe for her throwing up, so I'm praying that doesn't happen. Yesterday her mother told her "Don't toss your cookies, miss!" and she repeated "Toss cookies!" and then proceeded to throw up. Sigh.

V is sitting for a two-year-old whom we've both watched, and I think I'm going to ride along with her and relax at the bagel place nearby with my computer. I'm working on revising yesterday's post as well as an older one to submit to offbeatmama.com; I'm hoping they'll take them as guest posts!