Nora – 30 Months

This is a few days late, and she happens to be in PJs with bedhead, but I thought it was cute. She found a necklace she wore for her one year pictures and somehow it just happened to match her nightgown. Nora is truly a joy, (usually) happy, although very much whiny when I’m around. Somehow she forgets to whine with Eric or the sisters… Funny how that works. She can say about anything… repeats everything, including sh*t. Loves to build towers, but loves more to knock them over. Go figure. I want to say that things are getting a little easier lately with her and Nadia, as Nora seems to understand more, but it’s still a struggle for me. A few days recently they had sort of played together, but only for a few minutes. Hopefully this changes once Nadia is walking. We’re still struggling with eating, seems to be a theme with her. I keep thinking she will just wake up one day and want to eat everything in sight. No such luck. But show her candy… So perhaps it is a behavior thing, even though the feeding therapist doesn’t think so. I’ll trust her. Oh, and still in her crib, and hasn’t really attempted to climb out. Maybe Nadia will be in a toddler bed before Nora!

House Hunting

Tomorrow I’m meeting my cousin who is a Realtor in the Cedar Rapids area to look at a few houses. I’m excited, but nervous too. I hate being in Cedar Falls, but the idea of being further from Eric the weeks he’s on call is a little terrifying too. Like tonight, he left to drive to Ft. Dodge a bit ago. If he was leaving from Cedar Rapids he might have wanted to get on the road sooner, and would be home later tomorrow evening. Ugh. I wish someone could tell me what to do, or I could see the future.

In preparation for tomorrow I’m trying to make a list of things I dislike about our current home… things I want to make sure are different in the next house we purchase.

  • I do like a somewhat open floor plan, but our current home is basically one huge room for our kitchen, dining, and living room. It’s very difficult to arrange furniture. And since Nora can always see the kitchen and eating area, she constantly wants to eat, then wants to get down and play. This repeats every ten minute the entire freaking day.
  • Our current kitchen pantry is basically a tall cabinet. It sucks. We need more space!
  • Same goes for our laundry room, which is really a hallway which is also our mud room. Way too cramped. 
  • It’s a pain in the butt walking through our entire house with groceries as the garage is on the opposite side as the kitchen. 
  • Currently the girl’s bedrooms share a wall with the kitchen. Horrible, as after they go to bed I tend to clean up and do dishes, and they can hear it all. And entertaining with the girls sleeping is out of the question.
  • We have a fairly good sized finished basement, but it’s not a walkout, which I really want in the next house, both to make letting Kona outside easier, and for playing outside with the girls. Our deck off the kitchen has a ton of stairs down to the yard, so it’s hard for Nora to walk down them alone.
  • I really need a neighborhood with sidewalks, a place for the girls to ride bikes, or even just take them for walks. There are empty lots on both sides of our current home, thus our sidewalk doesn’t connect to anything. It’s annoying as I don’t really want Nora playing in the street, even though it’s not busy. 

Am I asking for too much?

Oh, forgot to share… Last Wednesday at Nadia’s speech therapy appointment the therapist suggested stopping our sessions for the time being. Nadia does nothing but cry during the sessions, although I blame this on them wanting to take her back alone. And technically she is making a lot more sounds and says mama and dada, so they are thinking it would be okay to hold off on more therapy for now. They said to contact them in maybe four months and we can have another evaluation to see how she is doing at that point. I’m thrilled to knock off one therapy session a week. Hopefully she progresses well with us helping her at home over the next few months.

And then there is Nora. Eric is so hard on her sometimes. I feel like he expects so much out of her, considering she’s only 30 months. Should she be counting by now? Eric works with her constantly, and she knows a lot, but counting is something she gets stuck on. I have no idea why, but when she counts she says 1, 2, 6. She refuses to say 3. And it drives Eric up the wall. Like he actually gets mad at her. Maybe I’m too easy on her, but I let it go. I correct her, but I don’t hold it against her. I guess I feel like at some point it will click with her. Right?

Although, more another time, I’m exhausted and need to be up early to shower and get ready before the girls wake. Good night!

A party, cardiology, gestational carriers, and open houses

Our weekend was full! Saturday my mom watched the girls while Eric and I traveled back to Iowa City for an overnight. One of his partners hosted a party at his home Saturday evening. It was fun, nice to get away for a night! The party was primarily physicians, which always makes me feel a little out-of-place. Most of the couples are both physicians, most both surgeons. And yes, I know I had a great career before I quit to raise the girls, but no one else knows that… I have little to talk about when all of them are going on and on about their busy, prospering careers. Education is everything to these people, and while I do have an MBA, I think sometimes to them a masters is like a high school diploma.

Sunday we slept in, well, sort of, since I was awake most of the night listening to Eric snore… Something has to give with him disrupting my sleep! After brunch at his partner’s home we stopped at Costco to pick up a few household necessities and then toured two open houses in Cedar Rapids. I liked them both, but was certainly more drawn to the home on Wexford Way. Either are huge steps up from anything currently available in Cedar Falls. In fact, I’d move into either of these tomorrow if I could! Eric liked the one on Diamondback Road better, but mostly because it’s an easier, quicker drive to the hospital, as it’s closer to the interstate. Being so though means it’s also not as nicely situated in an established neighborhood, which is on my list if must-haves in a home.

Diamondback Road

Wexford Way

Obviously looking at these houses both excites and terrifies me. I’m so unhappy in Cedar Falls and have been since we moved here over two years ago now, but moving again, and being alone a lot more with the girls with Eric commuting feels a bit overwhelming. There is obviously no perfect solution, short of Eric working in a city that offers more for me and the girls. But since he loves his partners and the practice they have built, I don’t see him wanting to move anytime soon. I wish I knew the answer to all this…

This week Eric is on vacation again, part of his every third week off. He took Nadia to her cardiology appointment in Iowa City today so I could stay home and review everything with the new/old nanny who started today.

Nadia’s appointment went well, we can finally stop her heart medication and see how she does. And follow-up not for a few months! Closer to crossing another specialty group off our list!

The new/old sitter is a girl who watched Nora two years ago when we first moved here. I actually didn’t realize she was still in town, as she is now working on her masters in speech pathology. How perfect given Nadia’s issues. I think she’ll be good. And who knows how long we’ll even have her if we’re getting more serious about moving. But you know how I like to make plans and then not follow through.

Speaking of plans… Eric and I have been talking more and more about our frozen embryo. I think we’re both of the opinion that if we’re having a third child, we need to do it sooner rather than later. We’d prefer to have all the mess of littles now, and be done with diapers. I also know Eric really wants to travel more, and that’s so difficult with little ones. One of the physicians at the party is a reproductive endocrinologist in Davenport, her husband a Urologist there. I spoke to her quite a bit at the party about the process of using a gestational carrier. She made it sound so easy, but I know it isn’t. I guess I just need to seek out an agency to help us, or somehow find someone I know who would allow me to use their uterus for a bit! My other option is going back to my high risk OB at the University and discussing whether me carrying our embryo is an option. So much fear and risk. We’ll see, more on this topic to come.

Happy Friday!

So much to say, so little time… Maybe that should be the name of this blog… Should this be a random update post? I kind of hate those, they don’t get to the heart of anything, do they?

Nora has been a monster lately. Perhaps we’re just now hitting the terrible twos. She whines non-stop. No seriously. From the minute she is out of her crib in the morning. It’s driving me crazy. I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear, “I want my mommy” when I’m already holding her or she’s standing right next to me. Maybe I cater too much to her wants, and now she has learned to whine her way to everything? I don’t know… There must be some parenting book I can read… if I had time.

Speaking of reading… My book club picked “Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone” for September. It’s something… I’m not even sure what to think of it! Placenta eating and Godzilla all before page 20…

And then there is Nadia, who often refuses to sleep at night or nap during the day. I think she’s smarter than I know… She screams as soon as I walk into her bedroom, and will stop if I take her out into the kitchen. My fault for taking her out of her room every time she cries. But… with her bedroom right next to Nora’s, I take Nadia out so she doesn’t wake Nora. Last night I let her cry, and she was asleep in ten minutes. Maybe I need to let her cry more, but it breaks my heart. I’m weak. A friend suggested I read “On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep“. There should be a cliff notes version. Has anyone read this? Fill me in!

The saga that is my life

I feel like the shit that goes on in my life doesn’t happen to others… but it must, right??

I emailed the crappy nanny around noon on Saturday, and at 5pm today (Sunday) I still hadn’t heard from her. So I sent a text asking if she read my email. She said she didn’t get it, and listed an email address different from the one we’d previously been communicating through. So I forwarded the original email to her new email address. And now I haven’t heard another word since. I’m going to assume she read it. But oh God, what if she shows up tomorrow morning??

I did interview three girls today, and I have a favorite from today, but I’m trying not to decide too much until I’ve met them all. I have two more interviews tomorrow and one on Tuesday yet as well.

Therapy Update

I haven’t written about the girl’s therapy sessions lately, so thought I would update.

First, Nadia’s physical therapy (PT). I think it’s going really well. When we started Nadia was barely sitting and now she is sitting very well, army crawling all over the house, and getting close to getting herself out of a sitting position to army crawl on her own. Well, I guess I should say without face-planting. Oh, and just in the past few days she has been reaching up, like toward the couch, or even my legs.

Nadia’s PT sessions are once a week for 45 minutes, although usually she is worn out after 35 or 40 minutes. And the past few times the therapist has been taking her back without me, and for the most part that is going well, even though Nadia is very much in the ‘clinging to mommy stage’ and ‘crying when I walk away stage’. When the therapist brings her back out to me she usually tells me what to work on until we see her again. This week she wanted us to get some type of one foot high step so we could work with Nadia on pulling herself up to it, and supporting her while she kneels next to it. I very much see the value in PT, but maybe it’s because I see progress. I’m not sure I can say the same for speech and feeding.

Speech with Nadia is once a week but only for 30 minutes. And of course it’s never scheduled next to another appointment of ours, so it’s a pain to drive all the way there for an appointment that seems to go really quick. For the speech sessions the therapist usually takes Nadia back alone for the first 20 minutes and then gets me for the last 10 minutes.

So…. I’m probably gonna sound like a really bad mom for saying this, but I really want to quit these sessions, at least for the time being. Three sessions ago the therapist blew bubbles and said ‘ba ba ba bubbles’ to Nadia for 30 minutes. Two sessions ago she got out this toy and turned it on and off while saying ‘stop’ and ‘go’ for 30 minutes. This past week Nadia was kind of upset and didn’t really want to be near the therapist, so she played peek-a-boo with her for 30 minutes. Now I realize I’m not trained in this area, but I can certainly do these things with Nadia on my own without paying for each of these sessions. I did ask the speech therapist if we could come every other week, and she didn’t think that was a good idea as Nadia already doesn’t know her, so she thought the more she sees her, the better.

Nadia’s one year check-up was Friday, which is another post in itself, but I did ask our pediatrician about the speech therapy… And she was fine with us stopping for now. She said since Nadia has two words, mama and dada, at about 10 months adjusted, she wouldn’t necessarily consider her behind at this point. So, we’ll see. I haven’t cancelled any appointments yet. Mommy guilt.

And finally, Nora’s feeding therapy which is once a week for 45 minutes. I kind of want to cancel these as well… Each session is very much the same. We bring three foods she will eat and three foods she won’t eat. They alternate back and forth, the foods she likes being a reward if she tries or makes some interaction with a food she won’t eat at home for us. The therapist is very very very happy and outgoing. (I want some of whatever she is on!) They basically play with the food, like asking her to ‘clean your spoon’ when she was trying applesauce, ‘lick it like a puppy’ when I took some yogurt she won’t eat, and ‘make a moon’ in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Again, none of this is rocket science, and now that I know what the therapist does, I can easily replicate this at home.

Maybe I’m being too hard on these therapist, I don’t know. Or maybe we just need to find different therapists. And if we move back to Cedar Rapids, we’d be forced to anyway.

She has been fired

I sent the sub-par nanny an email earlier today explaining that I just didn’t think she was the right fit for our family. I was vague, on purpose. I’m honestly feeling so much better now that I’ve made that decision. But… why does one decision always lead to more issues??

  • I’ll have no way of knowing if and when she reads the email… OMG, what if she doesn’t read it before Monday at 9am when she is supposed to be here next to watch the girls?? Awkward! Should I text her tomorrow and ask if she read my email? I know, I probably should call… but I hate confrontation.
  • I found six girls I want to interview. I have three set up for tomorrow and two for Monday and I’m still waiting to hear back from the last one. On paper they all look great, but the current one did too. Looking back though, the interview with the current one was uncomfortable, the conversation didn’t flow. Maybe that should have been a clue to me. Since all look good on paper I’m tempted to pick whichever one I click with this time… Bad idea?
  • I’ve already started a written list of expectations. Well, not just expectations, although it does include those, but also things to know… It’s very much a work in progress, but here is what I have so far under Diapers/Wipes/Potty Training. Too much detail? Does it make me sound like a crazy mom?
    • Nora would go all day and never request a wet diaper change, whereas Nadia will sometimes cry if she is the tiniest bit wet.
    • We change every few hours, before and after naps, first thing in the morning, right before bed, and when it’s obviously poopy.
    • Nora will normally tell you immediately after she poops.
    • Nadia makes an interesting grunting noise when she’s pooping. You’ll know! If she is sitting when this grunting begins, I highly recommend you lay her down or provide her some tummy time on the floor.
    • Nora is currently in size 4 diapers, Nadia is in size 3. Extra diapers and wipes are all kept in Nora’s closet.
    • We have attempted potty training with Nora, but at this point we’re not pushing it. We ask her from time to time if she wants to sit on the potty, if she does great, if she doesn’t want to it’s okay. If she does attempt the potty, there are usually a few pull-ups in the bathroom to put on after, or you can use a diaper, either is fine.
    • You can change the girls wherever, we normally change Nora on her bedroom floor. On Nadia’s changing table there is contraption to keep her hands out of her diapers. Remind me to show you how to use it if you can’t figure it out. I highly recommend you use it, for your own sake.
  • All of this seems like a huge waste of time when I’ve been looking at houses online in Cedar Rapids and have decided I really do want to move back there… In fact, if I wasn’t interviewing these girls tomorrow we probably would have gone to some open houses.

Fire the nanny?

I’m so confused… I think I want someone to tell me it’s okay to fire a nanny after one week, even if I don’t have a true list of reasons why she’s terrible. I just don’t feel like she’s right. There are things she has done that I don’t really like, but none of them put our children in danger. I think ultimately she is a baby-sitter, someone who comes while I’m away, or even while I’m here, keeps an eye on the girls, feeds them, but isn’t overly interactive with them. I know she watches TV while she’s here, but I watch TV when I’m home with the girls too… She certainly doesn’t take as much initiative as I’d like, which I suppose could be spelled out to her. She doesn’t even strike me as someone who loves kids… in fact, I’m wondering why she took this job. The money maybe, as I’m paying her $14 an hour. And so far it’s only been one child a day, as we’ve had appointments with one or the other most days. She has three 5-star reviews on care.com, but who knows if she asked those people to write them for her… Her personality is rather dull, and I get you probably shouldn’t fire someone for that, but I can’t help feeling uncomfortable around her. She is polite, has been on-time, but I’m just not sure that’s enough for me. Maybe my standards are too high…

I’m really leaning toward getting rid of her. But how? Ugh, I hate confrontation. I don’t want to tell her to leave Monday morning when she gets here. Am I supposed to give her notice? Pay her for next week but tell her not to come? Email her? I don’t feel like I have good reasons, can I just say I don’t think she’s a good fit? Having her as our nanny is stressing me out, so that alone tells me it’s not right. But the thought of interviewing again and starting all over with someone new overwhelms me too. Maybe lesson learned, I need to lay out my expectations. Maybe I’ll start typing up some stuff to make sure the new person reads and understands before they take the position.