Monday, September 29, 2008

Get Well Plan Or The Boot?

OK ... the question at the moment is whether I put the current nanny on a get well plan or give her the boot. Today I got home and she had (as usual) underfed the babies, so we had another three hours of ballistic babies. I've been coaching her on feedings for over a month now, so I don't know why it's not sinking in.

And I had to clean up my kitchen again. I had to put dishes in the dishwasher and wipe the crumbs off the counter top - my serious kitchen pet peeves. I actually did this in front of her, and she showed very little remorse.

And then ... I found an old poop diaper - at least 4 hours old, sitting in the twins' room, out in the open, freshening the room with its fantastic aroma. I admit we don't have a diaper bin in their room (it's in the master bedroom, where I do more poop diapers), making the nanny's job a little tougher, but the other two nannies have somehow managed to throw out used diapers. At least three days I've come home to stacked soiled diapers next to the changing pad. That's just, uh, gross.

Normally I'd follow corporate America procedure and give her a "get well" plan, detailing what I need changed. But I've got two issues here. One, is that I've actually got "Plan B" - the French girl still wants to work for us. I never have a Plan B, and Plan B is actively looking for a nanny job, so I don't want to lose her if we need her. Two is that my gut instincts are telling me that no matter how much I coach her, she's not going to improve. She's just not good with babies. She's great for Claire's age group but not good with the twins.

But as I've said before, who's to say whether the French nanny will be any better with the babies? I could be trading like for like if I go that route.

Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cider Mill Festival

After Claire's and my usual tap & ballet class and Waffle House lunch morning, we loaded up everyone and went to the Louisburg Cider Mill festival about 20 minutes south of where we live. With three bouncy inflatables, it was kid heaven. Our mistake was in not having much cash on hand, but with $15 we got two fresh squeezed lemonades, two apple cider doughnuts, and Claire entrance to three inflatables and we still had a couple dollars left.

Claire got a lesson in how cider is made, and she got to see a real corn field and pull back the husk of one to find a real corn cob inside.

Enjoy the photos. I hope the hilarious one of Claire terrified on the bouncy slide doesn't look like soft core kid porn (with her dress flying up and showing her panties).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Birthday Joy

I kept the birthday low key on purpose (I know my kids are wired tight). We only had one additional family member attend - their grandmother (my mom). Admittedly they don't see her often, but it was only one extra person. We honestly didn't have chaos in the house.

And they still freaked. Mom didn't approach them gently and carefully, and they both went into tailspin. The screaming took up at least 45 minutes of the evening, killed any party mood we may have started with, and got me and Kyle beyond frustrated with each other.

Just shoot me.

They pulled themselves together by the time they got to eat cake (they liked it), and other than one bad moment for Lily they stayed in a good mood for presents and play time. It's a good thing they're able to recover, and too bad their mother (that's me, folks) cannot - I just can't get my blood pressure back down after a screaming event like that.

So I'm holed up in the basement, trying to calm my frayed nerves.

I love kid birthdays [said through gritted teeth]. Happy Birthday, Molly and Lily. Can we shoot for a better birthday next year girls?

Birthday Cake Mistake

Happy Birthday Molly and Lily.

Too bad the bakery can't read directions and spell 'Lily' properly (see photo). Urgh. They offered to fix the mistake, but with twins and Claire in tow, I declined to wait. A $38 cake with a mistake!

We are celebrating tonight. More photos to follow.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Birthday Eve

Jumbled thoughts from the birthday eve ...

I wouldn't repeat more than about 15 days of the last year. Really. It's been a tough haul.

I didn't plan the twins' birthday until 2pm today, when I panicked and called a bakery for a cake and told family when to show up if they were interested. Does that make me a bad mom? Or just too busy to plan effectively?

We have no birthday present for the twins. We have too many toys. Anyways, they only want Claire's (too small) toys.

Today the nanny couldn't get Lily to take a normal second nap, almost forgot to feed her on time, and Molly wouldn't eat much either. And she left me a messy kitchen. What do I do about this?

Why can't I get past about 5am in the morning without waking up, back aching, joints aching? Aren't I too young for this?

Time to get back to the television. I'm indulging myself in season premier week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Share and Share Alike

Molly has learned the word "share", so today she got a kick out of sharing her milk cup with Lily (you can request she share something and she follows the command, or she'll do it on her own accord). It's amazingly cute to watch them interact like this. This is when the twin thing tugs at your heart.

Molly is also assuming that if she wants to put something in her mouth, everyone else does too. So if she is chewing on a toy, or sucking a pacifier, she then offers it to me. She puts it directly on my mouth and looks for my reaction. This, of course, can be a little gross, because I get offered all sorts of slimy spitty items I don't want to chew on. It seems to give her pleasure to "share" the spitty item with me, so I thank her profusely and quickly get it back to her mouth.

Claire had another good day at preschool and we had our usual lunch at Arby's after I picked her up. This afternoon I waited on two pregnant women who wanted to come by to look at our "gently used" baby items, and only one showed. This lady was pregnant with twins, and boy oh boy did I feel sorry for her. She was really tall, however, and seemed to carry the pregnancy much better than my short body did. She looked really good actually - nothing like what I did.

Tonight we had another milestone - I made my last batch of formula. We had enough to make 38 ounces, so that's all they get. Whole milk, here we come! We'll get about a $100/month raise by not having to purchase formula anymore. Woo-hoo.

Tomorrow is another office day and another test of the new nanny. Please, please, please let the twins have a better day so that I'm not concerned with the girl's ability to care for them. I did talk to the French nanny (who quit before she started) last night so I do know I have a back-up plan, but who's to say the French girl can handle the twins any better than our current nanny?

Monday, September 22, 2008

As Luck Would Have It

I never, ever should have mentioned Molly sleeping through the night in my previous post. Of course ... of course ... that meant she woke up at 4:30am last night looking for a bottle. Ho hum. That's the last time I mention her sleeping habits until I've got at least 1 month of consistent sleeping out of her.

So that's my bad luck. My good luck? Well, my WFH status was approved by my Director and HR. I'm officially official. I feel like the luckiest employee ever. Hope my new status doesn't backfire on me some day.

So that should have been a good day for me, but then I returned home at 5pm to utter baby chaos. It seems the nanny is still struggling to figure out feedings and nap times so the babies were underfed and tired this evening. Lily was truly out of control. I wish I could video her crying, just so the rest of you could experience it. No matter what the cause of the crying - getting hurt, getting a toy taken away by Claire (or me), or being left in a room by herself - she is at a point in her development where she goes into full blown meltdown, turning red, shaking violently, and screaming like she just broke three bones in her body. It's tough to watch, and tougher to listen to. My nerves were frayed tonight.

And then I watched my guilty pleasure - CSI Miami, and no less the season premier - and I've calmed down a bit. And now it's time for bedtime, as I assume Molly will pull another night waking. Good night.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Plaza Art Fair

We wrapped up the weekend with a trip to the Plaza Art Fair. The twins were amazing! They skipped their second nap today and kept it together until we got home. They even seemed to enjoy themselves - not one cry emanated from either of them. Lily had a somewhat rough evening due to her fatigue but Molly kept it together until bedtime. This tells me that maybe we can get them to one nap a day soon. That would be quite helpful for family time on the weekends, errand running time, etc.

Incidentally, Molly has also been sleeping through the night for a few days or more now. I don't want to jinx myself, and I know teething will send us sliding backwards, but for now I am finally getting a full night's sleep (even if, like today, she's up at 6:30am, which is a bit early for me). It's amazingly fantastic to sleep through the night after 1 year, 9 months of night wakings.

Kansas City has had the best summer weather in my memory. Ever. We had a few hot days this summer, but overall it's been freakishly cool. This past week has been great, and it really helped for the garage sales going on near our neighborhood. Friday I picked up a few toys for the kids, and then yesterday, our neighbor (who also has twins) set out a toddler-sized play place (slide and swing) for free that I spent a few hours cleaning so we could put in the basement. We finally brought it into the house this evening, and the babies seemed to find it interesting. I think it'll be a great thing to have through the cold winter - some extra entertainment on those boring frigid days. The challenge is keeping Claire off of it because she's too heavy for it.

Saturday Claire had tap & ballet lessons and we did our usual Waffle House lunch afterwards. She's a creature of habit - it's Arby's after preschool, and Waffle House after dance. I am still feeling sad because another "regular" of the Waffle House was killed by a falling tree and I was just told on Saturday. The prior Saturday, he had given me a hug. He was a sweet cuddly big bear of a guy, intimidating to Claire but completely harmless. I met him during my pregnancy with the twins, when I craved Waffle House every day for about two months straight, so we got to know him in passing. RIP, Mike.

I'm still adjusting to my new 2 1/2 days per week in the office, M/W/Th schedule, and we're all still getting used to the new nanny (the untidy new nanny). Tomorrow kicks off another work week and another test of the new nanny. I really hope I don't come home to a messy kitchen.

Today's photos - the Art Fair, and the new play thing for the basement.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Clean Up

OK - my pet peeve - I came home to a pretty wrecked house. For all you nannies out there, please, please clean up after yourselves and the kids. When I work all day and haven't seen my kids, the last thing I need to do is get home and feel the need to go into cleaning mode to fix your messes. I'm actually pretty lenient about the toys on the floor, but I can't stand finding dishes in my sink (instead of being in the dishwasher), food in booster seats, and dirty diapers sitting next to the changing pad. So it's pretty simple: to keep me happy, keep my kitchen clean and the used diapers in the trash. This is clearly stated in my rules sheet for nannies.

So it's been nonstop mess patrol in our home since I got home before 5pm. I'm annoyed. For those of you without young kids, there's this irritating "clean up, clean up, everybody clean up" song that is playing in my head all evening as I fix the nanny's mess.

We're on day four of the new nanny and we've definitely had some adjustment. I guess it's time for a reminder about kitchen messes and getting dishes into the dishwasher. Sigh. We've already had to discuss feeding and nap schedules several times. I think she's uncomfortable with ambiguity, and with any baby, there's no guarantees about when she'll nap or eat or whatever so I give the nanny rough guidelines (e.g., "feed them approximately every three hours") and this is confusing her a little. She seems to want exact times, which I can't predict. Hmmmm. I'm pining for my summer nanny (whom I ran into at Target two nights ago, and was overjoyed to see).

Work - well, there's a little news there. My boss has had a conversation with both our Director and HR about my WFH schedule. So far, no one has balked, but he's waiting on one last conversation (in fact, I'm a little unclear who he's looping back with, but I think it's our Director). So there's still a chance I'll get a "no, she must be in the office 4 days per week" but it's looking less and less likely that will be the final answer. Can you hear that desperate chanting of "please please please"? That's me. Until I know for sure.

I sent out invitations for Claire's birthday party next month. We took the plunge. She is getting a "real" party, with friends, at MyGym, a little indoors gym/play place where they'll have the run of the place to themselves on a Sunday for two hours. I might end up spending $50 more than I wanted to, but at least I'm not cleaning up after a birthday party in my home, nor stressing about party decorations nor how clean the home is for the adults who might size it up. I'm actually a little excited for Claire because I know she'll talk about it for the next year.

Molly has learned the pointing trick - she points at everything, showing me what she wants to touch or what she wants me to see or name for her. It's cute, except she cries all day to be held so she can "boss" me around to the objects she wants to touch. She also seems to be saying "dog" (maybe?) and "uh oh" (she drops things on purpose so she can say "uh oh") and maybe even daddy (da da).

Lily still isn't walking, which I did expect by now. She is standing and balancing longer each day, but when she wants to move somewhere, she knows crawling is her most efficient method so she continues to do that. I just re-read that efficient crawlers sometimes walk later, so maybe that's her situation. She isn't showing any signs of pointing or saying words, but I didn't expect that from her. She's the gross motor kid, and Molly is the fine motor and language kid.

And next week, we celebrate their first birthday. Amazing. A significant milestone in any twin parents' life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Low-Key Weekend

I'm not liking this new Monday/Wednesday/half-day Thursday work schedule so far - it means I'm in the same rush Sunday night as the rest of the world. Laundry, clean up the house, get ready for the nanny, get prepared for the week. My old schedule of working from home on Mondays provided a little extra buffer that really seemed to help us each week.

I'm in another new predicament too. I've never had a constipated baby, and I do today. Molly is having trouble pooping and cries when she tries to go. Her third attempt today may have flushed her system, but I'll find out (from the nanny) tomorrow. I feel badly for the child. If this continues past tomorrow I'll take her to the clinic tomorrow night.

Our weekend was basically spent tracking down party favors for a birthday we haven't even planned yet. We purchased Claire's birthday party favors (it's not candy!), cheap but cute, and yet I haven't committed to what we're doing for her party yet. I think we'll make a final decision this week. I feel like I morphed into the dreaded Johnson County mother I abhor so much - worrying about a kid's 4th birthday party. But Claire is begging for a party (she's never had one that includes friends) and we feel we can't deny it this year. My goal is to do the whole thing for as close to $200 as we can - not the hundreds and hundreds the typical JoCo mother spends on a kid birthday.

So it was another low-key weekend, going to tap & ballet class, running errands, getting Claire a haircut (only her third in her life), and dealing with the never-ending rain. We also attempted to wean the babies from their lunchtime bottle, forcing an actual lunch meal, so they are a bit out of sorts as they deal with that adjustment. My goal is to have them weaned down to at most two bottles by the week of their first birthday. We are also getting them used to cow's milk (in small doses, in a cup) so the shift from formula to cow's milk won't be such a shock. We'll soon be getting a monthly raise when we stop buying cans and cans of formula each month!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Play Zone

I belong to this "Mothers of Multiples" group, primarily for the buying and selling of used baby gear. Today I bought a "play zone", which is basically an animal pen for the twins (see photo), from a mother of triplets (God bless her ... triplets ... sheesh). Claire thinks it's a really cool thing to play games with, and the twins were quite entertained by it too. You can configure the play area to be as large as 8'x9' or pretty small to fit whatever area you need to confine babies in. I think it'll come in handy, and I know the nanny will use it to keep a baby safely confined while she takes the other baby upstairs for nap time/diaper changes. She admitted she's freaked to leave a baby alone downstairs while she's upstairs with the other one so I thought I needed to provide something that would alleviate her anxiety.

Claire had a good day at preschool and lots of fun playing at the neighbor girl's house. I also took her out to lunch and to the triplet house to buy the play zone, so she had a busy day. Somehow she's still awake at nearly 9:30pm. Where does she get that energy?

I was supposed to be in the office for my weekly team meeting, but has often happened, my boss cancelled it as I was literally driving to the office. So I turned around, went back home, and finished my work in relative peace while the twins napped and Claire was at the neighbor's house.

Tomorrow: so glad it's Friday! I'm ready for the weekend already.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Nanny Challenge

The nanny had a heck of a second day, on her own for the first time with my three. Molly wouldn't sleep and cried every time the nanny tried to make her nap (I'm assuming teething issues, as Molly was up for over an hour in the middle of the night). Lily was needy, wanting to be held all afternoon. So basically between teething issues and the new sitter the babies were all out of sorts. I promised her it isn't this hard all the time, and gulped a little, because quite frankly I think they are a little difficult for others to handle. Claire had to add insult to injury by telling the new nanny that the morning had been really boring ... ah, you've got to love kid honesty. The nanny took her $165 today and probably felt like running from my house. I did notice she was out the door within about 10 minutes - a record for any sitter around here.

No update from work on the new WFH policy. The suspense is killing me.

Tomorrow I'll be at the office for the afternoon (for my weekly team meeting, so actually with my new Monday/Wednesday/half day Thursday schedule I'm adding an extra half day in the office each week) while Kyle covers the house duties. Claire is having a playdate for the first time with another neighbor girl we've never really met.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The New Nanny

Tonight's photo is of the twins at dinner - this is our new set up at dinner time. Forget those bulky high chairs, and they're like real little people at our dinner table which makes me laugh. It really is easier to use these boosters and have them eat at the table with us. They seem to like being included too. We've also got them eating our food as much as possible (rather than making lots of separate meals) so tonight they're eating chili. They immediately got baths afterwards. Claire decided she wanted to take a shower at the same time so she got herself clean which was quite handy.

Today was our first day with the new nanny. I spent all day acclimating her to our home and schedule, but I did have a meeting in the afternoon so I left her here for two hours alone with the kids. She seemed to do pretty well, and Claire enjoyed playing with her. It's impossible to say on the first day whether someone will work out, but it was a good first day. Nevertheless, everyone is exhausted. Transition time is tiring. I just got invited on one of my coveted nightly walks and can't even find the energy for that.

So my new work schedule will be Mondays and Wednesdays in the office with the other days at home (conveniently my WFH days are the preschool days so I can do drop off/pick up), unless my boss bows to the pressure of the new 1-day WFH policy and requests a change. This still remains to be seen. No update from work today - I'm still in a holding pattern.

Molly has a new "trick" - if she hears the word "bye" she immediately starts waving, so she's put that together. Lily will wave on command (as will Molly) but Lily hasn't made the connection between 'bye bye' and waving yet. I really, really thought Lily would be walking by now but she is surprising me by not progressing to that yet. Sometimes it's the fast, efficient crawlers who don't want to walk, and this might be her deal.

My surprise (sort of) is that neither baby seems to be using any words yet. Claire was saying three words by her first birthday (dog, daddy, ball). The babies aren't. Of course Claire had nonstop one-on-one attention and only adults in the house, so that encouraged her to talk. The twins' environment, I suppose, isn't the best for learning to talk. My question for their 1-year check up (coming up soon) is to ask the doctor whether twins tend to talk in a delayed manner compared to singletons. It seems logical.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Costume Purchase

I love the internet. We recently got one of those Halloween costume catalogs in the mail and it has a Cinderella costume in it for $50. Fifty dollars!! But Claire was begging for it. Begging. So last night, I spent half an hour combing the internet for cheaper Cinderella costumes, and lucky us, I figured out our nearby Target store has a version for $17. So today Claire got to buy her Halloween costume - a bit early, I agree, but you know Target will sell out of these things in no time - and she is so happy. We even went to the mall today (a brief outing for the whole family, but the babies were crabby), and Claire made us go in the Disney store, and she wasn't even interested in their $60 Cinderella costume because she already had her Target version! Long live Target and the internet.

Last Christmas Claire got a small ballpit from Santa Claus, but it's got a slow leak in it, so it doesn't get used anymore. Tonight, however, Molly showed extreme interest in the deflated ballpit, so I blew it up again and Claire and Molly had a blast playing together! Molly thought it was hysterically fun. I was genuinely laughing watching her enjoy rolling around in the balls. We need to find that slow leak and patch it now that I saw how much fun this could be for the babies. Lily was napping so she didn't get a turn in the balls tonight.

Back to the grind tomorrow and the new nanny will start her first day with us. I will be home most of the day coaching her through our usual schedule. I hope she can handle our circus.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Kitchen Break

Today was Claire's second tap dance lesson (see photo). We are also officially in the minivan now, with the carseats set up and the Volvo getting prepped for a good cleaning and for sale. In fact, the carseat event took most of our afternoon (repeat of 4th of July), but at least it's done. Kyle finally drove the van for the first time and he complained (as I expected) but he'll get over it once he's writing that much smaller car payment check each month.

It was a dreary, rainy day here. Claire and I had the tap dance and lunch outing, but then we were home all afternoon setting up the carseats in the minivan. To ease the cabin fever, we got the kids out for dinner and then walked around the open-air mall afterwards before rushing home for kid bedtimes. I cleaned the baby bottles for the day, but other than that I did absolutely no cleaning in the kitchen which is amazing - but with a lunch out and a dinner out there was no need.

I have gone back and hired the other nanny candidate so we actually have childcare coverage for next week. I was so desperate to line up care that I haven't even checked her references yet, so I'm still a little anxious about her. All in all, this round of nanny hiring has been a bust. Not fun at all. Summer nannies are so much easier to find with all the college kids out of school.

Yesterday, Friday, my manager was on vacation so there is no update from work on this new work-from-home policy and how it impacts my schedule going forward. So the work stress remains.

Friday night we took the kids out for pizza so we got a break from the kitchen last night too! Photo of the twins is from last night after dinner. Their outfits are adorable (a baby gift from a family friend).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Minivan

It's here. The white, uncool monstrosity is now parked outside our home. But let's face it - this is just all too practical a vehicle for our number of kids and our financial situation. The exciting news is I was able to get a 5-year bumper to bumper warranty (Kyle's concern was lack of warranty) thrown in without adjusting our monthly payment too much so this has turned out to be a pretty good deal after all. If one of those power sliding doors goes out, for example - a $2000 fix - then we're out no money other than a $100 deductible. Not bad.

Claire is so excited about the sliding doors and the DVD she can barely contain herself. We haven't had time to switch out carseats yet, so the Volvo is still officially in use. I guess I need to post some car sale ads on the internet for the Volvo.

I spent the morning finalizing the car sale, ran late for preschool pick-up, took Claire out to lunch, and then went into the office for the afternoon stretch (Kyle was home with kids today). We had our weekly team meeting this afternoon and my boss didn't shed any new light on the new work-from-home policy and his thoughts around my flexibility. I have slightly more hope than yesterday about whether my flexibility will stay intact, only because I listened to the boss think through ways to be more flexible with his team while staying under the radar screen, but I can tell he's very, very conflicted. I know he doesn't want to stick his neck out for me/his team and he shouldn't have to. I have a feeling this indecision will last for a few weeks until the official policy is released by HR and then he'll begin to feel out our real options for additional flexibility beyond one day per week.

So the bad news is that my anxiety around my job isn't going away any time soon. I have a few more weeks of this, at least. Sigh.

I don't feel like I saw my kids much today, but I did give three kids baths tonight. This is because we gave Molly and Lily some ranch dressing to eat (for amusement purposes at dinner), which they smeared everywhere. Can anyone explain to me why ranch dressing makes baby faces turn red and irritated?

Oh Lordy. Oh Lordy. Live update from Kansas City: the new nanny candidate just left me a message while I was writing this that she can't start next week, and probably can't start for another couple weeks. This is turning out to be a cluster - the nanny, the changes at work, and so on. I want to scream. I'm signing off now, because I must go inform Kyle of this news. This ought to be an interesting discussion ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Holding Pattern

I'm in a holding pattern as I wait for my manager to make a decision about whether he'll defy convention - our new one day work-from-home policy - and allow me my same flexibility, or whether he will walk the line and require me to be in the office four days (which won't work for our family). I believe he'll walk the line. Whatever the case, it was a stressful day and I didn't sleep very well last night either. I didn't have the focus for my job or for the kids. I just needed some peace and quiet to think through my options, and I didn't get any of that. At 9pm, I'm just now getting some peace, but I'm too curious to watch the RNC and see what this Palin candidate says so that will kill my thinking time tonight.

It just felt like a loooooooong day, and it's not over yet. Claire is wide awake upstairs and singing loudly.

And I don't have the minivan yet either. It was pouring rain today (thanks hurricane Gustav), so I didn't feel like dragging the kids out without Kyle's help to go sign papers for 45 minutes. The plan is to do this tomorrow.

So tomorrow is the second preschool day and I was wrong - it is a "full" day until 11:30am. Tomorrow Kyle is also home with the kids while I buy the car and go into the office. I'm just having a hard time getting excited about work when I don't know what's going to happen with my job. It's very discouraging, and scary too.

Tonight's photo is after dinner (hence the diaper-only babies again, we do strip them down for meals), when the twins were chasing each other around doing the same thing. They like the handle on the freezer door. It's a handy bar for help in standing up.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back To School and Back To Work

Today was Claire's first preschool day. It was only for an hour, and Kyle didn't notice when dropping her off today there was a parent meeting during her one hour class, so we looked like fantastically involved and caring parents today. Yikes. When I picked Claire up at 10am, I apologized to her teacher, last year's teacher, and the lady who runs the school about this. I promised them that we do care about them. I also wanted to ask why this meeting wasn't noted in the Open House packet I picked up last week, but I wasn't going to make that point because then I'd look like a rude and uncaring parent. Good communication gets good involvement though, don't you think? Although I hear from my friends with new kindergartners this year that the real school system tends to over communicate so maybe I'll be wishing for the opposite in two more years. And my friends assure me that when the twins make it to "real" school that I'll really be annoyed by all the over communication in duplicate.

Claire told me she had fun, and a girl (also named Lauren, but a different Lauren from summer camp/dance class) from last year's class is in the same classroom so that made her happy. Tonight she went into full meltdown, however, so clearly we have a few transition issues going on, though she put her best face on it for the daytime.

Lily also went into meltdown at dinner time, and it stretched well into bedtime when she wouldn't settle down and screamed in her crib. My guess is this amazingly mild head cold is turning into our first earache for the new school year. Lovely. We're back to the earaches, antibiotics, and poop factories from last school year already. Molly might even be in the same boat. I'll see how they do tomorrow but it may be a clinic day for us.

It's also a minivan buying day tomorrow. Yes, we're taking the plunge, and for you money types, we'll be saving over $3000 annually just on car payments. Gas will hopefully be cheaper too than my small SUV, though that is debatable. And we get free oil changes for a year or two. The questionable part is the maintenance - we are buying a car with no warranty, so if something goes wrong, we're in the hole. But as long as we're in the hole for less than $3000, we're still coming out ahead of the Volvo costs, right? I just cannot yet wrap my mind around driving one of these vehicles yet - I've lost all sense of cool now for sure - but it just makes practical sense. And all the more financially practical when I detail my latest news from work today ....

... And so from work today, my larger group is moving to an official "work-from-home" policy. The horrible, awful, but always-has-been-expected-would-happen news? It's ONE day. One. Not even two. Usually when news like this comes out, my boss quickly calls and reconfirms his commitment to my work flexibility (i.e., WFH three days per week) but today I got no call. And no instant message. Nothing. It was pure silence. Reading between the lines, and knowing Corporate America, I know that he will not extend my amazing flexibility now that there's an official policy going into effect. He won't stick his neck out for me, and he shouldn't have to - if I were him, I wouldn't do it either as a manager. So he's feeling badly, knowing that in the past I've stated we can't afford a nanny for 4 days per week, nor do I want to have a nanny for 4 days/week for my kids. I want time with them too, and not just three rushed, crazy days a week. I like my schedule, even if it is a challenge working from home with three kids, because I get the best of both worlds - I get the intellectual stimulation and paycheck, and I get time with my kids.

So once I talk to my manager and confirm my worst suspicions, then I have some horrible decisions to face this week. I always knew I'd end up here, but I just didn't imagine it would happen so soon.

Ah, stress. What a rude awakening after my week of vacation last week. Not the best way to return to work today. I think Claire's first day at school was better than my first day back at work.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! Another low-key day here for us. I got to sleep in (yeah, and much needed) and then I took Claire out for lunch and errands for a couple hours. We then packed the family up for another trip to Antioch Park just to get out of the house for a while.

We had to pull together an early dinner so Kyle could attend his Fantasy Football draft night (oh yippeeee, sorry guys for the lack of enthusiasm here). He left the house before 6pm and I've been on my own with the kids ever since. Molly was over-tired because she missed her second nap and for some reason Lily went into meltdown mode too. So I had my hands full getting kids to bed.

Photos are from the park today, and also from dinner tonight. We're trying something new, where we put the babies in portable high chairs that attach to our regular seats so they can eat at the table with us, and so we can get rid of the two high chairs that take up too much space. I bought "placemats" that suction cup to the table to ease the mess on the table but Molly immediately figured out how to pull it up and chew on it. So we had to place the food directly on the table which was a bit of mess tonight. I haven't decided if the regular high chairs are easier to clean up or if I like this new set up yet. If they'd quit dropping food the new set up would be a ton easier for cleaning purposes. I just can't remember when the dropsie game becomes less interesting to babies.

Tomorrow Claire starts her first day of preschool. The crazy thing is they're only doing one hour of classes all week, so that means she gets dropped off at 9am and picked up at 10am. How insane! Impossible with my kid and work situation. So Kyle will hopefully do drop-offs this whole week while I do pick ups.

We also hired a nanny - the French girl new to Kansas City. It was really a toss up between the two main girls I interviewed, so maybe the French mystique swayed my opinion a bit here. I am concerned the long bus commute from up north will frustrate her after a while, but I'm willing to give this a shot. Downside is she can't start until next week, so Kyle and I have to negotiate who is staying at home and who is going to work each day this week. I despise these negotiations. I usually lose.