WE'VE MOVED!! You can now find us at Sunshine and Spoons!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Raid the Fridge and Talk on the Phone All Night

Today I started my new job. I'm a babysitter. Yeah, I know that makes me sound like a teenager who's trying to make a few extra bucks to go to the prom, but it is actually a steady reliable job.

Let me preface this by explaining how weird my work schedule has been. Before the babysitting gig, I worked about 20 hours a week-10 at one part-time job and 10 at another. The first was two to three mornings a week housekeeping and cooking at a B&B, the other (which I still have) was 2 mornings a week at the public library. My new job babysitting 2 children, ages 1 and 3, four mornings a week basically replaces the B&B job in the winter. The kids' mom is a preschool teacher so I will be able to rejoin the staff at the B&B during the summer months when the mom is on summer vacation. To accomodate the babysitting job, I rearranged my hours at the library so that I work two afternoons a week which is when Princess will go to my sister's house to be watched. I feel bad because by taking the babysitting job, I cut my sister's hours in more than half. However, my main goal as a working mom has been to spend more time with Princess, and I get to take her with me when I babysit.

This morning when I arrived, Princess was apprehensive about her new surroundings for the first few minutes. Then she noticed toys...lots of toys that she had never played with before. She completely forgot I existed, and, because the other kids were still sleeping, she had the toys all to herself for a while. Her joy was made complete when she found out that there were 2 kitties in the house and she immediately forgot about the toys to chase the poor cats around for a while.

All in all, the first day went well. The 1 year old sneaked around the walls of the living room keeping one eye on me, the strange new person, for the first half hour, but after that he realized that I actually wasn't a threat and decided to accept me. The 3 year old had been prepared by her mom for a new babysitter who was going to bring a new friend to play with. She was enthused to meet Princess although she was a bit disappointed when Princess preferred playing with her little brother.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where's Your Hair?

Someone I know suggested I write about Princess's bad hair days/no hair days when she was younger. So here goes.

Hubby and I are both blonde. So, naturally we were a bit surprised when Princess entered this world with a brown fringe of hair that stretched from ear to ear on the back of her head making her look like she'd joined an obscure order of monks. Upon seeing Princess's brown hair, Hubby turned to me and asked me what color of hair the milkman had. Having just gone through 10 hours of labor and 1 1/2 hours of pushing, I was in no mood for jokes and set him straight without hesitation.

Within a few months, most of Princess's scant hair had fallen out leaving her with a few wisps here and there. She was officially bald. She stayed that way until she was about 9 months old when blonde hair finally began to appear on her scalp. When I took her out, complete strangers would approach me to coo over my baby only to ask me, "Where's her hair?" I tried to stay nonviolent in my reply but, after a while, I resorted to putting a hat on Princess whenever we left the house. My dear aunt found her a bib that read "Bald is Beautiful" and Princess wore it with pride until I was finally able to retire it for the joyous reason that it no longer told the truth. My younger sister nicknamed Princess, Cueball, and the only reason I did not kill her and bury her body in the backyard was because she's a free babysitter available almost anytime. To make matters worse, my older sister had a baby boy 6 weeks before I had Princess, and her son was blessed with a full head of curls from the day he was born. Whenever she teased me about how her boy had more hair than my girl, I threatened to shave Maximus's's head and turn his hair into a wig for Princess.

To make matters worse, at around 6 weeks, Princess developed cradle cap. Some babies never get this, some have it clear up right away, and some are like Princess. For about 3 months straight I battled severe, unsightly cradle cap day and night. I tried everything. The doctor told me to put baby oil on it and then comb the flaky scales off her scalp. I went through half a bottle of baby oil (and as most mothers can attest, baby oil is one of those baby products you can never use up) before realizing that it actually irritated Princess's sensitive scalp and made the situation worse. In desperation, I tried something new. I slathered her head with vaseline because I knew from experience that it is one of the most natural products a person can use on their skin. Then I pulled a pink cotton hat on Princess's head and left it on until the vaseline could soak in because I also knew from experience that vaseline is messy and leaves greasy stains. After a few hours, the hat came off and I combed the yellowish scales from her head. After repeating this for about 2 weeks, the cradle cap cleared up completely. For the next several months, I occasionally had to repeat the procedure for a day or two, but it always went away after that. At 20 months old, Princess has been cradle cap free for approximately a year.

Unsolicited Advice:
See above solution for cradle cap.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is It Toddlerhood or an Evil Plot to Take Over the World?

A thought struck me tonight as I was scraping a burnt candle wick out of Princess's mouth. Parenthood is strange. Hard, fun, exciting, rewarding, and strange.

I never thought I would see the day when I obsessed over another person's body functions the way I do with Princess. When she was a newborn, Hubby and I carefully noted each and every diaper and its contents. Now that's she's being potty trained, I cheer and reward her with an m&m each time she pees in the toilet and she gets a standing ovation when she poops in the toilet. And honestly, the phrases, "No, Honey. Don't play in your potty." and "Oh no! You dropped your m&m in the toilet! Let me get you another one." were things I never really saw myself saying.

Speaking of weird phrases, there are so many times that I say something to Princess only to find myself realizing how strange I would sound to another person. Some of my favorites so far:
"Princess, stop! Sheep don't go in the garbage!"
"Stop eating that candle."
"Why are there teeth marks in your shoes?"
"Why don't you go give Tigger a hug?"
"We don't lick the carpet, Honey."
"Take that cat food out of your mouth and give it back to the kitty."

I think parenthood is especially strange when you're the parent of a toddler. Princes's moods, likes and dislikes, and behaviors change from moment to moment. A food that she couldn't get enough of yesterday makes her scream in horror at the sight of today. She can be laughing hysterically at me making faces at her and then mid-laugh, will switch to a condescending frown that says, "How dumb do you think I am?" I've given up trying to figure out why Princess does the things she does, things like throwing the baby doll she'd been mothering so gently to the floor and stomping on its head or carrying a empty gatorade bottle around with her for two days straight.

I was at The Farm one evening for supper and Hubby's mother started putting some peas on Princess's high chair tray. I immediately told her not to bother because Princess couldn't stand peas and hadn't eaten them since she was about 6 months old. Before the words had left my mouth, Princess was shoveling the peas in her mouth like she couldn't get enough of them. My mother-in-law told me that when her kids were younger, and they inevitably proved her wrong when she made a statement about them, she would say, "I'm just the mom, what do I know?" How true.

Unsolicited Advice:
When Princess is balking at doing something like cleaning her toys up or giving me a few minutes to do some laundry, I have found that I can make her happy by asking her if she would help me. She's happy and busy for a few minutes and I get my way too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Mommy, Why Is It Called Labor Day When All We Do Is Sit Around?"

For Labor Day, my favorite holiday, we went to Minnehaha Falls like we do every year. Generally, we meet family from both my mom's and dad's sides of the family there. We talk, watch the kids (there's three 1 year olds so a lot of attention is required, especially now that all three are walking/running!), jam with our instruments, listen to the bluegrass concerts playing at the grandstand in the park, and walk the trails down by the waterfall. It's something that I look forward to every year. Hubby did not join us this year as the weather was perfect for putting a roof on a house with his dad and brother. Which is what he did. My parents and little sister took their car to the Falls while my sister, her husband, and son Maximus hitched a ride with Princess and me. My sister's husband spent most of the day complaining how nice the weather was and, how if he were home, he could be getting a lot of work done. After 15 minutes of that, I was actually kind of glad that Hubby had opted to pound nails and work on a hot rooftop all day rather than come with us because I knew that he and my sister's Hubby would feed off of each other's misery in being forced to take a day to relax with the family.

The day was perfect. A cool breeze drifted through the air and we had our cookout on three of the highly coveted picnic tables that we had shown up for at 10:30 a.m. to reserve. After a highly nutritious lunch of hot dogs, chips, and cookies that was enjoyed by the three toddlers very much, we started tuning our instruments. My dad got out his banjo, I nabbed his fiddle since it's waaaaaay better than mine, my cousin rosined up her fiddle, my brother tuned his guitar, and my sister and mother shared a mandolin. After a few warmup songs, we were joined by another man with a guitar and a great repetoire of bluegrass songs. We had a great jam session while the adults who weren't playing an instrument or singing watched the kids. 14 month old Rose managed to literally roll in the dirt and was brown from head to toe while Maximus's dad futilely tried to get him to sleep before giving in and taking a nap himself while his son sat in his Looney Tunes stroller valiantly keeping his eyes wide open. My dear daughter fell asleep almost the minute I put her in her umbrella stroller and stayed that way for an hour and a half before being wakened by a very ripe diaper.

I do have one rant about the day. As we were jamming, a respectful looking black man (I would use the politically correct term of "African American," but I feel as if that's not fair to the rest of us who aren't labeled with our original nationalities. If I call him African American, then I would have to insist upon being called Scandinavian American.) came up to us and asked if we would like to do a good deed for the day. We hemmed and hawed as he launched into a sob story about needing $22 for bus fare on the Greyhound to get back home. I don't know if he was telling the truth or not and in our society today, I tend to lean toward skepticism. My dad answered him by telling him the truth about us-that most of our family was unemployed (the usual state of musicians) and the ones who did have jobs didn't make enough money to pay their own bills. The man walked away as soon as we turned him down, but as he did, everyone heard him mutter just loud enough so we could hear him, "I know. It's because I'm black." Here comes the ranting part of this inspirational story. I was infuriated when I heard him say that. I didn't care if he was black, white, or purple! The fact was that no one there had money to spare and what little money we did have we'd already used to pay for gas to get to Minnehaha Falls to spend time with family that day. I had exactly $6 in my wallet which needed to last me until the next payday in a week and a half. The man seemed respectable, at least until he made a racist comment as he walked away, and if I'd had some extra money, I may have been inclined to help him out, and I know the rest of my family felt the same way. To me, a person is a person, no matter what color their skin and it really irritates me when someone accuses me of being racist because I won't give him the money I need to buy groceries! It also annoys me when I hear white people being accused of keeping racism alive and well today because white people are not the only ones doing it!

Unsolicited Advice:
When we go to Minnehaha Falls or anywhere else for the whole day and I'm packing a cooler, I always throw an insulated sippy cup of milk in the freezer the night before. In the morning, I put it in the cooler with the rest of the food and take it out before Princess eats her meal so it can thaw just enough for her to drink some. By doing this, the milk lasts until her snack in the mid-afternoon because it's still cold.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...