Tag Archives: babies

Titles are overrated

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Hi there! Well, what a few months it has been since I last spoke. I’m not sure how long this entry will take to write for me to be able to articulate what I’d like to, but I am going to try to at least start.

Can I tell you how much my little chickpea has grown? She’s 16 months old and she’s the cutest thing anyone in this house has ever seen. She enjoys making funny faces, loves animals, and she likes to say “wasssat?!” (what’s that) Spending so much time around a baby, I’ve learned that they change really quickly! It’s really fun to watch her learn how to communicate. She’s a little foodie, so of course her first sign was “more.” In order to get me to make a funny face, she’ll make a funny face. In order to go for a walk, she’ll go get my shoes and look longingly at the door. When I sign and say “I love you” as I put her to bed, she points to me when I say I and herself when I get to you. Then, she blows me kisses. Only she doesn’t know how to take her hand away from her mouth yet so she just keeps it there and smiles. It’s so precious. I really cherish her.

I think the baby is the whole heart of a house that is filled with many that are breaking. Her mom is actively dying of cancer. This house is full of sadness because her mother is involuntarily leaving her husband and children, a husband is losing his wife, a very young daughter and son are losing their mother and a mother is losing her daughter. it’s heart-wrenching, painful, sorrowful and, quite frankly, not fair.

I can’t help but ask myself how it can it be that just over sixteen months have passed and chickpea’s mom is now dying of cancer? I met her and her brother’s mom in her 6th month of pregnancy, one month after she was diagnosed. Up until July, I had only heard stories of the suffering people endure during late stage cancer. Now, I have seen it for myself on a daily basis.

The bravery and strength their mom has shown has been one of the most courageous things I’ve ever witnessed. One thing I hope I can impart on the kids, that I hope they understand really early, is that their mom fought, and fought and fought. She’s lost and lost, and lost again, but every single day she comes back fighting for them.

I know she’s tired, and anyone would be. I am not exaggerating when I speak of her suffering. Even though I recognize that humans are stronger than they think they are and can deal with more than they think they can, she has dealt with at least 100x her fair share with barely a complaint.

I don’t know what to say to her, I can’t even begin to understand how profound this loss is. She got 3 1/2 good years with her son and 9 okay months with the baby before she was hospitalized for increasingly extended periods and ultimately bedridden. Four and a half years and 16 1/2 months is not anywhere near enough time to get with kids she spent a total of 18 months growing inside of her. Why should she already have to say goodbye?

Especially when her kids are so eclectic with advanced personality traits. Me and the little boy quote movie references. I’ve never met a four year old that could use this obscure line from Elf to get a bedtime story:

BB: Can we read a story?
Me: No, the moon is already out on your clock. It’s time for bed.
BB: Not even ONE book??
Me: No
BB (lightly touching hands together, in old woman voice): But the children love the books!

I laughed so hard… what four year old references movies to make an argument?! He has an old soul, I really wish his mom could be there to witness how his personality continues to develop.

My job is unique and emotionally challenging. I have found that practicing mindfulness and coming from a place of complete compassion in my everyday dealings both inside and outside the house has seemed to help me so far.

I have also learned a lot about my own unresolved grief, my own heart and the way I’m living my life. Not only that, but why. This situation has led me to learn to recognize recurring themes and behaviors in my own life and put me on a path to learn to manage them accordingly.

I am inclined to believe that painful situations lead to personal growth and strength, that has certainly been my experience. I’m still not exactly sure why this has all worked out the way that it has, but I’m inclined to believe that I am supposed to learn something from it. Whatever that something is, I know it’s going to be one of the most important lessons of my life.

I didn’t do a recap, but you shouldn’t have to scroll back too far to see the story of what led me to this job.

My other job with the little girl and the newbie is going really well. She doesn’t even want to eat lunch because she doesn’t want to “waste her special ms. kasey time” and cries when I leave. The newbie is now three months old. She’s a cuddle bug and, as her big sister pointed out, is very calm when she’s with me.

I don’t really know what readers will take away from this, other than there are no guarantees in this life. Bad things happen to good people everyday, and I guess the best we can do while we’re living is love with our whole heart, and allow ourselves to be loved.

I recognize that this post is sad, and that’s one of the reasons I had to write it. This situation weighs very heavily on everyone involved. As always, thanks for reading.

The Thing That Leads to the Thing II

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Hello! It’s been a long time since I have written. Part of it has been because it was a fun, eventful summer and part of it was lack of motivation, I won’t lie. I’m trying to work through it and today has been the first day I have even felt like I could sit down and focus long enough to get anything out that made any sense. So, here we go!

This summer has been great. I hope I can write about everything that took place one of these days, but today, I just want to write about my job.

I mentioned back in March that I was a nanny for a family who asked me to be their night nanny for their new baby. I was hesitant to do this because of my commitment to my other families, Trader Joe’s and of course the fact that I had never taken care of a new baby before. Well, I threw all of that caution to the wind and decided that I was going to do it anyway. My job was to train the baby and her older brother to sleep through the night.

Princess Buttercup was born on May 28, 2013 and I have been her night nanny ever since her first night home. I believe she was three days old and barely weighed six pounds. The trainer was there with me for our first two nights together, then Ms. Kasey was on her own. Taking care of someone so tiny and so helpless is absolutely terrifying and absolutely exhausting. The first three weeks, I never knew what I was going to get! The next three weeks were probably the hardest, most exhausting I’ve ever experienced. I seriously doubted if I was cut out for taking care of newborns. They’re adorable, but, obviously, very needy.

Watching older babies and toddlers, while it can sometimes be thankless, can pay off in other ways that are encouraging. The reason I enjoy being around kids so much is because they make me laugh to no end with their endearing words and behavior. Kids also just tend to have a “thing” for me, so they’re constantly climbing all over me, touching me, hugging me, holding my hand, using me as a human chair, etc. Older toddlers can also be reasoned with, and we can both see a clear line between behavior and consequence, positive or otherwise.

I bring this up because between weeks three and seven, I really thought this baby didn’t like me and there was nothing I could do to convince her otherwise! Finding that delicate balance between my love and doing what’s best for her was not easy. Sure, I could pick her up every time she cries, rock her to sleep, not stretch out the feedings, etc. But ultimately, that’s not my job. I’m getting paid to teach her how to soothe herself so she can sleep through the night.

And realizing that was tough, because even though I think most of the time I find a great balance between firm and loving with the toddlers I watch, the lines are much more blurred with a tiny baby because she can’t talk to me. Then when you add in the fact that it’s not my baby, I’m just entrusted to judge the line correctly, it was a lot for me. Kind of like a weight on my shoulders, or a voice in my ear that was like “don’t screw this up.”

I take great personal responsibility when I am watching kids. Probably too much, if there is such a thing…We all know I can be a bit of a perfectionist. I just try to put myself in the parent’s position. Like if this were MY kid, what decisions would I want my nanny to make, and I mostly go off of that. Having the feeling that the baby didn’t like me was making me feel guilty. Then I remembered my old friend, neurotic fear. My bully that likes to make claims that aren’t rooted in reality to block out my healthy conscience.

As soon as I recognized it, I was able to change the way I felt at my job. From that night on, I went into work assuming this baby LOVED when Ms. Kasey took care of her and put her to sleep at night. And it worked! Within a day, she was smiling at me…and not just a small, gassy smile. She does these HUGE, toothless grins that make my heart smile. By week nine, the Princess was sleeping through the night. And she has been ever since.

It’s been great, now that she and I both know what to do at night. She makes me laugh to no end, with her dozing off in the middle of eating, waking herself up with her loud burping, and her adorable cooing. Even when she’s fussy, she doesn’t really cry, she just complains. I have a great time putting words into her mouth, trying to imagine what she’s trying to tell me. I’ll definitely miss putting her to sleep at night and getting to see her smiley face in the mornings.

Tonight is my last night as a night nanny with Princess, or, as I prefer to call her, my little chickpea. The three months of newborn experience have been invaluable not only to my job as a nanny, but to my capacity for love, patience and compassion. I can be having a bad day and all I need do is think of that first huge, toothless grin from my little chickpea and I feel better.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I’ll still keep the Princess and her brother on most weekends, so I’m glad that I still get to be in their lives. I still feel like I’m on the right path, because it’s no sooner than the words “I’m finished night nannying” come out of my mouth that I’m inundated with babysitting offers. I really love what I’m doing and for right now, that’s enough. Til next time!!

Year in Review 2012 pt. 4

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So a couple of fun things happened in August!  You might have noticed how many sweets I bragged about eating on my trip to California, so once I got back I decided to cash in my Groupon for Psycho Gym.  And psycho it was…a crazy, kettle bell, circuit training, boot camp workout, with each day harder than the last.  I think I went something like 15 times, the other 15 I was literally too sore or too worn out to go.  There was a real sense of accomplishment that came from completing what felt like a thirty day punishment for something I didn’t even do.   I’m definitely going to do it again!

I started my job at Trader Joe’s in August and the rest is pretty much history!  It’s been awesome, I really enjoy working there.  I’m also really excited to have health insurance for the first time since 2007! It’ll be weird to get sick and not have to scavenge through multiple medicine cabinets, drawers and containers looking for old, leftover medicine!  It’s the little things in life.

traderjoes

When September rolled around, I could only look forward to the end of it.  Why?  The fair!!  I set a personal record this year by going five times!

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yes, i’m wearing my friend’s faces on my shirt

I know, I’m sick but I had fun every single time.  Whatever work I did at Psycho Gym was gone after eating all the deep fried deliciousness that I ate.  My favorite thing, in hindsight, was absolutely the Fried Samoa Girl Scout Cookies.  Good. Ness.  They were amazing.

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having another one in t-minus 9 months

I LOVE the fair.

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the only ride I will get on at the fair is the texas star

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nick cage in his sexy days as depicted on a rollercoaster

with the besties

awwww.

Photo: "ebony and ivory" taking over the fair!

last picture with big tex before he burned up

In addition to fair-going, fall included early voting, my first 5k, welcoming my friend Amber’s baby, Layla, into the world, getting settled in at Trader Joe’s and at my new, weekly nanny job and getting an awesome new phone!

Photo: sweet angel, looking so pretty in pink. so glad I got to meet layla rose today Amber Hunt-Harper

Layla

The only downside to fall was that a major part of my daily routine disappeared.   At the end of October it was announced that Danceaton would no longer be offered at 24 hour fitness.  And after the fair!  That’s just cruel… I was pretty heartbroken about it.  I still miss it, but have had to find other workouts.  What I REALLY miss though, is seeing my friends all the time.

Thanksgiving was awesome!  I woke up really early to join a few coworkers for a game of flag football.  I didn’t play, of course, but I had a great time watching and drinking mimosas.

charlotte and I!

My dad and I made dinner and Holly joined us to eat, obviously! We love having her around.  The three of us didn’t even make a dent.

After dinner, I got to spend time with friends, friends of friends, and family of friends.  It was a great night and I really thought last Thanksgiving would be tough to beat!  I had a blast.

Well, FINALLY next time I will get to my last trip of the year, saying goodbye to a friend, Christmas and New Years.  Thanks for sticking with me this long!  I’m not usually so wordy, I’m not sure what happened this year! Til next time!