Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's a new week, and we started off with a bunch of new words and phrases. On Monday morning you said "Ahhh blet you! Ahhh blet you!" when I sneezed twice.  It took me a second, but I quickly realized that you said "Bless you! Bless you!" Harper, it's definitely the first time that you've said that. You usually just say "Achoo! Achoo!".  You came out of your bedroom and immediately went to your wooden name puzzle on the coffee table.  The pieces were all over the table, and you quickly grabbed the first one "p", told me it was a "p", and put it in the right spot.  You continued on telling me all the letters, and fumbling them into their correct places until "Harper" was spelled out.  SO PROUD! You have been playing with this puzzle for about 8 months, and always need help fitting the pieces into the holes until that moment. You have known the names of the letters for quite a long time though, but I am still very excited for you anyway, puzzles are quite the accomplishment.

I decided this week that we were going to try some "scheduled" events a few days to try something new. We went to the indoor playground at North Kirkland Community Center on Tuesday.  It was really just a large room with a bunch of push cars, balls, and plastic kitchens to play with. One little tiny backyard plastic slide, but you both enjoyed it anyway. Harper you took a while to get comfortable in the room with the other kids, but you warmed up and played with pretty much everything. Zoie was in the wrap on my chest and watched all the other kids with wide eyes. All the moms/nannies were lined up in chairs against the far wall either talking or playing on their smart phones.  There was one other mom in the middle of the room playing with her kid, and then there were about 4 other grandmas there, and they were all out playing with their grand kids. There was one dad there who sat down periodically, but interacted with the two little girls he was with.   It was interesting to see the other moms/nannies just relaxing/chatting/texting and letting their kids cry for them. I didn't realize that this phenomenon that I'd been hearing about (the "Eastside" mommy/nanny mentality), actually happened. Oh well. All the children were fine in the end, and people can play with, or not play with their children as they please, as long as their kids aren't hurt, and they aren't hurting my kid.

Today was also new. We went to the Kirkland library for "Ones Story Time", which was really fun and full of other kids.  While we were waiting outside in the cold sunshine we met another little girl named Eden and her mommy Veronica. Eden was 18 months and sparked your smile and sense of camaraderie.  After a few minutes of the moms chatting, you two were romping across the lawn and chasing each other around the statue.  Story time included a lot of singing and a few stories, and it was a nice little change from our usual morning madness. I had planned for Zoie to sleep in the pack during this time, but it didn't work out, and my hands were full with her most of the time.  I hope that next week we can try and attend again, and I'll have to strategize a little better about what to do with Zoie so that I can spend that 30 minutes more devoted to Harper.  It's SO difficult trying to figure out how to enjoy quality time with each of you one-on-one without the other one needing my attention too! I still haven't figured this out, four months into it, but I know that eventually I will, and it will just get easier at the same time.

Alright, both of you are napping really well today. So I'm going to sign off and find something productive to do before my "me" time is over. It's daddy's birthday this weekend, so I have some crafty prep work to do.......

Your mama loves you girls!

                                           (Zoie - 4 months)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The End of an Era.

I have been thinking over and over and over in my head for the last 26 or so hours the words that were said to me yesterday, and how I am going to digest those words. And now, the next day (and now the NEXT, because it's now even later), I am still processing the conversation, and how to deal with the overwhelming feeling of loss that it has bestowed upon me.  I had a meeting yesterday morning (Tuesday) with my supervisor to discuss my interview, and in the end, I did not get the director job. I was told that I'm "not the right fit for West Campus", when it's a place I have called my second home for almost a decade.  I was told that my "bucket was empty", when talking about the faculty members, and their faith and trust in me, because I've been on maternity leave for 4 months. I was told that I was being saved from the panel interview because the teachers and parents would reject me against the other candidates. This is the part I'm most upset about, not getting a panel interview.  I made it to the panel in at least two other director interviews, but I couldn't make a panel interview at my own campus? So many other depressing things were said, I don't care to document all of it. I was even asked, "Do you even really WANT to be the director at West Campus"? Really? I thought that I had made that part obvious by continuing all the training, sticking it out through thick and thin, verbally and physically expressing my devotion to the place (and truly meaning every minute of it), remaining positive when all else fell bleak, and sparking that passion amongst others, by living and breathing life at West Campus.

I walked away shocked, and I still sit here shocked.

I am devastated. I am sad. I am angry. I am hurt. I am not a director, and I am no longer an assistant director. I no longer have a money earning career, as I have for the past 9 years. I no longer have a place to call my second home every day, with people whom I "grew up" with, and whom were helping to raise my children, and whom I call my family.The challenge that I accepted years ago, to succeed within the company and move up to an administrative level has certainly given me many opportunities and lessons along the way. But I now feel like that challenge has commenced, it has lapsed as I have interviewed many times for a director position and continually walk away empty handed. If West Campus wasn't the "right fit" for me, after I have been there for nearly a decade, then I do not know where the "right fit" is.  I will dearly miss going to work at West Campus every day, and I will miss even more the people who make West Campus what it is.

There is one thing to be happy about though. Well, maybe two. That one thing is you girls. That now I get to be a stay-at-home mom for a while. The second thing is that losing this job will be the clear and open door for us to move back to California as soon as your daddy's contract is up this summer. Finally a break in Seattle life that will give us an opportunity to go home.

What I do have are two beautiful daughters, with whom I am now able to stay home with everyday. I will be able to help you grow and learn to become the important little people that you are. I know that I am so fortunate to have this opportunity presented to me, and with time I will adjust to this new path that life has carved out for me. For US, this new path that life has carved for US. We will wake up every morning and relish in spending the day together, experiencing life through the eyes of a toddler (and an infant). We will laugh endlessly, and we will teach each other about the most important details in life. We will encounter adventures in the uncharted waters that each day will bring, and I will do my very best to make those adventures incredible. 

We walked this morning (Thursday) to see the ducks, and when we arrived on the bridge we were instead met with three spectacular swans swimming in the bay. It was a sign that mother nature sent to remind me of the beauty that I get to experience each day now that I can be truly devoted to you girls. The three of us, floating along, waiting for the next big thing to come out of the water. (Hopefully that wasn't a pun related to pooping in the bathtub).  Zoie was asleep and cozy warm against my chest, so I put away the camera and held your cold little fingers in my hand Harper. The three of us stood there together and watched the swans swim out to broader waters, and then in again to the bay.  There were all sorts of birds singing and ducks calling behind us in the marsh.  We talked about where ducks go to sleep in the grass, and how they tuck their heads into their feathers. A nice old couple came up on the walkway to enjoy the view with us, and they had a cute little dog named "Marley". Harper, you generally don't like dogs very much (except Oscar), but you were curious about Marley's leash and how it was attached to him.  They were nice people and were so happy to be out enjoying the cold sunshine, just as we were ourselves. 

On our walk home, a red tailed hawk swooped down from the trees and circled around right in front of us.  Harper, you said "airplane!!"" "bird?"" "airplane!!"" "bird!!!" Your confusion during the event made me laugh, and at the same time cry over my pride for your intelligence.  It was such a surprise to see it right in front of us, and it was of course gorgeous. I don't think I've ever seen a hawk fly that close to me before. Yet another sign from Mother Nature that everything is gonna be alright.

Zoie, you're AWAKE! Gotta go get some cuddles. 

Your mama loves you girls.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Double Pigtails

I am officially unemployed. My leave of absence for maternity ended yesterday, and as of today I will be leaving my position as assistant director. We just cannot find child care that we can afford, so won't be able to merit going back to work.  I would actually have to pay BH about $50 a month in child care in order to return to my old job. Anybody who PAYS an employer to allow them to come to work every day and be a stellar employee is insane.  There is a small chance that I may be able to return to BH, and that is if the director interview pans out and I'll be given a chance to interview in the 2nd round in front of the panel of teachers & parents. Having worked there for 9 years, I certainly have established quality relationships with almost all of the families, and all of the faculty members.  A panel interview would be highly in my advantage, if they will just give me that opportunity. I'm sure they will, I just have to be patient. 

As for now though, it feels really depressing to have to announce that I won't be returning to my coveted position after all this time.  I can tell you that I feel sad and even a bit lonely, because my job, for the entirety of my life in Seattle, has been my lifeblood.  I saw those co-workers everyday for more hours than I saw Dave. Spent more time training, laughing, and teaching with those people, than I spent with my own college roommates. In fact, I have known those co-workers much longer than I ever lived with any roommates besides Dave. It's strange to feel like they won't be a part of my daily "family life" anymore.  A big part of me is relieved that I won't have to deal with the drama that comes with working with 30 other women, but an even bigger part of me is just plain sad. 

I have to look at this little person sitting next to me right now, who is watching Elmo attentively (bad mommy!), and trying to climb into my lap while I'm typing and your eyes are still glued to the TV screen. My sadness about my career immediately melts away a bit as your warm polar fleece pajama feet are wiggling about next to me.  We don't have cable, and you've never actually been exposed to real TV, but we do own a few Elmo videos, which you are totally infatuated with. Harper, I think one of your first real words was actually "Elmo". Zoie is taking an early nap this morning because she got up really early (around 7:30), so I thought I would take this break sponsored by Elmo, to get a little extra blogging time in.

This weekend was the first time you tried out the double pig tails Harper. It was just too cute, your daddy and I left them in all afternoon, and snapped as many pictures as we could.  Both of us said that they actually made you look like a little girl (your hair is still so short, we've never cut it), you're nearing two, and people still think you're a little boy all the time because of your short hair. It's ridiculous! Pink sparkly shoes and purple jacket, and people still think that you're a little boy.  Those pigtails should help you out though. 

Harper, you've been so independent these last few weeks.  You say "Harpy do eet" all the time, (Harper do it), telling us that you would rather do something yourself then have us help you. Today at lunch you were so flustered because you had a string of cheese on your plate and you wanted it in the trash can, not anywhere near your plate. You yelled "Harpy do eet!" at me about ten times, while I was nursing, (I kept telling you to wait a minute until I could help you get out of the high chair), until I finally just unlatched Zoie and came to get the pesky string from you. So persistent you little Taurus! I'm glad to know that you are wanting to do things on your own though, and sadly, this is the beginning of you wanting no help from me. I'm not ready for you to grow up this fast!

Zoie, when I was giving you a bath last night you squealed over and over again when I dribbled water over your feet. Kicking and splashing, you are quite the water lover.  Harper definitely didn't like the bath as much as you do (until she got older and could play in the water more). You coo and babble to me all the time these days, but you're super vocal when you're in the bath.  I just put your little baby bathtub in the kitchen sink and bathe you there, it's so much easier to stand up rather than lean over the tub to reach your squirmy little body. I use the sprayer attachment on the nozzle to rinse you off, which you absolutely love.  It's pretty neat to watch your face light up when you hear the water turn on. I have no doubt that you won't be a little "fish" as you get older. Perhaps you'll even be a swimmer like your daddy was.  I'm sure that he's dying to get both of you in a pool to teach you how to swim.  I keep suggesting that Harper would love swimming lessons, and he always tells me that he can teach you girls how to swim this summer when we can use the pool in our complex. We'll just have to see if we stay in WA long enough to enjoy that pool in a few months.  I am ready to move home to CA, but that's a whole different blog.

Alright well, I don't think I had a full five things today - but Zoie, you are not napping very soundly today, so I need to go spend some quality time bouncing you back to sleep. It's only Monday, we have the whole week ahead of us.

Smile girls, your mama loves you.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marker prohibition and sleep exhaustion.

Zoie, you're 4 months old already! What happened! "Time flies" blah, blah, but really, 4 months have passed since you were born? That's crazy! Your first 100 days has finally come and gone, and in the beginning I thought it would never arrive.  Another parent at school (has three children all 18 months apart), told me that the first 100 days were the most difficult, and after that, it would only get easier. She was right! Our days are definitely getting smoother, and you are the happiest baby 5 out of 7 days.  I give you the other two to just get extra cuddling time, and that's certainly fine with me. Sleeping at night however, is not your forte. 

You still haven't learned to be comfortable at night, and some nights you wake up every 10 or 15 minutes, just screaming. It is horrible to feel like I can't comfort you, and we have tried EVERYTHING. We swaddle, we shush, we rock, we bounce, we walk, we hum, we turn on the noise machine, we try your side, your tummy, your back, upright on my chest, we swing, we sway, we sing, we un-swaddle, we do nothing, we nurse and nurse and nurse, and then FINALLY....I'll get you to sleep. Sound asleep, I'll lay you in your basket (long moses basket intended for sleeping infants), and you'll sleep soundly for about 10 minutes, just enough for me to start falling asleep again, and then BAM! You're AWAKE, SCREAMING!  AHHHHHH! And then we do it all over again, and again, and again, until you finally stay asleep. You'll sleep for about 2 hours, and then you're up, ready to start the whole process again. Poor baby, I wish I knew the answer to this madness. I wish I had the key to your sleep secret. Someday my little Zozo, someday soon we MUST FIGURE THIS OUT.  On Sunday, I got out of bed 16 times, and then finally put you in bed next to me at about 4 am.  That's just not healthy for neither you nor I, so I am seeking help from any mom out there, and all kinds of book suggestions.  Thank goodness you are still sleeping in our room, so you're not waking your sister, although she still wakes up once or twice in the  night too. 

And here I am up late at night blogging, when I should be catching up on some much needed sleep. Writing this stuff down will be worth it though, in the long run I'll feel better.

So five things huh, I'm pretty tired, but let's see.  The sleep thing can definitely be one of them. Harper, tonight when I went to school to pick you up, you ran up to me and Zoie (in her car seat), and when I placed Z down on the floor you leaned in and kissed her on the forehead and said "Hhhhhiiii baby Sooooie".  When you kiss her (and any other time you kiss anything) you say "Mmmmmmmmm-Ah" and give smack. You warm up the letter M, I absolutely love it.  That's how I get my kisses too, "Mmmmmmmmm-ah"!  So there's number 2. 

Three:  When we went for our walk on Monday down to the bridge to see the ducks, you were wandering your fingers over some of the signs posted on the wooden fencing.  I asked you to find the H on the "NO FISHING" sign, and sure enough, you pointed right at it.  Then I asked you to find the O and sure enough you know that one too. Darn SMART girl you are at 21 months old. Such a proud proud proud mama!  

Four: Harper, you are banned from using markers.  You successfully colored all over the desk, chair, Zoie's play mat and hanging toys, and seemed to ignore the giant piece of paper I gave you. I was nursing Zoie while you did this just behind my shoulder. You little stinker. Later on in the morning  I couldn't figure out why Zoie's hands had blue on them, and some on her shirt even.  You however, you were covered in marker, so I didn't question that. But Zoie? THEN, I found it. On the toys hanging from her little gym. Thank goodness for Crayola washable markers, almost all of it came right out. And I definitely got a laugh out of it, and definitely learned that I can't trust you with art supplies just yet.  Thank goodness it's not on the walls of the new apartment we just moved in to.   

Five: I actually considered other child care options this week, and scheduled a few tours of them next week.  It's ridiculous to think that I can't afford child care for both of you, and that I am going to have to resign from my job because I can't seem to afford any child care, be it BH or other private or home situation.  I just can't believe that I have been with a company 9 years, am in my 30's, and am not netting enough income to pay for child care for two kids. Even with their employee discount.  Regardless, a promotion would certainly be the perfect thing, and so I have applied and starting interviewing for the Director position at the school that I've been at for the past 9 years. The timing of this position opening right now is impeccable. This could really be it.  My big chance to finally run my own program, and in an environment and with teachers whom I know and respect dearly.  This could really be the right opportunity in my career right now, BUT, the big question is.......will they offer me enough money? Will the respect that I need from my superiors truly come to light, or will they fail to provide me with a career that I can remain in with them? And most importantly, will I get through the panel interview next week and actually get an offer? Will I actually end my leave of absence (maternity) next week (expires on the 6th...) because I can't afford child care? Will my career be over?

And with those questions, I shall sign off. I good five things to be happy about remembering. 

Your mama loves you little peanuts.