This is the first week I have ever had my kids in daycare. We are at a 50% success rate. A.P. absolutely loves it and Maybelle absolutely hates it. And by hate I don’t mean cries and clings to me – I mean kicks and yells. It’s only day 4 so we’re going to hang in there. I am a woman with a book entitled “Daycares Don’t Care” on my book shelf, and have taken her to several rallys and protests in her young life so I can’t say I am entirely displeased with her response. I am one stop shopping for the Mommy Wars. So that’s fun.
The good news is that I am totally focused on making the most of our family time. It’s fall, y’all. It’s the best time to be in West Michigan. Although the tomato harvest stunk this year, the apples are everywhere and the crappy weather has resulted in a bumper crop. This summer (seems so very long ago) the kids and I picked cherries at Robinettes, and someone there was very excitedly telling me about a new maze being created. Top secret stuff. Now that it’s corn maze season, the secret is finally revealed. Big shocker – it’s an apple. And it’s Robinettes so another big shocker – it’s expensive. Grab a coupon from Grand Rapids Sudden Values to make more room in your budget for their yummy donuts here.
I am itching to get back to Meijer Gardens for Colorfall, which starts this weekend. It is gorgeous there in the fall and I can’t wait to get back even though I went about 100 times this summer. It’s the beginning of all things fall this weekend; including lots of orchards and orchard-related activities. Check this website or Kent Harvest Trails for great info and details.
This weekend we really have our pick of fun things to do. The Meijer Animal Festival and Wag-n-Walkathon is Saturday the 19th. Check out the link for more details on that; if you are an animal lover it is a must do.
The Mayor’s River Clean Up is this weekend too. Someone please give George a big kiss for me, because we can’t make it. I’m sad; it’s the first time in three years we haven’t attended. It’s been a family tradition and we’ve enjoyed participating for the last several years.
This isn’t next weekend, but you should make plans now. Next Thursday, head over to Coldstone Creamery for the World’s Largest Ice Cream Social. From 5-8PM you can get a free 3 oz. “Make A Wish” Creation with a donation to Make A Wish. Ice cream for a cause – how can you not love that?
I plan on trying to win Maybelle’s heart back over this weekend. What are your plans?
I have never been very good at taking advice about my kids – it doesn’t bother me like it does some people, it just kind of rolls right off of me and I honestly don’t really hear it. One piece of advice I did take seriously was from my husband’s grandmother. A.P. was about 4 months old and I was struggling to get him to sleep well. She said, “You’re going to have a lot of battles with your children, and some you will win and some you will lose. You have to win this one”. What awesome, grandmother-ly advice! She didn’t tell me how to win it, just that I had to. My kids are generally pretty Ben Franklin in their sleep habits – “early to bed, early to rise”. They’re both healthy, not at all wealthy, and occasionally wise. It doesn’t come naturally to Maybelle, but she makes an effort.
A late night for my kids is 8:30 – those are ‘summer hours’. I’ll admit we’ve been lazily moving in the direction of getting back to 7:30 which are ‘school hours’. It hasn’t been diligent by any means, but every day this week has been easier in the morning so I think we’ll be OK in a week or two. My husband has horrible sleep habits, and we both want to make sure our kids don’t repeat his struggles. When I was working evenings a few years ago, he and the kids came up with an evening routine, and a song to go along with it. “Brush teeth and read books! Brush teeth and read books! Brush teeth and read books and GO! TO! BED!” And truly; that’s about all there is to it. Apparently we’ve done pretty well; I just read that according to a sleep specialist we’re right on track. You can read that article here.
My kids aren’t horribly picky eaters, partly because I’m not and I sincerely believe that what kids are exposed to while they are in utero affects their taste buds. Also, they both breastfed (against some advice I got) for at least a year, so they ‘tasted’ what I ate and while my love of food does not always serve me well – in this case it did. My husband is a horribly picky eater. He ‘flicks’ offending items (onions, peppers, mushrooms) off of his plate. He used to anyway. He’s becoming a reformed picky eater and I couldn’t be more proud. I think you miss a lot in life when you want everything to taste like some sort of meat juice, some version of a potato, and seasonings that include too much Lawry’s and ketchup.
Last year was the first year we had to deal with snacks at school. I would estimate that 75% of the reason I volunteered in A.P.’s class was to see what other kids brought to school for a snack. My kids love junk – and know it when they see it but also that they have to limit it. What else can you ask for? I’d start with asking for a kid who doesn’t point to something another shopper is taking off the shelf and yell “Mom! LOOK! She’s buying JUNK!”. Snack time is even shorter than lunch – which is around 20 minutes. If you need some snack or lunch ideas, here is a blog with some good ones.
Give them enough rest and feed them well – and all of the other ‘battles’ are a lot easier! That’s my advice.
Sorry y’all. I have been distracted by daycare and the illness of a close family member. Here are a few events to keep you busy this month – in case you don’t have enough to do!
September 10, 11 and 12 Celebration on the Grand There will be a free live show in Ah-Nab-Awen Park at 3:00. The Great Start Parent Coalition is presenting this concert, which will feature the folks from “Come On Over!” As a way to support them, please bring an unopened package of diapers to donate for the Diaper Drive. There are lots of other events over the course of the weekend – check here for details
September 19 – various events around town to kick off Kent Conservation District’s “Connecting Families with Nature” program.
September 19 East Grand Rapids Library is having a “Create With Clay” art workshop. This sounds like some messy fun!
I haven’t participated in a meme in a long time! This one is especially appropriate for me, as both times I was in labor it was actually Labor Day. It’s my husband’s favorite joke and his only accurate contribution to the re-telling of my birth stories. I saw this over on The Diaper Diaries, who is currently in what is called “I’m So Sick of People Asking Me When I’m Having This Baby” stage; soon to be followed by the “Time is Standing Still” stage.
Play along if you’d like!
How long were your labors?
A.P.: 23.5 hours.
Maybelle: 12 hours. To some people that seems awful, but in comparison I felt like it zipped right along.
How did you know you were in labor?
A.P.: water broke at 2:00 AM.
Maybelle: water broke at 1:00 AM.
Both times I was dialated to a big fat ZERO, and needed scary amounts of Pitocin to get anything going.
Where did you deliver?
Both are Butterworth babies. It’s a huge hospital with a NICU which I didn’t need but wanted to be there ‘just in case’.
Oh Lord yes. I think if the labors were shorter and didn’t require artificially induced contractions I could have done it without though. I tried to hold out with A.P., but with Maybelle I wouldn’t even sign the admission papers until I had met with the Epidural Lady. Sadly, the only part of me that was still numb at the time of the actual delivery was my left leg, which stayed numb for 7 hours and got me quite a few follow up visits from the Epidural People because I couldn’t walk.
Nope, but with A.P. it was close because he was almost at the 24 hour mark after my water broke.
My regular OB, but with Maybelle there was some medical student hanging around who, seconds before I began pushing asked me “which way my first baby’s head was facing when he was born?” I told her the guy who delivered him was standing next to her and could I please just push now.
`I know that many of you out there are drugstore ninjas – swooping in with fistfulls of coupons, Register Rewards, and Extra Care Bucks and flying out with $67 worth of stuff for $0.06 before the clerk knows what hit them. I also know that sometimes, you stock up on just a smidge more than you actually need right now. Or might actually need for the next 35 years. I speak from experience, and I end up looking for a charity who happens to be having a toothpaste drive.
I am sincere when I say that resourcefulness is a gift. It fits in the ‘talent’ portion of time, talent and treasure your church asks you to share with someone less fortunate than you. Something about “The Recession” makes me want to focus my giving more locally, but not being sure when a layoff is coming, we are careful with our money and have had to cut back on some donations. I feel awful about this, but I believe the University of Georgia Alumni Association will live without me for a few years.
While the Red Cross is a huge organization, the local chapters coordinate services for their communities. Right now, the Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids is collecting items for Disaster Preparedness Kits for one of the most fire prone areas; the Baxter Neighborhood. For more information about their wish list and donating, check here. And yes, toothpaste is on the list.
Donating items I have an abundance of is one way I can help other people with at a very low cost. It is a very tangible way for kids to see you give, too. Just print off the list and go ‘shopping’ from your stash for items on it. People are so excited when kids are involved that they will get lots of praise for when you go to deliver the items. It always bewilders my kids a little, but I think it is laying a good foundation for community involvement. For more Frugal Friday, go to Life As MOM.
We’re wrapping up summer this week and finalizing our fall plans. For our family, it’s a big shift not only from summer to school, but it’s also the beginning of my work season so we go from lots of time together to lots of time apart. My plans have changed slightly as the nanny situation I wanted wasn’t coming together. I’ve almost been too deep in thought and busy with little pesky ‘get ready for school’ tasks to write a coherent blog post this week but the urge to blog is overtaking me; so here we go.
Last year when I worked, my husband worked an opposite shift so we didn’t have any childcare. This year, he is starting school (and still working full time) and we don’t have that option. We have known The Nanny for quite a while, and she loves our kids. Unfortunately, our schedules don’t work together so I had to come up with Plan B. After a few days of trying to work out The Nanny Situation, I felt like I was doing math, and I am really bad at math. I decided to check out daycare centers.
This was a giant big huge enormous step for me. I am officially a Working Mom (even if it’s not year-round). Someone else is taking care of my kids the majority of the time. I had to swallow hard just to write that last line. They are only in school half days.
My kids seem completely unfazed. A.P. is excited that he gets to ride the bus from school to daycare. Maybelle is excited because they have a lot of books.
I am trying to look at this as a growth experience. As a parent this is just one of many ‘controlled releases’ into the world, until they ultimately become independent. School didn’t bother me though, partly because I’m a very involved parent, and partly because I loved school and believe they will too. I never went to daycare. I never rode the bus. I worry that Maybelle is too young for this and it will change her in a way that isn’t best for her. On top of it, it’s so much change at once – school for them, school for my husband, and me working out of the home and not as able to do for them what I usually can.
I know change isn’t always bad. I am actually pretty good with change myself – it’s when my kids are involved that I get nervous. Am I doing what is best for them? Am I doing my best for them? I have pretty close to 0% guilt as a mom. I am confident in my ability to be a good mom to my kids – it comes more easily than anything ever has and when it’s difficult; the struggles feel ‘real’ as opposed to some situations I encountered in Corporate America. I am 100% vested in the outcome.
I know my kids are resilient and flexible. I also know that this isn’t forever. I am encouraged by their excitement, and look forward to the satisfaction of ‘making it happen’ at work. I am going to have faith that this will work out for everyone.