Archive | August, 2011

A Day of Goodbyes

18 Aug

Today, both of my children will say goodbye to their current care takers. I found out a few weeks ago that my son’s provider, whom I have referred to here on this site before as Mary Poppins, is moving to Southern California. Little Miss is completing her last day at preschool, and will be starting a public kindergarten in a few weeks.

It’s bitter sweet. Especially in the case of Mary Poppins… Her entire family has come to feel like an extension of our family. She has truly been Little Man’s second mother, watching him ever since he was 5 months old.

It is a funny story how I met her. I was at the pool with Little Miss 3 years ago when a woman there casually asked me where I took my daughter for childcare. When I told her the institutional daycare she was at, the woman immediately got up, got her cell phone, and said, “you have to meet Lori.”

I thought this was strange. I wasn’t really looking for a change. I wasn’t really dissatisfied… But when Lori called me back telling me she had an opening, and I showed up at her house, my whole perspective changed. I walked in, and got this overwhelming sense of this is what I’ve been looking for. The house was immaculently clean, she had a nice backyard with all kinds of fun things for kids, and most of all, she has such a loving and bubbly personality that she was truly irresistable. Plus, her husband was a cop!

Little Miss went to Lori for 1.5 years before transitioning to preschool, and Little Man has also been there about 1.5 years. Every morning at drop off, the house smells divinely of freshly made waffles. I often wanted to come in and park myself at the table with the kids for breakfast.

While I’m happy for Lori and the adventure her family is embarking on, it is sad for me on multiple levels. The value of a caretaker that you trust completely and know is giving amazing care to your children is immeasurable. Plus, when you see someone like Lori every day, 1-2 times per day for 3 years, you can’t help but become friends with her. So I’m also losing a close friend.

As for my daughter, she has been at her preschool for just over a year. I was on the waiting list for this school for almost 3 years, as it is one of the best preschools in town. It is an amazing school. Every teacher and the director are personally involved and very loving. Little Miss has learned so much, and truly thrived in their care. It’s hard to take her from such an environment, but our public elementary school is supposed to be the top in the state, and I know she is ready to move to the next level.

The upside of these transitions? My kids were across town from eachother, making dropping off or picking them both up an affair that required 45 minutes of driving. I have been driving WAY too much the past few years. But I gladly took on that burden to have my children in the best care I could find.

Little Man is moving to an in-home daycare that happens to be next door. NEXT DOOR, people. The woman has been doing an in-home daycare for over 15 years. I don’t know if she’ll be able to fill the shoes of Lori, but I’m confident it will be a good environment for Little Man, with several other 2 year olds to keep him company.

Little Miss will be taking the bus. The bus stop is at my house! I have arranged for another neighbor to do after-care for her, so starting in a few weeks, I will just drive home and walk from neighbor to neighbor to get my kids. HOW COOL IS THAT?! I’ll be getting back over an hour a day — woot!

Anyway, I know today will be hard, and I’m sure I’ll get a bit misty eyed. But I’m sure my kids are going to good environments, and they seem to adjust to changes well. On to the next adventure…

Little Man with Lori:

Little Miss with her preschool teachers:

Nutritious

3 Aug

As I was driving the kids home tonight, this exchange went on in the back seat…

Little Man: Booger. In mouth.
Me: Did you eat it?
Little Man: Uh huh
Little Miss: Oh, I LOVE those! Aren’t they delicious?!

It is no wonder I’m having such a hard time getting her to stop picking her nose in public.

“Vacationing” With Kids

2 Aug

This last weekend, our family met up with my brother and his family for a quick getaway to Mammoth. We love Mammoth. It is beautiful, with cool weather, and there are lots of fun things to do for everyone in the klan.

But oh, my kids are not so good at road trips right now. Even though it’s a quick 3 hour drive, there was much screaming and crying and bickering coming from the back seat.

I recently heard on the news that one of the most annoying sounds in the world is a toddler whining and crying. I live with that sound every day, people. After hours in the car with it, I swear I am ready to jump out of the car while it is going 70mph on the highway.

We stayed in a lovely condo, which was three levels and happened to be built on a mountain-side. That meant that two of the levels of the condos had amazing decks with tiny split rail fences and then a death defying 50 foot drop to the rocks below. In other words, if my adventurous climber of a toddler got out onto those decks unattended, it was truly a death sentence.

Who picked this death trap of a condo anyways? Oh, right, that would be me.

As I was trying to relax this weekend, I always had the thought in the back of my head of “where is Little Man?!”, and I ended up going down the stairs to locate him, as he was usually following around his ultra cool boy cousins (who were such sweeties in humoring their much younger cousin and trying to keep him safe for me).

Add to that the fact that my kids got up at night as much as a newborn, and then woke up at the crack of dawn…

My sister-in-law ensures me that vacationing with the kids will get easier down the road. Right now, it makes me daydream about taking a vacation WITHOUT the kids, but that truly isn’t in my near future.

Regardless, we celebrated two birthdays this weekend, I caught up with my brother’s family, whom I hadn’t seen since before my knee injury in January, and we enjoyed refreshingly cool weather with afternoon showers.

Speaking of showers… I took the kids to the top of Mammoth on Sunday via the Gondola, which was a fun time, and Little Man had a blast being “in the air”, per his very own words. I hiked around with them at the top for a while, then ate a liesurely packed lunch with them, while watching thunder clouds roll in and not thinking much of it. I’ve been in PLENTY of storms at the top of Mammoth mountain.

But those were in the winter. When I went to board the Gondola for our ride home (after a perfectly planned morning outing that would get us back to the condo in time to pack up before checkout at 2), we were the first people turned away, as the liftie said that the gondola was shut down due to lightning.

Ah, yes, lightning.

You know when the kids are so tired that they keep getting more and more hyper? That was my two on Sunday afternoon, trapped in a lodge with it raining and sleeting outside. Thankfully I will never see those people again because these kids were running around like wild banshees, and there wasn’t much I could do to stop it, given the trapped nature of the situation.

I got wind that Mammoth was sending up trucks and busses to drive people down the mountain, and determined I needed to be on the first truck. We were told to line up by the door of the lodge (the OPEN door, mind you, with wind and sleet coming in, and did I mention I neglected to pack anything but summer clothes?!). While we were waiting, a woman was in front of us with this adorable little puppy. Irresistable to kids type of puppy. Yet she said she didn’t want my kids touching her puppy. And she didn’t bother picking the puppy up. So, for 45 minutes, I had to keep repeating, “get away from the puppy. Don’t touch the puppy.” Each time, the woman would glare at me. Grrrrrr….

Finally, a pickup truck appeared out of the fog, and we were told that 10 people could go in the first two trucks. We were number 8, 9 and 10 in line. I bounded out to the truck, and the lady with the puppy got to the first truck, snarling, “there isn’t room for THEM.”

Oh, I had some choice words for her in my head.

Luckily, the other truck had plenty of room, where we road in front without child seats, and Little Man rode in my lap as we 4 wheel drive rode down a ski resort. That was riveting!

Anyway, this weekend I was proud to graduate to activities such as hiking with a 30 pound kid on my back (once while leading a horse, mind you), and riding an actual bike outside (on a paved path, but STILL, much better than the spin bike in the garage). The house was three levels, so I got lots of stairs in to help continue my therapy while on the road.

To my brother’s family, it was grand seeing all of you again, and thank you for your patience with my high maintenance children!

And now, some pictures…

Proof that I hiked with 30 pounds of kid on my back.

The kiddos at the top of Mammoth. July 31, and note all of the snow.

Here is my daughter on a horse. Yes, me with my bad knee, I wore Little Man in a backpack, and led a horse on a hiking trail. I was anxious the whole time, but so glad to be able to do fun actitivies with my kids again!