Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just Venting

Ok, so I had this situation this week with my neighbor and I just have to write about it in hopes I will get all the anger and frustration out of my system. Bear with me...

The lady across the street is single with a teenage daughter, Angeline. Since moving in 3 years ago, I had Angeline babysit for the boys on and off. When I changed jobs in spring of 2008, the babysitting gig became a lot more lucrative since I was doing weddings and had to work almost every Saturday when Chris works, too. I think I probably paid Angeline about $2k that summer, which is quite a bit for a 15 year old. At that time, she was watching a 4 year old, 3 year old and 8-9 month old. I believe that I was so busy I probably didn't notice whether or not she was doing a good or bad job at babysitting - I know, I'm a horrible mom for not paying more attention. But with no family out here and not a lot of options for affordable childcare, I was just happy when she was available. There were a few times she wasn't and I had to scramble, but overall it seemed to be a good arrangement, particularly since her mother was right across the street if there was an emergency.

Over the past 3 years I have also developed a rather friendly relationship with the mother. She approached me about planning the "1st Annual" neighborhood block party last summer and we had fun doing it, deciding it was such a success that we were going to also pair up to do a neighborhood-wide rummage sale this spring as well as an annual Christmas cookie exchange at the holidays. She and I were in email contact pretty frequently and I considered her a friend.

It was last summer that I started to notice that Angeline was VERY reluctant to change William's diapers. It got to the point where I was counting diapers before I'd leave in the morning and coming home to the same number in the drawer at night - yes, 8+ hours in the SAME DIAPER! I confronted Angeline regarding this, asking her if it was too much for her to care for the 3 kids. She said no and I explained why I'd asked. I then told her that to help her remember all she's supposed to do, I would write out a timeline of everything before I left. So after three years of babysitting for me, this is what I did because I really wanted to continue having her watch the kids. The last day she babysat for me was August 8, 2009. I had a large wedding that day and was about 36 weeks pregnant. Despite the written timeline, when Chris came home he found William in his pajamas with a DIRTY DIAPER! He asked Angeline if she had changed his diaper when she put him in his pajamas and she said "I forgot."

Now if this had been me as a teenager and I would have truly forgotten to change that diaper, I would have jumped up at that point and changed it before I left, knowing it was part of my job for the day. She didn't do that. She just collected her check and left. I knew that would be the last time I would use her "services."

After my maternity leave, I approached the other neighbor girl, Ally, about babysitting for me. She is 15 and LOVES babies! Additionally, the kids absolutely adore her and so do I. So I tried her out and the very first day I had her babysit, I was sitting with a client when I received the following text message from Angeline: "You f-ing liar! You do coke!" Of course I was ENRAGED that this 16 year old would send me such a text, immediately assuming it was because I had another girl babysitting for me! But I cooled my heels until Monday and then sent a matter-of-fact email to her mother telling her about it. The mother told me it couldn't have possibly been meant for me and trotted Angeline over to apologize to me a few nights later. Angeline claimed that not only was the text not for me, it wasn't even her but rather some guy who had just "gotten a hold of her phone." Yeah, right. She may have had her mother snowed, but I didn't believe a word of it. I was further convinced that I had made the right choice in finding other babysitting arrangements.

So the day came this week when Angeline's mom emailed me asking me if I had any upcoming dates for Angeline to babysit. I was sick of sneaking around and feeling like I had done something wrong, so I just came out with it that Ally was doing some babysitting and the kids really like her so no, I wouldn't need Angeline anymore. The mother was immediately PISSED at me. After I explained the situation with the diapers and how I had talked directly to her daughter about it TWICE last summer, she STILL chose to put all the blame on ME for not telling Angeline I was having Ally babysit from now on. Of course the mother also does not believe for one second that Angeline wasn't changing the baby's diaper, but then how can she explain me making a change like this after 3 years of her daughter babysitting for me? Now the mother has basically told me she wants nothing more to do with me or any of the neighborhood activities we had planned. I just told her that I'm sorry if she feels I handled things inappropriately and that I was just trying to avoid a conflict.

What I WANTED to tell her is that she has a lot of MISDIRECTED ANGER and that it's not my fault her daughter BLEW IT! Now that I have TWO babies in diapers, isn't it my responsibility as a mother to find the BEST care possible? I don't OWE her or her daughter ANYTHING! That girl never babysat because she loved my kids or anything - she was just in it for the paycheck for doing NOTHING all day! It's very frustrating for me to have this sort of conflict because I really do try to get along with everyone and in this particular situation, I truly did my best to avoid any hurt feelings. Was I in the wrong??? Please, someone explain to me how this could possibly be MY fault???

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Many Faces of "Coo"

Why is it I only increased my number of kids by 25% when I had Luke, but it seems like my workload has increased by around 300%??? Whatever it is, I certainly haven't had time to blog. But here are some pictures of my Luke, who is exactly 4 months old today. He sure is a charmer!

We have ALL been sick for the last week, including my poor little baby. It's so hard when the tiniest ones are sick, isn't it? He spends his nights gasping for air and there's so little we can do to help him. I pray we get over this soon and that this bout with the dreaded common cold fortifies our immune systems so that we're all clear for the rest of the winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Present

Ok, ok, I know I'm really late with this post about Christmas, but I do at least need to post some pictures for my family and friends who didn't get to see the kids at the holidays. My last post about Christmas was kind of a bummer because it re-hashed my childhood Christmases which weren't the best. But since I got married to someone who loves Christmas, things have been so much better!

My best Christmas ever was the one when we were first married. I would have thought this would have been a tougher Christmas for me because my dad had just died that September. Chris and I were living in a little one bedroom apartment that overlooked a beautiful park. It was just the two of us and Sir, Chris's cat that he so graciously brought to live with us. (If you'll recall, Sir died a year ago this week and just last night we were talking about how much we still miss him. I'll always be thankful to Chris for letting me share him for 8 years.) That Christmas we would sit in the evenings with just the lights from the tree on and talk and talk. There wasn't any pressure to get a lot done, it was more about spending time together and enjoying the spirit of the season.

Needless to say, Christmas in our house now is a bit more hectic but every bit as enjoyable. Here are some pictures...
Costumes are always a big hit at Christmas and we get them really cheap after Halloween. I think the Captain American one you see Sammy in was $4. Nice!
The sleds were a big hit and the most popular gift was the Batman playset you see William playing with. Owen and Sammy have been begging for it for over a year so we had to get it for them. I got up at 4am on Black Friday to get the special one at Target that came with 3 villain action figures. William also loves playing with it. Chris got mad when I told him it was basically a dollhouse. Well it is! It's got little furniture and rooms and it folds up JUST LIKE A DOLLHOUSE!
The best part of Christmas for all of us was getting a last-minute visit from Nana and Pa, who drove in from MI on Christmas Day. The kids were so excited and they came with their "sleigh" all loaded up! We had just cleaned up from the morning's festivities and within 10 minutes of their arrival, everything was trashed again. We we so glad they were able to come out and spend that weekend with us. Being with family is always the best gift of all!