Monday, May 16, 2011

in which the experiences of a childcare professional are recounted.

I've been reading a lot of Dickens lately and he has such snappy chapter titles. I shall borrow from him.

So following in everyone else's footsteps, I've created fictional names for the family where I nanny. Aaron and Rebecca are the parents with the little guy (rather misleading, he's near 23 lbs...) Julian and their trusty neurotic pooch.....Kujo.

Julian is almost 13 months. He neither sleeps through the night, nor in his own bed when he is sleeping at night. At least not from 2am on when he wants to come snuggle with Rebecca.

I started here when Julian was 4 months old. At that time, Aaron's mother, Betsy, was pushing Rebecca and me to start using the "cry it out" method of getting him to sleep on his own. When he took naps with me, he would sleep on my chest, which was nice and snuggly, but I also couldn't do anything else. It also meant he got in several 2 or so hour long naps. Rebecca said Julian was too young to have him cry constantly without comforting him and he wouldn't understand what was going on, just that his needs weren't being met. Fine. (Unless you're Betsy) a few months back, rebecca started saying we should be trying to get Julian to sleep in his rather expensive crib before he outgrew it and they had to convert it into a bed. Fine. Here's the problem. When we put him in the crib, he cried and screamed. For a little while, I had decent luck with having him fall asleep on me and then I'd lay him in his crib, but then he got sick a few times and the rhythym of it got broken up. When I would go to put him down, even when he was asleep, he would wake up. Incredibly frustrating. Rebecca and Aaron weren't having much better luck during the night either. Julian also still wants to nurse at night, which the pediatrician is saying he should be done with by....15 months I think? I can't remember exactly, but soon.

Soon after Julian turned 1, Rebecca finally caved and said he needed to be sleeping in his own bed all the time, let's go for some tough lovin! The new idea is to let them cry for certain intervals of time which get progressively longer. At each interval, you go in the room and soothe the baby, but don't pick them up. Comfort but don't give in and then wait longer til eventually the baby passes out from exhaustion and crying like crazy. I have seen this method work. Problem. Julian has a stubborn streak. It includes but is not limited to how he falls asleep and such. It used to be I would try to sit while attempting to get him to sleep and he would start screaming if I sat down. I had to stand. (The havoc wreaked on my back? Not good....) I am thoroughly convinced that if I left Julian in his crib screaming for hours on end, he would never give up and go to sleep. It would take passing out from exhaustion first. He pulls himself up into a standing position on the side of the crib and cries. Sometimes he'll be quiet and lay there if you're in the room with him. Sometimes not. I'm also fairly convinced that during the day when Aaron or Rebecca go to check on him instead of me, he gets less likely to go to sleep. Its a special thing to see them during the day. Me not so much. I'm normal and routine. After they leave, I sometimes feel like I have to start the whole process over because he's been energized by seeing mommy or daddy. Don't get me wrong, I like them both, but even just seeing them gets him excited and understandably so. Julian also began to develop the habit of climbing on me and having me walk around carrying him when he got really tired and then passing out while I'm walking. I'd then put him in his bed, but it allowed him to avoid the unpleasant falling asleep in bed routine that he's not so fond of. He also wakes up perhaps half an hour later cranky and not ready to be awake. I would pick him up and he immediately fell back asleep. Then I try to put him down in bed and monkey grip and screaming ensued. The choices then are to let him sleep on me or start the crying screaming process again which Rebecca and Aaron aren't fond of especially since they work downstairs and sound travels... I don't like hearing it either and he loses good nap time. He usually then only sleeps another half hour or so. Its been a long process and we're still not at the end. I'm hoping for the day when he squawks for a few minutes and then is asleep. I know children are capable of this feat, I've seen it! Just apparently Julian isn't a fan.

I don't know if we had started this process when he was younger if it would have made a difference. I remember Rebecca saying she had tried it when he was younger and it didn't work. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. But was Betsy right? Just let him cry on end at 4 months and he would magically be sleeping through the night in his own bed? I don't know. She did it with Aaron she says. Four months seems so young, but now, Julian is standing there crying and I think if he lay down and screamed, he might fall asleep better. Standing and sleeping don't go well...been there done that.. I also don't think that just because something worked well for one child or many children, doesn't mean another child will respond the same way to it. I've enever taken much of a position on crying it out. I've seen kids that it worked fine with and some that went to sleep other ways. Julian is different than either set I've seen. But he's getting oolder. From a purely practical standpoint, I can't keep carrying him and rocking him all the time. He's a big boy as is and he's only going to get bigger. He's old enough now to be in his bed. And to kep himself awake by standing. I also wonder if going back in at all (barring obvious signs of distress) is maybe disruptive because it perhaps makes them think they're being picked up and held. Is not going in better or worse than a visible refusal to accede to their desire to be picked up?

The issue can be further complicated by dear Kujo. He likes to growl and bark at sometimes non-existent things outside. Julian wakes up and it makes everything a bit more difficult. He means well. I appreciate that he likes to protect us all from the invissible attackers, ups, fed-ex, mail carriers and such, not to mention those awful people who park in front of the house. Neurotic but loveable... I just happen to be less appreciative when it wakes up Julian. I may get to spend a week or so with the nut this summer if the family goes on vacation. Betsy and her husband could theoretically take him, but Rebecca said she would rather he stayed in the house instead. I like the idea personally. I enjoy Kujo. I may just have a thin for nuts, but he's my buddy. He also seems to behave better when I'm here. Weird.

In other news, I saw Julian's first steps. And then a few hours later, I watched him take his first steps that anyone will know about in their family. I decided it might be a jerk move to yell down the stairs, hey Rebecca! Julian just took his first steps!!!!! Thank goodness it was the same day, cuz I was pretty excited about it. He also was being held by Rebecca and as I was leaving Friday stretched out and wanted me to take him it was pretty sweet. He got a kiss. I bribe. He smiled at me when I came in this morning, which was a first too. Usually he just stares at me..

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Lost Weekend

Ok so that title is misleading, but I was in the mood for a random Lennon reference! I got back from Ohio/West Virginia around 5am monday morning. I feel like I should maybe post here more. I'm rarely on my computer these days though and I never think about posting much. Its like Facebook. When it isn't in front of my face (no pun intended) I just don't think of it. I've been off Facebook since the end of March. I was given a moth to go back. I'd have to miss it and I just don't. The pro's just don't outweigh the cons. I wasted so much of my time, contributed so little of anything important and had few people I enjoyed following. I just don't get much return here, though I do enjoy following posts. I've now added the blogs on here to my RSS feed, so I can actually follow people and maybe actually comment *gasp* so. On to the evaluation of my weekend.

The baby's mom asked how it went. My answer is "long, short; good, bad".I Loved being "home" they loved having me there. Even party pooper Matthew. (I think) he was at least nice when I was crying because I had to leave. Its a wonderful feeling to be somewhere that you fit and are loved and accepted. Its what family should be. Of course I avoided any scene by taking out my piercings and covering my ink. But I'd still be loved then, just her mom would have been so sad and upset and sad. I avoided that (I think) I didn't get to spend much time with the family. Mostly just steph, which was good, but I mised everyone else. I didn't like being with her loser boyfriend. I ended up getting in his face and bitching him out. He deserved it fully. He ruins so much with his whining and immaturity. Blah. He and steph went out saturday after she graduated. I would have gone too, but I was busy having needles repeatedly jammed into my flesh. I got a new tat. Its a quote from Jane Eyre between my shoulder blades. I've already been stopped and asked to be read several times... "Can I read you?" *sigh* I've also learned fast to say its from a 200 year old book. Jane eyre gets blank stares... Sad state of reading habits... I also got the equivalent of four tattoos done in one evening/morning. In concept its great, not to mention sounds badass (though only my wrists hurt....they're enough pain to make up for the other two though) its turned out to be a dumb idea. I shall tell you why. Part of the glorious healing process for tattoos is a wonderful time when they itch like crazy but you can't scratch, because it will possibly ruin the design.... Fine. Except it happens all at once to four of them.... And you end up like me and people think you're a loon for smacking at your back and your explanation is "its new" and then realizzing they may not actually see that there's anything there.... Yay. Then I rubbed my nose a lot. Oops. Nehoo, so I'm dealing with being rather itchy atm... Fun stuff. Worth it though. The artist was great, especially since there was potential for this to be quite awkwad. I didn't exactly plan my wardrobe very well and while wearing the tank top it covered the section he wouldbe working on. Draw your own conclusions.... There's also a chance that I have some punctuation errors since I kept forgetting to bring my copy of jane eyre that I lugged down specificaly for this purpose!! But let's hope spark notes is good :) it looked right. I know the quote itself is. So then the guy went over my other three tats completely. And attempted to fix one of them :) it wasn't "wrong" before, just not as close to my original concept. For all of you who know my fEelings abbout needles, let me proudly say I didn't cry grimace or hold any hands. Though I thought about it when he said he was going to hurt me. He went extra deep with the white, trying to make it extra super white. It was ok. Actually it hurt like crazy, but deep breathing is awesome! I'm fairly sure my father has noticed my latest ink. Youte not supposed to let much rub against it, so tanks for me! That also brings into question the sun exposure issue. *sigh* so many things to think of!

So I haven't been back to ohio since steph's dad's funeral. Going back made it real all over again. I sobbed to steph about it. The house felt so empty without him. I miss him. He should have been there and would have been so proud of steph. Her mom told me she loved me several times and wanted me to stay and live there. I'd love to live near them. I'd also have to hide so much. Again. Maybe I'll aim for AZ. I can dream....

When I saw steph at the airport, I gave probably the most enthusiastic greeting since I was a child. Running (while remembering to hold luggage lest I be mistaken for a crazed terrorist) screeching and flying arms. And almost luggage. I'm fairly sure people thought we were nuts. Thankfully it was West Virginia. They're all nuts. We went to visit steph's sister at the mall where she works. I discovered steph's lack of stealth. I was great and almost got to her unseen (crouching, finger gun poised and ready.) Steph popped her head up and all was lost. But it was fun. I saw the orangest person of my life who also had the worst accent I've heard. Worse than any other redneck accent you've heard. Ever. I barely held in my laughter. I shook hands with a girl at a store because in MD, her counterpart doesn't speak english. She was shocked. Then we went to get our nails done. Of course THEY were Vietnamese... *sigh* the one place I expected to find white people doing nails and nope.... Steph and rachael were on the verge of searching for a shop with white people i decided it was ok though...

i got to play with steph's brother's new guns :) we dueled. sort of. it was fun. and i played with the weapons in the tattoo shop. klingon weapons anyone? Its sharp! I had a blast. I wish I'd had a longer time though. I really miss all of them. I hope I can see them before rachael leaves for navy training. That's in november, so cross fingers! I'm keeping all the jewelry that hides my piercings and the wristbands I got to cover my wrists. Hopefully I'll have to use them again soon. If only my brother and sister-in-law and nephew would come visit.............. Not a hint or anything.... *nudgie nudgie poke poke*

Steph left today for her special european tour with poopface aka her boyfriend. He wouldn't shut up about everything they were going to see. Like the louvre (or loo as he says I think unaware of the difference between a loo and a museum...) He pissed me off. It didn't make the bitching out I gave him any less severe, I can tell you that. I think I completely shocked him. I know this is surprising, but it takes a lot to make me angry enough that I'm in your face yelling. I was so close to slapping his beaver face. I didn't think my excuse of aggravated assault would hold. I was aggravated though! He was backing off as far as his car seat let him. And didn't have the guts to text me himself to say I should have let them drive me home so we could work it out and that he didn't cry and that he was sorry for being bitchy. It felt really good after I was done shaking like crazy. I don't have much experience yelling anymore. Leaving home magically enabled me to be even-tempered. I could have even decided not to yell at him. He needed it though. Two years over-due. I let him off with a one-fingered salute then that he may not have seen....

I wish I'd gotten to go out with poop face and steph for her graduation. It wouldve been fun. I haven't been out in at least a year. It would be more fun with steph than with charlotte. *sigh* I got into the shop around 1030.... I didn't leave until maybe 2ish at the earliest. Then we ate an.....early breakfast? And I nearly saw a guy get tased. Ah west virginia.... I'm glad he was handcuffed when we left. I was good though during my inking and didn't laugh too hard when eric (the artist) was needling. It would have been bad. I kept telling him not to make me laugh. Apparently no one remembered me. Well one guy did, eventually but he has a weir memory ability. I confused a guy that was waaay out of it though. He came up to the owner of the shop as we were talking outside and said he would give his lighter to anyone who gave him a cigarette. So the owner gave him one but showed off his cool lighter. So I asked for the lighter instead. I used the word "proxy" I confused him... I got the lighter, but the poor fellow mumbled something about what a crazy world it is and I said yeah...waay trippy man. He just looked at me like I spoke latin to him. Good times. Then I left the lighter....

I believe I have rambled enough. I hate that I can't see anything on the screen so if I'm typo-filled, I'm sorry!!! And I ramble too much....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Times

So I'm on the metro on my way home from work and if I don't get this out, I may break into a happy dance and that would totally ruin my cool (ok really I just don't want the police to sic the bomb-sniffing dogs on me cuz I'm acting suspiciously...) I'm in an incredibly wonderful mood so here goes...... EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Translated as high pitched squeal of glee!!!!!!) I'm going home then finishing my packing and the? In the morning? I'm getting on a bus. Then I'm headed down to national airport and flying out to west virginia!!!!!!!!!! I'm going home. Really home. I nearly started singing and dancing on a crowded metro car.... Just barely stopped myself in time :) apparently steph's mom wants to make me something special for dinner so I got quizzed on my favourite dinner and dessert. I had to ask for suggestions on the dessert.... Key lime pie anyone? :) and steak... Om nom nom. I feel so special. This is why I adopted them as family. They feel like a real family to me. How a family should feel. Its wonderful. I teared up. Her brother is going to go through my massive list of video games I'm curious about and shall give me guidance on them :) I'm also completely nerded out. I found a necklace from one of my favourite games and bought it. Yup. Nerd. Me. I love it!!!! Ok. I'm done now. Too much exuberance and I can't see what I'm typing on my phone cuz its stupid :)