I never could sleep on an airplane

Right now, I am sitting on an airplane on my way to Chicago. I’ve come to the conclusion that reading makes me sick, I can’t sleep, and I suck at Spider Solitaire, so I may as well blog. It’s been a while.

First let me say that this is probably the most uncomfortable I have ever been on an airplane. My butt hurts so bad, and I’m in a middle seat, so the people next to me are probably tired of my fidgeting. But as tired as they may be of me, I am tired of the lady in front of me who is loud, rude and unfortunately, thinks she’s pretty funny. Awesome.

I guess someone near our row has a little gas problem (I have a suspicion it’s the sleeping old guy two rows back) and it’s bad enough we have to sit here and smell it, but then rude lady in front of me has to sit there and bellow on, “Oh my God! Can’t people do that elsewhere? It smells like they DIED! UGH!” She thinks she’s funny, and let me tell you, Calista would get an earful from me if she ever carried on like that. And to think this woman is in her 30’s or 40’s. She must be so proud of herself!

Anyhow, I left off just before Calista’s Kindergarten graduation. It was very cute. They all had little caps and sashes on, and they stood on the bleachers and sang some songs. At one point, a little boy fell off of the back of the bleachers America’s-Funniest-Home-Videos style and the whole program halted as his parents retrieved him and he shuffled into the audience embarrassed. Poor kid!

The boys were a little rambunctious (shocking, I know!) and I was holding on to Ace while videotaping one of Calista’s songs. As I was videotaping, Ace swifty shoved his hand down the front of my summer dress and started tweaking my nipple. (!) Of course I am trying to videotape, so I don’t want to tell him to get his hand out of my shirt (though that would have been good for a laugh years from now) so I tried to adjust him while silently praying he didn’t pull the whole top of my dress down. Now that would have been a story to tell.

Once the song — and nipple tweaking — were over, I took the boys to the side of the gym to play on a mat while the kids did their program and Skip took pictures. Just as Calista was called to receive her “diploma,” Nate fell and smacked his forehead on the gym floor so I missed Calista’s big moment and the video is muffled by his screams. He got a nice goose egg on his forehead from the ordeal. Fabulous!

Now Calista will go to the public school in the fall, which means she’ll ride the bus and I won’t have to drive 1/2 hour each way every day to go get her. YAY! I’m going to set up some summer play dates with a little girl in our development who will also be in first grade so Calista knows someone on the bus and hopefully in her class. I do feel bad she has to leave her friends but we never intended for her to continue at the Christian school; we just needed a private school to get her in since she missed the public school cutoff.

Next up in the life of me was sad for me… I had to fire K, our old nanny. I loved her so much and she loved the boys so much and was very good with them, but she did something that we just don’t approve of, the boys were with her when she did it, and when I talked to her about it, she just didn’t see how it was wrong. I felt so bad to have to let her go, in part because as I said, there was a good relationship amongst K, the boys and I, and I know she was going through some tough times and relied on the income. But I had to stand up for what I believe and the example I want to set for my children, so I did it. Sadly, I haven’t heard from her since, which to me says she’s pissed about the whole thing, and not sad. I had emailed and said I’d be happy to have her over, or she could come to the park with us, as I know the boys loved her and she them, but she never responded. That was hard for me for a while, but as time went on and there was no remorse of word from K, I started to get angry about the whole thing myself.

But that meant I was without a nanny and that made work hard. I contacted a few nannies and some in-home day cares. On girl said we sounded like a great family, but she had just taken another job.

Another was all gung-ho to come meet and work for us, but I found out she lives an hour away and though she said it was no big deal, shortly after we got off the phone, she emailed me to say it wouldn’t work.

Then there was the woman who had a few children of her home and watched others for extra money, so I went to meet her. I was greeted by her two year old standing — unattended — in the driveway in her diaper. Bad sign! There was a pile of cigarette butts on the porch, and not a single toy in the main areas of the home. She told me she doesn’t “get down on the floor and play with them or anything” and showed me the un-fenced back yard with some older play equipment and an open shed full of chopped firewood. Oh, and a pile of aluminum cans as she hadn’t had time to turn them in yet. Yikes.

Then we thought we found a great nanny, who was H. H came to meet up with us and stayed an hour or two with me and the boys. At one point, Nate fell and I tried to comfort him, but he ran to H, climbed in her lap and rested his head on her shoulder! I told her what I was able to pay her and the hours, and everything sounded great, she was going to talk to her husband and start the following week. She called me soon after and said she’d thought about it and wanted to make $X a month, so she wanted me to pay for her gas. I said I’d get back to her.

I wasn’t interested in paying for her gas (no one has ever paid me to drive to work!) and it turned out what I offered her was the amount she wanted per month, so I emailed her. She wrote back and then gave me several links to other jobs posted and what people were paying or asking for, mentioned she would make $X in her field of work, and she didn’t NEED to work, she was doing it because she loves kids. Oh, and the least she would accept was minimum wage.

First, if you don’t NEED to work, why is the pay such a huge deal? And if you can make so much more in your field of work, perhaps you should work there. But the most irritating part to me was that what I offered her was less than minimum wage, but if you take taxes out of minimum wage, my pay ended up being MORE!

I emailed again and pointed that out but said I’d do minimum wage BUT I’d have to cut back the hours (at the end of the day, there is a finite amount I can afford, after all) and I didn’t hear back. Argh.

Then I saw an ad for a home daycare. It had a cute little graphic and it was a nice ad, so I called. It turns out that it’s right by Skip’s work, so that had potential. The woman who runs it, P, has worked in childcare since she was in high school, has Early Childhood Education credits, was a director of a local daycare but quit because she wanted to be with the kids, not directing the caregivers. She has two kids of her own and was willing to cloth diaper and cater to Ace’s dietary and sensory needs.

I headed out to her house to check it out and was nervous after the cigarette butt aluminum can house. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise when I walked in and saw the alphabet hung on one wall, month names on another, a little “Walking Feet” and “Gentle Hands” sign on a wall, a child’s size table, childproofing, etc, etc, etc. It was so great!!

I talked to P for quite some time and Ace and Nate played inside and outside, checking it out. Outside, she had projects where her daycare kids were growing sunflowers in little pots, and she had a small climber with a slide and some ride-on toys. It was nicely fenced and the boys had fun!

We talked for a long time, and her parenting style is right in line with ours. She told me she has a family who comes to her playschool and they are vegan, dairy and gluten free, and she makes sure she cooks things that all of the kids can have, so the ones with special dietary needs don’t feel left out. For example, she uses imitation cheeses on nachos so all of the kids get the same thing. And, her rates are fabulous.

The boys started two weeks ago. Skip drops them off at 8 am and I pick them up at 12:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. And they LOVE it! Nate especially. I ask him in the morning if he’s ready to go to school and he nods yes, says, “school” and heads for the door. Ace gets excited, too, but he’s a little more hesitant once he’s there. P takes him off and snuggles and distracts him, though, and he does fine.

She says Nate is just the life of the party and the class clown, and both boys play well with the other kids. They sit at a little table and eat breakfast and lunch there, and she cooks them real meals (not just microwave stuff) and uses rice milk and butter substitutes for Ace. She’s even bought more of the butter we had provided her and found rice cheese to keep on hand for him! She’s really, really great and I am glad we found her.

There’s still quite a bit of time in this flight, so I might as well keep going…

How about the kids? Calista is home for the summer now. She stays home with me while the boys are at school and I am working. She gets a little bored and doesn’t like that I can’t play with her, but at the same time, she always comments how she loves the quiet without the boys and enjoys her time alone with me. I can’t believe she’s going to be on the school bus and in first grade this year! She’s so smart, and reads everything now. She also likes to write. She wrote Skip a Father’s Day note that said, “I love you Daddy. I wiyy do. Happy Fothir’s Day.”

I asked her what “wiyy” meant, and she said what sounded like, “I really do.” I asked if she wanted me to spell really, but she said, no, it said, “I WILLY do” and she liked it that way. She’s so funny.

Today she colored a picture and it said, “From the kid who loves you best. To Mom and Dad.” Awwww…

Then there’s Nate. He is such a chatterbox now! A lot of it is stuff only we’d ever understand, but he is saying everything! He said “ping pong ball” a couple of weeks ago after hearing it on Sesame Street. He was bouncing around the kitchen saying, “Oh my!” after hearing Skip say it. And he points to and says tons of words in the Goodnight Moon book, like light, bowl, spoon, balloon, moon, kitty, hot (for the fire). I can’t get over this major burst of language he’s had!

Ace has been having so much fun at therapy. Two weeks ago, I took Nate with us thinking if we got Nate on the horse, then Ace would give a try. Nate got on, but Ace wasn’t falling for it. Then I got on the horse and he still couldn’t be suckered. I told L, his therapist, that I thought if we just put him on, he’d be ok. She said normally she follows the child’s lead, and in this case, the child was signing and saying, “DONE! DONE!” and trying to escape the horse. Hee hee. But L gave me a chance and we put Ace on the horse with me. He rode around the little yard with me two or three times before he wanted off. The next week — last week — I got on and he rode with me for 20 minutes! Ace is L’s youngest patient, and she said her older kids only ride for 30 minutes, so that was great!

At home, he’s been jumping a lot, and my mom got him a Jump-O-Lene which is an inflatable trampoline that in enclosed so he can’t fall off/out. All of the kids can use it, and if we want, we can put balls in there to make it a ball pit. It arrives tomorrow (I won’t be home, either — BOO!) and I think the kids, and Ace especially, will LOVE it!

I also picked up a big Little Tikes outdoor playground thing off of Craiglist that Ace (and all of the kids) are enjoying. It has one side with a door and window like an open-roofed play house, it has climbing walls on all sides, a tunnel to connect to two parts and then two slides. In addition to our swing set, I think I have all of the bases covered when it comes to providing vestibular activities for Ace.

The other big news as of late are the big boy beds. The boys were terrorizing their cribs and we felt it was safer to move them into toddler beds at this point. They were lifting their mattresses and getting UNDER them (that can’t be safe!) and Nate would get mad and jump in his crib so hard that I was having to tighten the bolts all of the time. So, we got two toddler beds, some mattresses and sheets and set them up. The first night they didn’t last long at all, and poor Nate was screaming his head off. I took him into bed with me and he kept screaming. He led me to the stairs and wanted to go to the living room, so we went downstairs. He turned the TV on and asked for milk, so there we sat, at 3 am, on the couch, drinking milk and watching the Discovery Channel. He fell asleep on the cough with me and I guess he woke up disoriented because he was screaming again. We went through this several times that night, while Ace spent the night in bed with Skip.

Night two was a little better, and night three, they went 12 hours in their beds!! Nap time isn’t going as well yet, but they will learn. Calista transitioned at just 16 months (the boys are 20 months) and we know it just takes some adjusting.

Today, however, as I was driving to the Seatac airport, Skip called to inform me that when he put the boys down for nap, they had gotten up to play (which is par for the course, and we’re ok with that) but they pulled out the bottom drawer of their dresser, climbed in it and BROKE it! They somehow broke the metal guides that the drawer slides on. Awesome.

I asked Skip what he did, and he said he just left the drawer out and put them back to bed, but my concerns were (1) now it’s top-heavy and could fall easily (it’s not tethered to the wall yet — BAD Mommy!) and (2) one of them is bound to climb in the space of the missing drawer and then the other will open and close the next drawer, slamming the first one’s head in there. Either is not a good option, so Skip took them out of the room and is working on a resolution as we speak. I can’t tell you how destructive those two can be! Oy!

Man, I don’t know how much time is left in this flight, but I am realizing that this whole middle-seat thing sucks big time. I have to hold my arms in too close to my sides so as not to bump my neighbors, and the seat is killing my butt! My back is starting to hurt, I hate the stale airplane air and I’m over this whole flying thing. I still have to catch a cab to my hotel once I land in Chicago.

Oh, my other news is I started making cloth diapers for the boys. I’ve done some experimental ones out of Skip’s old t-shirts and some microfiber towels I have, and made some nicer ones out of fleece and flannel. the nice ones are so cute, but too small. I need to make bigger ones. I have decided, though, to try my hand at my own diaper design. I am very excited about it, and actually came up with what I tihnk is going to be a great (and innovative!) idea. I sketched my ideas once I got on the plane so I wouldn’t forget and am going to work ont he sketches some more at the hotel. When I get home, I am going to work on prototypes.

The dilemmas are in (1) naming my product, (2) figuring out what’s patented and what isn’t in the diaper world, (3) patenting my own design and then (4) selling them. However, my boss at the baby store I work out (who happens to be about the best boss ever — I kid you not!) said she’d sell them at the store if I really made them. I am so excited! So, if you know ANYTHING about patents and patent research, please let me know!

Uh-oh… the stink has returned. I am sure that the lady in front of me will soon be running her mouth about it. I think I will take that as my cue to sign off for now.

Hope I didn’t bore you to tears with this super-long post!

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