This has been an incredibly busy week. I'm typing as fast as I can while baby A squirms in my lap, so this won't be long. The new gal is working out fine. She is super sweet. I have gotten caught up on lots of my errands and bill paying this week and my car is clean, so it feels nice. The furniture repair guy (and gal) came and did some work and I have been having roof repair people in for estimates as well. Typical home owner stuff. And now baby A is demanding you-know-what, so I gotta go.
My whole family is all better now. Yay! That was an un-fun flu, but it was over in about 24 hours. And baby A never got it, that I could detect. Score another one for MOMMA'S MILK! I keep explaining to people that breast milk offers some protection for babies against the common cold and other illnesses, but when it comes to gastrointestinal illness, the protection is incomparable. It makes sense. When momma becomes sick, she cranks out antibodies. One special type of antibody, secretory IgA, is secreted into the breast milk. So not only is baby's intestinal tract bathed in protective antibodies, but there are actual living cells, white blood cells called Macrophages, crawling around in there engulfing bad stuff. So warm, fresh breast milk is a living fluid.
My new lady, Miss I, is super nice. I have taken the slow road with her training so as not to scare her off. And she has worked with children at schools in the past and already has a negative ppd test for tuberculosis. She is younger and unmarried, and she has lots of energy to attack areas of my house that the other gal never went near. So we have been doing a lot of heavy cleaning projects. And she also helped me to switch all the boys' beds and clothes to different rooms because we moved the oldest 2 boys downstairs to my dd's former room. So J and A, the 3 and 4-y-o boys will share a room and baby A will have his own room.
I got a nice compliment at the synagogue this weekend. A lady came up to me and said that her 16-y-o daughter had just told her that she plans on getting a baby sling for her baby after seeing me with baby A. See how we influence people by our actions?
In between feeling nauseous and lying down, ds and I managed to watch the red carpet and Oscar stuff. Mostly I saw ordinary looking people wearing expensive clothes and jewelry. Occasionally there were people of exceptional beauty. The 3 most beautiful people last night, in my opinion were Katherine Heigl, Ann Hathaway, and George Clooney. I searched for red carpet photos of them but the ones I saw don't seem to do them justice. So I found some pictures which show more what I am trying to explain.
Katherine Heigl looked so great in her fire-engine red dress. She was completely "old Hollywood" with a look that reminded me of Marilyn Monroe. And even prettier than I remember her. Here is a picture from a different event.
Ann Hathaway, who has always been unbelievably gorgeous in my book, looked particularly wonderful. Her wine-red gown with cascading flowers set off her alabaster skin perfectly.
George Clooney looked fabulous. He also looked handsome in the way of Hollywood legends. Possibly the most handsome Hollywood actor of this generation.
Which brings me to the topic of prior handsome Hollywood legends. One of my favorites has always been Sean Connery.
My heart skipped a beat when the housekeeping agency called this afternoon. They said that the new lady decided she did not want the job after all. HUH? And I thought it had gone so well. I asked what they thought the reason was, and they said it was probably because she tested positive for tuberculosis exposure. She was in shock. Yikes! I'm in shock too. So they are sending over another lady today or tomorrow for an interview. I'm insisting that everyone get tested.
When my teenagers were preschool-age about 15 years ago, a couple of children at our church caught tuberculosis from one of the babysitting ladies. The lady fled the country. So it is definitely an issue in these parts.
I was nervous all day yesterday. I interviewed about 5 ladies, all with their own cars, for the position. I followed my instinct and hired the one lady , Mrs. T, based on my gut feeling. She struck me as calm, quiet, confident and dignified. Her English is not as good as some of the other ladies, but I had a good feeling from talking to her. She arrived slightly ahead of schedule this morning, and she was a workhorse all day. She was very concerned with anticipating my needs and pitching in wherever needed. I hope she enjoys working here.
The worst part of the day was giving notice to Mrs. L. I explained that I need somebody 5 days instead of 2. It really is the truth. If she stopped bringing in her granddaughter, I would still not keep her for the 2 days. I want someone 5 days. I don't know how she took it. She got quiet. I will hopefully find out from my neighbor how she is doing, and if she wanted to be set up with another job or stay home with the little one for those days.
Tonight is Open House night at the elementary school. We just finished the project my son was doing for his 3rd grade class yesterday and turned it in. He had to make a city building for the Rocksaboxen project. I think we did a good job with this one. I have experience making cardboard buildings for the missions my older kids did. In California, all kids have to make a mission in 4th grade. I used my old roofing technique of peeling the top layer off of a cardboard box to expose the corrugation underneath. 2 pieces of that laid on top as the roof look an awful lot like a tile roof. And I got a piece of grass-type mat from the train store, along with 3 nice looking miniature trees and doors and windows. I can't wait to go to the school to see how the other families made their projects.
In other good news, I have gotten a lot of compliments lately on my body. The ladies at the employment agency said they could not believe I had 6 kids in the shape I am in, and that I am over 40 with a kid in college. They asked how I stay in shape and about my complexion and stuff. One of the neighbors also said something about my weight loss and being so thin after the baby. And last but not least, my husband told me I looked "hot".
I drove past a medical office for a plastic surgeon this morning that was called "Body by Dr. X". Hmmmm. My body is not perfect. I have a flabby tummy with 500 stretch marks that no matter how much weight I could lose, it would never look youthful and flat. Did I ever want a body by Dr. X? I answered a resounding NO! I don't want to live life as a cut-up version of myself. Maybe this seems an odd line of thought, but in Southern California, many people see plastic surgery as a necessity. By avoiding the surgeon, one is practically a maverick. I don't expect to look young forever. I can still manage looking good in my early 40s, but when I start aging for real, I hope I remember to cherish my hard-won age lines, and not hate myself for them. I loved every inch of my grandmother when I was young. I'm glad she looked like herself. And I think I am worth just as much. Those who love me will continue to love me as I age. I will not have a body by XYZ. I think that is a *good* thing.
I have been trying for days *not* to write this blog post, but it is screaming to get out. I think the problem is that I cannot communicate truthfully all of my feelings with the parties involved. And the issue is not resolved.
It is about my housekeeper. I can't tell her exactly how I feel about everything because I need to preserve good feelings with her and also with my neighbor. My neighbor is the one who hired her in the first place 2 years ago. She had gone to a service and done some interviews and really liked Mrs. L. But she told me that she was worried Mrs. L would move on to find full-time employment since she was only having her come 3 days a week. I told her I thought I could help out with that and I would be happy to have her on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
So Mrs. L started coming to my house. I got rid of the cleaning crew. She cleaned the upstairs on Tuesday when J. was napping and the downstairs on Thursday. I never had her do kitchen work or cooking because I have a kosher kitchen. It is hard to explain about a kosher kitchen, but suffice it to say that things are complicated and it is easier for me to do the stuff myself. So she folded laundry and watched the kids otherwise, taking them for walks and trips to the park. I worked from home, and then out of the home on those 2 days. One day Mrs. L told us that her teenage daughter was pregnant. I tried to be happy for her but I had a bad feeling that it would affect our working relationship. I had lost a good office manager at my husband's office under similar circumstances. The teenage mom stayed home with the baby initially, then when the baby was older, the grandma quit work to watch the baby.
When I became pregnant with baby A, my neighbor said that she was thinking on cutting back expenses and perhaps I would be interested in taking Mrs. L for 3 days per week in the fall when the baby was due. I thought that would be great. During my 3rd trimester of pregnancy Mrs. L showed up with the granddaughter, explaining that her daughter had begun school to become a dental hygienist. I asked how long the little girl would be coming to work with her and she told me it would be for a couple of months then she would find someone to watch her. Mrs. L curtailed interacting with my boys for the most part.
As you recall, baby A was born in early November. He was 3 weeks early, so his newborn month was more like 2 months long. I reminded my neighbor about her idea of switching days with me and she said that her husband had nixed the idea. I found myself resenting the presence of the little girl in my house, but I couldn't say anything about it. I felt any comments would come across as mean-spirited. So I sat there in the nursing chair, unable to do much with my boys. I don't feel confident going out until my nipples stop bleeding and I can nurse more inconspicuously without being super-super careful about the baby's latch technique. I knew that the boys were watching way too much television. I enrolled the 3-y-o in preschool to get him out of the house. The 4-y-o continued in preschool 3 mornings a week. And I sat there fuming and growing more and more resentful that *my* kids were being farmed out to preschool but this other little girl was coming to my house every day. I never thought seriously about hiring somebody else, though. I don't know why. I guess I thought that it was only a temporary thing, and that I would be getting back into my groove soon as the baby got a bit older.
It began to dawn on me that this was not going to change. There was no other babysitter for the little girl. If I wanted Mrs. L, she came hand-in-hand with the little girl, who was now 14 months old. Oh, and I was still paying full freight for her time, even though her efforts and attention were now subdivided.
The last straw for me was last week. On Tuesday I received a call from the baby's mother, Mrs. L's daughter, explaining that the baby was sick and Mrs. L was not coming to work. I was bummed and had to move things around in my schedule. On Thursday, I got a call from Mrs. L from my neighbor's house that the baby had thrown up in her car on the way to work and she was going back home. I said, "OK. Take care of her and yourself, I'll see you later." I couldn't let on how furious I was. I was the low man on the totem poll. Why did she stop at my neighbor's house 2 blocks away instead of coming to see me directly? Why is it only Mrs. L who has responsibility for the baby when she is sick? Why does the mother not have to ever miss a day of school? Where is the father? Where is the paternal grandmother? Where is the grandfather? It was clear that whatever *I* had planned for the day was unimportant compared to what EVERYBODY ELSE had planned to do. Not just one day on Tuesday, but also on Thursday. There was no consideration for my needs. They threw me under the bus.
So it is not just about what happened last week. I have been doing a slow burn for months. I have been forced into a home-daycare situation *in-my-own-house*. Something I have NEVER done, because I have never wanted to take time and attention away from my own kids. And this has been done at a time when I was weak and vulnerable in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy and during the newborn phase.
I don't want to lose goodwill with my neighbor. I count her a good friend. So the party line is that I need someone more than 2 days per week. Hey, that's what she told me too, right? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. And I do look forward to giving 2 weeks notice to Mrs. L. I doubt she will have an easy time finding a new family to take her with her toddler granddaughter in tow.
I did it. I called a service and I'm interviewing new housekeepers on Tuesday. DH has always wanted me to get a live-in, but I never wanted to give up my privacy. I might be changing my mind. We'll see how the interviews go.
I know I won't get much sympathy about the housekeeper stuff, but here goes.
My housekeeper called in sick again today. She normally works on Tuesday and Thursday cleaning and running/folding/putting away the laundry. She now brings her 1-y-o granddaughter with her to work as of the last few months, and the little girl has the flu. So no Mrs. L. WAAAAAAA! I had so much I wanted to get done today. I took out a week's worth of trash (it was time), emptied the diaper pails and got all the laundry sorted into piles and started the machines (2). Then I ran out to a mom's club at the park meeting I was determined to go to, but the WIMPY Californians decided it was too COLD at 60 degrees and windy. COWARDS! Luckily the organizer showed up and I was able to exchange emails and phone numbers with her. That is what I mostly wanted to accomplish anyway. So I went straight home to get the broken dining room chair and got it to the furniture store and they installed the replacement leg. Darned pretty chair, too, if I may say so. Jessica McClintock in the American Drew Collection with a fully upholstered seat and back. A guest broke the leg of the chair during our son's bris (circumcision party) in November. Then I stopped off at Michaels and got the plaster of paris that I *thought* I had bought last week at the train store for DS's school project. Turns out the train store stuff was like moldable, gritty sand. Appropriate for making miniature hills and mountains, but not for stuccoing a tiny building. OK. Done. Then off to get the 3-y-o from preschool. In 40 minutes I will get DS-8 from the bus stop and my "free" time will be gone, so no checking my groups today. This will be it for my computer activities. I just folded 2 loads of laundry and I have only 4 more to go. The dryer just stopped so I'm on borrowed time, if you kwim. Especially given that the baby is sleeping (rare).
I also stopped at the store to pick up MIL's birthday gift for her birthday tomorrow. I invited her to sleep over tomorrow night as nobody had made any plans with her. I will make her a birthday dinner and present her with some jewelry. Cool thing was, I found some rather nifty jewelry for myself and charged everything. ;-)
Here are some recent pics of the baby and myself. The little guy weighs in around 13 pounds now. He loves to nurse and be held. Good thing I am getting good at babywearing. The top pic is a demo of the front wrap cross carry, and the bottom one shows an over-the-shoulder-baby-holder at the local zoo. Oh, and those are my size 6 Calvin Klein jeans. The fit is not so tight anymore. :-D
I have a strange man coming to my house today, lol. He is a handyman and I need his help to fix a hole in the wall that my boys made by slamming the door open from the garage after the door stop fell off the baseboard. So there is a nice 3 by 3-inch hole in the WALLPAPER. Luckily, the FANTASTIC home sellers we bought this house from left a bunch of stuff for us including rolls of all the wallpaper. This guy is charging a very reasonable amount. I hope he does good work because he is local and I need a good handyman. DH is great at earning, but handiness is not his strong suit. I'm handy with some tools. I actually own my own drill and bits. But patching drywall is not something I want to tackle.
This will be a fun week. I have another babywearing group meeting to attend IRL tomorrow, so I will get to try on a bunch of new wraps and chat with the ladies. They can try on my wraps as well, now that I have a couple of desirable wraps in my stash.
I am also attending a mom's club gathering at a local park on Thursday. I need to get out more and I already know some of these ladies from the neighborhood.
My diet is going well. I have less than 1/2 pound to lose to reach my bfing target. I am serious about losing the last bit, though, because DD is coming to visit next Monday and she wants to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. YUMMMM!
I can't believe it is Friday already. What a busy week. Almost every moment has been occupied, and I still have dishes to load and wash, as you can imagine.
DD and I had an idyllic day together on Monday. She now has all of her Mondays off and wants to come and see me again in another week and a half. I'm so excited to spend time with her. I have as a dream that I'd like to plan some getaway vacations with her and perhaps the baby, just "girl time". He he. Gotta destress sometimes from the testosterone zone. ;-) Maybe I will have to plan something in a few months, like a weekend trip to my mother's house in Washington State. It may be too late to catch the ski season (I'm dying to downhill ski again), but maybe the spring will be a good time to see some sights. It will have to be only a weekend trip so DH can watch the older boys.
Besides that, DH introduced me to a web page creation program that he heard about at his seminar last weekend. It sounds pretty interesting to me. I have been reading about it. Perhaps it will be a fun stay-at-home hobby and a way to make a little extra pocket change. I'll keep you informed on my progress. :-D
I'm super busy today, so a short post. My daughter and I are spending the day together shopping and lunching. She has Mondays off with her new class schedule. Woohooo! She and I were playing with the settings on the camera last night trying to capture the beauty of the view from my backyard. Doesn't really do it justice, but it is a rather interesting picture, imo.
I saw an article on MSN recently about abortions. Who has them and for what reasons. Turns out it is not just scared little teenagers. I was sad that supposedly mature grown-ups would make the poor choices that got them into that situation.
It brought me back to a turning point in my life. You may wish to stop reading here. What is to follow will be a graphic description of a biology lab experiment in college involving chicken embryos.
I did not know what the lab was that day. I went to bio lab as usual. It was my freshman year at UCLA in the early 1980s. When I got there I saw a bunch of chicken eggs waiting. I was told that these were fertilized eggs, and that we were expected to follow the directions to observe them. We had to crack the eggshell without breaking the yolk. The 1-cm long embryos resided on one side of the egg yolk in a quarter-sized disk of blood vessels. We had to cut the disk off of the yolk using scissors and float it in a petri dish of clear ringers lactate solution and put it under a low powered microscope. I did this and then observed the little embryo floating with it's little heart beating. I got a prickly feeling down the back of my neck as I realized that I was watching the little embryo die. Die because of what I had done. I felt disturbed and nauseous during the remainder of the lab. As I walked out of the building into the fresh evening air of winter I vowed to myself that I would never do that to a child of mine. Never. I have kept my word.