Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

But is the grass always greener?

I think not.

I went to check out a home-based daycare that one of my colleagues uses just because I was curious, and I was...underwhelmed. The woman who runs it seemed perfectly nice, capable (I guess), but I find myself thinking that I just prefer a daycare center instead. It just feels so much more secure and, well, predictable. For both of us. She watches up to five kids by herself, and the kids are a wide range of ages. Three big dogs. Two cats. One bird. Sure, she's accredited and insured. She's been running her daycare for five years now. But as I looked around her house, a little voice in the back of my head just kept whispering, "But anything could happen here--this is someone's home, not an established center with lots of staff members around all the time." Perhaps choosing a home-based daycare is a matter of one's gut instinct...not sure. And my gut instinct is telling me "No." (Oh, by the way, the reason I decided to check it out is because our daycare center is definitely one of the more expensive daycare places in town. And I feel that if I can find someplace comparable, I really should be socking more money away in savings, if possible.) For now, I think we'll stay put. But maybe still keep feelers out anyway. Oh, and something else: our daycare center does not require me to pay over the summer, just a $95 application fee to hold K's spot. This place, like many other home-based centers I'm sure, asks for $300 per month over the summer to hold her spot, half of the regular monthly fee. I'd be paying $750 this summer for...nothing. And right now I'm paying roughly $120 more per month than this home-based daycare, which will go down by $40 per month each year K is enrolled. But it's like they always say, you get what you pay for. And in addition to a whole lot of other advantages, I think I'm getting a whole lot more peace of mind, to say the very least.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

There's nothing better than...*UPDATED*

...having your crush ask for your phone number.

Today he did. He really did, completely unprompted, AND he gave me his number, too. And it even sounds like he fully intends to actually--*gasp!*--call me. To talk. To me. Unreal.

The hard part (the very hard part) is the fact that we work together, so I have to do everything in my power to keep this, whatever this is or might be, under the radar. My workplace is such a gossip mill, which I hate. But it's also exciting because we've been getting to know one another for the past few months, and I truly believe that something might actually be developing here. One of my close friends (also a coworker) remarked today after she witnessed him greet me at lunch that he's definitely "different" with me than with everyone else.

"Different how?" I asked her.
"I don't know, like there's something more between you."

I'll take it. He's a terrific guy, three years my senior, single dad to three boys (but only one is still at home), currently a teacher but also an actor (i.e. several commercials and voiceovers), screenwriter, and all-around fascinating person. We always seem to have tons to talk about, so it'll be interesting to find out how we'll communicate on the phone.

Thank God for this blog, since I can't even really hint at anything on Facebook. And now I actually have a reason to look forward to going to work! ;)

UPDATE: I take that back. There's nothing better than actually being asked out by your crush! And the delicious secret of being able to see one another at work but try not to let on that there might be anything more than friendship going on. We don't have firm plans yet, but it was his suggestion that we get together at some point and spend some time together. The trick, of course, is making that happen...we live an hour away from one another, he has a 16-year-old with special needs, and I have a 10-month-old. It'll be interesting, to say the least.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Locator

I seriously love this show, even though I cry my eyes out at each episode. I think it's on the We channel, and I have my DVR set to record each and every episode that airs. To me it reinforces the eternal strength and pull of that mother-child bond, and I always end up kissing and hugging my girl extra hard after every episode I watch. I am SO thankful for her, every day and always.

Yet at the same time, I always end up feeling sad because I can't help wondering whether K will feel that need to try to find her donor someday. Not that she'd be successful, because I think she won't, considering how iron-clad the privacy and confidentiality laws are when it comes to sperm banks. I plan on framing her story as a beautiful, extra-special mystery that is supposed to remain a mystery because that's what makes it so special and unique. But my heart always breaks a little when I think about the possibility of her feeling some kind of hole in her identity because she won't know who her biological father is, ever. I don't even like to use the word "father" , biological or otherwise, because to me, a donor is NOT a father, not even close. I wish I had some answers. And I hope with every fiber of my being that my sweet girl will accept her mystery and be okay with it. She certainly has an extended family that completely adores her, so she won't be lacking for family members who think the world of her. That's gotta count for something, right?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

note to self: Don't Be a Stranger.

...which is exactly what I've been to this blog as of late. Not sure why, exactly, except that I have a sneaking suspicion that a touch of PPD might have been involved. Nothing truly incapacitating, but just enough for me to withdraw for a little while. Truly, everything is fine...more than fine, in fact. And busy. Very, very busy, especially throughout December.

My colleague Lisa has been on maternity leave since the birth of her boys, Ben and Jake, in mid-July. She took extra time off at no pay, which was completely worth it for a choice mom of twins. Her long-term sub at our school had been here since school began in August, but unfortunately was abruptly fired two weeks before the start of Christmas break. An asinine accusation by a disgruntled seventh grade student that she hit him in anger. I don't buy it, but whatever. Lisa teaches half of the seventh grade at our school (language arts), and I teach the other half, so it was left to me to put together all of the lesson plans for her daily subs for those two weeks, plus grading their work. Her students plus my students equals 240 kids. I was a tad overwhelmed, to put it mildly. But I got through it--with my sanity relatively intact--and K and I had a delicious Christmas with my parents back in upstate New York.

Traveling was interesting, to say the least. On our way out to New York, we were delayed at O'Hare for an extra five hours. K was absolutely amazing...she stayed upbeat, relaxed and happy throughout the entire 13-hour day, and we received compliments after every flight by the passengers who had been sitting nearby that she was "such a good baby!" At one point on one of the airplanes we flew on, another toddler was having such a hard time and was so distressed, that my mama heart reacted instinctively and brought me to tears for another woman's baby. Amazing...I didn't expect that at all. K doesn't get that upset very often, so I'm just not used to hearing that level of distress. Of course, the amount of stress I had been under during the last two weeks of school before break was probably a factor, too.

On the way back on New Year's Eve, we had to fly standby almost the entire way. The ticketing agents in Syracuse didn't issue me a boarding pass for K, but instead handwrote "+ infant" on my boarding pass. I should have known better, but instead I just hopped on the plane for Philadelphia and assumed it would all work out. Once we arrived at the Philly airport, we were told that I had to return to ticketing to get a new boarding pass for K, which involved finding an entirely different terminal, waiting in endless lines, and going through security yet again. We ended up missing our flight to Chicago by ten minutes. Luckily, we were able to catch another flight to Chicago only a couple of hours later and fly standby, and we were also put on a list to fly standby from Chicago back to Colorado. What really stunk, in addition to the extra waiting around and the uncertainty of getting a seat on the next two planes, was the fact that they would be charging me an additional $50 to fly standby, and it wasn't really my fault in the first place. But again, we soldiered through and arrived back in Colorado around 9:15 pm. After my aunt and uncle picked us up and brought us to my car which was parked at my grandmother's condo, we finally got back home by 11 pm on New Year's Eve, just in time for me to wish K a happy new year. It was an incredibly icy drive home due to the ice storm the previous day, but I drove as fast as I dared (which was veeeery slowly) and we got home safely. Mom thinks I should petition the airline for a refund of my $50, but I haven't decided yet. I started back to work on Monday, kids returned on Wednesday, and not surprisingly they are NOT happy to be back at school after Christmas break. Nope, not happy at all. But we survived the rest of the week, and now I get to spend what will hopefully be a lovely weekend with my best girl.

My Resolutions for 2011.

1. Build up an arsenal of babysitters that I can call as needed. And pay. Friends have offered to babysit and have stayed with K, but I'm finding that I almost prefer to pay someone because then I don't feel like I "owe" that person for doing me a favor.

2. Find other choice moms in my area and form a group. Or join an already-existing group. K needs to meet other little ones with similarly unique family stories, and I need to be able to compare notes on the "daddy issue" when it eventually comes up. I'm just trying to figure out how to put it into words once K is old enough to start to understand it.

3. Lose 30 pounds.

4. Build up my savings. For emergencies, and also to possibly prepare for #2 next fall.

5. Find a way to become more self-confident in terms of my appearance and my "new" identity as a mom. Not sure how to achieve this one, but I definitely plan to work on it somehow. More to come on this later.

That's it, for a start. I know there are more, but those are the biggies so far. I feel that it goes without saying that I want to be the best mom I can be to K, and to help her grow, learn, and thrive. She's doing so well so far...I love the fact that she seems to feel secure in our relationship and family structure. She is SUCH a happy kid! She is constantly smiling at me with her toothy grin (two teeth so far!) and laughing when we're goofy together, giggling when I tickle her under her chin, and so playful with her toys and with me. I love the way she plays with my fingers, especially when she's enjoying her before-bed bottle, and she's so inquisitive, almost to a fault. Once she becomes mobile, I think I'm in for it. She's busy scooting 360 degrees, and she can pretty much get where she wants to go, though crawling will be that much more efficient once she figures it out. She's got amazing fine motor skills, and I'm not surprised that her gross motor skills are developing more slowly, considering that it took her a little longer than most to sit independently. But she'll get it eventually. She loves to stand with a little help, she loves to bounce, and she just started trying to pull up on furniture (and people) at the end of December. I am completely in love with her personality, especially her emerging sense of humor and the way she babbles and holds cooing conversations with me. My favorite by far, though, is "mamamamama"...music to my ears.

We were in New York at my parents' house when the above picture was taken, and she looks like such the sad little inmate! So resigned to her fate stuck in the crib! That crib was used for all three of us kids, and has held up remarkably well over the years.

The highchair in the above picture has an interesting history, as well: the three of us kids AND before us, my mom and her two younger sisters used it, too! Mom was born in '41, so it really dates back. Mom painted it in the early '70's (can'tcha tell from the colors?!), and it's really stood the test of time.

"Yay! Ribbons!!"

"What's in there? I see something!!"

What, you didn't get what you asked for from Santa? :)