Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where is Mary Poppins When You Need Her?

If you've ever had to find full-time childcare for you child(ren) then you understand the insanity that accompanies this seemingly routine task. You see, searching for a full-time caregiver is not merely looking for a place or person who will teach your child the alphabet and send home cute art projects.They have to be safe, kind, loving, respectful, fun, intelligent, gentle, active, sensitive, and well perfect. These are the people/person that your child will spend more waking time with than they do with you. This is essentially their surrogate mommy, their you when you're gone. It's a monumental decision that has thrown me into a full blown panic.

I have toured and interviewed every state licensed facility (home and center) in my town. My favorite ones were full with substantial waiting lists, and the others were not places I would feel comfortable sending my Ham. Some were smelly. Some were unorganized. Some were overcrowded. And some I just plain didn't like. How can you not be picky with something as serious as this?

I had to scrap the whole daycare center idea altogether and being the long process of finding and interviewing nannies. Where's Mary Poppins when you need her? I went through as well as through word of mouth recommendations. I ended up eliminating some via e-mail or phone because they were very obviously not what I was looking for. The rest I had to interview. With a background in HR, one would think that this would be a simple task but you'd be wrong. It was HELL. Seriously, Hell.

I decided to invite the ladies into my home to meet Ham and get a feel for who we are as a family (this was post background check). So, I lined up several interviews each an hour apart. The first nanny was crazy strict. She was into constant correction, lots of rules, and an avid spank-er. The next one was the complete opposite, a lassiz faire parent who pretty much let kids do whatever they wanted and watch tv all day. I had a few less remarkable duds and then I met my own personal Mary Poppins.

It was love at first sight. This woman came right in and sat down in front of Ham and introduced herself. No one else really even paid attention to him. They all came to talk to me about him even though he was in the room the whole time. She brought her daughter along, who I must say is a good match for Ham's bossiness, and they all played together while we chatted. I marveled at how she comforted both of our children seamlessly during arguments over toys. She seemed in her element redirecting conflicts, giving kisses, and playing pretend. Watching her just put me at ease.

Aside from my warm fuzzies, she has a great big house on several fenced acres for Ham to fun free. She is going to take him to swimming lessons (at no extra charge to me), toddler play groups, parks, area activities, and even teach him a preschool curriculum! Did I mention she is a teacher? I couldn't find anything about her that I didn't like. We have the same discipline philosophy, parenting style, personal style, types of toys, and so many other things. I really think that she is the next best thing to me for Ham. I am beyond excited to see her house tomorrow and meet her other children. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Childcare Dilemma

I got the job!

 I will be a full-time working mama starting the twenty-fourth. I am beyond excited about what this means for me and my family. I cannot wait to get my ass out of debt and beginning enjoying family outings again. The idea of extra money seems like a fantasy at this point.

On the other hand, I now have exactly one week to find suitable childcare for Ham. Ham is considered "special needs" by most care providers since he has sensory processing disorder. When you say "My son has SPD and he often needs extra attention" they hear "My son will ruin all order and happiness in your place of work. He will trash your classroom and start an avalanche of tantrums and screaming." At least that is my theory since people automatically change tone and demeanor after they hear about Ham.

I guess I'm glad that they are so taken aback because it shows me that they are not fit to care for him. However, I can't seem to find anyone who is that is reasonably priced and close enough to my home and work. I found this amazing Montessori school run by the calmest preschool teacher ever. I feel in love with it quickly and deeply. I knew Ham would thrive there. I could see the changes in him already, but it's so far away from our home and work that it's unfortunately not an option. The much closer Montessori school is just outrageously priced, I would be spending almost my entire paycheck on childcare.

So, now I am scrambling to find a place for him to go even if it's temporary. All the big centers are full, and I've scared away several nannies and home day cares with Ham's special needs. I have very few options left now that would work for us. I am beyond stressed about this, but all I can do is pray and keep looking. Any suggestions would be gladly accepted. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


American funerals are such a strange custom. We take a person's dead body to a fancy funeral home, we remove all their blood and guts, we pump them full of chemicals, and then we put them on display for people to cry over. I don't know about you, but I think this is just plain weird.

My grandfather died this past Sunday. He lived in a nursing home for the last few years of his life and died of congestive heart failure/shingles/Alzheimer's/Parkinson's/kidney failure. His death was expected yet sad. I sat in his tiny room on the Alzheimer's unit for four hours with my mother and grandmother. He lay in bed covered as if he was sleeping but his chest never rose. We sat there until he was hauled away by the mortician.

In those hours alone with my mother, grandfather, grandfather's brother and his wife, and my aunt and uncle I mourned. I let go. I said my goodbyes because I knew that he was at peace with God. He could finally feel the grass between his toes, the sun shining on his face, and the breeze off the lake. He was free from pain and the sickness that plagued him for the last twenty-five years. In that time, I had my own funeral for my grandfather.

Yes, I attended the "real" funeral with all of the pomp and circumstance associated with dying. There were lots of tears, floral arrangements, mood lighting, old photos, speeches, and a fancy coffin. The body of my grandfather lay there enshrined on an oak pedestal. To me, it felt so wrong to mourn such a simple, humble person in such an over-the-top way.

My grandfather was a kind man who would do anything or anyone. He was a mechanic, a soldier, and a brain tumor survivor. He spent the entirety of my life with a large portion of his brain missing, but he still loved me more than anything. I will miss him, but I will mourn him in my own way. I will honor him with my kindness to others and my love for my family. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I have been a full-time SAHM for a few weeks now, and I can honestly say that these have been the worst weeks in recent memory. It's sad but true. I hate being home full-time. Ham is not an easy child by any means, and he has found creative ways to make my life more difficult now that I am ever present. We have been put on the waiting list for a behavioral therapist, but they said it will be at least three months. Which means three more months of getting hit in the face, punched in the stomach, kicked, screamed at, charged at, and just plain beat up. I am tired of being his punching bag, and it's no longer just me. He is beginning to get violent with other children. To say that I'm worried is just the tip of the iceberg.

I am at a loss of what to do about Ham's behavior. He is just plain terrible most of the time, and it's sunk me into a depression. We have put our plans for a second child on hold as we deal with this situation. After a lot of soul searching and prayer, I've decided to apply for full-time jobs because I need to get away (we're also flat broke but that's another issue entirely).

I had my first interview with a clinic on Tuesday, and it went fantastically. I have a second interview and a two hour observation scheduled for Friday morning. I am beyond excited. This could mean much needed adult time, desperately needed income, insurance, savings, the ability to pay off our credit cards, and so much more. I don't think I have ever been this happy about going to work!

There is only one problem, what to do with Ham while I am working. I have spent a considerable amount of time searching for a special needs/behavioral issue friendly daycare provider. I have come up with a few options that I need to look into more thoroughly. It seems like very few daycare providers and teachers understand how to work with kids like Ham. I sincerely hope that I can find a good fit for both of us so we can both thrive.