Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You like me! You really like me!

Woot! I didn't think anyone was even reading this. OK, I get hits each day I can't trace back, but I sort of figured they were me. Or someone I know and just can't i.d. But there are real, live, virtual friends out there! Yay!

Never mind. That's an exaggeration, but it is really nice and sort of surprising to finally have proof that this might actually be engaging to people. And to people whose writing I like and respect, even better. So Donna at Wicked Censtable has nominated me, and I'm really excited. Apparently there are rules.

Thank the person who gave you the award. That's sort of already covered, but just to be sure I play by the book. Thank you, Donna! You've really boosted my ego, and validated the time I've been struggling to justify putting into this. It was starting to feel like a really selfish, fruitless endeavor, but I'm so excited to know I might have been wrong.

Tell you seven things about myself.

1. I'm about to change jobs. I'm just incredibly excited. I've been at my current job for almost eight years, and it is high, high time for a change. It'll be my first experience with the private sector, and take me back to my policy roots, which I've been sorely missing. Good stuff.

2. I'm a grammar geek. Not that I claim it will always be perfect here, mostly because I tend to opt for the punctuation that I think will read more like a voice actually talking to you. But those are usually conscious choices. To illustrate my full nerdiness, you should know that I'm boycotting the new rule that you should only put one space after a period. I disagree on principle, and I'm not budging. So there.

3. I live in my home town, essentially. A few blocks away from where both of my parents and my mother-in-law grew up. That probably doesn't seem like a big deal to most of you, but in DC it is really unusual.. This is a damn transitional city, and people are generally surprised to hear I'm a native, not to mention third generation. It's virtually unheard of.

4. In the four years I've been a parent, we've bought six strollers. This is ridiculous, and brings shame and failure to my over-researching ways. They just all had their failures, and I couldn't seem to find one that worked for everything we needed.

5. I'm a no-holds-barred preppy. I'm happy to sport Lilly Pulitizer and Vineyard Vines, although they are often too rich for my blood. J. McLaughlin makes me weak in the knees. It's not that I'm super overt about things in general, or am as social as I think the style generally impliesIt's just that this is the stuff that, well, seems to look right on me.

6. I've suffered twice now from post-partum depression. It was very different each time, and it's in the back of my head as a factor in whether we'll have a third child. I came out of it each time without medication, but both times it had an incredibly debilitating effect on my relationships and this second time on my career, and I'm not sure it's a good idea to put myself and my family through it again. If I do, you can be sure I'll seek out some pre-emptive help.

7. I'm stressed out the privacy implications of blogging. I'm truly grateful that people are connecting with what I'm writing. After all, without that it's just a diary, really. And i never got the point of a diary, although I did try several times. But I'm leaving out the kids names, and crossing my fingers. I'd love other bloggers' (or anyone, for that matter) thoughts on how blogging impacts your personal life, and whether a reader or event related to your blog has ever crossed a line that made you uncomfortable. I feel like it's the blogging elephant in the room, so to speak.

Nominate 15 bloggers of your choice. This is hard, since there are so many I love. Especially since most of them are WAY better read than I am. After all, almost everyone is. :) Here goes nothing.

Kludgy Mom
Bringing Up Bumble
Not Super... Just Mom
Theta Mom

Our Little Baby
Young House Love
Tidbits Parenting
Me as a Mommy
Harper's Happenings
Fordeville Diaries

Thursday, April 14, 2011

And aWAY we go!

Our nanny left this morning. At 4a.m., to be precise. Monkey had a really hard time saying good bye last night at bedtime. There were many, many rounds of hugs, and we indulged lots of extra stories and cuddling and singing to help her get to sleep without being too upset about her friend leaving. I had a knot in my stomach all night long, and I wish I understod why. It's not like I didn't know this was coming! But still, I'm really sad it didn't work out, because while it wasn't perfect, the arrangement did acheive a measure of stability that our family had been lacking. I'm trying to consciously tally what I think we did right and wrong, but that's an imperfect system at best. I did have my first taste of how I feel about people who hurt my children, and it's not pretty. Yes, I know kids are resilient. Yes, I know they'll bounce back and I'm certainly optimistic that our next nanny will stay longer and be a better fit in any number of ways. But still, I would have kept her around and just dealt with all the little problems if it meant keeping Monkey and Lion with someone they liked and had a repartee with. You know?

So we are officially here in limbo land. Lion is spending the day with Granddad, and Daddy picked Monkey up from school. Tomorow will be the same, except that I'll do the picking up. And we're trying very hard to make this seem like a fun vacation and added bonus parent time for them instead of "Holy crap I don't have this much leave to use what the HELL are we going to do?!?!?"

Which is, of course, what we say to each other after they've gone to bed.

And then we have the new nanny debate. Do we hire the one we sort of like who's ready NOW? The one who we think would be 'okay' and save us from limbo? When do we stop holding out for Mary Poppins? 'Cause I've met Mary Poppins, and she's not available until August.

How long do we keep churning and interviewing and background checking before we feel comfortable pulling the trigger?

More importantly, why am I writing this instead of checking someone's references? See ya.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We're in so much trouble...

Monkey is a smart little cookie. She's been lobbying for a dog for a while, and we keep telling her that we might get one in a few years. Not one to be easily dissuaded, she's got the full court press on her father, who she clearly knows is the easier target. What is it about Dads and daughters? We drove past a woman walking her dog yesterday, and from the backseat of the car comes, "Daddy? Why does that lady have a dog?"

I saw it coming, I swear, but couldn't act fast enough to save him. "Well, Monkey, I guess because she wanted one."

Trap door swings shut on Daddy. Little voice from the backseat pauses, then, with perfect, innocent inflection, comes "But Daddy, I want a dog, and I don't have one."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Guess who can...

...WALK! I totally bribed him to get this on video. I put him down, ran across the room, whipped out the iPhone and said, "Do you want the phone, Lion? You can have it if you walk to me!" Not that I think he understood. But it did work, didn't it.

Shut 'er down!

The blog has been a little heavy on politics lately, but it's been a huge factor in my life. Don't get me wrong, it's impossible to avoid altogether in DC, but it rarely intrudes upon my non-work life and choices. Today, however, could be the last day I'm at work for a while. On the financial front, any shut down would be hard. A long one could be disastrous.

I am looking forward to extra time with the kids, though. Maybe it will even make a transition to a new nanny easier.

It's funny to see people outside DC start paying attention to what's going on in detail. I've had countless conversations with far flung friends about the 24 hour rule, how procedures work in the House, and why this isn't really about the budget any more. If you have questions, throw 'em at me here as well. I can certainly be partisan on certain themes, but on this I think I'm pretty damn objective/analytical.

It'll be interesting to see who gets blamed here. For me, I think it was inevitable. The political parties have so much power, and the climate of 24 hour news focuses on everything as a fight. Every debate is something to be won or lost, and the parties and individual elected officials clearly know that every vote comes with a notch on a belt that their constiuents will be told about repeatedly on FOX, CNN, and MSNBC. What incentive do they have to cooperate and play nicely? Compromise looks like weakness in the press, and you need good press to get re-elected, not to mention have the political capital needed for the next vote.

So we have 536 people who know they'll get ahead by being obstreperous. Duh.

The only question becomes how we change it, and that I just don't know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Research. Obsessively.

A post at one of my fave Mommy blogs just got my research juices flowing, and I needed to share. I was a psychology major in college, which at the time felt like a huge indulgence. Picking a major because I LIKE it? Shame on me. I should be picking something USEful. So I double majored, and while the Government major probably helped me get jobs and into grad school, the psych has a lot more to do with how I think about policy. A lot more.

Regardless, I'm one of those rare dorky people who actually likes reading published research. I don't mean the executive summaries, people, I mean the 20+ pages in academic journals that detail all of the survey development and sampling methodology that let me decide whether I trust their data for myself.

So when I became a Mom, I started turning this propensity on to researching things for my kids. As I've alluded to before, I had a terrible time breastfeeding and was really incredibly hard on myself about it. If my body couldn't make milk, should I even have been a Mom in the first place? My total devotion to (ok obsession with) this failure landed me straight in post partum depression, until a number of things happened to show me that Monkey needed me to be happy and healthy more than she needed to nurse.

A few good friends smacked me around, verbally speaking, and gave me the strength to figure out that not being able to nurse was not the end of the world. And when I could see a little more clearly, I turned to the research. And you know what? It's not that big a deal! I won't go into it here, 'cause I know it's ridiculously hot button for some people, but it was clear to me that the numbers did not prove any harm would be done to my children by skipping the breastmilk. And the research empowered me to get back to the most important business of caring for my child.

Phew. Didn't mean to go there, actually, but there it is.

Nana na nah. Nana na nah. Hey hey hey...

See ya, Glenn Beck. You won't be missed, although I have a feeling you won't disappear either.

And for those who might read this as a political statement on my part, it isn't. It's more a "DC doesn't need any more irrational partisanship" statement. If there's anything I feel more strongly about that usual as the shut down looms, it's that a propensity to cooperation should a job requirement for public office. Yes, I know he doesn't hold public office (knock on wood), but that sort of fighting for the sake of fighting is seriously un-helpful.

So I say good riddance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Murphy runs my life

Wikipedia tells me that Murphy's Law means that "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does." I take it a bit farther, because in my life of late it's imbued with some serious irony.

Take today, when it has been nearly certain that the Federal goverment will shut down this Friday at midnght. On one hand, I could use some time off, and since I have no annual leave left, that'll be nice. On the other hand, losing a paycheck for an period of time, and possibly an extended one, is really problematic. It's tax season, people. Bad stuff.

But most folks in the know here in Washington circles don't seem to think we'll be down for very long. Maybe two business days. So, considering that, let's play out the other major life event next week - the departure of our nanny with no replacement. Wednesday is her last day. Starting Thursday we're on our own, and relying on Grandparents (God bless them) or taking time off (refer back to 'I have no leave left' in above paragraph).

Monday: No work, so I can cover childcare. No paycheck. Have nanny; have to pay her. Tuesday: No work; so I can cover childcare. No paycheck. Have nanny; have to pay her.

Wednesday: Same deal as above, depending on how long shut down lasts. No income, only requirement to pay for unneeded service. But wait for it...

Thursday: Work. No nanny; have to lose money to cover childcare.

Friday and for at least several weeks following look the same.

I think the timing is just smashing, don't you? TERR-ific.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I got nothing. Nada.

It's been a long time since I've been this demoralized. We had two great potential nanny replacement candidates. Great. Running background checks (not cheap, btw), checking references, skype interviews, etc. And then one of them emails that she's taken another offer. I thought she loved us! Ugh.

This whole process is SO hard. What is WRONG with us that we can't manage consistent childcare for more than a year!?!? I feel like the only girl at prom not picked to dance. Is there some huge booger on my metaphorical face that everyone can see but me???

[Editor's Note - this week's Grey's Anatomy is bizarre, The singing crap is driving me crazy. And I like musicals, btw. Weird. Icky.]

I have had a knot in the pit of my stomach since I read her email. We have eight days left with a nanny, and then we are officially screwed. I have no leave, and Hubbie could be sacrificing a promotion if he disappears now. Grandparents are willing but not really as physically able as they want to be; as they need to be to chase my Lion around all day.

This is not good, people, not good. Even if the other candidate clears background check, has good references, and accepts our offer, she still can't be here for about a month. I'm not sure we have that much of a safety net. Is this getting too much for a blog? Sorry.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Note to self: Learn to appreciate times when you're special. Monkey appreciated EVERY moment of her birthday to the fullest. I swear she giggled for 24 hours straight, and it was infectious. This is a good lesson in just being plain old happy. Thanks, kiddo.