Friday, November 06, 2009

Handing over our jewel

It's always different for the second child, as my first roomie will gladly tell you.

  • 3B didn't know the TV turned on until he turned two, but his sister now has her favorites on Dancing with the Stars, Top Chef and Project Runway. (Also, after watching The Office, she's already planning a career as a field biologist.)
  • 3B stayed at home, comfy and cozy, until he and the weather were in the right mood for a walk through the park, but his sister has been dragged hither, thither and yon for school dropoffs and pickups, grocery shopping, playdates, and so forth.
  • 3B was cared for only by family members until he turned one, when Mama had to go back to work so we wouldn't have to raise him in a refrigerator box in a freeway underpass. Coincidentally, his separation anxiety kicked in full-force at exactly the same time...good times. His sister, on the other hand, will have a babysitter after Thanksgiving.
In fact, Mama has been working since baby girl was six weeks old, which has only been possible through the grace of Grammy, who has been with us since before baby girl was born. Grammy did have to return home for a few weeks because she does have, you know, a job, other grandchildren, and a life outside of Dixie.

While we're on the topic, a few words for all those who questioned Barack Obama for having his mother-in-law move into the White House: are you high? I don't work nearly the hours he does, nor do I have the travel schedule he does, nor does Mama have nearly the responsibilities that Michelle has, and still I'm not sure how we would make it through the day without Grammy.

There are the obvious mechanics that she helps with, like when we need to be in two places at one time, but more than that, it's the love she adds to the house. Let's face it, Mama and I aren't on top of our games right now--we're not getting enough sleep, and on top of that, we're both trying to work and raise our kids.

That means that sometimes we don't have the focus, attention span or patience that we'd love to possess always for our kids, and those are the times that Grammy helps out in the most meaningful way. When we're at a loss for a distraction to avert a tantrum, she comes up with one, and when we're mid-tantrum and holding a girl with poop from her diaper up to her neck, Grammy can either soothe the tantrum or change the girl while we soothe.

And beyond that, she finds the time to go grocery shopping and cook healthy, delicious meals. In preparation for Grammy's departure, I'm stockpiling those seaweed capsules that provide all the nutrition you need in one day. Not that I'll be able to find them after she goes, since without her picking up around the house, I'm sure we'll once again be overcome by the toy tsunami.

What's truly amazing about all of this is the grace with which Grammy does all of this. She never breaks a sweat, and is always ready with a smile while Mama and I whine, grimace and sigh.

So, while we could never replace Grammy, we are looking for a babysitter to fill in after Grammy leaves and at least bounce around the room with her granddaughter while Mama works (3B will be at school at the time). And when I say "we are looking," you understand that I mean, "Mama is looking hard while Papa slacks around the house," right?

I've been pleasantly surprised so far by the two candidates--only one of whom I was able to meet. Based on what Mama and Grammy said about the first candidate, they would both be good companions for our little jewel.

It's hard to put our baby into the hands of a non-family member, but it makes it somewhat easier to know that there are people out there who will care for her as well as these women seem to be capable of. And I tell myself that perhaps this means that when we do take our jewel to Mrs. K's, perhaps there won't be the histrionics that her brother went through, since she'll be somewhat used to strangers.

Hey, let a dad dream a little, OK?

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  1. Hey, if you're looking for a live-in, I bet you could find a niece or two who would consider it an upward move from her present career.

    (I'd volunteer myself, but I'm already on a mission.)

  2. Funny the comparison between first and second children. My first went to daycare after 6 weeks, becaue we thought we needed the income. A year and a half later, we decided that being home with her was more affordable, and we have managed financially somehow.

    The second one came home with me and never went off with anyone else until he went to kindergarten. He did miss most of his afternoon naps in the process of picking up sister at school though. He has attended more of her sporting events than she will ever attend for him, although she did come see one of his cross country races this year.