Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Vacation

We've hit the road for a month or so before we actually move.  First it was a week with my mother, which was a whirlwind of playing on the swingset and swimming in plastic kiddie pools and visiting Hershey Park (my first visit, and that place is MONSTROUS--we saw only half of it in 7 hours) and visiting the most amazing theme park for little kids (seriously, if you are anywhere near southern NJ, you must go--well-maintainted, amazing rides for little kids, no lines, and no bigger kids to trample your little ones--we've been like 4 times now and we love, love, LOVE it there--pure kid magic) and seeing MU in 3D (which I also loved) and getting our nails painted (Miss M's first manicure, and she was nuts about it, until the polish started to chip, and then she became devastated), and. . .well, you get the idea.  Kid stuff.  We've been so very busy grabbing America and squeezing every last bit of joy we can get out of it before we head off.

On Sunday, we drove to New England, which was an epic journey that took almost twice as long as normal.  Every time there was a traffic option, we took the wrong one, and ended up in traffic for hours.  There is no excuse for this, because the GPS on our car has traffic built in, and it diligently kept trying to reroute us, but we kept ignoring it, and. . .yeah, bad idea.  If the GPS tells you to take the Lincoln Tunnel, you totally should, because you will sit in traffic for hours in the George Washington.  But anyway, we got here eventually, and it is spectacular.  I forgot how much I love New England in the summer.  The sun shines.  The birds chirp.  The cat catches and tortures chipmunks right in front of the kids. . .ah, good times.  The kids have been swimming in the lake and playing on the beach and taking 3 hour naps because they are so exhausted, and it is AWESOME.

Tomorrow I'm having lunch with my dad and the girls, then possibly dinner with my friend and her three kids.  We are here for a couple of weeks, but I know the time will be gone before I know it, and I want to catch up with people as much as I can.

Oh, and there was a big box of chocolate love on my nightstand when I arrived.  My MIL won a charity auction item donated by my favorite local chocolatier.  The chocolate is insanely expensive normally, and in the box is bar after bar of beautifully wrapped chocolate, chocolate truffles and bags of other treats.  I feel like Charlie in the Wonka factory.  Yum.

But where would we be without a potty training mention?  Because even amidst the chaos, I'm still trying valiantly.  Miss M, for her part, is still fighting valiantly.  When asked to use the potty, she says things like "no thanks.  I already went yesterday."  It cracks me up.  What can I say?  At least it's polite.    She has twice started to poop in her pants, remembered she's not supposed to, and come running to finish the job on the potty, which in my view is the worst of all options.  But someday soon, I'm hoping it will all come together.

Oh!  And I've made some progress on the should-we-hire-an-employee front.  Well, sort of.  I vacillate wildly between "yes, we totally should!" and "let's just get there and see.  Maybe we really don't need anyone"  In between, I've sent a bunch of emails and talked with some folks, and am contemplating doing interviews in Spanish now via Skype.  I see the wisdom in waiting and getting there and seeing. . .and then I think about arriving and unpacking and trying to grocery shop and do the million little errands, and how much easier all of that would go if we had someone lined up.  I have some leads on a few more people to talk to (from other folks at my company who are there).  So, we'll see.  I guess I'm leaning toward it, even though I have my reservations, because I can see how it could improve the quality of my life, and although I'm uncomfortable with the economies of scale, I can also see that we'd be offering a fair wage (on the local economy) to someone who needs the job.  Thank you to the kind person who recently left me a comment on this issue--really appreciate the thoughts.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mission Accomplished

The movers came today and packed all of our stuff.  It took them all day.  We have too much stuff, but we'll donate a lot of it down there, so I'm okay with that.  But yeesh, it took forever to pack, and I had it all organized.

It was Miss M's last day of school, too, but I could not drop her off, because I was waiting for the movers, and I could not go to pick her up, because I was still dealing with the movers.  I am so sad about that.  I wrote nice cards to her teachers and gave them Amazon gift certificates.  T delivered them when he picked her up.  I hope that was the right thing to do.  Preschool etiquette is lost on me.  They gave us an awesome binder of Miss M's year, full of pictures and her art and little headings with descriptions.  It is super cute.  I feel so bad I didn't get to say goodbye to her teachers.  They were so kind to us.  It's probably better, because I definitely would have cried.  I hate endings.

We leave here in a few days.  I'm exhausted from the social engagements and the packing, and I'm sad about leaving our friends.  Argh...endings beget beginnings, which I love, but they sure are hard.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grab Bag Edition

It's late and I should be sleeping, or trying to, but my mind is whirling away with the contents of my to-do lists, so I might as well blog.  We are in our final days here, preparing for the next big move.  I've managed to assemble the necessary supplies, save a new television.  We've heard they are crazy expensive in South America, and I really want a smart tv so that I can watch American television and the Mexican version of Grey's Anatomy with very little effort.  I am going to be forced to actually go to a store and purchase the tv, though, because I was indecisive and couldn't choose, and now it's too late to order anything.  The movers come on Thursday.

We now have our apartment lined up.  It was a bit tricky, and I still haven't seen photos, but I do have a floor plan.  (It freaks me out a little that I have not yet seen photos.)  This is where I am going to start to sound like an even bigger ass than usual, so my apologies in advance.  The apartment looks lovely--great neighborhood, near some parks that people seem to like, with a playroom for the kids and a giant walk-in closet for me.  Perfect, right?  Oh, and it has quarters for a live-in maid, in a different part of the apartment from the "family" bedrooms.  And this is where I confess that we've been debating the merits of hiring a domestic employee.

It makes me feel like such a jerk to say that.  It feels like indentured servitude to me.  My friends who have had domestic staff before tell me that the wages are good for the country I will be living in, and that I would be helping the local economy by hiring someone.  It still feels weird to me.  Because the fact of the matter is that $10 or $15 a day is not much money, and it feels. . .bad.  But on the other hand, we could pay an employee well (by local standards) and have someone live in, work full time, and still pay less than $500 a month.  This person could be a nanny, or it could be someone who cooks, cleans, does laundry, does the grocery shopping, runs errands, etc.  Oh, and the quality of the care/assistance is supposedly top notch.  This is the kind of situation you can only dream about in the U.S.

Miss M is definitely going to be going to preschool, but the schools pretty much only offer half-day programs.  T thinks he might like to work once SB is old enough to be in school.  That gives us like a year or so.  If he is going to work, we'll definitely need help.

I don't know.  I like the idea on some level, but I feel really weird about it on other levels.  We'll see.

Warning: much discussion of pooping ahead.  In potty training news, it continues to be a mixed bag.  Miss M's teachers continue to think that she sometimes poops in her sleep during nap time.  I know better.  That child has never, ever--not even as a teeny, tiny baby--pooped in her sleep.  She is clearly pooping during naptime to avoid using the potty.  I've resorted to bribing her, and it's going reasonably well on days when she wants something.  For example, we bought a fancy bubble thingamabob, and denied her the use of it unless she pooped on the potty at school.  On day one, she pooped in her pants, and was not allowed to open it.  On day two, she pooped on the potty.  However, on day three when she was no longer coveting the bubbles, she pooped in her pants again.  Argh.  We went over using the potty this morning just before I left her at school, and the end result was that she tried to use the potty, according to her teacher, but said it was "stuck and won't come out. "  And then she didn't poop at all, which has now happened a few times on days when I've really stressed the importance of using the potty.  She NEVER skips pooping, and is never constipated, because she lives on fruit and dairy.  Double argh.  But still, she has been pretty good about peeing on the potty, so. . .baby steps.

I'm packing all day tomorrow.  Wish me luck!  I need to have a big day.  Then, it's dinner with a friend from my old job, then one more sleep, then the movers appear.  We end the week with a big party with friends, and then leave for a few weeks of vacation with family in advance of our big move.  Let the games begin!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Potty Training is Making Me Crazy

Miss M SHOULD be potty trained.  She's highly verbal, huge vocabulary and enormous capacity for reasoning, etc, etc, etc.  You know what she tells me?  "I like diapers."  Why did you poop in your pants? Don't you want to use the potty like all of your friends?  "Nope.  I like to poop in my diaper."

ARGH.  I'm not sure how we got here.  I feel like we failed her at some point.  We've been trying intermittently for the last year, but she didn't seem ready, and so we've basically just let it go.  But now I feel like we are at the point that it's not a matter of being unable to do it, but rather a matter of unwilling, and I feel like it's something we did (or didn't) do that left us in this situation.

One of my friends, who has two boys who are now a few years past the potty training stage, has told me to simply forget it until she's ready and willing to do it.  She says she struggled with her first child without much progress, but let it go with the second child, and it just came naturally and easily to him.  I was inclined to take that approach, but, well--it's just not working.  I started doing that six months ago, and she's still not there.

Miss M turns three and a half next week.  She will start a new school in August, and I assume (but do not yet know for sure) that she will need to be potty trained to attend.  But more than that, it's just time.  She knows when she has to go.  She will tell you SOMETIMES.  More often than not, though, we end up with an accident.

Today I took her to a little water park for kids.  She was playing, and then something--the look on her face--tipped me off to the fact that she was pooping in her bathing suit.  "Miss M," I said, "Do you have to go potty?"  She agreed that she did,  but it was too late.  When I got her into the nearby bathroom, the poop was dripping from her diaper onto the floor.  Honestly, I just wanted to cry.  She was utterly nonplussed.  When I said we had to leave because she had pooped in her bathing suit, she simply said okay, and asked if we could come back later.  Then she promised she wouldn't do it again, like she does every time I tell her that she needs to tell me when she has to potty.

We're going to start a sticker chart later today, with prizes she can see.  I think I will put them up on a shelf, so she knows that when she gets enough stickers, she can have the prize.  She's not typically motivated by prizes, but it's worth a shot.   I have to do SOMETHING.  If anyone has a better idea, I'd love to hear it.