Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Nanny

Soon after finding out that we were expecting a 3rd child we quickly realized 2 things.  One, we need minivan for all the car seats.  And two, we need a nanny for too many reasons to count.  But, how to find a nanny?  Initially, I refused the idea of using a website or service.  I insisted on finding this person via word of mouth, preferably they be a relative, a good friend of a relative or a relative of a good friend.  Despite the exorbitant number of people I know due to my enormous family, and multiple school/sport/career endeavors, this proved to be much harder than expected. In fact, it wasn't working out. So, I turned to  And being the cheapass I can am (when it comes to everything but food, shoes and coffee) I purchased only one month's subscription to the site.  I read close to 100 profiles, contacted about 20 people, and phone interviewed 3.  I was set on one before I even spoke to anyone else, but she turned out to be a flake (thank goodness we realized this early), which led me to Kerry.  Our nanny.

I thought hiring a maid was the best decision ever!?  I thought having a clean house took a load off of my shoulders!?  Well, let me tell ya, having a trustworthy, responsible, flexible, hard-working caregiver, come to your house everyday with a smile and watching your kids light up in excitement to see her arrive is the best decision EVER.  Yes, she goes above and beyond.  She does the kids' laundry, she does dishes, she prepares their meals, she vacuums and she even helped me prepare for an event I was hosting!  And all of this, so that I can actually enjoy my few precious hours at home with the kids, instead of rushing around to get a full days worth of chores done as well as play time before bed.  But despite all of these perks, the real jewel, that is Kerry, is that she seems to genuinely care about my kids.  She brought them Easter gifts.  She sends me texts and pictures and is always striving to make them happy.  She moves the swings and the pack n' play to different rooms and levels of the house, depending on where she is, to keep a close eye on the babies.  It is obvious that she does not she leave them alone in some room to cry.  I have been around her enough, she doesn't like to let the babies cry.

Curtis is genuinely sad when she leaves every evening.  Brock wants to and often asks to visit Kerry at her house.  She never seems eager to run out the door - this is such a relief for me.  I feel guilty enough being away so long, the thought that my care provider is chomping at the bit to be rid of my children makes me extremely anxious.  She has even helped me to get the kids dressed and loaded into the car before leaving, instead of just taking off. 

I think, at least weekly, I tell someone I wish I would have done this sooner.  I get to wake up, get ready, and walk out the door.  My commute is now only 30 minutes, instead of an hour.  I think hiring Kerry has added back a lot of years I have potentially lost due to stress.
And, if you are wondering who that 4th little boy is, in all of these pictures.  It is Henry.  Henry's mother went to grade school with Matt, and his dad went to Rockhurst with him.  His mother is also a resident, doing Pediatrics at KU.  They live 3 blocks West of us, and we nanny share!  Personally, I think it is delightful to have the addition - and it helps me afford Brock's school.

So, if you have 3 kids, or even if you have 2, look into a Nanny. Seriously. Do it. But don't expect someone as wonderful as Kerry - I fear she might be one of a kind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I smile at chaos.

 I sat on my deck, this beautiful, warm yet cool spring evening holding my freshly 2 months old baby, George, as he arched his head back to absorb the sky view. He loves the sky. I watched my bumbling, severely (and unfortunately) uncoordinated, 17 month old baby, Curtis, as he tried to navigate the different porch and deck levels as well as the pot-hole ridden grass. And I laughed as Brock and Fannie scattered from the danger plowing toward them, that was Matt using the push mower. Every so often, I would yell "Tater!" in an attempt to quiet the yappy little Iggy, who feels it necessary to bark at anything and everything that moves after dusk. And I smiled.

I continued to smile when I brought all 3 boys in the house, which created an immediate cause for melt down. All 3 kids were crying. Brock, because he "wanted to mow with daddy". Mind you, Matt was finished mowing, and Brock had long since lost interest anyhow. Curtis' cry was partly due to his obsession and love of the outdoors, the fact that I had to slide him across the kitchen floor with my foot as I tried to keep the dog inside, hold George and close the door at the same time, and partly due to the fact that is was a few minutes after 8pm (his self-appointed bedtime.) George cried because, well, he just cries. Especially between the hours of 6:30 and 9pm. And I had to set him down to deal with other things for a moment. I went to the front door, laughing, to instruct Matt to hurry up and get in the house, as ALL 3 BOYS were crying.

Moments like these I find so sincerely comical. Not 30 seconds earlier, I had 3 of the happiest boys on the planet. The id is strong with these ones.Perhaps, I smiled so much this evening, because, despite an extremely stressful day at work, 2 days really, and soon to be 3, I was greeted at the front door by two little boys fighting for my affection. Both so happy to see me, both wanting to be immediately scooped up before I even get a chance to hang my keys by the door, or set down my coffee mug, purse and pump. I kiss them all, get settled, scarf a bite of pizza and go relieve Matt from grumpy George duty. The infant instantly falls asleep in my arms, and I can't kiss him enough.

When he wakes up again, he is happy. He smiles, and coos, and looks me directly in the eye. George is growing so fast. I am sure he has just had a giant growth spurt over the weekend. He is officially out of 0-3 month clothes and just today, after 2 blow outs, is officially up to a size 2 diaper. And perhaps, the most evidential event of the evening demonstrating his growth, were the giggles he gave me. George giggled on his 2 month birthday. And giggled a lot. Ribs are apparently very ticklish bones. He then proceeded to sleep for a 6.5 hour stretch overnight!

Finally, after two months, he is getting it. He is napping better. He is eating better. He still hasn't rolled over - quite a bit behind his brothers. I just don't think he has the same muscle type, he's kind of mushy. But the previous two months have been busy. George had a clear 'witching hour' between 6:30pm and 9pm. Someone HAD to be holding him, or it was 2.5 hours of screaming, but even holding him didn't guarantee happiness. He still generally wakes up every 1.5-4 hours (he slept longer during his first 2 weeks!) I do think, as evidenced by last night, that this is going to change very soon. Matt and I constantly say, "George is our worst baby." Because he has been. Not to say we don't love him as much (or more sometimes) than his brothers, he is just the worst newborn. The other 2 set the bar so high though, he didn't really have a fighting chance. Really, he is just a true newborn. And I think he is a bit gassy...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A first for everything.

Easter is a big holiday for the Harris side of Matt's family. And this year, it felt just a little bit extra special, as it was George's first big holiday. It was also our first attempt at not only a four hour car ride with 3 little boys, but a 2 night stay in a strange place. Most of Matt's family were able to meet George for the first time. It was the first time Curtis dyed eggs. And it was the first time that Stephen won the golden egg!
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. I love firsts. And I love spending 3 days with just my family. This was the first time in 7 weeks that I didn't feel overwhelmed by having to wrangle 3 children. Generally, when I am at home, I am not only trying to keep the kids fed, bathed, and happy, but I am trying to clean, and blog, and send out birth announcements, and feed the dogs. It's not relaxing. And it makes me take for-granted the time I have home with my kiddos and husband. Sitting in the car, I could talk to Brock, and smile at Curtis, and feel at ease that George is quiet. The only stressful thing about the weekend, was trying to get all 3 boys to happily participate in a photo. I just don't think it's going to happen. Good thing they are all cute enough to carry a photograph on their own.
I cannot express how wonderful the holidays are to me. I enjoy my friends. I enjoy my co-workers. On a day to day basis, I am generally happy. But, I could look at these images all day. They really captured the moment for me. Pure beauty and happiness. In spending time with my family. And I even got to see EVERY SINGLE immediate family member of both sides, except my own mother. Nothing will ever seem wrong in the world, as long as I have these guys...