Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Frustrated Nanny

I am frustrated.


Not mad just frustrated.


Like throw my hands-up, walk away, bury myself in a good book and don't come out until Bear is 5 frustrated.


Not at him but at myself.

Can I let you in on a secret? A horrible secret? At times I really don't like toddlers.

I like babies, little kids, teenagers, and adults but toddlers scare me so much that I don't like them. I love Bear more than I thought would ever be possible and am so extremely blessed to spend my days with him. My heart bursts when he runs up and squeezes my leg with a "big hug". I melt when he wraps his little arms around my neck just to say "I love you".  Today I couldn't hold in my laughter when Bear grabbed my face and pulled me in for the biggest sloppiest kiss ever. I love him so stinking much.

Yet I really just don't like him at times. Like when he hides behind the bushes for 10 minutes refusing to come out. A bush that has a billion honey bees buzzing around it, the only bush I will NEVER go behind because of all the honey bees. I don't like him when for the 20th time in a minute he asks "what's that" and I truly have no response for him, because apparently every explanation I have given him wasn't enough. Oh the "NO NO NO...MINE MINE MINE". Ugh!! I really don't like him then.

Last night as I lay wide awake for the 3rd night in a row trying to process my emotions one question kept rolling around in circles. "Why don't I like toddlers? What nitty gritty deep down reason don't I like them for?" Then like pole that Bear threw at me yesterday it hit me: I like control and you can't control toddlers.

Yup, toddlers are uncontrollable. You can teach them, train them, tie them down, put a TV show on or shove treats in front of them all day but you still can't control them. Bear is living proof. In truth he is great kiddo. For the most part he is well behaved, he generally listens, sleeps well, and has a sweet disposition. Still he is totally uncontrollable; not in an out of control way. As I sat this morning again trying to coax him out from behind that bee infested bush I knew that I would never win that battle until he was good and ready to come out.

The other reason I don't like toddlers is I can't understand their why's. As soon as the big 2 hit I no longer was able to grasp fully what Bear was thinking. With Bug it is easy, when he cries it is because he is hungry, tired, poopy, or wants to held. When Bear whines it is because he is frustrated...but at what??? It could be something that happened two seconds ago or 2 days ago and he wants me to read his mind or understand his toddler talk (one in the same at this point). I just can't. This time I want to pull my hair out in frustration. Then I get even more frustrated because I am so frustrated. It is a viscous cycle that needs to end.

I finally realize, it is not toddlers that I don't is me around toddlers that I don't like. I don't like who I become around these uncontrollable strong willed creative adventurous walking little humans. I don't like that I struggle to keep my cool around them, that I get frustrated so easily with stupid things (why do I really care if Bear is behind the Honey Bee Bush), and that my attitude needs constant readjusting around toddlers. As my MB and I talked this afternoon she said made a great point, a "duh" moment...Toddlers are not Robots. I know this, but it is a great reminder that they aren't going to do everything that we want them to do.

I am faced with the truth - a truth I hate to admit - I don't know toddlers that well. People tell me I am great with kids, one person said I was a "baby-whisperer", so shouldn't this include toddlers? Surprise Surprise - nope because toddlers are not yet kids and are no longer babies. They are little people. They are learning. Learning to explore, learning that they can make decisions, learning they have a voice and an opinion. Toddlers are growing and developing. Just as we need patience from others they need patience from us.

Tonight Bear's dad was calling him to put his shoes on, Bear was looking really hard for a drum. I almost told him to go listen to Daddy but waited to see what he would do. Bear took 5 more seconds, found his drum beat it a few times and then ran to his Daddy and put his shoes on.This scene was a great reminder that as toddlers develop they have a mind of their own. Bear just wanted to play a drum, he wasn't ignoring his Dad he just had his mind set on finishing what he started. How many times a day do I finish what I am doing before responding to Bear's asking for water or Bugs cry to get picked up. So isn't it just as natural that toddlers learn the same thing.

I have two choices laying in front of me: I can either stay in my frustration not understanding what a toddler needs believing the lie I don't like toddlers. Or I can do my homework, realize that just because I don't fully understand toddlers does not mean I don't like them. So with a new book downloaded on my kindle and open communication with other toddler caretakers I am ready. Ready to like these little tykes that I am beyond blessed with, ready to stop the frustration, and ready to admit I really do like toddlers.

ceconner ©5.28.2014

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bad Day Moment

This post is brought to because two friends who got my brain going. 

1 - A new friend was inquiring on nanny life and asked me "what does a bad day for a nanny look like"? He sincerely was asking and I appreciated the thoughtful question; a question that took me a few seconds to answer. Honestly compared to what I used to do - I don't think bad days exist in my job anymore. Not that my old job was bad or hard, it is just my perspective on what I do now: playing with kids all day, go to work in PJ's, soaking up the sun, and getting anywhere from 1 -2 hour break most days leads to mostly good days.

His question had me thinking most of today why don't I have bad days? Well that is a lie I do have bad days, days where one or both boys wont go down for a nap, a day where either of them are cranky or whiny - this week both have had the nastiest diapers ever. Yet overall I look back and think man I don't have bad days - because in the end the hardest part of my day is dealing with the struggles of a 2 year old, not the demands of an adult boss, company, guest, or client.

2 - A fellow blogger and friend who knew I was looking for some new post ideas saw my Facebook status and commented that this would make a great blog post, so here it goes!

This afternoon I had a few things on my self-inflicted to do list: empty the dish-washer, finish cleaning the dishes from last night and this morning, help with dinner prep by chopping tomatoes, cucumber, making quinoa, do a much needed cleaning of my bathroom, and start a load of laundry. A pretty lofty list, I know but the last two have been on my list since Monday.

Bug is now in a stage of crawling and getting into everything so I had the wonderfully brilliant (or so I thought) idea of getting a sensory item going. Bear loved the cornstarch/water mixture and it kept him entertained for over a 1/2 hour so why not give it a shot with Bug. Thinking that Bug looked the same age as the kid in the link (above) my brain said it would be a great way to keep him busy while I at least got the dishes done.

So I took a glass baking dish, basically a whole box of cornstarch, and apparently way too much water and mixed it up to what I thought was the right consistency. I set the dish down in the corner, plopped Bug in front of it and watched to a minute to see his reactions.

After a few seconds of hesitation he quickly dove in, started splashing like he does in the bathtub and all too soon I realized my mistake. Within 2 minutes bug had splashed most of the mixture onto the walls, floor, and cabinets. 30 seconds later he picked up the dish and poured the rest all over himself. There was no point in crying over the spilled milk, he was having too much fun in it.

After hosing Bug down in the shower and setting him up in the high chair with a few books (should have just started with that) I pulled out a mop to begin clean up (you can start laughing at me now). Just as quickly I realized another bad decision, so I grabbed an old towel cleaned most of the goopiness away and then got the mop again, figuring I would have to go over it at least twice. The third time I was beginning to doubt the residue would come off and thought that if it wasn't for the crazy cornstarch this floor would be the cleanest it has ever been.

Finally the 4th time I got a few rags, a floor cleaner and washed the floor old fashion style - on hands and knees. This did the trick, again wondering why I didn't just start there in the first place. But at last the dishes were put away, the boys were down for their naps, and meal prep wash finished.

So there you have it, my Bad Day Moment.

ceconner ©5.21.2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Facebook Message Changed My Life

It was a rare evening for me, sitting on the couch, surfing Facebook, watching Netflix, and a little blogging. A group Facebook chat popped up from my cousin, one who I hadn't talk to in years.  Not remembering the last time we talked, he and his wife lived across the country in rainy Seattle, the message interested me. The message was short asking a few friends/family members if anyone knew of someone that would be interested in becoming a live in nanny, committing to at least one year in Seattle.

You're going to Seattle.

Uh-What? Yeah right. I have NEVER thought about going to Seattle, I hate the rain.

I pushed all thoughts of Seattle aside. But they wouldn't stay on the sidelines.

You have always wanted to see the other side of the country.
You love kids, you love seeing new places, why wouldn't you go?
This is the change that you have been praying for.  

Bear and His Doggies

With these thoughts running through my head I responded to my cousin asking for more information. I mean what could a little more information hurt, right?


The more information I received the more I knew it was just a matter of time before I said yes.

In Less Than 1 Week Bear Captured My Heart!
After a few weeks of serious thinking I still wasn't sure if I should go. I LOVED my support system in NY; my friends, family, and co-workers.  With my mom's illness, my nieces growing up, and my closest friends living right by me; I couldn't really justify leaving. But something kept stirring in me.

Excitement about a new city, a new place, a new job wouldn't let me close the door. So I did what any girl in my shoes would do, I poured it all out to my mom. We had a long long talk but only one thing she said stuck with me
 "You have to live your life, don't let someone else dictate what you do".
Her words hit home, I couldn't let the fact that my parents would miss me, my nieces would grow up without me, and that my best-friends wouldn't be close by stop me from living my life. This sounds simplistic; almost like duh - why would you live your life based on others, but I needed someone to tell me it was okay. With almost no strings holding me down now really was the time to explore and travel. With that in mind I called my cousin up and told him "yes" I would come to Seattle.

I still had concerns, you see I tend to have a strong parental style for not being a parent. Being on the same page with a parent is a huge thing for me. Would our scheduling, discipline, and overall parenting styles match? For that matter, would we get along? Barely knowing my cousins and living on my own for the last several years left me wondering would I like living with people again.

They Had Me With Water!
They asked me to come out for a week to get to know Bear, help with a move, and get a taste for Seattle. I still remember getting off the airplane being a ball of nerves wondering what my cousin's wife (Lys) would be like, would we get along, would this work out well.

Within minutes of re-meeting Lys (we met once before about 14 years ago) I knew we would be good friends. By the time we reached the house it was very clear we I had nothing to worry about. As the week went on all doubts about how well we got a long, living with family, and child-care differences all vanished. One conversation sticks in my mind as we were taking Bear for a walk. She was describing their reasons for a sleep schedule and the whole time I just kept on saying uh-huh, yup, I agree. She told me the two books they use if I wanted to know their reasons why, my response was "I completely agree with all of it". That was the moment I knew, knew this would be better than either of us hoped.

My first look at Pikes Market

Now almost a year later I can say without a doubt - answering that one Facebook message, the message that took me on a road-trip across the country has forever changed my life; not only physically but down to the very core of who I am. Moving away from my comfort zone allowed me to finally become comfortable with who I am, pour into 2 little boys lives, and enjoy summer weather from outside a desk (hehe).

ceconner ©5.19.2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Woodland Park Zoo

Ahh the Zoo.

 The Lions, Elephants, Penguins, Zebras, and other rare creatures that can only be found in the USA at a zoo.


My last memory of going to a zoo was as a teenager, visiting the Miami Zoo with my older cousins family. Two young child, sweltering heat, and humidity that could make any hair frizz. Who doesn't enjoy a trip to the local zoo with the kids on a sunny day?

Well Me, that is until this most recent trip that I took with Bear, Bug, and their mom. 

We decided to get up early last week, pack the boys up, skip morning nap time and head to the Woodland Park Zoo. It only seemed fitting since Bear had been asking to go for the past three days.

And for the first time since who knows when, I really enjoyed a trip to the zoo. 

We got there right when the zoo opened (Secret One), so it wasn't over crowded, each exhibit generally only had one or two other families at it. No pushing and shoving to get closer to the glass.

It happened to be feeding hour, and the wonderful zoo keepers like their visitors to experience meal time, by putting the food close to the glass.

We leisurely explored 1/4 of the zoo taking our time looking at the woodland animals, the monkeys, and feeding the birds. Then we headed out as rush hour was starting, 11am (Secret Two).

So Here is My 411 on Going to the Zoo:
  • Get a Membership (Secret Three): they have several options which all pay themselves after roughly the 4th visit.
  • Go Early: on a weekday especially to avoid crowds and school tours.
  • Small Pieces: Don't feel like you have to do the whole zoo in one trip, take your time, exploring a section or two at a time.
  • Rainy Day: Let the kids run around at the indoor ZooMazium and burn up that energy
  • Go With a Plan: Check out the online map, get the kiddos excited for the animals they will see.

Those are my secrets and tips for the beautiful shaded Woodland Park Zoo. Let me know how your next visit goes!

ceconner ©5.9.2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Slow Change

I remember being a little girl walking into my Daddy's home office. He would have a stack of papers waiting for me to sort, alphabetize, and file away. For all that work I got paid - a happy meal, which later turned to $10 as the years went on. Never would I call the work fun, but is was calming and therapeutic for me and although not fun it was enjoyable.

At 17 my first "grown up" job was at a small doctor's office doing clerical work, answering phones, stocking needles, loading up on band aids, sorting charts for the day, and making mailing lists in excel.

At 19 a local painting company hired me to be their office manager, within a few months their system was paperless and all expenses were able to be tracked electronically.

So at 21 when a full-time office assistant job opened up at a local radio station, how could I not take it. It was second nature for me to sit at a desk and keep the office organized.

With my passion for kids completely off the table it was the next most natural thing for me to do. So I took the job and was as happy as could be, for the first two years. To this day I still love my (then) co-workers, the place of employment, and everyone surrounding that place. It will always feel like home when walking through those front doors.

Yet when my friends started sharing their need for child-care with me something about my office work seemed less important. Not that it was, not that anything I or others did there wasn't (isn't) great and needed and crazy important in keeping that station running smoothly, but for my life it got knocked down a rung on the importance scale. As the months went on the once calming and enjoyable office work became for tedious and daunting.

Mix that with an inner stirring, a knowing that God was going to call me away, but just waiting for the when and where - something was happening in me. I started looking at different options, but none of them felt right. The top of my list was a flight attendant (hey the job has always interested me), followed by moving to Salt Lake with my brother, or Nashville with a friend.

Then I started looking at Montana or Wyoming, the child-hood desires to live there was still nestled softly in my heart.

Before any of those options became viable I saw a need in my own backyard. A need for more than just once a week child-care for MANY of the families around me. But how could I charge for child-care when most of the families I would wanted to help couldn't afford it, anyone with kids knows child-care is not cheap, even at the cheapest level. I couldn't leave a full-time job that paid the bills for a less then part-time idea that certainly wouldn't.

The day-care idea got put on hold, the needs around me and the desire to move west didn't (by west I mean Utah or Montana, not the coast). I kept waiting, kept praying, seeing what would land on my lap.

Then March 4, 2013 came around...
 Stayed tuned for what March 4th brought to this blogger. 

CECONNER ©5.5.2014