Blog Archive

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Change of Plans

Since the beginning of the quarter I've been baby sitting two babies during the afternoons on the days I'm home with Eddie. Heidi is almost exactly Eddie's age and Anthony is now almost 10 months old.

I wanted to watch other kids because we could use the money to offset the cost of having a nanny or daycare for Eddie. And also because I wanted to help out fellow students who needed affordable childcare. Heidi's mom is just finishing up her dissertation and Anthony's mom is an undergrad psychology major.

Heidi is a much more sensitive child than Eddie or Anthony. She never seemed to relax or enjoy herself while she was here. That's expected the first couple of times as she adjusts to me and our house, but after a while it became clear to me that this situation was just not good for her. There was too much noise with the boys here, too much activity with the dogs running around, and if one of the boys screamed suddenly (as they are wont to do) she'd get so startled that she'd start screaming. Often she'd get into these cycles of screaming, not eating, and not sleeping for the entire 6 hours she was here.

It pained me to watch her day after day knowing there was nothing I could do to comfort her short of taking her to the back of the house where she could regroup. I could do that sometimes when/if my mom were here with me, but generally I was here alone and couldn't leave the other kids for long enough to clam her down. Even so, she was not easily calmed. I think we were both sensing each other's stress.

It became so stressful for me that I began loathing Tuesdays and Thursdays when I should have been looking forward to spending time with Eddie and his pint-sized friends.

After 4 weeks with Heidi I decided to ask her mom to find someone else to watch her. Heidi's mom was surprised when I told her, but she was very understanding. I explained that I just didn't think this was the right situation for Heidi at this point. That night I compiled all the resources I had used to find care for Eddie and emailed them to turns out she was able to get her sister to watch Heidi, which I think is great because it is family.

All through college I nannied and babysat (even did some geriatric care) and I've always felt that getting paid for this type of work should be the perk, not the reason. If you woudn't watch a particular person for free then you shouldn't do it at all. You have to be passionate about helping and caring for other people. This was a perfect example of that: the situation was not good for anyone (me, Heidi, Eddie, or even Dave since he had to deal with my stress).

So now it is just me, Eddie, and Anthony in the afternoons. Already I feel better. I'm less stressed so the kids are undoubtedly happier and I feel better knowing that Heidi is getting what she needs.

1 comment:

steph.kelley said...

So glad you are strong enough to have figured this out and acted on your very right intuition. Go Mama Julie. You are my hero. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo