Saturday, November 18, 2017

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

What a stinkin' miserable week this was. I'm so glad it's over.

Thursday night the kids (all!) slept through the night for the first time in a week. Guess who didn't sleep? (Me, of course.)

Friday I felt completely drained; guess I had used up all my adrenaline on the week's worth of night shifts at the Wyse Hospital Ward.

Bright spots on Friday: sitting outside and eating my lunch in the warm autumn sun. The upbeat smile of a college student about to go on vacation. Listening to an interview with REM on NPR for the 25th anniversary re-release of Automatic for the People.

I'm spending the weekend hanging out with the kiddos, while Fritz heads into the office to get some work done. Spending all week on the day shift with the sick kids really took set him back twice over: he has to work on the weekend AND he caught their virus. Bummer.

I'm not sure it's so obvious in this photo, but Noah has been dressing in 90s grunge style. Long underwear under shorts. Often. (Stripes, not plaid.) I swear, I am not encouraging him to dress like this...I do wonder where's it's coming from...or just, you know, something he came up with by himself? Also, he does a backflip out of the swing about 30 seconds after this photo. Pretty sure I never used swings for such acrobatics. Sheesh. Kids these days.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

the Wyse Hospital Ward

The kids – all three of them – have been sick this week. On the plus side, they are more or less sick at the same time. Sick-at-the-same-time has the advantage of being efficient. Unlike domino sickness, where one gets sick and then better just as number 2 gets sick and so on.

Fritz is missing a lot of work to take care of them. He says our house is a Hospital Ward this week. I guess if he has the day shift, we could say that I have the night shift. I haven't slept through the night in about 5 nights now. I'm awake 4-5 times a night. The joy of three (sick) kids. I guess it's a good thing that I'm not doing anything too critical at work.

Confession: I HAVE been slightly happy to leave the Wyse Hospital Ward each morning and head to the office. At the same time, I'm feeling impatient and perhaps even bored by the lack of urgency at work. I'm very task-oriented: whenever I start feeling like I'm just clocking in hours on the computer as opposed to doing SOMETHING IMPORTANT, I get frustrated. As the new person, it's not always easy to find meaningful and helpful work, you are (to a large extent) at the mercy of other people to grant you work/approve work. Hmmm...maybe after 10 years of managing a household, I have a little more project management expertise than I've admitted and I'm struggling with NOT being a manager. Trying not to step on toes. Beyond that, I do have a deep need for work of that has meaning and significance and importance. I'd be a horrible paper pusher. Note to self: I need a job that better uses this ambitious side of my personality in the long term.

I am trying, mostly, to be patient and not to jump to quick conclusions with regards to my job. I know that I have a great deal to learn, and I know that I can learn a lot where I am right now. On the other hand, I'm 40 years old and I'm not really into dilly-dallying my time away. One of my architecture friends tells me I just need to hold ONE job for ONE year, and then I cease to be newly-returned-to-the-work-force, and become just a regular person looking for a job. So that's my goal. Last a year, then re-evaluate. For the record, it might be a lot more difficult to follow this logic at 40 years old than it was at 28. I have stronger opinions, quicker judgement, and a lot more confidence in my ability to quickly and competently evaluate a situation.

Then again, maybe I'm just arrogant. (No, I'm not. Yes, I am.) Maybe my expectations are out of line (Probably. Or not. Yes, probably.) Okay. Being patient. While I dream about plans B, C and D, let us remember that I wasn't a big fan of running the Wyse Hospital Ward.

Monday, November 13, 2017


One of the realities that I've resigned myself to is that in order to keep working full-time, the kiddos will be subjected to an ever-changing series of caretakers. Our goal will be to find great caregivers and limit turnover, but there's only so much influence we can impart.

After last year, when we tried to make things work with an au pair who I didn't really trust, I decided to take upon the hiring of a local babysitter myself. I specifically kicked Fritz out of the interview process, since I think he rather over-rode my instincts with that particular (bad) au pair. I wanted to see if I could do a better job without his input. I wanted to follow my instincts.

I interviewed about 8 people before I found the right fit. And I really love our current sitter - or nanny - I don't know how to refer to her - I keep changing my mind. She's working for us about 20 hours a week, sometimes a little bit more with holidays, etc.

I trust her. Which is MAJOR in making me feel okay about going to work. My grandmother told me after Noah was born, "What you need to do is find someone you can really trust to watch him. That makes all the difference." And my grandmother was completely right. But at the time she told me this, we were living in Munich and this piece of advice was completely overwhelming. I could barely make friends for myself with my clumsy German: how was I ever going to find someone I trusted to watch my child?

Every now and then I have crossed paths with someone I trust, but the stars don't always align. Or the stars don't align for a very long time. Now we have someone I trust and I am so happy about it. However, she's expecting a baby in March, so we'll be back to looking for another child care solution starting in February, at least temporarily. We MAY go back in the direction of an au pair. It's the same argument I made before: IF we could find the right au pair, I do think that the au pair (live-in nanny) really offers us some much-appreciated flexibility.

Naturally, I'm worried about making the same mistakes. No. That's not true. It's more like: I'm worried about making new mistakes and finding myself unhappy once again. I actually trust myself not to make the exact same mistake.