Saturday, March 26, 2011

Continuing the update

First, thank you for the support.  Its amazing how many people have come out to talk to me.  People I run into are shocked...some of them had even seen the report and were surprised:  "That was YOU??!"

I am lucky to have support at work and from friends and family.  Its been a long week.

I had set up some interviews with possible nannies and Jason and I also decided to check out a local daycare that friends of ours use.  This is the third time I've had to do a nanny search, and for those who have never done it....its exhausting.  I'm a member of, and I posted an ad and received easily over a dozen responses.  Then I made the mistake decision to post an ad on craigslist, and all the crazies came out.  It was a full time job sorting through them this economy everyone is looking for a job.

So I saw one girl alone when I was home with the kids on Wed afternoon.  She was ok...a former au pair whose English was only so-so.  Not ideal.  Then we had another girl come Wed night and Jason and I spoke to her.  She was fine.  Young, would probably do a good job.  It reminded me of when we were looking for a summer nanny...the kind of girls I had coming over are similar to Meredith:  young, some experience but not a ton, lots of enthusiasm, etc.  And cheap.  Ha.

Then we saw the daycare on Thursday afternoon.  Its a private daycare run by a nice woman from Peru.  A very open and loosely styled facility, but also with the proper amount of structure.  Lots of activities for all the ages.  She is willing to barter with us, so we would actually pay less than her going rate (I know people in the US are usually afraid to ask for discounts, but you'd be surprised by how many people are willing to work with you).  The time is great:  7am to 6pm.  It is more money than we were paying Nicole, so that would be a major downside.  Also, the practicalities of getting three children out the door and to a daycare are more involved than simply having a nanny come over.  The daycare is on the way to Jason's work, so we would all go, drop off the children, and then we would each go to work.  We could probably do something similar for pick-up.

I had scheduled someone to come Thursday night, but she was a no-show.  Jason saw a CPA Thursday  night concerning our taxes.  We are totally screwed for this year (long story, but our increase in salary means we lost some deductions and we now owe somewhere in the four-figure range to the government this year).  While we can't fix that, we can figure out what we need to do for next year to prevent it from happening again.  Unfortunately it will probably mean even LESS out of our paychecks, which is horrible timing when we're already considering a more expensive daycare option.

We've gone back and forth on the pros/cons of nanny vs daycare.  But what it really comes down to is:  what is best for the kids?  Obviously we can't make a choice that will totally bankrupt us, but we are willing to be a little 'in the red' for the next two-three years while all three of the kids are in daycare.  Zev is three, so we've got just a few years where this will be an issue.  Once he's five he'll be in public school.

Our decision so far:  we're going to try the daycare for six months.  We'll see how the money works out. And if it isn't working, we can then take our time to find a good nanny rather than rushing through the process right now.  In the meantime we are doing MAJOR budget examinations to see what we can cut down on.  We already stopped going out to eat, but there are other things we can try:  getting rid of cable (we can use Hulu or some other program to download the one or two programs we watch..we actually don't really watch TV and I'd be fine not watching it at all), getting rid of one of our cars, decreasing our membership to the YMCA to a single + family or just single for me, etc.  Little changes that add up.  I'm going to go through our groceries and see if we could possibly get cheaper options at Costco and do some comparison shopping.  We already use cloth diapers and I already get most of the children's clothes used.  Our main output (other than mortgage and childcare) are groceries and health-related things, which we could also possibly cut back on.

I do feel better now that we have a tentative plan.  Department of Family Services is doing a home-visit on Thursday.  We spoke to Nicole on Monday night to officially let her know she was fired.  Jason spoke to a social worker to get some advice on how to handle this and we spoke to Zev and told him that Nikki would not be coming to see him anymore; she is going to stay home to watch her daughter, but she loves him and misses him.  We also asked him if he remembered being in the car (and this is where I almost cried):

Jason:  Zev, do you remember being in the car?
Zev:  Yes, I was in the car and I wanted to get out and I was crying
Jason:  Well, Zev, that was not supposed to happen.  You are not supposed to be left alone in a car.  That was a mistake.  If someone leaves you in a car alone, you need to tell Mommy or Daddy, ok?
Zev: can't play with playdough when the sisters are downstairs or they'll try to eat it

(obviously he wasn't paying all that much attention to the conversation)

We're going to try to have him talk to Nikki on the phone so he can say good-bye.

Its just very sad.  But I am feeling better...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Horrible update

I haven't updated because we've been in crisis mode.

My nanny was arrested last Thursday.

I got a call from my husband on my way home from work:  she was arrested for leaving the children in our locked minivan.  The kids were being transported to the ER at a local hospital.  That was all he knew at the time, but I was to go to the hospital to meet them all there.

Great.  WTF?

Long story short:  Nicole had had the kids in the minivan and stopped on her way to pick up her daughter at a local strip mall near her house.  She left the kids in the minivan.  People saw the three children in the car alone, and started to panic.  Someone called the cops and some EMTs also arrived.  That was when she came out of the mall and was arrested.  The children were taken out of the minivan and transported to the hospital to be looked at.  Nicole was arrested and taken away.  It was all caught on a local news station and played on that afternoon news, the evening news, and the afternoon news the following day.  Close-ups of them arresting Nicole, taking my kids out of my car (faces blurred, obviously), etc.

They are estimating the kids were in the car for anywhere from 35-45 minutes.  It was about 60 degrees outside, and they all had temps of just over 99 when the EMTs got to them.  According to the news report they were red, flushed, sweaty, and crying.  We ended up in the ER for a few hours because the cops left the minivan in the parking lot, and we didn't have anything to go pick up Jason had to drive home to get our second pair of keys, go get the minivan, leave my car in the lot, and then drive back to the hospital so we could install the car seats the EMTs removed, take everyone back to the parking lot to pick up my car, and then go home.

The kids are fine.  The ER at the hospital was incredible.  They made us sandwiches, got us apple juice, put on a movie, and got me a college volunteer to help play with my kids while I freaked out in the corner of the room.

Nicole went to court the following day and was formally charged with abuse and neglect.  She has a 'stay away' order and cannot come near my children until her next court date in May.

Obviously she can no longer work for us.  I fluctuate between depression and anger.  I was furious all day Friday and Saturday.  Then I was depressed.  Then furious again.  We spoke to her last night to let her know formally we couldn't keep her on.  Department of Family Services has opened a case and they will be doing a home visit with us.  We haven't heard from the cops at all, and I haven't even read the official police report:  all I know is what I saw on the news (which I keep watching over and over again...).

I feel bad for her.  I feel bad for my kids.  I feel bad for myself and Jason who now have to find another nanny ASAP.  I have already set up interviews.  We're also looking into daycares just to explore that option.

And that's all I have to say about that right now......  Just....WTF.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

being the mother of twins...

I never thought I'd say it, but its actually sometimes easier being a mother of multiples than a mother of a singleton.

Jason had taken Zev out yesterday morning for most of the morning.  I got the girls up, fed them breakfast, and then it was just the three of us.  Unlike when Zev was a young toddler and I would have to entertain him, the girls actually just entertained each other.  I was able to do some cleaning and some organizing while they played with each OTHER, chasing each other around the rooms, playing with blocks together, playing peek-a-boo in and out of a box together, etc.  It was quite cute.  And once again I became a little envious...that 'twin' relationship is pretty special.  They are learning very early how to play with others and have already developed a very special bond even though they are only a year old.  Its really nice to watch.

This is something I worry about for Zev:  since he isn't in daycare, he doesn't get as much of a chance to play with children his age.  Yesterday we had a playdate with a neighbor who has boy twins his age.  She also has a nanny, so is in the same predicament.  We chatted a bit about to keep the boys active, different activities that are local we could get involved in, how to have them play with others, and the limitations of having a nanny.  She is pregnant and having her third, so soon she'll be in the same boat I was in a few months ago, when it even becomes difficult for the nanny to get out of the house with a young baby as well as the twins.  Poor Nicole has been pretty stuck in the house with the girls being so young and the weather so bad.  But finally the weather is getting better, and I hope she can get out more.  I did find a playgroup for her to check out, and Zev is in a class on Wed mornings at our YMCA that is an intro-to-sports class.  I think that, and playing at local parks once the weather gets better, will help.

I was asked to be a board member of my local Moms of Multiples club, doing the Support Chair.  I'm still considering it.  It would basically mean making sure the support group meetings have their leaders (our monthly meetings start out broken into groups by age, and my job would just be to make sure that each group has their leader available, and if not that the back-up is there).  I could do that.  There are actually only a few meetings left in the year, since we don't meet over the summer.  I like being involved.  My only hesitations are that I don't get a chance to get to the monthly meetings all the time since they are a bit of a commute for me, and that I don't really 'define' myself as a 'twin mom' like many do.  Maybe because I already had a child?  But while my girls are great, I'm not really into the 'twin-thing'...I don't buy matching clothes, or try to find 'twin' things.  But at the same time, I think being more involved would be nice. I suppose I could try it, I just don't want to make the commitment and not be able to keep it.

Not too much else.  Busy busy.  Work has now become even more stressful, but that's a post for another time.  Having more financial issues, which is worrisome.  I suppose that's just never going to go away, though.  We're in the yucky situation where we make too much money to take advantage of certain benefits, but not enough to retire young.  Wouldn't that be nice.....