Monthly Archives: April 2008

seven point five weeks and counting

I will be at 33 weeks this Wednesday. Which is probably why I feel totally drained and exhausted all the freaking time. I slept most of yesterday afternoon while Paul painted the nursery, and continued to nap today while he prepared to set up wallpaper. It has been hard for me to accept the physical limitation of being pregnant, and it’s frustrating for me to be tired all the time. Especially when I still have to work, and I can’t just ply myself with caffeine when I start getting tired in the afternoon. I have projects to finish before I go on leave! I have work to do that is important to me.

This weekend has involved a lot of sleeping. Paul has been a rock star husband, painting the nursery while I caught up on sleep yesterday afternoon. Today, he is applying the wallpaper runner to the baby’s room with his usual carefulness. Then we will have the room back to put all the baby stuff in that is currently all over the rest of the house. Actually, there’s even a glider chair and ottoman in my car. We finally found a Dutailier glider in colors to match the nursery on Craigslist today, but we don’t even have space to bring it inside until the construction zone of the baby’s room is finished.

For now though, I have a couple projects to catch up on for work, in between the occasional few moments where I help my husband put up wallpaper. Then I have more napping. Now, I’m going to go look for organic mattress toppers & sheets online and stimulate the economy a bit further. Yay.

this post sums up my opinion of baby industry foolishness mock Baby Couture

Yeah, there’s your foolishness right there.

I’m so happy that I have a husband that supports all my consumerism philosophies: just because we can afford it, doesn’t mean we have to.

I have to go take a shower and make him take me to the rockin’ baby boutique store now.

UPDATE: We have procured a sling! It’s the “Back in the USSR” one. I liked it because it was a little more goth, it’s manly enough for Paul to carry, and it was on sale for $53. I’m kind of excited about carrying the little guy around in it – especially while singing Sisters of Mercy “Dominion” to him.

we are supporting the economy by having a small child

As I have written previous, we have bought a lot of the things for our baby secondhand. This includes:

– a Graco Pack’n’Play portable bassinette/playpen
– an Arms Reach co-sleeper
– the Fisher Price Rainforest swing & vibrating chair
a Chicco Cortina travel system

But then there were the things we didn’t want to buy secondhand. Like the pretty black crib & changing table. Or a crib mattress. Or a breast milk pump. Or the smaller things like a Diaper Genie and a baby bathtub. Or the organic cotton bedding set, the waterproof crib liner sheets, the allergy protection mattress cover, the changing table covers, and all the clothing in his little layette. And of course, there were things we just couldn’t find secondhand – like the Consumer Reports recommended air purifier, or the adorable cow-shaped humidifier I broke down and bought yesterday. Or the black plastic baskets that fit inside the squares of our giant black, wall-sized, IKEA bookshelf (the kind that is just 5 x 5 rows of square cubbies) which we are filling with those baskets to store smaller loose baby items in.

And of course, decorating a nursery is a matter of even more personal tastes. I decided against buying a regular bedding set, and just bought a simple one that didn’t include nonsense like a diaper stacker and window valance. But we are giving the nursery a sort of barnyard theme (hence the cow humidifier), so I bought a 3-poster set of farm animals (and frames for them), and a Warren Kimble farm wallpaper runner. And then we went to Home Depot yesterday to get paint & painting supplies. I’ll post pictures if the nursery comes out looking like the vision I have for it.

I think the point is that baby expenses add up, no matter what. Even if you are like me, and buy some things secondhand, and scour the Internet for bargains, and take the Baby Bargains book with you to Babies’R’Us so you know what the best deals are, and have checklists and are sticking to the bare minimum of baby-related foolishness, you are still dropping a lot of money into the retail sector before you are done buying all the things you think your baby needs. The cost of a new baby can top $6,000 for the first year alone – more if you buy really nice things. I’m starting to understand how that happens.

And even after all this, we’re not even close to finished shopping. I still have to find bottles and a sterilizer, choose a sling or carrier, and start the subscriptions for wipes and baby detergent before the baby gets here. We need a second carseat base for Paul’s car. I need a glider chair to nurse in. I’d better get back to shopping online instead of writing posts.

tax breaks to corporations = not quite working

Are corporations not paying their fair share of taxes?

So, given that, is it a really smart idea for John McCain to “Reduce The Federal Corporate Tax Rate To 25 Percent From 35 Percent”? Especially when many of them are already not even paying taxes? If it’s a matter of giving the corporations less incentive to go overseas, then maybe he should be giving tax breaks to consumers who buy American products and support American businesses? Or only give those breaks to corporations for staying in America and employing Americans? Shouldn’t there be strings attached to ensure that the corporations don’t just continue to take advantage of the laws set up to define them in the late 19th century?

I totally agree that some tax breaks – like the ones to companies in exchange for more investment in R&D- are a fine idea. I just don’t think that giving more money to corporations and expect them to use it to hire Americans, or pay more fair wages, works. Theoretically, thirty years ago, it was hypothesized that higher taxes reduced incentive to produce, which was the model for Reaganomics. The question is: how much of those tax breaks go into the skyrocketing executive salaries, instead of to the workers or to the businesses themselves, where they are supposed to go?

yay! we have daycare!

At some point in the last two weeks, I realized that we had to start working on a daycare solution for next January. As in, nine months from now. Because good daycares all have ridiculous waiting lists, especially in L.A., I should really have started working on that the day I found out I was pregnant. Maybe the day after, once I had figured out what we were going to work out with our employers regarding leave.

What we do have in California is better than what most people in the States get. Maternity leave is six weeks in most places, and for most people, in the U.S. But additional leave time is mandated by individual states. So in California, I can get up to three months maternity, but only if it’s medically necessary. It’s more than likely that six weeks after birth, I will be proclaimed fit to return to work. Fortunately, after that, we go into what’s called the “child bonding” time, which is an additional up to 12 weeks at 60% pay. It will all add up to keep me home until early October. And then Paul can claim his child bonding time, and stay home with the baby for another six to eight weeks. And then my mother is coming to visit for a month. So all together, we managed to compile six months of time for someone in the family to be home with the baby.

But January, 2009 – that’s when our baby, small as he will be, will have to go to an infant daycare. We’re not delighted with that, but it’s reality. And expensive as a daycare is, I still make enough to justify the cost. Also, for the sake of my own career path and my own work, I can’t stay home for a long time. I work in Internet, after all, and specifically, as the Emerging Technologies Specialist for a small interactive agency. I have to get back to it, or risk losing my footing. There are a lot of women who would sacrifice themselves and their careers for their kids. I’m not one of them. Especially since it’s not only in my best interest, but in the best interest of my family, financially, that I continue to work my way up from the level I’m at. The reality is, if we want a house, college, retirement funds, both Paul and I have to work. We live in a world of a two-income family, and I’m just thankful my income is connected to a career and my own personal development, instead of to just paying the bills to survive.

Anyways. I digress from the daycare issue. We did NOT start looking the day I found out I was pregnant. We started looking two weeks ago. And we gave up on our own neighborhood very quickly. We live in a lower-income zone of L.A. – certainly not the ghetto, but not the sort of area where you find the kind of daycare we wanted. There are lots of family daycares, which I’m sure would be fine, but I wanted someplace where they were going to start working on educating our little nerd. If I was home with him, I’d be working to develop his motor skills and his comprehension and reading to him – even if he couldn’t understand everything yet. And that’s what I want a daycare to do. I do not want my kid parked in a crib or a swing all day. And there’s no way to tell if a family running a daycare out of their home is going to be consistent in their interaction with the kids – or even if it will be possible to devote that much attention to a small baby when there are other kids of different ages to keep an eye on.

So we started looking in Pasadena, close to where Paul works. Pasadena is a wealthy area, with lots of parents like us, and with more parents who can afford that sort of daycare. Unfortunately, that meant wait lists – of anywhere from 12 months to three years in the case of the Caltech children’s center. (I would have LOVED my little nerd baby to be with the other nerd children, but that’s not going to happen) I called five daycares trying to set up tours and apply for space. Of them, only one – Kids Klub Pasadena – had a tour coming up. So we both took yesterday morning off to attend a tour, and check out the daycare/preschool.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the establishment, which is HUGE. It’s the size of an airplane hangar, with multiple areas and over 200 kids ages zero to four. They had a Science Corner, with enormous aquariums full of fish, terrariums with lizards and other scaly beasts, and a project on butterfly development in progress for the older kids. They had a playground full of equipment and picnic tables, with a play yard in back with a couple dozen little foot-propelled cars and trikes. They had a full size small “general store” where kids could pretend to go shopping with play money. They had a library full of books at all levels. And, for our wee one, they had Baby City – a separate zone with cribs for the non-sitting-up babies, and booster seats on the floor, or embedded in tables, for the bigger ones in the potato-sack phase.

Most importantly though, we saw the infant care providers interacting with the infants. They were reading to them, and showing them objects, and singing to them. And we could see the babies’ eyes tracking whatever was happening. Then the director, leading the tour, handed me the log sheets they fill out daily, with all the information on what the kid ate, when he napped, and the contents and frequency of diapers. And all my baby books say that is key to keeping a baby’s routine consistent between home & daycare, so your baby is easier to live with. They have assigned primary caregivers for the babies – 3 babies to a caregiver – so the child’s care is consistent and our son can bond and feel secure while away from us. They had everything the books told me to look for.

Most importantly though, they had space for our little guy in January, at a not yet complete facility a few miles out of Paul’s way. Then we can transfer to the main location, which is right on Paul’s way to work. It’s a solution! A working solution that does not involve having to find a family run daycare we trust while we wait for our baby to make his way off a waiting list! It’s a solution I’m happy with, and a place our baby can stay on a longer term basis, so I may not even have to look for a preschool! It’s a ridiculous load off my mind, and one less thing to do. I was going to have to spend maternity leave looking at preschools for two years from now (in L.A., you apply for a preschool as soon as the kid is born to make it off the wait list in time), but if I can park my kid at this center, and have him just stay there as he gets bigger, that’s even better! We saw the groups of older kids, the 2 – 4 year olds, in action, being read to, learning to read, learning to write, doing arts and crafts and playing, and it looked like we would get just as good a preschool education there as anywhere else.

Therefore, yay, we have daycare! It’s one less thing to worry about and work on. We’re happy.

Protected: more parental worrying

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Protected: it’s day care or house. pick one.

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