Sunday, January 10, 2010

and baby makes three...

So it is no secret that my husband wants another kid. Now, before I am too old,he says, so we can have a big happy family. Well, I am not sure why bigger is better, or happier for that matter, because I can tell you right now, I will not be happier.
I love my children more than anything.I was lucky enough to stay at home with both of them and actually waited for two and half years to ask for some help. I really didn't want the help because it meant having to find someone who would be in my tiny house and caring for my tiny baby while I got to escape for a few hours and grocery shop or exercise without someone strapped to me or throwing everything out of the cart.
I was a regular at our local park and after awhile got to know a lot of the nannies by sight, but mostly by the names of their charges. Some of them were really interactive and others sat and texted on their phones while the kids ate wood chips.
 I was approached by Vicky one afternoon as she chased after two little boys.She was all smiles and energy and really enthusiastic. She was about forty five, and said she was looking for a few mornings a week. It seemed like kismet, since I was also looking for someone a few mornings a week. She came to the house the following Monday and, for ten bucks and hour, she watched Little, folded laundry and tried to organzie our cluttered life.As I left the house alone for the first time in nearly thirty months,I had a flash of concern that she might steal but quickly realized that we were so disorganized that she would have no idea where to begin.
The first day was great. I shopped and acutally got everything on the list because I wasn't distracted. It was great because I could sit and have a cup of coffee and read the LA Weekly without having to stop every three second to pick up a dropped crayon or nurse someone. It was a great day mostly because she hadn't sold my child into white slavery by the time I came back to the house.She did what she said she would do and it seemed like the beginning of something mutually beneficial.
Well, the honeymoon lasted about a week. The following Monday she came to work and, after discovering that we were out of creamer for her coffee said " Oh, well you better put that ,on the list. I need cream for my coffee." Then came the stories about her daughter in Guatemala who she was trying to bring here.We gave her an old laptop so she could communicate with her daughter more.She cried and told us about how God would bless us.The next week became about how she needed more shifts, and why none of her previous jobs had worked out, including the one whom I had called as a reference.She disparaged that family for being messy and inconsiderate of her needs. Then came the request for an advance on her salary.I actually drove her to the bank one time to be nice but soon realized that there wasn't enough nice to satisfy this person. I found her purse one morning when she was out walking with Little and actually went through it to make sure that she was who she said she was. She was, mercifully, but I had already decided that she would have to go. She was the incomprehensible combination of desperate and opportunistic with a healthy dose of outright lazy.
Her last week as our employee was filled with drama.She had been offered another better job and would need to start right away. I had given a reference for her and had lied on her behalf by saying that she had worked for us for a year and that it had been full time. I just wanted her to find her way elsewhere. She insisted on finding us a replacement and came to the house with a nanny who I had known from the park for years.She was lovely and shy. I gave her the job immediately.Vicky left without working a full week and I ended up paying for two nannies for the last three days due to the advance she took the week before. I found out later from the new nanny that Vicky had charged her a finders fee for the job.She wouldn't tell me how much it was, but I was incensed. She also told me later that Vicky rarely took Little out of the stroller, and that she walked around the playground bragging about how we had given her a computer.She begged me not to say anything to Vicky,who had become her friend, so I didn't.But it irked me that Vicky had come back from the park for three weeks talking about how much fun Little had when she had really been strapped in the stroller with her pacifier for two hours. It irked me that Little had started walking while Vicky was watching her, and that I had traded that once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Trader Joe's by myself.
However, the new nanny turned out to be a lovely caring person, so I suppose I am grateful to Vicky for bringing her into our lives.
A few months went by and then came the calls for more references.The job hadn't worked out because they drink too much, or because they discipline their kids too much or because they don't pay enough. She must have gone through ten more jobs in the next two years. I gave her a few more embellished references to unsuspecting moms hoping that she just needed to find the right situation, and for that I am truly sorry.All of her jobs ended the same way. She found something better and moved on. I actually called a couple of them after the fact and both moms described the same dynamic that we had experienced. The last reference that called was a lesbian couple, and I finally decided to stop trying to be Vicky's personal saviour and came clean.I told her not to hire Vicky.I told her everything, and she was really grateful. I don't think Vicky is a bad person, but who needs that sort of shit when they have a new baby?
I wrote Vicky a terse email and asked her to stop requesting references from me. She stopped, but about two months ago, I got an urgent telephone message from her.She said that she was at the immigration office and had to speak with me right away. I assume that she wanted me to lie to immigration for her. I never called her back, and I actually stopped feeling badly about it.
I realized that I am not the bad guy.I tried to help her in every way possible.She is a well intentioned parasite, and I was not interested in being her host.
So, aside from the total lack of physical or emotional desire to have a third, which is why I haven't mentioned my 1 in 40 chance of bearing a child with Down's Syndrome,it really comes down to this: I can manage what I currently have without having to hire anyone.I don't want a life that requires outside assistance to operate smoothly. I certainly don't fault others for having three or four kids, though the amount of diapers and food they must require nauseates me a little. I have a  fabulous life of my own with plenty of time to spend with my husband two adorable children.
A third upsets everything. It makes life chaotic and unmanageable.It means doctor visits, no wine,no sushi, constant fatigue,constant worry and nothing strenuous for almost a whole year.Then it's cracked nipples and stress and zero sleep and more doctor visits.I am intentionally omitting the part about the darling bundle of joy because I intend for this post to close the door completely.
Having kids isn't all glowing skin and baby booties. I found the moment of conception to the second birthday to be the most stressful time ever in the lives of both of my children. As fast as it has gone by, it feels like an eternity of Shirley Maclaine moments- constant worry and worst case scenarios playing out in my head.Is she breathing? Is she eating enough? Does she weigh enough?Was her poop just green? Is she choking?Is she retarded? Did she just eat a rock?  And I had great pregnancies and two easy babies. They weren't entirely without drama-the second one had a brain cyst in utero that "should just go away" but no one could tell me anything concrete. Basically it would go away or it wouldn't, but I certainly "wasn't supposed to worry about it"(yeah, right). Well, at six months pregnant,I saw a show on 60 Minutes about Jeremy, an idot savant who can ONLY play classical piano like Chopin after hearing it one time. He couldn't feed himself or talk or bathe or do anything except that one amazing thing. Then Leslie Stahl looks into the camera and says matter of factly, " Jeremey was born with a cyst on his brain". I nearly fainted, and then spent the next two years wondering when  Little would start her decent into savantism.(I would bite my lip when she showed interest in the piano). Her birth was ridiculously easy and, aside from her vomiting blood on the second day of life( cracked nipples), she was an easy baby.Too easy. I was constantly being told things like  "I have never seen such and easy baby before" and  " oh , my goodness what are you feeding her, she is so mellow!". Husband would make jokes about her being a simpleton ( I told  him about the cyst much later- he's a hypochondriac, and it would have wrecked him,) and my stomach would sink.
Needless to say, we are lucky and everything is fine so far, but I wouldn't call the process fun exactly. Rewarding? Absolutely. Life altering?Hell yes. Character building?Rivals the military. Fun? er, sometimes...
Husband says that a new baby changes things for a few years, but that isn't true.It means spending the rest of my life caring for yet another soul that I have to worry about,pack for, make lunch for, sooth, engage,love, entertain, second guess etc. And if it is a boy, that means a whole new pile of boy crap to organize and put away every day, not to mention that I have no idea what to do with a boy.
I just don't have it in me.I am already exhausted. Perhaps this makes me ungrateful or the anti-mother to some,but I can barely do a decent job with the two I have.
Our cup runneth over in every conceivable way, so can we just be happy with that? Please?


  1. I cannot begin to understand how you could possibly justify recommending a negligent, borderline-abusive nanny to other couples. This is precisely the same reasoning that sends abusive priests and teachers to other school districts: a shapeless, desperate hope that these people will just go away. All you did was redirect your misery toward other couples so you could avoid the faintest hint of confrontation. You should call every one of them and apologize for your naked lying.

    Shame on you.

  2. Well,Anonymous, thank you for your kind and forgiving words. As for the nanny being "dangerous and borderline-abusive", I think that is an extreme depiction. I never would have left my child with her if that were the case.Lazy and self serving, perhaps, but certainly not dangerous. I was trying to help someone who was in dire straits find the right fit.If I had wanted her to go away,I would have asked her to go away. She turned out to be someone that can't be helped. No, I shouldn't have referred her, but I actually thought that with the right family, she might thrive.To liken my actions to those of someone sheltering a pedophile is ludicrous and infammatory.Shame right back at you.