Schedules

Sadie is 21 months old! When I first started this blog I wrote about our schedule. I believe having a schedule really helps Sadie and Wally because they generally have a sense of structure to their day and they can anticipate what’s coming next.

Here is our current schedule:

6:30am Sadie Wakes Up
7:30am Sadie Eats Breakfast
8:00am Wally Goes Out & Eats Breakfast
9:30am Sadie Goes Out for Some Activity (Music Class / Library / Farmer’s Market /etc.)
10:00am Sadie Eats Snack

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11:30am Wally Goes Out
12:00pm Sadie Eats Lunch
1:00-3:30pm Sadie & Wally Nap
4:00pm Sadie Eats Snack
5:00pm Wally Goes Out

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6:00pm Sadie & Wally Eat Dinner
7:30pm Sadie Takes a Bath
8:00pm Sadie Goes to Bed

Hopefully this helps anyone who is looking to establish a schedule for an almost 2-year old  (dog or human)!

Navigating the Business World as a Younger Mom

Re-entering the workforce as a 25 year-old mom, I act differently and I am perceived differently than when I left. I’m assuming I’m not alone in this, so I’m writing about my experience with the hope that it will help others succeed with strength and grace. 

Observation #1: As a younger mom, almost everyone will assume you don’t have kids. When people do find out you have kids, they will be surprised. Some won’t know what to say, others might say something rude. Don’t be offended. 

Observation #2: When I’m at home, I have to be sure of myself to either convince my daughter everything is ok or that I won’t budge when I say something is off limits. This has translated into me being much more assertive and demanding at work. Many times, I have had to take a step back before sending an email or talking with a colleague to make sure I’m not coming off in a way that would offend someone, especially considering my level of expertise. 

Taking all of this into mind, I think it’s very important to stay positive and aware. People around you will read, and feed off of, the energy you present. Remind yourself to be patient. (Especially when the 10th person comments on “how young you are” and “they never realized you had kids”) Keep your chin up – people assume things about the people around them all the time. It’s the way the brain can make sense of things. 

I believe it’s possible to be a great mom and a great employee. It won’t come right away, or maybe for a long time. I’m definitely still working at it but I can say approaching each day with an open mind and the will to be positive has helped me feel like I’m headed in the right direction. 

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Little Acts of Kindness

I went to work Tuesday morning and it hit me – the sneezing attacks, the runny nose, the headache. I caught a cold.

I still worked through the day because I had a lot to do and I don’t see a cold as an excuse for a sick day, but it was rough. Even after taking DayQuil, I went through an entire box of tissues. (I kept my distance from everyone and wiped down my desk before I left.)

I got home – ready to suck it up and play with my favorite little ones – and something happened that I didn’t expect. My mother-in-law took one look at me and said “Come on Sadie, let’s go to my house and let mommy nap. She needs it.”

And that was the best nap I’ve had in a long time. 🙌🏻

I napped as deeply as Sadie did on this trip to the grocery store.

 

Same trip.

Has someone done something unexpected or wonderfully nice for you recently? I’d love to hear your stories or anything you have to say!

Sadie & Wally Update: 20 Months-Old

Happy Fall! 🙂 Sadie is 20 months old! I can’t believe how fast everything is going. I truly love this age – her personality is in full bloom, she really understands things, and she is learning so fast! Here are some of the things she has been up to with our puppy, Wally:

 

What is Sadie currently into? She’s really into getting “on” and “in” things – the couch, the chairs, the beds, her toy baskets & boxes – you name it! When she gets on our bed, she calls for everyone else to join her, including Wally, who was previously not allowed on the bed. (oh no!) Then she will climb down and yell “Ah-f!” telling everyone else to get off. I’ve held onto the rule that the bed has to be made for us to play this game so that Wally’s hair doesn’t get on the sheets.

 

What is her favorite activity with Wally? Sadie loves to call Wally’s name – she refers to him as “Nine” or “Nine-knee” (don’t ask me where that came from) – and she will look for him in the apartment or he’ll come running to her. Whenever she comes home from an outing, the first thing she yells when you open the door is “Niiiiiine!” and she’ll run to his crate indicating he should be let out.

 

Is there anything Wally does that always makes Sadie laugh out loud? Yes! Sadie thinks Wally is hilarious. She bursts into a fit of giggles when he sniffs her hair/neck or when he gives her kisses all over. Unfortunately, she also thinks it’s hilarious when Wally gets yelled at or when he tries to attack the vacuum. She literally cackles like an evil character in a movie. Truly like siblings.

 

Is there any toy/object Sadie is very attached to at this age? Sadie loves cats. She likes to see them in the pet store, she likes to read about them, and she likes clothes with cat designs. One day after we moved into our new apartment, I saw a cat outside of our window and pointed it out to her. Now, every morning she goes to that window and screeches “Mmmm!” (that’s meow) and looks for the cat. Wally happily assists her in her search.

 

Any funny things they both get excited about? When I ask “Should we take Wally outside?” they both freak out. Sadie starts yelling “Ah! Ah! Ah!” kind of like a battle cry, and runs to her shoes. Wally starts running in circles. It is an immediate reaction and happens every time.

 

What has been a change you’ve made recently? Sadie used to love to give Wally treats. She’d run to where his treats were stored and say “Ga-kum?” which, clearly, means treat. I’d have Wally do a trick, let Sadie give him the treat as a reward, and then she’d run away clapping. During that time, we’d been trying to figure out why Wally’s stomach had been getting so upset – it was the treats! Sadie was actually more sad about this than Wally. She’s finally stopped asking to give him treats because I’ve said “No, it’s hurts his tummy,” a bajillion times. Now she likes to help fill his water bowl. Also to note, since we stopped giving Wally the treats and put him on Science Diet Sensitive Stomach, all tummy problems are gone!

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Learning to Share

I’ve taken a little break since my last post. We’ve been settling into our new routine and I have to say, I’m very happy with it.

My mother in-law recently moved down from Pennsylvania to become Sadie and Wally’s full-time caregiver. She lives in an apartment on the same street as us so she can literally walk over in the morning.

First, that’s quite a life change for any person to make so we couldn’t be more grateful. Some people have also been shocked at my decision to voluntarily bring my mother-in-law (MIL) closer to me; maybe they haven’t had great experiences with mother-in-law’s. I am one of the lucky few who actually gets along with my MIL and I absolutely love how she is with my babies (hence the decision for her to watch them).

I recognize this type of set-up is definitely not for everyone but it’s working really well for us. I don’t feel as guilty staying at work late if I need to because I’m leaving Sadie with someone she adores. And I don’t feel as suspicious of what’s going on during the day because the trust is already there (my MIL watched Sadie on her own multiple times before we decided to ask her to make this commitment, plus ya know, she’s family).

My MIL is very supportive of my husband and I having time together, so we’ve been able to have more date nights (yay). She also helped me finally start exercising again. When I got home from work, she’d offer to keep watching Sadie so I could fit in a quick workout. Now that I’ve built it into a routine I work out when Sadie goes to bed, but my MIL helped me finally bite the bullet!

One of the best things about my MIL is she loves going out with Sadie; she takes Sadie to the park, the library, the botanical gardens, and the high museum every week. Talk about awesome. She also takes Sadie on these trips at a consistent time everyday so Wally has learned their schedule and feels calm until they return. My MIL is very sweet to Wally so he’s always happy when she comes over!

There’s only one adjustment that’s been hard for me and it’s a tough feeling to describe. I don’t know if all moms have experienced this, but recently my friend put it well:

“When my sister’s little boy gets upset and she’s there, he refuses to go to anyone but her. I can tell she’s kind of annoyed she has to deal with it by herself but she also kind of loves it too.”

This used to be my daughter, Sadie. Whenever I was home, anything upsetting had to be taken care of by me. Although it was frustrating to have to handle it myself, I think it was actually more frustrating for my husband or anyone else who wanted to help because their efforts would just make Sadie more frantic. I tried to be sympathetic but I don’t think it always came off genuinely. It took me a while to admit that I loved how attached she was to me.

Since MIL has arrived, Sadie has been a lot better about showing affection for others even when I’m around. I’m so proud of her and happy to see her become this loving person. Her relationships with her dad and her nana have grown much deeper which is amazing to see. On the other hand, it’s hard for me to let go and share my Sadie hugs. Occasionally she still has days where she clings to my side or just wants me to hold her for a bit; these times help remind me that she still holds a special place for me in her heart and makes it a little easier to share. 😉

Please share any thoughts you have in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

Is It Worth It to Get a Dog When You Have a Baby?

Today marks a year since we brought our dog Wally into our home. Reflecting on our decision to get a puppy with a 6 month-old baby, I’m so happy we did it. Yes, there have been some growing pains like teaching him the house rules and learning how to set him up for success. But he’s become a part of our family and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect fit for us.

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Wally and Sadie are like siblings – he’s taught her to love dogs, how to behave around dogs, and how to share. She’s taught him to be protective, to be kind and patient, and to stay quiet in the house (he doesn’t bark).

Sadie will come home from an outing, immediately run to Wally’s crate and then wait there until you let him out. She loves taking him outside with me, giving him treats, and getting kisses. She’ll walk around holding out her hand saying “Nine, nine, nine,” – that’s her word for Wally – because she wants him to come lick her hand. She will bring Wally his toys and can throw them for him too. She runs around the house with him, giggling the whole time. She looks for him when she wakes up, she always wants to know where he is (and usually he’s close by), and she pets him goodnight. Their relationship makes me so happy it makes the whole thing more than worth it.

Wally is also very attached to me. If I were to describe him in 2 words, I’d call him attentive and loyal. He’s always so happy to see me and will sit as close to me as possible. When I settle down for the night and finally sit on the couch, he’ll come over and rest his head on my lap or sleep at my feet. It’s a comfort to have him around, especially when it’s just Sadie and I.

Even though we still have challenges as our home life continues to change, Wally consistently gives us as much love as he can – I’m really grateful to have him in my life.

Admitting When Your Childcare Isn’t Working

Our first nanny for our toddler, Sadie, and our dog, Wally, was great. She kept track of what they did on a report card, she always kept the house clean, and Sadie and Wally were always happy when we came home. She called in sick a couple of times, but at least let us know she wouldn’t be coming the night before. Even though it was inconvenient, we thought, “She is still a great nanny, she is probably just getting over something.”

Then, she called in sick a couple more days (we’re talking 5 days in 3 months – that’s more sick days than I get in a whole year!). She also stopped giving us advance notice and was contacting us the morning of to tell us she couldn’t come that day. We started to wonder if we were doing something wrong. I put up a job posting to potentially interview other nannies, but then she came back the next week and, again, we thought it must have been a fluke.

She was such a good nanny when she did show up that it was hard for us to admit that she wasn’t a good nanny because she wouldn’t show up. 

The next week she was out sick again, Monday and Tuesday. I started to worry something was really wrong. Tuesday evening she told me she wouldn’t be able to come the rest of the week because her car broke down and she couldn’t afford to rent a car. Granted, I was aware her car had broken down a couple months prior but I thought it had been fixed. Also, in the past when she hadn’t rented a car, her husband or son had given her a ride so I knew she had other ways of getting to our place. I started to doubt whether she was telling me the truth and had to scramble to find care for the rest of the week. I advise not letting it get to this point – it’s not a happy place to be!

My husband and I finally decided to let her go and figure out a new care situation. Consistent care is just as important for your own piece of mind as it is for your kids (dogs included!) 

Have you had to deal with unreliable care? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! 🙂