I decided I have to go back to work in January, because I’m a bad mom I actually want to finish my dissertation, get a degree (please?) and stop living in limbo (yeah, I want to move on, and you know what they say, academia is just like paradise). Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m living in limbo. When I started my PhD, I made the decision to consider myself a professional, and to take my studies as work. And that’s how I look at them. Four-five (and I really don’t want to think beyond that) years of doing a degree on top of another two post-secondary degrees no longer qualifies me as a student, but as a professional person. As Heather says, I’m a professional learner.
So yeah, that’s all good and stuff, you know, when you decide things for yourself, in that blissful period of your life when you have some control over your life, but not when someone else is completely dependent on you. Like, uhmmmm, yeah, newsflash: when you have a baby, especially a new one, and hopefully only with your first one, you have no control over your life anymore (sorry, Tado). In a way, it’s good, what with not having to take any decisions any more, like when to wake up, or brush your teeth, or shower (aren’t these superfluous things anyway?), or what clothes to wear (and this really is a good one, ’cause none of your clothes fit any more, not for some time). But for a person moderately (ahem!) interested in controlling their destiny, such as myself, things can get – what’s the word I’m looking for? – effing fucked-up problematic (yes, I had a bit of an issue with the redundancy, that’s why I crossed out that word).
So, to get back to the topic at hand before Eria wakes up (or turns 14), we had to look for child care. We started early, because we wanted to get Eria used to that person before I could once again become a productive member of our society. Oh, wait, I’m a student. Yeah, whatever! Oh, the rewarding task! Oh the bliss of meeting new people, eager to nurture the best product of your life! Oh, the happiness! I’ll spare you the gory details, but can’t withhold the one about the person who called 10 minutes before the interview to let us know she was “busy” and could we reschedule for that afternoon? OK, sure, but what happened that made you so busy? Like, yeah, a friend came over for Halloween last night and, you know, I’m busy. At least she had the common sense not to show up for the second interview. But it does make you wonder if you’re the one whose screwed up. Or, yeah, that middle-aged woman who called you from her cell phone as she was driving around in your neighbourhood, never to be heard from again, even afterwe called her lots of times. Yeah, all good times.
Finally, we hired a part-time nanny. She was nice, good with Eria, and very responsive when asked to do stuff around the house. But, she had another part-time job (if you can call 37hrs/week part time) so she ended up only being able to come one day a week. Needless to say, Eria would forget who she was by the time she came back the next week. So, in desperation, I began looking into day homes (day cares in Edmonton have 2-3 year waiting lists, and we’re on some of those, as well). I was getting quite desperate and anxious, convinced that I will never be able to get back to work. I was asking myself who in their right mind would want to take care of someone else’s six-month old? Long story short (yeah, right!) we found the most amazing person ever! I’m not a lucky person, that’s Adi’s thing, but someone/thing out there must really love me, because our child care provider is the absolute best I could ever ask for.
We started taking Eria there in mid-December, so that she has time to get used to M., so that, come January, I could actually start doing some things other than child care and thinking about the child and her care (Eria, my love, it is wonderful to spend time with you). At the end of the month, she barely wanted any money, because, she said “it was more for my benefit that you were bringing her.” This from a woman who took my daughter in on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when she was supposed to spend time with her family! I had to haggle with her to get her to take more money! If you have any idea how much energy it takes to care for/entertain a baby, you know what I mean.
Moreover, she’s incredibly respectful of the children she cares for, and as a result, the children are a pleasure to be around. She checks in with the parents on any detail, no matter how insignificant it might seem, and, on top of everything, she sends daily journals. DAILY! How she finds the time to sit down and write everything that’s happened with all of her four charges, I have no idea. Last time I did laundry it was after I hadn’t done any for like 2 months (please don’t tell anyone; and yeah, I do have way too many clothes). And that’s with one tiny little baby. And she takes care of four. Can you tell I’m in awe and also very happy and grateful, and fearful that I’m going to wake up and realize that we’re actually interviewing nannies who get busy?
Here’s my tiny baby when she was really tiny. She’s all grown up now, of course: