Friday, May 24, 2013

Rules for Babysitting

In the last several months, we've branched out a bit and had a few "strangers" babysit the girls. Of course I learned a bit about them and asked lots of questions before we had them watch them, and so far it really has  been good for us.
The girls who have helped out have been between 18-22. About two years ago, I had a neighbor's daughter come babysit Charlotte as an infant. The babysitter was 12 (ish). She came over with a little binder with questionnaires and a list of phone numbers for me to fill out. I mean, this is big time, people. She's going to take over the biz.

Here are some things that the 18-22 crowd can learn from the tween.

  1.  Ask me questions.  Let me know that you're paying attention to my instructions and if maybe I've missed something. It's likely I have. Even if it's "do you have a wifi password?", the answer is yes, but you'll have to figure out which one is the right one because we can never remember.
  2. Play with my kids. Act like you like them. Especially when I'm still at home looking for my lip gloss and dusting off my high heels. I don't like silence while I'm trying to figure out what this crust is on my shirt and if I should change before I leave. Most of the time, the babysitters are good at this. But there have been a couple who seriously don't know what to even say to a two year old. How about "hi!"
  3. When I ask you a question, like "are you comfortable feeding the baby baby food?" I don't exactly expect you to say no, but if you've never done it before, don't lie. I'll give you more specific instructions, like "put on a bib" or "the food goes here, in her mouth. not in her ears where I'll find it tomorrow if you're lying."
  4. If you have rules, speak up. You charge your own hourly rate? Let me know right off the bat. You have a minimum amount of time that you see as "worth it"? Tell me. Sometimes I only need someone for an hour, if that's not something you're interested in, tell me first. 
  5. It's always a good idea to check in after the kids are in bed and all is well. I often let the sitter know that I'll be sending a text around 8:30 just to make sure bedtime went smoothly and help out in case something weird is going on. (Charlotte getting upset because the wrong button was pushed on her sound machine and now it's ocean waves instead of static. 2 year olds can be very specific in their white noise needs.) If you can't figure out the remote, text me. I don't want you to get so bored that you start snooping.
  6. CLEAN UP. This is something that some people are really good at, and others just don't get it. It may have been messy when you arrived because two kids were awake and pulling out every toy and book. But after bedtime is the perfect time to tidy up. How awkward would it be if I was like an actual employer (or just a mom, i guess) and I said "I will pay you after you clean up these toys and wipe the baby food off the table. Go ahead. I'll watch." Nope, just do it first and we'll avoid that situation.
  7. When I come home and ask how it went, "fine." is not an acceptable answer. Tell me how much you love the little nuggets, even if they were sort of naughty. Tell me if they were naughty. If the baby cried, you can tell me, that way I'm not surprised. If you say she didn't cry, can you tell me your secrets? Let me know if dinner went well, tell me a funny story, act like you're in it for more than the money, because FYI 18-22 year olds? You're getting paid more than our date cost. 
Yeah, maybe these rules are stupid or asking too much. 
But I just had a brilliant idea. 
In the spirit of celebrating today's technology, the babysitters can unlock "badges" for tasks they complete. A lot like four square or some other hip thing that I know nothing about.

Keep kids alive: $5/hr
Complete bedtime routine (wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, story): bonus $5
Check in with mom to say all is well: bonus $2
Clean up after the kids: bonus $5
Fold kids' laundry: bonus $5 
Unload dishwasher: bonus $5
Tell me how much you love my kids and how they are the sweetest little girls you've ever watched in your life: bonus $150. (okay, not really.)
Based on a 4 hour night out, this is $47 where over half of the hours the kids are asleep. I mean, you could get $20 for the bare minimum, but don't you feel special when you unlock badges? I do. That's why I track my food on My Fitness Pal. 

But nothing beats having family babysit. They love the kiddos, they clean up so I don't blog about them later, and they're usually free. :) 

What would you add the list? Am I asking way too much?
I babysat a lot in my youth and usually made $3-5/hr for full days, watching 3 kids. Walked uphill both ways to school. Barefoot. I had to use AOL Instant Messenger to talk to my friends. The horror. 

Ultimate Reset

In the last 3 weeks (plus 2 days), I've started and completed the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. Basically, it's a 21 day detox/cleanse with a supplement program and meal plan of whole foods.
It was one of the more challenging things I've done as far as discipline and self control goes. I did this with two of my neighbors and we were all successful with sticking with it and getting great results.
While weight loss is definitely a benefit of the program, it's mostly about getting your body to the healthiest state it can be by eliminating a lot of the garbage that we put into it.
When we started, it was definitely a shock to the system. There was so much food prep and planning ahead. It become somewhat second nature by the second week, but I think it was a good thing. I got used to planning and preparing a good lunch instead of sharing a box of macaroni and cheese with Charlotte.
And adding bacon to mine. Or whatever.
I don't need to get into all of the boring details, but it was actually a much more positive experience than I anticipated. I thought I'd be a lot crabbier, when really I felt the best I ever really have. I expected to be STARVING but I never was. The biggest challenge was not cheating when I really wanted chocolate or crackers. Turns out I really, really like crackers. mmm triscuits.

I didn't miss dairy really at all, and I was totally fine without meat. But the cracker part of my  food pyramid was definitely left wanting more.
Both of my neighbors and I reported sleeping better and having a lot more energy. I didn't have a lick of caffeine and didn't miss it. Of course I've had a little coffee both yesterday and today because it's just a nice part of my morning and I enjoy the taste. I didn't go into it thinking it was a "lifestyle change" because frankly, it's not. I think it's a good kick start to some really healthy habits which I will likely maintain, but to say I'm a grain-free vegan now is the stupidest claim I could make. We don't live in a community where that's an easy lifestyle. Community = my house. I would get kicked out.

I don't have any before and afters to share and if I did, I probably wouldn't share them. I'm selfish like that.

But I will tell you that I did lose some weight, and since I last stated my commitment to getting fit (late March), I have lost 13 pounds. That? is something I'm pleased with. I just did the math and I was really surprised to learn it was that much. My quest still continues because I'm having a 1/3 life crisis and when the youngest anyone mistakes you for is 29 when you're 30, I MUST FIGHT IT. Aging gracefully is for the weak.

I'm not exactly sure what my goal is. It's not like I have a race coming up (I don't enjoy running that much) or have anything approaching where I need to fit into an evening gown for judges to rate me.

But yeah. The Ultimate Reset was really worth it. If you don't think you can do it, you can't. It's pretty much that simple. But having the accountability of my friends was the biggest help, and if you're interested if giving it a try, just click here and you can get started.
Or click here and just enjoy life.

Oh, and I got paid to talk about this.*

*no I didn't.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Picture Post Because I'm Lazy

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I last wrote. For being told I talked too much as a youngster, I just don't have much to say these days.

There's plenty that has been going on. A lot, really. But with my frequent facebook picture posts and instagram, it seems that people already have a pretty good idea of what's been filling up my time.


My normal abundance of patience is wearing thin as Lena has spent about 85% of the last week crying about being cute, fed, warm and loved. I don't know if she's getting a tooth or just preparing me for being crabby for the rest of my life, but it is getting exhausting listening to the whining. She is usually very content when she's within smelling distance of me. Seeing me isn't enough, she needs the essence of mom.
But when she's happy, it sure is fun. 

I took about 50 pictures today of Lena trying to take Charlotte's cookie, and Charlotte subsequently sharing it and then kissing her on the head. Where she learns this sweet behavior, I do not know, but I will take credit for it.

Now that summer is approaching and it's going to getting hot, I want to get in a good routine to pass the time and enjoy the summer. I've been feeling somewhat burned out and maybe getting into a new season with new activities will get me out my rut. 

What are your favorite warm weather activities with your kids? (or places to cool off when it's too hot?)