Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The show went well

I had a very tough month. It seems like when you are planning something, it never quite comes out exactly as you want it. But when this happens over and over again you are maybe starting to question the sanity or fairness of the Universe.

Preparing for a show is a strain on your time and your resources... preparing for a show when you have two toddlers is harder.
I simply fail to see how other people do it... Seriously!
I am on my feet most of my waking time, I work every single day, sculpting for hours on end and yet here I am still requiring a boat load of help from our nanny to cope. She tidies the house and takes care of the boys, irons the clothes etc. And yet I find myself never earning quite enough each month or never having enough energy by the end of the day.

The boys are wonderful and gorgeous but just so time consuming its mind bloggling. Do other 19 month olds play alone at all by this age? Because ours don't. They cling to us constantly and never give us a moment's peace. They wreck the house, openings cup-boards and throwing everything out, breaking things etc.
Its not that our kids aren't normal... its probably that I am just too tired to set limits at this point. I just can't hear them crying.
Its not that I don't say no, but I do try to allow them to explore as much as I can... I can't say no to everything they want... not everything should be out of reach or forbidden.

So when our nanny left us for a week and asked for some money in advance due to a family emergency, George stepped up... he took a week off work so that I could prepare for the show.
Things went well and thought I missed my kids terribly, I didn't stop talking about them through my stay. Everyone got an earful of Cody's and John's accomplishements and by the end of the weekend, their photos had been passed around enough times for all my friends to see their amazing cuteness.

I found myself immersed in adult conversations and my work being admired and thought I was shaking inside, because I am so shy naturally and so not used to attention, I found myself actually enjoying my stay eventually.
But I couldn't be happier when I boarded the plane home... my heart was counting down the minutes and the hours until I saw my kids.

When I arrived they were already asleep but at some point both woke up and I had the chance to cuddle with them. Even in their half-asleep state they both managed to smile at me and look happy I was there.
In all my life and with all my experiences and no matter what happens to me in the future, I will never ever find an experience or moment more thrilling, loving and bursting with love than this: its the moment I pick a boy up and hold him close, and he drapes his body across mine, his slim little arms holding me around the neck, his head resting on my shoulder... their body goes limp feeling secure and he lets out a sigh of relief... he feels complete and so do I. Its the moment he melts into my arms... I will never feel more complete than this...

Even though I was absolutely exhausted after a string of sleepless and worried nights and working for 14 hours a day... even though my eyes were so heavy I just couldn't get comfortable in my own bed. I twisted and turned until 3 am last night... but eventually sleep came and the boys were so kind as to not request their 5am bottle but instead sleep through to 8am.

I mentioned earlier that our nanny had requested some advance money to buy her plane ticket. Today she was acting strange. Having paid her half a month's salary, I thought I didn't have to pay her for a few more days so when she requested to be paid for those 10 days I hadn't paid her and then some, I told her that ok but I would have to keep $5 a day from her salary to make up for the earlier money advance.

She told me that she didn't owe me any money and that I owed her instead. She said that she was getting paid peanuts ($900 cash every month) and that I never paid her for summer vacation or Easter bonus.
Now if you are from another country you are probably saying that I do in fact pay her peanuts but in Greece this is a LOT of money. Its more than the basic salary, she works 7 hours a day not 8 and from those 7, the boys are sleeping for 2 and she watches TV.
True she does an amazing job but I just can't pay her any more.

To give you an analogy of her salary, my husband is a Navy officer with the rank of Warrant Officer. After 18 years in the Force his salary is $1600 a month. She gets $900... cash.
I felt the house gutted. I couldn't possibly afford to pay her more... She made it sound as if she was working for free. A salary for a lady doing her job in Greece is around $600 a month so already I am paying more than my friends are paying their nanny.
Plus she comes and goes as she pleases, I never say anything when she is late or has to leave early or when she takes the boys out for hours on end in order to run her own errants.

On top she is not really teaching them anything. She lets them run around the house or confinds them to their playpen while she does things. At 19 months old I find my children are now falling behind their peers because I simply must work and the hours I do spend with them are not enough apparently to teach them or be creative with them. Plus I do recognize I lack the energy or will power with everything weighing down on me to be more strict with them or deal with Cody's temper tantrums.

Yes, I am gutted but what can I possibly do? We cannot survive without me working. I just simply have to work... and to do that I need a nanny...
So it is with a very heavy heart that I now let og of our nanny and enroll the boys to school.
The cons are huge: they will get sick so often and miss days and I will miss days off work. Our money will go down exponentially since I will be missing days... my stress level and work load will go up...
But I am adamant that I will not succumb to blackmail from this woman.
I have no doubt in my mind she loves them dearly but a disgruntled employee will not perform well. She will start cutting corners like she did in the beginning of the year; not cleaning the house or cooking for them because "I wasn't paying her what she is worth".

Again I must stress that I am actually paying her a lot more than everyone else... and when I can I give her bonuses. This past Christmas a company deal I had went sour and I had no money, absolutely no money to get by. I didn't get my boys anything or my husband... but I paid her what I could as a bonus $350.
She is not happy, she can go.

I know it will be a huge change in our family routine but eventually I am sure the boys will adapt and they will do well in school. They will meet friends and be put on a schedule and be "creatively taught". I am not sure how ready I am for change.
I loathe change but its so funny because with kids change is the only sure thing.... but I so like our routine right now.
Kiss it goodbye Tina because what can you do? I will not get another nanny... I just can't. Took me a long time to trust this one I simply cannot change nannies.
Putting the boys in school is the best thing I think right now...

So tomorrow I am on the prowl again to see yet another school nearby.
So wish me luck...

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