Normal Life

I have been officially cleared by my doctor to go back to my “normal” life, assuming my normal life doesn’t take me very far from Longmont. The problem is figuring out what a normal life is at this point. My doctor believes that Calvin might show up anytime now (she was surprised he didn’t decide to make an appearance this last weekend) which makes it difficult to do anything that requires planning.

Yesterday, I talked to my boss about returning to work. I’ve been working 10 hrs a week since I’ve been in the hospital. We decided to up that to 20 hrs this week and see how it goes. At this point, I’m having a hard time sitting up for more than a couple of hours at a time so it’s nice to have the flexibility to work from home so I can take breaks whenever I need to.

I’ve also slowly started exercising again. Before going on bed rest I was a fairly vigorous exerciser, usually doing some combination of aerobic and weight lifting for 70 minutes a day (though broken up into morning and lunch exercises). However, being 36 weeks pregnant and on bed rest for 4 weeks has taken its toil. I don’t get out of breath but I start getting cramping in my side if I try doing too much too fast. I’ve started doing some strength/pregnancy exercises and a limited amount of walking. Last night Jaeger and I took a short (0.3 mile) walk around our neighborhood which was about as much as I could handle. This morning I walked the little loop twice and I just finished another 2 loops which puts me up to 1.2 miles today. I feel really pathetic since I use to walk 2+ miles during my 1/2 hr lunch but I know I need to give myself some slack.

The rest of my week has consisted of running little errands and relaxing whenever I start getting too tired. My doctor has made a big deal about making sure I’m well-rested so I’m trying to be good and not overdo it. I’m mainly limiting myself to one excursion a day. Today, I got my hair cut and eyebrows waxed since I figured this might be my last chance for a long time :-) I keep meaning to try to stop by Costco as I need to restock my frozen fruit supply but I haven’t been ambitious enough for that yet.

At this point, we have all the basic necessities we need for Calvin, at least the ones we know about. In addition to basic necessities, I’ve been researching 529 plans and child care options.

The 529 options seem pretty straightforward. I’m waffling between Utah’s or Colorado’s plan. With Colorado we get a tax break but their expense ratio is around 0.75% whereas with Utah we don’t have a tax break but the expense ratio is 0.34%. Colorado is more expensive because they are partnered with Upromise which allegedly allows you to earn 529 money by buying from various merchants, etc. Personally, I feel it’s a bit scam-like and I’d much prefer a cheaper option without any sort of reward program. Jaeger and I need to sit down and discuss what options we like the best. Because of the difference in expense ratios, choosing either Colorado’s or Utah’s plan is more of a toss-up than I expected even after calculating the state tax benefit. Thus, it’ll probably come down to which investment options we like best.

Child care options are no where near as straightforward as choosing a 529 plan :-( I’m planning to work around 20 hrs a week and needing daycare around 16 of those hours. At this point, it appears I have two options: pay for someone to come to our house to take care of Calvin, or pay for full-time daycare even though I only need part-time. It turns out that most daycare facilities will not take infants part-time. However, after calculating all the taxes we would need to pay for a part-time in-home babysitter/nanny, paying for full-time daycare is only a little more expensive and would provide a lot more flexibility. There are a lot of pros and cons to each that Jaeger and I need to look at. Unfortunately, if we want to put Calvin in a good daycare, we need to reserve our spot several months in advance. Both options are depressing as they will consume 55-60% of my take home pay.

With all the projects I’ve been working on I have less free time than one might expect. However, I have managed to get through several amusing books in February (and started a couple that weren’t worth finishing). I’ve mainly been sticking to historical romances or cozy mysteries but made a quick excursion this week into contemporary romance. Yesterday, I finished reading Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise. Previously, I had read a book she co-authored with Bob Mayer that I found quite amusing called Agnes and the Hitman. It was a nice blend of romance and cozy mystery. However, I was dubious about trying out one of Cruise’s straight romances. Somewhat to my surprise, I really enjoyed Bet Me. Sometimes the characters were a little silly but they never devolved into the complete idiots that characterize many chick-lit heroines. The only downside to the book was I ended up craving donuts due to several near-pornographic descriptions of food. Unfortunately, that craving still hasn’t left me. A couple of weeks ago my doctor was berating me for not gaining enough weight but since I gained 4 pounds last week, I’m not sure I can justify a donut excursion.

3 thoughts on “Normal Life

  1. Child care

    I’m curious what constitutes “good” childcare. I know everyone has differing opinions on this.

    Some believe that “good” means institutional because they have “teachers” and the kids there supposedly learn things (besides swearing and fighting and how to not listen). This crowd believes that in-home child care is incredibly undependable, attracts perhaps lowlifes with no training who may care very little for actual child welfare. The other side says that institutions are too big, teach too many bad things because of the number of kids there to learn from, and lack the ability to discipline. This side prefers in home care because it can be more personal, and believes that there are some truly good in home child care providers.

    I went to an institutional daycare for evening child care as a child while my mom was taking some night classes. It didn’t care for it and thought the kids were weird. The kids and the staff didn’t match with the values I was learning at home, even at that age, but I was old enough to know the difference by then.

    Perhaps my opinions are biased because my sister-in-law has had experience in both settings. Her degree from Union is in education and she taught 3rd and 4th grades immediately out of college. After that she worked as a “teacher” in an institutional daycare setting. She didn’t like it because the kids were so awful. I don’t know if all of daycares are the same, but the one she worked at didn’t allow the staff to discipline the kids. That meant that the kids could get away with anything. The parents that sent their kids there didn’t seem to care either, so talking with the parents did nothing to alter a kid’s behavior. She felt powerless to make any real difference. So she opened her own in home child care. She set it up based on her values and tells the parents what those values are when they come for an interview and tour. She feeds them the Adventist food in a well-balanced diet (nothing unclean, and some fake meats); they pray before meals; they have worship; they are disciplined (not spanked, of course) when they need correcting. She takes them on field trips and plans activities for them. There is no TV in the part of the home they have access to, so they are busy playing, not wasting time with TV. There are no Adventist families in her daycare, and some who have only vague histories of being Christian, but their kids go home and tell the parents they need to pray before they eat. I can’t think of a better place to leave my kid. Yet I know that not all home daycares are that good. One down the street from her several years ago had a lady who sometimes stayed in PJs all day, and fed the kids food straight off the table instead of plates that would need washing.

    I wouldn’t want to have to choose where to leave my precious baby, but I think I’d start by looking at in home daycares. But that’s because I know Karla’s is so good, so much better than anything she’d be able to offer at an institution. Perhaps I’d be disappointed in what else is actually available though and change my opinions if I had to look.

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  2. Kiesa

    I think my definition of good child care is a facility that emphasizes a lot of one-on-one time with the children. Because of this, I’d ideally like to hire someone to come into the home. However, it would definitely be much more expensive per hour (around here it appears to cost between $10-15-hr + taxes and then you have the headache of making sure all the tax stuff is done correctly.

    Growing up, my brother and I were mainly taken care of by our aunt. We never went to institutional day cares but I really didn’t like the in-home daycare we went to occasionally. It was probably the unfamiliarity that I didn’t like. If I had recommendations from other people I trusted for in-home day cares I would probably be more willing to consider them. However, it seems like most mothers around here just stay home and don’t need childcare.

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  3. Yalena

    I agree with your one-on-one preference. In your home would be great if it was affordable. That’s what I prefer as well. I wouldn’t have even thought to consider the taxes of hiring someone to come into my home. Before I got married I had a roommate renting my spare bedroom, a 20-ish girl from church, and she did some nanny-ing for a family. I don’t know what she earned or anything, but I would have trusted her to care for my kids, and since she was a student, she might have cost less than some other folks or agencies.

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