Baby #2

I’m just going to ramble some updates at you…

As you can see by the vast length of time between posts, I’ve been a little busy. My little guy is now 20 months old and he has a little brother on the way! Baby Jones number 2 is going to be a boy! I’m getting settled into my new identity as a boy mom. We plan to only have two children so boys it is! So far the biggest struggle is coming up with another boy name. Girl names were so easy. I’m glad that there will be no shortage of clothing for the little brother and the toy situation should work out nicely as well.

I continue to reflect on how great it has worked out being a part time substitute teacher and stay at home mom. Although I longed for a full time teaching job of my own, I continue to realize what a blessing it has been to have this time with my son. I now know that I want the same for my next boy and will not look for full time work until baby # 2 is at least a year old. Having my in-laws nearby, retired, and eager to hang with their grand kid has been a major help and allowed me to keep one foot in the teaching world.

Pregnancy number 2 has so far, and thankfully been exactly like pregnancy number 1. I was lucky to have no sickness or issues the first time and people continually reminded me that each pregnancy is different, to which I had hoped they would be wrong. So far they have been. Although perhaps one difference is that I am truly struggling with my cravings, which have mostly been for sugar and junk food. I just can’t seem to say no. I’ll blame it on the pregnancy for now and hope I can curb it soon!

My little man is pretty awesome. He talks a lot. Can’t believe I was worried when he didn’t say much at a year! He knows his colors and can point out a few letters and numbers. He’s addicted to Thomas the tank engine and knows the names of the trains better than his family members! He loves animals, especially our two cats (to their dismay). He’s starting to become a wildly picky eater. It’s hard at times and makes me feel like not getting those veggies in will cost him dearly. Trying to be like Frozen and let it go. He does have some good times with meals so I’ll focus on the small successes (continued love of peas, yay!).

I just got back from a dirty thirty cruise with my other lady friends who are also turning the big 3-0 this year. It was fun but a bit challenging being all pregnant and unable to truly party it up or do daring things like the flow-rider on the ship. Snorkeling in Belize was a blast, the food was great, and the company wasn’t too bad either! The hubs is currently on his man trip to compliment my lady trip, out in Colorado. He’s spending the week with his cousin skiing to his hearts content.

So June 19th is the proposed arrival of baby boy #2! Lots to do before then. We are working on (by we I mean my husband) remodeling two rooms of our house which will be our new room so the children can have what’s left over. I keep thinking that I can’t believe I’m going to give birth again. All of it seems just as scary as the first time. Maybe even more so, because I know what I’m in for! Wish me luck and hopefully I’ll update again soon!

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Parenting: Here’s What I’ve Learned So Far (SPOILER ALERT: it ain’t much)

Ever the student and often the teacher, I find it’s time for me to sit back and take stock of what I’ve learned so far about parenting.

1) I’m still me. I’m realizing this more and more. When I was younger and not even too much younger, I thought parents and moms were these older, wise, caring, grown up, polite, disciplinarians. But I’m one now, officially, by every definition. And my personality, likes and dislikes all stayed the same. I prefer junk food to vegetables. I hate doing the dishes. I can’t stayed focused on one topic in conversations. I google everything I’m unsure of. Maybe I thought once I crossed over that clear line from carefree youth to caring mom I’d magically have all the answers, a clean house, and a healthy diet. But for now, I guess I’ll just fake it til I make it!

2) Babies grow SO fast! Everyone told us this and still does. But it’s one of those things you have to see to truly understand. It seems just yesterday I was hardly ready to care for a brand new baby. And now, a mere 9 months later, I’m taking care of a completely different animal. He babbles, he twists, he reaches, he walks (with our help), he holds his own bottle, he can feed himself, his poop is just like mine! He spots stuff a mile away and wants it. He turns his head to investigate every little noise. No more am I worried about supporting him, or if he can see or hear me. He’s a whopping 25 lbs, which is really heavy to haul around. He has a big kid car seat. He wears a regular (albeit small) winter coat. He eats practically everything. He has two VERY SHARP teeth. In my early parenting weeks, I never even gave a thought to a different car seat. That milestone seemed ages away. I figured he’d be in a swaddle for the longest time and teeth just seemed like such a toddler thing.

3) Only you can make the best decision for your kid. No parenting book, website or even google can give you the right answer 100% of the time. And what’s available and assured for the masses is not always set in stone. There was so much I was afraid of early on that seems silly now. Of course, when your little one is brand new they need that extra special care. I was sure he’d practically graduate college before I let him have a blanket in bed (we gave him one of those awhile ago). He drops a pacifier on the floor and I just give it a quick mom sanitization (I pop it in my mouth for a second). I thought I had to give my baby pureed, official “baby” food. Then I discovered baby led weaning and threw all that commercial nonsense out the window. Even baby led weaning I customized.

4) It’s all a balancing act.It feels like I have this incessant inner voice saying stuff like: “Now don’t give him too much food, he’ll learn to over eat…Oh come on, give him just another bite, he seems like he’s starving.” or “Put a onsie on under his jammies so he’s not too cold tonight…what have you done, he’s going to wake up sweating in the middle of the night”. a recent classic “He’s screaming, take him from the babysitter and comfort him…great, now you’ve just created a dependent, momma’s boy!”.  I’m always looking to find that middle ground just to quiet my inner paranoia.

5) I have so much to learn.

Hey Teachers: This post is for YOU!

Being a mom, a substitute teacher looking for a full time position, and a part time waitress, you’d think I’d be busy enough! But, I decided to take on a tutoring gig online. I’m currently “waiting” for a student who is now a no show and figured I’d share with my colleagues about this neat, legitimate work from home company (don’t worry, you still get paid even if students don’t show up).

It’s called educate online. Go ahead and google it. See? It’s official looking.

Here’s what makes it legit: It’s not too good to be true. The pay is a mere 11.50 an hour. When you have a master’s degree that can seem fairly low. However, there is no lesson planning, and of course you work at home, in your jammies, around your schedule. For me, it’s not so much about making lots of money as it is about being able to continue working in my field. I get to hone those teacher skills. And being completely online, you really learn fast about clear verbal communication, since you have no visual cues.

There’s no video at all. At first, I thought it was going to be impossible. But they have it all figured out. There’s a nice classroom environment, similar to a smart board where you can write, draw and read the lesson articles or problems. You and the student can interact with it at the same time or not if you don’t want them to.

You have to be certified to teach in your state and they prefer a master’s degree. Often those too good to be true “jobs” don’t have any requirements since they prefer to scam everyone equally, ha.

This can’t be a full time job. You can only work a maximum of about 26 hours a week. And you have to be available for a minimum of 10.

You don’t pay anything. Zero. Zip. As well you shouldn’t if you are an employee. They even give you the headset you need and pay for your training, again a simple 10 an hour.

The really good stuff?

It’s just as rewarding as regular, face-to-face teaching. You can really get a feel for a student by their voice. You can hear their enthusiasm and their confidence. You can give stickers on their correct responses or as a motivation tool and they love it. They’re often in a school setting, like a computer lab with a teacher present, so you don’t really have to worry too much about behavior issues. That’s not to say there are none. Sometimes working with the younger students (I’ve worked with kids as young as 7) can be a real test in how engaging and motivating you can be.

There seems to be many levels for growth within the company. I’ve just started out and above me there’s the lead instructor (my go to person with any questions/ my evaluator), learning coaches that motivate students, scheduling coordinators and curriculum developers.

In an all online company, there’s a real sense of community and support among the employees. You can tell the lead instructors and other teachers really enjoy what they do and want everyone to be successful. There’s a weekly newsletter that highlights outstanding instructors and even cites anecdotal evidence! The mandatory (and yes paid) monthly, hour-long meetings are very helpful and make you feel good about working for the company.

I just hope I can maintain these 10 hours, because it’s a lot more fun than waiting tables. If only the pay were at all comparable…