Monday, April 25, 2005

Back to Work?

I've been keeping in touch with a co-worker from my former life as an engineer with a medical diagnostics device manufacturer. We email each other from time to time and, less frequently, get together for a beer and a bite to eat. It had been a while since we had seen each other and I sent an email suggesting a get-together. Part of his reponse follows:

I hope all is well with you. Are you still at home with the kids? Any chance we could get you to consider coming back to work with us? Your name came up again just last week. [Engineering staffing manager] asked me if you were interested in coming back.

Lets try and get together for a drink soon. How about on Monday May 9th?
On some levels, I am definitely interested in a return to paid work. It would certainly help with some of our financial pressures, goals, and desires. Further, there are days where I struggle with whether or not I am doing such a great job as a stay-at-home parent.

On the flip side, I am not very excited about the prospect of finding alternative care for the beasties. While it would not be easy on me and M, I am sure that LuLu would be fine with a nanny or au pair or even a high-quality daycare. It is Four that I would be concerned about. We still wonder about the possibility of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis (we have an evaluation process scheduled for 3-days in June with a highly recommended behavioral pediatrician), and feel pretty strongly that it will take (and does currently take) someone special to help him thrive. '

Another potential pitfall to returning to paid work is the net cash flow. A google led me a article "Should You Go Back to Work?" with an accompanying worksheet to calculate the additional net cash flow created by a return to work. Unfortunately, after taxes, childcare, commuting costs, etc., the net ain't nearly what I would have hoped for.

There's also a part of me that would regret all the things I haven't done that I had hoped to do as a stay-at-home parent. When I first started this job, I was going to turn the world on its ear. Not only was I going to be a great SAHD, but I was also going to create businesses, write children's books, and generate income without being dependent on corporate culture. To date, I have done OK -- could always do better -- on the SAHD part, but I've not even truly made an effort on the other fronts. On some level, I feel a return to work at this time would signal a surrender of these goals. But, as M points out, a return to work and writing children's books are not mutually exclusive.

I am torn right now about what to do. I guess it wouldn't hurt to hear what they are offering?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I'm Just Happy!

Yesterday, we were all out shopping for a new patio set. After 3 years of successfully convincing my wife that we just couldn't afford it, I could no longer hold back the impending tide. And besides, the kids and I had just eaten out on the patio on a folding card table the last night of M's trip, and I must admit, it was pretty cool. So, after a long morning of trapsing through outdoor furniture stores, and frankly, an hour and a half past noon, we realized we better start thinking about lunch. Driving past a Mickey D's, Four chimes in, "I have a great idea."
Me: "I know where this is going."
Four: "How do you know?"
Me: "Just a hunch. How about instead of McDonald's, we go to Friendly's?"
Four is crushed. But I just can't justify going to McDonald's, and figure Friendly's has to have a few more wholesome choices. Making the necessary U-turns to get there, we are treated to Four crying and declaring how much we doesn't like me and that he WON'T go in. LuLu finally adds her two cents, "It's fine, Dad. I'm just happy!" Where does she get this? She's only two.

Another sidenote: Friendly's didn't seem that much more nutritionally Friendly than McDonald's, at least not for kids -- and was quite a bit more expensive. Given Four's allergy to eggs, he ended up with a relatively safe grilled cheese and more fries than this thirty-something should be eating. An additional downer was that the silver lining of an ice cream reward in going to Friendly's was diminished by the fact that all of their ice cream flavors contain eggs. Fortunately, the soft serve did not contain eggs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Walk in the Rain with Shelley

reminder to self to write about Four's book selection last night. later.

[update 4/24/2005] Four and I had been butting heads ever since his return from school this day. He certainly had his good moments, but there were times when he was just bouncing off the walls. M came home and the situation almost intensified, understandably. Both kids were so excited to her. LuLu tripped over some toys running out to see her, and Four, who had just gotten out of the tub and was getting lotion for his eczema, tried to run out naked. I made him at least put some underpants on. But when it was finally time to go to bed, and after much protesting and quarreling, Four finally picked out his two books: Shelley, the Hyperactive Turtle and A Walk in the Rain with a Brain. Brain is a neat book that emphasizes the value of everyone's brain and its celebrates the differences in people's skills and interests. It seems as if this book is linked to the ADD/ADHD literature in many circles, but I believe it's a valuable book for all of us. Shelley is a book about a little turle who displays all the trademark characteristics of ADD/ADHD and undergoes a process to help mitigate some of the negative behaviors associated with the diagnosis. [A side note about Shelley: there are definitely some valuable messages in this book, but some of the language seems to me overly negative and stigmatizing. Additionally, the book makes reference textually and graphically to medication, which may or may not be an option for some families -- we are certainly hoping to avoid it, if at all possible.]His selection of these books, after a day of trying behavior, was, to me, his version of an olive branch. I felt he was saying, "Dad, I know my behavior today was not the best, and for that I am sorry. Maybe this is why."


  The other night we went for walk after dinner. As we were walking, Four gently grabs a yellow flower covered, wispy branch of a neighbor's shubbery which is flirting with the sidewalk and those who pass. Just as I'm about to admonish him to not pull the flowers off (patience, Kevin), he innocently asks, "Do you know what this is, Dad?"
  I reply, testing him -- or so I thought, "What do you think it is?"
  I could see the gears turning in that little noggin, and he says as determined and carefully as he can, "A" Good thing, too! While as soon as he said it I knew he was right, I was about to tell him if he didn't know that I thought it was a Clematis! Still working on my green thumb.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hands On House

Hands On House

Finally getting around to posting pics from a spring break field trip to Hands On House in Lancaster, PA. Enjoy!

Cello Mommy!

M left yesterday for the Annual NAB Conference. When the phone rang this morning and I saw on the caller ID that it was her cell phone, I let LuLu answer the phone. "Cello Mommy!" Later in the call, she got the phone back from Four and said "Hello Mommy!" I joked with M that it's as if LuLu is building her own dialect or culture where the initial greeting is different from subsequent niceties.

I couldn't tell if M asked first how the weather was here, but Four asked how the weather was in "Lasa Vegas". He was floored that it was still dark. Funny how we just take that concept for granted. Before M's departure, he had wondered what color plane she would be flying, and sure enough, he remembered to ask her once he got her on the phone. It was silver.

M returns Wednesday, and I am optimistic that, while we will miss her deeply, we will have a great time. If you're reading, M, we love you!

Friday, April 08, 2005


LuLu just said, as she grabbed onto my leg, "You're my best daddy, dad."