Obsessions avec l'enfant

Ever since I was offered the assignment – which I'm looking forward to starting tomorrow– my mind keeps returning to preparing for a child. It's the only topic that holds my attention and feels exciting right now. The main topics of my current obsession are:

1. Crib bedding: Lots of cute styles out there, but Vintage Circus is not the easiest to find... I did put some gray, blue, and white sheets on my Target wish list to be purchased in March, including stars and elephant patterns. And here are three cute options I found on Etsy:

Cute combo pattern with elephants. But maybe too masculine?
Adorable vintage elephant riding a bicycle sheets.
Love this bed ruffle that I think will go well with vintage circus. But do I really need it? No

2. Prior to the above obsession, I was focused on a rug. The wood floor is not safe or comfortable for a little one and make the room look colder.  Initially, I wanted to get a round striped circus rug, but I decided it had too many colors in it and would clash with the artwork. I spent a lot of time looking on discount rug websites and Target's site. There was a massive sale on at rugs USA.com, so I ended up getting a large rug for around 100 bucks. My sister-in-law loved a zebra striped number, but it would've been several hundred dollars and was not on sale.  It is a little boring, but I think it will go well with the theme and got a lot of great customer reviews for the texture.  What do you think?

3.  There are several other items I've started to look at but am not getting serious about yet, such as a glider or chair for the room, a dresser and changing table or pad, and a highchair.  These are all items that can wait a while however. The main goal right now is to prepare for the final homestudy walk-through, which requires the room be placement ready, and pictures taken of the inside of the house for the family book, including the kids room.  Thus, my focus on getting the room put together right now.

4.  The final area of obsession is more psychological and social… I have been thinking a lot about the demands of being a mother, how my life will change, and what social connections would be fun and practical to develop once I have a child.  I have shared on this blog about meeting with local SMC's, and I attended another really great gathering a couple weeks ago. It was in San Francisco. My new Eastbay SMC friend and I carpooled over together and met a lot of friendly, welcoming, smart SF SMC women and their little kids. Since most of the kids were two or under, it was a great window on what I will be experiencing soon, hopefully.  Most of them were IVF kids, so most of them were boys, and there was lots of activity!

I was super excited to talk with two of the women who had adopted babies from the Marshall Islands. I totally fell in love with this one little baby, and immediately wanted to expand my adoption parameters to include Micronesian babies, especially since I know these two women now and could stay connected to a community in San Francisco for both my and my kid's benefit. It may be a moot point and only relevant to international adoptions. In any case, it was a great gathering, and I've been thinking about how my social circle will necessarily expand and change when I have a child. In addition to SMC connections, I can see spending a lot more time with my friend K and his wife who have a baby now. How did your social circle change after you had a child?


Pulling Back from the Edge (just in time)

Big, big news... I got the assignment with SRJC in Petaluma!!! I have already started a little bit of training and will complete the core of training next Tuesday and Wednesday when I observe three different Counselors and hopefully learn a lot from each one. Then I officially start on the 21st.

Not only did I get the assignment, but I was given *significantly* more hours than I expected to get as an adjunct Counselor. I will be working Tuesday and Thursday 9-4:30pm and Wednesday and Friday from 9 - 2:30pm, for a total of *24 hours*! I expected 16 hours maximum, so this is a huge difference in monthly salary of over $1750. Gah! I had not actually calculated that cumulative number before. So, yeah, huge difference.

Plus, I am going to try and continue my 15 hours, for now, at the non-profit. I will work there all day Monday and 3.5 hours on Wednesday and Friday. Wish me luck. I am a little scared about maintaining my energy level with this schedule, but I think it is worth trying to make this big push to catch up financially and then create a decent savings cushion over the next few months before a child is placed with me.

Oh my goodness, the thought of not having quite so tight a budget feels so wonderful. My time will be super tight now, though...but my thought is that once a child is placed with me, I can drop or cut back on the non-profit hours. They have so far not been okay with me working from home - even though they said they would, I'm getting mixed messages - but maybe if push came to shove, they would say yes, at least for a while. If not, I may need to leave, but I am taking it one step at a time.

I have an anecdote to share that made me think... the other day at the non-profit, the new program coordinator and I were talking about this idea that she brought up in our staff meeting about taking some of the clients out for social "field trips," like to movies or dinner or coffee shops, etc. She said in a tone of amazement, "For our clients, this is their only social outlet - can you imagine?! They look forward to coming and these are their only friends!" Something like that. And I thought, well, hmm. It's not like I have a big social circle and lots of friends outside work. I get a lot of my connection right now from my work at the non-profit and it means a lot to me. So I guess I'm a lot like our clients! I didn't say this, but I thought it. I felt a little like a loser but then I also felt grateful and understood all the more why it would be sad for me to have to leave there right now.

So I'm glad I don't have to give that up right now and put all my eggs in the SRJC basket, which is somewhat unknown at this point. When I met with the Director of the program last week, she emphasized how it's a tight-knit community and everyone has each other's backs. Also, the students often have serious issues come up during the course of the day and there is a good amount of crisis management we do for them. This actually sounds a little like the non-profit, and the community aspect is very appealing to me.

The downside was that she said I may have to "chase students around" to meet with them until they get to know me because meeting with us is voluntary. Except for adding and dropping classes and I'm glad we at least have that leverage to connect with them! It sounds like I will be visiting classes and spending time in "study lab" where they work on homework each day to help them get to know me and vice versa.

I've definitely been scrambling to meet my landlord's deadline, including taking out a line of credit, but I think I've managed to pull the Winnebago of my life back from the cliff's edge. The next 6 to 8 weeks will be pretty tight until I get my first full paycheck from SRJC, but I'm feeling relief and hope. Looking forward to refocusing on completing the final steps of my home study.


Everything Crossed

Please send good thoughts or prayers that I am given an assignment with my new college for 10 to 16 hours a week. I am doing some training with them starting February 7th, then they said they will see what hours are still needed. 16 hours is the maximum number of hours an adjunct counselor can work, and 10 to 16 hours will allow me to meet my financial obligations and stay in this house, when added to my nonprofit and business hours.

 It's crazy to think that one hour at the college pays 2 1/2 times what my nonprofit pays, so 10 hours at the college is like 25 to 30 at the nonprofit! But I still really love working at the nonprofit and the sense of family and support there. I feel they would be great Aunties and extended family for a little one.

My homestudy requirements are almost entirely met. Yesterday, I saw my doctor and checked the medical forms off the list. I still need to submit my income and expense form, but I am waiting to hear about the college hours first. Then another couple of safety latches in the kitchen and another home walk-through and that's about it.