Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm Getting Through

I wrote a bit down below about how I'm uncomfortable with gun play, but not sure if it's wise to ban it altogether. So when one of the kids comes up to show me the new gun he created, I'm apt to say, "You did a good job, but you know what? I don't really like guns very much." Inevitably, the kid will ask why, and I reply, "Because their only purpose is to hurt people." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know - you can also hurt animals, but none of us live on the frontier and I don't understand hunting for sport. I also don't understand the appeal of boxing, but then again, it's been noted before, I am a girl.

So yesterday G. was on duty and we had the usual contingent of 2-4 neighbor kids over (Finally! My house is the cool house!) and he heard A. say to W.: "I don't think we should be playing with guns inside the house. Don't they give you germs? Let's play something else." That's right. Guns outside the house only, and make sure they're antibacterial.

In other news, I had 9 clients last Wednesday and 7 in a row yesterday. I've got referrals coming out of my ears because there just aren't that many therapists who will accept insurance. It's weird - I realized last week that I haven't been stressed about work in ages, so it's a familiar but mostly-forgotten feeling.

When A. was born, we decided that we wanted to avoid daycare if at all possible. Part of the reason for this was that we heard too many scary daycare/nanny stories (G. actually had a client whose baby had Shaken Head Syndrome from a nanny) and the other part was that we knew they would be little for a relatively short time, and we didn't want to miss anything. The time would come soon enough, we figured, when they wouldn't want to hang out with us so much, so we wanted to take advantage of the Mama/Papa-worship for as long as we could. The final reason is that it's just way expensive and would eat up so much of my income that we wouldn't get very far ahead.

Since therapists can, and usually have to, work at night, we figured we could put together some kind of staggered schedule so one of us would be able to take the kids at all times. We share the private practice office so only one of us could use it at at time, anyway. We overlapped just one day a week, when I had some hours in another city, and we had nearby friends who offered to take the boys that afternoon. They liked it because it gave them some of the benefits of having babies (they had a 12-year-old son) without all the mess. We liked it because they did it for free and we trusted them.

On the whole, it's worked out well. We don't have to worry about having to call in sick when the kids are sick, we don't have to worry about what to do when the daycare provider is sick or closed. The kids seem pretty well adjusted, and both G. and I have been present for almost everything important. I never feel like I don't spend enough time with them. I work two days a week and that's been enough to keep our heads above water financially and keep me feeling like I have an adult life. G. is on-duty by himself for a half day on Monday and a whole day on Wednesday, which I think has strengthened his bond with them.

But we're poor. And I'm tired of being poor. I'm turning away referrals because I just don't have any appointment times available and it seems silly to turn down work when we have no retirement savings, they boys' college fund is funded entirely with birthday and Christmas checks, and I can't afford new shoes, let alone a damn iPod.

It's also very hard to have any time off - if I don't have the kids, I'm working. If I'm not working, I've got the kids. Same for G. We both have Saturdays off, but that day's usually spent running around getting stuff done.

OK, we're not poor. We have two running cars, we own a house and we have plenty to eat. We have health insurance since G. took the half-time job at Major HMO. We splurged and bought a digital video camera after Ben was born. We pay for a private preschool. We have what we need.

But I want more, frankly. I want to buy a few new clothes every year. I want to eat out every once in a while. And I want an iPod. And a Canon digital Rebel (or comparable nice camera), and a bigger car. A vacation to a tropical isle would be nice. And I think that would do it for me. I don't think that's asking too much, do you? Oh, and a housekeeper - just like twice a month. That's it, really.

So I'm adding some hours on Sunday. How many people want to see a therapist on Sunday? Apparently a few, since I already have 3 people willing to come in on Sunday afternoon. G. already sees people Sunday morning. I'm hoping it will take some of the pressure off during the week, too, since seeing 7 people in a row is not ideal. It's exhausting in a whole different way than taking care of kids. Seeing 9 people on one day is not a great thing, either. By the end of the day, I don't want to hear any more stories. So I'm hoping to spread it out a bit, and maybe make enough to pay off our debt a bit more quickly and then, damnit, I'm buying myself an iPod.

P.S. I know I'm getting old because it's actually getting harder for me to read the font on this blog. That's why I made it bigger. Just trying it out.


Sarah O. said...

You know, I just enlarged the type on my blogspot blog, too. I think the type really did suddenly shrink.

We, too, were so broke when our kids were little. Ten years later we're doing much better. It takes time.

It's such a tradeoff. You have these amazing little kids and you're poor.

Your kids get older and less amazing-seeming but you have more money.

Then they go to college and you're broke again!

I guess the moral is to appreciate your kids every day and appreciate what you've got. If I ever reach that mindset I'll let you know.

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