Daycare hunting

We've been hunting for a suitable daycare for our baby that she'll need come August, when she's four months old and I return to work. And, wow, there's a whole spectrum of places. One was a million dollar home, with a lovely lady running the place, someone put together enough to, when I told her I am a nurse, tell me the details of her sick-child policy. But we went to one last night that still just gives me the creepy crawlies.

In a living room crowded with grungy looking toys and playpens, her 5 year old daughter was glued to a handheld video device on the couch when we came in. A small dog in another corner of the living area was yip-yapping non-stop so loudly I could barely hear my own thoughts. When I asked if the dog ever came out of its kennel (like it sounded like it desperately wanted to), she said, "Oh, that's not my dog, I do boarding and grooming on the weekends." Um, it's Wednesday, woman. She also practices attachment parenting philosophy: "So, you know, I pick up the babies and stuff." There was no yard, and when we asked if the kids ever go outside she said, "Yes, sometimes I take them to the park." Can you explain how you safely take five children, including up to four infants, to the park a half mile up the busy road from your duplex? She failed the next question as well. When asked where she changes diapers: "On the floor. You know, there are so many kids running around that I don't want them on the table, it's just easier on the floor." So you are going to put my daughter's bare butt on the dirty carpet while children step on her? No. No you will not. I let her hold my daughter briefly, and she allowed her five year old daughter to start climbing on her while holding my 10 week old. "Okay, I think my baby wants her mommy now..." It was like a train wreck...so bad, yet I couldn't stop asking questions to see just how bad it was.


Greetings, Earthlings

I've been a bit preoccupied in the last seven weeks, but the publication of a study of school nurses reminded me that I used to have a paying job, and this writing outlet. First, the study: School Nurses Save Money. The study mentions RNs, I suspect the use of LVNs might save even more money. It's nice to see something positive about school nurses in the headlines, though I'm not sure it will change the fact that school nurses seem to be being phased out in my area. 

Second, and far more importantly, I had my baby! It is crazy to recall the time in my life in which I just referred to her as "the baby," before she had a name, a face, and a personality. A few thoughts on motherhood while she finishes her afternoon nap: 
1. Natural birth is without a doubt the coolest thing I have ever done in my life. 12 hours to the greatest surprise ever. The most important thing is that our baby arrived healthy, but I am so, so happy to report that I would not change a thing about her entrance to the world. I just found my admission paperwork for the hospital stay while cleaning the house: I signed my consent forms at 4:45 AM, and our baby girl was born 5:51 AM. 
2. Recovery after childbirth is a bitch. No one told me how much I'd hurt afterward. I recall actually thinking I'd never walk again. A bit dramatic, maybe, but I was in pain and sleep deprived. Thankfully, that time has passed. The pain part, I mean. 
3. Breastfeeding is hard. Again, no one told me how hard it would be. My milk was late coming in, or at least too late according to my baby, and one of the hardest nights of my life came just days after the best night ever. Not being able to feed your child is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. 
4. Labor, recovery, breastfeeding, etc. are all washed aside when your baby smiles at you. Seriously, parents aren't joking about how rewarding it is to make your kid happy. It's the best. 
5. Newborns poop. A LOT. 

In the words of my husband and I: we are obsessed with her. Our trials continue, right now facing a possible cow's milk allergy, an unsteady milk supply from me, and irregular sleeping patterns, but so far, parenthood is awesome (except for the daycare costs we are facing come August). It also puts work in perspective. My district has hired more LVNs in my absence, and reorganizing, supposedly, our nursing staff in August. I have no idea what that means. I have one more school year left before my credential expires, and as for now, don't plan on going back to school to get my permanent credential. What that means: I essentially have one year left to be a school nurse, and after that, I'll need a new job, or be "taking a sabbatical," also known as unemployed. The latter doesn't sound nearly so bad when I take a look at my sleeping baby...Hmm. 


One last thing

I saw Spitfire today for the last time and I could not have asked for a better parting gift from her than these words.


Over and out

As of Thursday afternoon, I will be on maternity leave! I'm not due until the end of the month, but I had some comp time to either use or lose, and I'm choosing to use it. 

Things I will miss:
1. The students

Things I will not miss:
1. Everything else: parents, teachers, the politics of it all, commuting...

Even though my year is being cut short, it's been a doozy of a time that I've mostly been omitting on this blog. The restructuring of our nursing staff - adding on LVNs before figuring out how best to utilize everyone - has taken a toll on everyone. One of our nurses made a very serious error and went on paid administrative leave for three months pending an "investigation" into the matter while we all had to fill in for each other and step up our own game, only for her to return bragging about her 3 month paid vacation. Worse, she's now been rewarded with the lightest assignment of us all because she's proven her lack of integrity and can't be trusted around students. Let's just say this: there's a serious downside to unions sometimes. Frustration and lack of morale has reached an all time high, certainly in my time here, and the more veteran nurses that have been here 15+ years agree. 

In all the mess, it's easy to lose sight of why we're here: to take care of the kids. I'll miss Spitfire and many others, and have been totally amused by Spitfire's ability to make it clear to everyone how she feels about the situation. Kids are just kids, and it's a shame to have watched them become less of a priority to nurses and other staff alike. It's been a real challenge to keep this blog going this year simply because just trying to keep afloat in the drama of everything going on with our health staff has put the kids on the back-burner, unfortunately. 

But for now, it's my turn to focus on my own baby. I may or may not be back here; my world is about to change and I don't really know what to expect. Add me to Feedly or whatever blog subscriber you use if you'd like; but until later, in the words of the kids around here: SEE YA! 


A new one

It's rare that I come across a new problem these days, but I did this morning. The principal called me into his office at one of my elementary schools: rumor had it one of the fifth graders was pregnant, and he thought it best if I address it with her directly. I agreed, and talked with the girl who vehemently denied the possibility. Still: rumors gone wild about a girl being pregnant at an elementary school?? The principal even said that in 29 years of being involved in education, he's never come across a rumor like this at the elementary level...ugh. Let's all just hope it really is just a rumor. 


Spitfire strikes again

Next week is my last week before maternity leave starts, so we decided the LVN that I'd been training would cover Spitfire on her own Monday so that she could get a feel for things. Well, she lived up to her a nickname...

First, she asked the LVN what she was doing there, and the LVN explained that I'd be on leave soon so she wanted to get acquainted with her. Spitfire's retort: "Well, you better not kill me or else my mom will be really mad." Now that's a way to make a new nurse feel welcome. 

Second, she returned after lunch for her insulin, but then left again quickly saying she'd be right back...And of course, she never came back, and the LVN had to go hunt her down. I had to explain to the LVN that she most definitely did not forget, she was just testing the new nurse to see what she could get away with. 

The following day, I had a little chat with Spitfire about her behavior, and hopefully it won't happen again. Still, I couldn't help but laugh at it: the girl has some serious spunk and is making it clear to everyone that she is none too happy about my impending absence. 


Teachers as nurses

Why is it that certain teachers will demand a nurse's opinion on something, only to disregard it immediately? 

Exhibit A: A teacher sent a student down to my office with a note about an "abscess" in her mouth. I had the third grader open wide, and found her pointing to an incoming tooth that, while not growing in straight, looked totally healthy. Pink, not red, nothing oozing, no inflammation. I called her mom to tell her about it, and had a pleasant conversation in which we agreed that she'd make an appointment with the dentist, and I'd keep her at school and send her back to class. Later in the day at lunch, that student's teacher stormed into my office to ask why I wasn't doing anything more about the supposed abscess. I asked her as politely as I could if she had even looked in her student's mouth, as it all looked good in there to me. No, she admitted, but her student had called it an abscess so she figured it was infected. Okay...Pardon me for not accepting self-diagnoses by third graders...Even after I explained why I did not believe anything was terribly wrong with the student, she was still clearly peeved and stormed back out - apparently my opinion was the wrong opinion.