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Eating, Continued.

Eating, Continued.

Another great piece on eating right by Sally Sampson, writer for Motherlode.

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Stay Connected

images-1There can be a lot of miscommunication between parents and nannies, especially when communication isn’t happening. I think it’s important to stay connected with parents, and parents with nannies to maintain consistency in the household. Some ways I make sure this happens is to:

Nannies and Parents: Nannies, send email and or text updates daily.

Send texts or emails with pictures of what the child/ren did during the day with little notes, this way parents are apart of these activities. This is especially helpful when verbal skills are still developing and each day children learn many different words, but are barely distinguishable–it makes it easier to communicate and understand toddlers when you know the context of their days activities:  art projects, play-dates, cooking, outdoor time.  I often don’t do this at the time it’s happening because I’m focusing my attention on the child I watch.  Nap time is a great time to send an email update with pictures and a quick note.

Parents and Nannies: Parents, send an email update at the end of every weekend.

I find that a lot of nannies do something similar to the above, either because they choose to or because the parents requested specific updates.  Parents on the other hand tend to be a little worse at maintaining communication over weekends, which is understandable, their weekend is their family time, the last thing they want to do is send a detailed email.  That being said, it’s really helpful to the household when everyone know what’s up.    I specifically ask my employers to send email updates on Sundays; this includes, what they did, what new developments the baby has had, illness, teething, naps, etc., this has been incredibly helpful in keeping consistency.

Old Fashioned Note Taking:

We also keep a notepad: a lot of people have an initial, negative reaction to this form of “note taking” but it is actually helpful, especially when you work for very busy parents.  The notepad includes, sleep times, poop and pee times (this is helpful when starting potty training.)  Meals (helpful in making sure they get well rounded meals throughout the day, and no repeats!) And if the children are sick with a fever, notes on temperature and medicine.

Apps: 

Baby Connect: Cost: $4.99

Eat Sleep: Cost: FREE

Older children:

Cozi: Cost: FREE

Taxes.


imagesI call myself a professional nanny, but what makes me a professional? Beyond just being “good” with infants and toddlers, I’m a professional because my job doesn’t simply stop when I leave work. I think about how to deal with new transitions and developmental stages long after work hours.  I do research into early childhood development, parenting styles, and baby/toddler gear. I am always professional in regards to my employers privacy (hence the lack of any identifying information, pictures and names on my blog.)

I think about everything I do with the children I care for, and how to be better the next time around.  I now write about childcare on my blog and occasionally for Nanny Magazine. And I love what I do.  But what really makes me a professional in the eyes of my peers?  I pay taxes and I have health care provided by my employers.

Peers almost applaud when they find out the last two aspects of my job, the other stuff, my time, focus and work ethic doesn’t really seem to matter.  What matters most are taxes and health care….And this is good!

I am happy, even grateful at moments that I am able to work for, not just a family who I like, but a family who treats my job choice as legitimate and respectable. Unfortunately they are an anomaly among personal, in home childcare employers.

The reality is that I am grateful, because my situation is rare.  But I don’t want to be grateful, I want the treatment I’ve received from my current employers to be the norm, not the exception.

Why Childcare Professionals (baby sitters and nannies) should be “on the books.”

As long as social security still exists when I retire, I will have funds to retire on. I can rent an apartment, lease a car, buy a house one day, because I have a paper trail of credibility and financial stability.

Why Parents should insist on this.

Unless parents are working with an illegal immigrant they should insist on on the books pay, for the reasons listed above, and for similar reasons discussed in Jacoba Urist’s article, Should You be Paying Taxes on your Baby Sitter  in Motherlode.

“In the final analysis, it’s most important to remember that withholding rules are designed to protect your nanny, by financing her Social Security and Medicare down the road — just as she tries to anticipate your child’s needs each and every day.”

This Kind of Picky Eater is Made, Not Born: Motherlode

Sally Sampson writes about picky eaters for Motherlode.

“To answer my original questions: What is a picky eater? Is it someone who won’t taste new things? Yes. Someone who knows exactly what they like? No. Someone who loves the spotlight? Not initially but maybe later.

Are picky eaters made, not born? Yes, but with a caveat: Maybe it is just semantics. I don’t define a picky eater as someone who has food allergies or sensitivities, sensory issues or an honest dislike of a particular food. After all, I hate peanut butter so much I can’t be in a room with someone who eats it. Ditto boiled eggs. A picky eater is someone who won’t try new things and won’t give a rebuffed food a second chance. That kind of picky eater isn’t born — he’s made.”

Willow’s Whispers: B

Unknown-1Willow’s Whispers is a rare book in that the author Lana Button puts the “message” front and center, for real kids, with real experiences.  Button stays away from hidden euphemisms and agenda pushing.  The book is about a little girl named Willow who  speaks so softly that her words come out in whispers, no one, other than her dad can hear what she says.  We see Willow constantly unheard and overlooked  in many scenarios at school. Kristabelle, the presumed “popular” girl takes advantage of Willow’s soft-spoken and shy demeanor,  but don’t worry creativity and a little light engineering of a make-shift microphone gives Willow the courage to speak up for what she wants.

Other than the character of Kristabelle I really like this book.  What I don’t like about Kristabelle is that she seems overly stereotyped into her character– blonde, aloof and so intentionally mean, “‘Excuse me?’ Sneered Kristabelle.”  While all of the other characters in the book participate in ignoring Willow, none of them are painted as doing so intentionally–who’s to say Kristabelle was intentionally taking advantage?

If you have a shy child, or if you fear your kid is acting the part of Kristabelle, read this book, give your kids something real to relate to.

Public Tantrums

I had the most amazingly traumatic public tantrum experience the other day.

Grand Central, Friday. Rush hour. And this…Unknown-2

I think people took pictures of my charge, laying there in the middle of Grand Central, refusing to walk or let me carry her.  She simply wanted to lay there, screaming, kicking and attempting to hit me. What did I do?  I let her lay there for 3 minutes and simply averted my eyes from the disgusted bystanders.

You don’t know  public tantrum’s until you’ve experienced one in the crowded city of New York.

For actual tips on avoiding, and coping with public tantrums read my post, Crying Babies and Screaming Adults.

Homemade Playdough

My friend shared this play dough recipe with me, it’s particularly awesome because she added scented oils as well.  The playdough pictured below is vanilla/lemongrass fragrance with green food coloring and, peppermint/cinnamon with yellow food coloring.  Activities like this are great in these winter months!

-2 cups flourunnamed

-2 cups water

-1 cup salt

-2 tbsp canola oil

-1 tbsp cream of tartar (optional)

-Add food color and scented oils for fragrance.

Mix all together in a medium saucepan, heat on low, stirring until the dough easily pulls away from pot and is not sticky, about 5-10 minutes. As my friend said Sarah F. said, “Let cool and have fun!”

Quote

The Art of Being Born by Marcia Aldrich

I’ve been reading through The Best American Essays of 2013 for the last couple of weeks.  Yesterday, on the train, I read Marcia Aldrich’s essay The Art of Being Born” this is a beautifully written piece about “the” initiation into motherhood and childbirth.

“I thought I was the wounded party.  It never occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t the only one who had been deprived of a birth story, or a story one would want to share.  It never occurred to me that there were no baby pictures because my mother was denied access to me in the first weeks.”

Bunny Days: D-

imagesBunny Days, written by Tao Nyeu lives on the top shelf in my charges room, if I can help it that is.  The top shelf is not an ode to top-shelf liquors, the top shelf is just simply out of her reach and eye-shot so I don’t have to read this disturbing sadistic book.

The story line is simple, there are six bunnies, two goats and one bear.  The author has Mr. Goat “accidentally” mangle the bunnies in each of the mini vignette’s. After the torture has ensued the goat offers no apology, he continues with his daily chores, unaware and unconcerned that he has chopped off the bunnies tails, sucked them into a vacuum, etc. Instead of Mr. Goat taking responsibility for what he’s done, Bear comes to the “rescue,” fixing the bunnies in ways that would never work in real life, like putting them in a washer.  Wouldn’t this only and make their pain and suffering worse?

The few times I’ve read this book I cringe, because the reality of tails chopped and suffocation in the washer, even if it’s on delicate, is all too much for me.  And really what message does it send?  Sure, I guess the message is, “help out your friends when they’ve been beaten and abused” and while this is a good, moral message, it seems  to me the amount of physical brutality is a little unnecessary for toddlers, couldn’t the author have made the point a different way?  Mr. Goat is painted as the bad guy and doesn’t even know it, maybe instead of fixing the Mr. Goats mishaps Bear should put an end to the torture.

Maybe the better message would be, “Hey Goat, pay attention dude, you keep hurting my friends.  What’s going on in your life that you don’t even notice the pain you’re inflicting? Are you depressed?  Let’s get you help!”

Tip: Don’t buy this book, and if you already have it, put it out of sight on the top shelf!