Link

Talking About Race: SLATE

Talking about Race: SLATE

Here is a pretty good, short essay about why white parents should talk about race with their kids, by Melinda Wenner Moyer.

So if children as young as 3 develop racial prejudices when left to their own (cognitively biased) devices, it may help for parents to intervene and, you know, actually talk to their kids about race. “Don’t you want to be the one to suggest to them—early on, before they do form those preconceptions—something positive [about other races] rather than let them pick up something negative?” asks Kristina Olson, a University of Washington psychologist who studies social cognitive development and racial bias. “White parents seem very, very resistant to talking about race—even really liberal ones—and they have this attitude of ‘I wouldn’t want to talk about it because it would make it real to my kids.’ But inevitably, it’s their kids that show these really strong race biases.” In fact, Olson says, when parents don’t talk about race, kids may infer from this silence that race is especially important, yet highly taboo—basically, the last thing you want them to think.

Link

Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Safety

I was attempting to write a post about car seat safety, but I soon realized that while I can speak about certain common mistakes, there are some car seat safety rules I needed refreshing on myself.

Savanna’s Safety/Happy Ride Tips:

  • Make sure your car seat is secure! It should be snuggly fitted to the seat, and depending on your baby’s weight, rear or forward facing.
  • Tighten those straps! Straps should be very snug around babies shoulders, you should not be able to put a finger between strap and baby.
  • Remove thick sweaters, coats and snowsuits! I see people making this common mistake, not only do thick sweaters and jackets prevent you from tightening the straps correctly, they also cause your baby to overheat. Overheating for infants can be especially dangerous, and for older babies and toddlers it’s uncomfortable. Your baby will, understandably becoming very irritable within seconds of being in the car.  A screaming, hot uncomfortable baby is no fun when you’re stuck in traffic.
  • Don’t leave too small objects in arms-reach of baby! (chocking hazard: everything you leave in back with your child, unsupervised, should be bigger than the cardboard tube used for toilet paper.
  • For longer rides, make sure your baby is comfy! Make sure to dress baby in light, comfy clothing.  Give your baby a clean, dry diaper, and make sure babe has been recently fed. Have a water or milk bottle close by and a toy (bigger than toilet paper role).

Resource Tips: So, to supplement this advice, is some real car seat safety from Parents.com. Obviously there are better, maybe more credible sources, but I think this one is a little more accessible. I specifically like tip #5, I didn’t know the positioning for this, but luckily have be doing it right!

Mistake #5: Using the retainer clip incorrectly
Test your seat: The retainer clip should be at armpit level, resting across your child’s breastbone. The clip assures that the harness straps are in the right place.

The danger: When the retainer clip is in the wrong place, the straps can easily slip off a child’s shoulders, and the child is at risk of being ejected from her seat in a crash.

Fast fix: Parents often move the clip as they maneuver their child out of the seat, so check the clip’s position every time you buckle up.

For other tips check out these sites:

Safercare.gov

AAP

SafeNY

Shifting Ideas: Parenting Books

While I was reading Nurture Shock, by PO Bronson Ashley Merryman, this was a while ago, something came to me about how dramatically parenting styles shift.  This isn’t so much shocking as just simply annoying.  How do parents and caregivers stay on track when the theories on child rearing are constantly in flux, when do we get to just stay still and know we, parents and caregivers, are in fact doing everything right?

….NEVER.

I despise most parenting books, not because the advice in one given book is intrinsically bad, or harmful to society.  I despise the parenting book epidemic, because when we take one parenting book on attachment parenting, and one book on, well just anything else, and mix them together in the brain of one mom or dad,  then these books do become harmful.  Again, not because anything in them is particularly wrong, but because the different styles, and modes of parenting discussed are all different, and in the end don’t help parents and or caregivers do what they do any better. The mix of these books usually only create insecure and ultimately, and most disruptively, inconsistent parenting styles–where an all goes type of parenting happens. And trust me, this does not bode well for anyone, from parents to child to outside caregiver.

I think this is why I liked Nurture Shock so much, Nurture Shock, while it talked about parenting, and children, the book basically stayed clear of any child rearing styles which are not based on science.  Nurture Shock primarily dealt with childrens’ brain chemistry, and based on extensive research essentially shut down many parenting philosophies.

My point is, the moment I had was this.  While I liked and found value in Nurture Shock I also take the studies and the purpose of the studies with a grain of salt, the same I do with other parenting books, well maybe a tablespoon of salt for Nurture Shock, because, and this is the important part….  I take it lightly because I realize that the theories discussed in this book, like most other parenting/child rearing books will one day be disproved, yet with another scientific study.  Why?  Because our research is guided by where we are economically, socially and where we wish to be in the future.

When time, moral codes and cultural shifts occur, so does our idea of good, or right parenting.  We theorize and parent based on theories which claim to uphold or produce a specific type of person.  We perform attachement parenting, or cry it out method, not because it is necessarily easy at the time, but because we picture these things affecting and making up the adults our children will become, and this is good… kind of.  We should imagine, and think about our parenting and caregiving styles as something that will directly affect the adults babies will become.  But we should also know that this too will change.

Quinoa and Veggie Recipe

I’m not a great cook, hence the simplicity of this thrown together “recipe” but, it’s a staple I make for the child I watch.  I switch up the veggies depending on whats in the house.IMG_4094

1 cup quinoa

2 cups veggie broth (you can use water or chicken broth too)

Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

Vegetables: I roast zucchini and sweet potatoes in light olive oil and saute spinach (great for an iron boost.)  Mix quinoa and veggies together and enjoy.

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.”

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.

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!