Thursday, September 22, 2011
Otherwise, all is well in my corner of the (nanny)hood. In fact, my employers surprised me with the early birthday present of a trip to Nannypalooza 2011! So amazing and generous of them - I don't even have enough words to say how excited and blessed I am.
And of course, this is National Nanny recognition Week, so the nannies are heading out to brunch this weekend to celebrate.
I am mentally composing a post about the efforts to (re)legislate workers rights for nannies and other household employees, but that will have to wait or another time.
Friday, July 22, 2011
ETA: Ms. Parness has let me know that "Mushy" is a book that lives in a computer!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
To enter to win, all you need to do is comment on the review, leaving your name. Easy, isn't it?
The first review will be published tomorrow, so get your commenting fingers ready!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I've signed with my charges since I started caring for my 4th kiddo in 1997. E.'s mom asked me to read the book she'd purchased, and we started signing right away. E. was very even tempered, and wasn't prone to meltdowns if she couldn't be understood. Her little sister O., on the other hand, was...less of a calm and mellow baby. I am convinced signing saved her from exploding in anger on a regular basis. Just knowing she could communicate basic info to me and to her parents helped her so very much!
I also have found that my charges seem to talk early and prolifically, even as they continue to sign when needed. Of course, this is all anecdotal, but I feel strongly that signing helps encourage all levels and forms of communication, regardless of how many signs a child learns. Once they realize they can "talk" to their adults in any way, the joy of back and forth communication encourages them to keep learning how to talk!
I find, actually, that the more "high maintenance" a child is, the faster they learn to sign and the better they are at it at a very young age. And that may be why M. is kind of just easing into the idea. He's so mellow, generally speaking, that he is able to stay calm and happy even if we adults don't understand what he is telling us.
Of course, he is inventing his own sign for "all done" right now. It involves ripping his bib off, scattering food on the floor, and chattering at me until I start cleaning him up. I think we need to work on using MY sign instead!
If you are looking to learn and use baby signs with your charges, I was recently contacted by http://www.babysignlanguage.com/ and their site has a lot of great information available to help you get started or help you expand your and your child's vocabulary!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
He is almost completely on table foods, and this boy loves to eat. Of course, since he went from "scooting" around to full-on crawling to pulling up to standing to cruising in about 2 weeks, he also burns a lot off. As Neighbor Nanny said, "He went 0 - 60 when it comes to moving."
He's been battling an annoying diaper rash, but nothing seems to phase this little guy - he's a cheerful flirt, an amazing cuddler, and absolutely skilled at finding whatever he shouldn't be playing with as soon as you turn your back on him.
We've been working on signing for months now, since way before he could really get it, and he's been signing "Milk" for a few weeks. Hopefully "more", "all done", and some others aren't far behind. More on signing in another post later!
I'm personally hoping for some slightly milder weather here soon - the last month of spring was more like August, so we didn't get lots of outside time!
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I found this via The Car Seat Lady and am trying really hard to appreciate that Evenflo is working to be hip and funny.
Nope, didn't work. I don't think car seats are a good source of slapstick, especially when a company puts a video out on the web that shows stupid installation (the seat shown goes to 40 lbs rearfacing, and if that baby is 41 lbs and ready to face forward, I am the next MLB commisioner) and leaves the average person assuming that expert installation of a car seat is silly and that the new extended RF guidelines issued by the AAP aren't neccessary and potentially lifesaving.
I'm a carseat safety maniac. I admit it. Maybe it's because I see keeping my charges (and random kids in general) safe as a big part of my role as a nanny. Maybe it's because I can't imagine the guilt a parent would feel if their child died in an automobile accident and their death could have been avoided with proper carseat use. Maybe I just like telling people what to do. Your guess is as good as mine.
The fact remains that I take car seat safety seriously - in fact, I am kind of humorless about it. So, Evenflo, I am not laughing, and I'm going to spread the word about your inane and dangerous corporate sense of humor as far as I can in my little corner of the internet.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Prepare us for interviews with your clients. We’d like to know all there is to know about the families we are going to meet. Give us details and specifics about any issues the child(ren) are experiencing, let us know what the parents are looking for in a nanny, and we will look professional and prepared, which means the parents will see YOU in a favorable light. When we go in under-prepared, ultimately, the agency looks bad. We realize that it’s not always possible for an agency representative to meet face to face with every client family, but we still depend on you to do your due diligence.
Tell us what you understand the job description and pay scale are before we go to an interview. If we ask you a direct question, give us the exact information that you got from the client family. That way, if the family tells us something different about pay, duties, or hours, we won’t be caught off guard, and we can come back to you to ask why the information you gave us differed from what the family told us. Clear communication means less chance that a nanny will walk away from your agency feeling deceived.
Send us out for job interviews that match our needs, both stated and unstated. If we decline an interview based on the description of needs and pay that you give us, please don’t act annoyed or put out! Nannies know better than anyone how essential a good match between nanny and family is, and that means a good match in all sorts of ways. If you have a terrific nanny who you know (after meeting her and interviewing her and checking her references) is also soft spoken and extremely non-confrontational, her best match is not likely to be the loud, aggressively assertive family that says they expect nanny to always go above and beyond at all times no matter what. That match will end badly, whether it starts and stops with the interview, or evolves into a job placement, and bad matches mean that neither the nanny nor the family will call you back when they need help next time.
Keep in touch once the contract is signed and the job begins. Nannies (and families!) occasionally need support during our relationship. Agencies are often able to see things from a perspective nannies don’t have, which means a little encouragement or brainstorming if we call you for help can go a long way to preserving a match. We do understand that you can’t solve our problems for us, and chances are that we’d love a referral to someone who can coach us and help us prepare for a discussion with our employers. If we can call on you when an issue arises, we will call on you again when we are ready to search for our next position!
(This was sparked by a discussion on linkedIN about how traditional nanny agencies can compete with on-line matching sites.)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We are getting out and about a lot these days, hitting playgrounds, local lunchtime concerts, playgroups on occasion, and spending time with K. and L., M.'s neighborhood buddies, whose nanny, S., is one of my besties.
M. is threatening to start crawling any darn day now, although I guess a purist would say he started crawling last week, when he managed to move over 4 feet to get to a bag of animal crackers tucked into Nanny S.'s tote. The boy is motivated by food. Even so, since he just started moving from back or belly to a sitting position on his own, I think we'll hold off on declaring him officially mobile. Because I am deluded.
The job overall is going wonderfully, with a baby I adore and awesome employers. I asked to leave work 1.5 hours early last week so I could go to a former charge's middle school graduation, and there was no issue at all, just a "Sure, we can do that, sounds terrific!" I am so happy to work for people who treat me well.
After looking in the newspaper want ads, (I did say this happened a long time ago, right?), Deb wiped the ink from her hands and said, “I’ll be a nanny! That sounds like fun, and I like kids, so it’ll be great!”
After answering several ads, and interviewing with a few families, Deb decided that she wanted to work for a Doctor (D) and an Executive (E), caring for their 18-month-old little boy (T). She was sure the $275 per week salary would be plenty, especially since she would only be working 50 or so hours a week, caring for a little boy who was, according to his parents, easy to amuse.
Deb reported to her first day of work full of sunshine and happiness, ready to adore her “charge” and learn all about her new employers from the nanny she was replacing, a sweet Chinese lady. Boy, did Deb learn a lot that first week! She learned that since T. was “underweight” he always had to be entertained by a floor show when he was being fed. Singing, dancing, puppet wielding, full on floor show 3 meals a day and 2 snacks as well. She also learned that T. got a bottle full of kiddie Ensure mixed with a cup of Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream when he refused to eat anything, which happened, oh, 5 times a day.
And Deb learned that E. was pregnant and actually lived in another city, working for a semi-shady fellow who wanted to open a casino. And Deb learned that D. not only prescribed antibiotics for his own kid at the drop of a hat, but that he also worked 12 – 24 hour shifts 5 days a week. No matter how Deb tried, she couldn’t make the math work out to her actually working 50 hours when D. was at work 70 – 80 hours and E was in a different city.
However, T. was cute, and he didn’t seem to actually need that mealtime show to eat once Deb stopped stuffing him with ice cream and Ensure. The fact that they couldn’t leave the property of the condo where Deb worked except to walk on a sidewalk-free road to a duck pond ½ mile away wasn’t so bad. Really, it wasn’t. At all.
Then, pregnant E. came home about 6 weeks after Deb started, and cried sad tears about how she missed her baby, and Deb agreed to go and live with E. and T. in a “suite at a grand hotel” owned by (semi-shady) boss of E.
Any guesses as to how grand that “suite” was? Here’s a hint. It was 3 connected rooms in a “hotel” on the level of a low-end Hyatt.
So, after getting lectured for ordering room service on her first night in the “suite” after traveling all day with disengaged E. and T. to get to the completely new, and ever so slightly dangerous, city where Deb knew only her employer, Deb figured out how to find a grocery store, wrested occasional control of the rental car from E. after promising she would deliver E. to work at 7 am each morning that E. didn’t need the car, and Deb set out to find fun things to do with T. other than hang out at the low-end Hyatt all day.
Sadly, many playgrounds in the main area of town were “not for our kind of people”, and the days began to drag. Toddler was bored, so E. put him in school. T. and Deb went with E. to see E.’s offices, and Deb realized that E. was trying (rather hilariously) to hide her very obvious pregnancy from her boss.
And then Deb realized, after opening the door to the “living room” one weekend day, that E. was a pig-like slob. Which meant that food left where it was dumped tended to bring ants into the “suite”. Deb also realized that if she was around at all on weekends, she would be told to work in the hellish pit of slop created by E. because E. was “tired and needed a break”. Luckily, there was a mall and a movie theater within walking distance of the low-end Hyatt, and the drivers who took tourists into the city proper always asked Deb Friday and Saturday nights if she was escaping the next day.
Eventually, D. came into town so he and E. could go house hunting. Of course, it was essential that Deb and T. come house hunting too, because that was a terrific day long activity for a 20-month-old on a weekend. Then, it was decided that D., E., and T. would go home for a long holiday weekend, and that Deb would be thrilled to NOT go home.
After some soul searching, and some discussions with her parents, Deb decided she needed to find out when there would be a house to live in, whether D. and E. had actually been paying taxes, and, generally, how much longer her 50 hour work weeks would actually be 75 hour work weeks. When Deb asked E. those questions, she was told that no house was going to be bought, because it “made more sense” to stay in the low-end Hyatt with a 22-month-old and a newborn, that of course no taxes were being paid, and that Deb should have known that her hours would get longer when baby arrived.
So Deb gathered her courage around her like a cloak, and said the magic words, “I am going to give notice as of now, since this situation is not going to get any better.” In exchange for that statement, Deb got to work 2 weeks with E. doing her best imitation of an icicle, a ticket home on a 5:30 am flight, and much huffing and puffing about “ungrateful people”.
Deb made her escape after 4 months of 70+ hour weeks, happy to have survived, and sure that she would go back to work in retail. Deb also got scary papers from the IRS a month later, and got to explain that D. and E. were a bit confused, since Deb was not the employer at all, and Deb was sad that D. and E. hadn’t been paying the taxes they had to pay. That was pretty fun, actually.
Then, Deb discovered that there were actual Nanny Agencies, and that the Nanny Agencies placed nannies with families who understood the concept of a 50 hour work week, and paying taxes, and all sorts of stuff that made it much more fun to be a Nanny. And Deb found a job through a Nanny Agency, and stayed there for 4 years. And then she found another job, through another Nanny Agency, and stayed there 7 years. And so on, and so on…
Deb realized that life as a nanny was pretty terrific when one knew a little about how the nanny world worked, and she also realized that almost every nanny she met had a scary story about her First Nanny Job. And Deb lived (mainly, overall) happily ever after.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Tomorrow we'll visit Neighbor Nanny and the Twins while the house cleaners are here - we're social butterflies, right? Eventually, I want to take him to a baby storytime - M. already loves books, so that seems like a good fit.
M. is also starting solids, leading with oatmeal cereal. One of the things I like best about this position is how absolutely enamored M.'s parents are with him. They are going to give him his meal for now, and I will join the fun once we graduate to 2 and 3 meals a day.
M also loves being outside these days, with early spring weather paying a visit. For whatever reason, time outside exhausts him, so he always sleeps well after taking in the great outdoors.
And yes, he is still swaddled. I occasionally have to remind myself that he will eventually tire of being mummified for sleeping.
He will get tired of it, right?
Thursday, February 3, 2011
210 interlocking coils provide comfort and support. All around edge border wire support provides extra firmness and durability. Firm foam layer and insulator wrap helps to ensure firm sleeping surface. Meets or exceeds all applicable safety standards. Limited 35 year warranty.
Sagging badly in less than 4 months
Pros: Snug Fit
Cons: Flimsy Construction, Defective, Unsafe, Too Soft
Best Uses: None
Describe Yourself: Nanny, Child Care Professional, Postpartun Doula
My employers purchased this mattress for their newborn, and after less than 4 months of use, it is sagging badly in the middle. I just got off the phone with BRU customer service, and they directed me to the manufacturer, saying that my employers could not even exchange the defective and unsafe mattress since the 90 day return window had closed.
I would strongly suggest that if you do purchase this mattress, you test it out ASAP with a good amount of weight to see if it does sag at all.
With soft mattresses being a risk factor for SIDS, I do not think anyone should purchase this item! The risk is not worth it.