Monday, December 29, 2008

Saying Farewell

As they sang in The Sound of Music:
"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu. Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu."

A few days ago I learned that, after a year and a half, the family I have been sitting for no longer needs me due to a change in work schedules. They will keep me on their call list in case they need me on occasion, but I will no longer be sitting regularly. It is wonderful for them and for the children, but sad for me. I have watched the children grow and helped in a small ways to guide them and shape them as they discover and become the incredible people they are now and will be. Though necessary, it is difficult to let go of and say farewell to the children and their parents. Anytime they need me to sit, I am ready and willing.

I am still recovering from and working through this development. I am not sure if I will apply for other nanny positions or not. I am also not sure where that leaves this blog either way. While I figure this out, I hope you will visit me at my Brainy and Beautiful Blog.

With thanks and hope that you will bear with me during this transition <3

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas is for Kids

In these economic times, I have been asking friends how they are handling the holidays. No matter what they are doing, the resounding refrain is "Christmas is for Kids." and, in some cases, "Hanukkah is for Kids."

My friend Irma (24 years old) is one of 7 children. Her husband Brian (28) is one of 5 children. This year both of their families have decided not to buy any Christmas gifts, but to instead enjoy the time they will be spending together. Some of them protested because they had already seen things that they had a strong desire to purchase for certain people in their family. The solution: If you happen to come across something that really reminds you of someone that you have an overwhelming desire to give to them, buy it BUT don't go out seeking gifts AND just because you buy for one does not mean you have to buy for everyone.

My friend Tanya (27) is the oldest of 7 children and a nephew who is 3 and her husband Greg (28) is the middle of 3 grown children and has one niece who is 4. This year they have made an agreement with Greg's family that they give each other the gift of their time and attention, but all are allowed to purchase for the 4 year old if they are willing and able. Tanya's family has not given over to that idea, maybe in part because 4 of the 7 children are still under 18.

My husband and I made some changes this year, too. We sent out nearly 50 holiday cards, but purchased gifts for just 22 people. Of the 22, 8 are children. Of the 22, 16 are blood relatives. Of the 22, 3 are pets. We did not spend more than $30 per person/pet and in many cases spent $20 or less, in some cases $10 or less, in a few cases $5 or less. We did this by being savvy shoppers. As is tradition for us, we are simply putting stockings together for each other and stocking items that are too big or oddly shaped for the stocking go under the tree. We considered leaving pets off the list this year, but we love them far too much. Our pets give us unconditional love always, the least we can do is throw them a bone or some kitty treats at Christmas. Total expenditures: $298.87 which averages out to $13.58 per person/pet. I am not laying the numbers out there because I think how much you spend is important, just the opposite. I am laying the numbers out there to show that if you shop savvy and stay within your own pre-set budget, anything is possible. Also, simply sending a card to show the people in your life that you care and you appreciate them is a real gift in its self. We have had many phone calls from people thanking us for the cards and wanting to be in closer touch with each other and scheduling times to get together. Acknowledgment and time, invaluable gifts to be freely given, seem to be valued above all.

In every case above, there are two themes:

1) The holidays are for the children. Make it as fun for them as possible.
2) Time together is the most valuable gift one can give.

Combine these two gifts:

If you have the means to donate gifts or time to volunteer this holiday season, please consider giving to these worthy causes:

Toys for Tots
Children for Children
Teen Voices
Perkins School for the Blind
Feeding America
Angel Tree
My Two Front Teeth

or another that is dear to your heart.

Happy Holidays!

Safe Toys for the Holidays

or any day!

Last year at this time there were all kinds of concerns about toxic materials in toys imported from China. So, my interest in organic and eco-friendly toys for babies and children increased. I learned that organic and eco-friendly don't have to mean expensive. Here are a few of my favorite places to shop for the kidlets in my life:

the little seed
is run by Soleil Moon Frye (a.k.a Punky Brewster!) and her friend Paige Goldberg Tolmach.
Their goal: "to create a one-stop shop for parents seeking products from skincare to bedding to toys that are made with organic or eco-friendly materials – healthy for babies and healthy for the planet… because it’s never too early to sow the seeds of care and responsibility."
Their blog: Seedling Blog
Their shop: the little seed shop
Links to a few of my favorite items:
Footed Pants - not a toy, but adorable none-the-less
Pocket Jacket - again not a toy, but a practical gift that will be used infinitely
Speesees Booties - slippers are always a good gift. Warm feet are essential.
Fruits and Veggies - I love ALL of these soft toys!
Recycling Truck - they sell all kinds of wooden cars, but this is my fav
Twig Crayons - endless hours of imagining. I grew up playing in the woods so these really bring me back to childhood.

is a major weekness of mine. So many of their products are irresistible. Plus they carry everything from maternity clothes to furniture to diaper bags to toys. One stop shopping! They also have a Gifts page that is incredibly well organized, categorized, and easy to navigate. On a really tight budget? Visit their Outlet Store!
Their Safety Standards: Safety First
Links to some of my fav. items:
Delilah the Bunny - my mom always called me bunny. If I really was one, I think I'd like to be just like Delilah or at least be her friend.
Eco Babies Wear Green book - books are always wonderful gifts! More books by M.S. Colman here.
BabyStyle Xylophone - music to everyones ears and a toy for people of every age
Building Block Choo Choo - made of Ecofriendly rubber wood and grows with the child. Not-yet-walking little ones can enjoy the blocks and when they begin toddling around they can drag it around the house with them.
Doggie Backpack - for the kid on the go

Under The Nile
is another favorite of mine. Everything is made with 100% organic cotton. Every item is pure and Fair Trade. They even began the 13 Villages Project. They also carry items for preemies and adults!
About Under the Nile: "...working harmoniously as one"
About the Owner: Janice Masoud
Links to my favorite items:
Fruit Tote - portable yum yum
Ear Flap Hat - give the gift of soft warmth
Sleeping/Teething Doll - everyone needs a lovey
Gnomes - engage the imagination
Crazy Dolls Two-Pack - check two little ones off your list with one purchase or make one little one doubly happy
Veggie Crate - eat your veggies and you'll be big and strong enough to carry them around
Pencil Box - adorable on a child's desk and helps cultivate a love of learning and/or expressing through writing and art

That is enough for now. If you know of any other places to shop for organic, eco-friendly items for children, please share your favorites with me in the comments section :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Comments on Compliments

MomCat from Truth is Stranger Than Fiction commented on this post of mine recently.

She said:
Wow, what a day! You're better than a mom. I don't think I ever had the energy to entertain the kids the whole day like you did. I'm sure they enjoyed their day and no wonder you were tired. Well done!

While I thank you, MomCat, for your kind words and acknowledgment of my competency, this set me to thinking about how I go about caring for the children.

When I am with the children, I am with them. I take their cues from moment to moment and fulfill their needs or teach them to independently fulfill their own needs. There is structure in terms of meals and naps and rule following (pick up your toys, share with each other, xyz show is over so it is time to turn off the tv, time to go get some fresh air, would you like to go to the library or the park?, etc.), but otherwise I pick up on their cues and live in the moment with them.

What really struck me in MomCat's comment was that I am "better than a mom." That is such a sweet complement and I appreciate it greatly. I really do love the children as if they were my own and treat them as such. But, I'm not their mom. When I am with the children I do not have to run out and do errands, find time to pay the bills, or wash the laundry. I have the greatest respect for moms who are juggling all of these responsibilities every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for life. Maybe, not having to worry about all those other responsibilities (though I do try to keep everything having to do with the children in order) frees me up to be "better than a mom" whatever that means. I don't think I am any better than anybody else and C&K have an amazing mom and dad.

MomCat, thank you for your lovely comment and for being my first "Follower" :-)

A Spoon Full of Sugar

Last night I watched Mary Poppins on ABC Family. Oh how I love her! She is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! The quintessential nanny.

The Original Trailer is a quick treat.

I loved seeing it again. It is full of important reminders for adults and it brings me back to childhood. Truly classic.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Nanny's Love

Out of the horrors of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai comes this story of a nanny and her charge. Out of evil, good can come.

No More Nanny?

Economic times are tough and it seems, according to this Wall Street Journal article, that families are doing away with the nanny.

When I started with the family I sit for, I was working nearly every day. Then I went down to once every week or two. Now I am only with them once a month.

When I started with the family I sit for, Mommy K was only working two or three days a week. Now she is working full-time. In order to make more money and save more money, Mommy K and Daddy M have arranged their schedules so that one of them is home with the children except for my one day a month. I certainly don't fault them for that. They have a family to take care of and they are doing everything they can to provide for and best care for their family.

I am lucky though. I still get to see their family once a month AND I have a husband who works full-time as a salaried employee for a, thankfully, for the time being, stable and reliable company. My income is our "fun fund" and, while nice and fulfilling, not necessarily necessary.

What if we were depending on my salary? Too scary to contemplate...

I just checked available jobs in my area on Sittercity and found 477 possibilities. Maybe not so scary after all...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

School, Sleep, and Wild Abandon

On Monday I played nanny to C&K. It was a whirlwind day. I arrived at 7:45, Mommy K left by 8:00. While C was eating breakfast K woke up and I dressed her and got her a sippy cup of milk. By the time I had K ready to go, C had finished breakfast. I helped C wash-up and get dressed for pre-school. We all bundled up and ventured into the chilly, rainy New England morning to get C to school.

On the way to school C was quiet, in spite of my vain attempts to talk to him about his various activities, what it feels like to be five (his birthday was end of November), school, and the holidays. So, I gave him the most important job of directing me to school as this was the first time I was driving him there. He was very clear and concise and knew his lefts from his rights. This was most fun and woke him up a bit and got him chatting.

We were 10 minutes early to school, but the teachers were there. C showed me his cubby, hung up his jacket, and gave me a little tour of the classroom. Very cute.

10 minutes later, Miss. K the Amazing 18-month-old Bundle of Energy and I arrived back home. She picked strawberries, peaches, and cheerios for breakfast and happily chowed down interrupting bites only to utter contented sighs and yumyums. We read books, played with musical instruments, watched the fish swim around their tank, and gave love to K's stuffed animals and dolls.

K normally takes a nap around 11:00, but Mommy K instructed me to keep her up until it was time to go pick up C from school around 12:30. Mommy K said K would fall asleep in the car and that would be fine. So, at 11:00, I decided to bring K to the library which I thought might stave off the grumpiness that comes with being sleepy, energize her and a keep her awake just a wee bit longer. It worked... for about 40 minutes.

I remembered that there is a playground near C's school which I thought might prove an excellent distraction for K. In the eight minutes it took to drive from the library to the playground, K had drifted off to dreamland. I continued driving the extra three minutes to C's school. We were 45 minutes early for pick up. Having not brought my cell phone or a book with me, I sat and wrote this very rough first-draft of a poem (K's name has been changed to protect her identity):


Asleep in her carseat, she is peace.
Toe-head rests on left shoulder squishing left cheek like putty.
Transparent eyelids reveal complex maps of purple and blue veins.
Bow-shaped lips part slightly allowing breath.
Chest rises and falls perceptibly, steadily.
All systems go.

What does she dream of?
I wish she could tell me.
I have dreams for her.
As she sleeps, I speak those dreams outloud.
Broad dreams like happiness, fulfillment, love, and inspiration.

"Did you have sweet dreams, Miss. Kara?"
"Puppy, woof woof. Flower pretty. Elmo."
"Sounds wonderful!"
I reach into the diaper bag.
Out come her stuffed puppy, fake flower, and Elmo phone.
She giggles.
I've made her dreams come true.

We are all born into endless possibility.
Hold on to it.
Believe in it.
Pursue it.
Sleep to dream.
Wake-up and live it.
All systems go.

Writing helped the time pass more quickly and soon I had collected C and headed home. At home, K was still sound asleep in her carseat. I got C, the diaperbag and his school bag out of the car, locked it, and got him inside and settled with a juice cup. Then I went back for K who stirred a bit, but settled right into her crib once I lugged her up the stairs. Surprisingly it is her height and not her weight that makes getting her upstairs more difficult at this stage. Maybe that is because I am only 5 feet and 1 inch tall.

K all settled, I sat with C and talked with him about school. I suggested all kinds of fun things we might do, but he just wanted to veg on the couch in front of Noggin for a little bit. So, we did. Then he rode his new scooter around the livingroom and did some tumbling. By this time, K woke up from her nap ready for lunch. I gave her one hotdog (after I removed the skin), leftover spaghettios I found in the fridge, and greenbeans. She found lunch just as delicious as breakfast.

The rain had let up so we went outside and ran and played and imagined with wild abandon. I pulled them around the yard in the wagon which at varying times was a train, spaceship, and racecar. I pushed them on the swings while we named all different animals and things that can fly. We ran from and with monsters, horses, dogs, and dinosaurs.

Then it was snack time and more indoor play before it was time for me to go.

I was pleasantly exhausted and slept incredibly well for 12 hours. I guess you could say, I slept like a baby.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Books

Check out this post by SmallWorld Reads. There is a list of books at the end of the post.

Then there is this list at

Wild Rose Reader compiled this list of books and reviews.

For those of you who home school or are looking for fun ways to teach your children about Thanksgiving through books, check this out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Crafts - Turkeys

When I went to buy trick-or-treat candy on Halloween the store employees were already setting up the Christmas displays.

In an effort to not forget Thanksgiving, I have been searching for and crafting Thanksgiving crafts.

I found this Turkey Shirt at One More Moore's Blog.

A more traditional version of the Turkey shirt is the Hand-Trace Turkey which I remember making in elementary school and beyond. If you want to take the hand-trace turkey a step further, give it more meaning, check this out.

Taking it a step further is the Hand and Foot Turkey.

The great thing about the hand turkey and the hand and foot turkey is that each year you can take them out and display them side by side to see how your children have grown.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Diaper Week Continues With...

The PeePee Teepee

Thankfully I have never been peed on while changing the diaper of any of the baby boys I have cared for over the years, but I have heard it can and does happen often. The PeePee Teepee takes the fear out of baby boy diapering. It is shaped like a little hat or teepee and fits perfectly over the penis of any baby boy. Instead of hitting you in the face while you are cooing at baby to keep him calm or fumbling with the intricacies of the diaper, any eliminations your baby may make while temporarily free from the confines of the diaper will be soaked up by the PeePee Teepee.

I had not heard of the PeePee Teepee for the Sprinkling WeeWee until my friend Alison gave birth to a baby boy 14 months ago. She found the PeePee Teepee helpful in the beginning, but harder to use as the baby got older and more wriggly. By the time her baby was to wriggly for the PeePee Teepee she had become more adept at diapering though.

The PeePee Teepee comes in many colors, designs, and fabrics (cotton, terrycloth, flannel). They come five to a package and can be purchased at these online retailers and these stores near you. If nothing else, PeePee Teepees make a great, cute, and unusual gift for the new parents of a baby boy.

I leave you with The PeePee Teepee Poem:

The Pee-pee Teepee™ Poem
Changing a baby girl is not all glitz and glory;
Changing a baby boy is an even bigger horror story.
You hold his feet in one hand, and the diaper in the other;
The whole time praying, "Please don't pee on your mother!"

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Last night, on my way home from picking up cat litter and Halloween candy, I stopped by the house of the family I nanny for. I arrived just as the kids were getting dressed. C was Raphael the Ninja Turtle. He just started karate lessons so this was appropriate. His dad and I were trying to get him to show me his moves, but it was all for naught. K was an adorable sparkly witch and I had the pleasure of putting her black patent leather shoes on, the final touch. I was dressed up as a Boston Celtics Cheerleader. As I was leaving, their mom took our picture together. Quite fun!

Hope you had a trick-or-treat'y' Halloween'y' :-)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Extending Diaper Week

I have realized that one week was just not enough. I haven't talked about the Diaper Dude or gdiapers or peepee teepee or Tushies or Seventh Generation and I want to, I want to, I want to!!!!!

So, I will, NEXT WEEK!

Stay tuned!

Diaper Week Catch Up

Ok, I have not been posting an item a day. The best laid plans...
To make it up to you, I have three items today:
Bamboo Wipes by BumGenius
Flannel Wipes by BumGenius
Cloth Diaper Service Directory

All three are environmentally friendly, cozy, and convenient.

Bamboo Wipes by BumGenius

I am in love with these. Just looking at their pillowy softness causes me to seriously consider using them on my own body, but I digress...
Multi-Purpose - Bamboo wipes can be used not only to wipe sensitive baby bums, but also to wash baby faces and wipe runny noses.
Easy Care - They are machine washable and can go in the dryer.
Environmentally Friendly - Bamboo is a renewable resource, grows quickly and easily without the use of pesticides or fertilizers, and is biodegradable.
Antibacterial - Bamboo is naturally antibacterial and helps fight bacteria in baby's diapers.

Downside? These are slightly more expensive than other reusable wipes and certainly more expensive than disposable wipes. BUT you just have to buy them once, when baby grows up you can still use them as every day face cloths, and you are investing in the survival and health of the planet!

A more affordable, still environmentally conscious choice is:

Flannel Wipes by BumGenius

Flannel Wipes are much like Bamboo Wipes in that they are reusable and therefore environmentally friendly, easy care and multi-purpose. The difference? Not biodegradable, not naturally antibacterial, not made of a renewable resource. AND those differences are part of the reason why they are more affordable.

I like them because you can still feel good about purchasing something that is easier on the environment, but you can also feel good, especially in these economic times, about the monetary cost.

Finally, the
Cloth Diaper Service Directory.
I think that there are a few reasons why people shy away from using cloth diapers.
1) They aren't sure how to use them. The Cloth Diaper Service Directory takes the mystery out of it by answering questions and demonstrating cloth diaper use.
2) They don't want to wash poopy diapers or have their smell linger. Cloth diaper services in your area will wash the diapers for you. As far as smell, as long as you use the items provided and follow the directions provided by the diaper service, it should not be an issue. Also, most diaper services drop off and pick up weekly.
3) They don't know where to locate cloth diaper services in their area of the country. Click on your state to find services in your area here.
4) They can think of no good reason to use cloth over other options. Reasons why can be found here.

Why do I like cloth diaper services? Cloth Diapers are easier to use than they look, environmentally conscious (reusable), made of a natural fabric (cotton), and multi-use (double as burp cloth, nose wipe, face cloth). Cloth diaper services make them even easier to use, are quite affordable (often less than $20 a week), and can be found in almost every state.

So, now I've caught up. Hope these products were worth waiting for and give you something to consider.

Just a reminder, I have not been compensated by the makers of the products or providers of the services highlighted during Diaper Duty Week on Notes on Nannying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stork's Choice

On this the second day of Diaper Week on Notes on Nannying, the feature is Stork's Choice Disposable Diaper Service. To me, most disposable diapers are all the same. The reason I picked Stork's Choice is because they make diapers, training pants and wipes AND THEY DELIVER ANYWHERE!

Anatomy of a Diaper

Anatomy of Training Pants

My favorite thing about this company is that they have such a wide variety of sizes and once you place an order they automatically continue to deliver monthly.

I my experience, new parents would rather not leave the house for anything. New parents are generally exhausted and focused on their child. No one wants to leave the house to get diapers or worry about running out. Stork's Choice fills this need.

Just a reminder, I am not being compensated by Stork's Choice or any other diaper week company for recommending them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eco Diaper Bag

I found out this weekend that my friends, Tim and Meg, are expecting their second baby in 6 months. I also learned that my friends Alison and Keith are on the path to conceiving their second baby. Congratulations!

The Diaper Duty product of the day is the Eco Diaper Bag by Wee Generation.

You can buy the bag for $200.00 here.

Before I lose you with the $200.00 price tag I should tell you that 100% of the profits go to the non-profit organization Healthy Child Healthy World AND the bag includes $100 worth of eco-friendly treats such as:
Seventh Generation baby product vouchers
Naturally Clean: The 7th Gen. Guide to Safe & Healthy Non-Toxic Cleaning
Wee Generation baby T
Healthy household tips from Healthy Child Healthy World

I also love this bag because:
It is made from recycled beverage bottles
It has removable totes for feeding and changing (Yippee for easy organization!)
It also comes with a changing pad, a bottle cozy, and an accessories pouch.
Neither mommy nor daddy will be embarrassed to carry it.

If I were a parent, this would be on my wish list. I also think it makes a great shower gift especially because of all the products and information included.

Meg? Alison? Either of you interested?

Dear Reader, if you are interested, just click on the links included in this post for more info. and/or to purchase.

Oh, and an important note, I am not being compensated for endorsing any of the products I am including in Diaper Week on Notes on Nannying.

Diaper Duty

As a result of caring for many children, I have been exposed to all kinds of diapers. I have changed disposable diapers, all natural environmentally friendly disposable diapers, and cloth diapers. I have used disposable wipes and, in moments of desperation when ingenuity was needed, a washcloth or toilet paper or tissues. I am intrigued by bamboo wipes, flannel wipes, products for Dads, PeePee TeePees, and other such products all related to diapering. I also noticed that my list of links to products includes several items related to diapering.

So, I declare this week Diaper Week on Notes on Nannying.

Look for reviews of a different diapering product each day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Reading for Readiness

There are lots of wonderful authors of books for children. I loved reading books in the Golden Books series and books by Eve Bunting, Tomie DePaola, Louisa May Alcott, Eric Hill (Spot books), Lynley Dodd (Hairy McClary, Slinky Malinki), Barbara Cooney (Miss. Rumphius), Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Praire), Lynn Reid Banks (Mystery of the Cupboard), and so many more. You can find a list of children's book authors and illustrators here. So, when actors turn children's book author I am automatically skeptical. Jamie Lee Curtis surprised me though.

This morning Jamie Lee Curtis was on Rachael Ray where, among other things, she read from and talked about 'Little People, Big Words', the book she released most recently. I was intrigued enough to visit her website here. Exploring the synopsis' of each of her books, I was pleasantly surprised by the themes and ideas running through all of them. Each of these books is a tool to expose your children to a greater lesson and maybe even engage your children in a greater discussion. There is a point and a purpose to each of the books. The website also provides teaching resources and activities to go along with the books. I found them really well done.

Looking at Jamie Lee Curtis' books, I began thinking about all children's books and questions we should ask ourselves about the messages they contain, the overall affect they have on our children, and how we might use books as a teaching tool and impetus for discussion.

Do you have a favorite children's book? Any thoughts about this post? Don't be shy! Comment!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bounce a Bye Baby Ball

Luna Lullaby has some great products, but my favorite is the Bounce-a-Bye-Baby Ball. It comes in three sweet designs and has many uses before, during, and after the birth of the baby. I think the best thing about it is the base that it comes with. Since the designs are so cute, it is easy to put the ball on the base in the corner of the nursery, playroom, livingroom, wherever for storage. Plus, having the base increases the number of uses of the ball and offers a safer way to bounce yourself and/or the baby. You can exercise and sooth the baby at the same time! At $52, I think it is well worth the investment.

Check out and, if you want to, purchase the Bounce-a-Bye-Baby...

Soothing Blanket...

Bosom Baby...

and Belly-Ups...

at Luna Lullaby.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Subtle Shift

The two readers or less that I have on this blog may have noticed a subtle shift in the content lately. After some thought, I have decided to shift the focus of this blog to child centered issues, general thoughts on nannying, reviews of books and articles concerning nannying, and reviews of baby and child products (including the ones listed in the right hand column). Accountings of adventures with the children in my life may occasionally pepper the blog, but will no longer be the main focus.

I hope you will still stay tuned!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meme Express - Play-Doh

Meme Express gives daily writing prompts. If you are interested go here.
Today's prompt is Play-Doh.

Did you ever play with Play-Doh?

Did I ever!

What do you remember about it?
It was squishy in my fingers like mud between my toes. I could play with it only after my mom had laid out copious amounts of newspaper on which to work. Now newspaper is not necessary because Play-Doh created the Play-Doh Pickup Stick to remove it from flat surfaces. Play-Doh always had a distinct odor, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, which varied slightly from color to color. I was usually only allowed to get the four pack with yellow, blue, red and white, but every once in awhile I was allowed the Rainbow 8-Pack (it came out when I was 5) and those days were special days. That was back in the 1980's, but now you can get all kinds of colors and cool packs including the Birthday Bucket and the Play-Doh 50 Pack.

What was your favorite Play-Doh color?
Probably red, but I liked to try and mix the colors together to make other colors (white and red to make pink, blue and red to make purple, etc).

What was the most imaginative item you ever shaped from Play-Doh?
I once made kitty cat slippers. Recently I created a whole jungle with C, the little boy I nanny. We made trees, a giraffe, an elephant, a dinosaur, and all kinds of other cool things.

Do you have a recipe for homemade play clay?
Edible Play-Doh Recipes

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This morning I sat for C & K for two hours. They slept for one hour and fifteen minutes of that time which is unheard of. Usually K is up within minutes of Mommy K leaving for work and C is up within the half hour. I can only attribute this sleeping to changes. C has gone back to school and is going to school multiple days a week now. School can be exhausting. As far as K, she has to adjust the new, earlier rising, more running around lifestyle of the family since C is back in school AND she is growing taller and leaner every time I see her which can be exhausting, too.

It has been three weeks since I last sat for the kids, but almost two months since I have written about them here. Updates!

C has:
grown taller
learned to play Spiro the Dragon on Playstation
started putting his shoes on by himself without prompting
become even more demonstrative with Kate (kisses, hugs, and giggles)
become better at asserting his feelings, needs, desires as a capable individual
demands privacy when goes to the bathroom and washes own hands
wants more alone time when playing
is better at managing his frustrations and irritations (less whining, temper)
begun riding a 2-wheel (with training wheels and helmet) bike
takes directions
groups toys by categories and sub-categories
and so many other subtly things that I miss because we see each other so often.

C will be five in November and it is hard to believe that I have been sitting for them for 12 and a half months. Getting so big!

K has:
grown taller
thinned out
begun speaking in sentences though they are not always understandable
says "look at that" and "what is this" fairly clearly
begun to understand opposites and is fond of off and on and up and down
feeds herself
grown longish hair
gained independence
an expanding sense of humor
giggles that pierce your heart
a penchant for shoes
identifies family members in photographs
Can match person in photo to flesh and blood person standing next to her
says family members' names
a crush on Elmo who's name she says clearly, loudly, and often
a Dora doll who is her best friend
a tricyle I push her around on. I say "whee" and she repeats followed by giggles
given up one of her two daily naps

Lots of changes around here. They bring me such joy and I am so thankful that their parents trust me with them and allow me into their lives.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Cultivating Compassion

We All Sing With the Same Voice on YouTube
*Image courtesy of

My husband and I live next to a playground and across from a middle school. This means that there are always lots of children around. If we keep the doors and windows closed the noise is minimal, but lately I have taken to keeping the front door open. I don't mind the energy and hubbub of the children and I really love the fresh air, but I am shocked by some of the things I hear the children say to each other. A few days ago, one of these utterances had me close to intervening and even possibly calling the police.

At 2:30, when the middle school students were released for the day, I was sitting in my living room drinking tea and trying to decipher some poetry (I am a student as well as a nanny) when I heard an adolescent male voice loudly emit the following:

"I just want you to know I have a 12 gauge in my basement and I know where you live!"

This brought me to my feet, but by the time I got to the door the street was empty.

In what universe is it o.k. for anyone, never mind a child, to say that to anyone? I am not naive, I am aware that there are people in this world who have committed heinous acts and I am aware that in anger and/or rage people are prone to say some nasty things to/threaten each other, but... my goodness gracious. And I won't even explore the gun issue/people having guns in their house/children knowing where guns are kept/children having access to guns. Instead I will ask the question,

How might we as parents, teachers, and caregivers cultivate compassion in children?

Not sure where to begin, I consulted Wikipedia. The 'compassion' entry in Wikipedia focuses on what compassion means and how it is illustrated in different religions. Religion. I had not thought of that. Today religion, in most cases, does not play a large part in our daily lives. Church attendance is dwindling. Many people attend religious services only on major holidays. Children complain about having to go to religious education classes, if their parents enroll them at all. Religion has a lot to teach about compassion. When I look back on my childhood, though compassion was applied in school, school was a place for broadening the mind, religious education was a place for broadening the heart. This gives me pause. Might it behoove us to make religion more a part of our lives and the lives of the children we know?

Do unto others as you would have done to you.
The Golden Rule. Something we can share with children without sitting them down for a lesson or directly talking about it with them. How?
Simplified example: Child 1 walks into classroom and is wearing glasses. Child 2 giggles, points, and calls Child 1 "foureyes." Other children laugh, too. Teacher says, "Children, I know Child 1 looks different today, but how would you feel if someone giggled, pointed, and called you names when you walked into the classroom? Maybe, instead, we should ask Child 1 to tell us about why he/she got glasses and what it was like to get them." and conversation continues.
In this way we can help children to train their brains to think in a compassionate way so that they begin to act compassionately.

Be more aware of our own behavior. Children are watching adults all the time for clues as to how to act. They absorb everything we do, every reaction we have, every word we say. Changing our behavior in the every day in even the smallest way can help children to learn compassion. Know the other day when you were driving down the street and that guy cut you off and you yelled and screamed and generally went bazerk? Your kids, yeah the ones in the back seat, they absorbed that. None of us are above frustration at times, but maybe next time you could say nothing at all or could say "Well, that man must be in a very big rush to disregard my feelings like that. I hope his day gets better." Hard to do in the moment, but definitely a display of compassion.

So, those are a few ways I think we might be able to begin to cultivate compassion in the lives of the children we know and love. I would love for you to share your ideas for cultivating compassion in children with me in the comments section.

When I ran to the door to see what was happening it was because my compassion for the potential victim kicked in. After, I could not stop thinking about the child who was doing the threatening and I felt compassion toward him. I wondered if anyone ever tried to cultivate compassion in him, what feeling inside him prompted him to say such an awful thing, why he was unable to find a healthy way to channel that emotion, what might be missing in his life. I wanted to find that boy, talk to him, and find a way to help him, help him to help himself. Talk about compassion. Though it is unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to talk to that specific child, I do have the opportunity to cultivate compassion in myself, in the children I nanny, in my nieces and nephews, and in my yet unborn just-a-twinkle-in-my-eye children. So do you. Think about it.

If you are interested in other musings on compassion:

The Dalai Lama on The Meaning of Compassion in Every Day Life

In Character Magazine Spring 2008 issue on Compassion

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stephanie "NieNie" Nielson and Family

On Sunday I learned of a remarkable story and remarkable family. i wrote a post about them on my Brainy and Beautiful blog. I was thinking today that I should post it again here to further spread the word in the hope that others will pray for them and pass on their story to others and so and so forth. So, here it is:

Be Grateful

Be Grateful. This is the gentle reminder I received this morning when I went to A Cup of Jo and read this New York Times story. Then I went to Nie's blog, NieNie Dialogues, and fell in love with Nie. Nie, 27 years old like me, and her husband, Christian, who have 4 beautiful children ages 1-6, were in a plane accident on August 16, 2008 and are recovering from severe burns. Their amazing family, including CJane, are caring for Nie and Christian's children and organizing fundraising efforts, alongside all of Nie's blog friends, to benefit the children and keep Nie and Christian's life going while they recover.

Nie's family:

On her childrens' birthdays, Nie has them write wishes, attach them to balloons, and let them go into the universe. Across the globe, people have done the same for Nie and her family in their time of need.

I wrote a letter to CJane and a separate letter to Nie and a separate letter to Christian. In CJane's I enclosed a lucky penny for each of the children. Nie and Christian each get one, too. As Nie always illustrates through her blog, it is the little things, the simple things in life that really matter.

So, in honor of Nie, today I ask you to be grateful for all that life has given you and for the little things. I think Nie would be proud.

Things I am Grateful For Today <3
my husband
my health
the warm kitty purring next to me
my home
fresh picked Maine blueberries still warm from the sun
my family
my friends
soft sheets
my faith
second chances...and third...and forth
the five year old still boldly alive inside me
dark chocolate
vegan cupcakes
cotton clothing
rocking chairs
the icecream man
the swish of a basketball through the net
birds chirping
the perfect pair of jeans
the smell of tomato sauce simmering on the stove
the flowers I clipped from the rose of sharon in the backyard
and oh so much more

Oh, and, after counting the things you are grateful for today, if you could send just a dash of that positivity into the universe aimed at Nie, Christian, their children, their extended family, and their friends both physical and virtual, I would be extra extra grateful. Thank you!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nieces Rock My World

Usually I write about my nannying charges here, but my nieces have been in the forefront of my mind lately so I feel compelled to write about them. I must preface this by saying that Yes, I love their three brothers and my other sister's two boys, and the time will come when I write about them, too.

Lily and Marielle, age 11 and age 4, daughters of my oldest sister, are so dear to me. They live in Pennsylvania, 5 and 1/2 hours away from my home and I miss them and think of them every day. A few weekends ago they were in Maine, only 3 hours from my home, and my husband and I went to visit for three days. It was glorious to be in a cabin on the lake, spend our days boating and tubing and fishing and looking for salamanders, and fall asleep to the sounds of the coyotes howling. A welcome retreat and wonderful visit with my sister and her family.

One morning, after breakfast at the local diner, I was quickly led to the back yard near the lake by Marielle. When I asked what adventure she was taking me on she replied "Salamander Searching! Let's go!" Now, mind you, this is the little girl who just the night before had changed into a "swingy skirt like auntie's" for proper dancing around the living room. Multifaceted and complex, my Mari is. So, we searched for salamanders. I lifted every rock in the yard while Mari looked under it. "Auntie, do you know what salamanders look like?" "I think so... Do they kind of look like tiny lizards?" "Yeah... Well, kind of like frogs, but long and thin and sticky." I love her descriptions. Remember, she is only 4. So, after we had exhausted the rocks, I suggested checking under a log, and there he was, a 'sally' as Mari lovingly referred to him (according to Mari, there are only boy sallys). So, for five minutes we played with the sally. He crawled up Mari's arm, swam in the "swimming pool" we constructed for him in the bottom of a sandcastle mold, climbed the stick we placed in the sandcastle mold, and was shown to everyone who would look. Then came time to let him go. Mari was not so sure about this, but I told her we would put him right back where we found him so that we could remember where he was and go back and find him again later if she liked. This seemed to please her and thus, sally was returned to his rightful home.

Swingy skirts and salamanders. Two things I also loved as a little girl. This is when I started catching glimpses of my younger self in my nieces.

It was harder to pin Lily down for one-on-one time, but we chatted over grapes, pb&j, and orange juice. Lily is not so sure about switching from public school to private school this year. I tried to reassure her that she is charming, lovely, brilliant, creative, athletic, and has an innate gift for gab. She said, "yeah..." I told her I believe in her and I am proud of her, and no matter what I think she is phenomenal. I hugged her and she pried her hands out of her pockets and hugged me back. Then I remembered, I too was 10 1/2, nearly 11, when my family moved and I started a new school in the middle of fifth grade. Funny how life works in cycles. Changing schools was really hard and awkward, but I made it through. I must send Lily a little snailmail love note and inform her of this newly found similarity between us. I learned much from changing schools and if she asks I will share the wisdom that comes from having already lived it.

My favorite moment of the weekend was just divine! Mari was eating pistachios on the screen porch while Lily started giving me a manicure on the open air deck. Mari was interested in what we were doing. So, I held Mari while Lily did her nails. Then Lily did my nails. There were giggles and girl talk between us girls ages 4, 10 and 27. I am learning that females are fundamentally the same no matter the age. Mari sat in my lap curling a strand of my hair around her finger remarking how similar my hair is to her mommy's and how my clothes are even soft like Mommy's, too. Then she jumped up and proclaimed that she would like to brush my hair and she did! At that moment I was truly, devastatingly, happy. Really, what more could a girl ask for, but the August sunshine in Maine, the company of girlies she loves, free pampering better than any she has ever had at the spa, her "hairstylist" occasionally alternately popping pistachios and sun-warmed Maine blueberries in her mouth, giggles, and freely given pure love that she is free to purely give right back.

I love my girls <3

Friday, July 18, 2008


This week I got a surprise email from Mommy-K asking me to babysit for a few hours in the morning on Tuesday and Wednesday. I, of course, said yes. Boy was I in for lots of surprises when I arrived!

K is walking, no hands, and can get anywhere and reach anything. She also seems to be trying to string words together in sentences! For example, when she sees the family dog she say something with a t-sound in it then she says dog, then she says something with and s-sound in it, and finally she says woof-woof. So, I encourage her and reply "Yes, K. The dog says woof woof." or "The dog says woof woof. That's right, K!" I am not sure if repeating what I think she is trying to say first and then encouraging her is better than the reverse, so I vary it. K also wants to be doing everything her brother is doing be it monkey bars, climbing up the slide, swinging a bat or reading a book. She is imitating everything and wants to be a part of what everyone, especially her brother, is doing. New words: up, in, out. Current favorite words: eyes, fish, meow, cat, dog, woof woof.

Funny story. Well, funny to me anyway. I gave K some sliced up peach and sliced up pear for breakfast on Tuesday. They were incredibly juicy and she kept squeezing them in her hands and getting the juice ALL OVER herself in every crease and crevice of her little person. As icing on the cake, she lifted her arms above her head and squeezed the fruit juice into her hair squealing with laughter all the while. Needless to say, a bath was required.

C wants to be outside ALL THE TIME, I think he would sleep outside if given the chance. I have actually thought of buying him a tent. I have not found the perfect tent yet, but I did come across a very interesting article. The article is about different organic farms in the U.K. where one can take their family camping! The article:
I wish we had this in the U.S. and maybe we do, but I'll have to do further research. So far, all I am able to find is eco-friendly U.S. lodging, not camping. The article:

Back to C, he loves being outdoors. We play in the sandbox, swing, build and run obstacle courses, play t-ball, play kickball, etc. His "big boy bike" riding skills are steadily improving, though he isn't too fond of having to wear a helmet. He is also now able to reach the monkey bars and, with me as spotter and occasional weight support, navigate them. The monkey bars are a big deal because he was obsessed with them last year and I told him that when he could reach them he could use them. A year later, here we are. This week, he seemed to play better with Kate and even asked to include her in things. Just one example, we read books together and he told her the names of the animals in the illustrations. Honestly, though their parents report it, I have never really had a problem with C treating K unkindly. I wonder if this is because I try to naturally include both children in whatever activity we are doing so it is a "normal" thing when they are with me. If anything, I would say that sometimes C doesn't want to share a particular toy, but it has never gone beyond that. I also reprimand them equally so maybe C recognizes that fairness and impartiality.

Though I always do as the parents of my charges ask, there are occasional things that bother me or that I disagree with. One of those things has been on my mind lately. Every morning that I am there, Daddy-K arrives home with donuts for the children. 4 year-old C eats donuts, which I think is o.k. at that age if it is only an occasional treat, but it seems to be a regular practice. Most troubling to me, Mommy-K and Daddy-M allow one year old K to eat donuts. Though I do not have children of my own, I do not believe I would feed donuts to my one-year-old (or regularly to my 4-year-old) especially with the growing problem of childhood obesity that has become so prominent. Nutrition is so crucial to proper growth and if you want to give your child something sweet, there are many healthy alternatives. I also think that teaching and modeling healthy habits when children are young leads to them becoming health adults with healthy habits. What do you think?

9/8/08 - Note: I appreciate K1 teacher's comment. I also want to say that rereading this last paragraph I realize, though I didn't mean for it to, it may come off as a little harsh and judgmental. I want everyone to know that I have the utmost respect for the parents of C & K and that their children are well cared for, well fed, healthy, and, most importantly, loved incredibly well and incredibly deeply by their parents. So, no disrespect to Mommy K and Daddy M.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Watchfulness and Walking

Last Wednesday and Thursday I watched C & K.

Wednesday was a full day (6:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.). K was awake when I arrived, but C was still sleeping. Mommy K and Daddy M warned me that C had been a bit jealous of K lately partially due to all of the attention she is getting due to recently beginning to walk on her own, no hands!!! In addition, C was not taking kindly to K being able to walk around and reach toys of his that she had not had access to before. They asked that I be watchful of C when he and K were playing together so I could help C share with K and divert K's attention to her own toys if necessary. They also asked that I give C a little bit of extra-attention throughout the day to help with the jealousy issue. They left and I fed K breakfast, played with her, and watched her practice her walking. When C got up he was happy to see me and raring to go. He told me he wanted to clean the playroom, get dressed, and go outside to play. So, we did. During K's morning nap, C and I practiced riding his new "big boy" bike in the driveway, played t-ball in the backyard, and built sand castles in the sandbox. When K woke up we went inside and had lunch. The morning was gorgeous, but after lunch we had severe thunderstorms and switched to indoor activities. We played trains, read books together, watched a little bit of Noggin, and, while Kate had her afternoon nap, painted. All in all an excellent day.

On Thursday, K woke up shortly after I arrived and C woke up about an hour after that. We had breakfast, got dressed, and played on the swingset until Daddy M arrived home. Low key.

Some reflections and observations:
I thought that as K got older and more mobile everything would get easier, but in some ways it is more of a balancing act. I have two children to chase. I have to monitor both children more closely. They need help learning to play together. C has more adjusting to do as K gets older as well. I love every minute of it and I love being a part of their lives and helping them along the way, it is just interesting all of the things I am encountering that I never considered before.

As K is becoming more mobile and realizing she can do things on her own, she wants to do more things on her own. She likes to play by herself. Most messy, she insists on feeding herself. She also eats and loves anything and everything she is given and eats more at a sitting than before. The hotdog is one of her latest favorites and she can eat a whole banana in a sitting(!!!!). Her vocabulary is ever expanding. A few new words: fish, truck, cup.

C has much less anxiety when his parents leave and when he wakes up and finds me there instead of Mommy or Daddy. He is also a little more nonplussed when his parents return. He is much more vocal about what he would like to do and has more of an idea of time in that he "plans" his day. For the longest time he wanted me nearby when he went to the bathroom and always had me help him get dressed, but those needs are now a thing of the past.

Both of the children are gaining more independence, but in different ways.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Days

I watched K yesterday afternoon while Mommy K took C out and about. This morning I returned to watch C&K for the interval of time between Mommy K leaving for work and Daddy M returning from work. The kids were a joy as always.

Yesterday K was pretty tired so we played for 30 minutes, I put her down for her nap with minimal fight, two hours later she woke up, and 15 minutes later Mommy K and C returned home. When C got back, he wanted me to stay and play which I thought was very good for Mommy K to see since usually he puts up a fight when I come to sit and she is leaving. I imagine it is very hard as a parent to leave your child with anyone, let alone a child who is putting up a fight. So, I hope that seeing us together for a few minutes yesterday was reassuring to Mommy K that things do settle down and go well while she is gone.

This morning both kids were up when I arrived at seven and neither of them was upset when Mommy K left. We had breakfast, I got them dressed, we played in the sunshine, and Daddy M came home. A very mellow couple of hours.

As far as new things, C is done with pre-school for the year and K is basically walking on her own and only holding hands when she chooses to. K is strong enough in her walking and balance to stand, squat, and stand up from a squatting position which comes in handy when she wants to pick things up off the ground. K has also started attempting to say my name which is difficult because it has an 'x' at the end. They are all going on a family vacation next week and the following week I will be there on Wednesday for a full day.

When nannying, I not only consider the children, but the parents as well. Parenting is more and more difficult these days. Parents work opposite shifts to be with the children, but pass each other like ships in the night. In the case of Mommy K and Daddy M, I really admire the balance they seem to maintain. Yes, they do not see each other as often as they like because Daddy M works 24 hour shifts 3 days a week at the fire department and Mommy K works 3 days a week as a nurse, but they try to have one week day and one weekend day where they are all together as a family. Additionally, some nights when Daddy M is working a 24 hour shift, Mommy K brings the children to the fire station so they can be together as a family and some days when Mommy K is working Daddy M brings the kids to see her at lunch time. Not ideal, but they do everything they can to make it work and to do what is best for their family and their relationship. It is remarkable.

I also often wonder how they feel I am doing with the children. I know that the children are happy and safe and always engaged when I am there which causes me to feel that I am doing a good job. I also see that they are growing and learning as they should be which I like to think I have a small part in. Mommy K and Daddy M continue to employ me, but I never really get any feedback from them as to how they feel about my " job performance." I have been caring for the kids for nearly a year and when their parents return I always give a report on what the children ate, what K's diapers had in them, and all activities we were involved in during the day, but there is never really any feedback from the parents. I suppose I should continue to assume I am doing well and they are happy with my performance because I am quite sure I would hear about it if they were not. Nannying is different from other jobs.

Well, that is all I have for now...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It has been a tumultuous winter, but the summer has arrived and I am back to blogging.

I am not only a nanny, but a student, a wife, a crafter, a writer, an editor, etc. So, I have cut down on my nannying schedule in order to be able to better balance my life. I have gone from nannying for three families to exclusively nannying for the family I have been with longest. Mom K, Dad M, and kids C and K. This is a much better arrangement for me and the family enjoys being able to call me on a whim and know I am most likely available at a moments notice.

After spending much of the winter inside due to snow or rain, the children are thrilled to be able to spend time visiting parks, zoos, farms, playgrounds or just walking around the neighborhood watching seasons change and visiting with neighbors. As K has passed the year old mark (April 8th), I notice we need less and less gear. A couple of sippy cups, a snack, a couple of diapers, baby wipes, a blanket, and sunscreen do the trick these days, much to my delight.

C is getting more and more independent. Frequently he asks me to let him "read" a book alone or go to the playroom by himself. Their house is a fairly open layout so I can see and hear him pretty much anywhere and feel free to let him be. He is also more and more enamored with his sister K as she is more interactive (more on this later). He talks to her, helps her get her coat on, tells her about the animals at the farm and the zoo. Quite endearing. This year he has been going to pre-school once a week. In the fall it will increase to twice and week and I will be picking him up and dropping him off one day a week. He talks about school some, mostly about his friends there, and rushes to show me the projects he has done every time I arrive at their house to nanny. I love being a part of his growth and a witness to his inquisitiveness.

K is amazing! She is not walking on her own yet, but she moves around the room holding on to furniture and sometimes resorting to crawling from place to place. She no longer needs to hold on to two hands, one is enough. She is talking more and more. Some of her favorite words are: yes, eyes, duck, cow, quack, meow, dog, cat, this, that, mmmmmm (when something tastes delicious which is almost always), dada, mama. She repeats sounds and sometimes tries to repeat words I say. She loves to play with C's plastic animals and moves the horses around on the floor saying "clop, clop" because I told her that is the noise their hooves make. SO SMART! Her stuffed Dora doll is one of her favorite things because it is about the same size as her. She drags Dora around the house with her, a constant playmate. K also loves shoes, any shoes. She takes her shoes and socks on and off and tries on shoes that other members of her family have left around the house. She also likes sitting in front of the mirror in the bathroom brushing her hair and her teeth. When I started nannying, K, now 13 months old, was three months old and watching her turn into her own person is such a privilege.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesdays with C&K

C&K are the two children I nanny for two Wednesdays a month. C is a 4 year old boy. K is a 10 month old girl. I met their parents through and began babysitting for them in August 2007. Their parents coach the local high school volleyball team (though this year was their last) and needed a nanny full-days Monday through Friday for two weeks during volleyball camp and several afternoons a week thereafter for volleyball practice and games. They are a delightful family and the children are a joy, so I was sad when volleyball season ended in November and we left it that they would call me on an as-needed basis. As it turns out, their regular Wednesday morning nanny suddenly became unavailable on Wednesdays and I was more then willing to jump in. One Wednesday a month I am with the children from 6:45 a.m when K-Mommy leaves for work (she is a pediatric nurse) until sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m when M-Daddy (he is a fireman) gets home. The other Wednesday is a "full-day" when I am with the children from 6:45 a.m when K-Mommy leaves for work until 3:30 p.m.when K-Mommy returns home. I am so glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to stay on with this family and watch the children grow.

It is remarkable how time passes and one can miss so many kid milestones without noticing. A week ago I was playing with C in the playroom and he brought out his plastic zoo animals. When I first began babysitting C and I used to talk about the name of the animal, what sound it made, what color it was and now, only six months later, we are talking about what letter the animal's name begins with and practicing our letter sounds and grouping all the animals that start with s together, etc. It is mind-boggling how quickly the minds of children expand and their capacity to learn if we are willing to spend the time teaching. It is also amazing how fun that teaching and learning can be when it is integrated into play.

K is a little firecracker. A very easy baby who loves to laugh, crawl backwards, make music by banging objects together to see what happens/what sound they make. She is also extremely inquisitive, especially about her brother C's toys so I am constantly trying to set boundaries, but also use this as a tool to teach C about sharing and how he can teach K what different toys are and what they do. They play together quite well most of the time and C is really getting to like K and interact with her more now that she is more interactive. K laughs and claps her hands at the mere sight of C coming at her and watches intently when C does anything active such as gymnastics, anything with a ball, and/or hockey. She is working on the crawling, but really prefers to be on two feet and frustrates easily if left on her belly too long or unable to reach an object that she desires. I try to be encouraging and understand that a bit of frustration is good, but I only let it go so far. She is after all only 10 months old.

So, that is C&K for the time being. I'll write about another family next time. For now, Nanny is off to night night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Notable Nanny

I have always loved children for as long as I can remember.

When I was three years old my parents bought me a sturdy plastic kid-sized shopping cart that I insisted on bringing to the grocery store and pushing my baby doll in.

When I was eleven years old, my mother had to go back to work and I began caring for my four year old brother when I got home from school in the afternoons. My grandmother was just a stairwell away, but I was the one playing with him, reading to him, making him a snack. When he started school I would meet his bus at the bus stop and help with homework.

When I was 13, our neighbors had a baby and I sat for them many a Saturday night until they moved away when he was 7. We still keep in touch and they came to my wedding.

When I began high school, I started teaching CCD to second, third, and fourth graders. I also worked at the public library where I frequently helped out in the Children's Room.

When I went to college the first time, right out of high school, in 1999, I studied to be an elementary school teacher. I interned for a semester in a first grade classroom as well as babysitting for a 14 month old once or twice a week.

After two years of school I realized that I wasn't sure what I wanted to be, but I did not want to be a teacher. I took time off and worked as a legal secretary for five years.

In Fall 2006, still working full-time as a legal secretary, I went back to school and began designing my own major in Publishing. Ultimately, I would like to get my master's degree in Library Science with a concentration in School Librarianship, combining my two loves BOOKS and CHILDREN.

In Fall 2007, I decided to focus full-time on my studies. In order to supplement my husband's income, I have gone back to babysitting/nannying. I work for two families and may be taking on a third in the near future.

These are my Notes on Nannying.