I remember vividly the first day that “Dawn” came to our home. I found her through a babysitting service run by my alma mater, a prestigious women’s college. While many of the Brooklyn mommies I know choose to employ older, more experienced nannies–- Jamaican or Trinidadian no-nonsense ladies who line the park benches at the nearby playgrounds and chat amongst themselves–I had the revolutionary idea to find a college girl–someone who’d be more like a “big sister” to my kids. She would have no problem getting down on the floor to play with them, but could also be someone I wouldn’t mind having extended conversations with as we took day trips to the beach and the zoo.
Dawn showed up at my house wearing a demure, floral print dress. She was so shy and deferential, I wondered if we’d get along. She was considering pre-med, and we commiserated about the perils of trying to find a boyfriend at an all-girls’ school. Everything was going fine until her fourth or fifth day with us, when she showed up at my house in what can only be described as a pair of tiny, butt-cheek baring booty shorts. Dawn explained to me that she had just come from exercising, but that did little to help me reconcile the presence of purple lycra in my living room. More than just running shorts, these purple booty shorts actually had ruching up the sides, with strings that tied at the tender place betwixt her gluteus maximus and her no-no zone. Read the rest of this entry →
All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time read this week.
- The hoopla over the imminent birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first child can be described as many things–exciting, over the top, extreme–but definitely not Jewish. JTA explores why many Jewish women avoid overt celebrations before the baby is born (including quotes from Kveller’s editor and several bloggers). (JTA)
- These days, many parents are extremely uncomfortable with male babysitters and opt for female sitters if they can. However, for much of the 20th century, boys were not only accepted as babysitters but preferred over girls. (Atlantic)
- As more and more overnight camps across the country ban or impose limits on parents sending care packages to their campers, parents have found more and more ridiculous ways to sneak forbidden items to their campers. (NYT)
- Apparently, if the CEO of a company is a male and has a baby boy, they will tend to pay about $100 less in annual compensation per employee. However, if they have a baby girl, there will be no reduction in wages. Weird. (NYT)
- Finally, a new parenting trend we can all relate to: CTFD–which stands for “Calm the F*ck Down.” (Jezebel)
Banana it is! Previously, I wrote about babysitting my niece, Lila, at six months, and at 15 months. Now 20 months old, babysitting has become a far less frightening proposition– Lila has become an actual person, with opinions, and, even better, the beginnings of an ability to express them. Read the rest of this entry →
Parenting is full of euphemisms. It all starts with the “baby bump,” then we get “nursing,” followed by “fussy” and “number two.”
I’ve now started using my own parenting euphemism: Sometimes I say my son has a “babysitter” instead of a “nanny.”
At a recent event for families with young children at our synagogue I was chatting with another mom who has a young son. I’m still in the dating-new-mommy-friends phase (you know, trying out new friendships, wondering if the other mom really likes you, hoping she will call or email you)–when you have to find someone who has the same work schedule, whose child naps and eats on a similar time table as your little one, etc. I didn’t want to further complicate matters by having this woman think I was a rich and spoiled diva. So instead of saying my son has a nanny during the week, I said he has a babysitter. Read the rest of this entry →
The night I realized that we had nobody to parent our children for a stretch of October, I cried.
My husband had a major conference in Reno, and I had a 10-day festival to run. That left us with no one.
For lots of folks, this kind of problem has an easy fix: Granny Nanny. But eight years ago my husband and I, childless and independent, moved to DC, leaving the closest grandparent five hours away. Read the rest of this entry →
Not too long ago, I had lunch with a college friend. When we hung out in our 20s, we’d talk about politics, office politics, and the romantic entanglements of our friends. Now that we’re new parents, we kvelled about parenthood.
He loves being a father, and I love being a mother. We love it all–-except the cost. At some point, we found ourselves agreeing how surprisingly expensive baby gear is. “I just don’t buy things for myself anymore,” he said. I nodded, because while I hadn’t really thought about it, the same is true for me. Read the rest of this entry →
We know parents need a lot of support, both moral and physical. Besides the support of great friends (and Jewish parenting websites), many parents need the support of nannies and babysitters, and that’s why we’re excited to announce our new partnership with Care.com, the premier internet caregiver service. Because hey, we need support, too.
On Care.com, you can find the perfect nanny, au pair, tutor, day care center, or whatever it is you need in your area. You can even find pet sitters, tutors, and housekeepers. All of their caregivers are vetted carefully to ensure that your family will be in good hands. .
If you sign up for a membership with Care.com, not only will Kveller receive a portion of the profit, but you’ll get a 20% discount to boot. Since we’re part of a non-profit organization and rely on donations, this is a huge help to us.
To browse Care.com and sign up for their services, click here.
Earlier this year, I babysat my 9-month-old niece for an hour and a half, alone. Six months later, due in part to my stunning success in keeping her alive for 90 minutes in Manhattan, I got another chance. Eight full hours–with a toddler who’s just about to hit the 15-month mark.
Before, Lila was almost entirely helpless. She could smile, she could cry, she could sleep–and that was about it. Now, she has wants, she has feelings, she has opinions–and she can even express at least a small percentage of them. The night before the big day, my most pressing concern was changing her diaper. I’d watched people change diapers, but I’d never done it myself. My wife and I practiced with a folded piece of paper towel, a small square of tape, and a stuffed hippopotamus. Somehow, my success wrapping a sheet of Bounty loosely around a lifeless object gave me the confidence that I would be able to handle the task on an actual person, with an actual diaper–including something called a “ruffle” that I was repeatedly warned I must be aware of. Read the rest of this entry →
My boyfriend’s 3-year-old was in town this weekend. She stayed with her aunt, but we got in a fair amount of quality time over two days. This has been our strategy over the past year.
I don’t spend lots of time with Ronia, mainly because we live in different cities, and most of the time that I’m with her dad she’s with her mom. But if, as seems likely, Jesse and I move in together sometime in the next couple of years, I will be spending lots of time with Ronia, and I want that to be a positive thing for both of us. So we try to practice, whenever we can, which isn’t that often.
But this isn’t how parenthood usually works. I didn’t bond with Ronia as an infant (though I have known her since she was born, and in a freaky coincidence, I have a picture of my mother, who died three years ago, holding a 5-month-old Ronia) and I don’t have tons of happy memories of carrying her around in a sling, watching her learn to walk and talk and sing. She has become an important part of my life as a 3-year-old, and as my own dad loves to remind me, my parents found that 3 was a much tougher age than 2.
Ronia has to deal with her parents’ marriage ending, and both of them finding new partners. It would be a lot for anyone, and I think overall she has been a trouper, but there is certainly a healthy dose of whining and inopportune peeing these days. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m supposed to have a baby in two weeks, give or take the vagaries of a uterus that on previous occasions has summarily refused to discharge its occupants. Or maybe I’m misreading the situation – maybe the former occupants of said uterus somehow knew that the most organized their mom would ever be would be when they were on the inside rather than out in the cold, harsh world where Mommy forgets to buy diapers.
Either way, the point is that while the baby nurse has been selected and will be here to help us out during the first week or so after the kid’s birth (thank God!), after that, it’s a mystery to me how I’m going to work the whole work-life-other kids-husband-balance schtick. I am thinking I’m going to need to bring in someone from the outside, i.e. some form of child care provider.
Weirdly for me, this decision is fraught with gratuitous angst and guilt. There are lots of reasons for this, though none of them have their roots in my own personal history, oddly enough. My mother got her PhD while raising four children (whoa), and doing so necessitated a babysitter a few days a week. Those days were when I got to color on the walls with impunity (at least until Mom came home again). When we were all very young, we had live-in helpers on occasion who varied dramatically in quality (I was particularly freaked out by Dorothy, the one who could turn her eyelids inside out).
So I’m not under any illusion that childcare other than one’s self is necessarily a bad thing. My mother’s example illustrates, in fact, that to realize one’s self as a person as well as a mother, one occasionally needs, if possible, to have some time without dealing with other people’s poop. Forget about realizing one’s self – sanity is also good.
But I’m not so great as “the boss.” I’m one of those people who feels, when approached by helpful salespeople in a store, that I wish they would go away and leave me on my own to not find my size in peace. I like my privacy, and I hate confrontation. This is why I was so torn when I found the person I’d hired to help me with kid 2, back in the day, with her hands in the proverbial cookie jar, i.e. busily extricating a few twenty dollar bills from my wallet. I genuinely wanted to believe that she had dropped her earring in there.
Trusting someone else with your kid is no joke. That is why I am relieved to have finally solved my childcare dilemma. I found a great person to take care of my baby. You may know him better as President Barack Obama.
Check out the video above.
Michelle is holding the random baby and the baby is crying its head off. Suddenly, when the President takes the baby, it is mysteriously silenced.
That is good enough credential for me. So since putting the baby down for a nap will be no effort for him at all, I’m counting on the President to teach my other two boys civics and to hold policy debates with them in his free time, so that I can go to do my work guilt-free.