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Oct 3 2013

The Case of the Purple Booty Shorts-Wearing Babysitter

By at 5:03 pm

booty shorts

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 →

Jan 7 2013

News Roundup: Ear Infections & Atheism

By at 3:50 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

– When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic to your child for an ear infection, they may be doing so without cause. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait out the infection, instead of ineffectively treating it with drugs. (But no word on exactly how you should deal with a kid in agony.) (Slate)

– One mom reflects on what it’s like to move through a few religious identities and end up with nothing, raising her children without religion. (Boston Magazine)

– The parents of the two Manhattan children murdered by their nanny in October have spoken out on their Facebook page about their loss and living with their one living child. (Yahoo news)

– Teens on sports teams and teens who exercise have a more positive self image and greater self esteem than their less sports-oriented peers, but it’s unclear if this is causation or correlation (i.e. are more confident teens more likely to join sports teams, or does being on a sports team make teens more confident?). (NPR)

Dec 24 2012

News Roundup: Lie-Detector Tests for Nannies, Bulletproof Backpacks for Kids

By at 4:01 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

Nanny Interviews Get More Aggressive. They now sometimes involve lie-detector tests and private investigators. [Insert nanny-state joke here.] (Wall Street Journal)

-The Ultimate Amenity: Grandparents. Some families are choosing to buy or rent apartments for their parents so that grandparents can be nearby. (NY Times)

-Since Newtown Shooting Sales of Kids’ Bulletproof Backpacks Soar. No surprise that lots of parents are snapping these up (they’re $200-$500). (Washington Post)

-Why Is My Kid Such A Picky Eater? Here are some ways to help get around your child’s aversion to leafy greens and anything that isn’t light brown. (Slate)

Dec 12 2012

The Euphemisms We Use Instead of “Nanny”

By at 10:49 am

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 →

Nov 9 2012

We Don’t Live Anywhere Near Our Family

By at 9:49 am

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 →

Nov 5 2012

News Roundup: Prodigies, Tragedies, and a Hurricane Birth

By at 4:01 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

– Is it harder to raise a child with a disability, or a child genius? An article in this week’s New York Times Magazine examines the surprising similarities. (NYT)

– One mom faced a heartbreaking choice: deliver her baby early enough that it would be at risk for severe impairment, or do nothing and wait to miscarry. She wrote about her situation and her decision for Slate’s DoubleX blog. (Slate)

– A woman goes to a restaurant (with kids, presumably), orders $138 worth of food, and leaves no tip, instead writing, “Single mom, sorry” on the tip line. A photo of this receipt went viral this week, prompting lots of questions and judgements. (Washington Post)

– A professor whose study indicated that gay parents were ill-equipped to raise children now says that his research methods were flawed. His university has called an investigation, but the professor, Mark Regnerus, says he stands by his findings. (The Advocate)

– And this was a week of tragedies. The murder of the two Krim children in Manhattan, the two children swept away from their mother during Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island, and a child killed after falling into an exhibit at the Pittsburgh zoo. Our hearts go out to all of those grieving. (NYT/ABC)

– Finally, some happy news: a woman went into labor in the middle of the hurricane in New Jersey. Though she wasn’t planning a home birth she did wonderfully, and all despite the lack of power or water during the birth. Mom and baby are both doing well. (Huffington Post)

Oct 30 2012

How to Pay Nanny Taxes (And Why You Should)

By at 10:22 am

As part of our month-long series dedicated to Women, Work & Money, CPA Bette Hochberger offers her advice about paying nannies on vs. off the books.

We all know that the cost of childcare is high. After considering how much we will be paying for a nanny or housekeeper, who wants to think about taxes we need to pay in addition to that amount? Wouldn’t it be easier to just pay your help under the table? It is very tempting to avoid these so-called “nanny taxes,” but here’s why you need to pay them, and an overview of how it’s done.

The IRS and the state you live in require you to pay these taxes–it’s the law! And the consequences are severe. By not paying these taxes you are committing tax fraud. You could face penalties, interest, and, in the worst-case scenario, jail time. Your nanny will also face penalties when she fails to report this income on her personal tax return. You will also be cheating her out of her future Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits by not paying the taxes. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 26 2012

The Nanny Murder Case

By at 5:44 pm

By this point, you have probably heard about the horrific news story that hit every mother like a ton of bricks when she heard it: the Upper West Side nanny who, by all appearances, fatally stabbed her 2-year-old and 6-year-old charges in the bathtub while their mother was out with their 3-year-old sister.

We read the story and find it unbearable to live even a sliver of that mother’s nightmare: coming home to a dark apartment, asking where her children are, and then turning the lights on to the knowledge that life can never, ever be the same. Even thinking of that mother puts a terrible taste in my mouth, sour horror tinged with a metallic panic.

We read the stories, cringing at the idea that the nanny, the babysitter, the person whom we trust with our children, whether for days and nights or hours at a time, could possibly be suspect. Obviously, there is no “best case” scenario for children being murdered. But somehow, the idea that such a horrific crime against such beautiful innocence could be perpetrated by someone that we ourselves let into the house and our lives adds yet another terrifying element to an already awful scenario.

What is there to say? We feel unspeakably bad for the parents and the sister of the victims, and their entire families. We feel profoundly unsettled at the idea of our trust being betrayed by someone in whom we have placed the ultimate trust – the safety of our children. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2012

Kveller’s New Partnership with

By at 1:51 pm adWe 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, the premier internet caregiver service. Because hey, we need support, too.

On, 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, 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 and sign up for their services, click here.

Jul 26 2012

I Was a Latch-Key Kid (And Look How I Turned Out!)

By at 4:16 pm

girl watching tvIn “Do Kids Raised By Nannies Really Turn Out Okay?” Renee Septimus asked the question:

Yet again we read a piece from the points of view of the mothers and the nannies. What always seems to be missing in these articles is the point of view of the children, arguably the most important actors in this story. The grown–up children, I mean–people who were raised with nannies, who by now have some perspective on the experience. Wouldn’t it be interesting and important to hear from them?

I confess, I did not have a nanny growing up. I was, however, from the age of 7 on, a latch-key kid (though I did not wear said key on a latch around my neck. It was hidden under a flower pot. Deviously clever, no?). Read the rest of this entry →


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