30 April 2010

Friday FAQ - Nanny Etiquette & Another Freebie

Today's FAQ comes from a comment left last week:
Q: I need your help with nanny etiquette. My nanny whom I adore very much recently stopped having playdates with one of the other nanny's in the neighborhood. Apparently a few other nannies in our neighborhood have stopped as well because she is too harsh with the kids & yells a lot. After hearing some of the comments she has made, I have to agree ("your daughter talks very well, not like these mutes I take care of"...in front of the 2 year olds!). I don't know the parents well at all, but should I say something or stay out of it?
My answer & a another great giveaway if you provide your opinion...

29 April 2010

Facing That Worst Fear as a Mom

Bit of a serious post today folks... before you read, just know everything is fine.

I spent part of last weekend worried that someone had been 'interfering' with K. My worry stemmed from two incidences, but when my mom guilt brain put them together, I no longer saw coincidence, I started to see my worst fear. That some how, some way, while he was away from from me, someone had hurt my son.

The first thing was that K started to fight diaper changes. His reaction was beyond the usual "I don't want to stop playing Momma." This was real tears, real fear of something and a serious physical reaction to being put on his back, having his diaper taken off etc.

28 April 2010

Hump Day Distraction - Online Reading List

Post Earth Day and as we face another tax bill, I'm feeling kind of non-consumerist (and cheap.) So, instead of online shopping today, I'm going to share a few of the sites I visit regularly for parenting lifestyle info:

lilsugar.com - I won't lie, I stumbled upon this while reading gossip on their sister site popsugar.com, but now I check lilsugar first. Its a great site for stories, products, and kid-related news articles.

parentdish.com - Similar to lilsugar, but parentdish extends to older kids and has great tips like games to play, recipes etc.

dinnerwithjulie.com - Julie doesn't offer parenting advice. What she does do is share a slice of her life, as a busy mom, journalist, cook and radio personality. Her recipes are deliciously approachable and her blog feels like your having a conversation with a neighbour or old school friend.

26 April 2010

Big Shoes to Fill & Freebie Friday Winner

I practically kill myself on the weekends... trying to impress a 2yr old.

Zoo trips, backyard crafts, fun food - its not easy. He's not easily impressed anymore. You see, during the week he has a dedicated staff catering to his every whim. No one is dragging him to the grocery store or the bank or making him sit quietly in a restaurant. Instead he's at gym class, Kindermusik, story time or the park with his buddies. When he's hungry, thirsty or tired, there is someone there to assuage him that very minute. No one is asking him to wait two more minutes while they finish the laundry or dishes.

23 April 2010

Calling it Freebie Friday

I'm extending yesterday's contest into today: Freebie Friday. One lucky reader will receive this vapur fold-able anti-bottle:

"Vapur is quite simply the most portable refillable water bottle on the planet. And by making tap water more portable, we hope to make bottled water obsolete. "

Leave me a comment about your nanny, nanny life, or my new blog design. I'll get Dear A to pick a number and that commenter (counting comments from today and yesterday) will win the bottle.

Contest closes midnight tonight, I'll post the winner on Monday.

Friday FAQ will return next week, Happy Friday!

22 April 2010

Earth Day Giveaway - Win an Anti-Bottle!

I've got a present for you, in honour of Earth Day and to celebrate my shiny new site. One lucky reader will receive this vapur fold-able anti-bottle:

"Vapur is quite simply the most portable refillable water bottle on the planet. And by making tap water more portable, we hope to make bottled water obsolete. "

I loved this earth-friendly, purse-friendly, BPA-free product as soon as I saw it. I bought three for my family and one for you.

How to Win:
Leave me a comment about your nanny, nanny life, or my new blog design. I'll get Dear A to pick a number and that commenter will win the bottle. Pretty straight forward, but remember, 'Anonymous' won't get you anything.
Happy Earth Day, and thanks, as always, for reading!

Worms, Goats and Cupcakes - Happy Earth Day

I was trying to decide how to introduce Earth Day to K, and how Dear A could help, since she's with him all day. My husband suggested having them build a vermicompost, but a 2yr old and worms seemed like a bad idea to me. Visions of 'pet' worms sharing my bed and all that. 'Pets' got me thinking, would getting a pet goat, to eat the weeds and lawn in the backyard be considered going green? And where would one get such a goat? And, is there is group for Goats As Lawnmowers (GAL?) like the CLUCK coalition? And then I realized my thoughts had wandered waaaayyy past the initial goal...

21 April 2010

Hump Day Distraction - My new site, of course

No need to look anywhere else folks, today's Hump Day Distraction is my shiny new blog!

Its nothing compared to 'proud baby' moments, but I'm pretty happy about it all coming together. Big cheers and Thank Yous to www.kathrynleeid.com for not just being a great artist, but also caring enough to ask the right questions.

All the technical stuff has left me exhausted, more nanny-related posting tomorrow. Stay tuned!

20 April 2010

Life Moves Fast, Look Pretty?

In this blog, I tend to share a slice of our life, whatever interesting thing has happened with K, is dad, Dear A and me. I don’t often think to follow up on the aftermath, but I’m sure you get that. Life moves fast, especially with kids. (I wish my statement sounded as cool as Ferris Bueller's. So not.)

Anyway, today, I thought I'd update you:

PS – Toilet Training Derailed
K loves the potty. He loves to play with it, wear it on his head… fancy new Diego potty as enticement = Fail.

19 April 2010

In the News - Discount Nannies in the US?

In Canada, we're dealing with changes to the live-in caregiver program that will increase recruitment and monthly costs. Apparently in the US, the soft economy has resulted in discount nannies.... Bigger question in my mind, should you be looking for discount childcare? Lets hit the poll - vote and leave your comments below!

16 April 2010

Friday FAQ - What if I need more?

Today’s question comes from a reader who's juggling work demands, home stuff and childcare. Sounds familiar right?

Q: A couple of my friends with nanny's and I have been asking the same thing. If we need our nanny to work more then the 44 hours a week consistently - what is the best way to do it? I'm not talking the odd Friday night babysitting gig - but a consistent 50 hour a week or something like that? Many of us who work downtown have to leave by 6:30am to get home by 5pm.

A: I think you have to consider a couple of things in this situation. There’s the legal/employment laws aspect of course, but also your relationship with your nanny.

14 April 2010

In Case of Emergency and Nanny

A nearby city was in dire straits today. A winter storm swept in last night, knocked out power, closed roads and schools and even affected the water supply. Scary stuff.

We don't live in a particularly tornado/earthquake/flood ridden area, so I hadn't given much thought to emergency scenarios. We have some bottled water, granola bars, and I bought an 'emergency pack' from Costco a few years ago that is stored somewhere safe. (By safe, I mean, I have no idea where it is.) Besides arguing with my husband about the need for a firearm in case of total anarchy, (his scenario, not mine)  we've never discussed what we'd do as a family. And now, that family includes Dear A, who may be watching K when something goes down.

So, now, with input from K's dad who's all army and such, here's my plan:

Hump Day Distraction - Footie Pajamas

Its grey and cold outside and I've been trying to focus, sit still, and read through thirty technical reports. Worst Hump Day plan ever. I keep imagining how much better everything would be if I was wearing these:

I bought some for a friend as a gift, and am now totally wishing I had treated myself too. Good news is, not only are the PJs fantastic but Pajama City also has super customer service. First, the PJs arrived with a pre-printed returns form, in case you need another size, with no re-stocking fee and a price guarantee. Then, I got an email saying they were refunding $1.80 in shipping charges, because it cost less to ship than they thought. $1.80 isn't a huge refund, but that's kind of the point. They could have kept it, but didn't.
Anyway, I've decided all of this has definitely earned them repeat business, it would only be right for me to buy myself a pair now. Right? ;-)

13 April 2010

He Likes Me, He Really Likes Me!

K cries when people leave him. He cries when we drop his aunt and uncle off after carpooling to family dinner. He cries when his grandparents head for the door after a quick visit. Most of all, K cries (bawls) when Dear A is done for the day. Huge tears, lots of pathetic “Nooo, my A. My AAAAA….” It’s extremely tragic and devastating.

The only farewell that doesn’t bring the tears each day is when we (Mommy and Daddy) leave for work. Equally tragic and devastating, but this time, for me.

He used to cry when we left and while most of me was relieved when he outgrew it, I can admit that part of me was sad. Add the histrionics everyone else gets on departure and lately it’s been a bit gutting.  But today, everything changed.

09 April 2010

Friday FAQ - Nanny applying for Permanent Residency?

Today's FAQ is mine - Dear A is in the process of applying for Permanent Residency and asked me for help. This, as usual, led me to a bunch of research... and an emotional crack up.

Q: What happens when my nanny applies for Permanent Residency? Does it affect her contract with me? What do I have to provide?

A: Your nanny's application for Permanent Residency does not affect your employment contract with you. Conditions for termination of employment would still be the same as before. What Permanent Residency does do

08 April 2010

In the News - Dollar Parity Benefits Your Nanny

While it seems that most foreign workers are watching the dollar closely, might not hurt to mention this to your nanny:
Strong loonie helps immigrant workers (from CBC News Calgary)
The strong Canadian dollar has immigrants in Calgary heading to banks and remittance companies to send money to their families overseas.

Nanny Playdate

We had a surprise visit last week. A newly arrived nanny was brought over to make friends with Dear A. It was a weird situation. While I don’t begrudge the new nanny a network of other Filipinos to make her life in this new country easier, through her employers 'drive-by nannying', I felt like some of that responsibility had been transferred to us. For me, its no problem. With this blog, I wanted friends, family, and strangers to have a place to go to for nanny-related stuff. Because Dear A didn't sign up for it, after the introductory 'play date', I took over. 

Dear A, of course was terrific. And, while it added a few tasks to my To Do list, it turned out fine. The new nanny was from the same area, so she was very comfortable talking to Dear A. I made a few calls and found another member of the community of the same religion, so she was able to attend Easter Sunday services and was invited to a party that evening. Connections made, problem solved.

It does highlight why its worth using a licensed, local agency rather than simply browsing online, though.

The new nanny was brought in using an agency in Toronto, not the one I used.  While our agent makes a point of introducing each nanny to a network of their peers, this nanny was left to meet her employer at the airport and had no connection to a community at all.

I would hope everyone would want their nanny to have interests and friends outside of the home. Other nannies are a great way to reach the local Filipino community, to understand Canadian culture and customs, and even trade childcare tips.

On that subject, the agency I used also offers ongoing ‘professional development’ for recruited nannies, and even extends courses to the parents. If you’re in Calgary, check out the sidebar for upcoming courses and go to www.nannyconnection.ca for more information.

And my tips if you're not in Calgary:*
  1. Find out if your area has a Filipino community association
  2. Help your nanny find a source for Filipino groceries or food
  3. If she's religious, help your nanny find a nearby church
Pretty basic stuff, but worth mentioning IMHO.
    * I'm specifying the Filipino community because my nanny is Filipino, but I would think this would apply to any foreign worker. And, as always, today’s tip content is offered as information only. Please conduct your own research or consult a professional for advice on your personal situation.

    07 April 2010

    In the News - Some Good News for Parent Guilt

    A New York Times online article reports
    "that the amount of child care time spent by parents at all income levels — and especially those with a college education — has risen “dramatically” since the mid-1990s."
    Now that's the kind of news I like to read!

    Hump Day Distraction - Dollar Parity Shopping!

    The Canadian dollar hit par with the US dollar yesterday, and is likely going to stay nice and snug to it for the days to come... do you need a better reason to shop online? I don't. I have a few stores I save for this special occasion:

    Urban Baby Runway - stocks the coolest kid clothes ever. Seriously, they have an infant fedora.

    Nini and Loli - stocks smart and unique stuff, like a puppet cutlery set. Who doesn't need a cutlery set that doubles as puppets?

    And, for me: Shop Intuition - stocks the latest trendy accessories and even lists items by 'as seen on so and so celebrity'. The store to hit if you want those amazing sunglasses Nicole Richie was wearing last week.

    Guilty pleasures indeed!

    03 April 2010

    Celebrating Springy Easter!

    Thank you readers for your comments about my last Easter post. With your advice, I've decided to embrace it as a way to celebrate Spring. Dear A and K made their traditional holiday greeting card for us, decorated with eggs and bunnies this time, and spent time reading Easter books, religious and non-, from the library.

    For my part, I decided K should help me make an Easter/Spring treat for his friends and family. I’d read a few recipes for edible nests that you can fill with eggs, lovely delicate concoctions made out of shredded phyllo…lovely, but not particular manageable as a toddler craft.

    Instead, K and I went with rice krispie treats. We used the same process as the fancy ones, shaping into nests using muffin tins. I think they turned out great, and K definitely got the whole eggs come from nests thing. He’s a bit confused about what kind of chicken lays chocolate eggs, but who isn’t!

    Happy Springy Easter to you all!

    02 April 2010

    iPhone Apps and Friday FAQ - Visas for Vacationing Nannies?

    Sorry for the lack of posts this week, work got the best of me. To make up for it, today's post is two in one - Hump Day Distraction and Friday FAQ. And, stay tuned tomorrow for my Easter update.

    My online distraction right now is iPhone Apps. A few I can recommend for distracting 2 year olds:
    • Pre School Music, $0.99 - Four games in one, your toddler can tap on fish and change them to other animals, tap to make sheep sing, play a piano, or tap birds to sing in a round.
    • Adams's Art Coloring, $1.99 - White and black canvasses, plus "coloring book" images, and the option to 'save' your kid's arts on a refrigerator.
    I'm sure there are tons more. If you have a favorite, share it in the comments please! Now on to the FAQ:

    Friday FAQuestion from a reader:
    I know your nanny went home recently and I have a question - did 
she need to
 apply for a reentry visa or anything ahead of time? (Our nanny) is going home in June so I want to make sure all our ducks are in a row so she can come back here easily. She has a valid Visa and passport.

    My Answer, verified by Dear A:
    She didn't need a re-entry visa. We provide a letter of support that she takes with her along with her work permit, passport and this year she also took her H1N1 vaccination paperwork because another nanny mentioned they asked her about it in Hong Kong in transit.

    The Letter of Support I used:
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