Sunday, April 24, 2011

If Only

There needs to be a place where, on those days, you can just drop your child (or children) off and know that he or she is in very safe, capable hands until whenever you decide to return.

Image taken from Hollands Jewelers Blog

You know what I'm talking about - a place you can put them when you're seriously on the verge of losing your shit. Where you don't have to call first. You just show up with your frazzled self, hand off the little brat, and come back to pick them up whenever you're feeling better.

I started thinking up some names for such a place:

"Mental Health Day"care

The Sanity Asylum

The Sanity Sandbox

Take a Penny, Leave a Suzie

The Kiddie Kennel

Minor Retreat

The Rest Stop

Whine to Wine

Yes, JLK is being kind of an asshole right now. It's been one of those days and I won't lie, I was fantasizing about what it would be like to have the ability to drop D off somewhere and be like "I'll be back in a few days" and head off to the shore or something for some peace and fucking quiet.

An accurate representation of what my day would have looked like. If I had earplugs.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my son dearly. But today was a nonstop whine- and shriek-fest and I thought my head was going to explode when it was barely 2pm. I kept coming back to the same thought: "When your baby has colic, you tell yourself 'He's just a baby, it's not his fault, it's his only way of communicating.' But at what point can you comfortably acknowledge that he's just a brat sometimes? 11 months? 2 years?"

When does it become okay (in your own head or otherwise) to be like "Okay, kid. Now you're just being a douchebag"?

And I was also thinking what a better place this world would be if moms could go to a neighbor (or anyone else they know and trust, for that matter) and say "I'm about to lose my shit. Can you please take this child before I sell him in exchange for a bus ticket to Hoboken?" and feel okay about it. Feel like a better parent for recognizing her limits and taking a break when needed. Feel like it's okay to take a moment (or 10) for yourself every once in awhile.

As I put D down to bed tonight, my final thought was this:

"Fuck, would it be nice to paint my toenails in the middle of the day again."

Ooooh. If only........

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Nature 1. JLK 0.

I grew up in a medium-sized city. As an adult, I lived in a large town/suburb where my husband and I had a condo with a very small yard. Back in November, we moved to a town that can only be described as rural. Although it is really only separated by 9 miles and a large river from where we used to live, it is an entirely different setting.

We have an acre of land with woods and a small mountain behind our property. We have deer, owls, all sorts of cool animals living around here. I have seen more species of birds on my bird feeders in the past 2 weeks than I have seen in my entire life. Since spring began, I've been all "Yay! Nature! I'm going to start GARDENING and shit!"The original owners of our house spent a lot of money on landscaping at one point, but it's been neglected for awhile and the yard is kind of a mess.

The bird feeder next to my patio area.

Despite the fact that I have never really been a person who gardens or does any kind of dirty outdoor work, I felt myself getting really into the idea of doing stuff outside. I bought garden tools, decided to start a compost heap.......I was feeling very GREEN.

Yesterday, as I headed out to the side property line to start my compost heap, bag of cantaloupe rind, strawberry tops, and various other refuse in hand, I thought to myself "You know, I haven't really had an issue with any bugs turning me off to being outside yet. Other than the annoying gnats, I'm doing okay!"


That afternoon, I went to move a small pile of debris from the concrete pad that is going to become my little hideaway/patio area, and I encountered a wolf spider. A big one. I was going to put a picture here, but they freaked me out too much and couldn't do it. Feel free to google an image and see for yourself. I'll wait.


Fucking GROSS, right????

I was like "Holy shit! I am so DONE right now. Won't do that again!" And I promptly moved to a different area of the yard and left my pile of shit right where it was.

This morning I noticed that the top of my right ass cheek/hip felt really bruised and painful. "WTF?" I thought. So I pulled aside my pajama pants and saw a variation of this:

No, that's not my ass. That's someone else's pic. I was too busy screaming to take a photo.

I freaked the freak out, called my husband, and made him come home from work and remove it. 20 minutes and much whining later, he had removed the deer tick's body and all the legs. 

But the fucking head is still in there. In my ass cheek. In my FREAKING ASS CHEEK!

I called my doctor and she said to just let it work its way out, but if it was really bothering me I could come in and she would excavate it. I decided to stop being a wuss for now and see how much it's bugging me by Monday. 

Seriously, though. WTF.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Latest Recipes We've Tried

I know, I know. I've been severely slacking in the blog department period, let alone my posting reviews of the new dishes we've tried. In my defense, spring has sprung around here and most of my free time has been taken up with newbie gardening/landscaping and, oddly enough, birdwatching. But that's another post.

I've decided that instead of posting my entire menu every week, I'm only going to post the recipes that we had never tried before (or at least that I have not already reviewed here). I figure what's the sense in repeating information that can be found in the related posts and archives.

So here are the new recipes and reviews for the past 2 weeks:

Miso-Marinated Salmon w/ Lime-Ginger Glaze. The recipe was for rainbow trout. Which is what I intended to make after I looked at the weekly circular for my grocery store and saw that it was on sale. That was when I looked up this recipe, specifically for rainbow trout, which I had never made before. But I get to the store and the seafood manager tells me that no one actually has it and no one seems to know why it was in the circular. WTF. So I tell her what my recipe is and ask her what I can use instead. She suggests salmon, as no other fish she thinks is going to hold its own in such a strongly-flavored marinade and glaze. Long story short, I went through this whole clusterfuck for a dish that wasn't even that good. If I ever see rainbow trout in a fish market though, I will try it again. But I happen to like my salmon to taste like salmon, and the miso plus the glaze was just too much I think.

Pizza Supreme. From a Cooking Light special section on making take-out healthier and at home. I just used a whole wheat Boboli crust and regular marinara (I think it was Classico) but damn was it GOOD. For so little seasoning it had sooo much flavor. But the best part was that it wasn't greasy at all but definitely tasted like a pizza house pizza. A bit of prep work for the vegetables, but so worth it.

Grilled Steak w/ Fresh Mango Salsa. Flat-iron steak was on sale at the supermarket so I figured it was as good a time as any to try this recipe I had been sitting on for a year or so. Holy shit. Flat-iron is my new favorite cut. The seasoning in this recipe was also fantastic, had great flavor, and not an ounce of meat went to waste. The salsa was also excellent.

Herbed Greek Chicken Salad. This was very good and very light. It had a similar flavor to the chicken souvlaki that I love so much. This will definitely be a staple in our house once the summer is here. I served it with toasted pita wedges seasoned with salt & pepper.

Smoked Mozzarella, Spinach, and Pepper Omelet Sandwiches. My husband actually did the cooking and prep for this one, as he is obsessed with breakfast foods - especially when eaten for dinner. The omelets themselves I felt were kind of "eh" - A loved them though. So much that he invited some friends over for brunch the following Sunday and made them again. When he made them the second time I had him put the mozzarella IN my omelet instead of just on the muffin, which of course means more cheese and more calories, but I felt it was worth it. Served with the recommended fresh fruit salad (honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, and blueberries for us) drizzled with French vanilla yogurt - HOLY YUMMY.

Coconut Curried Pork, Snow Pea, & Mango Stir-fry. Not to ruin your appetite, but this is the infamous dish of my first Learned From Experience post. This was my first venture into curried pork as well as my first time making a stir-fry with pork. The pork itself was great, the recipe was just alright and I decided it was not worth keeping in my recipe binder. Using coconut milk is a pain in the ass unless a recipe calls for the entire can, because then you have all this leftover milk and need to find another way to use it. Luckily, I figured that part out. But still. Here's how my plate looked:

Chicken & Couscous Salad. This is one of my all-time favorite CL recipes and one of the first we ever tried. It is so fresh and light-tasting, even if I cheat and use canned chicken from Costco! I've subbed in red peppers instead of the radishes and that is also fantastic. It is also amazing as leftovers the next day (or two) cold or warmed up. I served this one with toasted pita wedges as well.

Baked Pasta w/ Spinach, Lemon & Cheese. After reading the online reviews for this one, I decided to cut the amount of onion in half when I made it. I thought the recipe came out perfectly fine and pretty tasty, but it's not a keeper for me because I already have a mac & cheese recipe that I love more and the nutrition for both is about the same.

Broiled Tenderloin Steaks w/ Ginger-Hoisin Glaze. I was sooooo disappointed with this one, but I think it was more because the cuts of filet mignon I purchased just weren't very high quality, and I couldn't find just regular tenderloin steaks at this particular supermarket. So I think my expectations were set pretty high and they just didn't deliver. I served with Asian-style veggies and rice.

Stir-Fried Chicken Salad. This one was pretty good, much better than I expected. It's the only recipe I have of its kind so far, so I'm going to hang onto it for those summer nights when I feel like eating something Asian-inspired.

Fettuccine w/ Olive Oil, Garlic, & Red Pepper. OMG. So good. I used fresh fettuccine so I had to watch my timing very carefully. I also skipped the drizzling of oil at the end because I thought it would make the pasta too greasy. But it was very good and very indulgent-feeling.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas. Another one I had been sitting on for awhile. Pretty damn good, though I omitted the olives from mine because I hate them with a bitter passion. The baby loved his, my husband thought they were pretty good and that's saying something because he doesn't "do" chicken salad. His only suggestion was to chop up the tomatoes into the salad instead of sticking them in the pita, but he doesn't really like tomatoes all that much so his opinion doesn't count for shit.

Spaghetti Bolognese. First, a disclaimer - I have never made a bolognese before. So my view might be a bit challenged. We all LOVED the flavor of this dish. I thought the thing was great A-Z. Hubby, however, has an issue when there isn't enough sauce, and this just isn't a saucy dish. When I reheated the leftovers for us for lunch the next day though, I added a few tablespoons of spaghetti sauce to the meat mixture and served over mini farfalle and he thought it was much better that way. So if your family is picky about having a lot of sauce on their pasta, I recommend adding tomato sauce while cooking.

And holy cow, 45 minutes later I am finally done writing this post. And now you see why I've been slacking!!!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learned From Experience....

If you start feeding your baby the same meals you serve the adults at your dinner table and he/she enjoys them, you will feel quite a sense of pride and accomplishment that your cooking skills apparently pass muster among the toothless set.

But then just like the warning about feeding your pets table scraps, whenever you sit down to try and enjoy a meal or a snack for yourself, your child will whine and beg like a dog until you give him/her some.

Dammit, Rover!


NO KITTY! This is MY pot pie!!!!!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Pride & Purpose

There's a stirring in my soul these days. It's a reminder of how, once upon a time, I wanted to do something important. I wanted to make a difference in the world somehow, some way. I wanted there to be meaning behind what I do every day. I wanted to set and attain goals.

My son, of course, is the most important thing in my life and raising him is making a difference in the world and gives plenty of meaning behind what I do every day. And while I hope that someday he looks back and is proud of how his Mama loved and raised him, I also want him to be proud of who I am as a person and the things I accomplished in this world.

Initially I thought I would be earning a PhD in Social Psychology. Researching gender issues and actively working toward a society in which calling someone a "girl/boy/man/woman" was merely a descriptor and no longer carried with it all of the biases and beliefs we have about what those labels mean - how a person should act, dress, speak, etc. But as with many things in this world, I discovered that the sheer amount of bullshit I would have to wade through in order to get to the point of being a difference-maker was just too much. I feel the same way about politics right now - I know how I would like things to be, but there's just too much opposition out there to actually be able to make a difference.

I've been spending a lot of time recently with a friend who has been through some of the worst things many of us could even begin to imagine. She came out the other side of it as this amazing, compassionate, beautiful person who, without even trying, has the ability to inspire others to make better choices, to live fully and without apology, to face darkness in our lives and in ourselves head-on and to make something out of it. She has been making a difference in people's lives through her blog - simply by telling her story and its accompanying happy ending (not the right word, as the story isn't over and never will be, but that's the best I've got) in such a real, from-the-heart, nitty-gritty way that it's impossible to look the other way and not be touched by it. She is an incredibly talented writer and her husband and I are encouraging her to transform her writings into a book when she's ready, because it's just too important NOT to be shared with the world. She will continue to make a difference in the world with each passing day, in addition to the difference she makes raising her daughter with pure love and gratitude. To read her blog and the story she tells, please click here. If you decide to read through the archives, I suggest you have a box of tissues handy and no important place to be.

The stirrings within me to find a new purpose have been strengthened by getting to know her. I don't have a story to tell. But it has made me look at my life and ask "What am I really DOING every day?" The job I get paid to do does make a difference in the lives of anonymous children every day. I help schools raise money and promote literacy among their students. I directly help to put about 500,000 books into the hands of kids every single year. That's a pretty big number. But at the end of the day I am still working for a major corporation that, despite its sunshine & roses mission statement and lipservice paid to literacy partnership and promoting reading, is still out for profits, is still responsible to its shareholders, and still makes company decisions based on the bottom line. I hate that, but there's nothing I can do about it. It's not the greediest corporation in the world, but it's not a nonprofit either. So I stay, because I need to get paid.

I started to think about what my talents are, what my experience can be used to accomplish, and what types of things I would feel good about doing and would have personal meaning to me. Since moving to a rural area, my love of nature and wildlife has been rekindled in a major way, something I have not felt particularly passionate about since I was a child. I have only lived in this house since November, but in that time I have seen several species of owls including a Great Horned owl that hunts in my yard every night and a Barred owl that visited us right around Christmas. One morning I woke up to find a Blue Heron standing in the little pond on our land. There are eagles, falcons, hawks, rabbits, squirrels of all colors, woodpeckers that think our house is a giant tree, deer - you name it, I probably have it in the land behind our house.

Our Christmas owl. He was much bigger than he looks here.

The Blue Heron that stopped by for a visit.

I am not a birdwatching enthusiast, despite all appearances to the contrary. But spring has just begun and I started wondering what other animals and birds I would see as the weather grows warmer. I thought about how neat it would be to name them, and how much my son might enjoy that as he gets older. This reminded me of the children's author Thornton Burgess. I read many of his books when I was little and my favorite thing about him was that his inspiration for the stories he wrote came from the animals he saw every day on his land. 

That land was willed to the Mass Audubon society after his death, and was transformed into a wildlife sanctuary called Laughing Brook. I can't even tell you how much time I spent there as a child. There was a staff who cared for animals that had been injured in the sanctuary, rehabilitated them, and those who were unable to safely return to the wild were kept in large outdoor enclosures where visitors could view them as close to their natural habitat as was possible. It was my favorite place on earth. Floods, fires, and financial woes have all contributed to the demise of what was once a thriving nature preserve. I have returned to my memories of it many times in the last decade or so and have been frustrated by my lack of ability to DO anything about it. 

But now that I have a son who I am raising somewhat close to the area where I grew up, it has become increasingly important to me to share with him the things that were close to my heart in my childhood. Laughing Brook is one of those things. And it has been suffering. 

I realized that I might actually be able to really help. I have helped raise literally millions of dollars for schools in my territories. I have sales skills for days and days. I have strong networking connections all over New England. So I contacted Mass Audubon and told them I want to help. I told them what I have to offer. All I need from them is a dollar amount. I said "Tell me how much money you need to restore the place to what it used to be. Then tell me how much money you'll need every year to keep it going." I will get that money for them. I will make it happen. 

And hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future, I will make the drive to Laughing Brook with D. I will tell him all about how I used to go there all the time with his Great Grandma. I will tell him how Shawnee the coyote was my favorite animal there and how I used to sit for hours and talk to her whether she listened or not. I will tell him about walking the Chipmunk Trail and counting how many chipmunks I would see. I will tell him about how Laughing Brook was forgotten for awhile and how no one came to see it anymore. 

Shawnee the coyote. Taken from Hell's Acres blog.

And then I will tell him how his Mama helped to bring it all back to life so that children just like him could enjoy it the same way I used to. And how proud I will be to have done it. 

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Last Week's Menu Plus Baby Entrees!

I've started feeding D a variation of what we eat for dinner on most nights or throwing something together for him from what I already have in my pantry. So now in addition to the menu we followed last week, I'm also going to include what I fed the baby. If you are in a solids rut with your infant, check out some of my suggestions and look for a post coming up of what I've been feeding D that's NOT made by Gerber - it will include breakfast and lunch choices.

But for now, here's what we ate last week and my reviews:

Chunky Fish Fingers w/ Pea & Mint Puree: I decided to make this one for 2 reasons; First, cod was on sale and second, I wanted the baby to try fish and this was my first venture into feeding him table food. I thought the puree would be a nice touch. But man, was it a pain in the ass. Breading the fish was a pain and I didn't think worth the end result. The pea puree was pretty, but also kind of bland. My husband salted the shit out of it and then said it was "Okay." I gave D the puree straight up and cut the fish into very teeny tiny pieces, but otherwise made no adjustments. He wasn't too excited about it either.

Edamame Succotash: **vegetarian option** This is one of our favorite Cooking Light recipes and was the first dish we tried edamame in. I served it with the recommended French baguette and neufchatel cheese. To make this dish vegetarian just omit the bacon and use oil instead to cook the veggies. I fed D the edamame and pieces of the bread with cheese for his dinner. Here's a picture of the succotash after finishing it in the pan:


Chicken Souvlaki w/ Tzatziki Sauce: See my previous review and photo of this dish here. I took a few pieces of the chicken, zucchini, and red pepper and stuck it in the Cuisinart for a few seconds to make it smaller and gave it to D with the sauce on the side and some brown rice. He seemed to love it. 

Turkey Sausage Gnocchi Soup: This is the third time I've made this dish since I started posting weekly menus. See the original review here. Again with this one, I stuck some in the Cuisinart for a few seconds to make sure everything was in small enough bits and just fed it to D straight. He definitely loved this one - luckily even the "hot" turkey sausage isn't really hot by most standards.

Beef, Cheese, & Noodle Bake: The last time I made this, A suggested I use more veggies the next time. So this time in addition to the carrots I included peas, red pepper, and green beans. It definitely made it more filling, but I didn't think it added anything special. I think next time I'll keep the pepper and the peas and skip the green beans. Either way, it's still a great substitute if you're craving Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni but are trying to watch your sodium intake. We cut this one up by hand for the baby and he inhaled it. He also enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day. 

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese: No link for this one because it's my recipe. Made using whole wheat rotini, broccoli & green beans, light semisoft garlic & herb cheese, cheddar, gruyere, and whole wheat bread crumbs, it is delicious and with no unnecessary fat or sodium. Gave it to the baby pretty much straight, just watched for big pieces and cut the rotini as we fed him. YUM!

Thai Chicken Saute: This was my first time making this one. I had actually never used fish sauce before and thought I was going to gag as I put it in the chicken marinade. But despite that, it was pretty good and I served it as suggested over rice. However, I didn't think it was anything special and neither did A, so I doubt I'll make it again. For D's dinner, I was concerned about the heat in this one, so I actually gave him some silken tofu cut up into manageable size, mixed it with some rice, added some marinara sauce and sprinkled with parmesan. 

Black Bean Quesadillas w/ Corn Salsa: The quesadillas were good, but the salsa was AWESOME. The tortillas got a bit too browned under my broiler though, and since I usually bake quesadillas I think that's what I would do next time. Other than a few stray black beans and some bites of cheese, I fed the baby the same thing as the night before - tofu marinara with rice and cheese.

Happy Cooking!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tips for Applying to a Job as a Nanny or Babysitter

As a mom who is currently in the process of trying to find a caregiver for my son, I have found quite a few things lacking in some of the applications I've received. Because of that, I decided to compile a list of tips for people applying to nanny jobs that will help to keep your application from going to the bottom of the applicant pile.

1. Your Profile Photo: Like it or not, pictures speak a thousand words and on the internet they give a first impression. If you put up what looks like a headshot for a modeling job, that suggests vanity. When looking for a photo to put on a caregiver profile, don't necessarily go for the one you think you look "best" in, especially if it's clearly posed. It's just artificial, and I'm not going to be looking for the nanny with the prettiest eyes or highest cheekbones. I'm looking for someone who is kind and genuine - photos like that don't suggest either of those traits to me as a first impression. 

Also, as much as I love to see a photo of the nanny with children, make sure the child looks genuinely happy in the photo. Many of you out there have posted pictures that clearly involve you forcing the child to sit with you while you use your camera-phone to take a photo. They're not really smiling, their body language shows they would much rather be doing something else, and it does nothing for you if I see that in your picture. 

The best profile pictures are those that show a real smile - a photo that wasn't intended to be a profile photo. Or a photo that shows you playing or cuddling with a child that clearly adores you - we can see it in their face, in their arms draped around your neck, in their almost-laughing smile. 

In my search so far, the nanny who is at the top of my list is one who I knew would be there from the moment I saw her photo. She has a genuine smile and the little girl she is hugging also has a genuine smile on her face and is leaning into her. The nanny looks sweet and kind. And when I received her responses to my screening questions, she was one of very few applicants who took the time to think about each question and provide a thoughtful, intelligent response to each one. Her answers also show me that she really does love caring for children and knows a lot about them. 

2. SPELL CHECK!!! There are no excuses for spelling and grammar errors in your caregiver profile. None. It is the equivalent of having spelling errors in your resume - it is essentially a summary of who you are, what you've done, and why you should be given the job you are applying for. Check it and then check it again. Read it out loud to yourself and make sure that all of your sentences make sense. Make sure there are no missing words, no "their/there/they're" errors, etc. 

No, a nanny job is not rocket science and I'm not looking for someone with an amazing vocabulary and writing ability. But I AM looking for someone who pays attention to detail. If you can't recheck your own paragraphs to make sure you're presenting yourself in the best possible light, how do I know you're going to listen carefully when I explain to you how to handle and prepare breastmilk or formula for my baby? Or what kind of and how much solid food to give him? Or if he's sick, the correct dosage of his medication and how often to give it to him? 

3. Responding to a Job Posting: If you see a job posting that sounds like a position you might like to have, first and foremost make sure you read it thoroughly. Most of these websites ask the parent to provide the salary they are willing to pay, the days of the week and hours they are looking for, as well as other things the parent is looking for such as first aid certification or someone who speaks a language other than English. If a job listing says $15/hr for 3 days per week, don't waste the parents' time if you are looking to make $35/hr on the weekends. If they list a salary range, make sure you are comfortable being paid with the middle amount, not just the higher-end listed. Can we put a price tag on quality care for our children? No, not really, because our kids are priceless. But there ARE limits to what we can afford. Don't apply for a $10/hr position hoping that the parents will like you so much they'll be willing to pay $20. They won't be.

4. The Cover Letter/First Message: The first time you contact the parents through an online service is probably going to be through an email. Don't just write something like "I'd love to know more about the job you posted. XOXO Stephanie." (Yes, I did receive messages like this.) Definitely don't just copy and paste the About Me section of your caregiver profile into the body of the message. That tells me you just don't care enough to put the time in to send something even the least bit personalized.

Use the opportunity to tell me why you're applying to the job I posted - do you love working with infants or toddlers and maybe you live close by? What days are you available? When could you start? Why should I look at YOUR profile and consider hiring YOU? If you want some help writing a great first message, google "writing cover letters" and use the tips you find online that are what people use for applying to jobs and graduate schools. The rule of thumb for writing a great cover letter is this: Sell yourself in 3 paragraphs or less.

And once you've done that, for the love of god, SPELL CHECK IT.

5. Your Profile: Especially after you've just applied to a job listing, go through your profile and make sure that you are putting your best foot forward. Does it include extraneous information that I'm probably not going to care about? Like how many dogs you have? Or maybe that you live in the house that your grandfather built? Or how about the fact that you work at Starbucks part-time? (Actually, scratch that. That's totally relevant if you can get me a discount on my morning jolt.)

Point is, if you're looking to work with children, you should explain why you love working with them, what type of job you are hoping to get, what your desired pay is, what your qualifications are, and for how long are you looking to be a nanny. If you're 21 years old and about to graduate from college and move to NYC to pursue a job as an investment banker, make sure you put in your profile that you are looking for a short-term position and why. 

6. Communications with Parents: First, remember that this isn't quite the same thing as putting an ad on Craig's List. Parents have to pay the online service for the privilege of communicating with you. Therefore, if I shell out the cash so I can send you an email, please take the time to read it carefully and respond thoughtfully and thoroughly and TIMELY. If I send you a list of questions to answer as a pre-screening, please read all of the questions carefully, think about them, and make sure your response actually answers the questions. At the very least, make sure your answers make SENSE. I asked all of my applicants what experience they have with potty training, the ages of the children, the methods used, etc. One girl, who used to work in a daycare, claimed that they potty trained children there in 2 weeks. 2 WEEKS!!! Now THAT I would pay $35/hr for!

I don't expect applicants to pay the same level of attention to email as I do to their profile and cover letter, but you should still scan for spelling and grammar mistakes, stay on-point, and answer emails as promptly as you can. I am still waiting for people to get back to me with their answers to the screening questions I sent over 2 weeks ago - and I mean waiting for quite a few people! If you applied to a job, ANY job, and they called you to schedule an interview - would you NOT call them back for 2-3 weeks? I don't think so, especially not if you really want the job. 

Remember that most parents who are looking for childcare are not particularly happy about doing so. Many of us wish we could afford to stay home full-time. Many of us wish we had family close by who would care for our kids while we work. Our babies mean the world to us, and finding just the right person to care for them is no easy task. But if you really want to work as a nanny for a great family, utilize this advice and not only will you get more interested parents, you will also make our task of finding a nanny a lot easier. 

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Learned From Experience...

You can feed your 9 month-old baby curried pork with coconut and mango. He might even really, really like it!

But you WILL regret it the next day.

Oh man, will you regret it the next day.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Poll Results: Childcare Options

I did not get as many responses as I was hoping for, but oh well. I wish I could have had a better quality poll with a ranking system, but I didn't see any free poll options online that let me do that.

Anyway, the results were as follows:

1. If all costs were equal, what would be your first choice for childcare?
50% of you said that one parent staying home would be your first choice.
33% of you said that an in-home nanny would be your first choice.
16% of you said that a daycare facility would be your first choice.
0% said "other"

2. What would be your second choice?
0% of you said one parent staying home would be your 2nd choice.
58% of you said an in-home nanny
42% of you said a daycare facility.
0% of you said "other"

3. What would be your third choice?
0% of you said one parent staying home
33% of you said an in-home nanny
33% of you said a daycare facility
33% of you said "other

No real suprises here in these results, especially considering my main audience still consists of PhDs, grad students, and stay-at-home moms. However, there are still some things I am curious about.

First, those of you who said that a daycare facility would be your first choice even if all costs were equal - I am very curious to know your reasons for choosing that option. The main reason I wanted to take this poll was to get some outside opinion and hopefully help settle a disagreement between my husband and I about our childcare options. He would prefer to put our son in daycare and I would prefer a nanny. So those of you out there who prefer daycare, can you tell me more about your thoughts?

And second, those of you who chose "other" as your third option - what types of arrangements fall into that category for you? I couldn't find a poll with a write-in response option.

Problems with my poll: Inconsistent sample size - I have a different n for the last 2 polls, with the most people responding to the first question only. Also, I could not create a poll that would collect the information I was looking for in the most comprehensive, easy, and straightforward manner possible. So all in all, the information I collected is very faulty for these reasons - there are too many confounding variables.

Guess I won't be publishing this one anytime soon......

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