What in the world do you pay a babysitter?
Of all the parenting things that I am completely clueless about paying a babysitter somehow tops the list. It seems like when I was a kid the going rate was around $5 an hour. If you washed the dishes and bathed the kids you might be able to expect a little on the top. But now that I am the payer and not the payee I have no clue what to shell out. What is an acceptable per hour amount for an evening on the town without the kids? And if you are going to have a babysitter come for more than just date night what do you pay? Like if you were going to be in a wedding and needed someone from noon to midnight. Or if you were going away overnight. What do you pay then?
- Lindsey Johnson
Be mindful where you park. In the rush of parents walking their children into school this morning, my car was blocked by another vehicle. Thanks to the kind dad that helped me maneuver out of the tight spot!
Lesson No. 2: No photos please! My daughter was not at all interested in having her picture taken. How will I scrapbook this momentous day? I’ll try again tomorrow.
Lesson No. 3: Don’t forget the ice pack in the sack lunch. I did and then had to remove an item that needed to be kept cool. Luckily that still left a cookie and a peanut butter sandwich (crusts removed.)
Lesson No. 4: Take a deep breath. Smile big when you wave goodbye. Don’t cry until you get to the car. You’ll be stuck there for a while anyway.
Susan Simpson, Mom of a KINDERGARTENER! (Can you believe it?)
I love food so much that at lunch I go to the gym and run 4 miles on the treadmill just so I can watch Rachel Ray and the Food Network. Today Paula Dean, the butter diva, was cooking healthy. And she gave some tips at the end of her show. She had an ingenious idea. It was one of those really simple, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that ideas. But here it is. A quick and easy AND healthy snack for the kiddos.
Take a single serving container of yogurt put it in the freezer for one hour then stick a popcycle stick in it. Pop it back in the freezer for 6 hours to over night. When you’re cooking dinner and the mama-can-I’s start give the plastic a little whack on the counter, which not only loosens the frozen yogurt from the container, but is also a little bit of strategic intimidation – back-off-or-you’ll-be-next. Slide the frozen yogurt popcycle out of the plastic. Smile and hand it over. Your kids are appeased and just the right amount of scared to leave you alone while you finish cooking.
What a wonderful way to use up those almost expired Dora yogurt cups my daughter insists on but never eats.
It’s great ya’ll
- Lindsey Johnson
Who am I kidding? I’m gonna cry.
This is a week of goodbyes and new beginnings. Today is my daughter’s last day at the daycare she’s attended since she was five months old.
She started in the baby room at one end of the building and has moved up through every classroom, now finishing a year in pre-kindergarten.
Her teachers have advised me (how to get a breastfeeding baby to take a bottle), admonished me (where did Adi learn that “bad” word?), and helped me adjust to all the wonderful and bewildering changes of a child growing, learning and loving.
I don’t know Adi’s new teacher yet. I meet her today. I’m sure she will be wonderful and kind and enthusiastic.
I hope she won’t wonder why there are tears in my eyes. They are happy tears. My baby is growing up.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
I really need some help with a very awkward and embarrassing situation I experienced over the weekend.
My son is in a class at the zoo. It meets once a month, and it is specific to his age. All the children in the class are 2 years old. The class is terrific and I highly recommend it to anyone. They have different age groups so any child can sign up. The cost is $10-$12 per class. In his class, they do learning activities, look at exhibits, do crafts and read stories.
On Saturday, we were in the craft portion of the class. All the kids sit at tables and the parents are right there with them. My son takes a spot next to a little blond girl. I didn’t notice at first, but she apparently suffers from a skin disorder, maybe psoriasis or something along those lines. Her skin was red and blotchy and looked to be peeling. But I didn’t think twice about it and so we started working on the craft.
About 5 minutes into it, my son looks over at her, points to her arm and lets out a huge “EWWWWW!!!” complete with scrunched-up nose and big grin. I think my heart stopped. I could feel her parents’ eyes on me and I immediately turned red. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. I went on instinct and tried to cover as best as I could by saying “yes, Hunter, ewww, you got glue on your hands!”
What do we do in a situation like that? I couldn’t punish him – after all, he is only two. If I tried to talk to him about it afterward, he would have long forgotten about what I was even referring to.
Please, fellow parents, tell me how you would handle that and if you have had a similar situation happen to you. I really need some advice on this because I have a sneaky suspicion this won’t be the last time!
For many families, Back to School time means a change in schedules. But getting everyone up and ready in the morning doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few tips from http://family.go.com/
Cut out caffeine during the day.
Too much caffeine can wire kids up and make it difficult for them to drift off to sleep at night. As a result, they are tired and cranky when the alarm goes off in the morning.
Keep your routine as consistent as possible — even on the weekends.
While it’s fine to let them catch up on a little sleep, it’s not smart to let them sleep their Saturdays and Sundays away. If you do, they’re going to have a hard time adjusting back on Monday morning.
If your child normally gets up at 7 a.m. on a weekday, don’t let her sleep any later than 8 or 8:30 on the weekend.
Don’t expect a young child to be able to use an alarm clock.
Most experts say that alarm clocks aren’t really useful until a child is around 12 years old or in the sixth grade. Before that, you’ll need to go in and get them up. (And, unfortunately, even after age 12 you still may need to go in and make sure they get up after their alarm clock rings.)
Use the night before to get organized.
Pack the backpack, set out the bowls and spoons for breakfast, and pick out the clothes your child will wear. Remember, the less surprises you have to deal with in the morning, the less hectic it’ll be for everyone.
What tips do you have?
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
This is my mantra and I’m sticking to it: We will have positive experiences in high school.
I’ve got to sing that to the rafters because my daughter, who will be a freshman come Wednesday, is bound and determined that in high school she will:
A: Be consistently late to class because she has too far to walk between classrooms.
B. Not be able to have lunch with any of her friends because they will all be on a different lunch schedule (it is, of course, a conspiracy theory against her circle of friends even though none of them know as yet which lunch period they will have).
C. Not be able to complete all of her assignments and will be a freshman again next year.
D. All of the above, rolled into one drama-filled monologue that gets louder and louder as the first day of school draws near.
I can afford to be positive because these are the same scenarios she conjured up right before middle school. None of it happened and I know it won’t this time, either.
So I say three cheers for the beginning of her first year of high school and the end of the back-to-school jitters.
Say a prayer for me, please!
Shopping for school supplies can be more than an errand, it can be a great learning experience for your child.Parenting expert Michele Borba recommends having your child help you make a list of supplies, then look for store flyers to find the best deals. Younger children that can’t write can cut out photos of the supplies they want.
Together you can make a budget with your child, and then hit the store to gather the goodies. Borba said allowing your child to pay for the items (using a gift card or your credit card) also can help teach them financial responsibility.
Borba also recommends that families stock up on supplies that are real bargains. Sure you may only need five notebooks, but if they are 5-cents each, why not buy 50?
What advice do you have for buying school supplies? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
Today the film “Tropic Thunder,” opens. The New York Times reports that the Special Olympics along with various other disability organizations will be boycotting the film due to its derogatory use of the word retard.
I get it. I get satire. I get that the point was to make fun of the lengths that Hollywood will go to win awards, the boundaries of exploitation they do not respect for a statuette and the insane tactics to win roles. I get it. And it is a good point.
And I really want to not be disappointed in Ben Stiller, who I once was willing to convert to Judaism in order to marry. And if you’ve started rolling your eyes already at this post, I’m not an oversensitive or easily offended person. I was on a cheerleading squad (a detail about my life that I don’t let slip often) for five years with girls whose grossness knew no boundaries and defied imagination. If you don’t believe me ask your friendly neighbor cheerleader.
What I think Ben and apparently every other person who made the movie, and many people who don’t have someone with a disability close to them, fail to get is the power of the word retard.
I hate to ever compare anything to the n-word because I don’t think that any other word in the history of words has been filled with as much hate. But if you ever saw my brother’s face when someone called him a retard, you might understand how close the word comes. His little face emblazoned with all of the characteristics of Down syndrome cringe in pain .
So justify the use of the word in the name of satire all you want, it will never be funny to me. I get satire. But I’ve also got an understanding of how deep the word retard used in certain context can cut.
So while this is in the news it is a good opportunity for parents, if they choose to take it, to explain how painful words can be.
- Lindsey Johnson
My 5-year-old started kindergarten today. She reported these highlights:
*No snacks in kindergarten, except for special occasions.
*Kindergarten students get to play on the “whole, big playground.” In pre-k, they were confined to a small part of the playground.
*Show and tell will happen, but the details are still to be announced. Her green ballerina bunny is ready and waiting, though!–Christy