Small-Town Child-Care Woes

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog -- except that today is Wednesday. Once a week "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Leslie Powell

Is it just me, or is high-quality child care impossible to find if you live well outside a major urban area?

I live in a small town in Connecticut. Not in the part of Connecticut within commuting distance of New York City. Farther out, where the closest Starbucks is several towns away and New Yorkers are mostly glimpsed in the dusty, narrow aisles of antique shops on weekend afternoons in summer.

The headaches started when I went back to work full-time about six months ago at a nearby university. My work hours are very reasonable. I left my pre-children job at a private consulting firm in part because of the long hours, erratic client demands and frequent international travel. Now, I can be home to eat dinner with my children at 5:30 almost every night. I thought I'd hit the mother-lode: interesting work in a non-stressful environment with regular hours and a short commute. What could be better for a professional woman with very young children?

The bubble burst when I started looking for child care. Neither my husband nor I felt comfortable with the idea of full-time daycare for our two toddlers. We decided we wanted in-home care instead. I placed an ad in the local chain of newspapers for a nanny. In the space of a week I got 20 phone calls. What a cinch, we thought. We'll find a nanny in no time.

We couldn't have been more wrong. About half of the women who called were either stay-at-home moms or college students looking for part-time babysitting gigs. Their motivation? Pocket money. Filling time.

One incredibly nice mom I spoke with told me that it'd be no problem to tote my two tikes (ages two and three) along to her ten-year-old's cheerleading practice and her nine-year-old's soccer practice in the afternoons after school. What, exactly, would my children get from sitting in the back seat of a car for hours? The enthusiastic reply: Socialization with other age groups!

These moms were uniformly well-meaning and caring. They just weren't a good match for us because we needed someone to work full days. They didn't have full days or full attention to give.

It was the others who responded to my ad who worried me far more.

Not a single one was a professional nanny. Very few wanted to work full time. Most had hopped around from job to job: store clerk, daycare-center worker, office administrator, babysitter, salesperson. One who I liked found and took a job as a meat slicer at a local delicatessen sometime in the five days between our phone conversation and interview. None sounded particularly reliable. None sounded dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children.

Was this a fluke? Unfortunately it wasn't. In the past six months, I have run differently worded ads three times, with similar results. I also regularly troll Craig's List, sometimes obsessively, to no avail. I have postered the local libraries, churches and cafes.

My husband is as invested in finding high-quality care as I am, but the actual searching, finding, scheduling and talking falls to me. I'm the one who places the ads, searches the databases, makes most of the phone calls, does the vast majority of reference checks and decides who to invite into our home for interviews. He participates, and does so with appropriate seriousness, but only once I've done all the legwork.

And the legwork just won't let up. At the moment, we're getting by with two part-time nannies and one very energetic grandmother. This solution can't last forever. Nanny hunting is the part-time job I do in order to keep my full-time one. It has become part of what I do.

Does anyone else live in this limbo land? What advice do you have for me and others living outside of child-care central?

Leslie Powell lives near New Haven, Conn., with her husband and two young children.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 30, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Primeiro!

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 7:01 AM

segundo!

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2007 7:09 AM

terceiro...

Posted by: portuguese mother | May 30, 2007 7:12 AM

Bom dia, Portuguese mother!

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 7:18 AM

When I was searching for day care providers I used a service provided by my agency. It was great. You tell them where you live, how far you are willing to travel, what your qualifications are and they do the search. They give you their top three choices. They do the police back ground check and everything. If you are unsatisified with the results, they will give you the next three results. If you change your qualifications, you will get a new search. I interviewed with all three top choices and choose one of them. I have been extremely satisfied with the day care provider and have plans to leave my daughter there till kindergarten. I think these services will work for individuals as well. It is probably a hefty price but seems like it might be worth your time. You don't pay if they can't give you at least three choices. It is like a professional nanny search. Good luck. Sorry your husband is not more helpful. I did all the leg work on mine as well.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 7:18 AM

When we lived near a large university, we always found international students' wives to babysit our little ones. Older, mature, usually phenomenally well-educated. And it ended up being a nice situation for all -- we helped them with english and learning about the community, and they made some money. I'm posting anonymously because we DID feel tremendously guilty about not paying for benefits and such -- because they frequently didn't have permission to work in the US. Personally, I would hang around the laundromat at the international student center and ask around -- and if that didn't work, I'd probably get an au pair. Have you considered that route?

Posted by: You Didn't Hear it from Me! | May 30, 2007 7:21 AM

Whoa. You might be too picky! Your children would be fine in day care. If you prefer in home care, which does have advantages, you might want to look at a domestic or foreign au pair. You should plan on training anyone that you hire. And I don't see why two or three part time college students would be a problem. Try to get more flexible!!

Posted by: experienced | May 30, 2007 7:24 AM

well, I have a feeling that the perfect nanny is going to be elusive, especially for parents living in the far-out suburbs. Ultimately, you will probably have to 'settle' for one of the other scenarios you described. With four, I definitely have guilt that the younger ones are spending too much time in their car seats shuffling off to older sibs' afternoon activities. However, they get plenty of love & attention in the am while the big kids are in school. We play ball, read books on a blanket and take walks while the older ones are participating in their activities. It could be better, but it's not so bad.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | May 30, 2007 7:25 AM

Why not try an au pair?

Posted by: Liz | May 30, 2007 7:26 AM

to catlady:
Também para si, senhora dos gatos!

Posted by: portuguese mother | May 30, 2007 7:27 AM

In general capitalism has some natural mechanisms for addressing these types of issues.

How much are you offering for a full-time nanny? Is it significantly more than the other employment opportunities available to the target set of employees you are looking to hire?

"None sounded dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children."

If you want help rearing your children, expect to pay what you think the task is worth.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 7:28 AM

'the younger ones are spending too much time in their car seats'

my youngest lived in the car seat and on the side of the sports field every afternoon for years. He's 11 now, and he's the most socially savvy kid I know. He can talk to adults, he makes friends easily, and he loves life. I think this is because he was forced to hang out with large groups of mixed ages when he was so young. Give him a ball and he entertains himself and whoever is nearby. His life is his life, no regrets!

Posted by: experienced mom | May 30, 2007 7:33 AM

Obrigada, mãe portuguesa!

Posted by: Senhora dos gatos | May 30, 2007 7:34 AM

I disagree with the poster who suggests our Guest Blogger lower her standards to find childcare.

It is really hard to "settle" on childcare you don't feel comfortable with, whether it's daycare or something else.

Keep trying to find your ideal -- when it comes to your kids being safe and well cared for, it's not the time to compromise.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2007 7:35 AM

"Keep trying to find your ideal -- when it comes to your kids being safe and well cared for, it's not the time to compromise."

I agree -- but that means you need to be willing to pay the premium for the service that you are requesting. My experience talking with folks in the field is that many people want to pay baby-sitting prices for nanny services. If you want a professional, then expect to pay for a professional.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 7:39 AM

If you're looking for someone to commisserate with...I hear you. We moved to a small town a few years ago and there definitely are not as many childcare choices here as there are in a major metropolitan area. It took us nearly a year to get into a childcare arrangement that we were comfortable with.

If you're looking for advice...why not pursue other options? It sounds like you are mentally locked into a nanny coming to your house. Why not consider taking your children to someone else's house? Or a daycare center? You can always try that out for a few months and if you don't like it keep looking for a nanny.

Posted by: m | May 30, 2007 7:40 AM

I experienced some of the same issues, despite being in the city - barely, which was the problem, right at the edge of transit. I agree with Leslie, don't feel you have to lower your standards (and for the idea of having 2 or 3 caregivers, if your child is under 3, that is really not ideal).

The job-hopping might not bother me if it were a reliable person who had good refs from the jobs - the advantage of someone new-ish to childcare is you can train them do to things exactly your way.

I solved it by working slightly odd hours, which I have the luxury of doing - my nanny arrives at 7, and leaves by 11, which just barely gives me time for phone calls. And she's great.

GL!

Posted by: Shandra | May 30, 2007 7:40 AM

I think that this poster needs to drastically alter her expectations. Even in the "big city," there is not a cadre of professional nannies sitting around waiting for job offers (especially at the wages nannies usually get.) Yes- your nanny's next job might be as a meat slicer, if it pays better. Welcome to the world of child care.

Posted by: randommom | May 30, 2007 7:42 AM

I concur with Experienced Mom that there's no perceivable harm for Mrs. Powell's children to go along with the caregiver to her children's soccer practice. After all, a parent with two or more children might well take his/her own younger child(ren) along to an older sibling's soccer practice (or dance lesson, or whatever), and no one would find it particularly unusual or harmful.

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 7:46 AM

I don't think it is harmful for a younger child to be dragged to an older child's practices. But I guess since she is paying for someone to watch her child, she has expectations that her child's needs comes before the baby sitter's needs. The answer is to offer a salary that makes the job the top priority for the day care provider. You can't pay someone $7/hour and expect them to do nothing but cater to your own children.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 7:54 AM

"I don't think it is harmful for a younger child to be dragged to an older child's practices"

I think it IS harmful and a terrible example for all these children to be limoed everywhere.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:02 AM

"I don't think it is harmful for a younger child to be dragged to an older child's practices"

I think it IS harmful and a terrible example for all these children to be limoed everywhere.


WHY?

Posted by: Betty | May 30, 2007 8:06 AM

8:02 AM wrote: "I think it IS harmful and a terrible example for all these children to be limoed everywhere."

Why? Do you think it's different if it's a sibling who's taken along to a practice, rather than a child being baby-sat?

Or is your objection to the child who actually has the soccer practice (or whatever) being driven there?

And no one said anything about a limousine.

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 8:08 AM

catlady

How many kids do you have?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:13 AM

I have news: finding a good care situation for one's kids is a challenge everywhere! Before I had my first, I paid almost $1000 in "registration" fees to get on waiting lists for daycare centers and I STILL didn't know if there would be a spot ANYWHERE for my kid until three days before I was supposed to be back at work. And I lived in a big city.
If I were in your situtation I would have chosen the mom who was going to cart the kids to soccer practice. What's the big deal? If you had four kids then you too would be carting your two youngest wherever you had to take the two oldest.

Posted by: m | May 30, 2007 8:13 AM

(A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)
(A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)

On the blog, Leslie's blog
The shark is jumping now
On the blog, the Washpo blog
The shark is jumping now

Near the board, the peaceful bored
The shark is jumping now
Near the net the quiet net
The shark is jumping now

Hush my poster don't fear my poster
The shark is jumping now
Read my comments don't fear my comments
The shark is jumping now

(A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)
(A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh)

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | May 30, 2007 8:16 AM

8:13, who are you?

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 8:16 AM

Try being more flexible. Look for daycare or toddler care at local churches and mosques that perhaps only have 3-4 hours in the morning and then get a college student to take over in the afternoon. OR try private daycare 3 days a week and something else the other two days. For example, work 4 long days and your husband also and each of you pick up one day per week with kids and have daycare for 3. I was lucky to find this type of childcare balance for both of mine so that they had the joys of daycare (and I really mean that) -- structure and friends and sharing as well as substantial unstructured home time to be alone (best for my introvert) and learn to play with sibling or alone (difficult but necessary for my extrovert). Some daycare was better than others and we did walk out on one after a month but by and large it was a wonderful experience for the whole family. We had part-time babysitter and a full time nanny at different times but even with the full time nanny we put the 2 year-old (the extrovert) in pre-school for 3 hours, 3 days a week. In elementary school there was the after-school program and a part-time babysitter combination. Now that they are teens, I still like them to have an adult around the three days per week they come home before 5pm so they have someone (me, music teacher or housekeeper/ex-nanny) there to provide that feeling that an adult is nearby.

Posted by: relativelynewtoblog | May 30, 2007 8:24 AM

"What advice do you have for me and others living outside of child-care central?"

I live WAY outside of child-care central. "What's a nanny? Isn't that like the woman in Mary Poppins or the Sound of Music or those shows on TV with the bratty kids?" ;o)

Have you thought about family home childcare - where the daycare provider operates from her own home? It's a compromise between a nanny and a childcare center - the groups are generally smaller, the care is given in a home so it provides a more intimate atmosphere, and they're usually less expensive. And they're very common in small towns. I'm not saying "just take them to Sue down the street - she's home during the day" - but to a person who actually is running a business from her home, is certified by the state and in CPR/first aid, has references, and perhaps even early childhood education.

Posted by: momof4 | May 30, 2007 8:25 AM

I agree that Leslie may have to alter her expectations. That doesn't necessarily mean lowering her standards. She does sound like she has unrealistic expectations, and a bit of snobbery about her. You don't necessarily need a "professional" nanny (do you know how much these cost??). You need, basically, a nice person you are comfortable with, who's reliable, emotionally balanced and "good with children". Doesn't matter if she's had previous jobs as who-knows-what, as long as her path indicates reliability, commitment to the job, etc.

And what about an au-pair?? Agencies do matches - you'd probably get a girl from, say, rural Serbia (a friend of mine did) who would not feel isolated away from a major urban area.

I don't know, the poster just sounds too rigid and demanding.

Posted by: Nena | May 30, 2007 8:29 AM

"I don't know, the poster just sounds too rigid and demanding"

What else is new?

Posted by: Top Cat | May 30, 2007 8:32 AM

wooooeeeee! A professional nanny! To wipe snot off the kid's face.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:33 AM

wooooeeeee! A professional nanny! To wipe snot off the kid's face.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 08:33 AM

Just use your sleeve

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:35 AM

"wooooeeeee! A professional nanny! To wipe snot off the kid's face."


My kid eats his snot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:38 AM

Some of our best child-care providers over the years have been women with not much prior childcare experience. Students, former cleaning ladies, etc. You may need to get away from the idea that you need a "professional nanny". What is that, anyway, if you think about it?

Others have said it, too - what about an au-pair? I used to be one and I wasn't that bad... still in touch with "my" family.

Posted by: Ajax | May 30, 2007 8:39 AM

This blog has just jumped the shark. Must be close to a record.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:40 AM

"wooooeeeee! A professional nanny! To wipe snot off the kid's face."

My kid eats his snot.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 08:38 AM

And you're so proud of this that you had to post anonymously.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:41 AM

I would like to complement the posters thus far at not jumping at the 'red meat' paragraph about how the mom was doing all the legwork while the husband participated later.

This crowd is learning to ignore the dog whistle! Bully for you guys! Pavlov would be proud.

Posted by: shocked | May 30, 2007 8:41 AM

"You may need to get away from the idea that you need a "professional nanny". What is that, anyway, if you think about it?"

Something to brag about.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:41 AM

Yeah, life is tough on the gold coast having to drive ALL the way to Madison or New Haven for a coffee...there are plenty of Yale grad student wives who wouldn't mind hanging with your kids at the Yacht Club (or the State Park), why not post on the school bulletin boards?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:42 AM

I would like to complement the posters thus far at not jumping at the 'red meat' paragraph about how the mom was doing all the legwork while the husband participated later.

This crowd is learning to ignore the dog whistle! Bully for you guys! Pavlov would be proud.

Posted by: shocked | May 30, 2007 08:41 AM

Darn you! You ruined the little wager I had with myself about how long it would take for a poster to slam the writer about this!

Posted by: shucks | May 30, 2007 8:54 AM

I always said when I had kids they would have in-home nanny care. I am so glad we were never able to find a person we felt comfortable leaving my son with....we ended up at a center and have never regretted it. He spends his days in a room with children all the same age, and college-educated teachers who structure the day toward the development of that age group. No parking the kids in front of a DVD, hauling them around to somebody else's soccer practice. We also take vacation when WE want it, not when the caregiver goes away, and if the caregiver is sick, a floater teacher at the center covers the absence so we have care we can rely on (important with no nearby family).

I had a judge for a neighbor once who insisted on a nanny in her home. When her marriage broke up and circumstances forced them into a day care setting, I remember her saying she wished she had gone that route from the beginning...that it was so much better for her child's socialization. They loved the nanny and are still close with her, but admit she gets so much more out of a center.

Posted by: higher.ed.mom | May 30, 2007 8:55 AM


Except for the increased risk of getting in a car accident, I am not sure why some people think it is harmful to go to other children's practices. I don't think it is stimulating time and I am not sure why a parent would need to stay at the practice the whole time. But if these kids had older siblings, they would be doing the same thing. Again, if Leslie wants her kids to remain in one place and the sitter focused only on her kids needs, she needs to offer more money.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 8:56 AM

We live in a big city and are also struggling with childcare. We have a great nanny, but pay her $15 an hour at about 10 hours a day, which is just getting to be way too much. We're looking into a nanny share or worst case, day care, although we'd rather not. I would think there would be plenty of candidates near a university, try the education school if there is one, early childhood ed students are great at nannying. And FWIW, as a male, I've done all the legwork in securing childcare thus far...

Posted by: JDS | May 30, 2007 8:57 AM

Leslie, your story is similar to what an acquaintance of mine has been telling me. She also lives in CT and has hard time finding a full time nanny. She thinks it is because in NYC the demand for nannies is so high and the pay is better and nannies or potential nannies gravitate toward NYC. I think the suggestion of finding a foreign student is a good one, if you are comfortable with that, or an au pair. I think they have raised an age of au pairs now and you can have then for up to two years, giving you some kind of continuity. Good luck in your quest to find a nanny/babysitter who genuily likes small children and wants to be around them.

Posted by: fedmom | May 30, 2007 8:58 AM

A professional nanny that is dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's
children? I think that should start at a living wage around $40,000.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 30, 2007 8:58 AM

that's what nannies make in DC or NYC or SanFran. You are right on the mark. Of course, these are LEGAL nannies who have good references and drive....

Posted by: nanny living wage | May 30, 2007 9:02 AM

Most nannies in this area start at 36-40K. I only know one nanny who gets paid 25K a year. The deal is she only works m_T for three school aged boys. Except for summers and school breaks, the nanny only does before and after school care. She is on call in case the kids get sick or something. But most school days, she can run her own errands, sleep or do whatever. It seems to satisfy both the nanny and the parents. But if you want someone to really work only for you, you need to offer a living wage. And I know that is expensive.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 9:07 AM

Must be nice to even be able to afford a nanny! Some of us have to work for a living.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:10 AM

You should have thought about this before you had the kids. If you don't want to spend time raising your spawn, why should anybody else?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:11 AM

The appeal of in-home care also has a lot to do with time, too: you don't have to rush your child off to a center that may be in the opposite direction of your work destination, and if you have to be a little late, you don't panic quite as much, etc., etc. I agree with many of the previous posters about flexibility. OK, so you're opposed to day care. Is it a general opposition or does it have to do with the particular day care options in your area? That does make a huge difference on one's ability to compromise.

However, work-life balance is about making compromises. We all would benefit from living in our ideal circumstances, but that isn't the way it works. And sometimes the compromise turns out to be the perfect thing after all. But you'll never know until you try it.

Posted by: writing mommy | May 30, 2007 9:12 AM

"Must be nice to even be able to afford a nanny!"

I think that Leslie Powell's problem, actually, is that she's *can't* afford a nanny. She just doesn't realize it.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 30, 2007 9:12 AM

The appeal of in-home care also has a lot to do with time, too: you don't have to rush your child off to a center that may be in the opposite direction of your work destination, and if you have to be a little late, you don't panic quite as much, etc., etc.

On the other hand, what if you have in-home care and your day-care worker is late? Unless she's live-in, this can happen on rare occasions even with the most conscientious employee, due to unavoidable problems like traffic jams, accidents, bad weather, emergencies, etc.

Posted by: To writing mommy | May 30, 2007 9:20 AM

Higher education has nothing to do with raising decent kids. I work in a law firm and these lawyers have the most screwed up kids you'll ever see. We have on-site emergency day care (for infrequent emergency use only) and some days you need a whip and a chair to go in there. Spoiled, selfish, entitled brats. Their teens are into drugs, drunk driving, and alternate lifestyles. If this is what educated parents raise, give me blue collar any time.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:21 AM

"raising your spawn"

The word spawn as it relates to children (offspring) is banned from this blog.

Posted by: The Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 9:22 AM

I hate to tell you this, but it isn't any different here in the 'burbs of NYC. Three years ago, I needed to find a nanny for my son who couldn't go back to daycare for health reasons. I interviewed around 30 people, and found them all pretty unacceptable. We got a lot of women who spoke barely passable English. And some college girls who were looking for pocket money, but had no real experience with childcare, and clearly no real commitment. Even the "pro" nannies - the ones who supposedly had a lot of experience - were just horrible and inspired no confidence. We finally went with a lady from Honduras who had worked as a housekeeper. She was nice, but boy was I glad when my son could return to his wonderful daycare. He thrived in daycare.

I think there is such a thing as a high quality professional nanny, but the salaries that they command were pretty unaffordable to us.

I've really been happy with our daycare, which is a NAEYC accredted program at a local Y. I am going to be starting my third child there in a few weeks in fact!

Posted by: Bonnie | May 30, 2007 9:23 AM

I am very familiar with the poster's aversion to center based daycare. I experienced the same thing-- it just wasn't the way I was raised and none of my friends/co-workers attended center-based daycare so I was very uncertain about the long term effects. I could go on tours and see that the centers looked good, were reasonably priced and that the most reliable studies indicated center-based care would be fine, but there was still enough distruct that I instead opted to stay home for two years rather than go that route (and I had similar fears regarding nannies, etc.). But with this second one, I am much more brave (smart, generous, open minded, whatever)and willing to try daycare or other options.

My friends who are ten years younger than I am are far more comfortable with idea of "institutional" daycare than people my age who still prefer nannies. It's a generational thing.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 9:23 AM

"The word spawn as it relates to children (offspring) is banned from this blog"

Yes, Demon spawn is more accurate.

Posted by: Nursing Nazi | May 30, 2007 9:26 AM

You live near New Haven, and work at a university, and you can't find childcare? Has it occurred to you to seek out an undergrad student who may need a job and/or place to live? At an expensive school like Yale, there must be some students who'd be willing to take care of your kids. You may need to use two kids working around their class schedules, but it could work out.

I nannied my way through undergrad (in CT), and I think it was a win-win for me and for the families I worked for. I got a room, use of a car, a modest salary, and the chance to spend time with some really great kids. The families got an enthusiastic and energetic (if youngish and inexperienced) caregiver who genuinely liked their children and the job.

I also know that nanny agencies abound in CT (at least, they did in Fairfield County). You might check some of them out.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 30, 2007 9:28 AM

The word Nazi is also banned from this blog in any figurative sense. If you persist in violating this standard, pATRICK will deal with you accordingly.

Posted by: To Nursing N*** | May 30, 2007 9:32 AM

Fred will also banish you to a not so pleasant cave!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:34 AM

"The word Nazi is also banned from this blog in any figurative sense."

Sez you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:37 AM

"You live near New Haven, and work at a university, and you can't find childcare? Has it occurred to you to seek out an undergrad student who may need a job and/or place to live?"

Unfortunately, Ms. Powell cannot hire college students because they are motivated by money. She needs a childcare provider whose motivation is their personal passion for taking care of other people's children for free.

Posted by: Allison | May 30, 2007 9:37 AM

"Unfortunately, Ms. Powell cannot hire college students because they are motivated by money. She needs a childcare provider whose motivation is their personal passion for taking care of other people's children for free."

Who dat?


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:39 AM

It's hard to say whether Ms. Powell is working at Yale. If so, surely there is an on-site daycare. If the commute is short, why wouldn't university childcare be preferable to a patchwork situation? Even if it's not Yale, Ms. Powell did say it's a university, suggesting a fairly large employer. I've always been under the impression that universities often do have good childcare facilities available to faculty and staff. I've never worked in academia, so maybe I'm mistaken.

I'm not necessarily a big fan of au pairs for the long term, at least not the serial use of au pairs. I think this situation might be a good fit for an au pair though, especially if the family doesn't have more than three or four throughout the kids' childhoods. Au pairs still are limited to one year here, no?

Posted by: Marian | May 30, 2007 9:44 AM

My point was more that Ms. Powell works in an environment that is potentially rich in students who could be nannies. I mentioned Yale only because it says she lives near New Haven -- if she's at a different school, then she just has that many more kids in the potential labor pool.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 30, 2007 9:50 AM

My friends who are ten years younger than I am are far more comfortable with idea of "institutional" daycare than people my age who still prefer nannies. It's a generational thing.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 09:23 AM

Jen S., it's not a generational thing, it's a you and your friends thing, and a money thing. Most of us cannot afford and never consider nannies. Bully for you and your privileged social set. Plenty of women of all ages do not refer, with or without quotation marks in mid-air, to group centers as institutional daycare. They search among all affordable options, not seeking to know anyone's motivation for providing such care, for the safest, most fun, most warm, reliable caregiver available.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:50 AM

"Jen S., it's not a generational thing, it's a you and your friends thing, and a money thing. "

Big time ditto.

And let's face it - even if we could all afford nannies, the supply simply isn't there. There aren't an equal number of people who want to work as nannies as there are lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, and every other job in total.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:55 AM

We considered nanny's an option and I am glad we did not go with that. Number one, I am not sure I would trust one stranger in complete care of my child. If a nanny gets sick or goes on vacation, you have to find alternate care. Nanny's can be late or have home emergencies as well. Also nanny's can just up and quit on you if their circumstances change. Now, I would trust a nanny because my daughter talks and I could get great personal recommendations. But as a first time parent, that is hard to find. I went with a small personalized center care that is staffed with five workers and 16 kids. Great ratio, great coverage, and open 52 weeks a year. It was even open on snow days. But for a school aged child, who talks well, I think nanny care could be great with a the right person. But it is an expensive option. More then most people can afford.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 9:55 AM

"My point was more that Ms. Powell works in an environment that is potentially rich in students who could be nannies. I mentioned Yale only because it says she lives near New Haven -- if she's at a different school, then she just has that many more kids in the potential labor pool."

The flawed logic in this is that college students are generally not available to work as full time nannies (or full time anythings) because they have CLASSES.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:56 AM

I prefer daycare to nannies by a long shot. We have tried both, and I'm just more comfortable knowing that my child is part of a group, in a predictably scheduled environment. With a nanny, I felt too much "at the mercy" of this one person.

I do have on-site care at my job, so I suppose that's a big advantage because I can go see my child any time I want / have time.

Just wanted to state this - I don't think the nanny-vs-daycare question is always a financial one.

Posted by: Ajax | May 30, 2007 9:57 AM

I see that a lot of people are recommending that the author of the article simply use a college kid. There are a number of problems with college kids though. One big one is continuity. College kids are not likely to be long term. It isn't GOOD for small kids, especially babies, to have to keep switching caregivers every few months. Another problem is that you have to work around the kid's class schedule, which will change every semester. And that isn't necessarilly good from the point of view of your boss - they like continuity too, lol.

I still think a quality daycare is infinitely preferable to a nanny. I am home with my kids a lot (I work part-time) and I see the nannies at the parks with the kids. Most of the time, they are yakking on their cellphones and totally ignoring the kids.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 30, 2007 9:57 AM

I am wondering why you are opposed to using a daycare, maybe there are not many high-quality ones in your area? I personally feel more comfortable with a good daycare center situation because there is oversight and more than one pair of eyes on the kids. To me it seems safer and you have a better idea of what is going on, more structure, more interaction with other kids and adults, etc. But for a high-quality daycare, you have to be willing and able to shell out a small fortune, and I understand high-quality nannies can be even more pricey. To me, it is well worth it for my peace of mind though.

Posted by: MDMom | May 30, 2007 9:59 AM

"I don't think it is harmful for a younger child to be dragged to an older child's practices"

I think it IS harmful and a terrible example for all these children to be limoed everywhere.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 08:02 AM

My kids have hung around each other's practices and made plenty of friends along the way. Not to mention helping out sometimes, or figuring out which coach they think they'd like to have later on.

Few children play in organized sports within sight of the house.

Honestly, find yourself an in-home situation (as in not at YOUR home--I doubt you've thought out the tax ramifications for having someone working out of your home), or find an agency that will fill your bill. They'll also remove scads of cash from your wallet, but that's what you get for insisting upon custom fit in an off-the-rack world.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 10:01 AM

Bonnie

"I am home with my kids a lot (I work part-time) and I see the nannies at the parks with the kids. Most of the time, they are yakking on their cellphones and totally ignoring the kids. "

And so are the mothers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:01 AM

I haven't time to read all the comments, but as I read your blog, Leslie Powell, I thought "sounds like a golden opportunity to start your own nanny placement business".

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 10:02 AM

If someone is that opposed to daycare because they want individual care for their children in their own home, maybe they should consider the obvious choice that's staring them right in the face.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:03 AM

Yeah, but the mothers aren't being paid $600 to $1000 per week like the nannies are.

Seriously, though, I do think most of the moms at the playground are interacting with their kids more than the nannies are. That has just been my personal observation. I often end up with a lonely kid or two tagging along with mine while the nanny chats with her friends.

Posted by: Bonnie | May 30, 2007 10:05 AM

atlmom -- how's it going with your au pair?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 10:05 AM

If you want a caregiver for your children in your own home, how much more liability insurance will you have to buy to CYA in case the caregiver gets hurt OTJ and sues you? Another advantage of out-of-home childcare.

Posted by: Just a thought | May 30, 2007 10:07 AM

Did anyone read Amy Joyce's column today about how the EEOC is coming down hard on employers and "caregiver discrimination". Interesting read:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/26/AR2007052600111.html?hpid=sidecar

Posted by: John L | May 30, 2007 10:08 AM

There is a Leslie Powell in Yale's employee directory.

She doesn't seem like the sharpest knife on the drawer.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:10 AM

Well, she sounds a darn sight sharper than an anonymous snarky troll.

Posted by: To 10:10 AM | May 30, 2007 10:14 AM

"I am home with my kids a lot (I work part-time) and I see the nannies at the parks with the kids. Most of the time, they are yakking on their cellphones and totally ignoring the kids."

I guess it depends on the age of the kids and what you are looking for. I'd be fine with whomever was in charge of my children talking on the phone while the kids are playing by themselves or with others. I don't think it is necessary for the caregiver to engage with the children every second. It is possible to talk on the phone while keeping a watchful eye on the children.

I guess helicopter parents aren't enough - people also want helicopter caregivers.

My children went to private home day care. there were babies, toddlers, and school age children. There weren't actual pre-school lessons, but there was a lot of love. There was even some tv watching - lol - my kids learned more than one thing from Sesame Street. My kids learned to share, conflict resolution (squabbles between kids at times), respect for authority, colors, numbers, alphabet, etc.

They never went to preschool, had summer birthdays, started kindergarten on time (see yesterday's blog), and were both reading at the end of kindergarten.

So I guess everyone has a definition of high-quality daycare. For my family it meant being in an environment that was safe and provided consistency and genuine caring for the children. All the educational advantages of centers with academic focus were not necessary to us because we spent time with our children teaching them preschool skills ourselves.

Posted by: nona | May 30, 2007 10:16 AM

Yikes!! And people wonder why people hesitate to write a guest blog using their real names. Some of you people are real piranhas.

Posted by: anon today | May 30, 2007 10:17 AM

8:40, you have no idea what "jump the shark" means. While we're banning words, can we ban this useless phrase? I mean, do we really need to be alerted when we go off topic? I'm pretty sure even the dimmest among us can figure out when that happens.

Leslie, I agree with the poster who suggested in home care. I was in a similar situation with my dogs. DISCLAIMER: I am about to apply my experience with my dogs to Leslie's experience with her kids. I know dogs are not children. Please read accordingly or skip. DISCLAIMER OVER. We both work full time and need someone to check in on the dogs in the middle of the day. Doggie day care is not ideal because there are way too many dogs (our one dog has a severe heart condition that can cause death if she gets too excited) and they just sit in crates all day any way. Having someone come by to walk them is okay (it's what we do now), but it's expensive for what occurs (the person watches them in our backyard for 10 minutes for $15 a day). Ideally, we would take the dogs to someone's house where someone is home all day and has no other distractions (like kids) and will interact with the dogs. Unfortunately, we have yet to find that.

Posted by: Meesh | May 30, 2007 10:17 AM

Ajax, I agree with you completely. Au pairs are not must more expensive than many center based daycare centers and nannies are almost the sam price if you go the nanny share route. I don't think people choose center based daycare over nannies and au pairs because it is cheaper. It's like comparing (very expensive) apples and (very expensive) oranges. Too bad Leslie can't provide more info about why exactly she doesn't consider the area daycare centers acceptable-- maybe she has very good reasons, but just based on my own personal hangups, I think perhaps there is a good bit of baseless fear.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 10:19 AM

Leslie (Leslie Morgan Steiner): Given the posting at 10:10 and the distinct possibility that someone who posts a blog here could be tracked down for some freaky reason, I really would recommend that guest posters be listed with their first name and last initial. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 10:20 AM

"We couldn't have been more wrong. About half of the women who called were either stay-at-home moms or college students looking for part-time babysitting gigs. Their motivation? Pocket money. Filling time. . . . None sounded dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children."

The search for the perfect childcare resembles the search for the perfect man. As long as you focus on your lengthy list of required criteria for perfection, and ignore what you have to offer in return and whether all of your criteria are equally important, you'll never find a real person that measures up. It's not about lowering your standards. It's about re-evaluating your standards and honestly asking yourself what matters most. If, after the re-evaluation, "dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children" remains on your list, ask yourself why you want anyone dedicated to an idea and not the actual helping part. Leslie seems to have become wedded to a script in her head in which the perfect provider, like Miss America contestants, prattles on about how she has always wanted to work with children.

We are professionals, as if it matters. We lived in two small towns for 3 years each, and large urban areas before and now. In the course of both moves, we -- yes, both of us, since we have never approached identifying quality childcare as my task, but as our task - found wonderful, caring in-home providers after interviewing two moms (one town) and one mom (the other town), respectively. Our children had reliable care, warm care, lots of artwork and simple games, hugs and kisses, and a more sanitary setting than we provide in our house. Neither was licensed or had a degree in early childhood education - to each his own, but I do not care of someone has been blessed by my state government. I care about the care they give which I determine through references, background checks, and observation. My children learned that, in a household, their needs don't always come first. Unlike Leslie, I wanted them to learn that lesson. Just like a parent, sometimes an in-home childcare provider needs to fix lunch, run an errand, go to the ballfield, weed the garden, take a load of laundry out of the dryer. Since we had no desire to place our children in an environment where adults would hover incessantly with educational opportunities and songs, we were thrilled with our experience. I can't imagine we could have found better environments for our childrens' needs and we lost not a moment's sleep or concern - no nanny cams, no dropping in to check up on someone, and, unlike an au pair, our childcare providers didn't have a one-year expiration date and were mature.

If I met a number of moms who I later described as uniformly warm and caring, and the two downsides to retaining one of them to care for my children are (1) that my children may spend a couple of hours each day breathing fresh air and seeing older children enjoying being engaged in athletic endeavors, and (2) I may need to retain the services of a college student from 3 to 6 each day to fill in the after-school gap, I'd deem that option worthy of consideration for all the reasons others have already mentioned, rather than reject it out of hand because it's not full-time, the kids will encounter a vehicle with a motor in it, the kids won't be the center of the universe, or the mom isn't licensed by the state. To return to my original point, this column is akin to a girlfriend saying, A good man is so hard to find. I haven't met anyone good enough to date since I moved. I want someone who looks like Brad Pitt, is fit, wealthy, loyal and true, doesn't smoke, doesn't tell jokes that demean any gender, race, creed, or political party, wants to be a father to as many children as I decide I want to have, loves my mother, and is a virgin. It's not lowering one's standards to realize that such an approach is absurd.

Posted by: GA mom | May 30, 2007 10:23 AM

Oh be real. Not many people can afford to hire someone to work full time in their house with multiple kids for a decent wage.

The "nobody was a professional" problem here exists in 99% of America. Only on the East Coast would someone even complain about that.

Posted by: KC in Lubbock | May 30, 2007 10:24 AM

"The flawed logic in this is that college students are generally not available to work as full time nannies (or full time anythings) because they have CLASSES"

Yes, I know. I was there. I didn't say college kids were a parfect solution, or even necessarily the right one. It's simply one solution that the OP seems to have overlooked. And don't forget, many college students have extremely flexible schedules.

FWIW, I did nanny full-time with my first family. They had one school-aged kid, so I'd get him ready and off to school, then go to my own classes. I scheduled classes in the mornings so that I'd be free most of the day to run errands, do housekeeping chores, prep dinner, etc. Then I'd pick the kid up from school, take him to his activities, supervise homework, and eat dinner with the family before I went off duty and did my own school work.

My second family, which had two toddlers and a preschooler, started as a full-time summer gig. By the end of the summer, we all liked each other enough that I was willing to rearrange my schedule to give the family two full days a week, and one half day. They had a different nanny for the other 2.5 days. Again, not an ideal solution, but it worked for us.

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 30, 2007 10:24 AM

"I mean, do we really need to be alerted when we go off topic? I'm pretty sure even the dimmest among us can figure out when that happens."

Don't count on it. Who are the dimmest?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:26 AM

Leslie, I would also urge you to reconsider daycare centers. I have no idea what the quality is like in your area, but I'm much more comfortable with center-based care because:

1. Our kids are in social groups with other kids, not just each other.
2. There are tons of other adults around as support for and a check on our kids' teachers.
3. They use a solid curriculum for all ages.
4. The kids have a predictable routine.
5. They have access to all kinds of things we don't have at home (gym, pool, etc.)

Posted by: 2 kids in Midwest | May 30, 2007 10:29 AM

John L., that is an interesting read. I like that the ruling is explicit in that it applies equally to men and women caregivers. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts.

Posted by: Meesh | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM

I had a hard time sympathizing with this guest blogger. What is the terrible harm in having your child spend an hour or two a day outside of the home at somebody else's soccer/ballet practice? This hardly seems like the end of the world to me. What if they actually had to learn to entertain themselves for an hour or two a day, the horror! What does she do when her she needs to buy groceries, wash the dishes, or pay a few bills? Call in Mary Poppins to be sure that her children are always, every second of the day, the center of someone's universe? I know we all want our children's lives to be perfect, but is that really the best for them? Whatever happened to the idea of building character through a little discomfort? And wouldn't her kids benefit from the socialization that being with a SAHM's children could provide? If the writer is worried about the character of the intervewees that's one thing, but expecting someone else to completely sacrifice everything they care about to take care of her kids is another. I'd recommend that she stop chasing after her fantasy nanny, find somebody responsible, and get on with life.

Posted by: rumicat | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM

"I mean, do we really need to be alerted when we go off topic? I'm pretty sure even the dimmest among us can figure out when that happens."

Don't count on it. Who are the dimmest?

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 10:26 AM


Doh, you're the dimmest since you can't figure it out for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM

The waiting lists for Yale's daycare centers are YEARS long. The chance of getting two toddlers into one while they still need daycare is virtually zero.

Yale undergraduates do not have the time or inclination to be full-time nannies. For a supply of occasional babysitters, they're great, but none of them have 40+ hours a week to have a full-time job. And their aren't a whole lot of "grad student wives" just sitting around doing nothing - half the grad students are women, and the male graduate students don't generally have SAH wives.

The poster did not say she wasn't willing to pay what a professional nanny would charge; she said she couldn't even find any candidates with the qualifications she was looking for. Perhaps money is the issue, but perhaps the people she's looking to hire aren't looking to work where she lives. It does seem an au pair might be a good option for this family.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:36 AM

I believe that you need to reconsider day care options. I have my 14-month old daughter in a high-quality NAEYC certified center, and she is flourishing! I would think again about your "need" for in home care.

Posted by: NAC | May 30, 2007 10:40 AM

My children experienced private home daycare as well as center based day care. Both had pros and cons. The biggest center-based con, IMO, was that the children are grouped by age and siblings are separated.

I don't know Leslie Powell's objection to daycare centers, but it may be completely reasonable.

I would think that there would be less of a pool of candidates to draw from in a small town than a large town or city. So, maybe Leslie does need to adjust her expectations. That doesn't make her wrong for having the expectations to begin with, or cheap. She may be able/willing to pay for a nanny, but there just may be few in her area.

Posted by: xyz | May 30, 2007 10:43 AM

I was very satisfied with in-home child care. My kids had a warm & loving relationship with the day care provider, and there was more flexibility than I found with commercial childcare. The biggest downside was scheduling vacation - we needed to go when the in-home daycare went.

Posted by: datadiva | May 30, 2007 10:45 AM

There are other colleges in the New Haven area besides Yale, you know, and maybe they have students interested in working their way through school taking care of people's children.

Posted by: Not Yale | May 30, 2007 10:47 AM

We shared a nanny for our first with another infant--worked okay until scheduling problems with the family. Our nanny was fantastic though and 4 years later I'm still in touch with her. She genuniely loved children and they just gravitate toward her.

We eventually switched to in-home daycare and it has been great for both our kids. As nona said there are kids of many ages from infant to pre-school, plus our provider's school-aged daughter after school, and her friends who come over sometimes. I went to in-home daycare growing up and wanted the same for my kids (since I wasn't staying home full-time). My daughter helps with the little ones sometimes (isn't told to but gladly does so because she loves babies), they play outside, sometimes do crafts or drawing, they have lots of toys to play with inside, and do watch tv sometimes. Pretty much what their days at home are like (except we no longer have babies).

And don't think that all daycare centers won't leave you high and dry. One in Alexandria just closed last week with no notice to the parents. Supposedly it was a pretty nice, smaller center that now has many parents scrambling to find care for their kids--something I thought really never happened so suddenly with centers.

Posted by: A NOVA Mom | May 30, 2007 10:48 AM

I agree with bonnie 9:57, I don't know if I would go with a nanny either even if could afford it. For the 8 years I have been a SAHM I've seen plenty of nannies at the park just talking on the phone and/or being mean and unattentive. I've seen them yell at the kids, especially the set 3 years and under. From what I have witnessed, the care for the most part is average. My observations for the most have been - They get together with their nanny friends and don't like much to be interrupted. I've only seen one situation where the nanny was/is absolutely wonderful to the child, but from small chats that I have had with her it appears that that child's parents treats her exceptional well.

Posted by: getting closer | May 30, 2007 10:48 AM

I live in a bedroom community in Ohio, and our son is nearly 2. From the time he was 6 months old, I had 2-3 sitters (after a few false starts, the same ones) watching him each week. My thinking was:

• Spending all day ALONE with a child (especially not your own) can be draining and exhausting. Why not break the time into two shifts and keep the nannies "fresh"?

• Backup care. If someone is sick, someone else can fill in, hopefully.

It has worked very well for us; we've snagged older, retired, but still active women who are already grandmothers and do want to make some extra money. Nothing wrong with that. We pay under the table, no benefits (currently $7-8/hr).

I think to argue that your children should have only one childcare provider is foolish. Doesn't it take a village, and in my mind, wouldn't my child only benefit if it is long-term and stable? 2-3 childcare providers would be fine, and for us, have provided that much more love and a sense of community to my child.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 30, 2007 10:50 AM

"I didn't say college kids were a parfect solution, or even necessarily the right one. It's simply one solution that the OP seems to have overlooked. And don't forget, many college students have extremely flexible schedules."

Flexible enough to work full time during the day like Leslie wants?

"They just weren't a good match for us because we needed someone to work full days.....At the moment, we're getting by with two part-time nannies and one very energetic grandmother."

Posted by: to newSAHM | May 30, 2007 10:51 AM

rumicat,

You are the voice of reason, AGAIN! You sum up the problem, suggest workable solutions.

I'm glad you're here.

Posted by: Daisy | May 30, 2007 11:01 AM

My friends who are ten years younger than I am are far more comfortable with idea of "institutional" daycare than people my age who still prefer nannies. It's a generational thing.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 09:23 AM

WTF???? What could possibly be generational about a preference for nannies over center-care?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:02 AM

"Not a single one was a professional nanny."

Good God. This woman wins the whiner's olympics.

She actually sounds affronted that there isn't a professionally trained nanny just waiting for her to go back to work so the nanny can step in and "rear" her children.

Is she living in a British gothic novel?

Posted by: realitychek | May 30, 2007 11:04 AM

Does anyone remember the "nanny cams" on news shows about 12 years ago showing caregivers being nice to the babies while the parents were there and then abusing and/or neglecting the child after the parents left? After seeing those news reports, I decided not to leave my babies all alone with a caregiver who wasn't a friend or relative. I worked part-time and we used a combination of grandparents and a really great daycare for my two girls. It was the perfect arrangement for us. Each set of grandparents watched my girls once a week. They got to bond, but weren't overwelmed by having to care for young children every day. And then the girls got to play with other children and get used to a structured setting in a daycare two days a week. And we could afford to send them to an excellent center since we only went two days a week.

Posted by: Daisy | May 30, 2007 11:06 AM

My only point in trying to guess whether or not Leslie is at Yale was to try to determine whether or not university-provided childcare was an option. I'm sure there are other colleges/universities around New Haven. It's just that Yale is large, and I figured they are likely to have a childcare center. Shame on Yale if the facilities are not able to accomodate the demand among their employees.

Who knows, Leslie may not even want a university-based center. I am curious to know how university-based childcare compares to other center-type care. I just didn't have time to do the research this morning and wondered if anyone had experience with them or if Leslie had considered her university's childcare.

Posted by: Marian | May 30, 2007 11:07 AM

We had the best nanny when I was a kid. She was blown in by the wind. We had tea parties on the ceiling, traveled around the world with a compass and had a birthday party at the zoo.
She some great friends who would visit - one was a chimney sweep and another was a matchman.
She sang to us and was always prepared with her umbrella.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 11:12 AM

"I've always been under the impression that universities often do have good childcare facilities available to faculty and staff. I've never worked in academia, so maybe I'm mistaken."

I am under the same impression, even for CSSs like the one I work for. The main problem is they don't take infants, which I guess I can understand.

Posted by: Mona | May 30, 2007 11:14 AM

KLB --

Wait, I think I had her too! Did she have an uncle that laughed all the time? And a duck on her umbrella?

Posted by: realitychek | May 30, 2007 11:14 AM

realitycheck - how did you know!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 11:16 AM

For the 8 years I have been a SAHM I've seen plenty of housewives at the park just talking on the phone and/or being mean and unattentive. I've seen them yell at the kids, especially the set 3 years and under. From what I have witnessed, the care for the most part is average. My observations for the most have been - They get together with their housewife friends and don't like much to be interrupted.

Posted by: Roseanne | May 30, 2007 11:19 AM

Did you post "a shark is jumping now" at 8:16?

Posted by: To Chris | May 30, 2007 11:19 AM

Leslie, you're not kidding-it is tough to find good care in a smaller area(good care being however a family defines it). But it can be done. Ask your pediatrician for references, teachers or even nursing assistants that you know. If the university has an education department, sometimes new grads are interested in nannying. We had two nannies who had just graduated from a small college in town (they were friends with one another) and were newly married--they had several friends who also were interested in really learning about children and child development because they planned to start their own families within the next year or so. They were interested, smart and dedicated. If you still can't find someone you're interested in, check to see if there are any all day centers that have philosophies that you like (Waldorf? Montessori?) And you may want to try your children in a 5 day a week morning program and have a nanny pick them up from school and spend the afternoon with them-conducive to a college student's schedule. And once you find someone, treat him/her like gold: pay well, encourage them to take your kids on their errands so they don't have to run around after work (we all hate doing that), give them free reign of the kitchen (our nannies prepared their dinners at our house during the day so they wouldn't have to cook when they got home), and make sure they take downtime for themselves--the kids are in their own house and they should be able to do their own thing for some amount of time. For us, those type of things have worked well for our children, and the young women who have worked with us, all of whom remain close with our family. Good luck!

Posted by: hopefully this is helpful | May 30, 2007 11:20 AM

full-time daycare for our two toddlers. We decided we wanted in-home care instead.

Color me clueless. What's the difference, exactly, between full-time daycare vs. in-home care? Aren't they both "full-time"?

Have you checked out the local community colleges for people with new early childcare degrees? A synogogue, church or mosque? Tried asking the neighbors if they know anyone? What about the local doctors? Go to the library and see if there are any "Baby & Me" groups and see if you can get friendly with someone who IS available all day, and has a kid or two in the same age range. Built-in companionship for the kids (besides squabbling with one another) and some money for SAHP. Could be a win-win.

Or--here's an unthinkable thought--if you insist on having the perfect attendant at all times for your kids--then you do it. Make certain your IRA is fully funded, of course, but you take the pay cut. Or maybe your husband can do it. In which case you fund his IRA and take care of the bills.

Posted by: Bedrock | May 30, 2007 11:25 AM

"For the 8 years I have been a SAHM I've seen plenty of housewives at the park just talking on the phone and/or being mean and unattentive. I've seen them yell at the kids, especially the set 3 years and under. From what I have witnessed, the care for the most part is average. My observations for the most have been - They get together with their housewife friends and don't like much to be interrupted. "

So do you consider yourself a "housewife"? Or is that term reserved for your snarky comments about other women who manage to take their children to the park and have fulfilling friendships with other women at the same time?


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:27 AM

Many of the university daycares are great, but some do not give preference to professors or upper level administrators so that others working in the university have a quality place to send their kids nearby them on a sliding fee scale, and rightly so. There are often long waiting lists for prof's kids.

Posted by: faculty wife | May 30, 2007 11:28 AM

Color me clueless. What's the difference, exactly, between full-time daycare vs. in-home care? Aren't they both "full-time"?

Hey - clueless, the poster is distinguishing between center-based group daycare, and in-home based care. Full-time is an excess modifier.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:32 AM

"For the 8 years I have been a SAHM I've seen plenty of housewives at the park just talking on the phone and/or being mean and unattentive. I've seen them yell at the kids, especially the set 3 years and under. From what I have witnessed, the care for the most part is average. My observations for the most have been - They get together with their housewife friends and don't like much to be interrupted. "

My observation is that this is a bullsh** post. It would represent the apex of self-loathing for one SAHM to referring to other SAHMs as "housewives" - an insulting term only used in the titles of lousy television series.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:38 AM

Well, why not look for the in-between answer? Find someone who does in-home care at THEIR home.

Has Leslie even considered the tax implications of having someone working at her home? You have to pay their social security, cough up forms for the IRS, it's a nightmare.

Zoe Baird, anyone? Wasn't that what knocked her out of contention for a Cabinet position?

Posted by: Bedrock | May 30, 2007 11:39 AM

We live in a small town and found that there were lots of preschools with fairly limited hours. We've combined preschool in the morning with an afternoon nanny, which is a really nice balance for us. We started out with full-time daycare but this arrangement builds in back-up (the nanny can cover sick days, school holidays), etc. Our nanny actually works extra hours doing laundry and grocery shopping and then makes dinner for the kids, so it's been a wonderful way to manage the chaos.

Posted by: Michigander | May 30, 2007 11:39 AM

Good grief, it's time to go with center-based daycare. Your kids will be fine. Stop making yourself crazy.

Posted by: Lynne | May 30, 2007 11:40 AM

"Does anyone remember the "nanny cams" on news shows about 12 years ago showing caregivers being nice to the babies while the parents were there and then abusing and/or neglecting the child after the parents left? After seeing those news reports, I decided not to leave my babies all alone with a caregiver who wasn't a friend or relative."

Well, Daisy, you might want to check the statistics then. Statistically, friends and relatives commit the vast majority of sexual abuse and are responsible for most neglect. Your missplaced concern is startling.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:40 AM

On Jan. 14, the public awoke to a Page One New York Times headline: CLINTON'S CHOICE FOR JUSTICE DEPT. HIRED ILLEGAL ALIENS FOR HOUSEHOLD. By this time, Baird and Gewirtz had remedied their delinquent-tax situation by paying nearly $16,000 in taxes, penalties and interest. It was made known that they had hired the Peruvians only after failing to find an American baby-sitter and that they had relied on the advice of an immigration lawyer, Thomas Belote of Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Posted by: re: Zoe Baird | May 30, 2007 11:42 AM

http://frcmo.org/child-abuse-facts.htm


More than 80 percent of perpetrators of child abuse or neglect were parents. Other relatives accounted for 7 percent, and unmarried partners of parents accounted for 3 percent of perpetrators. The remaining perpetrators include persons with other (camp counselor, school employee, etc.) or unknown relationships to the child victims.

Female perpetrators comprised a larger percentage of all perpetrators than men, 58 percent compared to 42 percent.

Neglect is strongly associated with poverty.

Of all parents who abused or neglected, less than 3 percent were associated with sexual abuse. Of all perpetrators of sexual abuse, nearly 29 percent were other relatives, and nearly one-quarter were in nonrelative or nonchildcaring roles.

Posted by: Govt. stats. 2002 | May 30, 2007 11:48 AM

Several years ago there was a strike of professional baseball players, all making $5 to 6 MILLION a year for working 6 months of the year. This strike didn't last long. I mean, who can feel sorry for somebody pulling dow $6 million a year.
That's how I feel about these posters. Can't feel sorry for somebody who gets herself into a mess then whines about it. Looking for professional full-time nannies cheap. Good grief. Get a life, people.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:48 AM

So, you can't find a nanny, your husband doesn't help with the prescreening activities, and your dream life has taken a dive because of all this.

Do you have any idea how fortunate you are? And how really ridiculous you sound?

You should be embarrassed to be snivelling about your nonexistent problems.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 11:49 AM

"This strike didn't last long."

Huh? It lasted from August 1994 to April 1995, cancelled the World Series for the first time in 90 years, and, since it lasted through the time that would have been used for spring training, shortened the 1995 season as well.

Plus, that year the Sox were actually doing pretty well and were to have played the Yankees on my birthday. Talk about insult to injury.

And plenty of people sided with the players, largely because they were getting badly shafted by the owners, who play *no* games and *still* take home the bulk of the money made. Even George Will thinks this is unfair.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 30, 2007 11:53 AM

I'd encourage you to ask everyone you know or at least let people know you are looking for someone. I've found good care situations for my young twins by asking neighbors who have college age kids if they know of anyone who might be interested in the job. I've asked at my older son's preschool. I'd also encourage you to give a home-based and center-based care another look. Have you visited any in your area? There are pros and cons to any daycare arrangement and it can't hurt to check into all of them.

Posted by: Momto3 | May 30, 2007 11:56 AM

I'd encourage you to ask everyone you know or at least let people know you are looking for someone. I've found good care situations for my young twins by asking neighbors who have college age kids if they know of anyone who might be interested in the job. I've asked at my older son's preschool. I'd also encourage you to give a home-based and center-based care another look. Have you visited any in your area? There are pros and cons to any daycare arrangement and it can't hurt to check into all of them.

Posted by: Momto3 | May 30, 2007 11:56 AM

I'd recommend that she stop chasing after her fantasy nanny, find somebody responsible, and get on with life.

Posted by: rumicat | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM

rumicat is my hero.

but KLB - you made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 12:00 PM

I actually think this is a very good post re: finding balance. The author switched careers for more balance in her life, but found that she now has an imbalance regarding child-care options.

I think people are jumping to conclusions. In the past, posters have very clearly expressed a preference for highly-educated professional caregivers. Leslie and her husband determined that they preferred a professional nanny come to their home. She writes that it is difficult to find in her area. There is no need to decide that she is too cheap to pay for what she wants or that she thinks center-based care is wrong.

To find balance, they may have to accept a daycare arrangement less than their ideal. Most of us do this when we have to consider all the factors involved such as cost, location, availability, philosophy, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:03 PM

I looked up child care options at Yale. Leslie, I recommend you rethink your stand against center based options. Your stand is unduely limiting and maybe causing you undue angst. Yale has 6 university-affiliated child care centers, plus a child-care directory, etc. etc. There is even a contact person at Yale to help arrange child care. Clearly Yale is committed to work-life options to a greater extent than most non-university employers. By the way, my kids enjoyed child care centers. We had no problems whatsoever. We had consistent carers: most had been there 5-15 years at that time. There was little to no worker turnover. Back to Yale, I really liked their kids (14 under) athletics options! Sounds exciting to me...

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 12:03 PM

When did ppl get so mean on this blog?! Ouch at some of the culturally insensitive comments!

Back to the topic - I live out in no where PA and started looking for a babysitter by asking for references in the Mennonite and Amish community - Yes, we see horse drawn buggies everywhere. It was tough and they were more afraid of me than I was cautious of them.

I then asked a local Brethren church (don't ask) if they had a babysitter's list. Thankfully, they did. I called and started by having a few girls 'sit for my son a few times while I was at home unpacking boxes from our move. I looked for a few more months for permanent in-home (theirs or mine) childcare through references, calls to the local child care information line, and postings at libraries, etc. to no avail. I eventually sent my son to a corporate daycare 30 min away. Then, by a stroke of luck, a mother of one of my babysitters left her job and said she would watch my son part-time (3 full time days) in her home. It worked out but took lots of patience and a little luck.

Yes, to all you haters, I did have the privilege of staying home for awhile before returning to work. Trust me, I would have preferred to return to work sooner than to have had this temporary hiatus in the boondocks from the work I enjoy.

Posted by: PA mom | May 30, 2007 12:05 PM

Lizzie -- very insightful comment. When it comes to childcare, every parent wants to say "spare no expense for my kid" but then reality rears its ugly head.

Grammar Sheriff -- Thank you! I hate that word too. Breeder is another one.

Posted by: Leslie (Morgan Steiner not Powell) | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

"Color me clueless. What's the difference, exactly, between full-time daycare vs. in-home care? Aren't they both 'full-time'?"

Posted by: Bedrock | May 30, 2007 11:25 AM

Communicable diseases. Should we start with the intestinal diseases, like when Alice puts her hand into her diaper, then plays with a toy, then crawls away, and then Bob picks up the toy and puts it into his mouth? Or maybe with the respiratory diseases, when Carol has a terrible cold or flu, but doesn't start sneezing and coughing until the drugs wear off that her mother doped her up with early in the morning to mask her symptoms? Giardiasis? Shigellosis? (My children's friend caught shigellosis at a Day Care Center when he was little.)

Go for the nanny! Even a Yalie is healthier for your toddlers than a Day Care Center.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

It is really hard to "settle" on childcare you don't feel comfortable with, whether it's daycare or something else.

Keep trying to find your ideal -- when it comes to your kids being safe and well cared for, it's not the time to compromise.

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2007 07:35 AM

Leslie, this is really naive. See above for Mary Poppins references. Many working parents seek a childcare setting with a 2:1 child to adult ratio, with a 5 star rating, run by a kindly, reliable, energetic person touting her masters in early education, serving only wholesome organic food prepared in an industrial kitchen with a 100 health department rating, who has classical music playing quietly in the background all day, and who lives next door to a beautifully maintained, 5-acre, fully fenced in playground containing only 100% safe equipment. Now price it at $165 per week or less.

It's not a compromise, or settling to acknowledge that such expectations are neither reasonable nor necessary. Kids need loving, reliable, responsible, consistent care from someone who cares deeply for them. Everything else is gravy.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

I second MN's comment at noon.

In particular, Rumicat wrote: "What is the terrible harm in having your child spend an hour or two a day outside of the home at somebody else's soccer/ballet practice?"

What harm? In fact, why can't it be beneficial?

With all the hand-wringing on this blog about whether parents are over-scheduling or otherwise forcing their children into activities and lessons they might turn out not to like, how better for a child to get a preview than to observe what it's like for other kids, i.e., by going along to the activity just to watch -- whether it be older siblings or a care-giver's own child(ren)?

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 12:08 PM

Hey, KLB: Your 11:12 AM post was
supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 12:11 PM

This blog is jumping the shark yet another time today.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Grammar Sheriff -- Thank you! I hate that word too. Breeder is another one.

Posted by: Leslie (Morgan Steiner not Powell) | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

What about the abuse of "nazi" and "holocaust"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Go for the nanny! Even a Yalie is healthier for your toddlers than a Day Care Center.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

As if you know, Matt. My kids miss between 0 and 2 pre-school days per year, and it's not because I'm pumping them full Tylenol and hoping not to get called by staff. I doubt you've ever researched or visited 20+ centers in multiple cities in order to determine a good fit for your children. I similarly doubt you've interviewed multiple nannies or other child care providers.

Thank you for being more concise than is your usual habit.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:14 PM

John L., that is an interesting read. I like that the ruling is explicit in that it applies equally to men and women caregivers. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts.

Posted by: Meesh | May 30, 2007 10:31 AM
__________________________________

Although it probably (hopefully) doesn't apply to pet owners.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:16 PM

"Grammar Sheriff -- Thank you! I hate that word too. Breeder is another one.

Posted by: Leslie (Morgan Steiner not Powell) | May 30, 2007 12:07 PM

What about the abuse of "nazi" and "holocaust"?"

These aren't grammar errors; they're usage issues.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:22 PM

This blog is jumping the shark yet another time today.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 12:14 PM

Once is cute. maybe. Fifteen times means you don't understand that a series or blog only jumps once per season or day, as the case may be.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:22 PM

jumping the shark? pls explain

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:26 PM

Yes, here are the "banned" words. "Banned" in the sense that their continued usage degrades and trivializes the horror and tragedy the word originally described.

Nazi
Holocaust
Gulag

Here are "banned" words which are banned because they are insulting prima facie.

Breeder
Spawn


I am sure that there are more, I am just busy today to recall others. I will most certainly add to the list as per suggestions and as I see others.

(BTW, I am a regular, posting under GS for grammatical purposes only, you would easily recognize me!)

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 12:32 PM

MN, you were (rather unfairly, imho) beaten up yesterday. How are you today?

Posted by: dotted (aka MN's N) | May 30, 2007 12:39 PM

Grammar Sheriff

(BTW, I am a regular, posting under GS for grammatical purposes only, you would easily recognize me!)

Who gives a sh$t who you are?

"I will most certainly add to the list as per suggestions and as I see others."

I'm sure I would recognize an a-hole, self-appointed censor like you anywhere. Sheesh!


Posted by: Gestapo | May 30, 2007 12:40 PM

GS-- thanks for the intrigue. trying to figure out who you are --

Posted by: Leslie | May 30, 2007 12:42 PM

You know, I fail to see how anyone can call New Haven a "small town", not when the city population is over 120,000, the urban population is over 500,000, and the regional population is over 800,000.

When I first saw the title, I was thinking "finally, someone is going to focus on the problems of those NOT living in a metropolitan complex". I was wrong.

Posted by: John L | May 30, 2007 12:42 PM

Gestapa is yet another non-believer in the reasonable person principle.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:43 PM

why r posters so mean today? mean to poor leslie powell, mean to each other? it's a beautiful day in DC today, go take a walk at lunch or something........

Posted by: fedmom | May 30, 2007 12:43 PM

Gestapo, Yea, that's it, another word that is diluted by careless usage.

Freedom of Speech does not require that you yell "theater" in a crowded "fire".

I guess that we can use the "H" word here?

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 12:44 PM

Gestapa is yet another non-believer in the reasonable person principle.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 12:43 PM

Or one who believes in civil discourse!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 12:46 PM

"Gestapa is yet another non-believer in the reasonable person principle"

Who sets the standards? Why has it taken more than a year for a Brownshirt to ban certain words?

Posted by: Gestapo | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

" . . There is no need to decide that she is too cheap to pay for what she wants or that she thinks center-based care is wrong."

Actually, her exact words are "Neither my husband nor I felt comfortable with the idea of full-time daycare for our two toddlers."

Which of course begs the question of WHY they are uncomfortable. The vibe is certainly that she thiks at the very least that it is "wrong" for her family. Maybe because the centers in the area are bad, maybe because it would actually cost more to have two in daycare rather to just hire someone who would come in home-- who knows? Seeems fair game to speculate when she doesn't address the issue that she raised herself-- that she is uncomfortable with full-time daycare.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

I recently started taking a water aerobics class at our local Y and have been amazed at how many nice older women I have met, some of whom babysit. Many of them live in a "fifty plus" community for active older adults. You might want to see if there are any of those in your area, and put up some posters at their community center (or put on your bathing suit and hop in the pool for some water aerobics. The water's fine!).

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

oooopsss...I forgot to sign my gestapa is yet another non-believer in the reasonable person principle post at 12:43 (note: I changed the name to gestapa on purpose)

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 12:48 PM

I am the "original Daisy" from 11:01, not the Daisy who posted about nanny-cams.

KLB, your Mary Poppins imagery is superb!

And yes, once the shark has been jumped, it's been jumped, it doesn't continue to happen.

Posted by: Daisy 1 | May 30, 2007 12:51 PM

The "Jumping the Shark" comments have jumped the shark. You folks who just learned the term can stop using it now.

Posted by: Me Again | May 30, 2007 12:52 PM

fedmom and PA mom, it's a blog, not the Junior League. What is "mean" about identifying flaws in an argument, shallowness and insecurity in a writer, etc.? When you both graduate from fifth grade, beware that blogs provide an opportunity to discuss topics. Agree if you like. Disagree if you do. Either way, expressing your values and opinions is not "being mean."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:52 PM

Leslie,

If you decide to look into daycare for your children: we found that we could quickly determine the quality of the care in a facility by asking:
Do your teachers get sick leave?
Do your teachers get vacation?
Do your teachers have health insurance?
How much do your teachers earn?

The answers to these types of benefits questions reflect a center's commitment to their staff, which we found directly correlated to the quality of care.

We have gone both ways in caring for our children, and I understand your hesitation about daycare, but there are many arguments in favor as well - it was a very positive experience for us.

Posted by: Scout Finch | May 30, 2007 12:52 PM

"Which of course begs the question of WHY they are uncomfortable"

No, it RAISES the question. Look up "begs the question" before using the phrase incorrectly.

Posted by: To Jen S | May 30, 2007 12:59 PM

Off-Topic Alert:

dotted, thanks for the helpful info about sunset AND the much-needed, insiders' travel tip. We left at 5:09 Friday (stop laughing) and drove 40 east. It's a testament to our love that our marriage survived both the timing and the traffic, LOL. Henceforth, 15/501 it is.

to the person who wonders why some of us identify off-topic posts as such, approx. once per month a whiner or two claim that off-topic posts not only ruin their respective days, but also are responsible for global-warming and the presence of child soldiers in the armies of one or more third world countries. Identifying such posts before one of those sorts has a stroke seems like a small step for peace.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 12:59 PM

Discussing topics - Yes, I'm all for it. Name calling? Insults? "When you both graduate from fifth grade"? Come on!

Posted by: PA mom | May 30, 2007 1:00 PM

fedmom and PA mom, it's a blog, not the Junior League. What is "mean" about identifying flaws in an argument, shallowness and insecurity in a writer, etc.? When you both graduate from fifth grade, beware that blogs provide an opportunity to discuss topics. Agree if you like. Disagree if you do. Either way, expressing your values and opinions is not "being mean."

---

Yea, I hear those Junior League members are lovely, and never ever mean.

Disagreeing is one thing -- attacking a guest blogger and exposing what you consider to be her "insecurities" is completely different. Some people preach tolerance on this blog. If guestLeslie doesn't want to use a center, that's her choice. If she wants to do an extensive nanny search, that's her project.

She's sharing her experience here -- maybe even enlightening someone who is considering moving away from an area where they take it for granted that they can find good childcare.

(And Anon -- do you really think the 5th grade crack strengthed your argument?)

Posted by: Arligton Dad | May 30, 2007 1:00 PM

" . . There is no need to decide that she is too cheap to pay for what she wants or that she thinks center-based care is wrong."

Actually, her exact words are "Neither my husband nor I felt comfortable with the idea of full-time daycare for our two toddlers."

Which of course begs the question of WHY they are uncomfortable. The vibe is certainly that she thiks at the very least that it is "wrong" for her family. Maybe because the centers in the area are bad, maybe because it would actually cost more to have two in daycare rather to just hire someone who would come in home-- who knows? Seeems fair game to speculate when she doesn't address the issue that she raised herself-- that she is uncomfortable with full-time daycare.

--- Of course it begs the question of why she is comfortable. It just seems to me that a lot of the speculation was negative -- doesn't want to pay for quality care comments. I guess it all goes to personal experience. My first thought was that she wanted to keep her kids together and not have them separated into different groups due to age differences. Of course, they could be twins :).

Posted by: to Jen S | May 30, 2007 1:01 PM

Another idea is about your advertising. You said your advertising the position in the newspaper. How many professionals look for a job through a newspaper ad. Start with advertising with a nanny head hunter. I think if you are willing to put some money out, you will find someone. Also doesn't hurt to network around.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:01 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Louise Jefferson | May 30, 2007 1:05 PM

Of course it RAISES the question of why she is comfortable. Look up the usage.

Posted by: To to Jen S | May 30, 2007 1:06 PM

"Communicable diseases. Should we start with the intestinal diseases, like when Alice puts her hand into her diaper, then plays with a toy, then crawls away, and then Bob picks up the toy and puts it into his mouth? Or maybe with the respiratory diseases, when Carol has a terrible cold or flu, but doesn't start sneezing and coughing until the drugs wear off that her mother doped her up with early in the morning to mask her symptoms? Giardiasis? Shigellosis? (My children's friend caught shigellosis at a Day Care Center when he was little.)"

Sure, it happens, and it happens at home too. It happens at school, too. In fact, a lot of those little "extras" can be gotten simply by going to a local playground, or even visiting your friend around the corner who has a child. Remember, there are plenty of communicable illnesses that are transmitted BEFORE the fever strikes. Strep throat, for example. Let's not forget pinworms, and that little girls can harbor them somewhere OTHER than the nether end of the alimentary canal.

You may minimize your chances of your kid picking up something--but then again--if you EVER turn your back on them while weeding the yard, watch how fast they find something disgusting to put in their mouth. But you can minimize some of the risks simply by teaching them to wash their hands with soap and water. A lot. Ditto for parents.

I'm not panicky by nature and the kids are fine. Thriving, despite other issues, in fact.

Life is a sexually transmitted communicable disease. We are all rolling loaded die!

C'mon...11! (This is a table-top role-playing game reference. Show of hands, fellow geeks.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 1:07 PM

MN (ot alert):
It isn't that sunset is the end all and be all. I understand the need for good sand. Beach replenishment is the bane of a good beach experience, imho. We are an active family: needing good waves, plenty of sand to play 4 square, bocce, beach tennis, beach hockey and wave sliding (or whatever it is called: I don't do it). We need a fairly wide open beach with no highrises.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 1:07 PM

"Communicable diseases. Should we start with the intestinal diseases, like when Alice puts her hand into her diaper, then plays with a toy, then crawls away, and then Bob picks up the toy and puts it into his mouth? Or maybe with the respiratory diseases, when Carol has a terrible cold or flu, but doesn't start sneezing and coughing until the drugs wear off that her mother doped her up with early in the morning to mask her symptoms? Giardiasis? Shigellosis? (My children's friend caught shigellosis at a Day Care Center when he was little.)"

Any particular reason it was mom who doped up the kid? Why not dad?

Sure, it happens, and it happens at home too. It happens at school, too. In fact, a lot of those little "extras" can be gotten simply by going to a local playground, or even visiting your friend around the corner who has a child. Remember, there are plenty of communicable illnesses that are transmitted BEFORE the fever strikes. Strep throat, for example. Let's not forget pinworms, and that little girls can harbor them somewhere OTHER than the nether end of the alimentary canal.

You may minimize your chances of your kid picking up something--but then again--if you EVER turn your back on them while weeding the yard, watch how fast they find something disgusting to put in their mouth. But you can minimize some of the risks simply by teaching them to wash their hands with soap and water. A lot. Ditto for parents.

I'm not panicky by nature and the kids are fine. Thriving, despite other issues, in fact.

Life is a sexually transmitted communicable disease. We are all rolling loaded die!

C'mon...11! (This is a table-top role-playing game reference. Show of hands, fellow geeks.)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 1:08 PM

"Start with advertising with a nanny head hunter"

Too funny.

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:10 PM

Who sets the standards? Why has it taken more than a year for a Brownshirt to ban certain words?

Posted by: Gestapo | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

You can use almost any words you want here and they will be posted. I meant "banned" in a figurative sense, not literal. There is a difference in many orders of magnitude between individuals who hate certain classes of people and a government which plans and carries out the systematic eradication of a class of people. If you don't understand this concept, you will certainly never understand why Nazi is such a despicable word.

To compare a person who is strident in her beliefs and a Nazi is to compare a drop of water with a hurricane.

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 1:11 PM

Okay, I don't why it posted twice in both variations. I did preview them and then opt to change it. Odd.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 1:12 PM

DnD??? just a guess and for me it has been many many years...like 26...since I last played

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 1:13 PM

Start with advertising with a nanny head hunter"

Too funny.

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 30, 2007 01:10 PM

I don't know what is so funny. There are legitimate and reputable nanny placement agencies. She could list her job and look for nannys at the same time.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:14 PM

Grammar Sheriff

"If you don't understand this concept, you will certainly never understand why Nazi is such a despicable word."

And a perfect one.


Posted by: Crotch Droppings | May 30, 2007 1:20 PM

small towns aren't known for their abundance of nanny headhunters.

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:21 PM

The nanny placement agencies work from a wide range. Mine was located in DC but did placements as far away as West VA. Try doing some research before shooting down an idea. Not too mention New Haven is not really a rural place.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:23 PM

"There is a difference in many orders of magnitude between individuals who hate certain classes of people and a government which plans and carries out the systematic eradication of a class of people."

Grammar Sher--

I agree with the general premise of your argument -- that certain words are too strongly evocative of their original meanings to be used capriciously. Such use does dilute their cultural significance, rendering them powerless to affect our emotions.

However, the above statement is a bit naive. It is precisely from the ranks of the first group that an army for the second group is recruited.

It's dangerous to separate the two and suggest that they're not related.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 1:23 PM

Agreed.
Have dogs, not kids.

Much easier

Posted by: to meesh | May 30, 2007 1:26 PM

Back, and no that was not me earlier. Someone else is trying their hand at the art of parody. ;-)


Balanced? More like tightrope walking.

"None sounded dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children."
I think that is the whole point. Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place. Maybe...

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 1:26 PM

Calling someone a Nazi may be despicable, but Nazi is not a despicable word.

Posted by: semantics | May 30, 2007 1:27 PM

(And Anon -- do you really think the 5th grade crack strengthed your argument?)

Posted by: Arligton Dad | May 30, 2007 01:00 PM

Arlington Dad,

I didn't find any fault with Leslie, so it's interesting to me that you are assuming whomever thought fedmom and PA mom were acting in an immature manner also was critical of Leslie.

When a commenter responds not to a specific post, or to a particular comment, but instead chastises the entire board for being "mean", it's reasonable to conclude that their social skills and security were stunted at 5th grade. You consider it a crack. I considered it apropos. Adults don't talk about being "mean," they engage with other adults on-topic or call someone on the content of a particular post. In my opinion. I typically find your comments to be valuable, but this time you are playing hall monitor.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 1:29 PM

Why is it that WaPo Fashion Nazi Robin Givhan can use 'spawn' ad nauseum and people think it's funny, but on this blog it's a no no. Would you prefer 'fruit of your loins?' After all, that's what your progeny are.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 1:30 PM

Pittypat,

Certainly I agree with you--"It is precisely from the ranks of the first group that an army for the second group is recruited."

This is the problem in writing a few sentences on a blog in a bit of a hurry vs. writing, then examining the writing for all shades of meaning then rewriting.


Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 1:32 PM

Why is it that WaPo Fashion Nazi Robin Givhan can use 'spawn' ad nauseum and people think it's funny, but on this blog it's a no no. Would you prefer 'fruit of your loins?' After all, that's what your progeny are.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 01:30 PM

Since you asked, we would prefer children.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 1:32 PM

"I think that is the whole point. Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place. Maybe... " Chris

I think you're right....up to a point.
No one will be as invested in a child as that child's own parent, and to expect them to is unrealistic, imo. Low cost, reliable child care is the mark of an advanced society. A good day care center is most likely the best option for most (myself included) but even so, it ain't cheap.


Posted by: Daisy 1 | May 30, 2007 1:33 PM

"'Or maybe with the respiratory diseases, when Carol has a terrible cold or flu, but doesn't start sneezing and coughing until the drugs wear off that her mother doped her up with early in the morning to mask her symptoms? '

"Any particular reason it was mom who doped up the kid? Why not dad?"

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 01:08 PM

Widespread, gender-based roles pertaining to child care make Mom more likely than Dad to be the one who would be expected to set her job aside for the day and care for Carol if Carol had to stay home from Day Care. Lady Justice may not like it that the scales she holds are tipped that way, but that's the way they are tipped, and if one of *her* kids gets sick, she's most likely gonna be the one who has to put down her scales and sword, take off her blindfold, and stay home with her little one. It ain't gonna be Father Time or Father Christmas.

"Sure, it happens, and it happens at home too. It happens at school, too" (Maryland Mother)

Agreed. However, sometimes all it takes is one anecdote to create a prejudice. Once, I was in a jury pool of 36 being considered for a malpractice case. Plaintiff was suing XXX Hospital, claiming that her stitches got infected there because of the hospital's negligence. After the usual questions, one of the lawyers asked, "Is there any other reason why any one of you feels you could not give a fair verdict?" One man raised his hand: "Yes. My brother-in-law was at XXX Hospital a few years ago, and *his* stitches got infected." The judge had to send all 36 of us away and pick another panel.

Maybe the Powell family have a young friend or relative who caught a disease at a Day Care Center, and that's why they don't want their toddlers going to one.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 30, 2007 1:34 PM

"Why is it that WaPo Fashion Nazi Robin Givhan can use 'spawn' ad nauseum and people think it's funny, but on this blog it's a no no."

Never heard of this Robin Givhan chick. I prefer 'crotch droppings'.

Posted by: Colonel Klink | May 30, 2007 1:35 PM

Grammar Sheriff,

We agree that Nazi shouldn't be used to describe every autocratic jerk that walks the planet. Ok. Check.

Other than that, by making a list of disfavored words and getting their hackles up about banning certain language, you merely assist the trolls who live to irritate. Please let them keep guessing which words we disdain rather than confirming that certain words are, well, like blood to a shark.

oh - idiot at 1:30, Robin's not a Fashion Nazi, she's a Fashion Expert. Not that you'd know the difference.

Posted by: anon for this | May 30, 2007 1:37 PM

"Yes. My brother-in-law was at XXX Hospital a few years ago, and *his* stitches got infected."

Well, that's just the risk he took when he went to one of THOSE kinds of places. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 1:38 PM

She doesn't live in New Haven.

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:40 PM

I see the grammar nazis are at it again today too! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 1:42 PM

foamgnome,

Your experiences in DC don't autmoatically apply to the rest of the country.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 1:43 PM

The bottom of the article says she lives near new Haven. We also think she works for Yale University. She has access to head hunter agencies. Goodness gracious, just because you live in a small town, doesn't mean you only has access to her local penny saver.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:43 PM

"Robin's not a Fashion Nazi, she's a Fashion Expert"

Am not! I am a junior faculty member at Georgetown. And here, you have to try to enroll your kids in the Hoya Kids daycare when you learn you're pregnant, or you'll never get in. Seriously!

Posted by: Robin | May 30, 2007 1:43 PM

I did not say that DC area is typical of all other areas. But I think you assume that a city like New Haven will only have clients in the direct metro area. You don't know if that is true. I was surprised that the nanny placement agency that I worked with was placing nannys as far away as rural West VA. Until you research it, you have no idea.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 30, 2007 1:45 PM

Low cost, reliable child care is the mark of an advanced society. A good day care center is most likely the best option for most (myself included) but even so, it ain't cheap.


Of course it isn't cheap. They are caring for your children! Frankly of all the things you spend money on childcare should be at the top! My pet sitter charges $20 a visit. I'd expect my child care to cost at least as much as the person who watches my cat!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 1:47 PM

"Does anyone know just how common this "redshirting" thing is?"

Posted by: NewSAHM | May 29, 2007 05:23 PM

"Who sets the standards? Why has it taken more than a year for a Brownshirt to ban certain words?"

Posted by: Gestapo | May 30, 2007 12:47 PM

Two days in a row, colored shirts. This blog must be obsessed with colored shirts.

"While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher--shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.

"'They're such beautiful shirts,' she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. 'It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before.'" (F. Scott Fitzgerald, _The Great Gatsby_, 1925)

If Daisy Buchanan were real and alive today, she'd be reading "On Balance." For the colored shirts.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | May 30, 2007 1:48 PM

Robin Givhan already has one Pulitzer Prize more than a knuckle-dragger like you will ever earn.

Posted by: To Colonel Klink | May 30, 2007 1:49 PM

I haven't read all the comments but this is why I went with a nanny:

- I was looking part-time (and with some flexibility) and most of the good daycare centres in my area do not accept part-time kids.

- I didn't go with in-home care (where I could find some part-time spaces) because I felt it had the same disadvantage as a nanny (a single person in charge, who may be sick or grumpy or whatever), as well as being in someone's home which means it may or may not be childproofed - unlike a centre, people live there so they may leave things around. I freely admit this was paranoia on my part - having lost a baby peri-natally and having a child who at 10 months old could get into child-locked cupboards and unscrew bottle tops I just felt it wasn't the greatest match.

- since I work at home I can overhear what's going on so I felt okay that way

- I personally feel that centres are not the best for kids under 2, unless it is a really good ratio ($$$). Once my son is past his twos, I will feel differently and I think at 2.5 we'll move him to something like a montessori.

But it is really hard. I just really hate the tone today that anyone that picks a nanny is some kind of rich idiot.

Posted by: Shandra | May 30, 2007 1:49 PM

I see the grammar nazis are at it again today too! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 01:42 PM

I do not have the will or hate to be anything more than the sheriff!

Posted by: Grammar Sheriff | May 30, 2007 1:54 PM

Grammar Sher--

You're so right about that.

:>(

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 1:54 PM

I will allow Matt's posting at 1:48 to be the Cultural Tidbit of the Day.

Look for a new CTOTD to be posted tomorrow, as I say, I am doing these once in a blue moon now.

Marian,
Give me a shout if you want fred_and_frieda@hotmail.com

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 1:57 PM

1:47, and that was my point. If you want someone to do a good full-time job at something, they should be paid a full-time's wage or salary. Chances are that is too expensive for you- so you either stay home and do it yourself, or you drop your kids somewhere, and/or settle for less than ideal care. Children thrive on the attention you give them, and if both parents are working in average jobs then chances are the majority of the "second" paycheck will be spent on childcare. So, you decide whether you want to not make a little more, or encourage the development of your child a little more. It's not PC, but it's the closest thing to the truth. If you can afford to have someone dedicated to your child, and still want to work, that's your call... but for most, that's out of reach so they settle for daycare- which can be balanced for some, but for many it seems like it is not enough.

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 1:58 PM

Matt,

Don't know what point you're making with the Fitzgerald quotation. But it's certainly a reminder to us that he wasn't a very good writer.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 1:59 PM

Head lice abound in day care centers. More than a few parents have had to leave work to pick up lousy kids from day care.
ANd pink eye. And they're not too fastidious about washing hands after using the potty. Jeez, this discussion is making me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:02 PM

I, for one, do not cry stormily into colored shirts. But Matt's post was a refreshing intermission, whether you agree with Fitzgerald's writing talent (or lack of)

Posted by: Daisy 1 | May 30, 2007 2:02 PM

Pittypat,

Fitzgerald was an EXCELLENT writer. I personally don't think that Gatesby was his best work though.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 2:03 PM

Chris

How many kids do you have?

Posted by: Trixie | May 30, 2007 2:03 PM

Gotta disagree, Fred. His life was more interesting than his writing.

His style was stiff and stilted, while often at the same time managing to be overwrought. For instance:

"Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily."

Barbara Cartland could do it with more subtlety. (Well, maybe not...but you get my point.)

Fitzgerald and Hemingway are, IMHO, the two most overrated American writers. (Although I do admire H's ability to write almost entirely without adjectives and adverbs.)

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 2:10 PM

Well a lot of people have said the same stuff I would, so I can leave that lie.

I want to respond to 9:21's comment that his/her lawyer friends were horrible parents and raising kids who were in "alternate lifestyles." Best laugh of my day. I'm with you on the drug overuse and drunk driving- but "alternative lifestyles"? How horrifying and icky for someone to do THAT! We should all be in our soft pastels and khakis enjoying tennis and brandy in the back courtyard.

Heaven forbid someone grow up to be "alternative"!

Anywho, I'll also throw in a Nay vote for the sitter who would drive the kid around to her own kids stuff. As someone who had to deal with that because of lack of options and money, I endured many a day of carsickness, boredom, and migraines because of such a situation. I survived and was fine, but I don't consider it preferable IF there are other options to be had.

Posted by: Liz D | May 30, 2007 2:14 PM

I agree with you on Papa H but give a read to "This Side of Paradise" by FSF if you have the time.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 2:15 PM

Unfortunately none, due to some medical issues that are being investigated. Why don't you give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it? ;-P
I had a younger brother many years my junior, and I taught sunday school for a couple years (Shhh!). So, if your angle is to attempt to discredit me, fine. I won't even hide behind the defense of having a couple dogs and a cat, though they are smarter than most kids seem to be. ;-P
I do however know how my mom raised me and saw how many of my "peers" were raised and learned quite a bit along the way. I am here to learn from those such as Fred who have much wisdom and experience to share, but I also chime in with my own observations from time to time, occasionally a parody, a pun, an underreported news blurb, or even a sarcastic remark...which are all long overdue.

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 2:16 PM

Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place. Maybe...


Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 01:26 PM

Chris,

The American family has a far more varied past then you would like to acknowledge. Traditional for whom? when?

In the seventeenth century, legally, the father was the primary parent. Fathers, not mothers, received custody of children after divorce or separation. Colonial women shouldered many duties that would later be monopolized by men. The colonial goodwife engaged in trade and home manufacturing, supervised planting, and sometimes administered estates. Women's productive responsibilities limited the amount of time that they could devote to childcare. Many child rearing tasks were delegated to servants or older daughters.

During the seventeenth century, half of all marriages were broken either through death or divorce within eight years, and most families consisted of a complicated assortment of step-parents, step-children, wards, and half-brothers and half-sisters.

During the early eighteenth century, manual workers earned extremely low incomes and in many of these families, wives and children were forced to work to maintain even a low standard of living. Typically, a male laborer earned just two-thirds of a family's income. The other third was earned by his wife and children. Many married women performed work in the home, such as embroidery, tailoring, or laundry. The wages of children were critical for a working-class family's standard of living. Children under the age of fifteen contributed about 20 percent of their family's income.

Skip forward a hundred years. During the Depression, unemployment, lower wages, and the demands of needy relatives forced families to share living quarters with extended family, delay marriage, and postpone having children. The divorce rate fell, since fewer people could afford one, but desertions soared. By 1940, 1.5 million married couples were living apart. Many families returned to a cooperative family economy. Children took part-time jobs, and wives supplemented the family income by taking in sewing or laundry, setting up parlor groceries, or housing lodgers.

During World War II, the stresses of wartime contributed to an upsurge in the divorce rate. Tens of thousands of young people became latchkey children, and rates of juvenile delinquency, unwed pregnancy, and truancy rose.

In the 1950s, the era of which you might have been wistfully thinking, 60 percent of children spent their childhoods in male breadwinner, female homemaker households. Do the math: 40% of children did not share that tradition.

Immigrant and minority families for the most part have no such tradition to which they may return.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:16 PM

The Firefly
by Ogden Nash

The firefly's flame Is something for which science has no name
I can think of nothing eerier
Than flying around with an unidentified glow on a
person's posteerier.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 2:18 PM

"I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood"

Posted by: recommended reading for Chris | May 30, 2007 2:21 PM

Y'know, I did the nanny thing for a few summers (student during the school year) and it was not a bad gig. I've considered going back to it. I am actually pretty qualified--oldest in a large family, professional background in emergency services, good with children, and so forth. But no one pays enough to make it worth my while. Consider that, if you eliminate the ones who are jumping from low-wage job to low-wage job, what you're paying for is another woman's career and livelihood. That cost is spread among several families if you're going for good group child care, but still.

I would recommend you think about the ones who, you say, are in it for pocket money. How can you complain, if all you're offering is pocket money? And if you're paying enough to your nanny that you yourself would be able to find a decent apartment in town and still both eat and make a car payment, good for you. If not, though--consider that no one can afford your terms.

By the way, this brings up a great way to get a nanny even if you can't afford $40k a year: offer room, board and vehicle, and make sure your nanny is only working the eight hours a day she's contracted to. If you're within easy commute of a university, you may have another option: find another woman in your situation and each hire students as nannies who will be able to spell each other for periods during the day to take classes (limit to one or two classes a week during work hours, though.) Many students would love the room-and-board business and be willing to make up the absent hours with evening babysitting.

Posted by: krasni | May 30, 2007 2:21 PM

DnD??? just a guess and for me it has been many many years...like 26...since I last played

Posted by: dotted

Okay, WP ate another post.

Actually, it's GURPs. I prefer it to DnD for several reasons. Not least of which is that I also thought it was stupid that you lost or forgot a spell after you cast it.

Rolling an 11 is a blow to the...ahem...codpiece. Let's just say that buying an armor-plated one is a good idea, particularly for the male characters.

I will feel silly if suddenly I stumble upon my earlier reply.

As for common infections, if you have a yard and your kid goes out and plays in it, they are at increased risk for a ton of zoonotic parasites. No pun intended.

Here's a short list of the ones you can get from your cat or dog--I'm not even going to bother listing the stuff that reptiles & birds carry and spread around:

* A = ascarids (Toxocara and Toxascaris spp.)
* H = hookworm Ancylostoma and Uncinaria spp.)
* W = whipworm (Trichuris vulpis)
* T = Taeniid tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis, Taenia taeniaeformis, Taenia spp.)
* D = Flea tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum)
* E = Echinococcus granulosus, Echinococcus multilocularis
* DI = Dirofilaria immitis

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:24 PM

Candy is dandy
But liquor is quicker

Posted by: Dorothy Parker | May 30, 2007 2:26 PM

"Candy is dandy
But liquor is quicker"

And sex won't rot your teeth.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 2:28 PM

Leslie -- Like many others, I recommend you check out licensed in-home care as a compromise. If the caregiver and home are licensed, then they should be child-proofed, the caregiver trained in CPR and other emergency care, and some areas require that the caregiver take child development classes and have some kind of certification.

It has the advantage of being a more intimate, home-like environment and other children of varying ages for your kids to play with. Of course, the disadvantage is you need to plan your vacation around the caregiver's, but this is a short-term problem anyway since I assume your children will eventually graduate to preschool and elementary school. A good caregiver will give you lots of notice so that you can either make complimentary vacation plans, take some time off to stay home with the kids, or find alternate care (grandma, etc.).

My almost 9-year-old daughter is spending 3 days this week with her former caregiver while she's on track break from YR school (at the risk of bringing up yesterday's debate). She has become like an extra grandmother. She would rather hang our with her than go the the rec center with the crowds of kids. It's more laid back and she gets to be in charge of reading to the toddlers.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 30, 2007 2:28 PM

I changed my mind. As no doubt most of you are aware that reptiles carry Salmonella, I'll skip that tract. But here's a short list of some other reasons to wash your hands, and insist the kids do too, after playing in the dirt.

There are other types of bacteria found in reptiles that can also cause disease in humans. One potentially serious organism is called Campylobacter. This bacterium can cause serious gastroenteritis, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.

Other types of bacteria that can be isolated from reptiles can also cause infections in people. One of the most serious diseases is tuberculosis. Infections in humans can be contracted through scratches, bites, during handling an infected reptile and when cleaning the cage of an infected herp.

Occasionally, reptiles can transmit fungal infections or viruses to humans. Many herps harbor large numbers of protozoal organisms, which may infest humans, most commonly the elderly, infants, and those with weak immune systems.

While we may usually associate worms with pet dogs and cats, there are many different types of worm parasites that can infest pet reptiles. By far, the most dangerous are called pentastomid worms. They are found in different species of snakes, crocodiles, turtles and lizards. The adult worms are found in the lungs, windpipe or nasal passages. Infested reptiles can shed millions of pentastomid eggs because the eggs are coughed up by the reptile, swallowed and then passed in the feces. The cage can become contaminated with incredible numbers of eggs. Humans can become infested by ingesting eggs (which are microscopic and cannot be detected by the naked eye). This fact alone should be enough to deter owners from cleaning cages and cage equipment in the kitchen sink!

If a human swallows some pentastomid eggs, they hatch and become larvae. These immature worms then penetrate through the intestines of a human and then go wandering through the bloodstream, to settle in lymph nodes, liver, lungs, or other organs where they become dormant in cysts. The larvae then mature and may break out of the cysts to once again migrate through the human body. Eventually, cysts can become hardened with calcium deposits and the larvae will die. The larvae migrating through the human body can cause varying degrees of inflammation and reaction. Surgery may be necessary to remove larval cysts. Medical treatment of humans with larval cysts is not usually effective.

Mites are external parasites that can infest a variety of reptiles. While most are quite species specific, and can only complete their life cycle on their intended host, they are capable of biting humans.

Ticks are another group of insects that can be found on reptiles. The ticks themselves are not usually dangerous to humans, although they can bite humans and family pets. But ticks can carry several different diseases that can infect humans, such as relapsing fever, western equine encephalitis virus, among others.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:32 PM

"Many child rearing tasks were delegated to servants"

Again, if you can afford a servant, go for it.

"most families consisted of a complicated assortment of step-parents, step-children, wards, and half-brothers and half-sisters." So, you turn to FAMILY to care, not strangers, or servants...

"During the early eighteenth century, manual workers earned extremely low incomes and in many of these families, wives and children were forced to work to maintain even a low standard of living. Typically, a male laborer earned just two-thirds of a family's income. The other third was earned by his wife and children. Many married women performed work in the home, such as embroidery, tailoring, or laundry. The wages of children were critical for a working-class family's standard of living. Children under the age of fifteen contributed about 20 percent of their family's income."
And people complain about how things are now???

Thanks for the history lesson, but the fact still remains that if you can't afford a nanny/servant, you probably should stop wasting your time thinking you're going to be able to hire Mary Poppins! The point I was trying to make, which you helped make for me, is that you can't have it all perfect all the time. Except the child labor practices, those aforementioned centuries DID manage somehow- and we should learn what we can from them to improve life today. Find balance in every situation, as much as possible and wing the rest.

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 2:33 PM

How can you get dirofilaria immitis from your dog? That's heartworms!

Posted by: to Maruland mother | May 30, 2007 2:33 PM

KLB, that depends on what the definition of "is" is.

Posted by: Chris | May 30, 2007 2:34 PM

Head lice abound in day care centers. More than a few parents have had to leave work to pick up lousy kids from day care.
ANd pink eye. And they're not too fastidious about washing hands after using the potty. Jeez, this discussion is making me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 02:02 PM

This post has the credibility of a review of Citronelle written by someone who once had a neighbor tell her about a breakfast she had at Denny's three weeks prior.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:34 PM

Chris, I stand corrected.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 2:36 PM

And you plagiarize your info from where? Please do tell!

Posted by: to maryland mother | May 30, 2007 2:38 PM

Give me a few minutes and I bet I can dig up that information. In the meanwhile, it's not just an urban legend:

Sera from 54 Brazilian children with a history of tropical eosinophilia syndrome were screened for toxocariasis. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay detected 21 positive sera (40%). Many of these cases (15 of 21) were positive for Dilofilaria immitis as well. Of the six Toxocara-positive children with hypereosinophilia, two were asthmatic. Their sera were further examined by the Toxocara species-specific Ouchterlony's diffusion-in-gel test and one Toxocara canis and one T. cati infections were identified. This is the first report of serologically diagnosed toxocariasis in Brazil.

PMID: 1875551 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:39 PM

But you can get a nasty case of thrush, or worse.

Posted by: TO KLB | May 30, 2007 2:40 PM

Chris,

Here is what you said at 1:26:

"Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place. Maybe... "

Here's what you said at 2:33:

"The point I was trying to make, which you helped make for me, is that you can't have it all perfect all the time."

I'm not intending to give you a hard time, but that's hardly the point you were making in your initial post, and I have done nothing to assist you in making the case for a tradition that didn't ever exist for most Americans, and only existed for a certain subset of Americans for a decade or less. In case you missed it, my point was that your initial post was without foundation.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:42 PM

Sorry, Fred. I dislike FSF so much as a stylist that I can't go back and reread anything he wrote.

The man never met a modifier he didn't like, and more were always better. He larded his text with unnecessary adjectives and preferred using adverbs instead of doing the harder work of finding verbs that would embody the meaning he wanted.

For instance, take this quotation from above:

"Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily."

How much more effective to say:

"Suddenly, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to sob."

Here, effect is sharper and more immediate because we allow the verb "sob" to replace "cry stormily" and also because we allow the reader the good sense to realize that Daisy is making strained sounds.

This is, of course, my own personal taste speaking. I realize that millions of readers love Fitzgerald. I'm just not one of them. I feel that he was a lazy writer. I guess that things always came easily to him -- wink, wink -- and he never learned to push himself to refine his talents and improve his stories.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 2:42 PM

I think it's best to say you shouldn't put your face in front of your dog's mouth while it's coughing AND wash your hands!

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1306997

And this one--

Although the parasite is not considered to be of great public health significance, there have been authentic reports of the heartworm infecting humans. The usual infection is a single worm confined to a small nodule in the lung. It is rarely found in the heart. The nodule is usually discovered during a routine chest X-ray.

The significance of heartworm infection in humans is not its threat to the individual's life, but that the lung lesion must be differentiated from lung cancer, lung cysts and other infectious diseases.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:43 PM

Chris

"Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place."

And maybe not. I don't know how great the world has been in the past.

Posted by: Goose Stepper | May 30, 2007 2:45 PM

Bravo, MD mother, for bringing that info to light. That's why we recommend that husbands clean the litterbox when the wife is pregnant--to avoid any possibility of toxocara infecting the unborn baby (particularly a concern with indoor/outdoor kitties). The Brazilian children probably had contact with soil that was used by feral or poorly dewormed cats.

Round worms are particularly problematic--they can live in the soil and most puppies have them (transmitted to them by mum, whose latent infection acquired from her mum re-emerges when she becomes pregnant)and they can migrate inappropriately into children's eyes.

Posted by: Vet in NW Wash | May 30, 2007 2:45 PM

Sorry, my mistake. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, not coughing. I still wouldn't intentionally put my face in front of a coughing dog.

It happens, but I don't relish it. "Pet nectar" is a overrated.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:45 PM

Having been through all of this myself, I think you are going to have to lower your standards just a little and/or make a few compromises.

When I got pregnant, we looked at several daycare centers in my first trimester since I had heard the waiting lists in the DC area (we are in the VA burbs) could be really horrible. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the places other than I knew which ones had the NAEYC accreditation and which ones didn't-The settings were all very similar. However, several told us that they wouldn't have any spots open at the time we needed one, so we put our names on wait lists and figured we would pick when we needed to. The Kindercare center that was around the corner from our house was able to gaurantee a spot, so we knew we at least had a place for her, and if another came open, it would be nice to have options.

After our daughter arrived and I visited the Kindercare again, I just was not comfortable with the center environment for my daughter. The place was fine, but I thought it felt "institutional"-cribs lining the walls, a small play area in the middle, that kind of thing. I'm sure our daughter would have been fine there, but it just didn't feel right to me at the time-what if she was crying in her crib and the other 3 babies were crying, too (4:1 ratio)? Would she be left to cry while the provider cared for the other babies first? That thought brought me to tears!

We started looking for nannies with another couple-"nanny share." We couldn't possibly afford a nanny on our own, and even splitting the cost, it was going to be a stretch for us, but it was going to be about the same as the center. So, we talked to several candidates and brought a few in for interviews. What we found was that we were not thrilled with our options-single moms who wanted to bring their own kids along and knew this was the quickest way to make a couple thousand a month in this area :( OR women who barely spoke any English and we had trouble communicating with at all. Plus, everyone wanted cash-we wanted to be able to claim them on our taxes and be able to file for the flexible spending benefits through our offices.

At the same time, we went to visit some in-home daycares. I had gone to in-home daycares as a child, and have very fond memories of them. We wound up using a provider we found through a program that makes all their providers go through a training program-Red Cross certifications, background checks on all members of the household, state licenses, visits twice per month, no more than 5 kids and no more than 2 under the age of 1. We felt we found a great balance-an in-home environment with some of the center benefits. It isn't the "absolute perfect" situation, but our daughter is happy, she is in a loving home with kids of varied ages (so varied needs-no possibility of 4 crying babies all in need of cuddling at once), lots of toys and we know that we can communicate with our provider. Have we ALWAYS been happy? No, but I don't think you can ever be 100% thrilled with ANY situation. If we could afford to live on my husband's salary, we would, but since that isn't possible, we had to find the best situation for us, and we believe we have.

You have to weigh all options and figure out what you can and can't afford. If you can't afford to pay $600+/week for a nanny (which is probably what a "professional" nanny will cost), maybe that isn't feasible for you. An in-home daycare might be a better option...it's worth a look.

Posted by: HilsMom | May 30, 2007 2:46 PM

"The significance of heartworm infection in humans is not its threat to the individual's life, but that the lung lesion must be differentiated from lung cancer, lung cysts and other infectious diseases."

Yikes! I'm about ready to drink the Kool-Aid!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:47 PM

Pittypat -- so who is you favorite American author? Favorite author?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 30, 2007 2:50 PM

Balanced? More like tightrope walking.

"None sounded dedicated to the idea of helping to rear someone else's children."
I think that is the whole point.

then comes the quote with "Maybe" in it twice.

Oh what the heck am I doing??? I should know better than to argue with trolls about what I mean! Good grief. Get thee to a gulag, or a nunnery, (or whatever).

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:50 PM

"The significance of heartworm infection in humans is not its threat to the individual's life, but that the lung lesion must be differentiated from lung cancer, lung cysts and other infectious diseases."

Yes, JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) mentioned the rare instances of heartworm in humans. TB is one of the main rule-outs, and would come to the mind of most physicians.

Bottom line--wash your hands, don't let your kids eat dirt, if you can help it. Otherwise, Ivermectin (same ingredient in your dog's monthly heartworm preventative) is used for humans, too.

Posted by: NW vet | May 30, 2007 2:51 PM

"I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood"

Posted by: recommended reading for Chris | May 30, 2007 02:21 PM

I'm not generally the cheerleader for Internet niceness, but for reasons that shouldn't need to be regurgitated every two days, please back off of ragging on Chris' childless status. It's only decent. Really.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 2:52 PM

Chris said

"Maybe if people went back to a traditional way of doing things ie- raising their own children, the world would be a better place."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 2:55 PM

Sorry, I forgot sign my name at 2:43 p.m.

I'll let NW Vet give us a run-down of zoonotic avian diseases (above and beyond the bird flu).

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:56 PM

Oooh, Arlington Dad. I have to pick only one? That's tough. I can't do that.

Some faves, though, would be: Stephen Crane (for his use of color imagery), Flannery O'Connor (for her sheer southern gothic weirdness), and probably Louisa May Alcott (because she wrote "Little Women" even though she didn't want to have to write that kind of treacle in order to get published).

On the international, all-time-fave level, I would have to say Jane Austen, because "Pride and Prejudice" contains some of the best all-around acid dialogue ever printed.

I'd better not get started on playwrights, as I'd just go on and on. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Megan's Neighbor


"I'm not generally the cheerleader for Internet niceness, but for reasons that shouldn't need to be regurgitated every two days, please back off of ragging on Chris' childless status. It's only decent. Really."

EVERYONE has a backstory.

Posted by: S.S. | May 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Sorry, I forgot sign my name at 2:43 p.m.

Our feathered friends are also out to "get us", above and beyond avian flu.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PS019

Back to basics--wash your hands.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 2:58 PM

Sorry, I forgot sign my name at 2:43 p.m.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PS019

Let's not forget the horrors of the hamsters (and their fuzzy brethren):

http://www.admin.mtu.edu/research/vpr/reviewboards/documents/Zoonotic_Diseases.pdf

Back to basics--wash your hands.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:01 PM

HilsMom thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful, inspirational and informative post. I hope Leslie reads it and really considers it.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 30, 2007 3:01 PM

Pittypat,

I note your criticism of FSF. I find Papa's prose shorn of all adverbs and adjectives much as a tree in winter. There is being succinct, then terse, then Hemmingway. His short sentences crackle like the underbrush that fuels the fires in the canyons on Los Angeles. Burning brightly but leaving barren land with a darkened ground devoid of life and little meaning.

But whatever!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 3:02 PM

http://research.ucsb.edu/connect/pro/disease.html#h19

Very well done. NW Vet, what do you think?

Posted by: MdM | May 30, 2007 3:04 PM

Hey Maryland Mother...

Do you really want to go there (with zoonotic avian diseases?)

Psittacosis and ornithosis (from pigeons, parakeets, parrots, turkeys, geese etc) cause pneumonia and sepsis.

Mycobacterium avium (in the same family as TB) causes pulmonary disease in elderly and small chidren, AIDS patients

Aspergillosis (a fungal disease, many physicians "stumble" on this one when usual antibiotics fail to clear an infection) causes pneumonia and chronic pulmonary disease.

Cryptococcosis ( another fungal disease--pigeons, cockatoos cats; cats are a secondary vector after eating pigeons), which causes pulmonary granulomas and sometimes meningitis.

That's all I can remember off of the top of my head--I'm at a Strabucks on my laptop on my day off---

Posted by: NW vet | May 30, 2007 3:05 PM

Misspelling Gatsby & Hemingway!

This blog has truly jumped the shark!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:07 PM

Fred,

I do agree with you about Hemingway. I don't care for his barren prose, either, but I do give him credit for working hard at developing his style.

The best thing about Hemingway is his six-toed cats!

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:08 PM

MDmom,

Didn't see your link before posting my list of avian diseases. U Cal SB is a great research institution--the man who wrote that is a lab animal veterinarian, and they are "up" on zoonotic disease. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: NW vet | May 30, 2007 3:09 PM

NW Vet,

I've noticed when using liquid ivermectin that I absorb it readily through my hands and felt a little ill afterwards. I use gloves now when dosing the horses (ORALLY ONLY--I know! I have animals who do not react well to the binding agents used in the paste), but I was curious, is that a commonly noticed side effect?

If I remember correctly, ivermectin is also used to treat Leishmaniasis. That is a nasty disease to deal with (it destroys underlying tissue, particularly cartilage).

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:09 PM

Pittypat,

I'm enjoying the side conversation between you and Fred et al.

Six-toed cats! Polydactyly! Now there's an easy one to mis-spell. Did you know, I've seen an 8 toed cat? No lie, scout's honor!

Posted by: NW vet | May 30, 2007 3:11 PM


This blog has truly jumped the shark!

Shark jumping has already been pointed out amply today. No need to repeat!

Posted by: hammerhead | May 30, 2007 3:11 PM

http://www.itg.be/itg/DistanceLearning/LectureNotesVandenEndenE/05_Leishmaniasisp10.htm

My old parasitology book did not do this disease justice.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:13 PM

It's going to take more information than this to void the 5 Second Rule in my house, Maryland Mother and NW Vet, LOL.

S.S., yes, well. We're not clairvoyant and we can't tiptoe around ghosts we've not met. You are always free to decide that, nonetheless, it's in good taste to tweak the suffering, of course. Many do.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 3:13 PM

pittypat - excellent writing on FSF and sob. I won't forget it.

Maryland Mother: I looked up GURPs as I'd never heard of it before. (Pittpat-did I just end a sentence with a preposition?) Sounds interesting, especially the mysteries.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:14 PM

Hi Maryland Mother

Yes, VERY good idea to use gloves, esp. if you are using the 1% cattle formulation of the drug, "Ivomec". My first year out of school, I was an equine vet in VA, and I too had a sensitivity to ivermectin.

It's known toxicities are neurologic, so be careful---and collie-type or Aussie type dogs shouldn't be given it at all--stick with milbemycin (Interceptor).

Posted by: Nw vet | May 30, 2007 3:14 PM

NW Vet,

I've always wanted to see the "Hemingway cats" in Key West, but I haven't gotten there yet.

Apparently, they're all over the place. There are even postcards with H's cats on them.

Some day... :>)

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:15 PM

Here's something about Chagas' disease. Ooh, Fred & Frieda, it has information you can use with your clients (as if cracked, sore nipples aren't reason enough):

How do people get Chagas disease?

People can become infected in various ways. In Chagas-endemic areas, the main way is through vectorborne transmission. The insect vectors are called triatomine bugs. These blood-sucking bugs get infected by biting an infected animal or person. Once infected, the bugs pass T. cruzi parasites in their feces. The bugs are found in houses made from materials such as mud, adobe, straw, and palm thatch. During the day, the bugs hide in crevices in the walls and roofs. During the night, when the inhabitants are sleeping, the bugs emerge. Because they tend to feed on people's faces, triatomine bugs are also known as "kissing bugs." After they bite and ingest blood, they defecate on the person. The person can become infected if T. cruzi parasites in the bug feces enter the body through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin. The unsuspecting, sleeping person may accidentally scratch or rub the feces into the bite wound, eyes, or mouth.

People also can become infected through:

* consumption of uncooked food contaminated with feces from infected bugs;
* congenital transmission (from a pregnant woman to her baby);
* blood transfusion;
* organ transplantation; and
* accidental laboratory exposure.

It is generally considered safe to breastfeed even if the mother has Chagas disease. However, if the mother has cracked nipples or blood in the breast milk, she should pump and discard the milk until the nipples heal and the bleeding resolves.

Chagas disease is not transmitted from person-to-person like a cold or the flu or through casual contact.

Posted by: MdM | May 30, 2007 3:17 PM

But FSF's wife had such a cool name!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 3:17 PM

So I took this online poll to see which Pride and prejudice character I was most like? 85% similar to Elizabeth Bennett, 80% similar to Lady Catherine de Bourgh. ummmmm, what to make of it?

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:20 PM

MdM,

I am pretty sure that the protocol is to stop breastfeeing is there is blood being mixed with the milk. I will have to ask Frieda tonight.

(Look at that, a BF question Fred does not know the answer to!)

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 3:21 PM

NW Vet,

Back when I worked at a Thoroughbred farm, I was appalled at how many people were using DMSO WITHOUT gloving up--ohmigod, I about had a fit! It's an industrial solvent! Hadn't they even LOOKED at the sheets that come with that stuff? Maybe it was that I'd hung around too many labs, and had had good lab practices hammered into my head.

I've always been careful about that sort of thing, that one ivermectin incident notwithstanding. I think I simply didn't have a pair of gloves that day. I learned.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:22 PM

No, dotted, not a preposition. "It" is an indefinite pronoun here. And, frankly, if we didn't put prepositions at the end of our sentences in spoken dialog, we'd always sound like this:

"He is the sort of fellow up with whom I could not put." (Apologies to Churchill or Gladstone, whoever made the original quip.)

And the thing about blogs is that they're really dialogs, not true writing. So, I tend to think that, on a blog, you should sound like you sound when you're speaking. And we all speak pretty casually.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:22 PM

dotted, hee. hee. can you post the web address for the poll?

Posted by: MN | May 30, 2007 3:23 PM

No bad mouthing FSF. I'm a distant cousin in a long and tangled family tree. More like kudzu, actually.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:25 PM

Nice one pittypat!

"He is the sort of fellow up with whom I could not put."

More like a romance language.

Does anyone here know if Lithuanian, directly translated, would sound similarly stilted? I thought I read somewhere that it is the oldest Indo-European language around.

Of course, that was a long time ago, perhaps there is a new candidate. Has anyone figured out from whence the Basque language appeared?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:27 PM

Hey Megan's Neighbor--

We live by the five second rule--if for nothing else the critters will eat it if it stays there longer!

Pittypat--I have seen the very cats you mention--I was in Key West as an undergrad doing marine bio work. I wanted to kidnap one and bring it back to VA!

MD Mother, DMSO, oh, boy, don't get me started--you're right, industrial solvent that takes subdermally anything that's sitting on the skin's surface (not to mention the lovely rotting fish taste it leaves in your mouth). I spent 6 weeks at a mid-western vet school my senior year on rotation (it will remain nameless) and the stench of DMSO caused all of us, young menstruating females to stop. Nasty stuff!

Hey y'all, it's been fun (and yes, I'm a geek), but now I have to sign off and go get my kid. :-)

Posted by: Nw vet | May 30, 2007 3:27 PM

"But FSF's wife had such a cool name!"

Like I said, Fred, his life was more interesting than his books.

Did you even see the movie "Beloved Infidel"? If not, check it out.

Gregory Peck as F Scott and Deborah Kerr as Sheila Graham, the gossip columnist he took up with late in his career when he was writing scripts for Hollywood in order to make money to keep Zelda in the asylum...while being a raging alcoholic himself.

Can get much better Americana than that!

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:28 PM

Megan's Neighbor

"S.S., yes, well. We're not clairvoyant and we can't tiptoe around ghosts we've not met. You are always free to decide that, nonetheless, it's in good taste to tweak the suffering, of course. Many do."

Or poke holes in the big wind bags.

Posted by: S.S. | May 30, 2007 3:30 PM

One of the preoccupations of 19th century language scholars was attempting to reconstruct the relationships between the better-known European and Asian languages. One thing they soon realised was that the languages of most of Europe and those of Asia as far east as the Bay of Bengal all belonged to the same group. This language group came to be called Indo-European.

Linguists now believe that the speakers of the ancestral Indo-European grandmother tongue originated in about 5000 to 6000 BC somewhere north of the Danube basin, where they led a semi-nomadic existence. By 3000 BC some dialectal varieties of the Indo-European language were already established. Ultimately there developed nine main language subgroups -- Albanian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Indian and Italic. Among the scores of ancient and modern languages descending from that same Indo-European proto-language we can thus list those as diverse and just about mutually unintelligible as Greek, Latin, German, Russian, Persian, Sanskrit and English.

And what of poor old Basque?

Old is right. Long before the Romans or even the much earlier Celts had spread over their lands, the Basques occupied the southern corner of the Bay of Biscay, as they do today. Exactly how old the Basques are is not known, but the culture dates back at least to Palaeolithic times, which makes their language the most ancient language of Europe in terms of continuous occupation of the territory where it spoken. As old as those hills that isolated it from the Indo-European tidal wave which washed traces of all other prehistoric tongues from the mouth and ear of mankind.

The oldest texts in Basque date from the sixteenth century, though there are inscriptions dating back to Roman times.

(Incidentally, as with the word "Basque", so with "Biscay" and "Gascony" -- all are derivatives of the Latin "Vascones". The Basque word for their own language is "Euskara".)

Because of its age, Basque is truly an orphan language, entirely unrelated structurally or historically to any language now spoken anywhere on the planet, or indeed to any known ever to have existed. Mind you, many attempts, none conclusive, have been made to find connections between Basque and other languages -- the Caucasian language family (around the Caspian and Black seas), for example, and even various North African languages. There was a time, in fact, when some scholars cherished the belief that Basque was the language spoken by all humanity before the Tower of Babel was destroyed. Such ideas are typical of myths that persist about Basque, such as the false notion that no outsider can possibly learn it.

Posted by: Basque, briefly | May 30, 2007 3:31 PM

Scott was arguably crazier than Zelda, but back in those days the swinish sort of men whom McEwen admires still ruled.

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 3:31 PM

"More like kudzu, actually"

This wins Fred's Phrase of the Day. You can't get much more Southern! And what a great image for expressing how tangled a thing could become!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 3:31 PM

dotted,

LOL! I think that Elizabeth Bennet is a more civil, compassionate, intelligent version of Lady Catherine. But both are headstrong, independent, and decisive. That's probably what the test detected in you! (Where is this test, BTW?)

Just goes to show that the same admirable characteristics can exist -- and manifest -- very differently in people of different personalities.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:33 PM

PnP character similarity poll:

http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=195062

Thanks Pittypat for answering so quickly and thoroughly...and with a great quote to boot.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:35 PM

NW Vet,

Oh, lucky you! I have this picture in my mind of all these cats with paws like catcher's mitts.

Is that how they look, up close?

:>)

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:36 PM

Hey, Fred, I've heard that the Southerner's definition of a cousin is, "His dog runs through my yard."

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 3:37 PM

http://www.lib.umt.edu/guide/lang/smalfamh.htm

Okay, things have been discussed in the ensuing couple of decades. Basque is now regarded as part of the Aquitanian language. Very cool guide above, if anyone is interested. Besides me. Clearly I have too many interests in too many things.

Yeah, I'm glad I wasn't blessed with that additional gift from DMSO. At least I knew enough and raised enough of a stink to insist they provide gloves for all the women to use in the training barn.

Better living through chemistry--not always!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:37 PM

headstrong, independent and decisive are the nice words to describe me. There are not-nice words to say the same thing...

I found it interesting to think Elizabeth and Lady Catherine might really be only a shade different-especially when I originally drew such diametrically opposing views of their character.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:39 PM

Just goes to show that the same admirable characteristics can exist -- and manifest -- very differently in people of different personalities.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 03:33 PM

Do you mean it comes down to a matter of degree?

Arrogance is confidence writ large, after all.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 3:40 PM

Megan's Neighbor

"S.S., yes, well. We're not clairvoyant and we can't tiptoe around ghosts we've not met. You are always free to decide that, nonetheless, it's in good taste to tweak the suffering, of course. Many do."

Or poke holes in the big wind bags.

+ + +

I'm with S.S. on this. Chris has all the answers on how to parent -- and those anwers reside in the 1950s upper middle class. You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:40 PM

There is a book "Hemingway's Cats.

Posted by: Faber '63 | May 30, 2007 3:43 PM

Fred: What about 'their fathers traded roosters.'

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:51 PM

I liked "The Crook Factory" by Dan Simmons tremendously. It is about Hemingway's life in Cuba, and his life as a spy. Good characterization of Hemingway. Someone I would like knowing, but I wouldn't want to know well.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:52 PM

"I live in a small town in Connecticut. Not in the part of Connecticut within commuting distance of New York City. Farther out, where the closest Starbucks is several towns away and New Yorkers are mostly glimpsed in the dusty, narrow aisles of antique shops on weekend afternoons in summer."

But at the end it says that she and her family live "near New Haven, Connecticut".

New Haven isn't small...just how far away from New Haven is near, but too small for her to find acceptable childcare?

If you are that convinced that your children cannot be entrusted to anyone besides yourself, you really only have two choices.

Pay through the nose, or one of the parents stays home.

Posted by: bored with middle-class angst | May 30, 2007 3:52 PM

"You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent. "

I haven't met any parents who are experts at it either.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:52 PM

By the way, pittpay and MN (plus others)

What PnP character are you most like? Come on, do tell.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 3:53 PM

"The point I was trying to make, which you helped make for me, is that you can't have it all perfect all the time."

Exactly. It's never enough for some working parents.

Posted by: Agree with Chris | May 30, 2007 3:55 PM

dotted,

*sigh*

I can't access the site due to our random, unpredicable filtering software. I'll have to check it out tonight from home.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:55 PM

"The point I was trying to make, which you helped make for me, is that you can't have it all perfect all the time."

Exactly. It's never enough for some working parents.


Posted by: Agree with Chris | May 30, 2007 03:55 PM

Right. As if it's ever enough for some SAH parents.

Posted by: Think Agree with Chris is Clueless | May 30, 2007 3:57 PM

Leslie, I thought Daisy and Rebecca's suggestions were good ones. Involving more than one person in your childcare problem could be good for the kids and also provides you with valuable backup. There could be retired people in your community who would enjoy part-time sitting, and some use of a facility might be good.
One thing that drives me crazy, why do univeristies do such a lousy job of providing good childcare for their students and employees? Most of the univeristies that I know of that actually provide childcare have long waiting lists, meaning their facilities are much too small. It seems that if we are going to set an example that good childcare is important us as a society then we should start where the professionals and policymakers of the future are being trained. Just my two cents worth.

Posted by: rumicat | May 30, 2007 3:57 PM

Oops. dotted, that was me at 3:55.

Posted by: MN | May 30, 2007 3:58 PM

"Do you mean it comes down to a matter of degree?"

Maryland Mother,

Well, degree is part of it. But maybe more important is the values and beliefs underlying the characteristics displayed.

For instance, Lady Catherine is headstrong in wanting to have her wishes obeyed because she believes she is a better than Elizabeth Bennet and, as a result, entitled to have the upper hand. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is headstrong in not deferring to Lady C because she believes that she is as good as Lady C.

But, as you say, confidence and arrogance are kissing cousins!

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 3:58 PM

You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 03:40 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 3:59 PM

You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent.

What about if you HAD parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:02 PM

Elizabeth Bennet.

And no, even as a parent I hardly think of myself as an expert. More of a journeyman.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 30, 2007 4:02 PM

can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 03:40 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Quick, find me an oncologist with cancer!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:03 PM

dotted,

I took the test and had a funny outcome. I scored 65% Elizabeth Bennet and 65% Charlotte Lucas, but the test "result" said I most closely matched Elizabeth.

There was a tiebreaker question, so I guess that decided it.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 4:03 PM

WARNING: LEAPING SHARK AHEAD!

Pittypat,

I have to agree with you that Fitzgerald is overrated. Michael Dirda insisted that Gatsby is the greatest novel ever written by a U.S. author so I reread it a few months ago. I appreciated it more than I had in high school and thought it was interesting but it just didn't move me nearly as deeply as certain other novels. I do believe, however, that Hemingway was a master of the short story form. I can't judge his novels because I only read "The Old Man and the Sea" which was boring enough to turn anyone off from reading fiction forever.

Posted by: Denkpaard | May 30, 2007 4:03 PM

You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 03:40 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 03:59 PM

I agree with your point, 3:59. As an aside, since when has expertise been a requirement for anyone to post an opinion on this blog?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 4:03 PM

Jeez, I love the comments here.

Come for the mudslinging, stay for the American literary criticism. My favorite today has been Fred: "His short sentences crackle like the underbrush that fuels the fires in the canyons on Los Angeles. Burning brightly but leaving barren land with a darkened ground devoid of life and little meaning." Of course, I am biased. I love FSF ("This Side of Paradise" is my favorite) and hate Hemmingway with a fierce passion worthy of... well, Papa himself.

Posted by: a lurker | May 30, 2007 4:04 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Men can never become OB/GYNs.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:06 PM

denkpaard,

I agree with you about Hemingway's short stories. Don't love 'em, but they are so skillfully crafted.

The one I remember in particular is "Hills Like White Elephants." Dialog pared down to the bone.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 4:07 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Funny, it doesn't stop (supposedly) celibate clergy from giving marital advice BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:07 PM

You spell Hemingway with 2 M's, just like someone else. I'm not sayin', but

Posted by: To a lurker | May 30, 2007 4:10 PM

"You can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on parenting if you are not a parent."

Can I be an expert if I gave a baby up for adoption?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:10 PM

By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group.

Men can never become OB/GYNs.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 04:06 PM

Don't any of you white people study civil rights law.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:11 PM

so are you saying you do want to take parenting advice from non-parents?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:14 PM

Bush's civil rights division is more concerned with whether a radical rightwing Christian's "right" to cram his religious beliefs down the throats of others is being trimmed. Think of Ashcroft, Gonzo, Monica Goodling, the Regent U Law School crowd.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:14 PM

I couldn't remember Charlotte Lucas (okay, so it has been a while) so I looked her up. Determination is the common denominator maybe? Charlotte is more pragmatic as she doesn't wait for the 'right one.'

What is it with all the "Upon my word" exclamations in PnP?

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 4:14 PM

You spell Hemingway with 2 M's, just like someone else. I'm not sayin', but

Posted by: To a lurker | May 30, 2007 04:10 PM


Hahahaha. I promise I'm not Fred--I'm just a bad speller!

Posted by: a lurker | May 30, 2007 4:15 PM

From the comments here today, it seems that you can be Fitzgerald fan OR a Hemingway fan (OR a fan of neither, but that's beside my point), but you can't be a fan of both.

This makes sense. Fitzgerald uses modifiers to excess; Hemingway avoids them as far as possible. Opposite ends of a spectrum.

Now, just to throw a wrench into the works: Anyone out there a fan of both?

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 4:15 PM

so are you saying you do want to take parenting advice from non-parents?

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 04:14 PM

Why not? THey HAVE parents they can observe.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:16 PM

"By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group."

and gerontologists must all be elderly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:17 PM

the question becomes would elizabeth be like lady c if she had had the money? perhaps elizabeth had the advantage of self reflection because she didn't have the money to protect her from her flaws. my fave jane austen is persuasion but emma is also good.

Posted by: quark | May 30, 2007 4:19 PM

"What is it with all the "Upon my word" exclamations in PnP?"

Don't know. Could it be a verbal tick of the times? Kind of like "like" is today? ("Like, don't you just, like, think he's like soooo cool?")

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 4:19 PM

"so are you saying you do want to take parenting advice from non-parents?"

I don't like advice from long winded, know-it-all, johnny-one-notes!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:20 PM

"By this same logic you can't be an expert (or in this case, judge and jury) on anything if you are not a member of that group."

All coroners and morticians must be dead?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:20 PM

Pittypat-I remember being a fan of both back in high school. The only way to get an A was to enthusiastically enjoy the author set. Impress the teacher with how much I liked the book, really read it, got something from it (like how to write), etc. etc. I do remember trying to write more like FSF than Hemingway. I couldn't do it well.

Posted by: dotted | May 30, 2007 4:20 PM

Get over it, and put your children in day care. They need the socialization at this point in their lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:23 PM

Get over it, and put your children in day care. They need the socialization at this point in their lives.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 04:23 PM

Or keep them at home, home-school them, don't ever let them off the property. And they'll grow up to be mini-you, or rebel to become your polar opposite.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 4:26 PM

I find it hilarious that this woman thinks Guilford, CT is some lonely outpost in netherreaches of farthest New England becuase the nearest starbucks is 5 miles away in Madison.

Posted by: CT | May 30, 2007 4:32 PM

Parents, clergymembers, ob/gyns, oncologists, morticians, etc are all members of their own groups - not members of the groups they serve.

Parents are not children, clergymembers (counselors) do not have to be married, oncologists do not have to have cancer, etc.

Each are members of groups with same experiences and/or training.

Non-parents are not parents, but that doesn't mean they don't have any education in that area or pertinent life experiences that would allow them to have useful advice.

I listen to advice and suggestions from pretty much anywhere. Then, I think about it and decide if I will actually follow any of it.

Posted by: flawed logic | May 30, 2007 4:35 PM

Okay, just tuned in to Oprah. The show inspired me to unleash my inner beast.

Dr. Robin: Where's your upper lip?
Gail: Why do you attempt to hide your true giraffe identity by nominally passing as a human?
Dr. Oz: Why can't you afford socks?

Posted by: Denkpaard in Troll Mode | May 30, 2007 4:36 PM

"You spell Hemingway with 2 M's, just like someone else. I'm not sayin', ...
Hahahaha. I promise I'm not Fred--I'm just a bad speller!"

Posted by: a lurker | May 30, 2007 04:15 PM

Yea, my fingers have been doing overtime today with work. I did appreciate your (a Lurker) comments on my "burning underbrush" comment. I will say that I did like Papa's book, "The Sun Also Rises" This is about the only Hemingway (sp) that I have really enjoyed!

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 4:37 PM

"I do remember trying to write more like FSF than Hemingway."

dotted,

That's funny, b/c in college I did a project where I wrote short stories in the style of several different writers, and Hemingway was one of those.

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 4:39 PM

so are you saying you do want to take parenting advice from non-parents?

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 04:14 PM

anon, I'm saying that the value of specific parenting advice is not impacted by whether its source is childless, any more than to accept the converse: that reproducing automatically makes one an "expert" at parenting. The inability to use a condom on a particular occasion doesn't mean one suddenly has the wisdom of Dr. Sears 40 weeks later.

If a non-parent is wrong with respect to one or more opinions expressed about how parenting should be done, it's not because he or she is childless, it's because the opinion/s is baseless, silly, biased, or impracticable.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 4:39 PM

Back to the lit chat:

I love Charlotte Lucas's character because she forces us to consider whether or not nearly all women "prostitute" themselves in some form or not. Watching Seinfeld last night (yes, I am a pop culture junkie) I was struck by the fact that Elaine agreed to have sex with a character to facilitate an adoption for her friends. No one would ever admit it, but we all know people who, although they may never have worked incall/outcall, have had similar fits of generosity. The never-married Bennett may have been commenting obliquely on the nature of marriage.

Posted by: Denkpaard | May 30, 2007 4:52 PM

"I am pretty sure that the protocol is to stop breastfeeing is there is blood being mixed with the milk."

Actually Fred - wrong!! It won't hurt a baby to digest her (healthy) mother's blood, disgusting as it might sound. It might make her tummy a bit upset but it is not a reason to quit breastfeeding.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:02 PM

Actually Fred - wrong!! It won't hurt a baby to digest her (healthy) mother's blood, disgusting as it might sound. It might make her tummy a bit upset but it is not a reason to quit breastfeeding.


Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:02 PM

and you are qualified to correct Fred because . . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:04 PM

Going off topic is not leaping the shark, which is apparently what some people around here think.

Posted by: The Fonz | May 30, 2007 5:05 PM

Going off topic is not jumping the shark, which is apparently what some people around here think.

Posted by: The Fonz | May 30, 2007 5:06 PM

"I am pretty sure that the protocol is to stop breastfeeing is there is blood being mixed with the milk."

More jumping of the shark!

Posted by: Jaws | May 30, 2007 5:07 PM

"and you are qualified to correct Fred because . . . ."

because my bre*sts lactate?


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:07 PM

so are you saying you do want to take parenting advice from non-parents?

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 04:14 PM

Being a parent makes you an expert in YOUR kids not other people's kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:09 PM

"and you are qualified to correct Fred because . . . ."

because my bre*sts lactate?

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:07 PM

and here's a fine example of someone lacking the necessary expertise. call your pediatrician.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:11 PM

Actually Fred - wrong!! It won't hurt a baby to digest her (healthy) mother's blood, disgusting as it might sound. It might make her tummy a bit upset but it is not a reason to quit breastfeeding.


Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:02 PM

and you are qualified to correct Fred because . . . .

-------

Well, don't know anon's qualifications, but my pediatrician told me it was okay when this happened to me. Of course, this was 9 years ago, and opinions change. They also vary from doctor to doctor, of course.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 30, 2007 5:12 PM

pittypat, are you a member of JASNA?

I heart Jane Austen.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 5:15 PM

"I love Charlotte Lucas's character because she forces us to consider whether or not nearly all women "prostitute" themselves in some form or not."

I don't see Charlotte as prostituting herself. She makes a willful choice to pursue the horrible Mr. Collins because she wants to have a household of her own rather than live on her father's charity.

Certainly, there are types of men that Charlotte wouldn't have considered marrying. But, in much the same way as Mr. Collins, she makes a business deal. He's looking for a wife to run his little rectory, and she's looking for a husband to get her out of her home. She decides she can put up with him and, in fact, manages to tune him out most of the time.

If you're looking for prostitutes in PnP, look no further than Mrs Bennet. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 5:15 PM

What are Fred's qualifications?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:17 PM

WorkingMomX,

No, I'm not. Is it a good organization?

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 5:19 PM

Fred's wife has been a lactation consultant for something like 30 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:20 PM

pittypat, Mrs. Bennet isn't a prostitute - she's a pimp!!

I agree that Charlotte made a good choice in accepting Mr. Collins. She ensured that she'd have a life of relative ease compared to ending up an old maid, traveling to stay with relations for as long as they'd have her there.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 5:20 PM

Jane Austen Society of North America.

Need I say more?

Meetings with other fellow Jane-ites. Tea and talk about Jane Austen. But you'd better be interested in the minutiae! (I am.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 5:22 PM

"Fred's wife has been a lactation consultant for something like 30 years."


And that makes him an expert? Guess my husband can give legal advice.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:22 PM

LOL, WorkingMomX.

You're right!

Posted by: pittypat | May 30, 2007 5:24 PM

From Jane to breastfeeding.

I will weigh in on anon's side, and Vegas Mom's. When I was breastfeeding my son, I was cracked and bleeding and he ingested some of the blood. He actually upchucked a bit of it and I FREAKED because I thought he was terribly ill. The pediatrician reassured me that this happens when there's trauma to the nipple (can I say that?) and that it would not hurt the baby.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 5:25 PM

"And that makes him an expert? Guess my husband can give legal advice."

He probably knows a hell of a lot more about lactation than your bre*sts have taught you.

Idiot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:26 PM

"Fred's wife has been a lactation consultant for something like 30 years."


And that makes him an expert? Guess my husband can give legal advice.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:22 PM

Fred doesn't purport to be an expert. He purports to pass on his wife's comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:27 PM

"Fred doesn't purport to be an expert. He purports to pass on his wife's comments. "

Pathetic.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:30 PM

And that makes him an expert? Guess my husband can give legal advice.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:22 PM


It doesn't make him an expert. It gives you a basis for evaluating his comments.

If you are willing to dispense legal advice via your husband, over the Internet, either your malpractice insurer will put a stop to it, or your state bar will take your license away soon enough. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:37 PM

"Fred doesn't purport to be an expert. He purports to pass on his wife's comments. "

Pathetic.


Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:30 PM

It is NOT pathetic. I've found Fred to be highly knowledgeable about breastfeeding. We're lucky to have him on this blog!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 5:41 PM

"Fred doesn't purport to be an expert. He purports to pass on his wife's comments. "

Pathetic.


Posted by: | May 30, 2007 05:30 PM

Troll 101: If you communicate in complete sentences, it increases the likelihood that all readers will get the full impact of your brilliance.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:43 PM

Leslie,

It is helpful if the guest bloggers are at least minimally available to clarify ambiguities and/or respond to various questions and concerns. Chasmasour was busy but still dropped in once or twice.

Did Leslie Powell know her column was running today? Was she not available to participate even once in the morning?

Posted by: to Leslie Morgan Steiner | May 30, 2007 5:46 PM

"It is NOT pathetic. I've found Fred to be highly knowledgeable about breastfeeding. We're lucky to have him on this blog!"

Any expert on women's breasts is always welcome, I say. ;)

Posted by: pATRICK | May 30, 2007 5:49 PM

bada bing. bada boom.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 5:51 PM

Come on, pATRICK, tell us what you think of the guest column.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 5:55 PM

"and here's a fine example of someone lacking the necessary expertise. call your pediatrician."

Like Vegas Mom and WorkingMomX,
I DID call my pediatrician. Actually, I visited my pediatrician in person and was told the same thing - it will not hurt the baby. And I now have a healthy 7 year old to prove that fact. Which is why I said what I said to Fred in the first place.

I also wanted to say that I'm not the anon who called Fred pathetic because I realize he was going to check with Freida about his statement. But I also think that several years of breastfeeding experience makes me more qualified than he is to speak on the subject and certainly qualified to correct him when he makes a mistake.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 6:00 PM

Have you considered a stay at home Mom with a child or children that are close in age to your children? As the children grow they can attend activities together and you will have the added benefit of someone to take your children to activities while you are at work. Your children will be able to stay at home. If you are upfront that this could be a long term mutually beneficial arrangement, you will likely find a great caring experienced person to care for your children. If you check the local elementary schools you might get the name of a teacher who quit to stay home...they are generally great caregivers...lots of structure and organization. If you agree to be flexible (let the caregiver be at her house a day or two...your kids get a change as well...)you could get a long term good situation. Treat the caregiver like you would want to be treated if roles were reversed.

Posted by: Amy in Minneapolis | May 30, 2007 6:00 PM

Come on, pATRICK, tell us what you think of the guest column.

I must admit that I don't like nannies. Here is why. You are ceding control to a person. In day care there are many people,inspections etc. I always think of those hidden cams where the nanny is beating the crap out of a toddler or some other horrible thing. I know that it is possible for things to happen at a center also but in our day care, parents and administrators are constantly around. I am kind of bummed out, we put our two dogs to sleep (13 years old) and it is a sad day at the pATRICK household.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 30, 2007 6:00 PM

pATRICK -- My condolences. We are also the proud owners of 2 13-year old knuckle-headed hounds, once of whom has cancer, and we will be dealing with this ourselves sooner rather than later. Dreading it myself. Take care of yourself and hug your kids.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 30, 2007 6:15 PM

pATRICK,

Please accept Catman's and my sympathies on your loss. I'm sure this is really sad for adults and children alike in the pATRICK household, as one's companion animals become well-loved family members. We've had to have two terminally-ill cats euthanized in the past two years, and have one elderly dog and one elderly cat left -- neither of whom has very long prognoses left, which makes us try to enjoy every day we have left with them.

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 6:35 PM

Thanks for your thoughts. I feel lucky we had them as long as we did. This is our third dog in less than a year to be put to sleep. We have one more left and he seems to be in good health. It is hard on the kids, which makes it harder on us.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 30, 2007 6:41 PM

Working mom X:

My au pair arrived last friday and so far it's going well. Her English is not as good as we had hoped - but she is very interested in changing that (she wants to get enrolled into a class ASAP). She is really in love with the kids.

I know it will take a couple of weeks and she will understand everything and it will be great. It's just a few weeks of her getting it - and it's tough for all people involved. But overall, she's a wonderful person and I'm really excited. I took off a couple of days (and DH is taking off a couple of days) so that she can get acclimated.

Thanks for asking!

Posted by: atlmom | May 30, 2007 6:51 PM

That's great news, atlmom. I'm sure you're right that your au pair will progress by leaps and bounds on her English. She must've been really tired when she arrived, because I believe that even a non-stop flight from Brazil is a really long trip. Boa sorte :-)

Posted by: catlady | May 30, 2007 6:54 PM

atlmom -- This could be a great opportunity for your children to learn another language as well! Good luck!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 30, 2007 6:59 PM

"and certainly qualified to correct him when he makes a mistake."

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 06:00 PM

Please note that I said I did not know the answer. Reread my original post."I will have to ask Frieda."

6 pm is correct in her statment. Here is my source from "The Breastfeeding Answer Book" and (provided the mother is otherwise healthy and not taking certain drugs which can be passed in milk) I quote "Assure the mother that any blood her baby swallows from damaged nipples will not be harmful to him."

Please also note that the question arose from a post from MdM at 3:17 speaking about a specific situation when a mother should not nurse when blood is present in the milk.

Posted by: Fred | May 30, 2007 7:22 PM

But I also think that several years of breastfeeding experience makes me more qualified than he is to speak on the subject and certainly qualified to correct him when he makes a mistake.


Posted by: | May 30, 2007 06:00 PM

Sorry, lady. Your pediatrician is qualified, and it's fine to pass on his advice. Freida is qualified and it's fine for Fred to pass on her advice. The possession of breasts does not qualify you to advise other parents on the potential impact on their babies of certain conduct.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 8:09 PM

pATRICK, I am very sorry to hear about your beloved dogs. catlady and vegas mom said it best.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 30, 2007 8:20 PM

pATRICK, sometimes you are such a boy. :) About the breast comment . . .

I'm very sorry to hear about your dogs. What a sad loss for your family.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 30, 2007 8:28 PM

pATRICK,
So sorry to hear about your dogs. I had to do the same thing to mine a couple of years ago. I thought I would wait a couple of months to get another one (that was Friday night). By Sunday I was chomping at the bit to get to the shelter to get another dog as my house was so empty.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 30, 2007 8:41 PM

Catlady: actually, she arrived in New York the Monday before for orientation until Friday - so her long flight had been a few days before. and at least she had a few days of hearing English most of the day (she was with other Brazilian au pairs), before she came to us. But I suspect that she was still overwhelmed when she got here. And since the agency booked the flight to NY, she went from Brazil, to Chicago, to Harrisburg, to New York. I guess that was the least expensive flight. So I'm sure she was exhausted when she got to NYC.

Thanks, Vegas mom! She wants to learn English, so we'll see about her teaching the kids. I'm hopeful though.

Posted by: atlmom | May 30, 2007 10:01 PM

"My au pair arrived last friday and so far it's going well. Her English is not as good as we had hoped - but she is very interested in changing that (she wants to get enrolled into a class ASAP). She is really in love with the kids."

She is probably excited to be here and likes your kids, but I seriously doubt that she is in love with the kids after 6 days.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:19 PM

She is probably excited to be here and likes your kids, but I seriously doubt that she is in love with the kids after 6 days.

Posted by: | May 30, 2007 10:19 PM

doubt away if you must, but consider that she is live-in and has spent 6 straight days with them. I'd trust the observational skills of atlmom over the skepticism of a stranger any day.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:26 PM

pATRICK, sorry to hear about your dogs - my best to you and your family.

Posted by: Megan | May 30, 2007 10:36 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your dogs. Thoughts are with you....

Posted by: NW vet | May 31, 2007 7:54 AM

Nanny, au pair?? Oh that's right, a small town on the EAST coast. There are educated professionals in ALL parts of the country, most of whom couldn't even fathom finding the kind of care you desire! Our local day care center has two HIGH SCHOOL grads and considers itself lucky. Nanny? Au Pair? Doubtful. Usually an "excellent" day care provider has a neat home, attends Church, cares for her 2-3 kids, her sister-in-laws new baby and 2-3 other kids. She may take a few more after school. She does not park them in front of the tv, but plays with them, organizes story time etc. The kids may not learn Portugese or to do calculus but they are well fed, get their naps, have fun and learn to get along. Try looking for such an arrangement. You might be shocked at what your kids get from it!

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