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Tuesday, October 22, 2002 08:28 PM Last Updated







Child Care Magazine

Issue 11, vol. 8.2

Articles Author Date Issue Section
Babysitter Interview Questionnaire, FORM Annie Arriaga 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 FORMS
Choosing A Babysitter Annie Arriaga 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Babysitting WC
The Cough Jeff Stimpson 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Child Care Advice
Twenty-First Century Psychiatry Bernie Knox 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Children with Disabilities WC
Car Seats -- What's Your Excuse? Lori R. Cohen 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Child Care Advice
Coming Soon Emily R. Bridges 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Nurses in Child Care WC
End of Summer 5 Fun Filled Tips Sharon Wren 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Child Care Issues WC
Q & A Weekly Column, Back to School Ed  Kemper 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Q & A WC
Kitchenlab Kindermath, Tutorial #10 Noreen Wyper 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Kitchenlab Kindermath WC
Tardy Tooth Fairy Pays the Price Deb Di Sandro 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Humor in Child Care WC
Work At Home, Part 2 Jenifer McCrea 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Stay-at-Home-Parent WC
Coming Soon Danielle Westvang 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Camp Counselors in Child Care WC
Day Care Contractual Agreement, Article Victoria L. Pietz 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Start-Ups in Child Care
Day Care Contractual Agreement, FORM Victoria L. Pietz 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 FORMS
Use the New Tax Law To Increase Your Bottom Line. Victoria L. Pietz 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Child Care Advice
The Many Benefits of Massage Heather Haapoja 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Stress Help WC
Ravel Christine L. Pollock 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Music & Art in Child Care
Hiring a Nanny to Do More Than Just Childcare Elizabeth Pennington 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Nannies and Child Care WC
Just Pretend Deb & Dave Graham 8/10/2001 Issue 11, vol. 8.2 Prime Time Parenting WC

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Twenty-First Century Psychiatry
By:   Bernie Knox

According to an article in my local paper, "new research" has discovered that depression occurs in pregnant women at about the same rate that it occurs at any other time in the lives of women in general - about 10%. This "new research" seems to suggest that depression during pregnancy "should be diagnosed" because it "may be harmful to the baby."

A prenatal psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is quoted, saying, "This will be a surprise to many because most people think that women are protected from depression during pregnancy, that it is a time of emotional well-being I did not know what a prenatal psychiatrist was, so I looked it up. It was not in the dictionary, but as with everything, there are websites on the subject. Prenatal psychiatrists concern themselves with the emotional effects of the experience of being born, of infant circumcision, that sort of thing.

I wonder why the field of prenatal psychiatry has to do its own study of depression during pregnancy. Could they not just use the results of studies already done in other fields-such as prenatal psychiatry? There is such a field. I checked. In fact, anti-depressants are prescribed for pregnant women, and are a source of controversy. Are the various specialized fields of medicine completely unaware of each other, like goldfish swimming around in a bowl? Do they distrust each other? What is the deal here?

Who pays for redundant studies like this? Is this an example of "your tax dollars at work?" And who does this doctor in Boston consider "most people," anyway? Nobody I know, that’s for sure.

When you have a child with disabilities, you have to hire medical specialists. Which ones you hire depends on the special needs of the particular child. If there is no communication between the fields, why, it is no wonder you get conflicting reports, conflicting diagnoses, conflicting instructions. No wonder you have so much trouble getting a "straight story."

So, OK. Things are what they are. These prenatal psychiatrists are after information that affects the well-being of the baby when it is born. The mother’s well-being is important to them only in relation to that. So this new research and resulting revelation opens the door for a shiny new accusation. The mother was depressed during pregnancy, which explains why this child is not-so-ok, some way or another.

I write this to caution you. If, sometime in the future, any medical personnel asks you if you were depressed during your pregnancy, answer whatever seems good to you, but to yourself, say:

It is probably not my fault.

It is probably not my fault.

It is probably not my fault.

Say it again. Think of it as Truth. Say it again, again, again. Because whatever has gone wrong, it truly is probably not your fault. Whenever anyone accuses you while you are all alone with no one to speak for you, tell ‘em I said so.



Q & A Weekly Column
By:   Ed Kemper

This week’s Q and A is dedicated to back to school. As the sales mount and August moves on, our kids will be going back to school soon. Since I’ve had a few questions concerning back to school topics, I thought I’d answer them all at once.

Q. Where can I find help for my child with their schoolwork?

A. There are actually several sites that your child can use to aid them in their studies. I’ve compiled a small list to start you off. Check your search engines for additional resources.


Q. Where can I find reference sources for my child to aid them when they go
back to school?

A. The great thing about the internet is the resource and reference potentials. Below is a few links to begin with. This list is only a sample of what you can find. Be sure to check the links for the above question, as well.

http://www.webster.com – Webster’s dictionary and thesaurus.
http://www.bartleby.com – Bartleby.com Great Books Online
http://www.ipl.org – The Internet Public Library

Q. I wish to homeschool my child this year. Are there any resources for homeschooling on the internet?

A. Sure is. Check out the following links for a wealth of information on


Q. My husband has accepted a new job in another state. We will be moving in
two weeks, however, I’m unsure how to start planning for my children to
attend school there. Do you have any ideas?

A. Many web sites for traveling and moving also have school locators, crime ratings for that area, and much more. There do happen to be a number of sites devoted simply to finding schools. Check out the links, read the listings on the schools available to your child in that area, then call the
school. You can often get the ball rolling ahead of time in this manner. If you can convince the schools your child currently attended to give you a copy of your children’s records, this will save some time. If you can’t, a school you contact will often call that school and get the ball rolling to
get the record right away.


Q. Can I compare prices for back-to-school items on the internet? Every year I go out of my mind racing back and forth to find the best prices. When you have four kids, pricing is everything. Proper pricing can get me a few more outfits for each of them. Can I do this on the net?

A. You can check out the major department store web sites. I checked a few and was pleased to see back-to-school merchandise and sales displayed quite prominently. You can compare in this manner and then actually go out shopping. You might wish to make sure you call the store before you go in case they don’t have an item in stock. Some of the companies display product, others just have company information. But the store locators on each can come in handy. These are just a few of the major department stores I could think of.

http://www.bluelight.com/?c=KMART - K-Mart
http://www.amesstores.com – Ames
http://www.walmartstores.com/wmstore/wmstores/HomePage.jsp – Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club
http://www.jcpenney.net/guide/guide.htm – J.C. Penney

For even more listings, I would suggest the following Yahoo page:

Well, my friends, that’s all for this week’s Q and A Column. Be sure to check in next week where even more of your questions will be answered. Summer vacation is almost over, so hang in there for the back-to-school jitters. Keep those questions rolling in at: QandA.CCMagazine@Eudoramail.com.

See you next week,
Ed Kemper, Q and A Columnist




Day Care Contractual Agreement, FORM
By: Victoria L. Pietz

I/we______________________________________________________have read the Policy Handbook and will comply to all the provisions contained herin, and shall at this time enter into agreement with ___________________________________for care of my/our child ____________________________________________, with the understanding that we shall work together on behalf of the child.

Days of enrollment (circle) M T W TH F from________ until________starting on__________________. Prearranged overtime is $5.00 per 15 minutes increment or any portion thereof.When not prearranged, there will be a $1.00 per child every minute starting after 15 minutes when not prearranged plus the original $5.00 fee for the first 15 minutes. ALL overtime fees will be collected on Friday of that week.

The agreed upon rate for this service is_________________________ and will be paid on

M T W TH F weekly/biweekly beginning on ________________________. Late payment is $3.00 per day until full payment of fees are collected. Any payments will be

taken off of the late fee first. There will be a $30.00 charge for checks returned for any reason. Two returned checks due to insufficient funds will require you to pay in cash.

If supplies are requested and parents fail to bring them, we will purchase them and add them to your bill.

If child is not in day care for any day/week, the agreed upon rate will still be in effect unless other terms are prearranged with provider.

This contract is subject to review and renewal on ______________________________. Any changes made by the provider to the terms of the agreement must be made on the renewal date unless mutually agreed to beforehand by the provider and parent(s) or guardian(s) who are parties to this agreement. Otherwise, this agreement will remain in effect until the renewal date or upon termination of care as set forth herein.

SIGNED ____________________________________ Date____________________

Parent(s) or Guardian(s)

Legal Address___________________________________________________________

SIGNED____________________________________ Date_____________________

Parent(s) or Guardian(s)

Legal Address___________________________________________________________

I have discussed and review this contract with _______________________________,_______________________________________

And agree to provide child care for _________________________________________,

To be placed in my home as long as the terms of the contract are upheld.

SIGNED____________________________________ Date____________________

Legal Address_________________________________________________________

Failure to comply with policies and procedures may result in termination of all services. This agreement is in effect until a change in mutually agreed upon in writing or upon termination of care. Flexibility of the provider about policies does not void his/her rights to uphold the policies at a later date and does not make the contract invalid.

Termination of Contract

This contract shall be terminated if any one or more of the following occur.

Serious illness of a child preventing attendance.
The account becomes delinquent.
Child Care determines it is unable to meet the needs of the child.
Child Care determines it is not in the best interest of Child Care or the child(ren) enrolled to have the child in attendance.
Failure of the parents to cooperate with Child Care, which Child Care determines is serious enough to warrant termination.
Parental Termination-required to give a written two week notice for which you will be charged your normal child care rates. Advanced payment is required for the entire two week period and is due upon Child Care receipt of written notice.

DATE CHILD WITHDRAWN FROM DAY CARE ___________________________



Day Care Contractual Agreement, Article
By:   Victoria L. Pietz

It is a good idea to have a signed contract for each child. Anything you can do to make sure both parties understand exactly what is expected will be a good thing. You should renew and review the contract each year. This gives you a chance to raise prices, change hours, etc. There will be a lot of demands on you and the more control you feel you have over your business, the less stress you will feel.

Also, when there is prearranged overtime, make sure you charge the client. I don’t want to sound greedy. I have known many day care operators that let a client slide and not pay the charge a few times and they inevitably get taken advantage of in the end. Some of the clients will continually be a little later and not expect to pay. When you do get tired of it and start asking for pay, clients can’t understand why you have to be paid now when before it was okay. Making sure you collect right from the start ensures that the client will understand exactly what is expected. Again, everyone will understand what is expected of each other. Communication is the key.

I know contracts sound scary, but they are really not so bad once you get used to using them. I have prepared a sample Contractual Agreement. Get yourself familiar with it so you don’t get intimidated when presenting it to the client.

Note, you can change the contract in some areas. Such as:

Have the client pay every Friday-don’t give them a choice as to when to pay.

Give yourself a two weeks of vacation instead of one.

Charge more or less for overtime and unexpected days.

Now days, people change jobs quite a bit and hours are changed by companies. To accommodate your clients be as flexible as you can. As childcare times change, note this on the contract and have both parties initial any changed throughout the year-or make a new contract.

Note, there are areas in the contract that you would need to put your business name in. Such as areas I have Capitalized Child Care. That is really your business name.



Babysitter Interview Questionnaire, Form
By:   Annie Arriaga



Home phone number________________________


What other childcare experience do you have?______________________________________


What are the ages of other children you have watched?___________________

Do you like babysitting and being around children?_____________

If the sitter is under 18, do your parents support your babysitting job?______

What kind of activities do you enjoy doing with children?_____________________________


Do you know CPR or other emergency procedures?_________________________________

What days and times are you available?________________________________

How much do you charge?___________________________

Do you have any questions for me?_______________________________________________________


References (Name, address and phone)






Choosing A Babysitter
By:   Annie Arriaga

It happens. At some point in time, we as parents have to break (or run!) away from our children. Before we make that mad dash off to be with others who are in as much of a need as we are for a night out on the town, we need to find someone who can be responsible for our little ones (and drive them crazy for a while) when we are away.

Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a babysitter:

Finding a babysitter: The best sources for locating a babysitter are the recommendations from family, friends and neighbors. You can also find sitters through the newspaper, local high school and church or neighborhood organizations.

Interview the babysitter: Talk to and get to know the babysitter. Use the questionnaire (see below) during your interview. Find out what type of experience they have had in caring for children. Can they cope in an emergency? Give the potential babysitter an imagined emergency situation and discuss how they might react. Most reputable babysitters have taken either a CPR or first aid classes and have a card as verification.

References: Never leave your child with someone you don’t know! Check their references carefully. When contacting the babysitter’s past employers, ask them about the quality of care the babysitter provided for their children.

Maturity: At a minimum, a babysitter should be no younger than twelve years old. Check your local social services agency regarding what the allowable age is for a babysitter.

Likes kids: Be sure that the potential babysitter really likes children. Some teens only take on the job as a way to make money or there are no other jobs available. Look for a mature and responsible person who will appear relaxed and respond well to your children.

If possible, always try to have a second babysitter as a backup, just in case your regular sitter is unavailable and you won’t have "just anyone" watching your children at the last minute.

Once your choice for a sitter has been made, meet with them again to negotiate payment and hours needed. The going rate for babysitting ranges for $1.50 to $3.00 per hour. In some areas, rates are as high as $10.00 per hour (and even more on weekends). Be clear and fair in your payment terms with the babysitter.

Schedule a dry run while you at home, so the sitter can become familiar with your household and you can observe how the they interact with your child. When the babysitter leaves, talk with your child/children (if possible), to find out how they felt being with the sitter.

Choosing a babysitter is an important decision. Knowing you have found a reliable sitter that your child enjoys being with, ensures that you can have a relaxing and enjoyable time away from home.

Books of Interest

The Babysitter Book: Everything You and Your Babysitter Need to Know before You Leave the House. By Jane Crowley Crowley Pardini

The Babysitting's Survival Kit: A Guide for Parents and Sitters. By The Editors of Parenting Magazine




Car Seats -- What's Your Excuse?
By:   Lori R. Cohen

When my husband and I brought our first child home from the hospital, a good friend lent us a car seat. As new parents, we were grateful for all the help we could get, and saving a few dollars by borrowing rather than buying was a blessing. We didn’t know how to strap the seat into the car properly, and couldn’t seem to buckle her in with her snowsuit and all, so we just left her sitting in the seat unbuckled. Later, when we became more aware, we also learned that this seat was on recall for a defective part. Looking back, I don’t know why we bothered getting it; we might as well have laid her on a blanket in our laps, for all the safety this seat and our ignorance provided.

Unfortunately, my husband and I were far from alone in our ignorance. Depending on whose report you read, between 80% and 85% of car seats are used incorrectly. (One study by Reader’s Digest in 1999 found that of 345 car seats checked in 5 different states, 97% were used improperly.) The Canadian Automobile Association reports that, “Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and injury to children under five years of age. Each year in Canada, 70 children die and more than 4,000 are injured in motor vehicles.” In the U.S., The National Safekids Campaign (www.safekids.org) reports that cars accidents are the leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 1-4, and the leading cause of death in children 5-14; car accidents killed 1,765 children under age of 14 in 1998 alone.

Proper use of safety and booster seats can prevent many of the car-related injuries and deaths that occur each year. Yet most people use them improperly, or fail to use them at all, often in violation of various provincial, federal, or state laws. There are many reasons for this; here’s a list of the ones I’ve come across in my 3 ½ years of parenthood. If you recognize yourself below, it’s time to think about the risks you’re taking with your child’s safety.

Car seats can be difficult to install and come with confusing instruction manuals. I had to see an illustration on the Internet before I finally understood what a “continuous loop seat belt” is. Mistakes are bound to happen; if you’re flummoxed, consult your car-owner’s manual to know what kind of seat belts you have, then call the car-seat manufacturer. Most have toll-free numbers.

There are dozens of different car seats, and hundreds of different cars. People assume the seat they bought will automatically fit into the car they own. In fact, you may need to try several seats to find one that fits properly.

Parents have their facts wrong. The amount of incorrect conventional wisdom is scary. People think that infants can be forward-facing as soon as they hold their heads up, or sit by themselves, or when they are a year old, regardless of their weight. This is all incorrect. According to the American Association of Pediatrics, babies must be at least 20-22 lbs. and one year old before they can face forward.

People are cynical. They think expiry dates on car seats are put there to sell more car seats, and that “extra” features such as tether straps are a way to increase the price and prevent lawsuits. In fact, leaving car seats left in a vehicle throughout the year exposes them to high heat and (in Canada and the American north) extreme cold, which puts stress on the plastic and eventually makes it more brittle with age. Tether straps, which attach to the back of a vehicle, restrain the upper part of a forward-facing seat in the event of a crash. This keeps the seat from snapping forward, preventing head and neck injuries, or even death.

People are lazy. It sounds harsh, but many people have told me “it’s too much work” to install the car seat correctly, and that “the way it is” (improperly buckled, no tether strap) is “good enough.” They don’t read the instruction manual at all, thinking they can figure it out themselves.

Car seats can be inconvenient. They take up room in the car, and don’t allow you to “squish in” an extra (unbelted) passenger. Tether straps routed through the floor can interfere with luggage space in vans and station wagons. Car-pooling is a problem; no one owns enough car seats for five three-year-olds. So, you either pick the kid up yourself every day, or take turns with the neighbors, even if it means an unrestrained, or improperly restrained, ride for your child. (This puts working parents in a no-win situation: choosing between their jobs and their children’s safety.)

Parents don’t want to fight with their kids. At least two mothers told me it wasn’t worth the fight their kids put up getting into the car seat. Statistics show that parents who don’t buckle up themselves are less likely to restrain their children properly. Set a good example by making sure you use your seat belt.

They want to save time. After all, they’re just going around the corner. Why bother? What could happen so close to home, in a residential neighborhood, at low speeds? In the U.S., 75% of accidents happen within 25 miles of home, and 60% occur in speed zones of 40/mph and less. Even an accident at 20/mph can cause serious injury. And just because you’re going the speed limit doesn’t mean the next guy is.

They want to save money. Babies are expensive, so parents accept old, obsolete, car seats from friends and relatives, or buy used ones from garage sales or second-hand stores. Unless you know a seat’s history, you can’t be sure it’s safe to use.

They just don’t know better. They don’t realize that many unsafe models have been removed from the market over the years as more data was collected and standards improved. They don’t know that models still on the market could be subject to a recall for a specific part, or that once it’s been in an accident or damaged in any way a car seat’s life is over. They don’t know that seat belts are designed for adult bodies; on children under 60 lbs., seat belts used alone ride over the abdomen and across the neck instead of across the lap and over the shoulder, with the potential for serious internal injuries or death. They don’t bother with booster seats intended for child weighing 40-60 lbs. (approximately ages 4-8), which correct for this; many people are completely unaware they exist.


Sometimes parents think the child is safer in their arms if the parents themselves are belted in. They don’t know that children under 12 are safer in the back seat. Air bags, designed for adults, can kill children under 12 because their bodies are too small to withstand the impact of an air bag. Or, paradoxically, think the danger lies only for passengers in the front; one friend told my husband, “You don’t need seat belts in the back,” allowing her three children, all under the age of five, to ride completely unrestrained.

Next time - the ins and outs of proper car seat use.



To find a car-seat inspector in your area of the U.S., contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at <http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/>, or call toll-free 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236). Canadian readers should call the Infant Toddler Safety Association at (519) 570-0181.



The Cough
By:   Jeff Stimpson

You should understand how Alex is doing overall to understand the full effect of his cough.

Let's start from on his back. There he lies and flaps his arms until my face looms over his and I clap my hands once and say, "Wanna come up?" He hooks his fingers on my hand. I tug scarcely hard enough to move a sheet of paper but he'll nonetheless sail to a sitting position. After a few minutes there he'll start rocking on his hips, curling his toes and chattering like a bird in a pet shop.

Last night, while sitting in his little inflatable tub, he wanted the bath sponge bobbing in the water in front of him. He leaned forward, grabbed the sponge and sprang back to a sitting position in a way I haven't been able to do since I started manhandling a 20-pound baby. The night before last he held the jingly toy in the left hand while he pivoted to the right to reach back and steady himself.

Therapists have helped his hands to discover his feet, which we tell him are two expensive toys we just bought him. Another of his therapists used squeaky blocks to help Alex understand how to knock over a stack of blocks. Seeing what the therapist was up to, I fetched Alex's own stacking cups, and the session soared. One day later, Alex was knocking over stack after stack of his cups, and afterwards unfailingly picking up the orange one. Pretty neat. When Alex encounters a new toy from a person who's more unfamiliar than known, his chin hits his chest and his arms drop like a robot's who's had the power turned off. Some of the therapists claim he has "sensory issues." One suggested "adaptive seating" for his carriage. I think some of these therapists have sensory issues, and should remember that Alex spent 13 months in a hospital, where any stranger was just as likely to come at him with a big needle as with a squeaky block.

"You don't have to lift him at all anymore," notes Aunt Julie. And months ago my brother started noticing in the pictures, "Jeez he's a happy little guy!"

Alex laughs a lot, considering all those big needles. He is engaging and attentive, and polite to his parents when they show him something new in toy departments.

"I still have this on the cardboard and I'm taking it back to the drug store if you don't like it," I hear my wife Jill say on the phone.

"He's doing interesting things with his mouth," says Jill. "He's sort of chewing on his own tongue."

So what's up with the cough? It occurs most when he wakes up, and it sometimes strikes him when he's drifting to sleep and trying to cram the horns of the red bull Beanie Baby in his mouth. It seems to start in his chest, his lips forming a tall zero and the sounds popping up his throat and mouth. Often two or three coughs; if it's more, they turn into a retch you can hear start from father down Alex's 28 inches. Then they ricochet out to us in the living room where we hunch over our dinner, shattering the illusion that he's gone to sleep. Shattering the idea that he's out of the woods.

We dash in, snatch Bully from his face and heft him up. I try to hold him horizontally over my shoulder. Sometimes I can feel his mid-section cave in as the cough takes him: the last thing to torture him, the last thing doctors can't figure out. The monitors start complaining that they've lost their reading as he settles down. Sometimes it's because we've calmed him. Sometimes it's because his throat and mouth have deposited a wet spot on my shoulder and realize I heard a sticky spatter on the wood floor. I bring him to me face-to-face; his eyes are often closed as his head looks side to side. Sometimes from deep in his face we hear the hitch of air around mucus. Jill claims she's seen white bobbing up the back of his throat.

Side to side, eyes closed. "Just give me a binkie and put me back," he seems to say.

So what's up with the cough? "I don't know. I really don't know," Jill says. "I think it's getting a little better. I think when Alex has a cough it takes him a while to get over it. And when he coughs, he vomits."

The docs are stumped. Six months ago the pulmonolgists wanted to give him a fundoplacation and G tube, preventing aspiration and lung damage. But Jill and I thought Alex simply didn't fit the profile for a fundo patient, and soon the doctors refused to do the tests to prove their point or ours. We planted our heels. The pulmos hemmed and hawed.

We got a J tube. "I hope to God you're right," a pulmo said, warning of kids who spent years "trashing" their lungs microscopically, time bombs whose childhoods later petered out in intensive care. The gastroenterologists and ear-nose-and-throat guys said nothing. Later, after Alex had the tube, the head GI said it was the right decision. Two weeks ago, that GI ran into Jill, Alex and a pulmo after a follow-up appointment. According to Jill, "He said to the pulmo, 'Boy those fundos are great for the lungs, aren't they?'"

Sometimes Alex has a bedtime from which you'd never deduce that he's known so many doctors, or that a year ago he lived with a tube down his throat. I jiggle the crib or read him "Goodnight, Moon" or "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower." He studies his fingers until Bully and binkie appear from nowhere. The lashes descend, the binkie goes snick-snick, and he rolls over. His face goes soft in new sleep, and I go to the other room for dinner.



Hiring a Nanny to Do More Than Just Childcare
By:   Elizabeth Pennington

In all possible childcare options available to you, you’ve chosen the nanny option. You’re pleased with this decision, as you should be, because bringing a nanny into your home may very well be the option that allows full days of one-on-one attention and interaction for your child. You feel this state of singular attention is the next best thing to you being home and the most beneficial and conducive to your child flourishing and thriving in your absence. Certainly your child’s well-being is the foremost concern for your nanny. Given that, what else will you want your nanny to accomplish during her day in your home?

Many parents ask their nanny to do more than just childcare. How much more, if anything, is what you need to decide even before you begin the interviewing and hiring process. Would you like your nanny to be responsible for certain chores throughout the day? Dishes, laundry, vacuuming? What, you may ask yourself, is reasonable when it comes to assigning other duties to your nanny?

This depends. How many children do you have? What are your expectations of your nanny for your children...will she be responsible for taking them and picking them up from school, getting them to and from school activities, piano lessons, soccer games, etc.? How much are you willing to pay her? Be fair and be realistic with your expectations. If you have three children all under the age of 4, how realistic is it to expect her to do your laundry and clean the bathrooms? Her primary focus is to the children and her care for them is why she is there. Don’t jeopardize that relationship and the welfare of your children so that your nanny can get the not-so-fun chores done for you before the weekend rolls around. If your children are older and more independent, then it stands to reason that she will have more time to help around the house. How much she does is something that needs to be decided on before you hire her.

In my previous nanny jobs, I’ve worked for families who have been both extremely fair and extremely unfair to me. Unfortunately, in the beginning of my nanny career, I was young and naive assuming I’d be treated in the manner in which I would treat others. I eventually learned that boundaries need to be firmly set by both the nanny and the parents and that the boundaries are not to be crossed. Specifically state what chores you would like your nanny to accomplish during the course of the week. Don’t expect more of her even if she graciously tackles more than what is asked of her.

I believe it is fair to expect the nanny to take care of the children’s laundry, dishes and other mess that occurs during the day. If what you want is really a nanny/housekeeper, pay her more for those extra services. How much more can be decided on between you and your nanny. Be realistic in your expectations, discuss with her what you’d like her to do during her working hours, and pay her accordingly. Treat her well and she will treat you well. It’s the Golden Rule.




Just Pretend
By:   Deb & Dave Graham

The world can get pretty scary sometimes if you're four feet tall or under. In spite of discriminating parents who exercise control over viewing and listening in the house, even momentary flashes of the sort of visual images available these days can linger in the memory for weeks. Coupled with the shortage of "one-on-one" time that our busy lifestyles seem to generate, bedtimes -- in many homes -- have evolved into something more uncomfortable than comforting.

Younger children sometimes perceive bedtime as separation: from parents, from group activities, from light, and even human contact itself. The fact that "civilization" is usually no farther away than the very next room, makes no difference at all. It is a confusing and uncertain world outside of our families, and without the security that comes from the mere physical presence of each member, ANYTHING can happen. And sometimes does.

The most common method of dealing with "bedtime blues" is to have a routine. It really doesn't matter what -- they vary from house to house. But the important outcome is a secondary sense of security that comes from knowing what to expect. So, whether it's ¨ story, night-light, close the closet (check first for intruders); or ¨ brush teeth, nursery rhymes, tickle games, bedtime prayers, close the closet (check first for intruders -- human or alien, it could be either one); or ¨ bed-snack, brush teeth, drink of water, read a book, check under the bed for black holes or any toys that might have mutated into monsters while you were busy brushing teeth… A routine is a safeguard against all manner of murder and mayhem, even if it's only temporary. It is a talisman against the "forces of evil" that run rampant in today's world. And if you think this perspective is a little over-exaggerated, you're absolutely right. Because in the world of four feet and under, EVERYTHING is exaggerated.

Some families have opted for a strong dose of "reality therapy." They are very open with their children, and consistently reinforce their own adamant belief that there is nothing to be afraid of because most of what frightens kids these days is "just pretend." Their children will agree and even parrot the phrase themselves when confronted with something frightening or unnerving. But at night, it's a different story. "Pretend" might be insignificant to adults, but it is paramount to children. Besides, you didn't say there was "no such thing as pretend" -- you said "JUST pretend."
Big difference.

Some parents get frustrated and often angry at a child's inability to deal with the concept, or to trust their parents enough to protect them even if they can't deal with it. Some react with shame or embarrassment that their own children are such "cowards," or feel resentment toward the child for the time that dealing with the problem every night takes away from their own relaxation. Added to the threat of physical safety, this undermining of the relationship that comes from constant conflict over the matter between parent and child, causes an excessive need for attention… thus, the unreasonable demands for one more drink, one more kiss, one more of anything they can think of. Including medicine, should they feel a sore throat coming on. The truth is, if you have one of those children who have a difficult time going to bed each night, you might be hanging on to the last hope that most parents have in your situation… that they will someday simply grow out of it.

In the old days, we used to refer to such problems as "stages"… which is where that hopeful philosophy that whatever the trouble was, the child would "grow out of it" came from. Which actually wasn't far wrong. Children DO go through stages of growth, just like everything else in the cycle of life. That's why -- especially in cases like these -- its becomes vitally important to take a closer look at the stages. From birth to the age of five, a child goes through more physical changes than any other time in life. Mental growth during this "stage" concerns itself mostly with physical knowledge. Such as how high to lift the feet each time to successfully walk up stairs; the rate at which liquid flows out of a glass while pouring it into another; and the practice of small motor skills like buttoning, tying, zipping and snapping.

For a four-year-old to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without tearing a hole in the bread during the spreading part is a major accomplishment. It takes lots of practice. On the other hand, a ten-year-old who has never made his own sandwich will successfully achieve the task in one try with a few verbal instructions. That's because he has already mastered the necessary skills in other ways and has the ability to transfer that experience to the new situation. He is at a different level. A different stage. To expect the same level of performance out of the four-year-old is asking the impossible. Yet, when it comes to "mental tasks," we often do.

Most of us would not dream of insisting that our preschooler practice plunking a basketball into a standard-size hoop, simply because -- unless you have given birth to a human dynamo -- it is physically impossible for them to do. On the other hand, many parents can be found trying to make a toddler look BEHIND a chair for a ball that rolled under (as opposed to fussing and crying about it) when the child has not yet advanced beyond the "out of sight is gone" stage. The same is true with pretend.

A popular example of this which psychologists like to cite is the experiment where a large box is placed in a room of preschoolers. An adult tells them they are not to open the box, or even look into it, because there is a tiger inside. Then the adult leaves the room. A hidden camera shows some talking, giggling, and an occasional brave soul who will get out of their seat to actually touch the box. But nobody opens it. After awhile, the adult returns and tells everyone it was only a game, and they were only pretending there was a tiger. To prove this, he opens the box and shows each child that it is empty. Everyone laughs and enjoys the joke. The adult closes the box and leaves the room again. Same scenario as before. On return, he asks why no one opened the box. General consensus? Because there was a tiger inside.

You could not pull this on an eight-year-old. But the little ones don't just believe anything they're told, they believe EVERYTHING. Not because they are cowards… children by nature are very brave. It's because they have simply not developed their deductive reasoning skills beyond the physical level, yet. And looking back on the human race as a whole, up until about fifty years ago, they didn't need to.

It has only been since our recent emersion of our young into adult worlds that the sort of demands we make on children these days was even dreamed of. In our triumph of no longer having to be subject to the rising and setting of the sun -- or even the seasons -- to survive, we have also given up the sense of peace and security that the very constancy those things carried with them. Of course those things aren't really lost. It's just that we have opted to live in our own self-made environments, now, where one can have light at any time on even the darkest night, and fresh vegetables are ALWAYS in season. The only drawback to this switch is that we seem to have left human nature back in the Stone Age. Not that we've denied it -- the thing about human nature is you CAN'T deny it. A lot of well meaning people have had breakdowns by trying to.

So, are we advocating a new "back to nature" movement as the only means of peace and security? Of course not. But the problem is, we haven't made a place for nature in our new societies, yet. All new things need adjustments, and lifestyles are no different. But in the meantime (it always takes a couple generations to make any major changes in the race -- look how long feudalism held on) we've got some pretty confused people running around out there.

But let's get back to bedtime. If it's true that a young child can not possibly go beyond the developmental level he is in, no matter how clever or skilled he is -- how are we supposed to make the sort of "connection" that is needed in order to deal with such a major problem? And it is major. Anything that consistently disrupts your peace, your relationships, and your sense of self-confidence is major. No matter how many others are going through the same thing. All babies are born the same way, too, but NOT ONE of us can exchange the experience for someone else's. Birthing children-- like many other life experiences -- is one where in spite of all the help and comfort available from others, you and you alone have to deal with it.

All right, so how do we deal? You start by making a decision to quit insisting that your children rise up to your level of expectations, and instead, "bend down" to theirs. You just pretend. If they can not meet you in your world, then visit them in theirs. It isn't hard because in that world, you are already a hero. What's more, it may be the only time and circumstance you will be offered in your life to play this role, so -- don't pass up the chance. Because what you do there will be very real. Remember, it might just be "play acting" for you, but it will be amazingly and significantly real for your children.

In this first stage of childhood, children believe everything. So, if you tell them there are "no such thing as ghosts," they will believe you and agree. But they will ALSO believe that there are. And you would probably be more shocked than they would if one showed up in the closet while you were checking it, because they knew one was in there all along. They believe everything. The point here is, if they have ghosts in their world, teach them how to deal with ghosts, even if it takes a little pretending. Try, "You are braver than any ghost because you are a (whatever your last name is) and ghosts have been afraid of us for thousands of years. Why do you think they hide in closets? Get out of there, ghost!" Now, here's where your hero stuff comes in. Open the closet and say, "See that? Ran away completely! Ghosts are so afraid of our family that if your baby sister crawled over here and opened the closet, they'd run away from her, too. That's just the way it is." Then get on with the bedtime story. And if you have to literally create your own genealogy of "brave relations" in order to substantiate this claim, then do it. Remember, you are in the world of pretend; you can make or create anything you want to here. So, make it count.

And why should you bother? Because even as childhood fears carry over into everyday life, (and if they are having a disruptive effect on your everyday life, they have) so do attitudes of bravery or honesty, or any other virtue you might want to promote. In fact, this is the only place YOU have the power to bring this about. So, think about it. If your children are "missing something" about bedtime, maybe you've been missing something, too. In the meantime, here are a few ways to turn those bedtimes into PRIME TIMES:

¨ LIMIT VIEWING. Children that are easily frightened are often more sensitive than others. A cartoon that has no effect on most kids might be subtly disturbing to the overly sensitive ones. These children do better when focused on the more positive, concrete issues in life. If it's a choice between Power Rangers who are defending the universe against evil, or Arthur, who is in a dilemma about his science project… pick Arthur.

¨ AVOID THREATENING ROOM DÉCOR. Posters of the latest space movie might be momentarily desirable (because others are doing it) but at night and alone, things like this take on a whole new perspective.

¨ EXTEND BEDTIME ROUTINES. Exchange those extra drinks of water and more Kleenex for more one-on-one time with your kids. But make it a "joint effort." Make a deal. If they will try harder at bedtime, then give them extra time at the beginning and not the end of the bedtime hour. If eight o'clock is the limit, start at seven-thirty. If it's important enough to them, they will choose to sacrifice some of their time in order to extend yours. If they fool around and miss their special appointment, you can be sympathetic without being the bad guy -- since it was their choice and not

¨ AVOID EMOTIONAL TOPICS. Bedtime -- like mealtime -- is a "safe zone." Bringing up arguments or previous bad conduct should never disrupt it.

¨ MAKE "BEFORE BEDTIME" ACTIVITIES "WIND DOWN" ACTIVITIES. All of us need time to unwind, even children. If your children have a hard time calming down before bed, don't allow activities (such as wrestling) that stir up the adrenaline just before bedtime. Allow for a little quiet time before the bedtime hour.

¨ KEEP BEDTIMES CONSISTENT. Children who are on a schedule are much easier
to maintain than children who aren't. A child who goes to bed at eight-thirty every night and is out late visiting for a special occasion, will probably fall asleep before arriving home. In the same way, a consistent bedtime will trigger the child's physical clock at home, and they will consistently become sleepy at bedtime.

¨ AVOID SUGAR AND CAFFEINE AS A BED-SNACK… they don't call these things "high energy" foods for nothing.

¨ GIVE A FIVE-MINUTE WARNING. It's hard to "switch gears" if you're in the middle of something, especially if you're a kid. A simple "five minutes to bedtime," gives them time to wrap up whatever they're doing, and avoid arguments about "what time it really is."

¨ HAVE A "PLAN B." If activities outside the home make bedtime too late for the routine, have a second bedtime routine for these very occasions. Shorter, of course. But make it include something (such as a special rhyme or song, or "butterfly kiss") that you only do at these times, and that they are expecting beforehand. That way there won't be any crushed psyches for having skipped the all-important routine.

Bedtimes can be the best part of the day or the worst, depending on you. But with a little extra effort to wield the "magic of pretend," it really is possible to change a "bedtime blues baby" to a happy one, BEFORE they have to grow out of it. It all starts with a decision to change. But be careful. There is an old legend about a terrible ogre who fell in love with a beautiful princess who would not allow anything that wasn't good approach her. So, he put on a mask and pretended to be good until he won her. After they were married, he discovered that he could not get the mask off… it had become part of his face, and he had become good.

There really is no such thing as pretend.



Work At Home?

Part 2
By:   Jenifer B. McCrea

My, my, my, what a lot of scams there are out there. Let me tell you on the outset that of all the websites I looked at only THREE seemed to be legitimate, and since this is a column, not a book, I’m only going to have space to tell you about five websites altogether. Speaking of books, look for an e-book on this subject to appear on this website soon. It will be a more in-depth look at working at home, the frauds and the realities than I can talk about in this column.

Let’s get to work, so to speak.

The Scams
A slick website it talks to you in a nice woman’s voice. Research has shown that people in general are more likely to trust a woman’s voice than a man’s. Nice gimmick, but I clicked on to the meat of the matter. For $44.95 you can order software. What does the software do? It gives you a list of companies that are hiring work at home staff. They list a nice long “partial” list of jobs they currently have available. They will throw in an e-book free (sold elsewhere for 49.95, but they don’t tell you where).

Here are my questions. If they have so many companies that they have “researched” to be hiring work at home staff, why don’t they just get you to fill out an application and match you with a company? Corporations pay temporary companies all the time for the exact same service, so why not put it on the web? Because they are a scam. Last week I told you what to watch out for – anybody who asks for money up front. These guys are probably legal, because they probably do provide you with a CD with companies listed on it. The companies may or may not be in business, the phone numbers may or may not be right, and the companies may or may not be hiring. But they sure do make it look good.

I love these guys. They are by far the slickest con I’ve seen. They have a nice picture of a cute little family waving from what looks like an exotic vacation destination right up on the website. They are the National Information Corporation, and are supposedly a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Interesting. They may be a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, because on the Florida Chamber’s website I could not find a list of members – except other Chambers. In Spring Hill, Florida, where they claim to be based, there is no Chamber of Commerce listing on any website I checked, and a search of the County Chamber of Commerce website brought up no listing for NIC, or National Information Corporation.

The gist of it is they say they researched companies in the US or Canada that have “little or no” start up costs. They cover themselves by not guaranteeing any specific income. They also want to send you either a database (only good for six months, then presumably you have to fork over another $40.00) or a set of books (no expiration date) with said companies listed and then you can spend your time and money trying to contact them. NIC has a whole list of prices with various packages, starting at $36.99 for a database, $39.99 for a set of books.

I saw these two websites listed on telephone poles around my town. I put them together because I believe they are the same thing. After reading through their websites, downloading an e-book from one of them, reading that, I have to believe that they are the same business. Both websites were full of platitudes and examples of down and out folks, just like you, who are living lives of comfort all because they ‘believed’. It sounds remarkably like the pitch I heard for Amway not too many years ago. Amway, by the way is not a swindle, but it takes a lot of hard work, more than they tell you initially. I say they are not a scam because they do have real products that if you work really hard, you can sell and make some money. There are truly people who have very beautiful lifestyles because of Amway, just as I’m sure there are truly some people who have beautiful lifestyles because of these websites. Just not nearly as many as you may be led to believe.

Anyway, the two websites in question have very similar pricing. Online2wealth gives you the option of downloading their plan for $27.00, or you can get a CD for an extra $10.00 shipping and handling. Excuse me? $10.00 to mail a CD? I didn’t pay $37.00 for my last Monkees Anthology. Never mind – bad example.

Ouranswer.com tantalizes you with calling their scam, I mean plan, an Automated Direct Data System. They only charge $36.00 for the CD, and that includes shipping and handling.

Both operations say they offer a 30-day “money back guarantee.” Less shipping and handling of course. Good luck collecting on that!

The Real Thing
The bad news is, the following three pages look much more like traditional job search engines. The good news is, they look much more like traditional job search engines. There are scams everywhere. My sister was looking for a traditional job recently and she thought she was going for a job interview. She ended up at one of these multi level marketing information meetings. It happens. The following three websites are the most genuine, ask for no money up front, and have job listings on their pages. I cannot vouch for the validity of the job listings.

A resource site if you would like to start a home based business; they also offer the option to fill out an application with www.jobsonline.com. They have free membership, and interesting articles related to starting an at home business, as well as chat rooms and message boards.

This site was chock full of links. I was especially interested in a link called “work at home scams”. Unfortunately, I could not get the link to connect. There is a job-listing page, and again membership is free.

Both these websites have an excessive number of “pop-up pages.” I don’t know what the technical term is, but these are pages that pop-up in a smaller window when you either back out of a page or try to close the current page you are looking at. To be honest, I cannot stand these kinds of pages, so one “pop-up” is too many for me.

Work at Home Mom – this is the most viable site I found. They are actually an e-zine in support of Work At Home Moms. It would be a great site to check out a work at home opportunity. With their message boards of horror stories, you could post a message, and ask questions of those who have been there, done that. Finally, they have listings of telecommuting jobs. Which are among the most legitimate and legal work at home prospects out there.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Now for the disclaimer part. If you made money from one of the businesses I listed as a scam – congratulations. The benefit of writing a weekly column is I get to put out my opinion as I see it. As I see it, the sites I listed in my scam section qualify as such by my criteria I listed last week; they ask for money up front, and you need to find people to work with/for you to make money. In some cases, they even ask for your credit card number over the computer. I am just not willing to fork over $30.00 - $50.00 to find out if any of their claims are true. So go out, buy yourself something nice, and have a laugh at my expense. Don’t worry, my feelings won’t be hurt. And neither will my bank account.

Next week: The ads in the back of your favorite parenting magazine, profit or peril?



End of Summer 5 Fun Filled Tips

By:   Sharon Wren


It’s that time of year again – if the kids aren’t back in school, they will be soon. Some parents take the end of summer as hard as their kids do. Others are like the father in the Staples commercial who runs gleefully through the aisles while “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” plays in
the background. Regardless of your feelings, the kids are bound to have mixed emotions – some can’t wait to see all their friends again while others dread the return of schedules and homework. Why not make the transition fun (or at least relatively painless) by having an end of summer party?


Here are a few ideas:

  1. One of the easiest party ideas is a picnic. Pack up a variety of your kids’ favorite sandwiches, chips, fruit and drinks and head for an outdoor location that everyone enjoys. It could be a park, on the beach, by the river or even just in your own backyard. Bring along a Frisbee, hackey sack or other outdoor game and make an afternoon of it. Even easier – get carry out food like burgers, chicken or pizza!

  2. A backyard cookout is always popular; I’ve never met anyone who hated them. Burgers and hot dogs are classics, but I’ve seen everything from fruit kabobs to pizzas cooked on a grill. If you want to get fancy, borrow grills from the neighbors and have a few different food stations – burgers on one, kabobs on another, seafood on yet another and so on. Make sure you have plenty of food on hand because the neighbors will probably want to come too!

  3. Luaus are always fun and can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Have the kids wear their wildest Hawaiian-style clothes and pick up a few leis at a party supply store. Make “virgin” versions of popular tropical drinks and don’t forget the paper umbrellas! A broomstick will work as a limbo stick – challenge the kids to see how low they can go. If your kids are adventuresome when it comes to food, you can try a few recipes from a
    Polynesian cookbook, or just fall back on cookout basics.

  4. Summertime and pool parties were made to go together. If you or a friend or relative don’t have a pool, grab a few inflatable ones from the store. This time of year, they may even be on clearance! Everyone can lounge in their own pool and you don’t have to worry about crowds, cleanliness or keeping the kids out of the water right after they’ve eaten. Just remember to keep an eye on the little ones, even if you’re using inflatable pools. A small child can drown in the tiniest amount of water.

  5. Bonfires aren’t just for fall and can be a nice way to wind down the summer. Check with the fire department first – if you can’t do a traditional bonfire you can always roast marshmallows and make S’mores on the grill. This is the perfect setting for curling up with the kids and reminiscing about everything that’s happened over the summer and thinking ahead to fall activities.

Even better, brainstorm party ideas for the whole family with the kids. After all, it’s their summer vacation that’s ending. Maybe they’d like to have a video game Olympics or their own film festival (either with home movies made over the summer or the latest blockbusters from the video
store). A long family bike ride or canoe trip will make memories that last long after the summer’s over. And isn’t that what you’re trying to do in the first place?




By:   Christine L. Pollock

Knights slay dragons, princes bring life to the princesses with the awakening kiss, happiness forever after, this is the world of fairy tales. These are the stories that grab my mind and take me away to a world of fantasy. Maybe that’s why I love being around children so much.

I get to stay in the world of make-believe forever. In my life, I take this love for a child-like existence and use it to create a daycare. A French composer named Maurice Ravel used his love of childhood ideas to create classical music for children.

He had an intense love for composing music; so much that he never married or had children because he felt that living with an artist such as himself would be too hard on a wife and children. He once stated, "You see, an artist has to be very careful when he wants to marry someone, because an artist never realizes his capacity for making his companion miserable. He's obsessed by his creative work and by the problems it poses. He lives a bit like a daydreamer and it's no joke for the woman he lives with. One always has to think of that when one wants to get married."

Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875 in Ciboure, France. His family was very artistic and his parents encouraged Maurice’s natural talents for music. He showed this talent when he was quite young. So great was his talent, Maurice is one of the few composers whose early works can barely be distinguished from his later works.

When he was fourteen years old, Maurice went to the Paris Conservatoire and starting composing some of his most famous works. He left the academy when he was thirty. An interesting story about his compositions occurred while he was at the Conservatoire. Three times he submitted compositions in an attempt to win the Prix de Rome. The judges deemed it “too advanced” for their conservative taste. After this happened, musicians and writers protested and because of all this, Theodore Dubois (the director) was forced to step leave his job.

Ravel was friends with many of the composers that lived in his day, but he only had a few really good friends. He was actually part of a group of artists and composers which gathered on Saturdays. They called themselves the “Apaches” and Ravel recommended that they make the first theme in Borodin’s 2nd Symphony their trademark tune.

Some other friends of his were Ida and Cipa Godebski . It was for their children that he wrote “Ma Mere L’oye” which we would know as “Mother Goose”. He wrote this suite of simple tunes for four handed piano. The pieces were first publicly performed by two little girls in April of 1910. Soon, a man named Jacques Rouch tried to get Ravel to turn these pieces into full orchestral score. Ravel finally agreed to write the pieces into a ballet.

The ballet which Ravel wrote started out with “Sleeping Beauty” who, as she fell asleep, dreamed of the other fairy tales. The ballet ended when Sleeping Beauty woke up. Some other stories in the ballet were “Hop O’ My Thumb”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Ugly Little Girl”.

Some people think that Ravel dealt with children so well because he, himself was quite a small man. He also had a great interest in little objects like figurines, clockwork toys and little Japanese gardens.

Ravel’s entire life was dedicated to his work. He was also very concerned with how he looked. At one concert in Chicago, Ravel held up the concert for over an hour because he had misplaced his evening shoes in his travels and would not go onstage without them. It was said that even when he was very ill, he continued trying to look his best. In 1937, he died.

This week’s composer makes it easy for us to relate childhood and music together.

  1. Read a story or fairytale and ask the children what kind of music they hear in their heads while they listen to the story. What instruments do they hear? Is it loud or soft? Does the music get faster or slower? How many times does the music change during their story?

  2. Go around the room and ask the children their favorite stories. Take the stories and see if you can intertwine them into one story like Ravel did with the ballet.

  3. In the story of “The Ugly Little Girl, The Empress of the Pagodas”, the princess is very lonely and keeps herself entertained with little porcelain dolls that play on instruments made of nutshells. Have the children take their own nutshells and make little instruments out of them.

  4. Have one child play an instrument like a piano or drum and then have another child play along with them. Talk about the different sounds that are made with two people playing on an instrument. How does it change the texture of a piece?

  5. Put on a recording of “Ma Mere L’oye” and act out the stories.

Next week I will continue on the theme of French artists. I will also continue on the theme of fairy tales. Can you guess what artist I will write about? I will give you a hint…he’s an illustrator. Until then, “Avoir une grande semaine” (have a great week)!



Kitchenlab Kindermath,

Tutorial #10
By:   Noreen Wyper

I guess how tall,
I guess how small.
I use my finger, foot or hand,
To measure things in kitchen land.

Non - Standard Measurement: Tutorial # 10.
- to use non-standard measuring devices such as string, straws, scoops, timers, fingers, hands and feet appropriately.

Estimate: Always have the child give an estimation first ( good guess ) before measuring. In preparation you might place jelly beans or mini marshmallows in a baby jar/ cup and estimate how many. Then count them out together and see how close the estimation was.

Talk about and verbally compare the size of things such as the stove, frig, toaster, table, microwave etc. Discuss which appears to be the biggest, smallest, widest, tallest, shortest, etc.. Then have the child use his/her hands to measure the height and width of the table, chairs and other kitchen objects. Place one hand at the extreme end of the object and the other hand right next to the first hand. Continue doing so until the object has been measured. How many hands high is it? How many hands wide is it?

Repeat this process on other appliances, big and small, using straws, toothpicks, pencils and string as non-standard measuring tools. Have the child use his/her feet ( heel to toe ) to measure the length and width of the kitchen floor.

Cut off a piece of string or wool that indicates the child’s estimation of the height of the kitchen table. Now, measure the height of that table exactly with another piece of string. Tape the two strings side by side on the edge of the table hanging down. Is your string longer, shorter or the same length? Repeat this activity using string to estimate/measure the circumference of an orange, cantaloupe, melon, cabbage etc..

Go to the sink. Estimate and then measure out how many coffee scoops or tablespoons of water it would take to fill a teacup, mug or glass.

Homemade Scales: Cut the bottoms off two similar milk cartons approximately two inches high. Make a hole at the same height on opposite sides of both cartons. You will need four elastic bands and one clothes hanger. Tie one elastic band through each hole onto the clothes hanger. Be sure to balance each carton equally from the hanger. You have just made a pair of balance scales. Collect small items from the kitchen. For example you can take a salt shaker and an orange. Ask your child which one is heavier/ lighter. Why does he/ she think so? Place the shaker in one scale and the orange in the other scale. Compare and discuss the findings. Repeat the activity with different items.

Play these games:

  • find something that is larger than your finger but smaller than your hand.

  • find something round that is bigger than a penny but smaller than the clock.

  • find something to eat that is larger than a grape but smaller than an orange.

  • find three things that are taller than a chair.

  • find two things that are narrower than the stove.

Next Week: Standard Measurement.



The Many Benefits of Massage
By:   Heather Haapoja

To again quote Hippocrates, “The physician must be experienced in many things, but most assuredly in rubbing.”

Massage is the most ancient of the healing practices primarily because it is such a built-in human instinct. To rub an aching neck, head or back comes as naturally to us as breathing. There are many physiological benefits to massage besides the fact that it simply feels good. By understanding these benefits, we can see why it is such an effective means of combating the effects of stress.

There are many different forms of massage, but they all share the same basic principles.1 Just look at the many ways that massage can benefit total health.

  • Massage increases blood circulation and lymphatic fluid movement improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body and elimination of toxins. This alone is highly beneficial to the general health of the entire system.

  • The massage of chronically tense muscles aids in the removal of built-up toxins and improves the structure and function of the area, providing not only physical relief, but improved psychological well being.

  • Massage therapy reduces stress and promotes relaxation, thereby minimizing stress- induced illness.

Is it any wonder that people are turning to massage therapy as a treatment for all types of health conditions? For those suffering the effects of stress, the relief provided by massage is unsurpassed.

We’d all love to have a nice massage after a long stress-filled day, but often it can be difficult to find anyone willing to volunteer. Fortunately, there are several self-massage techniques that are helpful in easing tension, increasing circulation and promoting relaxation.

  1. For tense back muscles - Place a tennis ball on the tense area. Sitting up straight, lean into a chair and press against the ball, taking long, deep breaths. Continue for a count of ten breaths and repeat as needed.

  2. For head tension - Place your fingers on your scalp at the hair roots, spreading your fingers apart. Rotate the hair roots clockwise gently for a count of ten breaths, then change direction. Work from the hairline back to the neck.

  3. Temple Massage - Rest your elbows on a table or desk. Place your hands on your temples and gently rub clockwise for a count of ten breaths, reverse direction.

  4. General relaxation - Place elbows on a table or desk. Place the heel of your hand on the space between your eyebrows. Place the weight of your head on your hand and breathe long, deep breaths. Make small circular rotations, clockwise and counterclockwise.

If the stress in your life has reached the point that it’s making you ill or causing you chronic pain, you may want to seriously consider seeing a professional massage therapist. As with any alternative treatment, if you have serious health considerations, check with your regular physician before seeking massage therapy to be sure it will not aggravate your condition.

There are various types of accreditation for massage therapists, depending on the state requirements and amount of training received. Choosing a massage therapist requires careful consideration2.

Do you have any friends or relatives who have seen a massage therapist? If so, this is a good place to start. Ask for references from people you know. Next, call and/or visit the therapists in your area and ask about their credentials, where they were trained, how many hours of training they’ve received and whether they have any advanced training. Make sure they have a current license. You should also discuss fees, length of sessions and any aspect of massage that you have questions about. It is essential that you feel comfortable with your therapist and a qualified therapist should have no objection to answering all of your questions.

Whether your massage comes in the form of self-massage at your office desk or full body massage in the therapist’s office, you can be assured that it will benefit your health in many ways… and it’ll feel great, too!


1 Massage Therapy and Bodywork: Healing Through Touch, William Collinge M.P.H., Ph.D.  For detailed information on the principles, benefits and types of massage, read an excerpt from American Holistic Health Association Complete Guide to Alternative Medicine at http://www.healthy.net/asp/templates/article.asp?PageType=article&ID=1946.

2 The American Massage Therapy Association web site includes tips on choosing a massage therapist and a massage therapist locator at http://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/find.htm.



Use the New Tax Law To Increase Your Bottom Line.
By: Victoria L. Pietz

With the new tax law-The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001- now may be the perfect time to raise your prices. The new law created a 10% tax bracket and made it retroactive to January 1, 2001. What does this mean for you? Many individuals will soon receive a tax refund. Why? The lowest tax bracket used to be 15%, now it is 10%; that leaves an extra 5% of money in your pocket. Why would the government send you a check? The government is trying to get the economy going again. Instead of waiting until refund time next year, they are giving it to the taxpayers early in hopes that they will spend.

The new tax law also gives a larger dependent care credit. This will directly affect childcare providers. Starting in 2002, the credit increases in two ways. First, the amount of eligible expenses for figuring the credit rises to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more children. (Up from $2,400 and $4,800). Second, the maximum credit percentage increases to 35% (up from 30%). Therefore, the top credit for one dependent in 2002 is $1,050. (Up from $720).

Minimum, you should increase your charge $330 per child, ($1050-$720) that’s the tax savings allowed by the government just for the dependent care credit. The lower tax bracket explained earlier still leaves an extra 5% in the parent’s pockets. Plus the child tax credit. The government started this a year or two ago. This year it rises to $600 from $500. The credit continues to grow until 2010 when it will be $1,000.

I am not saying you should only be charging the allowable government deduction for childcare. You should charge enough to cover all of your expenses and make a reasonable profit. In my area, which is Wisconsin, childcare providers charge between $50 per week all the way up to $250 per week. It also depends on what you offer at your childcare.

Please sit down and take a moment to think about what the new tax laws could mean for you. Make them work in your favor.




Tardy Tooth Fairy Pays the Price

By:   Deb Di Sandro

I totaled the tooth fairy. A magical childhood fantasy, handed down for trillions of generations, and I wasted her faster than a roomful of know-it-all second-graders. You might say I shattered the illusion tooth by tooth.

When our second child, Lauren, reached tooth losing age, teeth popped out quicker than the Pop Tarts in our toaster. Lauren never waited for her teeth to get to that "dangling-by-a-thread" stage. As soon as one seemed the least bit wobbly, she yanked it out.

"Look mom, another tooth!"

"Great, Lauren." I sighed. "But if you were more patient, you wouldn’t need to use daddy’s wrench."

Of course, I didn’t entirely disapprove, she may be destined for a career in dentistry.

The nightly bedtime routine is exhausting enough and the tooth fairy, times two kids, only prolongs the process:

"So how does the tooth fairy get here?" my daughter asks.

" Um, (yawn) tooth fairy? get here? By train." I explain.

"Train? But I thought she could fly?"

"Oh, yeah right (yawn) she can. But every other month she gets her wings clipped and she has to come by train."

"What does she look like?"

"Oh, I never actually saw her."

"But I thought you told me she wore a glittering blue dress."

"I did?" That’s right (yawn) a blue dress. Well she doesn’t wear blue every day, unlike your Mommy, she has an extensive wardrobe. Now you better get to sleep or she won’t come."

The next morning at five sharp, Lauren stomped into the bedroom and shouted into my exposed ear. "She didn’t come!"

"Who didn’t come?"

"The tooth fairy!"

Guilt jolted me awake. "Really? Gosh, that train must’ve been delayed, uh. . . or the Tooth Fairy engineers staged a strike, yeah, that was it."

"MOM," Lauren insisted. "Tell me the truth."

"Okay, okay. You see it’s just that she had too many teeth to pick up and her assistant fairy had the night off."

With each tooth, my husband and I became more forgetful and the concocted stories more unbelievable.

"Uh. . . she was auditioning for a part in the new Disney movie and . . . no, wait a minute, Tinkerbell had a headache and she had to fill in at the castle this week."

Every parent forgets once, maybe twice, but three nights in a row? Well, the kids begin to lose their faith in fairies.

My son finally created a giant billboard which he attached to his headboard with a large arrow pointing toward his pillow saying, "TOOTH HERE!!"

And the next night she forgot again!

Imagining the years of therapy our son would now need, the fairy finally gave him $5 and a note of apology. He was the hit of the second grade.

"You got how much?!" his friends gasped.

"Gee, the tooth fairy never gave me more than fifty cents."

"But was she ever late?" my son asked his awe-struck peers.


"Too bad." Marcus said shaking his head. "The later the better. The interest adds up."

Maybe I haven’t single-handedly destroyed a childhood fantasy. I’ve just increased her value. And for this, I sincerely apologize to all the tooth fairies who managed to get it right the first night.

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