Archive for November, 2011

10 Fairy Tales That Are Politically Incorrect

November 20th, 2011 by admin

The famous fables and fairy tales that earlier generations of children grew up with are being re-written or are completely falling out of favor with those who aspire to “Political Correctness”. What people don’t realize is that many of these tales have been “sanitized” repeatedly over the years, having started as truly gruesome stories. In early versions of the “Cinderella” tale, the two cruel sisters mutilated themselves in order to fit into the slipper, and the two of them ended up as blind beggars when birds pecked out their eyes.

Most stories and lore evolve over time, and fairy tales are no different. Here are some examples of old stories that have come under the modern microscope.

  1. Rapunzel – This grim tale from the brothers Grimm is too dark, say many people today. They point out that this story contains violent imagery, blatant sexism, and criminal child abuse. Imagine, a little girl being given up for adoption by thieving parents, only to find that the poor child is then placed in solitary confinement, and only a man can save her.
  2. Cinderella – In a corrected version, Cinderella might not be burdened by cruel sisters and the sexist drudgery of menial housework. Instead, she might end up stuck in a dead-end office job, just like everyone else.
  3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Another potential “Amber Alert” situation, though there does not appear to be any great hue-and-cry over a missing girl’s whereabouts. Didn’t anyone in the olden days have any parents (historical note: when some of these tales were first written, life-expectancies were only in the 30s, so there probably were a lot of parent-less children)?
  4. Jack and the Beanstalk – Why is it never “Jane and the Beanstalk”? Well, it is probably just as well. Jack turns out to be a little thief who doesn’t follow his mother’s instructions very well. He steals from an ogre, and then kills the poor guy to boot. In today’s version, Jack might have just gone out to get a job so he could help his poor mom out, and he certainly wouldn’t have jeopardized his future by stooping to thievery and murder.
  5. Sleeping Beauty – Another motherless story, this one also involves probable nudity. When the king forbade the spinning of all materials in order to thwart a witches curse, the realm probably ran out of clothing for the citizenry. This is another one where it’s a guy rescuing a girl in trouble, instead of maybe the other way around.
  6. Hansel and Gretel – Wrong in so many ways, this tale involves child-abuse, spousal abuse, inhumane treatment of captives and poor nutrition. The modern version might have the cottage windows made of Splenda rather than clear sugar.
  7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – The term “dwarf” has come under fire in recent years, but “Frozen Caucasian Water and the Seven Altitude Challenged People” isn’t a title the folks over in Marketing are looking for.
  8. Red Riding Hood – “Sam ‘The Sham’ and the Pharaohs” admonished Red, singing that she shouldn’t “. . .go walking in these spooky old woods alone”. Good advice for a small child who was sent, unattended by a parent, to visit an aging relative who was probably in need of 24-hour in-home care. Of course, there is also the wolf, a stalker and an abuser of the elderly.
  9. The Pied Piper – The Piper of the tale was obviously a cult-leader who had lured not only the rats, but also the children of the beleaguered township of Hamelin. The Pied Piper obviously had anger-management issues, which might have been addressed with classes and counseling in a modern version of the story.
  10. The Emperor’s New Clothes – This tale has a pair of swindling tailors hoodwinking a vain emperor into thinking that the “nothing” they have made for him is a fine suit of clothing. A little kid busts the scam wide open, but the emperor is held out as the selfish patriarch that he is.

Almost every story has elements that may not suit future generations. Who knows, in a few hundred years, Cinderella’s step-sisters may turn out to be kind and gentle care-givers.

10 Nicknames for Baby Poo

November 14th, 2011 by admin

Isn’t it interesting how we come up with our little slang terms to try and make disgusting things seem a little less, um, disgusting? Using technical terms just doesn’t seem quite right. Have you ever heard some say that their baby has a diaper full of feces? Nope. We have plenty of other names for it, but not that.

  1. Number Two – ‘Change his diaper? Which is it, number one or number two?’ No one is sure who came up with this anatomical numbering system, but it has become a pretty universal code for distinguishing the bodily waste source being referred to. If you are uncertain about this association, number one is in the front and number two is in the ‘rear’.
  2. Stinky – The unpleasant smell which accompanies “number two” is often the first indication that a baby’s diaper needs changing, therefore, the tag ‘stinky diaper’ is often used in reference. If it was just ‘stinky’, it wouldn’t be so bad, but there’s more to it than the smell.
  3. Messy – This is the part that the term ‘stinky diaper’ leaves out. A stinky diaper is generally, also, a ‘messy diaper’. It means that you also need to get out the package of diaper wipes to facilitate the cleanup before putting a fresh diaper on the baby.
  4. Doo-doo – I’m not sure where this duet originated from, but it is heard from time to time in nurseries and daycare centers.
  5. Package – A ‘package’ has been delivered and it’s neatly wrapped up inside the baby’s diaper. All it takes is a little sniff, and, yep, we have a package, alright.
  6. Poopie – ‘Did the baby go poopie?’ This one seems to be used more by children than by adults, but I’m sure that the children learned it from adults, so we’ll classify it as trans-generational.
  7. Yucky – This term throws the stinky and messy terms together and just calls it what it is, ‘yucky’. Every mom has changed her share of ‘yucky’ diapers.
  8. Fresh dollars – It is believed that this term dates back to when dollars were still minted coins rather than pieces of paper. Did coins come out of a ‘slot in the back’ of a machine back then?
  9. Toots – ‘Peeeyuuuu, smells like the baby has a diaper-load of toots.’ This nickname may actually be a shortened version of another one, ‘tootsie rolls’. Obviously, the name is coming from the visual similarity to those soft, brown chunks of chewy chocolate that we’ve all eaten as kids. (Just lost your appetite for those, didn’t you?)
  10. Ka-ka – Also spelled, caca, has a French origin, meaning excrement. The root actually goes further back into the latin term for defecate, caco. You will find similar sounding terms used in most languages with a latin base. If a Frenchman ever tells you that you’re ‘full of caca’, you’ll know exactly what he means, won’t you?

With this little vocabulary lesson, you will now be able to converse on the subject of ‘soiled diapers’ with a much greater pool of terms to choose from. Won’t the other nannies and moms be impressed?

10 Tips for Checking Your Sitter’s References

November 8th, 2011 by admin

It is always important to ask for references before hiring a newer babysitter for your children. When you make the phone calls to check the sitter’s references, there are several areas that you should cover when speaking to these individuals to make sure you have a clear picture of the type of sitter this person would be for our children. Here are some tips regarding the topics you should cover.

  1. Frequency – Make sure and ask how many times, or how frequently, the sitter worked with each reference. If they only used the sitter once, be sure to ask if there was any reason they had not used her since that one time.
  2. Ages – Ask what age the children were that the sitter was caring for when she sat for them. You will want to know whether this sitter has cared for children in your children’s age group before.
  3. Time period – What length of time was the sitter caring for the references children? Was it all day, just a couple of hours or an evening out?
  4. Responsibilities – How many children were in the sitter’s care when she sat for this reference? That can be an important factor, if you have several siblings for the sitter to care for. Did the sitter have the responsibility of putting the children to bed or feeding them?
  5. Reliability – Ask if they had any trouble with the sitter canceling at the last moment or being ready on time for her babysitting assignments.
  6. Maturity – Ask about the references opinion of the babysitter’s maturity level. Did they seem to be able to command the respect of the children? Were they comfortable staying alone with the children without an adult present?
  7. Payment – Asking what others have paid this babysitter for her services to gain an idea of what she or he may be expecting for pay.
  8. Positive feedback – Make sure and ask what this person saw as the sitter’s strong points as a babysitter. This will help you determine if the sitter is a good fit for your family.
  9. Issues or concerns? – This is a very important question to ask before you end your conversation with the reference, just in case there was something that didn’t come to their mind earlier in your conversation. An open-ended question regarding any possible issues or concerns provides that extra opportunity to share about topics you might not have specifically asked about.
  10. Children’s response – Last, but not least, ask the references about how their children responded to the babysitter. Did they enjoy being with her? Were they sad to see her go and excited to have her return again?

Being thorough in your reference checks on babysitters is important. You should never feel that you are being too cautious, when it comes to the care of your children.

10 Famous People that Appear to Need a Babysitter

November 5th, 2011 by admin

One of America’s favorite pastimes is “Celebrity Bashing”, and within that select group some favorite targets are celebrities who have children. The way they care (or allegedly don’t care) for their children is common fodder for rumor mills and tabloids. Some celebrity behavior seems to invite the scrutiny and derision, but by-and-large, famous people seem to cherish their off-spring just like everyone else.

Lifestyles and business careers that demand long hours and frequent travel give rise to a great need for competent temporary child-care. Some celebs pack a nanny along with the children, and the whole family goes to work, while others use home-help while they are away. The following is a look at some well-known personalities, and how they deal with their child-care situations.

  1. Brangelina – Whenever Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie appear in public with all their children, the kids themselves often look like they’d rather be somewhere else, perhaps with a sitter. Actually, the children are often cared for by nannies, when both parents are working. Legendary are the stories about the strict requirements the couple had for prospective nannies, including a college degree in child development.
  2. Kevin Costner – He has 7 children, ranging from toddler to adult, and he really looks like he could use a night to himself once in a while. A good sitter might benefit him greatly.
  3. Britney Spears – Her personal tribulations have long been documented, but Britney Spears appears to have overcome much of her difficulty. She has regained visitation rights to be with children she had with Kevin Federline. Their public scenes always seem so frenzied that it looks as if the kids might be better off at home with a babysitter.
  4. President and Mrs. Obama – Mrs. Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother, moved into the White House and is often seen taking care of the the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha. With as much pressure as they are all under, it seems like all the adults could use a break, and maybe leave the kids with a sitter from the Secret Service for an evening.
  5. Chris O’Donnell and Carolina Fentress – With five children and two busy acting careers, this couple always looks like they could do with a bit of help.
  6. Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso – As often as this couple is on the road, whether for filming, or a World Series of Poker event or at a Boston Red Sox game, they appear to be in need of at-least occasional child-care help.
  7. Heidi Klum and Seal – The German-born super-model and the British musician have four children. Both parents are on the go for much of the year, and certainly need help with the children. They utilize nannies to a great extent.
  8. Mark Wahlberg and Rhea Durham – The entire family, including four children and a nanny, is often spotted strolling together. Nannies have become extremely popular with celebrities as trusted child-care professionals.
  9. Sarah and Todd Palin – The Palin family includes a child with special needs, son Trig who has Down Syndrome. The children usually stay with Todd, when Sarah is traveling, but they also hire professional help for their child-care needs.
  10. Special Needs – Many celebrities, as with the general population, have children with special needs. Toni Braxton, Steven Stills, John Travolta and Kelly Preston are just a few of the celebrities who have autistic children, and they require specially trained child-care help.

The celebrity world has revitalized the child-care industry. Nannies have become the go-to people for children of the famous. As such, the industry, which includes nannies, babysitters and aux pairs, has benefited through a much higher standard of professionalism.

10 Fun Rhyming Songs Babysitters Should Know

November 4th, 2011 by admin

Rhyming songs have been around for centuries and were sometimes associated with or a reflection of the political or social happenings of the day. They were often used to convey messages or make comments on current events and some were written just for fun and managed to withstand the test of time. The meanings of many of these songs have been lost through the passage of time, yet the songs carry on down through the ages bringing joy to those who sing them. Listed are ten fun songs every babysitter should know.

  1. I’m a Little Tea Pot – Written in 1939 by George Harry Sanders and Clarence Kelley this little song has actions that go along with the words. It was originally composed to help the youngest of Kelley’s dance students learn a tap routine. Little children enjoy acting out the motion of the tea pot as they move their arms to mimic the handle and the spout and bend over to pour out the tea.
  2. Mary Had a Little Lamb – One of the most popular children’s songs ever, this song has been around since 1830 when it was first published by Sarah Hale as a poem. A few years later Lowell Mason set the poem to music and added the repetition. Despite the changes from a farm based culture to high tech society with smart phones and tablet computers, this tune still remains loved by children.
  3. The Hokey Pokey – This song was probably written in the early 1940’s. It has unclear beginnings, but it has been carried down throughout the years, and it is a very popular song and dance among the young in most English speaking countries.
  4. You Are My Sunshine – First recorded in 1939, this song’s popularity caused it to be one of Louisiana’s state songs. It was written by Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell. Its sweet words and catchy tune makes it a favorite song to sing to let someone know how special they are.
  5. The Wheels on the Bus – Based on the traditional song of British origin, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, this newer rendition is a favorite traveling song especially among pre-teens who seem to enjoy singing it on bus trips and adding a variety of improvised verses.
  6. Hush Little Baby – The origins of this lullaby are unknown however, it is thought to be American because the mocking bird is an American bird. It is a sweet little song to sing when putting the children to sleep
  7. The Alphabet Song – This is probably the most popular song around to teach children the alphabet. It was published in 1835 by Charles Bradlee. The tune is the same as Mozart’s composition which is a compilation of 12 variations on a French folk melody.
  8. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – Mozart probably had no idea that his composition of the variations on that French melody would be so popular! This song also has that same melody as does Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. This is a favorite song to sing to kids especially on a clear night when the stars can easily be seen.
  9. Itsy, Bitsy Spider – This is a fun song that uses hand gestures to mimic a spider climbing up a water spout and getting washed back down again when it rains. It dates back as early to 1910 but the modern version of the song was published in 1947
  10. Ring Around the Rosey – A popular active song, Ring Around the Rosey has been around at least since the late 1700’s. The earliest version is German and ends with the players sitting down rather than falling down. Urban legend claims that this song refers to the black plague have been refuted by folklorists. Young children love singing the song and falling in a heap at the end.

There are dozens and dozens of wonderful rhyming songs for children and these are just a few of the most popular ones. A simple search on the internet will bring up tunes and lyrics. Hand and body motions can also be found for action songs. The well equipped babysitter will have a variety of simple songs from which to choose to share with the kids in her or his care.

 

Tips for Sitters to Handle Emergency Situations

November 1st, 2011 by admin

What’s worse than having to deal with an emergency while babysitting? Not being prepared to deal with said emergency. You can never fully prevent an emergency from happening, but you can plan ahead and be better equipped with a few tips and tricks.

  1. First and foremost, getting your CPR certification and having first aid knowledge will not only help you in case of an urgent situation, but also make you more marketable. You will put the parents at ease knowing that you have outside training to handle emergencies, and set yourself apart from those babysitters who lack the certifications. Redcross.org allows you to search and sign up for certification classes close to you.
  2. Before the parents leave make sure you know if the child (or children) has any allergies, any medications they may need to take as well as what time they need to take the medication (the last thing you want to do is try and treat the child with something that will end up making the situation worse!), and where to reach the parents in case you are unable to handle the emergency. Also know who the parents want you to contact in the event that you are unable to reach them.
  3. Keep your cellphone or a home phone with you or nearby at all times so that you can quickly make a phone call to 911 or the parents if necessary. This doesn’t mean talk, text, or play on your cellphone the whole time – the child still needs your undivided attention – but it is better to have a phone close to you in case you need to get ahold of someone fast.
  4. Don’t leave the child alone. Kids are curious by nature and will forever be pulling things off tables, getting into containers they shouldn’t, opening doors and cabinets, eating toys or foods they shouldn’t, and trying to be all around invincible. The best way to prevent anything traumatic from happening is by being present to stop any potential mishaps.
  5. If something does happen, DON’T PANIC. The last thing you want to do is elevate the situation by panicking. If the child sees that you are upset it is only going to intensify their negative reaction, which will make an already stressful situation worse. Likewise, if the child sees you calm and collected, they are more likely to be calmer as well. Also, if you’re panicking you’re more likely to be careless. You need to be calm and clear-headed to effectively deal with a stressful situation.
  6. Keep all doors and windows locked. This way, you eliminate any opportunities for the child to unknowingly sneak out of the house or slam any toes or fingers in doors or windows, or for intruders to easily get into the house.
  7. Know where all the emergency exits are located. If there is a fire, a gas leak, or an intruder you want to be able to get out of the house as quickly as possible. Once you’re outside and away from the house you can call the appropriate people or find a neighbor to help you handle the situation.
  8. If someone calls the house, don’t let them know that the parents are not at home and don’t offer any unnecessary information. Just let them know that the parents are unable to come to the phone and take a message for them. Letting strangers know you’re babysitting makes you a more vulnerable target.
  9. In case there is an unexpected power outage, make sure know where the flashlights or candles are located and keep them in a place you can easily get to. You don’t want to be rummaging around in the dark hoping to find emergency lights.
  10. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for anything or anyone that is suspicious or out of the ordinary. Trust your instincts and know when you need to reach out for help and when you can handle a situation. Emergencies are not the time to try to be the hero; they are the time to be calm, smart and decisive.

As in all situations, it’s better to be over prepared then underprepared, and parents will have more respect for a babysitter that reacts calmly and rationally during an emergency then one who panics and makes a situation worse. Obviously no babysitter wants to encounter an emergency situation while on the job, however it’s better to anticipate what could happen and prepare accordingly.