Looking for a needle in a “cuckoo” infested haystack

We have decided to look for someone to help us picking up and taking Llollo from/to nursery. I have spent the last few days going through loads of ads.

After reading most of them you would think somebody is forcing these girls to get a job against their will,  and they are trying to sabotage this through their “about me ” section.

For example:

“I am a positive and easygoing Swedish girl who loves staying in London. I like shopping, skiing, traveling, going out with friends and dancing. I like honesty, so you must know that I like the occasional drink when out but only smoke on the weekends. I like kids too.

“I live in London recently and I’m looking for a au pair position at a nice, warm-hearted family who appreciates their au pair’s help and don’t criticize all the time.

“I’m looking for a job that can be made by a woman for a family !!!

“I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks ago, I am not interested in men for now, I am not ready for a relationship, so don’t worry no secret visits while you are not home 🙂 “

I think it is very important to have a good presence … and I can assure you your children will always look impeccable, I prefer dressing them in white … I can’t stand dogs, they are filthy, sloppy with germs  but I am ok with cats, they are self-cleaning “

And my personal favorite:

“My name is … I have long brown hair and brown eyes and I don’t consider myself fat.” 

Seriously? What?  How is any of that even relevant?

How exactly is any of that going to help me feel at ease about you taking care of my precious child?

Ok, I see now, that finding an ad that would make me fell all warm and fuzzy inside was going to be a stretch, but many of these posts do not convey  any interest or knowledge on childcare, some of them don’t even describe any previous child interaction at all, not even some silly comment about a baby cousin.

I guess they are very young and have not actually stopped for a moment to think about how to market themselves properly to the “working mum market”, but my god !

I am the most lunatic of all for considering leaving my child on somebody else’s care.

Mommy Martydom

I am not going to makea habit of re-bloging but this “Queen of the Couch” post was practically written for me. Mommies, please Read !

Views from the Couch

Some friends and I were chatting and the the above meme card came up, which has been posted around Facebook, and we discovered that we were unanimously annoyed with the implied sentiment. Listen up ladies, this isn’t the 1950’s! Your goal in life no longer has to be landing a husband so you can spend the rest of your life finding shoes to compliment your newest apron or dedicate yourself solely to dispensing little humans out of your vagina like Pez. Supposedly, the sky is the limit–okay, well the glass ceiling is the limit (wink, wink). You can go to college, and not just for your M.R.S. degree. You can have a career. You can have an active social life and go out with friends. The world is your oyster! That is, until you have a child. At that point, you are only supposed to concern yourself with all things…

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Kids and strangers

I read this post a few weeks ago and it made such an impact on me that I decided to re-blog it. It is written by Sarah Levy from her blog Checklistmommy, and it is about what to consider when talking to children about strangers.

“Right after Diddy was born, I was in the car listening to NPR and I heard a child safety educator say, “Stop telling your kids not to talk to strangers. They might need to talk to a stranger one day. Instead, teach them which sorts of strangers are safe. You know who’s safe? A mom with kids. Period. Your kid gets separated from you at the mall? Tell her to flag down the first mom with kids she sees.”

This was fantastic advice. I have shared it with everyone who will listen, ever since.

Last month, I finally got to meet the woman who’d said this brilliant thing, when I had the enormous good fortune of attending a kid’s safety seminar led by Pattie Fitzgerald of Safely Ever After. Safely Ever After offers seminars to adults and children on the subject of “keeping kids safe from child molesters and abuse.”

I didn’t seek Pattie out. I don’t spend every moment of the day worrying that my kids are going to end up in white slavery. But Diddy and Gaga’s preschool offers the material to parents of pre-K students as a preamble to teaching it to the pre-K kids, and Diddy’s a pre-K kid, so I went to hear what Pattie had to say. (And in light of all the Miramonte Elementary madness, I am thrilled I did.)

If it makes you uncomfortable to think about offering this sort of material to a 5 year-old, let me reassure you by saying our school offers an opt-out. But after spending a morning listening to Pattie’s presentation, I can honestly say I would have let her go teach my 3 year-old about “tricky people.” If the boys could understand it, I’d have her come over and talk to them, too.

And they’d like it. Really. I did.  Sitting around listening to all the horrible things that could happen to your kids might not sound like a good time — but oddly enough, with Pattie Fitzgerald, it is.

For one thing, Pattie knows her stuff, and I felt confident that her information was accurate and her advice studied and strong. For another, she’s pretty funny — so the material she presented never felt horribly gloom-and-doomy so much as matter-of-fact and manageable.

FOR INSTANCE:

  • It is unlikely your kid is going to be abused by a weirdo at the park (huge sigh of relief).
  • That said, if there is a weirdo at the park, he’s not going to fit the “stranger” model — so stop teaching your kid about strangers! He’s going to come up to your kid and introduce himself. Voila! He ain’t a stranger anymore.
  • Teach your kids about TRICKY PEOPLE, instead. TRICKY PEOPLE are grown-ups who ASK KIDS FOR HELP (no adult needs to ask a kid for help) or TELLS KIDS TO KEEP A SECRET FROM THEIR PARENTS (including, IT’S OKAY TO COME OVER HERE BEHIND THIS TREE WITHOUT ASKING MOM FIRST. Not asking Mom is tantamount to KEEPING A SECRET.)
  • Teach your kids not to DO ANYTHING, or GO ANYWHERE, with ANY ADULTS AT ALL, unless they can ask for your permission first.

See how I said ANY ADULTS AT ALL? That’s because:

  • It’s far more likely your kid is going to be abused by someone they have a relationship with, because most cases of abuse follow long periods of grooming — both of the kid and his or her family.
  • Bad guys groom you and your kids to gauge whether or not you’re paying attention to what they’re doing, and/or to lure you into dropping your guard. Don’t. Kids who bad guys think are flying under their parents’ radars, or kids who seem a little insecure or disconnected from their parents, are the kids who are most at risk.

SO:

  • Be suspicious of gifts that adults in positions of authority give your kids. There’s no reason your son should be coming back from Bar Mitzvah study with a cool new keychain or baseball hat.
  • Be suspicious of teachers who tell you your kid is so special they want to offer him more one-on-one time, or special outings. That teacher who says your kid is into Monet, he wants to take him to a museum next weekend? Say thanks, and take your kid to go see the exhibit yourself.
  • You know that weird adult cousin of yours who’s always out in the yard with the kids, never in the kitchen drinking with the grown-ups? Keep an eye on your kids when he’s around.
  • Oh, and that soccer coach who keeps offering to babysit for free, so you can get some time to yourself? NO ONE WANTS TO BABYSIT YOUR KIDS JUST TO BE NICE.

And, here’s another good reason to add to the PANTHEON of reasons to teach your children the anatomically correct names for their genitalia:

  • There isn’t a child molester on earth who’s going to talk to your daughter about her vagina. Really. But if she suddenly starts calling it a cupcake, you can ask her who taught her that.

*

Ultimately, after spending an hour with Pattie, I felt LESS worried, not more. That, to me, is the number one sign of a good book or seminar about parenting — it doesn’t stress you out.

And you know why Pattie Fitzgerald and  Safely Ever After won’t stress you out?

BECAUSE SHE’S CHOCKFUL OF CHECKLISTS!

She’s got a PREVENTION TIPS list, a RED FLAGS & WARNINGS list, and my personal favorite, a THE SUPER-10, PLAY IT SAFE FOR KIDS AND GROWN-UPS! list.

Check out Pattie’s site. Read her material, buy her kids book, organize a bunch of like-minded parents to take her seminars. I promise you’ll feel better after — and way safer — when you do. ”

 

 

Toddlers and meals

As any mum of a toddler, I am sure, I am worried sick about his eating … or more precisely about him NOT eating.

I spend many hours a week on the internet checking on recipes and meal ideas for Llollo. When he was a baby, introducing new flavors to him was relatively easy, I followed gina ford’s introduction to solids and he pretty much gave it a go on most dishes. But somewhere between then a now it all changed.

He doesn’t eat pasta, all kids love pasta! doesn’t he know? ; he won’t try chicken, fish or meat. I gave up trying to mix mashed potatoes with other stuff when I realized he didn’t actually eat mashed potatoes at all. Cubes of vegetables? no, fruit? no!

The weekends are “challenge time”; I wake up saturday mornings with new recipes to try on his meals… and so far success has been scarce.

It is not that he starves himself. We know that he will always eat: bread sticks, rice crackers, baked beans, mozarella cheese, cheerios (damn you cheerios!), heinz pasta hoops and bananas. But those were the items for our “emergency meals”, not to be served on a regular basis.

To bring things back on track I made a meal planner for his dinners during the week and all his meals during weekends, since he has lunch and tea at nurser. I included 1 veg and 1 fruit with all meals, I designates days for eggs, pasta and rice. My toddler is brilliant, he sits in that high chair and plays and smiles until I accept he just won’t eat it.

There is no forcing, no threatening, no crying. We both smile at each other, me knowing that he is hungry and he knowing … I don’t know what he knows, but he just won’t eat.

I am a working mother, yes. But I am not a clueless mum, I KNOW what is going on.

It is me who, every time picks him up at nursery, has to hear all about how he LOOOOOVES fishcakes with white sauce, pasta and veg and lamb and coucous…

Lamb and coucous!

Seriously, last time I had to endure this: “Oh, Llollo asked for second servings of tofu and veg, cheeky boy”

TO

FU

?!

Of course I thought that maybe those nursery portions were tiny or not really “lamb and couscous”, but after a few “surprise” visits at meal time I am convinced that they serve what they say they do.

To top it up, every time I take Llollo to the health visitor for a weight check I am told : “Well done mum! your toddler has been bang on the 75% percentile , keep feeding him as you do” … no help there then.

Well done nursery.

One weekend, Hubby was trying to feed him while I was doing other stuff in the kitchen; since llollo was not eating, he came to the kitchen to make himself a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. He took the sandwich back to the table and … do you know what happened? …

Llollo ate half the bagel and all the salmon.

My toddler eats smoked salmon and tofu, but won’t eat pasta or mashed potatoes.

So I can’t really complain that I have a fussy eater, he just won’t eat MUM’s food … AAAARGH!!!!!