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Navigating Childcare, Part 3 – Hiring a Nanny

Last fall, I started a series of posts about how our family has navigated childcare. In Part 1, I outlined about how our family figured out childcare when we only had 1 infant. And, in Part 2, I wrote about how our family switched our childcare care approach when we added a 2nd baby and decided to hire a nanny. It took me a few months (4 to be exact), but I’m finally resuming this series with a deeper dive into hiring a nanny.

I didn’t know it when I started this series back in October, but this discussion is very timely for my little family as we just found out we’re losing our beloved nanny who’s been with us for the past 2 1/2 years! We are of course so sad and more than a little stressed to be losing her, but our family’s needs have changed (as they are prone to do) so this is actually a good time for us to re-evaluate the best childcare solution for us.

But first, let’s talk about how to hire a nanny. We’ve had great success using Care.com to post ads and communicate with potential providers. We found our current nanny that way, and we actually also found the wonderful SAHM who watched our first son that way too (more about that in Part 1 if you’re interested). We are tentatively planning to use Care.com again to find a new nanny (assuming we go down that path). There are, of course, many other ways to find a nanny – using an agency, posting on neighborhood or community message boards and Facebook groups, word of mouth, referrals, poaching from your daycare, etc. My general, relatively unhelpful advice is to use any/ all medium(s) you can manage and feel comfortable with. Your end goal is to find the right nanny for your family and to do that may require you to sift through a lot of noise, but it’s worth it when you find the right fit for your family (and equally important is that the nanny finds the right family for her).

It is vitally important, however, that you know ahead of time what you are comfortable with and capable of paying, and you clearly communicate that to candidates at all steps in the process, along with any other hard requirements you have whether that’s first aid/ CPR certification, clean driving record, availability, or something else. I’ve found that many candidates on Care.com mass apply to jobs without actually reading through the requirements, and the only way to mitigate that is to be very clear from the start about what the job requires. When we lived in Colorado, we looked into hiring a nanny and advertised a pay range of $10.00-15.00/hour – most candidates who replied to our ad listed their minimum hourly rate as $20.00. While I truly believe nannies deserve to be paid a fair wage, we simply could not afford $20.00 an hour for 50 hours a week (if you’re doing the math, that’s $1,000.00 per week BEFORE nanny taxes).

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Link Roundup – February 16, 2017

Working on a resort, I’ve met people from dozens of countries around the world. People who have never been to America imagine everyone there owns many guns; some have even told me they’re too scared to visit America because of all the guns and their fear of being shot. I cannot fathom how school shootings are only accelerating, and nothing has been done. It’s truly heartbreaking as an American, a mother, and a human being.

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E D U C A T I O N

Four Truths About the Florida School Shooting via The New Yorker

How Gun Violence And Toxic Masculinity Are Linked, In 8 Tweets via Huffington Post

Is There Any Way For Schools To Prevent Shootings? via nprED

New York City Schools Suspend Fewer Students in New Approach to Discipline. The nation’s largest school district cut back on the polarizing punishment with K-2 students via Wall Street Journal

At 80, Judy Blume Reflects On Feminism, #MeToo And Keeping Margaret 12 via NPR

India tried to stop cheating in school — so half a million students just skipped exams via Washington Post

5 Reasons to Read Frog and Toad to Your Kids via Medium

H E A L T H

Experimental Drug Promises to Kill the Flu Virus in a Day via Wall Street Journal

CDC Updates Childhood Immunization Schedules for 2018 via The Bump

Doctors Can Now Diagnose Autism In Just Two Minutes via Fatherly

The Tongue Tie Conundrum. More and more babies are receiving this controversial diagnosis, and parents are getting conflicting advice. Here’s how to navigate the confusion. via Slate

A Doctor’s Guide to a Good Appointment via New York Times

Pregnancy Put My OCD Into Overdrive via The Cut

R E L A T I O N S H I P S

For a Better Marriage, Act Like a Single Person via New York Times

P A R E N T I N G

Why you should permit, and encourage, your teen to date via Washington Post

An adult who went undercover at a Kansas high school found today’s teenage girls think it’s ‘normal’ to post ‘promiscuous’ pictures online via Business Insider

Why I’ll never buy booze for my teenage kids via The Week

This fun new book about how Germans raise their kids will break American parents’ hearts. via Slate

Why ‘Bringing Up Bebe’ Couldn’t Make Americans Behave Like the French. Pamela Druckerman pissed off and pleased thousands of parents with her book. Six years later, is it time to stop bébéing? via Fatherly

Science Says: Let Your Kids Take Risks While Playing. It’s Good For Them. via Scary Mommy

The Actual Reason Children Are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are in the Room via Popsugar

A Bedroom Your Child Won’t Outgrow via New York Times

A Joyous, Mysterious Portrait of Rural American Boyhood via New Yorker

Hospitalization First Timer

This winter was going along pretty well until very recently Baby Pencil caught RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)! While RSV can be handled pretty easily for older kids and adults, it can be very dangerous for babies under 1 years old. My pediatrician told me that when it came to any type of wheezing or breathing issues for young babies, it’s always best to bring them in just in case.

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I first noticed Baby Pencil having a tiny cough that started to turn for the worse. I thought nothing of it since it seemed like a regular cold. She didn’t have a fever and was still eating just fine. However since it was Friday, I dropped by the pediatrician to get a prescription just in case we needed it over the weekend. She listened to her lungs and they seemed fine, but still gave us a prescription of Albuterol just in case we needed to use the nebulizer. I gave her a couple Albuterol treatments over the weekend, but by Sunday afternoon her wheezing was getting much worse. Her breaths started to become faster and drinking from the bottle was starting to get difficult because she couldn’t breathe through her nose. I took her to urgent care, where she was given a steroid shot and another round of Albuterol through the nebulizer. I was sure she was going to respond to at least the steroid shot, but after about 1-2 hours of waiting around she was doing the same. They also took some x-rays to check for pneumonia and swabbed her nose to check if she had the flu. She tested negative for both, but they told us we should admit her to the Emergency Room anyway because of her shallow breathing.

I drove her to the Emergency Room where I was met with a sea of sick people. I was so paranoid about the flu, so I tried looking for a clear corner of the room! After being admitted in the ER, I noticed that her breathing was actually getting better. I think the steroid shot just took a few hours to finally kick in. I really thought they were going to check her out and that we could go home right after. But after another couple hours of waiting and talking to the nurses, they said that we should admit her at least overnight for monitoring. I was totally not prepared at all for this! It seemed like such a small thing – a cough and some wheezing. With the rectal thermometer she did end up having a small fever of about 101. But they really wanted to make sure that she had enough oxygen and didn’t get worse.

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Let’s Talk Mental Health

A few weeks ago, one of my close family members suffered what I can most simply describe as a mental breakdown. I can honestly say that it was one of the scariest things that I’ve ever observed in my life. To provide some context, this family member is one of the smartest and most capable people I know, he is a high-functioning executive, and he is pretty much the last person who I would expect to go through something like this.

Over the course of a week, we noticed him making grandiose and strange statements, including some Facebook posts that were odd and very out-of-character. We initially shrugged off most of this behavior as just some post-holiday quirkiness and stress. And then one night things escalated when he started saying things that were completely illogical – for instance, he claimed that he was a wizard. From there, things got much worse and the next morning he started talking to people who were not physically there, including talking at the sky in an effort to communicate with distant family members. It was then that he was taken to emergency care.

While I was not there, I’m told that he reacted very poorly to medical staff and had to be physically restrained and given a sedative. A security guard was placed at the door to his hospital room. Following a CT scan and numerous blood tests, the doctors could find no physical reason for his behavior. He was eventually released the same day with a diagnosis of sleep exhaustion and delirium. By the next day, he was back to himself (albeit quite embarrassed and very confused to hear the events and explanations of his behavior over the past few days).

He received follow-up care from his primary care physician, a sleep specialist, and a psychiatrist. We came to find out that he had been operating on very minimal sleep, and had endured very, very high amounts of personal and work stress over a span of approximately one month. While he is still following up with several doctors to ensure we are not missing anything, at this time we believe that the incredible weight of his mental stress caused this episode. He is setting up weekly appointments with a psychologist to regularly talk through his stressors.

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Simple ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with little ones

Before kids, Mr. Pizza and I celebrated Valentine’s Day by exchanging cards and a dinner out. It wasn’t a “big deal” holiday for us, but it was always a good excuse to enjoy a nice meal and show our love and appreciation for each other. Now that we have kids, holidays are more playful and fun and I look forward to celebrating the big and small holidays. Last year, we made a special night with the girls on Valentine’s Day aka Love Day and we are planning to do it again this year.

Mr. Pizza picked up Valentine’s Day themed decor, plates and flatware. He even picked up plastic champagne glasses at the party store and flowers for all of us. This was all his idea and I’m so thankful for how he made the night so special for his three favorite ladies.

We all got ready for our “fancy” dinner. Mr. Pizza suited up and the girls and I wore dresses. We put on some super cheesy Valentine’s music (cue Kenny G music and Lionel Richie’s Endless Love) and ordered carry out at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. Mr. Pizza poured juice into the glasses for the girls and wine for me. After dinner, Mr. Pizza danced with each of us. It was such a sweet and memorable night.

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I’m so excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day again with my family this way.  There are so many simple ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day with little ones. Here are some ideas!

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1st Trimester-Worthy Films

Most of my first trimester, I’ve been hitting an energy slump at 2pm (and then again at 5pm, and by 8pm I’m ready for bed!). But since the afternoon slump is the exact time of my toddler’s daily nap, I usually get a little buffer time to nap, catch up on work, take care of business, or just relax. I found my mental energy has been just as difficult to drum up as my physical energy which has been challenging and I have to remind myself that this is just a phase. I am used to being someone who delights in projects and squeezes a little personal creativity time into my spare moments. Without that drive I’ve felt a little down and not myself. My normal is definitely shifting already and the big one will come with the second baby, but I need to remind myself that how I’ve felt in the first trimester is not my new state of being and it’s not permanent.

I am also a terrible napper. It takes me a long time to fall asleep so I never know how long to set the alarm for and I either end up thinking of a whole bunch of things I want to do and not napping at all, or falling asleep for two hours and feeling way worse upon waking up because my body thinks I owe it a whole sleep cycle.

So on the days where I have no physical or mental energy by 2, I’ve been using that time to dream about the things I will do when I get energy back (this mostly involves making lists and browsing pretty things on Pinterest) or lose myself in an entertaining movie. My pre-pregnancy self would rarely allow myself to watch a film during Jujube’s precious nap time (me time!) but I have given over full permission to snacking and movie watching during this time. It solves for relaxation really nicely right now.

So here you have my top films that I watched over the last three months! I’m usually in the mood for something intriguing but funny.

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Battle of the Sexes – This was engaging and beautifully shot. It definitely held my attention and was such an interesting glimpse into history as well as parallel to now. We were staying with my in-laws over Christmas and they remembered the events and Emma Stone’s character being on the news. They talked about it which was so interesting. I knew nothing about the story going into it, but I love seeing into this era of American women and was so impressed with the Billie Jean King story.

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Happy Donut Friends Valentine Paper Craft

Valentine Donut Friends Craft

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with these happy donut friends! They’re a fun way to send a sweet message to friends, but they also make a great classroom craft during a Valentine party. With a bit of bit of paper, a few pipe cleaners, and some sparkly “sprinkles”, these donut pals come to life!

Valentine Donut Kid Craft

This is a great craft for elementary students to work on by themselves and with a little help, preschoolers can make happy donuts too. To simplify the process, you might want to skip the arms and legs (although they are super cute!).

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