Posts Tagged ‘babysitter’

Separation anxiety

Friday, August 27th, 2010

babyjpegWhen my son was younger, we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful babysitter who would watch him about once a week.  He always loved when she came to play with him.  So imagine my surprise one day when he had an outburst as she walked in the door.  Screaming, crying, calling “mamma, mamma;” I was stunned.  At first I thought he may be sick.  I told the sitter that I was leaving, but if he continued to cry, call me.  I walked out the door and down the stairs to leave and he had stopped crying before I reached the bottom.  I just had to start laughing—at both of us.  That was the start of separation anxiety in our house.  For the next few months, this would occur almost every time I left —sometimes when I even just went to the bathroom.  The bad news about separation anxiety is it can be very hard, on both you and your baby.  The good news though:  it is completely normal and it does not last forever.

Separation anxiety is actually a social and emotional developmental milestone.  It means that your baby recognizes that there is only one you.  And when you are out of her sight, she realizes that you are somewhere else, and not with her.  This can be very upsetting for her.  Also, she has no sense of time.  So she doesn’t understand if you go into the next room to grab the laundry that you will be back in 30 seconds.  To her, it may mean you are never coming back.  Even bedtime can become a challenge as she doesn’t want you to leave the room.  She may wake more frequently at night crying for you too.

Separation anxiety peaks between about 10-18 months and then fades during the last half of the second year.  This can be a time of mixed emotions for many moms.  It is wonderful to have your little one throw herself into your arms and realize just how much she loves you.  On the other hand, it can be trying because you may feel guilty for leaving her and even a bit suffocated by her constant clinging.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best thing you can do is ride it out.  Also, downplay your leaving as much as possible.  Have the person you are leaving her with create a distraction of some sort.  Then say good-bye and slip away quickly.  Her tears will subside within minutes of your departure.  You can also help her learn to cope with separation through short practice sessions.  If she initiates a separation, by crawling into another room for example, don’t follow her right away (as long as you know she is safe).  Wait a minute or two and then go.  If she fusses, call to her instead of immediately running to her.  This will allow her to realize that nothing terrible happens when you are gone and more importantly, you will always come back.

Finding a babysitter

Monday, February 8th, 2010

22231364_thb1I planned on returning to the office when my daughter turned one. I was excited about the idea to interacting with colleagues again, but felt very nervous (and guilty) about leaving her. We don’t live near family, so I had to look to outside resources for help. My husband asked, “how are we going to do this?” At a loss for words, I shook my head. How will we ever find someone we can trust?

With a heavy heart, I started my search online. It was important to us that we find a facility where the providers were trained and supervised. I researched local daycare providers and came across two helpful websites in the process. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) both provide useful information for locating accredited child care facilities and providers.

Ultimately, we decided to hire a nanny who would care for our daughter in our home. Logistically, this just worked better for us. I joined a website that provided all of the initial screening information we were looking including, experience, references and background checks. We interviewed a few candidates and feel we made the best decision for our daughter and the individual needs of our family. It was a scary process in the beginning, but it actually turned out just fine. Thank goodness for camera phones! Our nanny sends pictures throughout the day. It’s so reassuring to see my daughter’s smile.

Are you a working mom? How are you managing? I’m new at this, so I’d love to hear from others who are in the same boat.

Got enough sick days saved up?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

sick-childThere has been lots of chatter about swine flu these days and for good reason.  (Keep your eye on the updates at the CDC website.)   All the talk made me wonder about how many working parents have got a good game plan set for when their kids are sick, or the daycare or school closes.

We do assume that our kids will get sick with something once in a while, and they do.  We know that the flu comes around every winter as do other viruses, pink eye, etc.  The occasional event may precipitate your taking a “sick day” from the office to stay home with your sick child.  But, what happens when the daycare or school closes for several days and there is no grandparent or babysitter available to cover for you?  Do you have a backup plan?  Do you have enough days saved up so you can stay home for a week?  Does your employer have a flexible plan that would enable you to work from home if someone had the flu? Is your spouse’s employer flexible?  Have the two of you discussed how you’d handle an extended illness?  Just as it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for an emergency (hurricane, tornado, flood), it’s a good idea to have discussed and checked into options for a stretch of the flu.

How will the baby affect our relationship?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

After the baby is born I wonder how long it will be until my husband and I go to a movie or out to dinner. How old will the baby be before I feel comfortable leaving him/her with a relative or babysitter for a night out. At the moment we can accept an invitation to get together with friends any night of the week. RSVP, “yes” to a wedding that’s an hour away or plan a vacation and pack one small suitcase.

It seems people like to ask how I’m sleeping lately. When I say, “just fine” the standard come-back is usually, “well enjoy it while you can.” Oh, zip-it! I know they’re right, but I hate hearing that. How will sleep deprivation affect my relationship with my husband and our ability to be patient or affectionate? I don’t know yet. I hear all the time that couples need to make time for each other. But realistically, especially in the beginning, is that possible?

Before I got pregnant, I thought about the emotional and lifestyle changes we’ll face as parents. We both decided that we were ready for this. Now that my due date is right around the corner it’s really setting in though. Our independence and free time will NEVER be what it once was. Are you having or thinking about having a baby? Do you worry about this stuff, too?

Sisters

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I had to share this. My sister’s neighbor, Chelsea, came over to baby sit last weekend so that she and her husband could have a night out. My niece, Maeve (“Mae-mae”) is five and Kara is two. Chelsea’s mom emailed my sister the following note.
 
Hi Kathleen,
Today I was a guest speaker in Chelsea’s community service class.  We were talking about the meaning of true happiness.  I asked her class when they could remember a time when they were truly happy.  Chelsea told a story about when she was at your house the other night.  Kara was crying for you when Chelsea put her to bed. She then asked for Mae-mae.  Chelsea got Maeve and brought her into Kara’s room.  Maeve got in the crib with Kara.  They hugged each other and Maeve said to Kara, “I have to tell you a secret”.  She then said, “I will always love you”.  Then Kara said, “I love you too, Mae-mae.”  Kara then fell asleep in Maeve’s arms.  Chelsea shared this story with her class today, because she felt truly happy watching your girls together.

I’m going to email my sister back and tell her how much I love her.

Helping grandparents babysit

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Need some serious down time with your spouse?  Wondering what to do with the kids that won’t cost a fortune and have you worried the whole time you’re away?  How about calling Nana and Grandpa?  Some folks love the idea, others not so much.

We live hours away from our children and grandchildren so we don’t have the opportunity to babysit very often.  Last month, however, we were lucky enough to watch two of our four grandkids while their parents went out of town for some grownup time.  We know about raising kids (hey, we’re grandparents!), but there were some particular bits of information we really didn’t know. Here are a few things my daughter-in-law did to help us out – and they helped a lot.

Aside from their daily vitamins and allergy medicine, she packed a small bag of medicines that she approved for her kids should they get a cold, fever or a bee sting.  She included a short list of recent vaccinations, including tetanus, should they step on something sharp and end up in the ER.  And she included the name of their pediatrician and phone number back home, just in case someone needed to check on a record. Also very helpful, she gave us their health insurance info (company name, contact number, policy number).

She gave us the number for the national Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) – information I used to have when our kids were small but hadn’t thought about in quite a while.  We talked about taking the kids to the local pool and she gave me a list of safety rules to read with the kids before we went.  We all promised to review them, but we ended up ditching the pool for the slip ‘n slide in the backyard instead.  We had a blast for a whole week!  How about sharing your suggestions?

By the way, this coming Sunday, September 7th, is Grandparents’ Day.

Date night with your husband

Monday, June 16th, 2008

For those of us with children, we know life can be hectic and full, very full.  And if you add an outside job to the mix, it gets fuller – at least the time planning and coordinating everything seems to grow exponentially.  It’s no wonder both moms and dads often feel exhausted, neglected, worn out and frayed around the edges.  And their personal relationship can feel like, “What relationship?”

My daughters and their husbands have taught me something wonderful, something that never occurred to my generation when we were raising kids – date night.  It’s a very good way to carve out adult time, to be alone with the person you love, to do something the two of you used to do before the kids arrived.  It has given them time to talk, and not talk, and keep the bond between them strong because they haven’t gotten lost in the shuffle.

There are all sorts of ways to carve out time, but committing yourselves to doing this on a regular basis is the key – and start when the kids are babies so they’ll know the routine.  One of my girls has a date with her husband every other Thursday evening.  Sometimes they go to a nice restaurant, sometimes they pack a picnic and go for a walk in their neighborhood park. In the winter, they’ll go to a movie. Other times in the summer, after dinner at home, they go out for a long bicycle ride and end up at the ice cream parlor.  Occasionally, they’ll walk into town and have a beer at the pub.  Remember what that was like?  It’s selfish in the good sense – taking care of yourselves.

To make it affordable, they use grandparents and aunts and uncles as sitters.  They also belong to a date night group that they have formed with a few other couples.  Their friends also appreciate some quality time out, so they take turns watching each other’s children once every couple of months.  It’s a great idea that works for them.  Would it work for you?