Friday, May 30, 2008

Got Nosh?

Case 1:
Tzippy is so excited her mother bought her one of her favorite snacks. She comes to school sits in class anxious for recess time to get to eat her favorite snack, sour sticks. The bell rings it is now recess. Tzippy rushes to her briefcase takes out her sour sticks is about to take her first bite and savor the taste. When two girls sitting next to her caught the flash of the red sour sticks and wanted some too. Rivky has been taught by her parents not to ask for snack from other kids, so she went to her briefcase and took out the same snack she got every day, homemade chocolate chip cookies and sighed. But then when she took a bite into the cookies and tasted how good they were she forgot about the sour sticks and she remembered what her mother told her about sugary nosh, that it causes cavities, and she knew she didn't like going to the dentist. Chani on the other hand saw those red sour sticks and her mouth started watering. She went over to Tzippy with her hand out stretched. "If you give me snack I'll be your best friend" she said. With such an offer, Tzippy just couldn't refuse. She gave Chani a sour stick. But then once Chani had one she wanted more and they ended up splitting up the whole bag.

Case 2:
It was recess time, Yitzi took out his bag of potato chips. He started opening the bag. All of a sudden the boys sensed a nosh bag was being open. They heard the crinkle of the bag. Before Yitzi knew it thirty hands were outstretched before him asking for some snack. Yitzi looked at his bag of potato chips, he looked at the other boys. He knew if he gave snack he would become popular and he was too embarrassed to say no, so he gave each outstretched hand a potato chip. After the boys got their share they went back to playing ball. Yitzi looked at his bag and saw he was left with one Potato chip.

After Tzippi and Yitzi tell their case to the court, it is now up to the jurors to decide what the verdict will be, Should children be told to share snack?

  1. The children learn to do chesed.
  2. They are accomplishing the mitzvah of V'Havta Lereacha, "What's Mine is Yours".
  3. The children learn to share, that part of the joy of having something, is to be able to give it to others.
  4. The children will become less fat if they don't have as much snack.

  1. The children are left with nothing for themselves and feel forced into giving their snack to others for the sake of friendship, popularity, or reputation.
  2. Parents spend triple the amount of money on their children's snack so that the children will have enough snack to give to others.
  3. Snack is all that is on the parents mind. When they are by Vorts or other Simchas and they see nosh there they stuff it into their pockets so that their children will be able to have snack for the rest of the week. Without thinking that it perhaps may be stealing.
  4. Children feel they have to hide in the closet when they have a good snack so that nobody will find them and ask for snack.
  5. Children become adults, then as an adult they carry the same traits and start hoarding their food/nosh.

Jurors: so what will the verdict be?

Monday, May 26, 2008


Children are known for being naive. They are innocent and don't yet know that people can be cruel and trick them into things or tell them lies and raise their expectations to the impossible. The question is, as an adult is it fair to trick kids into believing things because of their naivety. This brings up the question of empty threats and bribery.

Even as adults is it fair to trick other adults into believing things that are just made up. Shouldn't there be a disclaimer in fine print to say that it is fake and a joke. People could believe things all their lives and then one day someone breaks the news to them that it is made up and their whole world crashes on them. Everything they believed in they find out is nothing.

Sometimes it can be hard to explain to a child a difficult concept like death and parents may lie to their children and say the pet went to sleep so as not to have to get the child upset. The child grows up and realizes that the pet had died and not gone to sleep. Even a question like "Where does a baby come from". There's no reason to have to make things up and say it gets delivered in the mailbox or you buy it at the hospital. Every child at their own level can understand some concept. You don't have to explain the whole thing, but on their level. For a young child less information is needed, while for an older more mature child more information is acceptable.

Now with the question of empty threats. Empty threats are usually used when a parent is desperate and their child isn't listening to them. If the child doesn't want to go to school in the morning, the parent will say the child won't get to play with his friends, or the parent will take away a toy of theirs, or any such thing. First of all, I don't think threats are a good way to convince a child to do something. One, it just gets the child more upset and angry at the parent. Two, if you don't follow through with the threat then the child knows you won't really keep to the threat and they won't listen anyways. Plus, is it really fair to put the child through so much aggravation of worrying about not getting what they want and then at the end they get it.

Then with the question of bribery, should a parent be allowed to promise their child a prize for doing something the parent wants them to do. If its a chart then that's one thing, that's not bribery, that's a reward system that is set up in advance that the child knows how it works. I think charts are a great idea, the child has something to look forward to and sees how their progressing. However, if its a spur of the moment bribe then its playing with the child's trust in the parent. A child is taking too long doing homework so the parent says if you finish your homework right away you'll get to stay up and watch a video. The parent knows they don't let their kids watch video's on a school night, so they have no plan on keeping to their promise. They just use the bribe to get the kid to do what they want. Now it comes bedtime and the child expects to watch a video but the mother says its too late now and then a whole argument erupts between parent and child. "But you promised" the child tells the mother, and the mother puts on an indifferent face and walks out, while the child cries itself to sleep and then won't be so fast in trusting the mother again. Or if the child does continue falling for the bribery then it just becomes worse.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Get to Know Your Kids

Shul time can be a great time to get to know your kids. To know if they are able to handle shul or not. When kids are still young and don't know how to daven there is no reason for them to have to come to shul. If after going one time to shul with your kids and you see they make noise and don't behave, then realize they are not ready to be in shul. If your child will be able to sit next to you the whole time and not make noise then your child is able to come.

Additionally, shul is not a place for kids to run around and play. Especially if shul's don't have play rooms and the kids end up playing outside by themselves. Its really dangerous to have kids unattended. Its a miracle no one gets hurt.

If the child is mature and can behave in shul then I think it would be a great experience for them. To get to see how their father davens and to get used to shul and want to go when their older.

Also, I don't think mothers should come with all their kids just for the kiddush. It sends the wrong message to the kids. Plus the kids shouldn't take up all the chairs and take food first. Parents should train the kids that they should have respect for the adults and wait their turn to take food, and not to take before davening is over. However, if the kiddish is for somebody who just had a baby or any such simcha then it would be okay for people to come for just the kiddush.

I still remember one time I went to a simcha kiddush, it was buffet style. I was sitting with my family at one table and near us was a young girl with her mother. The young girl got a plate of food and then sat down by her table. Meanwhile the mother was still getting food and hadn't come back yet. The girl waited till her mother returned and started eating, and only then did the girl eat. I was impressed by seeing that, it shows real manners on the girls part, and that she was trained well.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Is It That Obvious?

Sometimes I wonder if my love for children is that obvious. Kids seem to always know that I'm interested in what they have to say and that I want to play with them. Or even the mothers to know to ask me if I can babysit.

I made a new friend yesterday, where this kid on my block who just turned 6 saw me coming home from my other babysitting job and started walking me home and talking to me. Then there was a car sticking out of the driveway into the street so I went around the car into the street, so the girl asked me if I was crossing, I realized she still wanted to talk to me, so I said no that I was just going around the car. Although I did see different neighbors across the street so I was gonna go say hello to them. She continued talking to me when I was by my house so I sat down on the steps and waited for her to be done, but the conversation didn't end. Then her mother called her to to come back to her house, and she told me to wait outside while she goes to her mother and finds out what she wants. Then she came back saying she had to go inside now. She told me she wanted me to babysit by her, so she will tell her mother that when her mother goes away she should call me to babysit, so I said ok and told her to have a good night.

Meanwhile, this girl has lived on my block all these years and I never had a conversation with her before. She all of a sudden became interested in me, because a week ago I had been by a different neighbors house playing with the kids and she was there too playing with them. She saw how all the kids were all over me, so she commented "They really love you 'Babysitter'". So since then she became my friend.

Anyways, today I had a final and when I handed in my test my professor said have a good summer and the usual, then he showed me some pictures. I haven't noticed the pictures on the desk before. But then I looked at them and they were pictures of his daughter in some plays. I asked what play it was and he said "Oliver". Then I asked how old she is and he said "ten". She was a really cute kid and looks like she's a great actor too. I was wondering how he knew that I would be interested in looking at the pictures of hid kid. Other people handed in the test and he didn't say anything to them. So I wonder if my interest in children is so apparent.

Although there was one case where I wasn't interested in children. In elementary school girls would always bring in pictures of their newborn nieces and nephews. They would show off the pictures on their looseleaf and everyone would come around the desk "oohing and ahhing" about how adorable the baby was. To me it just looked like any baby. All newborn babies looked the same to me. If I didn't know who the kid was, then it was just a picture of another baby and I never gushed over them. But then if I would look back at pictures of babies of kids I already know, I would see the face resemblance and then the picture would have meaning and I would really enjoy looking at those pictures.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Power of Music

It's almost Lag Baomer which means it's almost time for Music! It's amazing what a miracle music can do for kids. In little kids classrooms they always have music playing while the kids color, it makes a more relaxed environment. But even starting younger than that, as a baby, the cribs have lullaby's playing from them. One time I was babysitting a one year old and he had been sleeping and then woke up and started crying, I tried getting him to quiet down and nothing worked. Then the parents said to try turning on the music and put him in the carriage and wheel him back and forth, and it worked, the kid fell back asleep.

Now going back to toddler age, whenever you want a kid to remember something, you teach it to them in a song and they can remember practically anything, and it sticks to when they get older. That could show the importance of having appropriate music playing around young kids.

Then as kids get older, in elementary school, they usually make tapes with their class of different songs they learned throughout the year, its something the child can cherish for the rest of their life, it has so many memories attached to it and triggers many pleasant memories you forget about in your hectic everyday lives.

I remember going to a house where motzei shabbos they would turn on the music loud and everyone would get to work cleaning up after shabbos. The music was so enjoyable and put an exciting mood into the air, that the kids actually wanted to clean up and didn't feel like they were doing hard work. Because the music can get you into a mood to be productive and it awakens you to get active. That's also why a gym would have music playing so the people don't think about working out, but rather the music causes them to want to move.

Music can also help in long car rides, after an hour kids start getting restless. With story tapes it may be good for a while, but then the kids loose focus and don't have the energy to comprehend the story. With music the kids don't have to focus on the song, it becomes background music, they can listen without having to put thought into it.

Music can also get kids to get wild sometimes, if the music is too loud they can get hyper. If the music is on in a bedroom then the kids will start jumping on the bed singing on top of their lungs. I guess the bed feels like a stage to them, and they get to bounce up and down which is the movement the music causes. But then if the kids get too wild there's always a solution, just turn off or lower the music and they will behave again.

Then there's also the lite and relaxing music played at dentists or doctors. When a kid is about to get a shot, their not too pleased about it and they will start crying. So the music relaxes them and puts them at ease and gives them something else to pay attention to. By closing your eyes and just focusing on the music you can transform yourself to a different place and then by the time you open your eyes its all over with and the pain is gone.

If a kid is angry and upset they can put on music, usually with headphones. It will block out the rest of the world and leave them in solitude a bit so they can think it all over and calm down. Then there's the actual playing of music, usually drums work the best when a kid is angry. Give them something to bang on and they get their frustration out, they get to hear the loud noise and they feel their anger is being heard.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cloning The Babysitter

Right now I feel like having myself cloned would make babysitting so much easier. Seems like everyone needs babysitters these days and I just can't be everywhere at the same time.

One person says to me "So are we on for Wednesday night?" I said "sorry, someone already asked me". Then she said "I thought we had a deal that you come to me every Wednesday night". I guess it was implied cause I was babysitting by her for already 4 or 5 Wednesday nights. So she said "next Wednesday night your coming to me" so I said "ok, I didn't know before that I was yours for every Wednesday night, but from now on I won't book other people that night".

Then I got a phone call from someone else and she left a message saying she needs me for 3 Wednesday nights. I forgot to call her back for a week, cause I was meaning to tell her I wouldn't be able to come because I have a different babysitting job. Then today she calls back to see what the story is, and I told her that I'm sorry but a different person already asked me for every Wednesday night, so I can't. So she said "Wow, your in demand, that must be good to have some pocket money". I wasn't even thinking about the money, cause like I said in an earlier post, I don't babysit for the money.

So sometimes I just wish that there can be more babysitters like me, then I can just send them out to the different places. Although really it wouldn't work for 2 reasons. One, because I would be jealous if there were other "Babysitters" going around. Two, because if the "Babysitters" would each go to different jobs then through the different environments they will automatically change and won't be the same clone anymore, they would develop different personalities.

Usually I don't like taking on new jobs cause then it just makes more people need me and making it harder to fit everyone in. Sometimes I make exceptions though. So I babysat for a new person, then she says to me:

"I can use an extra hand around here- are you interested in babysitting again? or are you too busy ? also how much do you charge an hour? now that I know your in the neighborhood- I can really use help - my hubby works till very late at night and sometimes I could use an extra hand- whats your schedule like? I know you work for so and so- but if your interested- maybe I can give you more work!!"

It gets to a point where it just makes me laugh, "Maybe I can give you more work" As if I already don't have enough! But then again it can be refreshing to babysit by new people. "
how much do you charge an hour?" I can take advantage of that question, and because I'm in such a "demand" I can raise my price. But because I'm not raising it for the other people, I will just tell her the regular price.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Babysitter Rights

As a babysitter there are certain rights implied that I have, or anyone for that matter. One such right would be the right of privacy. When I go babysitting, I bring with me a little pocketbook with my cell, keys, and calender.

Then if my phone would ring, I would go get it and see who called, and then sometimes answer. Then the kids would see which pocket the phone was in. They know that phones have cameras in them and that it takes pictures. So the first time they asked if they can take a picture with my phone. So I let them. But then once I let them once they figure it means they can use it whenever they want. So they would go into my bag and take out the phone and start pressing buttons and taking pictures. It was an old phone and I figured they can't cause much harm to it. So I would let them.

But then, if the mother is home and she sees her kids going through my pocketbook and taking out my phone and using it without permission, she would tell them they are not allowed to do that. That you don't go through other peoples things, which is true. So I let her tell them that without correcting her and telling her that I don't mind. For the purpose of parenting, so that they will listen to their mother.

Now, yesterday the kids wanted to play a game that was in the closet. One kid said its supposed to be a prize for when their tooth falls out. So I told them we can't play with it then, that its supposed to be a prize. But then the kids wanted to play with it anyways, and I figured its not causing any harm, so I took the game down and taught them how to play. Then the kids started whining and being impatient, because it was a 2 people game, so one of them was left out. The game was checkers, and they didn't understand that you can only jump if there is a piece to jump over, and that you can only move one piece at a time. So they were fed up with the rules. So the mother told them to stop whining, that they won't be able to play the game like that.

The kid started crying when her mother said she had to clean up the game and can't play. So I was listening to the mother and told the kid she's not allowed to play and that we have to clean up. But she cried harder, so I figured the rest of the kids found something else to do and were quiet, so I could play with her. So we set up the game again and I played with her. Then after the game the kid started smelling what will be for dinner, and she liked the smell, so she ran up to her mother as if she hadn't been misbehaving before and gave her mother a hug and said thank you for making her favorite supper. The mother accepted the hug but told her that she has to stop having temper tantrums and expecting me to give in, she said its not nice and that now she has to apologize to me, and she said that really they weren't supposed to be playing the game because it was for a treat.

Now this causes a few reactions from me, a whole mumble jumble of thoughts. I never think negative of the mother, and I always think that she doesn't mean to offend me whenever she says anything. So when the mother said the kid had to apologize to me, again I didn't expect an apology or anything and I understand its the way of kids. But then when she says that they weren't supposed to be playing the game. In a way it implies that I shouldn't have brought the game down to let them play with it. As a negative thing on my part, but yet I know she didn't mean it that way. But still I want to do what the mother says. So then other times I say "no" to the kids, and follow what the mother says. But then it gets the kids all upset and everything, and sometimes its just not worth it. As long as its not a bad or dangerous thing, then I would give in to them.

Then there's also the right to personal space. As a babysitter I don't feel like this right is necessary. I let the kids sit on my lap or play with my hair. A lot of times they ask me to pick them up and carry them. So of course once I carry one of them, the others also wants a ride, so I have to do each one, so then it could get out of hand and I put a limit. But then if its only one kid that wants me to carry them, then I would. The mother would tell the kid not to make me carry her around all day. Which again is a valid concern, but again I didn't mind. So I wasn't gonna put the kid down the second the mother said that, but I wasn't gonna answer back either. So I would carry her to where she was going, and then put her down and say "no more".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mazel Tov! -- It Broke

Nobody wants things to break, but it happens that things fall and break. Or something is treated incorrectly and breaks. Children are very prone to breaking things. They don't know how to handle little delicate things and are often clumsy.

When a child climbs on a chair, a parent can either say "Get down, the chair will break" or "Get down, you are going to hurt yourself". When a parent puts the object first, does that mean they care more about their furniture than the child? Or maybe the parent has faith in the child that they won't hurt themselves so then they only have to be concerned about the furniture which cannot protect itself and therefore needs the parent protecting it.

But then when a child falls on the floor, or a child's finger gets stuck in the door, some parents will tell the child to hit the floor or the door. This supposedly helps because the child is getting out its frustration on the thing that caused him to get hurt. The child will say "Bad door" and it makes them feel better. Though the door has no feelings to answer back, so they automatically win.

Now, what happens when a child has something important to them, a new toy and then it breaks. The parent can either scream at the child for breaking the toy that they just bought for x amount of dollars. In that case the child will feel guilty and get more upset and angry thinking that its not their fault. This takes away from the actual sadness of the child at the loss of their new toy. Or the parent can say "oy vey" and then the child feels the sadness and gets hysterical and wants a new toy right away.

Then today, I saw a different approach that I've never seen before. A child was oustide with a porcelain doll, which isn't made of plastic and therefore can break easily. So the child was holding the doll and coming out of a car and then "crash" the doll's foot broke and shattered to pieces. The mother didn't get upset at the child, neither did she make a big deal out of it. Instead she said "Mazel Tov!".

I thought this was such a good way to deal with it. The child didn't start crying. They just picked up the doll from outside and moved on, went inside the house, and that was the end of that. I'm sure the child felt a little regret that her doll was now broken, but there were no outbursts and the child was able to think rationally and the mother probably took care of the rest of it. Either to buy a new one, or to explain that she has other dolls, or that its not completely broken and so on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Close an Eye, What do You See? Close an Ear, What do You Hear?

My attempt at poetry:

A child looking through a telescope

closes an eye to focus better
the image now clear
the child stands back
one eye still closed
looks ahead
then blinks and closes the other eye
magic, everything has shifted over
the child discovers a new game
open one eye, shut the other
then switch over
what was once here
is now there!

A loud banging noise
the child closes his ears
to block out the sound
waits a few
then opens one ear
checks, has the noise gone away he asks
but wait
now there is a louder noise
coming from him
his voice is now louder
the child opens both ears
talks, sounds regular
closes an ear, then hears louder!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Made Just For Children

I came across a blog making fun of One Step Ahead, a website that comes up with innovative baby and toddler products. It was a great entertaining post, so I decided to check out the website and see which other products they have that weren't mentioned. There were lots of silly products, but then there were some that were really creative and useful.

For Bath time there are:

"My Own Shower"

This is great for Toddlers to learn how to take showers, with the water coming to them from a lower level. This way the water is more focused at them, and they won't have to be afraid of the big shower.

"Flo Faucet Cover"

This is great for children taking baths, to get the hair washed, instead of using buckets and cups. This way they get washed like a regular shower but with the fun of taking a bath.

"Shampoo Rinse Cup"

This is great for washing a kids hair in the bath. Instead of using a regular cup that leads to water getting in the eyes. This cup has a flat bottom that goes on the head so that the water will go straight back instead of falling down the front of the face.

"Shampoo Visor"

This is great for shampooing a kids hair, so that the shampoo doesn't go in their face. It also prevents the water from going in their eyes after the shampoo is rinsed off. It lets the kid play with toys in the bathtub without having to worry about shampoo going in her face.

"Bathtime Shower"

This is great for babies taking baths. They get to press a button and then water comes out like a shower. So they get to have the fun of a sprinkler shower while taking a bath. This way they can rinse off the soap with the shower.

For Night Time there is:

"Kid's Switch"

This is great for little children that can't reach the light switch. Instead of having to ask someone to turn on/off the light, they can do it themselves.

For a Child's Bedroom there is:

"Magic Wall Magnetic Paint"

This is great for hanging up arts 'n crafts children make. When there isn't enough room on the fridge, you paint on the magnetic paint on a wall, and the wall becomes magnetic so that anything can be hung up on it.

For Eating there is:

"Catch Bowl"

This is great for when kids are eating something with a spoon, where the food usually falls. This bowl has a tilted part that catches the food and rolls it back into the bowl so that it doesn't spill and waste the food.

For Safety there are:

"CareRails Mount Kits and Extension Kit"

This is great for when children go up and down the stairs and can't reach the regular railing. They get their own railing that is on their level.

"Easy View Back Seat Mirror"

This is great for when driving, instead of having to keep turning your head to check on the child, you can see the child through the mirror.