Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Does it Always Have to Be an Emergency?

Why is it that people always wait until the last minute to ask for what they need so that it becomes an emergency? This usually happens by children since they can’t really think into the future, so last minute they realize they need some school supplies or something and it becomes an emergency, having to go at an inconvenient time to the store to buy what they need. They also don’t like waiting, so when they want something, they want it right away!

Lately I see this happening with adults too. When people call me up to ask me to babysit, some just call me 10 minutes before, or that minute, expecting me to be available and drop everything I’m doing to come and babysit for them. I think it’s insensitive of them to think I’m there whenever they need me. There are some mothers that are really great and actually do call me in advance to book me, and I am really grateful for when they do that.

I understand if it’s an emergency situation and just that minute they need me and hadn’t realized they were going to need me before. But if someone schedules an appointment, then usually they know about the appointment before that day, and should be able to call earlier. Plus I think its irresponsible of those that call last minute, what if I really was not available and it wasn’t just a case of “saying no”. Then if they wait for last minute they will really be stuck. If they call in advance then at least they would be able to create a backup plan.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Guide For Babysitters

babysitter guide When I saw this guide for babysitters I got nervous, I would rather just not think about emergency situations arising, otherwise it will just be stressful. By new mothers when they give me emergency contact information, I start getting nervous, and start imagining different scenarios that might happen. So I naturally didn’t like reading this. But I decided to go through each point and see if I am doing things right.

Have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency: Family name, children’s names, house address with nearest cross street, instructions on how to contact the parents, phone number(s) of close relatives and neighbors, doctor’s name and phone number along with a medical release.

So far by all the families I babysit, only one has all this information ready. She has a index card with the contact information, and she puts it on the counter when I come. Then she also puts down the invitation with the address of where they will be, and any other relevant information to their night out. It’s part of a routine already, I know she puts it on the counter, but I never look at it, I just know it’s there. One other mother has on the refrigerator a list of numbers and stuff, but I think that’s more for herself, like her little phone book.

In the event of an emergency; call 911: identify yourself by name, tell them you are babysitting and state the problem. State the address of the house where you are and the nearest cross streets (be sure to specify north, south, Avenue, Street, etc.) Give the phone number you are calling from.

This one really makes me nervous, to think of an emergency happening. So far I haven’t encountered any emergencies B”H. But I think this is pretty much common sense, and in case you don’t have common sense at such a time, then I’m sure 911 with ask you these questions so you will know what to say. But I guess this is why its important to have the contact information written down so that you will know the address of the house.

Get written instructions about any medicines to be given to the children including how much and what time to give.

So far I didn’t have to give any medications to the kids I babysit, but if I did then I’m sure the parents would tell me what to give and how much, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Having visitors while babysitting is a bad policy. Always get approval if you would like to have a visitor.

This makes sense, I never had anybody come over while I was babysitting. Although one time I had a sibling come over to drop off something that I had left at home. I would say its also important for the mother to let the babysitter know if any visitors are expected. One time when I was babysitting I heard someone at the door, I asked who it was and they said it was the cleaners. Now the parents hadn’t told me that they were expecting the cleaners to come. So I didn’t know if I should believe the man, and there was no peep whole to look through to see if he was carrying clothes. Or there was a peep hole and I just couldn’t see through it. So I started imaging that the person was lying and I said I can’t open up. So then the delivery man of the cleaners offered to just put the stuff by the door and that I can take it when he goes away. So I let him do that. But I was still to afraid to open the door after, so when the parents came home they saw the shirts hanging on the doorknob so they brought it in.

Find out who you should call in case of an emergency. Be sure to get their phone number.

So that comes under the contact information part. No one ever gives that to me. I guess I should start asking. I always assume I should call the parents in case of an emergency, and I have their numbers saved in my phone.

Take a walk through the house and check for any special locks, windows that cannot be climbed out of, other telephones and anything that would be a problem in case of an emergency.

I never do that. Sounds like its from some sort of mystery movie. I would assume if the family is living there the whole time, then the parents will make sure everything is ok.

During the walk through, check for hazards and things that the children can get into, such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything else that may be dangerous.

Again, I would think the parent would take care of this. Plus if I’m watching the kid I would notice what they can get into and I would stop them, so no need to really do a check beforehand.

Have a mental fire drill; plan on more ways than one to get yourself and the children out of the house in case of fire.

Now this one just spooks me out. I don’t want to imagine there being a fire.

Be sure to find out if you are to give the children anything to eat or drink before bed.

I Don’t see why this is so important. But the parents do usually tell me if they want me to give their kids something to eat or drink before bed. One mother usually leaves candy for me on the table, so if the kids are still up then she will tell me that the kids can each have one candy. Then she also prepares water bottles for them, so she tells me that each kid brings a water bottle up to their bed when they go to sleep.

Make sure all the doors and windows are locked from the inside, and lock the front door after the parents leave.

I never check the windows, although I did learn it is important to find out if they have an alarm on the windows or doors. The parents usually lock the doors when they leave so I usually don’t have to do that. Recently I went babysitting by a two family house. The mother suggested I take the baby out to the park cause it was a nice day. She gave me the combination to the main door to get into the building. She said she will keep the house door open so that I can come back in. But of course out of habit she forgot to keep it unlocked, and had locked the combination. So after taking the baby to the park, I came back, opened the main door, and when I came to the house door, I found it locked. I thought perhaps it was a jammed door so I tried pushing it. But I could tell it was locked. So I was thinking to myself if I should just go out more with the kid, or call the parent and ask for the combination. I realized I don’t have the mothers cell number, but I had the fathers. So I called him, told him what happened and asked for the combination. He said he doesn’t remember the combination, but he can come over and open it for me. Seems like he only can open it by seeing the combination and choosing the letters/numbers, but he can’t recall what it is without doing it. So good thing that he works a few blocks away, a half hour later he came and opened the door for me. 

In Case of Fire

-Sound the alarm-yell FIRE as loud as possible.
-If Possible, close the door to the area where the fire is.
-DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to save a life.
-Get everyone out of the house, and do not go back in for any reason.
-Keep all the Children together, and go to the approved neighbor’s home.
-Call the Fire Department at 911 and leave the children with the neighbors. Then go back outside to direct the fire fighters to the fire if you need to.

Now that is the part that I really don’t like reading about!
Here is where ignorance is Bliss!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Protecting our Children

After reading Lion of Zion’s post and keep hearing about molesters and how dangerous they are, the worst part being what they may do to our children, I started wondering if there were any tell tale signs signaling this guy is a dangerous guy, to keep the children away. From the pictures I have seen of previous “sicko’s” you would have never known what they were up to. I think that is the scariest part, thinking you can trust someone because they appear normal, and may even seem to be good people, and then boom, look what they can do.

I remember going to a park that has a children’s section and another section for biking/rollerblading. I had gone with a young girl to the children’s section, she went on the swings, and played around a bit. Then we were sitting on the bench taking a break before the long walk home. I noticed this 40/50 year old man come in on rollerblades with his shirt open and sunglasses on. He started rollerblading leisurely around the kid’s area. Now I started thinking this was weird, if there’s a whole mile circle for rollerblading, why would he come into the kids section? Could this possibly be a sign that he was looking at the little kids and was going to do something dangerous to one of them?

Then another guy with a weird looking face, also 40/50 age range came into the children’s section with a radio, and he was just walking around. Perhaps he came into the area to sit on a bench, but he didn’t sit down anywhere, he was just looking around. Could this also be a sign? I mean why would grown ups come into the kid’s section if they have no kid’s with them? Or perhaps that’s just being paranoid. But it is better to be safe than sorry, so I would say if you start seeing strange people walking around places they don’t belong then it would be a sign to make sure you know where your children are, to keep an eye on them and stay away from the weird looking/acting strangers.

At the same time you don’t want to go overboard. You don’t want to live a life of fear and not be able to trust anyone. Perhaps there are feelings a person gets that warns them when something isn’t right. So perhaps there is no need to worry excessively, your senses will kick in and you will know when someone is no good. Twice I had a weird feeling about some people, I thought it was just myself being paranoid or prejudice towards these people. But then the person I was with said the exact same thing I was thinking, and confirmed my suspicions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleep---Why Kids Hate It and Adults Love It

Today I had a babysitting job at 8:30 in the morning, so I knew I had to go to sleep early the night before to wake up on time. I had been used to getting up at 10:00 since my college classes don’t start till later. So I went to sleep at 10:00 PM, and woke up at 5:00 AM. I miss the days of going to sleep early and waking up early. I realized how good it feels to wake up early and then by the time it’s 8:00 AM it feels like most of the day passed already. So you don’t leave your house wishing you were still sleeping, instead you feel refreshed and awake. It was nice to walk outside and actually see people outside. Mothers bringing their kids to bus stops. Saying Good Morning to everyone. It feels so good to wake up early and leave the house early.

Now Why do kids never want to go to sleep by bedtime? Why do they always stall going to bed? One answer is because kids only see the present, they only see the here and now, they can’t think into the future. So for them going to bed is like committing suicide. They don’t know that there will be a fun filled day tomorrow. All they see is that they are putting an end to the fun they are having right now. So a way to get kids to go to sleep on time, is to tell them what is to come. Start talking to them about the day tomorrow. They will get excited about what is to come, and they will start to dream about it and fall asleep.

Now Adults have the opposite problem. Adults are to busy worrying about the future, all the problems they have, that they can’t focus on enjoying the present. Therefore adults like sleeping. They want to sleep their day away to sleep away their problems. To not have to think about the troubles that are to come. For the adults, you just have to stop worrying about what is to come. Relax and enjoy the morning and day hours, and do something constructive.

There are some adults though that are a perfect balance, they can go to sleep on time and wake up in the morning at the right time. They are usually the most healthy and happy people. A 9 to 5 job usually causes such a routine. Staying up at night should be for a special occasion, a wedding, a night out, not a regular routine. Some houses have a rule that at 10:00 PM lights are out and no one is allowed to call the house phone line. That might be too strict for some, but if the parents are sleeping, and the lights are out then it will be easier for the kids to fall asleep. While in other houses where everyone is up at 2 in the morning, lights are on, music blasting, then it will be hard for the kids to go to sleep.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Having Large Families

Everyone always says having a lot of kids is expensive. But yet every time I think of a big family I think of “Cheaper by the Dozen”. In the title it says “cheaper”, so then having a big family should be cheaper, buying things in bulk and so on. There is one family I babysit by, that is up to baby #12. I can’t wait for this baby to come, the family had been away in the summer, and just came back this past week. It was then that I noticed baby #12 is on its way.

This family is my favorite family in the whole entire world. From the day I met the kids when I was 8 or 9, I have felt a connection towards them. I used to play with the kids all the time when I was younger. I had “raised” 5 of them. Holding them when they were babies, changing their diapers, feeding them, playing with them, and everything. I love these kids so much. The oldest is 16, 9 girls and 2 boys. Each kid has 2 names or more, its amazing how they don’t run out of names.

What’s really amazing is, the kids are all so well behaved. When the kids would play outside, not one of them would go into the street. The parents would rest on Shabbos, and not one of them would wake them up, they all knew to be quiet. The kids received all the attention they needed. The mother would sit with each kid and go over parsha sheets and school stuff, and talk with them, and sing with them. They each got one on one attention.

For many years they had a one floor house, and had only 3 bedrooms. Then a few years ago they redid their house and now they have 2 floors, with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms. They have a big playroom where they have closets full of games and toys. Each kid has a different chore. One of them is to clean the playroom. When I go over there and play with the kids, I always offer to clean the room after I play, or more like I start cleaning up, then the kid who’s chore it is, tells me that I don’t have to do it, that its her job. These kids don’t complain about their “jobs” they have.

Also, with many of the families that I have babysat for a long time, the kids had started getting used to me and misbehaved. These kids I’ve known for the longest time, and yet they always behave and listen to me. Although sometimes bed time can be hard, as is normal with all kids, they don’t give such a hard time.

Now the feeling of love I have for these kids are mutual, which makes it all the more rewarding. When the 1 year old would see me, he would start running towards me. The kids always want me to come to their house on Shabbos to play with them. Although some times I want to talk with the older kids, I end up giving in and go play with the little ones.

Now back to the expenses issue, one big expense is tuition. The reason why they may be able to afford it, is because both parents are teachers. For many years the kids got free tuition, or at least a discounted one. But even by a different family where they have to pay for the kids tuition I don’t think it should serve as a factor to stop the parents from having many kids.

I think having a large family isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great thing for those that are able to do it. It takes great parenting, if you are a great parent then no matter how many children you have, they should turn out great.

I heard a great little dvar torah recently that I found applicable to this situation. It says “Ishto Kigafno” That a wife should be like a vineyard. Now there are different types of trees. There are the really strong ones with no fruit. Then there are the fruit trees with a lesser strength of wood. Then there is the vineyard, which is the weakest type of wood. The vineyard gives all its strength to its fruits. So when it says the wife should be like a vineyard, it means a great mother is one that cares for her children and gives all her strength over to them.

Which is why if a husband comes home and sees the wife sleeping on the couch with all the kids running around wild, he should know what a great wife she is. That she has given over all her energy over to her kids, like a vineyard. So the husband gets it good, when he comes home from work, the wife has already done all the work and cared for the kids, now he gets to enjoy them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Having Children In Old Age

I always thought it was funny to hear how grandmothers and mothers were in the hospital the same time having babies. I remember a girl in my class in 8th grade, had an aunt that was in 5th grade. It sounded so strange that the aunt should be younger than the niece. But at the same time I always thought it was so cool, it was unique and interesting.

Recently a lady I know that is 45 just had a baby (she already has 5 other kids). The baby turned out healthy and everything, so there were no complications. The mother had already thrown out or given away all her old baby stuff. So now she got to buy new stuff. I think the shopping for baby stuff adds to the excitement of having a baby. I can imagine it being so much fun to pick out a crib, strollers, and outfits for the baby, it makes it more real.

The mother must appreciate the baby so much more, since there is a 12 year gap from the child on top of the baby. After 12 years the mother had a rest, and now she is ready for more fun, its all fresh again. Then when the mother gets old she will have a younger child to take care of her. The mother will also have help from the older children to take care of the baby. So even if the mother might not have as much energy as when she was 20, she will have the help of her older children. By having the older children help out, they will be gaining, it will be a learning experience on how to give and care for another.

There can be some down sides to having a big gap between children. For one, the baby will become a real baby, and be really spoiled. The baby won’t get a chance to take care of children under them, so they will have less of a sense of responsibility, and will expect to get their way. Since there is a big age gap, they won’t have siblings to be friends with, since the older siblings are already onto another stage in their life. The babies children might not get to enjoy the grandparents, since the grandparents will be very old at that time.

I don’t think people should wait till they are 40 to have children. I think people in their 20’s are mature enough to have children. Even if they are not mature, the baby will mature them. At the same time, I think its great for mothers to continue having children when they are “older”. Unless the doctor specifies otherwise, in the fear that there will be complications in the birth.