By Tom Willis via Lifehack
Young children grow up fast. The many stages of development they pass through from birth to early school years requires a lot of keeping up and finding new ways to stimulate their curiosity and satisfy their daily needs. As a parent, this duty is a tough but rewarding task. Your child will benefit greatly from the toys and tools within their immediate environment, which, in addition to your emotional support, will help shape their development. Here is a guide to go by for choosing play items that can have a positive effect on a child’s health and mental progress from 0 – 5 years of age.
Toys for Young Infants (0 – 6 Months)
- Babies like to follow people with their eyes. Bright colours and faces capture attention at this age. Scientific reports on parenting tell us it is common for them to turn their head towards sound, and put things in their hands and mouth.
- Good learning and development toys include:
- Toys to reach for, hold on to, suck on, shake, make noise with: baby rattles, shakers, rubber-edged shapes and soft balls (of a size too big to swallow).
- Sounds to listen to: books with nursery rhymes and lullabies that will also ease them into a healthy sleeping pattern.
- Items to look at: crib mobiles or playful interactive mirrors that make sounds when pressed or squeezed.
Toys for Older Infants (7 – 12 Months)
Older babies embrace their new-found mobility and have license to bounce, crawl, pull themselves up, and stand. As they grow, they begin to understand their own names, other common words, and objects. These types of toys are beneficial for strengthening larger muscles and joints in the body.
Good learning and development toys include:
- Toys to play pretend with: baby dolls, puppets, plastic and wood vehicles, such as choo-choo trains and wagons.
- Items to drop and remove: plastic bowls, large beads, and bouncy balls.
- Toys to build with: large soft blocks and wooden cubes as part of a set.
Toys for 1-Year- Olds
At this age, a child can walk steadily and climb stairs. They take in stories and begin to say their first words between the ages of 12-24 months. Around this time they also like to experiment in their close environment.
Good learning and development toys include:
- Board books with simple illustrations.
- Photographs of real objects.
- Recordings with songs, rhymes, or simple stories.
- Items to create with: washable markers, crayons, and paper.
Stimulating a child’s cognitive skills helps them to make sense of their surroundings.
Toys for 2-year- olds (toddlers)
An age for learning language and doing a lot of physical testing such as jumping from heights, climbing, hanging by their arms, rolling, and rough-and-tumble play.
Good learning and development toys include:
- Toys for building: transportation toys, construction sets, child-sized furniture kitchen sets, chairs, play food.
- Items to create with: large paintbrushes and fingerpaint, chalkboard and large chalk, and musical instruments.
- Pop-up books and picture books and with characters.
Encouraging a child to think for itself will increase mental agility and intuition.
Toys for 3- to 5-year- olds (preschool)
As a child’s attention span increases they start to talk more and ask questions. They begin to develop relationships with other children around them and can be held accountable for their actions.
Good learning and development toys include:
- Toys for solving problems: 20+ piece puzzles, blocks that snap together, and small sorting objects.
- Toys for pretending: dress-up clothes, dolls with accessories, and puppet theatres.
- Items for kicking and throwing/catching.
- Ride-on equipment including tricycle.
Toys that are collectables, particularly stuffed dolls and animal families, inspire children to take up entertaining and kickstart their imagination to invent scenarios and play environments in which they spend time with their favourite items. Such toys are beneficial for strengthening an emotional bond and bringing out character and personality in a child.
(By Beth Hedrick, Source: Lifehack)
Children as young as 6 months old greatly benefit from being read to. You may not realize your baby is taking it all in as you talk about the pictures on each page, turn each page as they sit in your lap, and read the text to them, but they undeniably are soaking it all in. This is, in fact, a critical stage in your child’s reading development.
The Emergent Pre-Reading Stage
As the child is within the stage of emergent pre-reading (typically from ages 6 months to 6 years), he will listen intently to all of the multiple sounds you make, the words, descriptions of images, concepts of the book and print, and chatter from you. This is a highly critical stage, and more important than many parents of babies realize. Exposure to books and talking through the books effectively sets the stage for his future literacy. This can help your children develop the love for reading.
This is all that needs to be accomplished in this stage, as up to the ages of 4-5 years old, in many children, studies point to the fact that the teaching of actual reading is too early. Granted, there is a small percentage that may begin reading pre-kindergarten, but this is a very small percentage. Exposure is the key in this stage. With daily exposure to print and language from the parent or caregiver, the end of this time in the child’s life will consist of the child “pretend” reading, which is when a child looks at the pictures within a book and retells the story in his own words. He also may be able to answer questions about the book when read to, ask questions he is curious about, or even point to specific words in a book and know what they are. This is usually done with a book that they have been very much exposed to in repeated readings.
The Beginning Reader Stage
In this stage, patience is very essential. All children learn to read at very different rates. Although each stage is variably consistent within the age levels, it is important to understand that each child is unique and will learn at his own pace. Our society has put a lot of pressure on children learning to read very early, sometimes too early, when in fact, they may not be developmentally ready. You must understand different stages of development.
This stage is an amazing stage. Your child will amaze you with their growing knowledge of literacy. Exposing him to pictures and vocabulary will enrich his ability to connect spoken words to print. In addition to pictures and vocabulary acquisition, teaching them how to listen for phonemes, or specific sounds in each word, is as significant as learning the alphabet. In addition to familiarizing him with the alphabet letters and sounds, simultaneously focusing on his listening of each distinct phoneme in words will aid him in putting it all together. For example, teaching him that the beginning sound in the word “dog” is not the letter “d”, but the sound that a “d” makes. The individual sound is just as important as identifying the letter.
Typically, children are taught to recognize the first sound they hear within words. The beginning sound is then followed by teaching them to listen for the ending sound of words. The medial vowel, or middle sound, is usually the last sound they really connect to a letter. This is why you see many very beginning writing by 5-year-olds with the beginning letter and ending letter, such as the word “dog” may be “spelled” d-g, leaving out the letter “o”.
Incorporating the meaning of stories as well as basic phonics, or appropriate letters of each word, is equally important in learning to read. In these beginning stages of literacy, building a strong foundation is directly related to successful literacy later on. With a strong foundation from the emergent and beginning stages of reading, the child will move forward in their literacy with the guidance of his parents, caregiver, and school teacher.
#baby #babynurse #nanny #childhoodeducation #newyorkcity #nyc #nycnannies
By Dr Julie Von (source: MindBodyGreen http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27255/the-surprising-link-between-spirituality-fertility.html)
After working with fertility clients for over a decade, I've learned that fertility depends on much more than age, hormone levels, or ovulation windows. Much of what is happening in conception is beyond our mental understanding and falls into the realm of the spirit. By using the tools of the spiritual, we can promote and nourish our fertility.
There are a few simple spiritual techniques that help to balance the endocrine system and promote fertility. Meditation, visualization, and prayer have long been used for calling in a child's spirit. Some cultures use mantras or create songs and music that sweetly lull a spirit to earth from the heavens. These techniques bypass the rational mind and acknowledge that there are systems at work outside of one individual's experience. When the emphasis and focus is removed from a person's analytic mind, several things happen: The nervous system relaxes, stress hormones decrease, and positive feel-good neurotransmitters start to calm and regulate our minds and bodies.
Manifest and reproduce
Limiting belief systems can affect our capacity to manifest and reproduce. But how do you work with a force that hasn't occurred yet like pregnancy? In the current climate of the world, the keys to the sacred are not so obvious. They are hidden in the imaginative and the unseen, the spiritual, if you will. Its messages require developing a meditative and receptive space, so we can have the silence to hear and interpret.
In a recent conversation I had with a brilliant friend, she mentioned that until the mid-1960s, when you asked a women how many children she wanted to have, her answer would most likely be, "G-d knows." Ask the same question now, and most people have very specific numbers, sex and timing planned far in advance. Much of our modern society and culture is based on rational thought. It's not a bad thing, but sometimes it can limit our capacity to understand factors that are outside of our mental comprehension.
I ask my clients to explore in mediation the person they feel they will be once they have a child. What will change in their life, relationship, and emotional state? Will they feel more complete? More fulfilled? Happy? We delve into these answers, unconscious and fear-based beliefs. We find a way to clear those thoughts and integrate their future self into their present self. It is literally magic! Once we identify the very thing we are externally looking for, we attract it into our life. And along the way, we create a better understanding of our desire and radiance.
Spiritual and meditative tools can also be defensive and protective of your fertility. The words and belief systems of those around us tend to affect us, especially when those words resonate with our deepest fears. Through mindfulness, we can cultivate an awareness of the people and energy in our lives that feel negative and make us doubt the intuitive knowledge of our body. When a person expresses a strong opinion about her experience within fertility that may be at odds with your current psycho/emotional state, step back, put that opinion in parentheses, and try to understand the context without making it your own.
Do not take it personally! Do not take it as law or fact no matter how much social authority they have. Observe the reaction it may elicit and put that into parentheses, too. Spiritual liberation often begins with liberation from language. This is a valuable skill to take into the terrain of fertility.
Using your toolbox
￼￼Sometimes the process of deciding to have a child, suffering from loss or infertility, or just preparing for pregnancy creates a feeling of isolation and confusion. It can be challenging to turn the experience into an empowered and healthy one. Using tools that help nourish and build receptive energy such as restorative yoga, meditation, and creativity connect you to the spiritual or unseen aspects of life.
Strengthening this connection provides guidance and clarity when you are faced with challenges. Every challenge we meet in life has the potential to help break us open and promote evolution. Creating a spiritual path within fertility balances the hormonal system and promotes healthy pregnancy.
Babynurses.com #babynurse #newborn #fertility #newborncarespecialist #babynurse #children #newmother
(Source: Women Health News http://www.medindia.net/healthnews/Women-Child-Health-News.asp)
Exercise during pregnancy has tremendous benefits for the mother-to-be. Expecting mothers should go for pregnancy friendly exercises and should get comfortable maternity gear for working out, suggests an expert.
Yuvraj Randhawa, gym trainer and owner of Health Plus gym (H+), gives an insight on smart ways to exercise safely during pregnancy: ‘Expecting mothers should go for pregnancy friendly exercises and should get comfortable maternity gear for working out, suggests an expert.’
* Don't lie on your back: Avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back, especially crunches after the first trimester. Lying on your back for an extended period could make you feel dizzy as this can decrease blood flow to you and to your baby.
* Get maternity gear: Comfort and flexibility are must during workouts but the baby bump needs to be accommodated throughout your pregnancy. Look for workout wear that is specifically sized to your times, shoe and measurements. There should be nothing too constrictive, nor anything too loose. Make sure you don't get too warm, as over-heating can pose a threat to the baby.
* Go for pregnancy friendly exercises: Walking briskly, swimming regularly and parental yoga are all very healthy and easy on baby. Remember that your joints become loose and your center of gravity shifts with pregnancy, so you cannot just scale down your usual routine. Seek out a moderate program that keeps you strong and fit in a relaxed and safe manner.
* Get more rest than usual: Most expectant mothers need more sitting, napping and relaxing, but if you have got a healthy fitness routine going, you need even more time to recoup. Don't ever keep yourself in overdrive, no matter how much you have got going on or how great your love of working out may be. Keeping yourself fit during this time is a very healthy decision, but it also must be a wise one; listen to your body.
* Be prepared to modify your routine: You may not be able to keep up that five mile run when you're pregnant, which is totally fine. Hormonal changes during pregnancy make you more flexible and your growing belly can throw off your center of balance, making your standby workouts more difficult. You may need to cut your workouts a bit short (take a 20 minute walk instead) or decrease your speed or resistance.
babynurse.com, #newborncare #babynurse #baby #newborncarespecialist #doula #prenatal #newmother
Thanks to Marina Cashdan at Artsy for this piece.
“There’s an old-fashioned myth that having a baby is going to make it impossible to work,” says painter Nikki Maloof. “I had just started gaining a lot of momentum in my career when I found out I was pregnant, so it was scary.” Maloof’s fear could apply to any number of career-oriented women across numerous industries. A little over a year ago, I became a mother. It was an unknown that, while mostly exciting, was also terrifying. As a career-focused individual with a job that I love, I feared losing a sense of self and motherhood setting me back from all the hard work I had done—especially considering that men still make up more than 85 percent of top leadership roles in the United States.
But then my son came and that worry dissolved, because motherhood did not change my identity or curtail my ambition—it only reinforced it. While it did, of course, create logistical obstacles to navigate, it also made me more efficient with my time, and more motivated. I wasn’t just working hard for myself anymore, but now for my son, too. By and large, other art-world mothers I spoke with over the past year, and many artists I interviewed for this story, feel that parenting becomes one more life challenge to grapple with, but a choice that ultimately has enriched their lives and careers, more than hindering them.
So why, then, would this myth—that having children ruins a female artist’s career—still linger? Marina Abramović recently made headlines by telling German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel: “In my opinion [having children is] the reason why women aren’t as successful as men in the art world. There are plenty of talented women. Why do men take over the important positions? It’s simple. Love, family, children—a woman doesn’t want to sacrifice all of that.” Her sentiments sparked anger and heated debate. (Lest not we forget, other women artists have spouted similar sentiments, including Tracey Emin).
“It’s a very Donald Trump-ish kind of statement,” says Laurie Simmons, who has two daughters, Lena and Grace, ages 30 and 24. “That a woman without children would be making judgments about women with children is really inappropriate. This idea that there is this very precious thing, artistically speaking, inside a woman that will be broken by having a child is so archaic, primitive, prehistoric. I’ve never heard a male artist discuss whether or not he should have children.”
What defines success in the art world isn’t black-and-white, points out Tara Donovan, who has six-year-old twin boys. “While I understand the pressures of the art world all too well, the notion that women must sacrifice the pleasures of motherhood for the sake of a ‘career’ reflects insidious double standards from a bygone era. I think Abramović has chosen to operate in an art world that reflects the values of this bygone era, where masculinist hierarchies determine what constitutes ‘value’ and ‘success.’ This is the same art world that privileges male artists at auction with exponentially higher prices than women.”
Kara Walker also opted for both motherhood and an ambitious career as an artist. “Having children isn’t for everyone, but offering up old school sexism isn’t useful to anyone,” she says, pointing out that she had her daughter Octavia, now 18, in the same year that she received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. “My daughter is now in college and someone there is teaching about my work. What can I say, I wanted a child and a career and I didn’t feel one took energy from the other.”
Most would consider Simmons, Donovan, and Walker successful artists: All are represented by important galleries (Salon 94, Pace, and Victoria Miro/Sikkema Jenkins & Co., respectively); all three have had exhibitions at major museums; and they all make a good living on their art alone. In fact, many of the world’s highest-grossing women artists are mothers, including Julie Mehretu, Marlene Dumas, Cecily Brown, and Chen Peiqiu. And the list of successful artists who are mothers continues, including Sarah Sze, Teresita Fernández, Wangechi Mutu, Phyllida Barlow, Cornelia Parker, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and many more.
According to Abramović, would these women have been more successful had they abandoned family life and focused only on their careers? Or does this thinking hold women back and perpetuate another fantastical myth of the artist as loner, one who suffers for creativity? And yet while male artists can uphold this illusion of the creative loner while also being partners and parents—Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Ai Weiwei, John Currin, Olafur Eliasson, Chris Ofili, Alex Katz, and many more are fathers—female artists are expected to forgo children in order to meet the same standard. “I’ve spent my life rebelling against these identities that people foisted on me,” says Simmons. “And then when I understood that the art world includes gatekeepers—guys who didn’t think it was appropriate for women artists to have babies—I thought, ‘Fuck you! Not going to happen.’”
In a recent interview about her work, Diana Al-Hadid, who gave birth to a son less than a year ago, was asked whether becoming a mother had changed her work. “I said, ‘No, my work hasn’t changed, and you wouldn’t ask a man that question,’” she says. “No one presumes it’s going to change [a man’s] work—their work is their work and their private life is their private life.” The double standard has certainly been salient over the course of art history, but the question of how much progress has been made today is debatable.
“There is a bias but I wasn’t too hung up on it,” says Al-Hadid. “It might just be the fact that I know that other moms ahead of me in the art world have done it, and I know that women around the world do it under much more difficult circumstances than I have. But I figure, ‘Screw ’em.’ You have to break that bias somehow and you do that by setting an example.” Al-Hadid points out that not only did her dealer (Marianne Boesky) have a child, but that many friends around her and artists before her had children with no negative impact on their careers. Maloof also felt supported by her dealer (Jack Hanley) and her peers, and believes the taboo has dissipated. “I don’t feel like anyone would discriminate against a woman who is having a baby.”
But artist Lenka Clayton disagrees. “In my experience,” she says, “it’s still a choice that people feel they have to make, the choice of: Can you continue to be taken seriously as an artist and be a mother? That’s not a foregone conclusion in any way.” Moving to the U.S. from the U.K. with her partner in 2009, Clayton found herself feeling not only unsupported by the U.S. system (a topic explored in many recent debates on health benefits, parental leave, and childcare), but also isolated as the primary caregiver after her first child was born. “Being exhausted, having no time, no space—there are shared experiences when you’re a new parent—and so I was really trying to find a way to help myself feel differently about it,” says Clayton.
In 2012, the artist created her work An Artist Residency in Motherhood in response to the experience of motherhood. “I went back to things that helped with my practice,” she says, “such as being an artist in residence where there’s a specific period of time and you work with a new material—everything feels so new and unusual.” Clayton undertook the project for three years, through the birth of her second child. Last spring, she opened up the residency as a public project with a dedicated website where artists can download a “residency kit,” complete with an official letter of invitation, amendable manifesto, and planning tools to help artists structure their residency. “It came out of this feeling of trying to do two things at the same time that didn’t feel like they could fit,” she says. “It’s come to completion for me, now that it’s something that anyone can take part in.”
Both Simmons and Clayton point out that biases still prevail in some quarters of the art world, propagated by antiquated statements like that of Abramović. “Recently two young women came to me who had great trepidations and lots of fears,” recalls Simmons, “and both of them had heard very critical things from their art dealers about having children and how it would impact their careers. They were criticized by the very people who represented them and are responsible for selling their work.”
What is arguably the most positive change to have taken place over the last 30 years is the increase in role models for female artists working today. “At a certain point, I felt like I had a responsibility to answer questions because I didn’t want younger women artists to be frightened,” says Simmons, whose prosperous career and two very talented daughters qualify her as an excellent role model. “I thought if I spoke out about it, it could make someone who was on the fence not seem so frightened about how their life or their work would change.” Other than Elizabeth Murray, Simmons didn’t have many artists to look to who were openly embracing motherhood when she herself was considering it. And building a strong support structure is, of course, key to all new parents, including artists—a partner who shoulders 50 percent of the parenting, a dealer who is supportive of his or her artist’s choice to raise children, and a studio setup that is flexible enough for the initial disruption of a new baby and the transition into a new schedule.
No one can pretend that having a child is easy; it is not. It can require a major shift in lifestyle, as well as being financially demanding, especially in the U.S., where there is no government-supported universal childcare system. This is especially challenging for artists. “I know that it’s hard for artist friends who don’t have a child to live in New York, so one can imagine with kids, it’s even more difficult,” says Maloof, who considers herself in a fortunate position, living in New York and receiving health-care benefits through her partner’s employment. “There’s never a great time but you make it work. That’s been my mentality.”
Al-Hadid has not slowed down her busy show season with the arrival of her son. “You adapt, and babies adapt,” she says; her son has been on over a dozen flights since his birth. “I’m still very focused on my career and work—it’s just about a different relationship to your work. And that changes whether you have a child or not. That might change depending on your financial situation, that might change depending on where you’re living at the moment, that might change if you have a death in the family. Your relationship to your work is amorphous.”
Simmons and her husband, the painter Carroll Dunham, shared the responsibility of taking care of their children—a pioneering attitude at the time, Simmons reminds me. She remembers that Dunham would bring their daughter Lena to the studio and wear her in a sling while he was painting. “We entered into a very equal partnership,” she says. “I don’t think it’s an accident that I found the appropriate partner—someone who I knew was going to support me as an artist and do anything to make sure I remained an artist.”
At an art fair, just after I returned to work from maternity leave, I noticed a dealer with his new baby strapped to him while he was dealing art in his booth, a curator and museum director couple pushing their infant through the fair, and young children perusing the aisles with their collector parents. The scene felt natural and accepted in this greater art-world setting. “I feel like when I go to a museum dinner and I’m seated next to a titan of industry and the next thing I know he’s pulling out his phone to show me pictures of his grandchildren, something is changing,” says Simmons. “But while there’s a softening, I still feel there’s a prejudice against women artists with children.”
My first year as a mother has been one of continuous transition—not to mention limited sleep, little personal time, and the anxieties that come with the responsibility of being a new parent. But the indescribable intensity of love and experience watching a human being grow exponentially in such a short period of time has impacted me, and my work, in a profoundly positive way. Every artist I spoke with for this story felt similarly—that having children benefited their work rather than detracted from it. “My children are a source of love and satisfaction that I consider to be one of the only true markers of ‘success,’” says Donovan. “I guess I have chosen to privilege my personal agenda over any agendas dictated by others, which I believe is a choice all successful people need to make.”
All women have the right to choose to have children, or to choose not to have children. And like their male counterparts, women artists who choose to have children need not feel they have to sacrifice their careers to do so.
Thanks to Sarah Tucker at Mom.me for this poignant piece on the impact that nannies can have on the families they work with. As the kids get ready to go back to school, there is no better time to enlist the help of an experienced and professional nanny. British American will help find the perfect fit for your family.
"We don't have to hire someone tomorrow," said my husband, gesturing at the local parents website with posts for available nannies on his computer, "But we do have to start looking."
I hugged our three-month-old daughter a little bit more tightly as I nodded at him, miserably. I was in one of the emotional black holes of new motherhood, which I'm pretty sure never ends: guilt vs. exhaustion. A huge part of me ached at the idea of being separated from our baby and leaving her with someone who wasn't a family member—so basically a total stranger! And yet, another small but undeniable part was yearning to return to my work as a writer, if only for a few days a week.
The idea of another person caring for my child, comforting her when she cried, learning her rhythms, being there to witness the new personality and skills she was acquiring every day, while I was absent and missing out, sent a knife-like guilt and pain shooting through my chest. But I knew I had to find a way to recharge my own batteries, to reconnect with my career path, and to bring in the extra income that was important to my family.
I knew my position was exceptionally privileged. The lack of legal and social support for parents in the US, including maternity/paternity leave policies, means that millions of women are forced to return to full-time work to support their families, often only a few weeks after giving birth.
Many others enjoy going back to fulfilling work and relish the socializing benefits that daycare and other childcare options provide for their babies. But I was looking for some kind of middle ground. While I was deeply grateful to have been able to spend the first few months of my daughter's life with her and wanted to continue as her primary caregiver, being a stay-at-home-mom full-time was not an option for me both financially and personally. And unfortunately, my husband and I didn't have a single family member within 2,500 miles who might have been able to help out.
Still, I stalled and hesitated for as long as possible. I was filled with fears about two equally awful fantasy scenarios. 1) That my daughter would hate the nanny, and I would never feel comfortable leaving them alone. Not helpful. 2) That my daughter would love the nanny and end up essentially preferring her to me. Not cool at all!
Nannies also seemed slightly mysterious to me. The playground across the street from our house was filled with nannies, skillfully caring for one, two, even three children at a time. They all seemed to know each other, and they settled in packs at the sand box or by the swings, gathering on blankets for group snack picnics.
In the beginning, I had made a few overtures, saying hello when I arrived with my stroller, attempting to chat with whoever was watching the toddlers who came over to investigate my daughter. But I was generally met with a wall of silence. It was like they were some kind of nanny mafia, and I was invading their territory. Or maybe that nannies and parents were on opposing teams, and I was sitting in the wrong section. I hadn't felt so excluded since a rough month in the sixth grade.
When finally, I couldn't avoid the issue any longer, we started interviewing. There was the nanny who wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding, and insisted that she couldn't care for a baby without being able to use a bottle. We parted ways. There was the one who was in school full-time and could only offer us a few hours a week in between classes. There were highly experienced nannies whose rates were beyond our means, and nannies without much experience who made me a little nervous. And then there was Jacinta. And from the moment she walked in and picked up my daughter, I was pretty sure we were going to be okay.
A mom friend who was searching for a nanny recently asked me what makes Jacinta so amazing, and I tried very hard to come up with a concrete list of reasons:
She is responsible, reliable, and incredibly smart—a natural problem solver.
She is deeply loving and sweet with our daughter without ever making us feel replaced or superfluous as parents.
She is very knowledgeable about babies, having worked with many families over a decade of nannying. (This means that when I completely freak out about something my daughter is doing, she is calm and has seen it all before.)
However, she believes every baby is different and really took the time to get to know our daughter's personality and our parenting style without imposing any ideas.
And then I ran out of reasons, because the rest is just a gut feeling. I trust Jacinta absolutely. She's an ally, a friend, a support, a parenting partner. Living so far away from my husband's family and my own, she has become a part of our little family. We are so grateful to have her in our lives.
With Jacinta's stamp of approval, the nanny mafia has gradually come to accept my presence. A few of them even smile and say hello when I show up at the playground, although they refuse to say my name and always refer to me as "Isabel's Mom." When I asked Jacinta about this, she tried to explain.
"They're afraid," she said. "They think you might report them for doing something wrong." I was stunned.
"Report them?! I don't even know any of those families. And it's none of my business. And they all seem so good at this. I have no idea how they handle all those kids."
Jacinta smiled. "That's what I told them. Don't worry, they'll come around."
"Do you talk to other parents in the playground?" I asked.
"Of course," she said. "I talk to everyone. How else can I make sure that person should really be there?"
Last month, one of the little girls from the playground moved with her family to another state. Her nanny Elena was one of the friendlier ones, who always talked to my daughter and invited her to play with them. A week later, I noticed Elena sitting on a bench, surrounded by her friends. She was in tears. I timidly approached the group and asked if she was okay.
"I miss Nora so much," Elena choked out. "I've been with her since she was a week old. I can't believe I won't see her anymore." She sobbed with grief.
"This is what it's like," another nanny said with sympathy. "We love them. And then they go."
All I can say is thank you to all the loving, dedicated nannies out there. Thank you for giving our kids so much of yourselves, knowing that someday, sooner or later, they won't need you anymore, and they will go. Thank you for being friends and heroes to so many moms who feel lost, confused and alone. Thank you.
Many thanks go out to Carriage House Birth and Neelu Shruti, a prenatal/ postnatal yoga teacher, birth doula and breastfeeding counselor based in New York City, for this introduction to the many benefits of prenatal yoga.
The benefits of yoga are far-reaching. In an hour of downward facing dogs, sun salutations, and other poses, we can find ways to build strength and flexibility while releasing stress and becoming more mindful. While we can all find benefits in the practice of yoga, there are exceptional benefits to the practice for pregnant women. The prenatal yoga sequence is modified to be safe, and designed to help a woman in all stages of her pregnancy, give her tools to aid in labor and delivery, and continue to be valuable to her after the birth of her child and throughout her recovery.
The benefits of prenatal yoga are too numerous to list, but to name a few, you’ll:
Get a good workout: Exercise is great for you and your baby! Whether you’re a regular runner, spin cyclist, or yogi, keeping up your active lifestyle can be more challenging when you’re pregnant. For starters, your tendons and ligaments become a lot more flexible during pregnancy due to the influx of relaxin in your body, and you’ll want to build muscular strength to prevent injuries. Prenatal yoga offers all of the benefits of maintaining your exercise routine (including helping to reduce stress, control weight, improve health and well-being, maintain a positive mood, boost energy, and get better sleep) while being safe for you and your baby. And if you’re not an exercise junkie, or have let your routine slip a little, now is a great time to start because the healthier you are and the better shape you’re in, the better it is for your baby! There’s even evidence, according to recent studies (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/mothers-exercise-may-boost-babys-brain/), that exercising regularly when you’re pregnant can boost your baby’s brain function and make your baby smarter!
Strengthen your abdominal pushing muscles and learn to relax your pelvic floor: Another incredible benefit to prenatal yoga is that incorporated into the sequence are targeted exercises to help strengthen, and improve flexibility in key muscle groups. Doing crunches and plank is neither very comfortable, nor recommended when you’re pregnant, and prenatal yoga offers an excellent alternatives to tone your transverse abs (your deep corset pushing muscles) in a safe manner. Additionally, prenatal yoga targets the key muscle group known as the pelvic floor. The importance of both strength and flexibility in the muscles of the pelvic floor cannot be overstated. The pelvic floor muscles are hammock shaped muscles in the bowl of your pelvis. It is essential that they are strong enough to allow the baby’s head to rotate when descending to push out (like through a turtle neck sweater), and to prevent pelvic organ prolapse, but also that they are flexible enough to open and release to allow the baby through. Labor involves the unique combination of flexing and pushing with your abs while RELAXING your pelvis which can be tricky, and prenatal yoga incorporates ab work, Kegels, and breathing exercises, all of which can help accomplish this challenging balance during delivery. Not only are you learning how to target those areas, you’re learning how to synchronize them, while building strength and flexibility where you’ll need them most.
Learn to deal with discomfort: The therapeutic benefits of yoga are far-reaching. Prenatal yoga can help address common issues such a lumbar lordosis (lower back pain), sacro-iliac pain, sciatica and piriformis pain. The poses can also create space in the torso for better breathing, and include movements that can help to alleviate carpel tunnel syndrome and charley horses, as well as demonstrate positions for better sleep. By working through discomfort with breathing techniques and a focus on mindfulness, you are able to alleviate discomfort, and the practice of challenging yourself and building muscle strength builds your tolerance to pain. In prenatal yoga, the poses are designed to challenge, but not strain your body. Learning to breathe and maintain calm in an intense stretch teaches your body how to react to and manage a stress, so you’ll be better-equipped to handle stressful situations during your pregnancy, and of course, more prepared for labor.
Get your baby in the optimal position: Compared to the benefits of other forms of exercise, the really exceptional benefit of prenatal yoga, is that poses like down dog, cat/cow, and puppy pose gently guide your baby’s head down. That’s right, the more down dogs you do, the more you’re encouraging your baby’s head down toward optimal fetal position. Prenatal yoga counteracts the long periods of hanging out on your couch—which have the exact opposite effect and can encourage breech or posterior (sunny-side-up babies) and result in longer births times and sometimes lead to medical interventions—and helps have you and your baby exactly where you need to be when the time comes.
Learn to breathe: Often, we don’t pay attention to our breath which tends to be shallow as we go about our day-to-day activities. In yoga, we begin to pay attention to our breath, and to teach ourselves to focus on maintaining deep, full breathing. The benefit of the yogic breath is that we become aware of our diaphragm’s movements and begin to use our lungs to a greater extent, engaging their full capacity and allowing a larger intake of oxygen. This focused method of deep breathing calms our mind and allows us to relax and use our muscles more efficiently.
Bond with your baby: Recent studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness allows a mom to recognize, appreciate, and connect with her baby. Embracing a few minutes of quiet time where the distractions of the day fade away allows a mom to focus all of her attention inward and on the baby, and can help her to zoom out, see the big picture, and be less bogged down by the day-to-day frustrations. It also allows her to notice changes in the growing baby and in her own body. The practice of mindfulness builds bond and can even reduce post-partum depression.
Build confidence in your body: When dealing with a growing belly, hormonal changes, back pain, swollen feet, and constantly having to pee, it’s easy to get frustrated with the constant physical changes in your body. It’s important to remember that your body (even with all the discomfort you feel) is strong, healthy, and capable. Practicing yoga—whether it’s finishing your regular sequence, or doing a particularly challenging pose when you’re pregnant—can give you great feeling of accomplishment, and build your confidence and trust in your body and its innate ability to labor and give birth.
Be part of a community: The first few minutes of a prenatal class usually consist of introductions where you’ll be able to discuss issues, discomforts, and concerns with other expecting moms. As the conversation goes around the room, you’ll hear how other moms are dealing with the same issues that you’re facing. This creates a space for sharing and learning from each other, and also allows the instructor to customize each class to fit your needs. Most of all, you’ll meet other moms who are experiencing the same challenging, wonderful changes as you, while pursuing a practice that helps ensure the safest, healthiest, and most joyful outcome for you and your baby.
For more information on prenatal yoga classes, our friends at the Prenatal Yoga Center offer classes and workshops for new & expecting mothers.
Thanks to Brooke Morton at Yachting Magazine for this piece on the art of rearing kids on the water.
Brittany and Scott Meyer were docked at Grenada when they learned she was pregnant. The pair, 36 and 38, had met while racing sailboats across Lake Michigan, so they didn’t blink at the prospect of raising a family aboard their Brewer 44 Asante. They became parents first with Isla, now almost 4, and later with twins Haven and Mira, now 2. With their handmade halyard swing and the unending sandbox that is the British Virgin Islands, the couple sees their decision to bring up all three babies aboard as the ultimate adventurous-life head start.
When did you decide to pull anchor from mainstream life? We knew before we married. Instead of registering for china and Egyptian cotton, we registered for winches and a windlass.
How did your cruising plans change after you had children? Long-distance sailing with three young children is not something we’re interested in. With Isla, we did a five-day sail from Florida to the Bahamas, and that was absolutely doable. But with three kids under 5, rough passages and overnights are really challenging.
Did you undertake any refits to accommodate the kids? We didn’t make permanent changes, but we added a few things, starting with netting around the boat’s perimeter. In the V-berth, we have a giant net made out of Phifertex mesh, the same material patio furniture is made of. The material is waterproof but breathable, and the net makes that space more contained than a crib. We’ve had 6-foot seas bashing into us and the babies sleeping soundly in there.
What’s the response been to your parenting choice? Some people think it’s amazing. Some say it’s selfish.
Selfish? Oh gosh, yes. Because of Brittany’s blog, Windtraveler, we get a ton of email. One lady asked how dare we glamorize boating with children and said we should add a safety disclaimer. She also criticized us for placing the kids on tethers. And Brittany wondered, Don’t most moms use car seats? Some people think we are at sea endlessly, and that is not the case. We spend a great deal of time at the dock at Tortola’s Nanny Cay marina.
What is a typical day like? Most days, the wind is blowing 20 knots. During the evenings, we come back from the beach, hose the kids off and eat dinner. Whatever the girls don’t finish on their plate, they throw overboard to the remoras — they’re squealing as they toss mac and cheese to fish that are going nuts. Then the sun starts to set and the kids wave goodbye. That’s one of the beautiful parts of life on a boat: You rarely miss a sunset. We always say to the sun, “Thanks for another great day.”
Baby Boating Gear: The Fisher-Price Booster Seat is great for keeping little ones restrained while we’re setting anchor. The West Marine infant harness and tether keep us from worrying about a baby going overboard. And Brittany is a big fan of baby wearing. The Ergo Performance baby carrier makes it easy to tote two — one on her front and one on her back — to the dinghy, dock and beyond.
Must-Have Toys: Everything has to pull double duty, like the girls’ wagon also carries boat stuff. As for toys, it’s all about size. Most need to be really compact. Legos are good. We love Magna-Tiles, a magnetic building set that stows flat. And books are crucial. We always make room for more books.
Special thanks to Eva Amurri Martino at Happily Eva After for this perfect piece that will help you be more than prepared for your last family trip before fall hits.
Last week, while packing Marlowe for our annual family getaway to Maine, I was reflecting upon all the lessons I’ve learned in the last year from packing and unpacking our daughter countless times. We really do “get up and go” A LOT as a family– having a Daddy who’s gone half the week will do that to you! I’ve noticed that as long as you take your packing mistakes in stride and learn from them, you really can cut down on your stress level and pack the perfect suitcase for your little one fairly easily. And, if I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: being prepared in advance makes all the difference when it comes to enjoying an experience. You want a vacation to really feel like one! Today I’m sharing my Tips & Tricks for packing your child’s suitcase– and divulging some of my worst experiences!
I’ve outlined my personal packing list below. This is what I pack Marlowe for a week long Summer trip! Read through for my favorite items, my organization tips, little anecdotes, and a easy shopping widget to pick up some of our family faves:
For a week, I pack Marlowe 9 outfits, 4 sets of Pajamas, and 3 Bathing Suits. This is considering the fact that we will have access to a laundry machine. The times that we do not have access to a laundry machine, I pack two outfits per day that we are gone, plus 1 basic Tshirt and 1 basic pair of leggings that can pair with anything, in addition to the pajamas and bathing suits.
MAMA TIP: Fold each outfit, and roll it up together. Tie with a piece of ribbon, and clip any matching hair accessories on to the cloth. This will enable you to pack them more easily, and find a clean outfit without rummaging through your child’s suitcase.
In the Summer months, I pack Marlowe 1 light jacket and 1 cardigan. Usually I bring her cardigan on the plane with us in case the air conditioning is too chilly.
Normally, I pack Marlowe 4 pairs of shoes total: 1 pair of comfy sneakers, 1 pair of cute sandals, 1 pair of Mary Janes, and 1 Water Shoe for the beach or lake. I usually have her travel in the bulkiest pair of shoes (sneakers) for the plane flights.
DIAPERING & BATHING
I pack 1 package of diapers, 1 package of swim diapers, and 1 package of wipes. I purchase anything additional that I need while on the road. I pack a toiletries bag just for Marlowe that has diaper ointment, a soap/shampoo, a body lotion, her hairbrush, her toothbrush + toothpaste, hair ties, and a bottle of children’s sunblock
I always, always, always pack at least 3 Loveys. One with us on the plane (this becomes the “street Lovey” and is the one that gets dragged around during the day, and at least two additional. One for night time that remains in her travel crib (and stays clean), and one backup. I learned this the hard way…
NIGHTMARE TALE: Not too long ago, Marlowe got a violent stomach bug while on a trip to visit her grandparents in South Carolina. She puked all over both of her Loveys within half an hour, and was absolutely inconsolable and miserable while the Loveys went through the washer and dryer for the next 90 minutes. It took years off of my life. Now I always pack at least three in case of emergency!
When we travel, I always pack 5-7 Toys and 5 books. The toys include a stuffed animal, a doll, a car or truck, and several plastic animal figurines. I like these types of toys because they inspire creative play and can be used in different games for hours on end. I can’t even tell you how many times Marlowe and I have built forts and homes in Hotel Rooms for her animal friends!
MAMA TIP: Try to select toys and books that your child hasn’t played with or seen in a while. It’s amazing how absence really does make the heart grow fonder when it comes to toys!
I’ve learned to pack a little first aid kit when we travel with Marlowe. You really never know when something will come up and you won’t have access to a medicine or product you need to help your child be more comfortable! Why do the worst fevers and illnesses always strike at night?! I put the kit in a ziploc bag so I can see all of the items well and access them easily. Here’s what I keep in our Travel First Aid Kit: The NoseFrida, Infant Tylenol, Infant Benadryl, Homeopathic Cold Remedy, Saline Drops, Band aids, Neosporin, Lavender Essential Oil, On Guard Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential oil, Thermometer.
NIGHTMARE TALE: When Marlowe was only a year and a half, we were traveling with Kyle on the road in the middle of winter, and she came down with croup. Not only did we not know any doctors in the town, but it was the middle of the night and we were staying at a hotel in a snowstorm. We ended up having to take an Uber at midnight to a 24 hour CVS very far away to find medicine to make her more comfortable until the morning when we were able to get to urgent care. Now I travel with the essentials!
I always pack 3 or 4 gallon sized Ziplock bags when we travel. You never know what they’ll come in handy for, and are great for wet or dirty clothes that you need to bring home. Kids always love taking that extra dip in the Hotel pool right before you pack up to leave…
BED TIME GEAR
The bed time routine is definitely the most important in our house. It’s what keeps Lowie sleeping well, keeps her parents sane, and keeps our trips and vacations feeling “vacation-y”. I ALWAYS make sure we have everything we need to recreate her normal nighttime experience while on the road. Do it or suffer the consequences! Ha! For Marlowe’s bed time routine, I pack:
1 Travel Crib (she isn’t allowed to sleep in bed with us ever), 1 Sound Machine, 2 Sleep Sacks (one backup), 1 Mermaid Doll, 1 Baby Monitor, 1 Bottle. We use the baby monitor if we are at a house or someplace where her sleeping area is out of earshot. It makes me able to relax more knowing I can hear her if she needs me, even if I’m in a different part of the house. We bring the bottle because Marlowe still has warm milk in a bottle at night before bed. I’m planning on transitioning out of this when she turns two…which should be interesting… (YIKES)
NIGHTMARE TALE: We were traveling six or seven months ago, and I forgot to pack a bottle. Cut to 9pm, my kid is still not asleep and freaking out because she didn’t have her bottle before bed. The next day I set out to try to find a bottle but the only ones available had the infant flow nipples and frustrated her even more. All in all a really terrible few nights of sleep for all of us! Yahtzee!
STOW ESSENTIALS IN A CARRY-ON
I have also learned this the hard way when our suitcase has gotten lost with all of my child’s perfectly packed and organized belongings. Many thanks to Target for saving the day that day (about a thousand dollars later…) Now I bring a carry-on on the plane with us that has 24 hours worth of essentials.
1 change of clothes
1 set of pajamas
6 extra diapers
Of course I always remember to pack my adorable toddler as well. She’s a little bulky and rambunctious, but she really does make our trips that much more enjoyable…most of the time.
Thanks to Ilene Jacobs at Care.com for this piece:
If you've ever debated hiring a housekeeper, you might have come up with a list of reasons why you shouldn't: it's a luxury you can't afford or it's a sign of laziness. But have you ever thought about why you should?
Outsourcing your house cleaning is a way to manage your time more efficiently and it can be affordable, even for those on a tight budget.
Whether you're busy with a family and career, or just want some occasional help around the house, getting a cleaning service is not only practical, it be a lifesaver. Here are some valid reasons you may need to hire some help.
You Work Full Time
After a busy 9-5, using your time off from work to clean the house depletes your energy and limits your availability to enjoy other activities. You might not need a daily housekeeper, but having someone clean once or twice a month will give you more time to do the things you enjoy or need get done.
Jennifer Thomas, a clinical psychologist and single mom from Minneapolis, Minn. says that without the help of her housekeeper, she would get less done and get much less sleep: "I have a housekeeper to free up my limited time to do important activities with my son and also take care of myself: doing yoga, walking outside, reading and spending time with friends and family."
You Have a Busy Family Life
It's hard to find time or energy for family outings and date nights when you spend your time cleaning, cooking and taking care of your children. If your schedule is already overwhelming, keeping the house in order becomes a daunting task that can take a toll on your marriage, as well as your health.
Author Melanie Bowden from Davis, Calif., has her hands full between writing, teaching and being a mother of two. Housework was the main issue she and her husband fought over. "I felt very frazzled when I had to keep up with all of the cleaning without outside help and I grew resentful toward my husband that he wasn't doing more," she says. Hiring a housekeeper not only lowered her stress level, but also kept her marriage intact. "I just love coming home to a clean house on those days -- particularly when the bed sheets have been changed -- that's my favorite part," she adds. According to Bowden, having a housekeeper is a valuable time-management tool that everyone should consider.
You Enjoy Entertaining
Whether you're putting on a large event or just having company over, you don't need to add cleaning to your to-do list. Save your time -- and your energy -- for the party by hiring someone to clean your home before and after the event. Even if you're just having people over for dinner or to spend the weekend, knowing your housecleaning is taken care of takes the load off of you, and leaves you time to prepare for their arrival and enjoy the visit.
You Don't Know How to Clean
Remember all those times your mom tried to teach you how to clean? Good. Now, do you remember anything she actually said? We didn't think so. Cleaning isn't as easy as just turning on a vacuum. There are tips and tricks you learn with time or experience. Don't know how to clean your home? Hire a housekeeper to show you. She can clean it a few times and demonstrate the best methods. But be careful; you may like just having her do it -- and that's okay too!
You Don't Like Cleaning
Who does? But some people are better at it than others. Just because cleaning isn't your forte, doesn't mean you're lazy. Why waste your time and efforts doing something you're not good at, when you can have someone else do it? If cleaning takes you hours and you hate every minute of it, hire a housekeeper and devote that time to something more productive. If hiring someone to clean weekly strains your budget, find someone to deep clean once a month. That way, you'll be better equipped to keep the house tidy the rest of the time on your own.
You Have Elderly Family
You might not want or need someone to clean your own home, but your aging parents or other relatives might need help. As people get older, it becomes harder to take care of daily chores and housekeeping tasks. A disorderly home is a health hazard for the elderly. A cluttered floor can cause them to fall and eating from dirty dishes can make them ill.
Barbara Berta of Colorado Springs, Colo., hired a housekeeper to tidy her father's apartment once a week. "My dad had diabetes, so between his illness and his age, it was hard for him to keep his home as clean as he would have liked," she says. "I already had my hands full with chores around my own home, so the housekeeper was a huge help when it came to making sure my dad had a comfortable and clean living space."
If your aging parents need more help than just cleaning, hire a senior care aide who can care for them, run errands and provide light cleaning around the home.
You Have a New Baby
A new baby in the house means lots of extra cleaning and laundry -- more than exhausted new parents may be able to handle. A housekeeper can help pick up the slack while you get used to your new routine. Family or friends want to pitch in and get you a gift? Instead of flowers, suggest they chip in for a housekeeper to help you out for a few weeks.
You Deserve a Treat
Sometimes you just need a break. Manicures and massages are great, but you can also pamper yourself by hiring someone to clean every once in a while. It's a nice luxury that will give you some extra time to yourself. Go ahead, you've earned it!
Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas.
British American Household Staffing's president, Anita Rogers performed Italian classical arias with Craig Ketter for the Italian Chamber of Commerce and the BAB (British American Business) on April 7th, 2015. The event was a huge success with an audience of over 150 attendees. Craig Ketter is a well-known pianist as well as one of the top vocal operatic coaches in the United States, specifically well-known in New York. He often collaborates with the Metropolitan Opera and works with some of the best-known principal voices of today. Anita sang Vaga Luna, Che Inargenti by Vincenzo Bellini and Io T’Abbraccio by G.F. Handel from the opera Rodelinda with Heidi Skok.
Anita Rogers, a mezzo-soprano, had performed and trained classically in England, Italy and Ireland prior to coming to the United States twelve years ago where she has performed opera and lieder extensively, as well as more esoteric repertoire. Heidi Skok has been singing at the Metropolitan Opera for twelve years and is now pursuing a solo career in opera as a mezzo-soprano. Heidi has performed throughout the United States and is currently recording an album. Craig Ketter is a well-known pianist as well as one of the top vocal coaches in the United States. He often collaborates with the Metropolitan Opera and works with some of the best-known principal voices of today.
The evening was a celebration of the arts through business, and British American Household Staffing, known for placing the best quality domestic staff in New York and California, is proud to continue the tradition of supporting the New York’s arts world. The audience and artists enjoyed cocktails, networking, and a live opera recital as they met new contacts in the stylish setting of one of the largest luxury apparel showrooms in New York.
On the evening of November 9th, British American Household Staffing hosted an evening dedicated to concert pianist, Alexander Beridze, prior to his debut performance at Carnegie Hall. The evening was attended by a variety of business executives, artists of all kinds, and BAHS employees alike.
An up-and-coming private chef, Eric Post, provided a few select gourmet dishes for the evening, including a squash soup shooter and salmon tartare. The beautiful presentation of each dish was only matched by their masterful preparation.
The true crux of the evening came from the opera performances by mezzo-sopranos Heidi Skok and Anita Rogers and soprano Lydia Dahling. Heidi and Anita performed “Io T’abbraccio” from G.F. Handel’s Opera Rodelinda. Lydia and Anita performed “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” from J. Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. The audience was captivated by the stunning performances and all eagerly anticipated Alexander Beridze’s sold out performance at Carnegie Hall on November 12th.
The evening was a wonderful celebration of artistic talent. British American Household Staffing is thrilled to continue the tradition of supporting the brightest and boldest of New York’s arts world in the European traditional “salon” style setting that BAHS is intent on reviving in New York City .
If you are interested in learning more about our events, please email us at email@example.com.
On Tuesday evening, September 23rd, clients, friends, and BAHS employees alike gathered in the loft space at 77 Mercer Street to view artist Bryan Christie's exclusive show, "Burnished Heart." The show was crafted exclusively by Bryan for the event, and jointly sponsored by BAHS and local luxury business The Rug Company. Bryan's selected works comprised some of his finest and most thought provoking pieces, from larger silk on encaustic works to smaller works done on paper.
Potential buyers and art enthusiasts moved in and out of the space from 6:30 PM to late into the night, enjoying fine wines and cheeses sourced from local businesses and stimulating discussion on the nature of Bryan's work. The artist himself was in attendance, giving his unique artistic insight to all those interested parties.
The event was a great success thanks to The Rug Company's great eye for design combined with BAHS's beautiful SoHo loft space. BAHS looks forward to hosting more events of a similar nature in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about our events, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
British American Household Staffing's first major art exhibition event was a great success, with over 50 potential buyers viewing Cannon Hersey's 22 moving pieces.
Starting at 6 PM, guests started arriving to view the art and mingle with fellow fans of the artist’s work. Friends, family and British American Household Staffing clients alike gathered to see his new work and hear about the creation process and deeper meaning of all of his culturally provocative work. 7 PM marked the private tour that revealed a cohesive and provoking thought process behind all of his diverse body of work. Wang Rouying was kind enough to play the piano for the event; at only 13 years old, she performed a complex Rachmaninoff piece. The remainder of the event consisted of some wonderful socialization and discussion about the pieces.
BAHS is planning upcoming events in this category. Details will be published here in the near future.
Please try selecting another category.
Upon entering Frieze New York last May, I ran into a colleague with his two small children. As we crossed the threshold of the bustling fair tent, the kids sprang into action, making a beeline for a red Carsten Hölleroctopus. They promptly plopped down beside it and began a discussion—“What is it made of?” and “Why is it red?” were among preliminary questions. A month or so later I’d see them again, this time in Chelsea, marvelling over Jordan Wolfson’s animatronic puppet at David Zwirner. Even to a stranger, it would have been clear that for these children, going to see art was an integral part of their lives. Their intense engagement with art (a level of enthusiasm that many adults struggle to maintain) begged some questions. What is it about art that commands a child’s attention? What impact can art have on a child’s development? And more broadly, what can be done to instill an appreciation of art in children?
To find answers, I turned to experts in the field who work at the intersections of children’s education and art. While primarily focusing on programs provided by museum spaces, I also consulted with other arts professionals and educators to establish a more complete picture of the underlying factors that can contribute to a child’s early appreciation of art—and how it affects a young person’s brain.
The benefits of art in early childhood
Over the past decade, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has found strong evidence showing that art can have a positive effect on young children (infants through eight-year-olds). A December 2015 NEA literature review conducted by program analyst Melissa Menzer, for example, found connections between the arts—including music, theater, visual arts, and literature—and social and emotional skills such as “helping, caring, and sharing activities.”
NEA arts education specialist Terry Liu, meanwhile, has found that more and more arts education grants are being funneled into the integration of arts with other disciplines in early childhood. “Teaching artists or organizations that have artists skilled in working with early childhood age groups are working with parents or Head Start centers to help them incorporate arts education and learning at this very early age,” Liu notes. In other words, art is no longer being siloed as a creative pursuit, but rather used “as a means to help children learn other subjects.”
Even further, Liu points to an increase in initiatives that are not just “reflecting on art and learning about art,” but also employing art to “make sense of how it relates to your understanding of the world.” Young people are being taught that art connects to the world around you.
Multiple other studies have found a correlation between artmaking and emotional regulation, which is a central tenet of art therapy. Psychologist Jennifer Drake, an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, for example, has conducted studies around the relationship between drawing and emotional regulation among children and adults. Working with children in the six- to twelve-year-old range, these studies have proven that drawing can assuage the negative emotions a person feels upon being told to recall the details surrounding a sad personal event. These results are bolstering institutional programs and encouraging parents to engage children in the arts from an early age—but how?
Integrate looking and making
To start, it’s a cornerstone of art education programs to cultivate a symbiotic relationship between looking at art and creating it. In museums, it’s become standard practice for educators to develop art-making programs that engage audiences with the works in a current exhibition or permanent collection.
New York’s Whitney Museum, for example, has developed a vast array of programs to engage children of all ages (beginning with Stroller Tours for newborns and new parents), but one of its most popular programs is Open Studio, an in-house art studio led by graduate students that allows families to visit freely and create art on the weekends. “It’s a drop-in art-making program” says Billie Rae Vinson, coordinator of Family Programs, over the phone. “It’s a way to explore the artwork through some kind of material exploration.”
A day in the Open Studio program might involve crafting collages inspired by the high contrast found in an Edward Steichen photograph. “In museums it’s great to have discussions, but what do artists do?” asks Vinson. “They make stuff. We’ve got to get families making stuff.” The goals of this are double-pronged: to connect families with the activities of artists and to inspire creativity. “We’re not trying to be derivative or make parents or children copy or make little versions of the artworks on view; we want them to be inspired by these artists and then run with it for themselves.”
Similar models have been adopted by museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, which has a daily artist’s studio program. “Art-making in the museum can be very powerful because it allows children to connect their own imaginative ways of making with art they see around them in the galleries,” says Jacqueline Terrassa, Chair of Museum Education there.
Despite this, the Art Institute recently saw a need to direct more attention back to the museum’s exhibitions. “We wanted to find a fun, interactive solution to the challenge of how to make the museum feel accessible and navigable for families,” Terrassa says. “Often families will come to the Art Institute and stay in the Ryan Learning Center instead of also exploring the galleries.” This past spring the museum launched a new digital initiative, JourneyMaker, which allows families to create custom tours through the museum focused around eight storylines, including superheroes, time travel, and strange and wondrous beasts.
In making their children’s programs family-focused, both the Whitney and the Art Institute have recognized not only that children often need a parent or guardian for supervision, but also the powerful shared experiences that children and adults can have while learning about and making art together. And as such, these programs become communal spaces for families. “I talked to one dad who told me that for him it was a bit like New York’s living room,” Vinson says of the Whitney’s space. “He told me his son learned to walk in our Open Studio while his daughter was making art.”
Create flexible, communal spaces for experiencing art
The idea of a communal space for art exploration is popular across numerous museums. The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, located on the ground floor of the David Adjaye-designed Sugar Hill Project in Harlem, which opened last October, has a large central gallery space called The Living Room. Currently painted with a vibrant narrative mural by artist Saya Woolfalk (in collaboration with her four-year-old daughter), it is dotted with bright orange benches and tables, where families gather to see and make art, and participate in music and storytelling performances.
In adjacent spaces are a dedicated art studio, and gallery spaces—one for rotating exhibitions developed by contemporary artists, sometimes in collaboration with children, and one for shows done in partnership with fellow museums El Museo del Barrio and The Studio Museum in Harlem. “One of the reasons this museum was formed was as a lab to see what happens when art education and curatorial exhibitions coexist,” Associate Director of Curatorial Programs Lauren Kelley tells me, “to see if there can be a more democratic approach to programming, as opposed to the exhibitions being the reason for education to have tasks.”
She emphasizes that artmaking and art education are not separated from engaging with the exhibitions—all of which involve the work of children, to varying degrees. The current show by Shani Peters was inspired by the artist’s work with children. Exhibitions such as this one have been successful in dissembling “the sense of sacredness associated with what it means to be a viewer, which can lead to people feeling really uncomfortable,” says Kelley. “We hope that we can disarm that from children at an early age, and then they leave here wanting to go to the Met, feeling like ‘this makes sense to me.’”
The Children’s Museum of the Arts (CMA) also integrates exhibition and art-making spaces. The museum’s tagline, “Look, Make, Share,” encompasses their approach to combining careful looking, art making, and dialogues around art. Artmaking activities here often relate to a central themed group exhibition (the current show focuses on sports; the next will be outer space) in its main gallery, which is flanked by multiple specialized studios. There is also a Clay Bar, where families can sign up to create playful sculptures.
“Making art familiar, an everyday event, rather than something isolated, also helps children become comfortable with it,” Terrassa offers. “Art is not only inside the museum—it’s all around you.” Jessica Hamlin, a professor of Arts Education at NYU Steinhardt, agrees. “There’s this constant back-and-forth between looking at works of art—how they can be looked at and understood, and building language and appreciation around them—and also the making,” she says. “But there’s a third piece: general aesthetic appreciation. We can bring that eye and that thinking to things we see in life.”
Building children’s confidence in what they see
CMA executive director Barbara Hunt McLanahan believes it’s all about encouraging what comes naturally to children: curiosity. “I think that in a way you don’t instill an appreciation of art in children, children already have it.”
In her experience during Sugar Hill’s first year, Kelley has found this to be true as well. “They really are excited about people having faith in them,” she explains. “I think children really just appreciate you giving them the space and the square footage to play with materials. We don’t always give them prompts, sometimes we just see what happens; we say to them, ‘what do you think you can do with these stickers? This tape? You choose, you figure it out.’ We respect them as capable.”
Adults are prone to decidedly affirm whether they’re artistic or not; that they understand art or they don’t. “So many adults come to the museum and say ‘I never did this because I wasn’t any good at art,’” McLanahan offers, “and our answer to that is ‘You probably were, but you were being told that maybe you weren’t good at drawing, perhaps you weren’t introduced to printmaking or abstract art. You were being asked to draw in a representational way and you didn’t enjoy that.” She adds that attitudes about what does and does not qualify as art are mostly limited to adults. “Children are way more open-minded.”
There are times when adults introduce judgements into the artmaking environment, and teachers at CMA have to step in. “I worry that we often teach creativity out of students rather than integrating it into the way we want all students to think of themselves, whether they become artists or not,” Hamlin says. “[Making art] correlates with development and brain science. It’s nurture and nature, not versus.” Hamlin notes that elementary school art classes that focus on skills and provide guidelines for what drawing should look like can be detrimental. “I think an emphasis on driving home skills-based instruction can be difficult for early childhood—it reinforces that there are good skills and bad skills, that there are people who have skills and people who don’t.”
In her studies on correlations between drawing and mood regulation, Drake found that in the 10- to 12-year-old age range, children become critical of their drawings skills. “They start to understand that they have limitations and that they can be good in some things and not at other things,” Drake says. “Six- to eight-year-olds are really absorbed in drawing, they can get more lost in it.”
In order to encourage creativity, many museums have adopted an inquiry-based approach, whereby educators prompt children through open-ended questions—emphasizing that there’s no right answer—in order to elicit ideas and incite discussion around art. “It’s really about asking them, ‘What do you see? How does it make you feel? What do you think the artist meant here? Why did they use this material?’ and encouraging them to have confidence in their answers,” says McLanahan. “We encourage you to have confidence in your ability to look and understand, but then we want you to respect someone else’s creativity and someone else’s opinion when we share.”
Don’t dumb it down
Understanding the simple fact that children want to be spoken to like adults, and that cossetting them at a young age can be a hindrance to their development, is central for many art educators. “There’s nothing about our exhibiting artists that makes them suited to children,” McLanahan says of CMA’s program. “It’s just that we’re actively encouraging children to use their minds and think about the work and talk about the work.” Underlying this approach is a recognition of the innate sophistication of children.
CMA puts on shows of emerging and established contemporary artists (the current show includes Hank Willis Thomas, Dario Escobar, and Zoe Buckman, among others); at Sugar Hill, Kelley is engaging contemporary artists living in Upper Manhattan. “If you dumb it down, if you think that children only like graffiti or cartoons or Keith Haring—it’s a dead end,” McLanahan advises. “We have wall labels that explain what the artist’s intentions are, we try not to use jargon, and we don’t over-explain the work.”
At the Art Institute, an encyclopedic museum that not only caters to all ages but a vast array of international audiences, a similar mindset prevails. “No art, no matter how abstract or supposedly ‘difficult,’ is off-limits for children,” Terrassa notes. “That said, some artwork, because of style or content, might resonate more at different stages of life. For example, artwork that engages with questions of identity might be great for teens, and highly experiential, abstract works can be a hit with very little ones.” She acknowledges that there will be art that may not reflect a family’s values, in which case it is up to a parent or guardian’s discretion.
While visual culture is often boiled down to its essential elements of shape and color, especially for younger audiences, it’s important to keep ideas and narratives top of mind. “Sometimes we underestimate what young kids are able to talk about and do, and read into things,” Hamlin notes. “It’s important to present a balance of pure, aesthetic elements and principles with an understanding of art as a form of communication that helps us talk, express, and connect with each other and with diverse experiences.”
Expose children to the contemporary art world
More and more, museums, schools, and community organizations are recruiting contemporary artists to teach children. The Whitney regularly holds artist-led workshops; all teachers at CMA are practicing artists; and Sugar Hill has an artist in residence each year who interacts with children at the museum, as well as its affiliate preschool. “As social practice art gains traction in the art world and that becomes a way of thinking about what artists can do, museums are really being receptive to artists wanting to do more than just put their objects in a museum,” Hamlin says of this trend. “Artists should be real human beings for kids, not just mythical characters.”
And many artists are eager to engage with children. “It’s important to me to give the children in the communities I work with a voice for their stories and a way to share those stories,” says David Shrobe, the first artist in residence at Sugar Hill, “and this is a space I was able to activate, a space for community.”
While museums have done well to recruit contemporary artists to teach in their institutions, children are rarely exposed to other roles they may pursue in the art world. One program addressing this absence is Frieze Teens, part of the non-profit arm of Frieze New York, a small but strong annual program that grants access to the contemporary art world to a group of 25 New York City public school students each year.
Participating teens from underserved communities are exposed to many facets of the art world, in hope of inspiring them to pursue a career in the field. “By seeing a work from its inception in a studio with the artists and then tracking through critics, curators, gallerists, fabricators, non-profits etc.—really anyone and everyone involved in that process—it gives these kids access to the full range of ways one could engage and participate in the art world,” Molly McIver, Head of Operations at Frieze New York told me.
But even more than presenting young people with career options, contemporary art offers an entrypoint into a more expansive, diverse understanding of art. Hamlin points out that the art historical canon that we lean so heavily on is no longer representative of the majority of students who are learning from it—in terms of gender, ethnicity and social, political, and sexual identities. “I think that we’re seeing the limitations of that canon, and yes there’s amazing work and beautiful work, but artists have been making work all over the world for thousands of years, and that’s a really important part of the conversation.”
But it won’t come easy. “There’s a whole set of things that teachers have to work against to bring the contemporary into their coursework,” says Hamlin. In addition to combating entrenched biases toward producing aesthetically pleasing objects, it’s hard for teachers to keep up with a continually shifting art world. “It’s a large hill to climb—there are changing ideas and notions around what art is, what art education can be, what artistic practices are, there’s this constantly evolving landscape of art practice.” So while there is a growing recognition of the importance of children engaging with art, manifold challenges remain.
“I think a lot of museums are really reassessing what it means to cater to this wee demographic,” Kelley tells me at Sugar Hill. “The obvious fact is that you’re building an audience from the ground up, and you’re tapping into a demographic that usually feels excluded—limited by a museum experience of ‘please don’t touch.’ We do not have any answers yet, but being allowed to be in this kind of lab, we can be ambitious with what we’re going to test out.” That’s all we can ask.
Special thanks to the editorial team at YachtCharterFleet for this article.
Providing access to sequestered islands and premier destinations in unparalleled style, it would appear that despite relative financial instability, the sale of luxury motor yachts and sailing yachts shows no signs of flagging.
Whilst classic cars increased by 17% and watches a mere 5%, the annual wealth report compiled by London-based property agent Knight Frank showed that superyacht sales were up by 40% over the last year.
Such encouraging statistics have been linked with the growing interest in more remote vacation destinations such as Antarctica as well as the increasing popularity of event charters- indeed the report also revealed that elite travellers attending the Art Basel fair in Miami was up by 28%.
With destinations such as South East Asia (Thailand in particular) investing considerable sums in the yachting industry over the last few years, we could well see this figure rise even further.
Indeed, with the superyacht industry still very much on the cutting-edge of design, and with ultra-modern concepts like the superyacht MOONSTONE making headlines, there’s nothing to suggest that sales will suffer in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, what the report would appear to suggest is the championing of experiences over products - no other item on the luxury market allows buyers to enjoy such unique opportunities.
With this in mind, we can well expect to see the charter market enjoy a similar amount of success as wealth move towards exploring the world in a truly unparalleled fashion.
In order to make enquires about a charter vacation of your own, please get in touch with us at Stephanie.email@example.com.
Many thanks to Jessica Shyba over at Momma’s Gone City for these poignant and honest words.
It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I am left alone in our home. My husband just left to take the big kids to school and the little ones to the park. The door shut, and the sounds in this home went from a vibrant, climactic heartbeat to a still, dull flatline.
I absorb it like sunshine on my skin for a moment, and then I begin to clean and prepare to get the red-carpet scroll of things done while I am alone. It’s a race to the finish line when the front door opens and little feet and big personalities race in.
Our home is lived in. I often lament during times like these or before we invite company over that our home looks like Romper Room. The children’s areas are everywhere. There’s a play yard in our living room, soccer nets in our back yard, and children’s chairs at the dining table in place of adult ones. We don’t have much space, and that’s ok. It’s just right for our family right this minute.
As I begin to pick up the breakfast dishes and pajamas strewn across the couch, I notice that every single part of our lives is filled with the love and happy chaos of children.
Various pairs and single shoes are often lying at the front door, when they remember to take them off coming inside. We had a strict no-shoe policy when we lived in New York, and we’re trying to get back to being more diligent about it. Most days I find myself reminding them, sometimes gently, other times not as much as I’d like.
There is dried glitter dripped down the wall by our kitchen table from art projects hung too soon. I haven’t tried to clean it up.
My desk bears the prints of creative hands. There are photos of our children everywhere we look, and that will never change. We celebrate and scream our love for these babes from the mountaintops. It’s the only way we know how to be, to live, to walk, to run and stumble throughout this parenting journey. These are our racing numbers, displayed proudly on our trunks.
Our kitchen is constantly disheveled. It’s the belly of our home, our life; Where our babies took her first bites of food, the table on which our Easter eggs are dyed and space where tears are dried from homework battles.
The love notes hang as reminders of ourselves. My husband’s loving post-it’s listing the things completed before racing out to work before we’ve risen, and the constant flow of adoration in freshly printed letters from Zoe. She’s just found her literacy wings and she is soaring.
Backpacks hang waiting, individual socks lay waiting. Their mates are almost always rogue amongst the jungle of laundry that ebbs and flows throughout the week.
Beau’s trains and Jack’s books can be found everywhere. I’m frequently chuffed that their things are constantly peppering the tables and floors, but it will be so much worse when they aren’t.
My vanity is piled with hand crafted ceramics and my bathroom is decorated in bath toys even though the kids have their own space for that. As much as these things all clog the atmosphere of my physical and mental space, I don’t want to imagine the days when I walk into a room and there aren’t fresh little finger prints on the mirrors or dirty kid’s spoons left over from breakfast.
These things that I see every single day, everywhere I look, are consuming. It feels overwhelming and yet completely comforting at the same time.
As much as I struggle to keep up with the task of raising children, this is my everything and my happy, exhausting, wild and crazy universe. I cannot imagine my life without every single facet of my mind, my home and my days being filled with the evidence of my children.
By Alina Dizik
15 March 2015
When Steve Harris hired a personal chef three years ago, he didn’t know what to expect.
As a single dad to an eight-year-old son, he didn’t want to rely on takeout food or his son’s babysitter for dinners. So, instead, the busy lawyer enlisted personal chef Marina Berger, to develop a nutritious menu and cook in his kitchen. The cost? $790 per week, plus food or kitchen essentials, which Berger orders and pays for online with Harris’s credit card.
Berger visits Harris's Manhattan apartment twice per week, each time preparing three nights of meals with enough for leftovers, packaging them in individual containers for easy reheating. Harris brings any leftovers for lunch and wouldn’t consider giving up the service.
Harris, 60, says he has lost "about 10 pounds" from eating healthier. The personal chef has also stocked Harris's kitchen with cookware including vegetable slicers, a heat-resistant spatula and a roasting pan.
As private chef services grow in many parts of the world, tapping into a luxury long accessible mostly to the elite is becoming easier, and in some cases, more affordable. In the US alone, there are 9,000 personal chefs serving 72,000 customers, a number that is predicted to double in the next five years, according to the American Personal and Private Chef Association.
These days there’s a strong divide between professional chefs and other household help. Full-time chefs who live outside a client’s home can earn anywhere from $65,000 to $180,000 per year, said Christian Paier, founder of Private Chefs Inc, an agency with 4,000 chefs around the world. The majority of chefs do not live in, he said. In the Middle East many chefs, however, get free housing and receive salaries about 20% less than chefs in North America. Personal chef services are still about 15% cheaper than the average in North America than in Asia and South America, he said.
From the high-end to weekly meals prepared at once, buying private chef services is more accessible than ever.
Choosing a chef
Before Paier will add a chef to his roster for clients, they go through a rigorous interview process, where Paier looks at both the chef’s professional background along with their personality to ensure a fit. A chef needs eight years of experience along with a culinary degree or apprenticeship to qualify, too. Customers often ask that chefs sign non-disclosure agreements to protect their privacy, so trustworthiness is key.
While some chefs sign up with services like Private Chefs, others market directly to consumers and can be found online through their websites.
For full-time placement, customers typically contact household staffing agencies to find a chef and can expect to pay 15% of the first year's annual salary or a fee upwards of $10,000 to get started. The matchmaking process can take weeks and focuses on both food tastes and personality.
“Some clients spend more time with their chef than their own spouse,” said Paier. Expect a personal chef to have more advanced training compared to household cooks, who might take on other duties including cleaning and childcare.
Other chefs, like Berger, are hired to come-and-go a few times a week. Many chefs also specialise in at-home formal entertaining, coming to a home only as-needed for dinner parties.
You can expect a private chef to be fairly health conscious and to plan out healthy dishes. That’s in large part because many who hire chefs eat out several times a week as it is and want the food at home to be better for them than the typical restaurant meal, said Berger, who has been a private chef in New York for eight years.
“A lot of people I cook for would eat out all the time,” if they didn’t hire a chef to come to their homes, she said. Berger, like many chefs, emails them a menu for approval a few days ahead of time and shops for ingredients the same day she prepares the meals. Customer favourites include: chilled pistachio soup, salmon kebabs and caramel apple tarts.
Options to consider
In the Middle East and Asia, many middle-class families already enlist domestic help to cook and clean, but recently there is a greater demand for gourmet chefs, said chef Tomas Reger, who works in Dubai, typically crafting special occasion meals for families, from surprise dinners for a spouse to bigger parties.
Rather than taking on a full-time role, Reger has worked alongside a family’s “house” cooks for several weeks to train them in gourmet techniques inspired by French cuisine that they did not learn during their own informal training. Other times, he spends a couple of hours with the house cooks to help perfect a recipe he’d previously cooked for the client.
For one dinner — a surprise for a husband — Reger prepared four courses, including foie gras with apricot and cardamom, and red snapper. For special dinners, Reger charges 450AED ($122) per person. Reger generally prepares food ahead of time in a rental kitchen and arrives about two hours before the meal, with meat stocks, fish that’s already filleted and marinated meats, which he then cooks in the client's kitchen.
In parts of Asia, business executives are also hiring private chefs for one-off meetings and events, said Crystal Chua, owner of My Private Chef, a Singapore-based agency that allows customers to hire chefs for one-off corporate dinners. Prices start at $195 per person for a four-course meal and includes table setting and other setup along with professional servers.
While served at home, the service has the feel of restaurant and chefs are encouraged to introduce their menu before serving. Privacy is crucial and some clients wish to have little communication with the chef. When it comes to cuisines, “opposites attract,” Chua said. “Foreign guests often request Asian cuisines while Asian guests ask for European menus.”
Before hiring a fulltime chef, understand their breadth of experience and how it matches your own culinary needs. Many have worked in hectic kitchens and can cook a wide assortment of dishes throughout the year, said Reger. Some customers pay for a few test meals or tastings in addition to conducting a formal interview to make sure both cooking and personality styles are compatible. Those employing a chef on a fulltime basis must pay taxes and health insurance.
For many busy families, hiring part-time help can be the best fit. Expect to pay upwards of $250 for half a day’s cooking (which can often result in two meals for the week) or at least $50 per hour to supplement your own cooking with three professionally-cooked dinners per week and $200 more for additional lunches. Most clients settle a weekly bill with the chef that includes a fixed day rate along with food costs.
Written by Christina Antus for Scary Mommy
Over the years, I’ve had to adapt and learn how to maintain who I am while being a wife and a mom. It’s not always easy, especially because everyone else comes before you. As a parent, you are constantly thinking about your children. They are all-consuming in your thoughts, mind, and being. For a small period, you are the only world your kids have, and those are pretty big shoes to fill. You can’t take a break when you want. You can’t pick up a book when a newborn is hungry or ignore a toddler who wants help painting. I mean, you could, but I don’t have to tell you what happens to your brain when a baby doesn’t stop crying. I also don’t have to tell you what happens when you leave a toddler unattended with paint and a brush.
It can be a lot for a gal (or a guy). It’s hard to fill the needs of others and still have time to fill your own needs. It’s also hard to fill everyone’s needs if you aren’t filling your own. Before you know it, you’re wondering how you ended up here, where that eye twitch came from, and what happened to the person you were before motherhood. Here are a few ways I’ve helped me help myself:
1. Find Interest Groups
For me, this was social media because I was held hostage for five years of my life by nap times and feeding schedules. It’s easy to access, and you can access it from anywhere. Interest groups let you talk knitting all day with other knitters about knitting things. Sometimes you and these knitters become friends. Sometimes they’re just other knitters you know and talk to. Which is fine, because at the end of the day mohair is mohair, and you all love it.
2. Stay In Touch With Friends
My offline friends, the people I’ve known for years, are the heart and soul of who I am. These are the people who were there before I sported the smokey eye look — that’s just a reflection of the bags under my eyes. These people are all still around, despite not living in the same state or having kids themselves. They are the family of folks who celebrate me as their friend. Not as a wife, a mother, an appointment maker, or a sticky-spot-on-the-floor-finder. Keeping in touch with these friends can be difficult under the daily demands of life; often there’s lag time between calls — like seven or eight months — but even a text message conversation every week is enough to help me stay in check.
3. Hobby It Up
For me, this is writing. Writing is the one thing I do that’s mine. It’s not shared. It’s not for anyone else. It’s not an item on my list of things to do. My writing is who I am as a person, my daily life and thoughts expressed and orchestrated in a fun, creative, and real way that serves as both an outlet and something that can fill my “me cup.” I enjoy it so much that even if I only have 10 minutes, it makes me happy.
4. Leaving Kids With the Spouse To Go Do You
Sometimes you gotta go away, alone, where no one will call you 47 times in 20 seconds. No one knows you at Target. No one needs your help there. You won’t have to yell quietly at anyone to stop touching things in the bookstore. You know the one where you’re whispering so loud you sound like the air brakes on a semi. Go do you, quietly somewhere. Go have coffee without the need to chase a child out of the employee break room.
5. Use a Babysitter
I know, I know, easier said than done. On average, you would have better luck finding a gaggle of geese more fit to watch your children than a sitter under $25 an hour. I used to use our rec center child care. It cost me less than $4 for two kids, for one hour. The ladies were nice, the room had toys, and I was sold. An hour doesn’t seem like a lot of time, and I couldn’t leave the building, but I can’t begin to tell you how rejuvenating an hour drinking coffee and watching a brick wall can be — just because I could.
I’ve never been a voracious reader, but I’ve always enjoyed the escape. I’m just now going back to this after almost six years, one chapter a night before bed with a book I enjoy. On the nights I can’t, I read my kids two extra stories before bed. Because everyone loves a bedtime book, we both get lost in Seussville together.
7. Inviting My Kids To Get To Know Me
Sometimes there is no time for me. That’s the nature of the best. On those days, I try to pull my kids into doing things I enjoy like drawing, painting, or other creative things. Most days it’s a treat for us both if I’m not working dishes and laundry into a game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O. Sometimes that time is just a walk up the street and back sharing stories or playing “I spy.”
8. Listen To Music Before Bed
Pandora has spa music stations. It’s like a relaxing escape in ear buds. You’re welcome.
9. I’m Mom, But I’m Also Me
It’s important for my kids to know that Mommy has dreams. Mommy has a sense of humor and is all the things she is, in addition to being a mom and doing mom things. So, sometimes we bunk the schedule for the day and kiss the routine goodbye to go to the zoo or have ice cream for dinner because, really, who doesn’t love ice cream.
10. Remember It’s Not Forever
Someday those chickadees are going to fly the coop. You’ll be on your own with time to thumb-twiddle the hours away. Your house will stay clean, and no one will interrupt your hot cup of coffee on the back porch in the morning.
It’s those years, the ones too far ahead to see, that you get to be you all the days, every day. You can pick up a book, go for a walk, and paint the day away. Until then, you do what you need to do for your family. But don’t forget about you. You matter. You are someone. Go fill your cup, leave your kids with their dad, and shop for some actual makeup for the real smokey eye look. Alone.
Having a strong support system is crucial for families bringing new babies home. That system can look different for every family, but the biggest help is man-power. Whether that means extended family coming to help, a partner that can take time off work, or hiring domestic staff, having an extra pair of hands can be essential for new moms.
Two common domestic staffing resources new parents use are Newborn Care Specialists and Postpartum Doulas. Who you decide to hire depends on the level of help you are looking for. Below is a quick summary of the two positions to help begin your search.
What is a Newborn Care Specialist?
Newborn Care Specialists (sometimes called Baby Nurses) provide focused infant care. They are highly educated individuals who work with new parents to understand newborn issues. Specialists usually live with the families for the first 3 to 6 months and work on a schedule that gives new parents plenty of rest time knowing their baby is being well-cared for. Some specialists are also available to live out and only work nights.
Newborn Care Specialists work to care for the baby. General responsibilities include:
Care of baby
Provide breastfeeding assistance
Establishing a regular eating schedule
Provide over-night care
Familiar with an apnea monitor, feeding systems and other medical equipment
Help organize nursery
Will be able to detect jaundice, reflux, colic, and other common newborn issues
Bottle cleaning and sterilization
What is a Postpartum Doula?
Doulas work to give mothers and partners emotional, physical, and information support. You may begin working with a doula during pregnancy and during childbirth. A postpartum doula gives the same level of support after the baby is born. They usually come to the home a few hours a day or overnight for the first few months after bringing baby home.
A Postpartum Doula is dedicated to the care of the mother/family and provides evidenced based information on things such as:
emotional and physical recovery from birth
perform light housekeeping duties
assist in breast feeding and baby basics
care for older siblings
local resources and support groups
You can find more information at:
Welcoming a baby into the world is as challenging as it is exciting. Once you have decided to hire a Baby Nurse or a Newborn Care Specialist, you have already taken a major step towards creating the most positive experience you can for both your newborn and your family. But how do you decide exactly who to hire? Keep reading for British American’s top tips for choosing the right Baby Nurse.
1.It’s never too early to start looking - some women book a Baby Nurse immediately after finding out that they are expecting. The earlier you start searching, the less stressed you will be as the due date arrives. And a happy mommy equals a happy baby!
2.Keep in mind that there are tons of Baby Nurses looking for work, especially in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and London. To find the perfect person, consider working with a staffing agency that has experience with Nannies and Newborn Care Specialists. Agencies will meet with your family to help you figure out what type of personality is best suited to your needs and will take on the difficult work of sorting through candidates to find the best of the best. They will also help you in the interviewing process regarding what questions to ask, what to look for, and what to avoid.
3.When you interview a Baby Nurse, get an understanding of her techniques. Even if you don’t know what exactly you are looking for yet, you can get a sense of how she works. What sleep training methods does she use? Does she have any special certifications that could be useful, such as a lactation certification? Does she specialize in preemies, multiples, colic, psychological development of newborns, breastfeeding or surrogacy? Has she also been trained as a doula or a midwife? Finding someone that is knowledgeable and experienced in all realms of infant care is essential.
4.Check out her background; an agency can run background checks at the local, state and federal level, verify CPR certifications, and speak to her references. This means that when it comes time to interview, you won’t be wasting time with any under qualified candidates. Instead, you can focus on determining who clicks with you and your family, which is extremely important.
5.Finally, when deciding who to hire, trust your gut. Choose someone that is compatible with your family and who you completely trust with your baby. A Baby Nurse will become an integral part of the first few months of your child’s life, so be sure to choose wisely.
Although a vacation is intended as a relaxing experience, it is rarely so. Planning a trip presents enough of a challenge in and of itself, but executing it without a few glitches is a difficult feat. Throw a few energetic toddlers into the mix and the prospect of a stress-free trip seems nearly impossible.
But fear not, because here at BAHS we have compiled a few of our favorite tips to help you make the most of a family vacation. Follow these suggestions and it will be smooth sailing (or flying) from here on out!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
When it comes to traveling, especially with children, planning is absolutely key. A few days before your trip, create a list of all your travel must-haves. Don’t forget to pack any medications your family may need, and if you have especially young children always pack extra baby supplies such as diapers and formula. You never know when you may need it! Make sure to pack essentials in carry-ons. In the case of lost luggage, you don’t want to be running around a country or state you don’t know, looking for diapers. If you have a personal assistant or a house manager, they can help you create a comprehensive plan and travel itinerary.
2. Be Airport-Ready
Preparing for a flight is a lot of work and preparing a child that has little-to-no flying experience is even harder. Keep your child comfortable by dressing them in layers, as airports and planes are notorious for unpredictable temperatures. Make the security process as easy as possible by having your child wear slip-off shoes and pack all valuables and electronics for the family in one carry-on bag. Check with the TSA before your flight, as the restrictions on liquids often don’t apply to diaper bags. Make sure to pack disposable wipes so that you can disinfect any germy surfaces on the plane itself.
3. Go Hands-Free
A bulky stroller creates a lot of hassle. Instead, opt for a baby-carrier for infants, as it frees up your hands so that you can pull luggage behind you, and makes boarding the plane much easier. Often times, the staff at your hotel can refer you to a stroller rental service for when you actually get to your destination.
4. Keep Kids Informed
Traveling can be overwhelming for young kids; it is new, hectic, and there is a ton of sensory stimulation. In order to keep kids calm, be sure to narrate the processes that you are going through as they happen. Kids will feel much less intimidated this way. If you can, schedule a flight during naptime and stick to your routine. Consistency helps children and babies feel grounded.
5. Keep Them Entertained
Bring activities for toddlers to do on the plane; a mix of old and new is key here. Toys and activities that are old favorites are comforting in an unusual situation, but don’t underestimate novelty. One or two new toys or activities will keep kids entertained for hours, buying time on a long flight.
6. Stay Positive
Remember to keep a positive attitude and stay calm. Happiness is contagious and if you are in a calm and content state of mind, your child will be too.
7. Enlist Help
Last but not least, enlist the help of a Nanny. If you have a newborn, consider a Baby Nurse or Newborn Care Specialist. Having an extra person on a vacation is invaluable; it can help to keep kids entertained, calm, and happy. Consider consulting a nanny agency to help you find the right person! A Nanny can help with keeping children on a routine, they can help organize the airport process, and they can watch the children so that you have a chance to relax. You worked hard for a vacation, after all!
Michael Kormos Photography offered these pro photo tips to creating your own fabulous infant photos.
Michael Kormos Photography is a partner of British American Household Staffing and British American Baby Nurses and offers photo tips for newborns. Many thanks to them for this blog and for giving our readers crucial tips on how to create perfect photos dedicated to this precious part of life. Michael and Sophie understand that the newborn stage is all-too-fleeting and they go to great lengths to ensure that parents can look back on these photos and remember how it felt to welcome a new addition to the family.
"As professional family photographers, parents are always asking us for advice on capturing better pictures of their babies. Newborns are especially delicate, and require a lot of experience to be handled safely and posed beautifully. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance to capture those perfect moments that will be treasured forever.
Photography Tips: Newborns
LIGHTING. As with any portraits, you’ll generally want to use soft, subtle light. Position your baby near a window, and use a sheer curtain or white sheet to diffuse the light.
POSING. The best time to capture posed newborn portraits is while your baby is asleep. Bear in mind that infants sleep most deeply when their little bellies are full, and their diapers are dry. The key to successful newborn portraits is a generous feeding beforehand, so your baby is calm and content for a variety of concepts. In the first few weeks after birth, newborns have a natural tendency toward that adorable fetal curl. Once they’re asleep, you’ll be able to gently position their little hands and feet without resistance. It’s always nice to see a glimpse of little fingers and toes in a full-body pose.
CLOSE-UPS. There are so many precious details to capture in those first few weeks after birth. Take pictures of her feathery eyelashes, flaky skin, pouty lips, the peach fuzz on her shoulders... We love capturing a composition with baby’s tiny fingers next to her brand-new belly button. Baby’s tiny toes are also a favorite. Close-up portraits allow you to accentuate the details, which are miniature works of art that you’ll treasure forever.
SCALE. Emphasize your newborn’s petite proportions by incorporating simple props, such as a favorite stuffed animal. We love to capture baby’s hand clutching Mom’s finger, or baby’s body curled up perfectly in Dad’s hands. You can even use your wedding rings on baby’s toes to show scale in a meaningful way.
MINIMAL PROPS. Soft colors and textures add a nice touch to newborn portraits. Creams and neutral palettes are especially flattering for skin tones. Lay your baby on a soft blanket, or wrap her in a cozy swaddle cloth. Always make sure that any fabrics have been freshly washed with hypoallergenic detergent. We also love to use hand-knit mohair bonnets and dainty headbands from Etsy for added variety.
LIFESTYLE. There’s no better place to create precious memories than a home filled with the love and excitement of a brand new baby. You’ve put so much effort into perfecting your baby’s nursery, and it’s a pity not to feature all of the adorable details. There are many creative ways to incorporate nursery décor and accents to really personalize your newborn portraits. We love photographing infants in their crib. Through the slats is a very creative perspective, or even shooting from above with the mobile in the foreground. The best approach for lifestyle photography is to have images flow like a story, so keep that in mind as you photograph. It’s truly a beautiful way to tell a newborn story.
Years from now, you’ll look at these photos, and be reminded of the sweetness of your newborn baby, those first cuddles and tender emotions. It may just be a short story of a lovely afternoon, but it’s a story that will be treasured for a lifetime."
Michael Kormos Photography is a boutique family photography studio located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. As a husband-and-wife team, Michael and Sophie work together to create a relaxed and enjoyable experience, while capturing your most precious memories as beautiful works of art. “Like” them on Facebook and check out their site to continue being inspired by their beautiful work!
Baby Nurse or Doula:
10 Must Have Tips For Finding The Right Baby Nurse or Doula
When I was pregnant with my daughter and looking for a baby nurse, I found the process daunting. I wasn’t sure where to begin, what questions to ask, and what to even expect once I hired one. After going through the process, meeting many other moms who went through their own searches, and talking with many baby nurses and doulas—I feel much more informed. And now I’d like to pass these tips onto you so you have an easier time getting started.
5 Tips for finding your Baby Nurse
Start your search as early as you can. Some women book their baby nurses within days of finding out they’re pregnant, so the longer you wait, the fewer available baby nurses there will be. But, if you’re nearing your due date and haven’t booked a baby nurse yet, don’t panic. You can still find someone great—you may just have to dig a little deeper.
There are a lot of baby nurses in the local New York area, which means that you have flexibility in the hours you want! If you don’t want someone 24/7 then you don’t have to make that type of commitment. She can commute to you for just nights or just days.
Ask her about her approach to establishing a sleep routine and if you are going to breastfeed, her approach on breastfeeding. Does she advocate for supplementing with formula? When would she suggest introducing the bottle? There are different schools of thought for both sleep and feeding, and even if you don’t fully know what you want to do and how you want to do it, you’ll still get a sense if your thinking aligns.
When interviewing a baby nurse ask about her family and what she likes to do - it’s the best way to get to know a person and see if you are comfortable with her. And being comfortable with your baby nurse, and feeling like you “click” is extremely important.
Interview carefully. Evaluate her certifications (which can include Infant Care Specialist, infant CPR, LPN, LVN RN), years of experience and skill level, and find out if this is somebody you are comfortable with. You can use Rate My Baby Nurse’s Baby Nurse Interview Questions to get started.
5 Tips for finding your Doula
Observe the doula during the interview. Does she listen to you? Does she involve your partner in the conversation? She should do both, and both are important for a positive experience. Here is a list of Doula Interview Questionsto get you started.
Do you connect with this person? Will you want her by your side during your labor and delivery, or in the weeks that follow? Will you feel comfortable communicating with her?
If you’ve already chosen your OB or Midwife and know where you are delivering, find out if the doula you are interviewing has experience working with any of them. Also get a sense if the experiences were positive.
Determine if your doula has experience with any personal circumstances or goals you may have, and if her philosophies on childbirth or postpartum decisions align with yours. For instance if you are considering an epidural what does she think about that?
Research whomever you are considering. Check certifications (some include DONA, CAPPA, ICEA, ALACE) and references. Determine how much training she has had, as different certification programs involve varying levels. And especially for a postpartum doula run a background check.
Don’t ignore your gut feeling. It’s there for a reason, so follow it! And of course research whomever you are considering. Check certifications and references, and run a background check.
Melissa Lutzke is the founder of www.mamaviews.com, the largest national review site fully dedicated to providing real parent feedback on baby nurses and doulas. Moms can search based on important criteria like reliability, infant care knowledge and trustworthiness. You can reach Melissa at Melissa@mamaviews.com.
BAHS is planning upcoming events in this category. Details will be published here in the near future.
Please try selecting another category.
BAHS is planning upcoming events in this category. Details will be published here in the near future.
Please try selecting another category.
Please try selecting another category.