I am adopted.

I said it. That’s right. I am adopted. The first time I said aloud  was while sitting on a dusty, ratty old couch that sat in a common room of my university dorm building. I was 20 years old. And of course I didn’t tell just anyone about this secret, I told a girl who I did not know well but seemed overly accepting and kind of perky – I think this was a safe choice for me. At the time I realized that I didn’t care what she thought so I went ahead and told her, shortly turning into a pile of tears.  Yes, I lived 20 years on this earth not telling a soul that my birth mother did not want me, she could not afford to pay for me. I am still emotional about this of course, but not ashamed as I once was. This will be the first time I ever write it out, and here I am…publicly announcing it.

You are probably wondering why it took me 20 years to tell anybody. I ask myself this when I am reflecting on how sad but also beautiful adoption can be. Adoption is a tumbleweed of being rejected and being wanted – a constant tumbleweed (I honestly can’t tell you why I chose to use this word…I just imagine my emotions tumbling around LOL).

It’s like no other emotional roller coaster I have been on, because it is never over. I am never “over it”, or “done with” being adopted. Imagine this, “meh, today I don’t wanna be an adopted person…” Nope. It is constant. Always there.

I work with infants and toddlers and their families through my work as an Early Childhood Educator and have yet to meet a family that has adopted their child – this saddens me. I wonder if any of them are adopted or what they think of adoption. Sometimes I question my work with families since I did not have that “perfect family” that is common. THIS IS SO UNFAIR. Adoption comes with stereotypes like whether I know who my “real parents” are, if my adoptive parents love me as much as a “real” parent can, and it is such bullsh*t!!! My wish for our world is that adoption becomes a norm, that people are used to and accept.

You know what I also want to change? When I google “adoption” and “I am adopted”, the only resources I find are for adoptive parents. No, I want to hear more stories about being adopted. I feel as if we do not write about this enough. Clearly ( I mean it took me 24 years) it is hard to talk about and brings up endless emotions, burbling sobs and a confusion in your heart, BUT THIS MATTERS. I do not know a single soul who is adopted, I mean I might but I have never been told by anyone that they are adopted. This hurts. I can’t be the only person on WordPress that is adopted. I want to connect…I want to know if you are as messed up emotionally (about adoption etc) as me LOL.

Thanks for listening to my very personal, very emotionally driven post. Next time I’ll go back to writing about books or my luscious garden, I promise.

How to Nanny

When I started to nanny, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I knew one thing though; I loved children. I didn’t find many resources on nannying, and I didn’t know any other nannies to answer my questions. Three years later, after working for over 5 families, through babysitting and nannying…I’ve learned a lot.

Inspiring me to write this post are a few new nannies/babysitters who are starting out who have tons of questions. I’ll be answering some basic questions and some vital ones as well.

1) “What should I expect on day one, the first day I’m alone with the kids?”

Realistically? Chaos. The kids are going to test you and push you, to see what you’ll do, where you’ll set the limits. They’re probably used to their parents/guardians, teachers or instructors. You don’t want the children to fear you. Likely you just want the kids to like you; this is normal. I made a mistake in my first nanny gig, I was overly nice and the kids started walking all over me, this is NOT OK. So early on, be kind and loving but firm with rules and expectations. If you do this, it’ll make the time you spend with the kiddos so much easier and fun.

2) “I’ve had multiple families offer me jobs…how do I pick?”

This requires you to think about what’s important to you. If the parent prefers you sitting on the couch all day watching TV with the kids but you believe outside time is important…problems could arise. If you hate cooking but the family expects you to make all the meals from scratch, be realistic and honest with yourself. It might be a challenge finding a family that’s a perfect for but in my experience, it’s possible to come close 🙂 One more thing. Of course money is part of it but trust me, you’ll be much happier with the loving family who pays less than with the high paying family who ignores the kids. If you’re anything like me, this will break your heart every time it’s time to leave.

3) “I feel so awkward playing with and disciplining the kids when the parents are around. HELP!”

This is so normal. It still happens to me sometimes. The kid wants milk…do I get it or let the parent do it? You want to be useful, but avoid over stepping. You also don’t want to sit there like a slug. Just be friendly, chat with the parent about what happened during the day. In my experience you don’t want to become best friends with the parents. They are your employers and when money is involved, things could go south.

4) “I spend 48 hours a week with these kids…I love them! Am I allowed to show them how I feel?”

Yes! It’s part of the job; pretty sweet if you ask me. Having a child love you will change your life. But remember once again that they aren’t your kids. You get to leave(the tantrumming monsters) at the end of the day!

5) “It’s a job, but I play with kids all day…what do I wear?”

This is a fairly common question because yes you do want to be professional, but professional as a nanny is a whole lot different than professional in an office setting for example. I’ve worked for numerous families and I’ve never had an issue when I wear my normal casual clothes. I like wearing comfy leggings, tank tops, warm socks and moccasins. Sweet right? Hopefully the parents don’t care since you’re there to take care of the kids and what you wear should not matter. Tip: You have breasts? Put your tits away. Kids know where to find milk…nipples. NO. I was alarmed the first time, so just cover up.

6) “Do I bring my own lunch or do I eat their food?”

This is a good topic to bring up when arranging your employment with your boss. I’ve had families welcome me to eat whatever I want, and others expect me to bring my own lunch. I would suggest asking your employer! Personally I like eating my own food, perhaps not plain pasta or whatever the children decide they want so I bring my own lunch and snacks everyday. Once when a family said help yourself, I was on my period and ate a whole box of crackers with cheese…and ending up feeling SO guilty, I immediately went and replaced the crackers…so keep this in mind when parents say “help yourself”.

7) “I believe kids need a good spank sometimes, but I don’t know the parents dicipline methods…what do I do?”

Another sceniro where you need to talk to your employer. They aren’t your kids, and even though you’re taking care of them…you still need to go by the parents rules. Every family is different and acknowledging this is very important for a good relationship. Most famillies I’ve worked with use “time outs” or “quiet time”, but this varies so make sure to check.

What did I miss? I couldn’t answer all your questions so if you have any needing answering, write to me below in the comments! I am also hoping to hear from parents, any questions for me? What do you think of what I’ve written?  Thanks for reading! 

Bubble wrapping playgrounds: why?

Why are we protecting our children from failure?

Yesterday I was at a playground and noticed they’ve taken out all the “unsafe” play equipment or modified it to be “safe”. The firemans pole now has platforms(photo below), the climbing walls are now stairs with railings and god forbid they leave a tree standing near the playground in case kids decide to climb a tree!

This is such a disappointment…I mean it’s one thing to make it so children can’t fail inside the classroom, but now outside during play?! Play should be filled with experiments, risks and learning how to challenge yourself and body. When I was a child we played for hours on end, unsupervised, in a large dirt area filled with “unsafe” hazards such a tall trees to climb, fences, animals, a stream & prickle bushes, etc. Our playgrounds were wooden, slippery, tricky to climb, and yes, we fell off them all the time. But here I am, alive and well!

Instead it seems we are failing our children. Children need to fail! Failure develops character and resistance. Life is filled with bad and good times, success and failure…so why on earth are we setting our kids up to expect success? They need to learn to work for success and prepare and know how to deal with things when they don’t go so well. The toddlers I work with have mastered the playground which states it’s meant for children 5-12 years old. This is a prime example that we are not challenging our children and therefore we are hindering their development.

Besides the whole overuse of cellphones we see these days, I would say this is the most concerning trend within our generation. Kids expect to have things given to them, rather than knowing they need to earn it.

I see this all the time at work since I work with kids and from watching young adults in our society. I’d love to hear your take on this…do you see it? What’s your experience? How can we change this? Do we need to? What’s the future like for these kids?

❤️

dreams; a personal post

Without saying any numbers, I’m young. I’ve had the dream of opening my own daycare for a few years now after realizing it’s not totally impossible for me to achieve. Would it be easy? Of course not, when has opening a business and keeping it running easy? Never. So add children into the mix and you have a recipe for a disaster of many kinds (financial, my sanity, etc etc).

I’d like to think that I’ve somewhat proven to myself that I am able. No, nannying isn’t the same but it’s a lot of the same principles. Some problems of mine are:

Timing: first I would like to get higher education…1-2 years later. Opening a daycare isn’t an overnight endevour, let’s be honest. I would add another 2 years to that for my next points/problems:

Money: of course. It’s expensive and I happen to live in one of the priciest areas on this continent(great!) Buying a house alone would cost me upwards of 1 million dollars, and let’s be honest…I could work until I was 109 and still be paying for that house!

Space: since housing prices are soaring and I would like to stay in this area since my life is here, where does this leave me to open a daycare? I could rent a space, but I find these “retail spaces” so cold, and they often lack outside area which if you’ve read my past post, is VERY important to me.

Reality(?): by the time I figure this all out, earn the money, and start it up…I’ll be wanting a family of my own. Oh well fuck! Of course I can’t plan everything that will happen in the future but I do like having a plan.

Any advice, words of encouragement? Do you run your own daycare? Are you completely clueless in the area but have something to say? Have you opened a business? Tell me I’m crazy if you want! I would love to hear from ALL of you.

Thanks!

Child care principles

Being a nanny for twin boys, almost 2 years old sounded tough when I began the job over a year ago. At the time they were learning to walk and talk. Fast forward 13 months and these “babies” are now scheming, back talking, smart little guys.

How…how did these sweet babies turn into hell raisers? Of course I love them, I spend 40hours a week with them. But at the same time, after a year, it becomes tedious, draining and you start to wonder if you’re making a difference at all. Is this normal for any job?

My beliefs on childcare are fairly simple after safety and love:

1) outside time is vital. Being outdoors, exploring and learning about your surrounding is so important when you’re a child. Learning to control your body while you climb, interact with other people, understand how nature works to some degree. Bonus, it usually tuckers the kids out…longer naps = win!

2) independence. Kids should learn on their own, fail, try it out another way, adapt, etc. I find a lot of parents and care givers baby their children through everything which of course we want to do…who wants to see those we love fall on their face in failure? But this is part of growing up and becoming a self sustaining person. It’s tough! Last week one of the twins I work with couldn’t climb the play structure while his brother was racing up it, I mean that’s no fun! But I stood beside him and encouraged him up, was there to catch him if need be…and 20 minutes later, he did it! You should’ve seen the look on his face. There’s a time and a place for this of course, but independence in children is so important!

3) books! Reading! I can’t stress this enough. My mom is a librarian, so yes I’m likely bias but books books books! They’re fun, they have life lessons, fun pictures, and the things you learn from books is endless.

Yes, it’s SO tedious when the child wants to read freaking Curious George 89 times in a row but oh well, at least they’re interested. I find that so many of my educated friends don’t make time for pleasure reading anymore. (Pleasure reading = what YOU want to read, rather than textbooks). I challenge you people to find 1 book that you are genuinely interested in and read it, you’ll feel so grounded. As we get older I find we read less and less books.

What are your child care principles? What am I missing?

Happy Saturday:)