Sitting Around in the New York Times

Many people have a revered text, a writing that influences the way they view the world and live their lives. For some, this is the bible. For me, it’s the New York Times.

You can imagine my elation, then, at being quoted in an article on entrepreneurial fashion in last Sunday’s paper. (Imagine if you were quoted in the bible. It’s THAT awesome.) My words of wisdom to fellow entrepreneurs – don’t try too hard. No suits, no stockings. And nothing that requires ironing or dry cleaning…or god forbid, both. Your product should speak for itself. If you need to wear fancy clothes to impress someone, your product isn’t good enough.

Check out the full article here.

Sitting Around is coming!!

Show of hands – (not like I can count them, I know, but go with it):

  • Are you a parent?
  • Do you think babysitting is expensive?
  • If you could save money by trading babysitting with parents you know and trust, would you?

If you ever visit my blog, you KNOW that I gush endlessly about my babysitting co-op. It’s a group of parents in my neighborhood who trade babysitting with each other. By being a member of my babysitting co-op, I saved over $500 last year. And? I met a bunch of great families!

Interested in starting your own babysitting co-op? Check out Sitting Around!

Sitting Around is a website that helps you quickly create and easily manage your own babysitting co-op. It’s currently in private testing, but we’re launching to the public soon. Go and request your early invitation now! I am so excited to be able to share this with you.

Reason #341 why I love my babysitting co-op

I know I wax on about how great babysitting co-ops are. But really – it’s justified praise. Trading free babysitting with other families in my neighborhood is amazing. One of the best things about my babysitting co-op is that I know and trust the other families. I never have to worry about anything “happening” when I have a co-op babysitter watching my son (usually its another Mom, but sometimes a Dad). Things, for example, like this:

A few years ago, the Ex worked for a large, international firm. One of the perks of his job was backup childcare. If G was too sick to go to daycare, I would call this service and they would send a nanny to my house. A working parent’s dream, right? No missed meetings, no taking extra sick days. The only problem was that you rarely knew the person who was coming to watch your child. But, since they were being sent through a reputable agency, there was a built-in level of accountability.

We used two nannies from this service. The first was an older lady – a grandmother. She had been watching children for over 20 years and seemed to be a natural with G. The only problem was that she liked to nap while G napped. And, since we hadn’t a guest bedroom, she would nap in MY bed. That alone was not exactly cool with me. (Kind of ick, don’t you think?) But the worst part? As she was an older lady, she struggled with incontinence problems. I’m sure you can see where this is headed. Yes, the nanny had “accidents” in my bed. And while sympathetic to her incontinence, I was not sympathetic to someone peeing in my bed. Especially when that someone was not related to me.

Nanny #2 was 19 years old. I haven’t evidence, but I suspect her bladder worked quite well. Nanny #2 didn’t nap in my bed. Thumbs up. Sure, she was more interested in watching TV than watching G, but it was just for a few days until he was feeling better. Nanny #1 had already lowered the bar so much you could trip over it.

But trip Nanny #2 did.

That Thursday night, after Nanny #2 had watched G for the past few days, the Ex arrived home from his business trip. Tired, he went to pour himself a glass of his (fancy) Scotch. There was an awkward pause. “Erica, did you drink my Scotch while I was gone?”

Please note that he was gone for just three days and the now-empty bottle of liquor was full when he left.

“Of course not,” I said. “And no one was here except me and G and…” I recoiled in horror. Either the underage Nanny had drank the alcohol while watching my baby, or she had stolen it (and left the empty bottle behind). Both really, really bad options.

I went from horrified to irate pretty damn quickly. Face red and steam puffing out my ears, I called the agency and demanded to speak to the owner. I got him on the phone and I detailed the entire situation. He was horrified as well and wanted to know the Nanny’s name. When I told him, he laughed. LAUGHED.

“She’s one of our best Nannies,” he said.  “She wouldn’t have done that.”

“WHAT?! She did,” I said. “How can you say that when no one else was in my house during that time? I don’t think my baby climbed on top of the fridge and downed a fifth of liquor, do you?”

“Ma’am,” he said. “I know she wouldn’t have done that because she is my daughter. And she doesn’t drink. She even told me that she hates the taste of alcohol.”

After reporting this agency (and giving the poor, naive sap of a father some tips), I vowed to be stricter about who I let watch G. While I’ve had a few great sitters since then, I haven’t been as happy as I am with our babysitting co-op. In addition to having someone trustworthy sit for me (and for free!), because there are over 20 families in my co-op, a sitter is almost always available when I need them.

And, so far, not one sitter has stolen my liquor. Or peed in my bed.

Random Thoughts for a Cloudy Tuesday

I could write an eloquent post, but let’s be real. People like bullet points. So, bullet points I shall give you. (Plus, I’m cranky and lazy this morning.) Some random, unrelated thoughts for a cloudy Tuesday morning:

  1. They say you should dress for the job you want to have, not for the job you do have. I want to be a stay-at-home-mom. Does this mean I should wear sweatpants to work?
  2. Color Me Badd will forever remain one of my favorite bands of all time. (Mark Calderon, who’s with me?) But, what’s with the extra “d”? Does it increase their level of badd(dd)ness? Anyway, back to Mark Calderon…
  3. Has anyone ever heard of Splatanimals? They’re these sticky, gooey creatures your kids can get in the quarter machines at grocery stores. They apparently leave permanent wet splotches on any wall they stick to. I now get to repaint jaguar-shaped spots all over my ceiling.
  4. Re: Splatanimals. The Ex is no longer permitted to go grocery shopping with quarters in his pockets.
  5. Re: Color Me Badd. I am having a strong desire to start singing “All 4 Love” to my coworkers. Thinking this may help me achieve goal #1 sooner than later.

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(the handsomeness known as Mark C.)

Toy Day is Over

On the surface, “Toy Day” sounds like a sweet concept. Twice a week, the kids get to bring a toy from home to share with their class. No weapons, no monstrosities (I had to veto a pop-up Thomas the Train playhouse this morning). Other than that, the rules are pretty open.

G, for his part, has created an additional rule: You must never (ever!) bring the same toy twice. Can you imagine the snickering? The disgusted looks? The whispering of, “Didn’t he bring that Backyardigans guitar last week?!”

As my son gets older, status has become more of an issue amongst his peers. And Toy Day has become THE DAY to improve that status. I mean, what is cooler than being the kid who brought The. Best. Toy. – am I right?

Every Toy Day morning is stressful, as G calculatingly hunts down the perfect item, the one that will set him apart from the heard. Usually, this process takes about 10 minutes, but it can take up to 30 minutes. Today, however, it took an HOUR.

It didn’t help that I was already about an hour late to work to begin with and not in any mood to double that. No amount of prodding, cajoling, suggesting, or threatening would speed this process up. In fact, it seemed to spitefully slow him down. I was desperate, so I enlisted the Ex to help. Nothing. Finally, I got the now angry preschooler into the car by promising him that there was bound to be something really awesome buried under the mess in the backseat. When we were loaded into the car, it was quickly discovered that all that lay buried under the mess was more mess.

G was not pleased. “You are going in the garbage can,” he informed me.

He proceeded to pout and inform me of other places I could expect to go during the ride to school. He did this as we walked to his class (read: his teacher and I dragged him), and as he waved (still pouting) as I rushed off.

This has led me to the conclusion that Toy Day is a very bad idea. I might talk to his teacher about canceling it altogether; however, I’d make her sign a non-disclosure first, forbidding her from ever letting G know that I was the evil mastermind behind it. If not, I don’t think I’d ever get out of that can.

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