Hiding from the nanny

I usually post on Mother’s Day about my adventures, both good and bad, but this year, seeing that the baby had pink eye + a 101 degree fever today, I’m best to leave the day behind and move on.

So while out with girl friends last night, the conversation turned to what else, shopping. We all like to shop. Not in a grotesque, RHONY way, but in just that “I went to Target and happen to come home with a blouse, too” sort of way. And while our vice might be that great sale at Loehmann’s, one thing is for certain: none of us let our babysitters/ nannies/ name your child caregiver see how much we shop.

Because apparently husbands don’t count. Except for mine who notices everything I put on down to my eyeliner.

But nannies/ babysitters/ caregivers are in a whole category of their own. As much as we all open up to them about our children, some things are sacred. Like the amount of our credit card bills. No one ever wants the sitter to know what goes on with the people at Visa. Or Chase. Or Mastercard.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some baby sitters who I go to for fashion advice before a Saturday night out. Some sitters are perfect to tell you the nude heels work better with the skinny jeans than the grey ones. But it doesn’t mean that I want that sitter to know I have two pairs of nude heels to choose from.

I’m not alone here. Last night, tales of hiding new clothing purchases in plain Whole Foods brown bags alternated with those who kept any shopping sprees hidden in the trunk of the car until the sitter had gone home for the night. I once turned beet red when 4 boxes from Zappos showed up at my door all at once. How do I explain the art of online shopping and returning to my dear sitter? I think she thinks I am Imelda Marcos.

I’ll be the first to admit I do may have a teensy-weensy shopping addiction. Isn’t admitting it in public the first step in the road to recovery? I guess not if I can’t cop to the nanny.

If you’re as addicted to shopping as I am, check out the latest sales at Totsy – and free shipping until Midnight tomorrow! Squee!

Tips for planning your one-year-old’s birthday party Chicago-style

Earlier today, I got to put on some real clothes (they were trouser jeans, as Caitlin noticed, much to my happiness) and head out to a brunch put on by the ever-fabulous Bump Club and Beyond. I was on a panel of “the city’s leading mom bloggers” (HA! Don’t they know I’m a blogging slacker??) and my co-hosts Cindy, Linda and Caitlin and I had a ball giving some of our best tips around the city to Lindsay’s group of new moms.

My quick talk was about tips and tricks to planning your child’s first birthday. Because, eventually, all those cute newborns grow up to be cake-smashing, drooling one-year-olds. Because I forgot, unlike my counterparts, to actually print up and hand out my tips, I told everyone I’d post them on my blog. So, here, in no particular order, are my thoughts:

1) Make the party favor part of the party – if you have a musician, give each kid a maraca. The little babes don’t know what a goodie bag is – take advantage of that while it lasts!

2) Kids this age don’t need much for entertainment – a place to crawl around, 30 minutes of activity and somewhere between 20-30 to eat. By then, they’re pretty much wiped and will hopefully nap all afternoon for you.

3) I personally think a mid-morning, post first nap party usually works the best for you and for your friends – sometimes the afternoons are unpredictable! Well, at least they are in my house.

4) Pack two shirts – one for photos and one for after the cake – and bring a good bib! (This one, I admit, is pretty self-explanatory.)

5) My eldest got really freaky and nervous at his first birthday party. My youngster loved every minute of the party. Bottom line — don’t worry if you’re kid is nervous – it’s a lot of attention.

And you were waiting for the Chicago-specific stuff, right?

Best locations for a Chicago kiddie bday party:

  • Just about any pizza joint – remember my baby’s first birthday party last year? At Pequod’s pizza. It was relatively inexpensive, I bought one of those foam letter mats and threw it on the ground so the kiddos could crawl around and it was a blast. And the dads could swill beer too. Happy Birthday.
  • If you think a pizza dive isn’t quite for your family, there’s always the East Bank Club where I had my eldest’s party. Yeah, it was like a mini bar mitzvah. Best food I had at a first birthday! But notice, I didn’t repeat that one.
  • For a smaller get-together I love Musical Magic on Roscoe. So sweet and cozy inside and so easy to manage.
  • And then there’s the name-your-own-kiddie-gym-place like Bubbles, My Gym, Gymboree, Little Gym. All good choices.
  • The park district also has many rooms for rent – I am partial to the one at Sheil Park because it’s close to my house, and it’s clean and a good size for a party. I think that sort of stuff matters.

Best entertainers to hire for your party (if you’re in to such a thing):

I can’t say enough about these three very fine kiddie entertainers…

  • Miss Amiee Leigh. We took her class at the JCC for so many months and years I lost track along the way.
  • Little Miss Ann. She is the best of the best. Book her. If you can.
  • Mr. Singer. The kids adored him.

Ideas for how to gift the birthday baby:

  • I recently got tuned into Echo Age by a friend of mine. Basically people donate a certain amount of money towards your gift which you can use to buy a few gifts of your choice, or to donate to charity. Really love this concept. Especially for a baby who doesn’t even really know what “cool Fisher Price toy” means yet.
  • Buy the babe some books. They never grow old.
  • Create a gift registry if you must. At least you’ll get what you want, right? Cuts down on those return errands and gift receipts.
  • One thing I always did was test out toys my friends had whose kids were older. If my kiddos loved playing with them at a friend’s house, well, I’d just invite myself back over to that friend’s house. No, I’d put it on a wish list.

And with that, my favorite first bday toys:

  • Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Door. It’s expensive, but worth it. My five-year-old still plays with it. Have the grandparents buy it or something.
  • Any pre-walker push toy. Unless your kid is walking already. Good for my kiddos who were well over a year before they considered walking.
  • Any Little People toy. Those things are indestructible.
  • A set of wooden blocks. Basic but always good to have around the house.

How to invite all those people to your shindig:

  • You may want an invite for your scrapbook, but those babies can’t open the mail, so save the money until they’re at least 2 – use evite, or, my new favorite online invitation store, Paperless Post.
  • I must also mention my go-to printed invitation source – Tiny Prints!! You can even save money on your kids’ birthday party invites by using the code from my blog: AFF1105.

The K. Grace Experience: Flexible, Convenient Babysitting in Chicago — Part Two

This is part two in a series of four posts about K. Grace Childcare – Flexible and Convenient Babysitting in Chicago. Read part one on Caitlin’s blog.

One of the hardest things after you figure out what your childcare needs are – full-time, part-time, all-the-time – is finding that sitter that’s right for you. If you know me, or my blog, you’ll know that in the past, finding the right sitter has been, well, difficult for me.

That’s what I loved most about my experience with K. Grace Childcare. Not only do they have terrific options for flexible and convenient childcare – I like to call it “on demand babysitting” – but they have the staff and the methodology to match you with a terrific sitter for your family and the technology to make it happen.

When you first decide that you’d like to try K. Grace Childcare to find a babysitter, you fill out an online profile. It is like match.com for babysitting – brilliant!

I got to fill out exactly what I wanted in a sitter – job requirements, my kids’ favorite activities, questions about my kids’ needs such as allergies, special needs, etc. Then, once I filled out the form, I got an email confirming that K. Grace had received my information. Then, within what seemed like minutes, I received call from Erin, K. Grace’s Client Manager, but more like “Chief Awesome Babysitter Placement Specialist.”

Erin went over all the details of what to expect from the K. Grace experience – she is chief example of why K. Grace works – Erin has a soothing and calm demeanor that allowed her to understand just what I was looking for from a babysitting service amidst the screeches from my little guy in the background. Around anyone else I’d feel embarrassed about the chaos, but Erin assured me she’s seen it all before.

Then, the best part. I got my username and password for the site, and I was able to fill out, on my own, just when and what time I needed help. Again, brilliant! If anything changed on my end, I was able to control any schedule edits and even call an emergency number if I needed to, to make any edits.

A K. Grace sitter, Ashley. Isn’t she darling!?

After she got a sense of “me beyond my online profile” I finished the application process. K. Grace offers the same flexible kinds of pricing that go along with its flexible and convenient service. At K. Grace, you only pay for what you use in terms of babysitter hours. Monthly fees for usage of K. Grace vary depending on how many hours you use the K. Grace sitters.

You get what you pay for. Kayme Pumphrey, the owner of K. Grace childcare, takes time and energy to recruit the best sitters possible. Her sitters are recruited out of local colleges and many of them have backgrounds in psychology, education and social work. The young woman who came to my house is a music major, which came in handy since my little guy loves to rock out to any ol’ kind of music.

Kayme also prides herself on her extensive screening process – it’s the same background check company that NASA uses! The process takes multiple steps including applications, group interviews, single interviews, protocol and child development exams, reference checks, background checks, and CPR certification — so only the sitters who are truly committed make it to the end. (Approximately 70 percent of applicants don’t pass Kayme’s screening process so you know you are getting the best of the best.)

Kayme and her daughter Addison at nine months of age

Sitters all follow the same protocol at every appointment – they wash their hands when they enter the house, take their shoes off, and keep a log of all the activity that happens during the day when you’re out. It essentially eliminated my need for that hourly “check in” call when I was out doing my meetings. Because I’m all busy these days, you know.

The next thing I knew, Erin confirmed my request for a sitter, I was provided information about her and gave me the 411 on why she selected her just for my family, ok, me. When the lovely young woman showed up at my door last week, I was confident I’d met my match. In the best possible way.

Do you want to meet your perfect babysitting match? Want to try it out? K. Grace is offering a Chicago family the chance to experience their placement process for free (a $40 value). The winner will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a client at K. Grace (note that, in order to provide the best level of service to their clients, certain geographic limitations apply and the winner is responsible for compensating the babysitter for her/his time).

There are two ways you can enter to win: (1) leave a comment on this post (be sure to include your contact info so we can reach you if you win!) and (2) Become a fan of K. Grace Childcare on Facebook. So 2 total entries per person. All entries must be received by midnight (CST) on Monday, February 13, 2011. Good luck!

And don’t worry, there will be many more ways to win a free placement. Just check out next week’s post – part III in our series – on A Hen and Two Now Three Chicks next week!

Disclosure: I am working with K. Grace to help spread the word about their services and I am being compensated for my time. My experience with the K. Grace process and babysitter we had to our home, however, is all my genuine and honest opinion!

Four Days of Giveaways! You’ve got to learn a little… at Little Beans Cafe!

As a veteran of what it’s like to be at an unfriendly coffee shop with your children, I can’t express enough excitement for the opening of Little Beans Cafe this week. Little Beans Cafe (an indoor play space and coffee shop combo) is the newest addition to the Elston corridor – and it makes you want to slow down your car and take a break from all of your errand running.

The play space takes the best of an upscale coffee shop and make-believe play land nirvana and packages it all under one roof. For $12 per child (plus $7 per each additional child or sibling), you can grab a cup of Intelligentsia coffee and watch your child explore.

And as if this weren’t enough, Little Beans is offering a plethora of class options for parents AND kids. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a new experience for myself and my kiddos. Starting in March, Little Beans will be hosting a bunch of fun and different classes for your family. Class options are:

  • Family Yoga – Learn stretching, fitness and relaxation techniques for the whole family
  • Mommy Time Yoga – an hour of time for yourself!
  • Imaginative Art – have a coffee while your little one explores his or her artsy side with Wishcraft art studio
  • Music and Movement – need I say more?
  • Parent Time/ Supervised Play – drop your kids in the play space and sit in the cafe to get some work done!

Best yet, because this is Little Beans launch week, I’m giving away ONE FREE LITTLE BEANS CLASS OF YOUR CHOICE (or 3 supervised play times) to a lucky winner this week!

There are a couple of ways you can enter to win this prize: (1) leave a comment on this post (make sure you include your contact info so we can get in touch with you if you win!); (2) Become a Fan of Little Beans Cafe on Facebook (and leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done so); and (3) Follow @LittleBeansCafe on Twitter (and leave a separate comment telling me that you’ve done so).

So three total entries per person. All entries must be received by midnight CST on Friday, January 28, 2011. We will randomly choose and winner and contact that lucky individual on Monday, January 31, 2011.

All week long, A Hen and Two (Now Three) Chicks (Caitlin Giles), Sassy Moms in the City (Alison Ray) and I are giving away something great from Little Beans so make sure to check out their sites too!

Now go, enter, and PLAY!

Disclosure: I am being compensated by Little Beans Cafe for my time and for hosting this giveaway.

What’s on my mind – links for 1/12/11

This is going to be one of those lame blog posts, but I’m so busy this week, all I have time to do is link. Gimme a pass, k?

  • I Am Mommy Hear Me Roar! – You would have to be hanging out under a rock to not to have heard about this article on the Wall Street Journal on “The Superiority of Chinese Mothers.” I’m not really going to post my thoughts on the topic here, now, (I VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE!!) but rather point you to an amusing fashion take on the whole parenting trend debacle. All we can do is laugh at this point, right?
  • Traveling this weekend? You need some tips! Who better to help you plan than my favorite local style expert, Amy Tara Koch? You can watch her clip here:

  • Spring is in the air?? I’m already scoping out updating my wardrobe for this spring. I haven’t fully decided everything I’m going to invest in, but I will for sure be buying some wide leg jeans. Again, I’ve checked out The Gap’s site and think these are HOT. Just need to figure out what shoes to pair them with…

… that is for another blog post another day, my friends!

My inlaws think, or know, I’m crazy.

As if I were setting out to really ensure that I am bat sh** crazy, I spent the last week holed-up in my in laws house in Southern Florida where the Jews reign and there are enough New York accents to make you feel like you’re living on the Island. (Hello, Boca!) I figured taking my kids solo (w/ a babysitter) on “vacation” was a better alternative to creating lots of mindless play dates and overpaying for “winter camps” during the the second week (why oh why do we need two weeks!) of my son’s holiday (not ours) break.

It all seemed like a good idea in theory, this getaway to a typically sun-filled state and away from Chicago, when my husband canceled at the last minute due to pressing work issues.  We had already run out of board games, arts and crafts projects at home and I had already spent a month’s supply of cash on sitters in 4 days. My in laws welcomed the change of plans with open (and tanned) arms and even accepted another house guest.

I should have known something was amiss. Because while I only joke about my craziness, my in laws actually think I am.

Before I even arrived, I was told to give a detailed list of what the kids might need for food before I arrived. Their refrigerator is admittedly quite barren, with legions of AA batteries filling the bottom drawer (I should have taken a picture.) The only food my dearest step-mother-in-law stocks in the house are filled with enough sugar to kill a diabetic and I cannot say the last time I’ve seen anything with the suffix -berry on the premise.

So, you can imagine the horror when I gave them my grocery list consisting of every Horizon Organic, Applegate Farms, and [insert available organic fruit here]. Their fridge had never been so busting with food. The eclairs, black and white cookies and double-cream Brie cheese did not know what to do with their healthy and HCFS-free comrades. I give my in-laws credit, though, they didn’t get lost on the way to Whole Foods, although I probably can count on one hand the amount of times they had ventured there.

But, when we arrived, much to my amazement and delight, the house was stocked with all “proper” foods and snacks. Not only was it very generous of them, but it got me to thinking we were all finally on the same page about what my kids (and me) would eat. Then, I got this, in between (their) Christmas-cookie bites:

“You drink Diet Peach Snapple?”

I didn’t say I was perfect.

Our joshing didn’t end with the food. Apparently, my case of the “crazy-s” extended to how I disciplined my eldest (not enough) to my inability to make a decision on the day’s plans (that’s what happens when the weather dips below 70 in Florida – the options of what to do or where to go become as difficult as a sub-zero day in Chicago.) There was cajoling to get me to abandon the house and leave them in charge. There were countless “don’t worrys” and “we’re fine.”

But away from my own turf, with a clingy and snot-nosed (oh, I didn’t mention the part about the eldest acquiring a cold whilst on “vacation”?) four-year-old, I became, shall we say, a little bat-sh** crazy. This was “my” house for a week due to their generosity, but it wasn’t MY house. It’s one thing when your kid streaks naked around your own living room before bath time, and quite another when it’s done in a living room filled with Larry Rivers and Roy Lichtenstein prints. (That living room is not for toddlers. Or me, really. I’m quite a slob.) So I was on hyper-vigilant-kids-you’d-better-be-behaved alert. Me, hurling orders and demands of little people that should have been reserved for Air Force Cadets. Me, a little more nervous and stressed than I usually am. Which is already too much.

Perhaps I acted this way because I wanted some reassurance that I could do this vacation with not-my-blood relatives all on my own. Perhaps I wanted to go down as the best daughter-in-law on record in the entire municipality of Boca. Perhaps I just wanted to make sure we’d be invited back next year. Or, perhaps I’m just a little crazy when it comes to my kids.

Just ask my in-laws. I love you, too.

Why I changed my tune on Crying It Out

When I decided I wanted to write a story about letting your baby cry it out, and my fine editor at Chicago Parent approved the idea, I never thought I’d be sitting here, 10 months later telling you that I let my research for the “balanced” story get to me. The story came out last month, but I had long since decided that I wasn’t going to let my baby cry it out anymore. If you remember, I posted about this topic for the very first blog post for Second City Baby. It got quite a few comments and I was pretty adamant about my position – I let my kid cry and self-soothe until he figured it out and slept through the night.

But I’ve changed. I wrote that article balanced for a reason, but what I didn’t publish were the notes from my lengthy and informative conversation with Dr. James McKenna of the Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory at Notre Dame. I don’t know exactly why – if it is because it’s my second child, if it’s because I already did the CIO and he was sleeping great at night, if it was his soothing voice and demeanor, or because I really believe what he says is the truth – but our conversation hit a nerve. From the moment I wrote up my notes from the interview, my husband and I have been running into the baby’s room as soon as he makes a peep. He literally doesn’t cry for more than 1 minute for anything now. I think my four-year-old is now a terrible sleeper because I never went into console him when he cried at night as a baby. Now he fears sleeping alone. I don’t blame him. I’m not advocating for attachment parenting or co-sleeping. Neither or for me, but I now feel strongly that I cannot leave my one-year-old crying unattended. So I’m not.

I know some of you commented on my last post on the topic and asked me in person about why I changed my mind, and so after combing through the conversation I had with Dr. McKenna I wanted to post some of the soundbites and excerpts that really struck a chord with me and that weren’t published in my article. I’m not an expert in this area and I’d never claim to be. I’m just a mom who had access to an interesting expert on the topic sharing some information.  I’d love to know what you think. Would you change your tune?

Notes/ Excerpts from interview with Dr. James McKenna June 2010:

About babies from “Westernized” cultures. (The thought being that parents from other civilizations and countries are much more relaxed about sleep patterns of their babies):

What we’ve done to babies in western culture- we’ve socially constructed ideas about the way we want them to be and live and the problem is that babies will never get the cultural memo because we are never as close to our genes or without culture and learned behavior as we are when we are babies.

They [babies] want to be held and with their parents. This is what 100,000 years of human evolution history will be. no cultural memo will be negated and no science can’t disprove why babies might cry. The reason they call their parents is it is in their adaptive best interest and their bodies are designed to do it.

That there’s no such thing as a “good” baby:

We know culture has taught us certain things and we’ve risen to a certain concept of the good vs. bad baby. And there is no such thing. There are just babies. The good baby is labeled because they sleep through the night, there are no such thing as bad babies- it’s an ideologically based value  – some middle class white guy who never took care of babies made this up so everyone strives to get this “good” baby. babies are designed for different things.

On the generalizations of “proper” sleep behavior:

The stringent and terrible generalizations of what babies should be are generalizations like weapons, nothing to do with scientific evidence of who babies are and what they do, but they are all generalizations of how a western 6 month baby should do. Any child is not independent. The harder you push at the start, the less confident they will become. They need to secure all the confidence and affection and touching, and grooming as much as a child can possibly get when they’re young to get them to be resilient, adaptable, and be with others.

Even with all you hear with the solitary sleep baby being independent never had one scientific study shown that to be true. Lingering mythology that have been disproved when the child becomes an adult.

On “self-soothing”:

There is no developmental advantage to self soothing. never even meant to me any concept of development – not a developmental milestone.

You’re told everywhere it’s important and you think it’s emerging from research – we have the least happy and the most exhausted and the most well read parents in the world. and we are the least satisfied parents in the world with our children sleeping behavior. That’s because all of our parents are reading ideas of what their babies should be and how they should sleep and it has nothing to do with babies but with cultural ideologies which are recent developments.

(I think it was that soundbite above that really got me.)

On breastfeeding babies and sleep (again, not promoting breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, just reporting my notes):

The whole paradigm of infant sleep was modified based on bottle fed babies. The 6 month old breastfeeding baby wakes up to feed. they priviledged sleep over baby nutrition – growing a brain in the best possible way and it doesn’t sleep through the night because it’s drinking mothers milk and it burns calories quickly and they certainly don’t need to consolidate their sleep at 4 months of age.

(My notes – he studies breast fed babies) – how sleep architecture- two related processes – metabolism and delivery of breastmilk- critical processes of how babies sleep – the smells, the affect of giving the milk, and then once the baby takes the milk it changes heart rate and body temp and those are critically important.

Sponsored link: Superior Play creates quality wooden swing sets for children.

Should you let your baby cry it out?

The story I worked on all summer about letting your baby cry it out is finally out in this month’s issue of Chicago Baby. I talked to real moms on both sides of the equation – some vowed that CIO was the way to go, while others subscribed to the attachment parenting school of sleep training.

I learned a lot through my research. As you know, from my very first post on my Chicago Parent blog, I was all about CIO with my kids. At about 4 months, I let them both cry and cry until they soothed themselves to sleep.

However, after talking to two experts for the story, sleep guru Dr. Marc Weissbluth and Dr. James McKenna of the mother-baby sleep clinic at Notre Dame, my opinion on sleep training your infant changed a bit.

If I could do it over I wouldn’t do CIO. This is a radical departure from my March self, right?

I never let my baby cry anymore and he’s nearly a year old. He makes a peep and I run in there faster than Usain Bolt runs the 200. I just can’t stand to let him cry. I think that letting my first born CIO at all times until he was old enough to get out of his bed caused him to have some troubling sleep patterns today at age four-and-a-half.

But, whatever I would do, or you would do, or what the experts say, I still believe that CIO is a personal issue and each family has to do what’s best for them. I just think this family changed its tune a bit.

Cross-posted to Second City Baby

Check out Second City Baby!

Did you know I write another blog for Chicago Parent? It’s called Second City Baby and I’ve got some pretty exciting stuff up there this week.

First, I’m hosting an amazing giveaway from teutonia – a new luxury stroller manufacturer. They’ve given me a t-linx to giveaway on the blog (valued over $400!) Just write in the comments why you need a new stroller and why your current one stinks and the best story wins! I’ll pick a winner on September 15.

Also, I’ve just posted some really helpful videos from a recent symposium conducted by Playtex led by the country’s leading pediatricians, including the venerable Dr. Sears. The videos give helpful tips and tactics on how to tackle the toughest infant feeding issues. Check it out, or send it to a friend. There’s some good stuff in there.

That’s all. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

On absurd displays of mommy/ baby behavior

Last week I was privvy to some ridiculous mommy and baby behavior. I’m usually not a judgmental mother. Really. But some mommy/ baby behavior needs to be called out. Like the mom who brought her baby and her nanny to the nail salon to … no joke … get her baby’s nails cut and buffed.

At first, I thought the baby was a little girl trying on nail polish for the first time. Fine. Sitting on her nanny’s lap with her mom taking pictures right next to her. Ok, I guess they were excited. When I realized that the baby was a boy, and was only there to get his nails cut, I was perplexed. He was no more than 13 months old. Was this his weekly visit to the salon, I thought?

Yes, cutting a baby’s nails can be one of the more fear-inducing tasks that parents must do to their children. You have to cut their nails to avoid Edward Scissorhands-like face scratching, but you don’t want to cut them too short to the point where you’re drawing blood on the digits.

So, you may ask for help. I remember that my sister-in-law first cut my older son’s nails when I was too afraid to try. After a few practice runs with her, I was like a regular trained nail tech. Maybe you are lucky enough to have an experienced nanny help and she may be assigned the chore. Or maybe you have no choice but to just suck it up and figure it out yourself like every one of our ancestors who didn’t have nail clippers, scissors and filers did before us.

There’s outsourcing your baby’s hygiene maintenance and then there’s OUT-of-your-mind sourcing where you have the hired help to cut the nails but still pay a pro to do it while you just watch on the sidelines idly. I can only hope the edges were a perfect rounded square.

In other absurd mommy and baby news, a bunch of moms in my baby class were chatting about where our older kids were going to preschool. I run in a small, fortunate crowd of people who will be sending our children to a private school next year. My husband and I worked hard to give him that opportunity and I am grateful he will get educated in a place where I think he will do his best. It was a whole, big, stressful process I won’t get into here, but didn’t even think to worry about it until my son was three-and-a-half.

However, I encountered a mom last week in the class who was already stressing about where her five-month-old child was going to preschool. That she already called the school of her choice and said she would put down a deposit TODAY if that meant her son could get in in 3 years.

I’m working on an article about “hands-off” parenting about how we should back off of our kids and let them learn, grow and make mistakes on their own. Not guide them into what we “think” they should do, but what they “want” to do. We all want the best for our kids’ education, but how do you know at five months what kind of child yours will be at preschool age? I don’t fault that mom for being nervous, but I would warn her to not let her nervous energy be transposed onto her innocent baby already. There’s plenty of time to be worried about school and grades and “getting in.”

Let’s leave our kids’ nails and schooling up to nature a little, shall we?

Cross-posted to Second-City Baby.