Growing up in the 50‘s and 60‘s I remember hearing about Thomas Malthus and the Population Bomb and that overpopulation would cause mass starvation. Margaret Sanger thought the wrong people were having too many children. My first crosss country plane ride left me puzzled as I observed vast stretches of empty countryside.

Jonathon Last in his bestseller, “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting”, explains that what threatens America’s welfare is underpopulation rather than overpopulation. Our grandchildren won’t be able to collect their Social Security checks because there won’t be enough workers to support them. Our generous immigration policy doesn’t help much, because within one generation, immigrant birth rates decline sharply as well.

“At the heart of the West’s fertility crisis and America’s One-Child Policy,” quotes Last, “Modernity has turned us into a deeply unserious people. Yet it’s encouraging to note that while our fertility problem is more dire than it has ever been, neither the predicament itself, nor its root causes, are new. Having children is difficult but important work and the main threat to fertility comes from a worldview that places the self at the center. Children are seen as a burden rather than as a source of joy.”

The Population Bomb never exploded. It was all bunk, and European countries are fading away even faster than the US. Italy and Greece are ‘museums’, and Japan already sells more adult diapers than infant diapers.

A sensational Time Magazine article by Jennifer Senior a few year ago called “All Joy and No Fun” describes her life as a parent. A comment about the article quipped, “Well, she has it half right!” Being a parent really is hard work and expensive, no one can deny.

An August 12 Time magazine article featured “The Childfree Life, When having it all means not having children” on it’s cover. The article points out that one in 8 high income women expect to remain childless. Women put off work because of work, education, or the lack of a good mate.

 Last and his wife moved out of Old Town DC before having their second child “because we believed that family life was more important. And if you believe in anything seriously enough–God, America, the liberal order, heck, even secular humanism–then eventually babies must follow.”

After exploring failed efforts in France, Spain, Singapore, Japan, and other countries, the author comes up with some simple but radical and practical ideas:

1. Better roads. Parents are more likely to have more children if they can live in the suburbs in a home with a grassy yard, impossible to afford in the major hubs where the jobs are, like LA, Silicon Valley, New York or DC.

2. Telecommuting. Telecommuting has the capacity to return us to a world where the extended family is a part of daily life and returning the home to the center of economic activity in America. The advent of a three generation household, or at least living in the same neighborhood, and having grandparents care for children and children being close by seniors as they age, would make child-rearing more doable. Industrialized Day Care Centers and Retirement homes is a 30 year historical abbertion, according to Last.

3. College. Changing he college system by allowing a nationalized standardized testing. College costs have risen 1000% . While goods and services have decreased in cost, and increased in value, college has increased 1000% while the quality has gone down. NPR reported this week that in Ivy League colleges, dorms and meals cost even more than the tuition! Young people hold off on marriage and bearing children to finish

college, then they have huge debts to pay off, so marriage and childrearing wait. The more education a woman has the lower number of children she generally has.

4. Immigration. A lesson from Japan and France is that every Industrialized country needs immigration to prop up its fettility. Because of Europe’s “policy choices made by adherents of a truly radical faith: multiculturalism” they are now realizing that they have made a terrible mistake, and it is now publically acknowledged. Europe as we know it will fade away in the next few generations, “replaced by a semi-hostile Islamic ummah.” Only the name will remain the same. However in America we have done a good job of integrating immigrants.

5. Social Security: Last has an interesting idea of exempting parents who raise more than two chidren from Social Security since they are raising the future workers who will be supprting the rest of us.

I highly recommend this new book which explains a complicted problem clearly. It’s provocative, deep, and presents heavy thoughts without selling doom. It will make you laugh, cry and think.
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Most families will tell you that their first priority is the family, but their actions don’t always reflect their goals. Why not use everyday moments to full advantage? When you’re driving together, for example, you have a captive audience. These are prime times for bonding as well as transmitting family values.

1. Do household chores as a team. Work together to clean up their messes when needed and invite them at an early age to learn how to fold laundry, or put away silverware and plastic dishes from the dishwasher.

2. When driving with children, ask questions about how they are thinking or feeling. My favorite questions are: “What’s the best and the worst thing that happened to you today?” Teach them your childhood songs. Remember “Zippa-De-Do-Dah” from the Lion King?
3. Reading bedtime stories together. Use a dramatic voice, make animal noises and use gestures to heighten interest
4. Enjoy washup and bathtub time together.

5. Standing in line at the store? Use these moments to ask questions to draw out their intellect and understanding, like, what’s this made out of? Metal or plastic?
6. Take a walk together. Point out the beauty and amazing details of nature.
7. Play a game together.
We’re in a society where family members may be too busy for their own good. It’s crucial that we utilize these overlooked moments that fly by so quickly. Right now you may feel that the drudgery, sleeplessness, dirty diapers or soccer practices are overwhelming. But blink your eyes and they’ll be packing for college. You have just a few years to teach your values, to produce mature, respectful, responsible, service-minded adults. So reclaim those daily opportunities for your well-thought through long-term goals, because these down times are largely the stuff of life.

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How to have a Great 4th of July with Your Family. Make plans today to not let this July 4th be just another day. Create a memorable celebration for your family.

1. Plan a 4th of July party. Invite another family over or a bigger crowd. We found some fun crafts and simple desert recipes online.

Find a patriotic movie to watch together.

2. Share your feelings of gratitude for living in the USA, like many families do at Thanksgiving. Go around the table and ask each person to share two reasons why they’re grateful for America.

3. Find a story from history to share with the children, or if they’re older, give each one an assignment and ask them to share a picture and some facts about their hero for your Independence Day celebration.

4. Use what you have on hand, like hands and feet, to create this 4th of July flag as a team effort.

The favorite traditions for our family of six kids growing up for the 4th were homemade ice cream, watermelon seed spitting contests, and sitting on the roof to watch the fireworks. From our home in North Tempe, we could see the big fireworks from ASU, SRP Pera Club, and three to four other locations.

Have a wonderful Independence Day and family day!
Beth

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In our family, we started reading to our children from the time they were babies. It created strong bonds, sped them towards academic excellence, accelerated their speech and communications skills, logical thinking, and increased concentration and discipline.  NPR recently reported that high school student’s reading levels are stuck in 5th and 6th grade levels and older students are not tackling more difficult material. Reading to children is by far the best way to help children be successful in school and in life.

Why do some books stay popular for generations? George McDonald, the 19th Century Scottish storyteller, said that the best children’s books are the ones where parents are looking over their kids shoulders.

When your toddler  is at the stage when they want the same book read 12 times a day, it had better be fun for you to read!

Here are a few of our all time family favorites that met that test.

PAT THE BUNNY

This classic book is so interactive that neither babies nor their parents ever tire of touching the bunny, feeling Daddy’s beard or trying on Mommy’s ring.

GOODNIGHT MOON
This classic book delights every child and they never tire of it’s sparse words at the end of the day. It becomes their cue that it’s bedtime and they settle down and easily slip into sleep and parents enjoy it just as much as the babies.

WHERE IS BABY’S BELLY BUTTON?

This is newer than the books I enjoyed with my own children, but my grandchildren love it.

Babies and toddlers don’t realize that things exist when they’re hidden, so they are surprised every time you uncover a hidden belly button or toes.

THE VERY HUNGRY CATEPILLAR

After finding a huge green hornworm as big as my finger, eating our pepper plants last Spring, I brought him in a jar to show my two year old grandaughter. We made a green catterpillar and  fruits and vegetables out of playdoh and re-enacted the story.

GREEN EGGS AND HAM

The wonderful Dr Seuss rhymes and outrageous stories and pictures is one most parents were raised on and continue to enchant toddlers today.

CORDUROY

The lonely teddy bear that had to live in a department store until a young girl was able to save up her allowance and bring him home is endearing to parents and children alike and makes children feel loved and cared for.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Maurice Sendak died just last year and he left a wonderful legacy of his love for children with this book. We read this book over and over as our children were growing up and they love the wildness of it and that it was all peaceful by the time bedtime came.

THE SNOWY DAY

Great for reading this summer-Kids get out of school for a day of frolicking in the snow. Another Caldecott Award winning treasure.

CARS, TRUCKS AND THINGS THAT GO.

All of Richard Scarey’ books are favorites. Children enjoy the detailed pictures with so many interesting things going on.

THE SNOWY DAY

Great for reading this summer-Kids get out of school for a day of frolicking in the snow. Another Caldecott Award winning treasure.

THE LITTLE HOUSE

This wonderful book is by the same author, Virginia Lee Burton,  and shows how a lovely farm  home becomes encircled by the big city. The granddaughter finds it and rescues it and moves it out to the country. The detailed pictures show the seasons changing as well and the countryside, families growing up. Another award-winning book.

Our family spent many hours reading books together, and now they are buying these favorites for their children. All five of them have loved reading and are lifetime learners.

Beth

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Boundaries in the home with a nanny are naturally confusing.There are two basic ways you relate to others: There’s a business relationship with someone or a family relationship. The business relationship is based on: ‘I have something for you”. The basis is performance. You perform for me and I perform for you. The family relationship with someone is based on: “I am something to you. It’s what I am to you. The basis is a commitment. A permanent committed relationship. Here’s an example of how these two relationships work out.

There are two different ways you can live in someone’s house. Generally, you’re either there as a tenant or as a family member. If you’re a tenant, the person who owns the house is your landlord and you rent their house. You can have a pretty good relationship with them as long as you pay the rent and respect the property.

But the relationship has structure and rules that are mechanical.There are rules for the tenant and the landlord also has certain rules he must follow. The landlord has to do maintenence. You can have a pretty good relationship, but the basis of your approach and the interchange is a mechanical one of goods and services. One of the problems is that when you live in a house and you see the boarders every day, the relationship continually tries to move off the business relationship into friendship. You start to not just give goods and services but listen to their problems and and start to move into friendship, and it’s hazardous. What happens when you have to put the screws to somebody when they aren’t paying the rent and they have become your friend and they’re not taking care of the property? A business relationship is a conditional one, but family relationships move towards being unconditional.

The business relationship is based on what you have–performance, and the family relationship is moving towards who you are. One is conditional and one is unconditional. One has to do with your doing and one has to do with your being. You’ve gotta watch out. You can’t become friends with the tenants.

At home, you’re supervising a nanny and you’re both crossing boundaries and she becomes your friend. Now what happens when she’s not towing the line, not coming through on her job description? Or, you start leaving the dishes in the sink on Sunday nights, and soon, it’s every night. It’s very difficult, very dissonant. There are two basic types of relationships and there’s a need to keep the tension between the two.

At home, you’re supervising a nanny and you’re both crossing boundaries and she becomes your friend. Now what happens when she’s not towing the line, not coming through on her job description? Or, you start leaving the dishes in the sink on Sunday nights, and soon, it’s every night. It’s very difficult, very dissonant. There are two basic types of relationships and there’s a need to keep the tension between the two.

You can also be living in the home of your parents and you’re not a boarder, you’re a child. The paradigm is different. The business relationship should work like: “If you perform you’ll be accepted. The way the family relationship works, is “that since your’re accepted, you should perform”. It’s two completely different ways of relating.

We’ve recently have had nannies reporting clients breeching boundary lines by asking indiscrete personal questions. When the nannies try to deflect those questions, the clients will as much say, “I feel I can’t trust you, because you’re not being completely open with me.”

We all want someone who will love our children as much as we do and who’s like a member of the family, and yet we need to walk that tightrope, so the relationship stays friendly, but business-like. I’m not saying this is easy, and the longer you’re together, the more you need to work on it.

If the boundaries at your house have gotten soft and mushy, how can you take back ground?

1. On your next Monthly Meeting share your failure to maintain the proper relationship. Nannies can have hurt feelings when Moms go back and forth on boundaries. One Nanny had a Mom who regularly made the nanny her ‘best friend’ and then ‘cut her off’ emotionally. when she realized she’d gone too far.  Another Mom kept the nanny as her BFF, but when family came to visit, she became ‘The Help’.

2. Have regular evaluations with your nanny, either quarterly or at six months and a year. We have a Performance Review available. Just reply to this email and we’ll forward it to you.
3. Be award that you may have crossed her boundaries as well, perhaps by regularly coming home late and not expecting to pay extra, or slowly adding to her work load without mentioning any reimbursement, or by sharing marital discord with her.
4. If you’ve never sat down and filled out a Working Agreement, it’s not too late. This agreement delineates her responsibilities, schedule, reimbursement and many other practical guidelines that you decide on together.
5. Keep evaluating if you’re both walking the tightrope. Be friendly, but not BFFs. It just doesn’t work.

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Having fun with our families and creating priceless memories together is one of the best ways to build teamwork, develop closer bonds, and makes us all healthier. Watch this funny  video of Chad Morton, a stay at home Dad in Atlanta, that has gone viral with over two million hits.

Here are 8 great ways to get your family to laugh more and have fun together.
1. Be silly. Impersonate a ballerina or Dora the Explorer or their favorite Superhuman cartoon character. Act like a chimpanzee or a silly monster.
Pretend to fall off the couch, onto the coffee table and roll across the floor. Make silly faces, like exaggerated grins.
2. Start a tickle-fight. Wrestle together as a family. Get everyone involved down on the floor.
3. Make up your own silly song. Use familiar lyrics to a children’s song but add your own silly words.

4. Create a silly prank when no one is expecting it. Pretend there’s a bug and you’re scared of it, or a mouse and you’re standing on the chair. Or play hide ‘n seek all over the house.
5. Children love being chased. Clear an area and tell your child you’re going to ‘get her’.
6. Get our your old ‘knock-knock’ jokes and silly riddles.
7. Share a funny story from your childhood. When Dads share self-depreciating humor, stories of how they  failed  when they were younger, its endearing to children.
8. Watch Mr Bean videos. Dads, have your family watch this funny video of Mr Bean who tries to use the kids slide at the pool and when he gets chased off, he tries the high dive and is too scared to dive.

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Thinking About Hiring a Nanny?

The Play Factory Will Proudly Host a

FREE Information Seminar for All Parents & Expecting Parents

Thursday, May 30, from 7 to 8 p.m.

Guest speaker will be Beth Weise, Owner of

Caring Nannies  – and Ashley Zehring, nanny recruiter, the largest and most respected nanny and household-staffing agency in Phoenix.

30 years in business!

Learn How to Hire a Nanny & What the Most Important Questions to Ask Are!

Advanced registration is required by May 29th. All attendees will have an opportunity to win a $100 Gift Basket including:

Certificate for a Free Nanny for 4 hours!!!
2 Harkins Movie tickets with popcorn
Bottle of Wine & 2 wine glasses

To register, please call Caring Nannies at (480) 946-3423

For more information, visit www.acaringnanny.com

The Play Factory is located in The Desert Ridge Marketplace,

21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix – www.playfactoryparty.com

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Share the true spirit of Christmas and be a part of helping children in 3rd world countries.
A Goat and Two Chickens for $100

We’re giving our nannies and families the opportunity to help children in third world countries get a goat and two chickens. Our goal is to raise $100, but if we go over, we’ll buy more for a second or third family. Click HERE to see more about the huge impact this makes for a family (i.e. the manure goes into the vegetable garden) and to donate directly to World Vision.
Please tell us how you give back to the community, and we’ll add $4.00 more to the goat fund!

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The murder of 2 children in NYC by their babysitter/nanny has  everyone  horrified and distraught—especially  parents who have hired childcare for their family. It has every nanny agency owner –almost all of whom are parents—grappling to understand what could have gone so wrong. How did a seemingly capable caregiver go from loving nanny to murderer? Believe me, I have been reading  every shred of news I can find to try and understand how this tragedy could have ever happened.
Those of us owners who belong to an organization called APNA (the  Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) subscribe to the highest level of screening practices. I know we are all wondering, if this woman had come to us, would we have picked up something about her which would have eliminated her from placement. The truth is without all the facts of the case, we don’t know.
Here’s what we do know. Careful screening of caregivers by professionals does help weed out people who should not be taking care of children. Real background  checks—not the cheap ones provided by online sites—are part of the process. But in this case, the woman probably had no prior record. It does appear, however, that her life was unraveling and she was becoming  psychologically untethered.
This case is a statistical anomaly. There are thousands upon thousands of wonderful nannies providing excellent care for children and allowing parents to go to work knowing that their children are in loving hands. But just one case like this is one too many.  No one wants to be that anomaly.  When the facts emerge about this woman, I hope we have some take away that will make us  better at what we try to do best– protect the  safety and welfare of children.
 

One Response to Traged

Judi Merlin says:

  1.  

    Thank you for speaking to eloquently for all of us in the nanny agency business. We are all grieving for this family.
    These heartfelt comments were posted by Barbara Kline, owner of White House Nannies and one of our affiliate APNA Nanny Agencies in Washington DC, who we were just with at the 2102 APNA convention two weeks ago. Her thoughts resonate with our hearts, as we grieve with this family that has suffered such an unimaginable loss.
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