Thursday, November 12, 2015

Kids Mittens in Red, Yellow and Orange, Halloween Costume, Handmade Kids Costume Accessories Fingerless Gloves for Kids, Halloween Gift


20.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1HKEkvo

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Treasure Hunt is now available!

That's right, you can now purchase my special Treasure Hunt Game!


I'm really proud of this new item.  When I was a little kid, my dad would throw together little scavenger hunts, with little clues written on scratch paper.  It was a great game for us when it was rainy and cold.  So of course, when I began nannying, I started doing these games with my charges.  It was always a fun time for the kids, since they loved trying to find the clues and decipher the hints.  Obviously, it's a great educational tool, since the children have to think like super sleuths.


Anyway, my game is now available on Etsy!  You'll be sent 12 cute cards, a magic bag, 6 pirate coins, 5 magic flowers, and 4 fish.  Plus very detailed instructions.  It takes about 5-10 minutes to set up, and kids will love it.  It's great for preschoolers up to about 4th graders.  The more the merrier, but even one child can have fun with this, too!

Tiger Doll, Orange and Black Cuddly Kitty Cat Doll, Gift for Child, Tiger Amineko Amigurumi, Childrens Toy, Kids Stuffed Animal, Kids Lovey

He's a cute little tiger, isn't he?
25.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1RK3Iqo

Monday, October 5, 2015

Purple Cuddly Kitty Cat Doll, Purple Cat, Gift for Child, Tiger Amineko Amigurumi, Childrens Toy, Kids Stuffed Animal, Kids Lovey


35.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1JOxSTJ

Prince Doll with Dark Brown Hair Brown Eyes Orange Shirt Poseable Arms, Handmade Doll, Boy Doll, Soft Yarn Doll 11", Waldorf Doll


40.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1JOxUuA

Princess Doll with Black Hair Green Eyes Yellow Dress Poseable Arms, OOAK Doll, Handmade Doll, Girl Doll, Soft Yarn Doll 11", Waldorf Doll


40.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1M6VTLM

Princess Doll with Red Hair Blue Eyes Green Dress Poseable Arms, Redhead Doll, Handmade Doll, Girl Doll, Soft Yarn Doll 11", Waldorf Doll


40.00 USD, by TomboyNanny via Etsy http://ift.tt/1QUjfn6

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"I Did Not Love You Before"

My first full-time nanny position was with three children: a 5-year-old boy, a 2 ½-year-old boy and an 8-month-old baby girl.  I definitely had my hands full.

The oldest boy was a total chatterbox and knew every single kid in the neighborhood.  We quickly connected when we discussed whether Anakin Skywalker was a good guy or a bad guy (I'm pretty sure I lost the argument).  And winning over an infant isn't that hard.  Keep them fed, dry and cuddled, and a baby will love you.

But the toddler was another thing.  He was tall for his age, blond, and had the most expressive eyes and eyebrows I had ever seen.  And he had an immediate distrust for me.  Maybe it was because he had a pretty nasty ear infection a week after I started, or maybe it was because I had to wake him up from his nap every day so we could pick up his brother from school on time.  It also may have been something much more simpler: I wasn't Mom.

I came home nearly every day upset, and I would complain to my husband that I couldn't get a 2 ½-year-old to like me.  I started questioning whether or not I had made a horrible career mistake.  My husband tried to calm me down and kept telling me to keep trying.

I tried my best to win over the little guy, but he always gave me silent looks that said "I'm counting down the seconds 'til my parents come home."  He'd glare at me with his giant brown eyes, and barely spoke to me most days.  I kept trying to connect with him, while still maintaining my authority.  Things became minimally better each week, as I slowly wore him down and got him to trust me. 

Months later, I sat at the coffee table coloring with the boys while the baby practiced walking around us.  We were all pretty quiet while we each worked on our tasks.  But then, the now 3-year-old spoke up.

"Know what?" he said to me, looking off in the distance.  "I did not love you before."  He looked me straight in the eye.  "But I love you now."

And it's moments like that, that make being a nanny so very worth it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Little Potty Training Help

In my years of teaching and nannying, I think potty training was one of the hardest tasks.  There are millions of books and blog posts out there that offer advice and plans on how, when and where you should ditch the diapers.

It's hard.  Some kids take to it so easily, they're in clean underwear in a day.  Other kids, it's weeks of messes, crying, frustration... you have no idea how your child will respond.  Well, here's a few things I learned from going through this more than a few times.

First off, don't start too early!  If your friend's kid is potty training, it doesn't mean your kid is ready.  If your child shows no interest in the toilet, don't force it.  This seems to be the toughest part.  Don't stress you and your child out by trying to start before you're ready.  On the other hand, if your kid is showing interest and has a dry diaper after nap, it might be time to start talking to them about it.

Secondly, there is no such thing as overacting.  If your little one uses the toilet correctly, CELEBRATE!  Do a dance!  Cheer!  Give a prize!  Every time.  Not just the first time, every time.  For at least the first few weeks, you need to show that you're super proud of him or her.  Then, when your child seems bored by the whole thing, you can back off.

I'm not a fan of giving food or candy as a prize.  Mainly because, as soon as your child is done eating it, it's gone.  There's no record of the good job they've done.  I'm a big fan of a potty chart.  Usually, just a poster board with a little calendar written on it.  Then the child gets to put a sticker for each successful potty trip.

Blue Necklace with Large Gold Medals
My only issue with this is, what if your child uses the potty correctly while at a friend's house or in public?  You don't want to haul that poster everywhere!  So I've created gold medals.  They're made out of acrylic yarn, so they're hypoallergenic and machine washable.  It's a necklace that your child can wear, and for each time they use the potty, you add a medal.

Pink Necklace with Large Gold Medals

Purple Necklace with Small Rainbow Medals

Yellow Necklace with Large Rainbow Medals
These can also be used for chores well done, crossing the street correctly, or whatever else you would like to reward your child for doing.  They're great for positive reinforcement.  I've got different sizes and colors available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I've been featured!

Hello folks!  I was going to write a long, thought out post about potty training, but I'm just plain exhausted from teaching swim lessons. 

But I do have some good news!  I've been featured on the Waldorf on Etsy Blog!  If you're looking for some beautiful gifts, go check them out.  The stuffed tiger (a.k.a. Hobbes) is mine.

http://waldorfonetsy.blogspot.com/2015/07/animals-part-two-from-waldorf-on-etsy.html

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dear Parents: Don't Panic!

Being in charge of a baby or child is stressful.  Whether you're a parent, teacher, nanny, or just taking care of a friend's baby for an hour, it's easy to freak out over the littlest things.  The two words I say the most to parents is DON'T PANIC.  Seriously.

Children respond to your reactions.  If your child falls and you immediately scoop them up and scream "Oh no!" they will respond to your emotions.  If you wait a half second to see if they are actually hurt, sometimes they are fine!

Another thing I have learned is that little ones will remember the last thing.  When I teach swim lessons, I never push the child or baby in the last five minutes.  I always try to end the lesson on positivity, and letting them play with toys.

One of my places of work.

One of my clients told me about implementing this in a scary situation.  It was the first time he put his infant daughter into a daycare, just for an hour so he could get in a workout.  When he returned, he found mayhem.  Right at that moment, another child BIT his daughter!

I saw her the next day, and right on her cheek was a circular bruise with tiny teeth marks.

Of course, everyone was in a panic.  But my client remembered not to panic and not to leave the daycare while she was crying.  So he sat with her, cuddled her, and calmed her down.  The little boy who bit her was a toddler, who was probably trying to show affection or maybe was just teething terribly.  Either way, this was not out of malice.  My client even sat with the boy to make sure he knew he did nothing wrong.  He stayed calm and collected, and both his daughter and the little boy were able to calm down.  His daughter wasn't seriously hurt, and since he waited until she was in a better mood, she will remember playing with her daddy and a new friend.

So remember, don't panic.  Chances are, it's not as bad as you think.  Your toddler falls and bonks his head?  Assess the situation calmly.  Your baby won't sleep through the night?  This too shall pass.  If you're worried, you're probably doing a better job than you think.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Three Types of Nannies

A while back, my nanny friends and I started to realize one can categorize nannies into three groups.


Professional Nanny:  A professional nanny is the woman (or man) with a college degree in some sort of child-related field (education, psychology, child development, etc.), or has years of teaching and/or nannying experience. She'll also have CPR and First Aid training.  This is the person who will discipline your child, and teach them everything from manners to their ABCs.  She is your partner in the raising of your children.  She will schedule playdates, make recommendations on classes, create games that stimulate your child, and so much more.  Yes, professional nannies cost more, but they work hard for it.



"I Love You" Nanny:  I have known some great "I love you" nannies, that truly adore their charges.  They will kiss and cuddle your baby every single moment, and your child will be safe with her.  She'll take them to the library storytime and the park, but won't necessarily do much more to stimulate them.  I honestly see no problem in employing one of these nannies, just know that you will have to do all of the intellectual stimulation of your child.  An "I Love You" nanny will probably not help with homework.




Park Bench Nanny:  These nannies are the ones that ruin it for the rest of us.  She just sits on the park bench the entire time, barely watching her charges.  She's probably talking on her phone, stopping every once in a while to bark orders at the children.  Why this woman works in childcare is beyond me, since the park bench nanny doesn't seem to even like kids.  These nannies scare me, because if they're this mean to their charges in public, what happens behind closed doors? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How to Start Independent Play

Independent play is an awesome activity for children of all ages, and there are countless articles out there about the importance of it.  But how do you start?  If you think you've over-scheduled your child, how do break that cycle? 

If your child's school year was hyper scheduled, with activities all the way until dinnertime and now you want him or her to play independently, they will probably have a tough time at first.  They will look to you for direction, and want you to entertain them.  If you want your child to reap the benefits of independent play, you have to help them at first.

When I started this with a 5-year-old, he was used to being entertained constantly.  I asked him what he would like to do in the house, like draw or play with Legos.  He picked drawing pictures.  So I got out a stack of paper, some markers and crayons. 

"What should I draw?" he asked.

"Draw whatever you'd like," I responded.  I wanted him to choose.

He stared at me, not really sure what to do, so I began to doodle on another paper.  He started drawing too, pretty much the same thing I was drawing.  That's when I knew he needed a little guidance.  So we drew together a bit, and then I told him I needed to start dinner, and that I would come back in two minutes. 

That was all the time I gave him.  The next day, he played with his action figures for five minutes without me in the room.  I slowly increased the time, until he could go a half hour without me.  If he needed help with something, or wanted to show me something, I didn't ignore him.  I celebrated his accomplishments and aided him when he needed help.

Now he loves his independent play time in the house!  He builds his own cities with Legos, fights zombies with his action figures, or draws a pretty beach scene.  I try and give him a half hour each day after camp that's completely unscheduled.  His favorite day is Fridays, since we never have anything scheduled.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Do you have a picky eater?

Do you have a picky eater?  Is your little daredevil at the park suddenly turn into a shy violet around new foods?  I've known some children that won't eat food of a certain color or texture, or ones that will ONLY eat hot dogs.  And those hot dogs better be sliced the right way.  There's even a few Instagram accounts dedicated to photos of food the kids refuse to eat. 

Luckily, the child I currently care for loves his veggies (broccoli is one of his favorite foods), but he's still a bit wary about trying new items.  His parents really wanted to expand his protein choices past chicken nuggets, though.  But any time they or I tried to introduce him to new foods, he turned his nose up at the idea.

Some might like the idea of hiding healthy foods inside not-so-healthy options.  I'm not a big fan of this, since the child doesn't get to know they're trying new things.  If you like doing this, more power to you!  It's a good way of sneaking in some very important vitamins.

Anyway, how do you get a kid to try new things?  Well, we played "New Food Bingo!" 

My little guy's finished Bingo card.  The results were surprising!
We went out for Mediterranean food, something very different for him.  Before this, he ate hummus pretty regularly, and I made sure there were some items he would recognize, like rice and French fries.  I made Bingo cards for everyone who would be eating with us, and explained the rules.  For each item you try a big bite of, you get to color in a square.  Green means you really like it, yellow means it's OK, and red means yuck!  You only have to try things once, and then you can eat what you want.  Turns out, the kiddo LOVED baba ganoush!  He said the salmon (the item his parents really him to try) was fine, and he'd be willing to have it again. 

Really, this helps with so many things.  Your child doesn't clean up after herself?  Make it a game!  See if they can beat their own previous records!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ask a Nanny!

I'm a professional nanny with decades of childcare experience.  I love helping out moms, dads, and other nannies with little bits of advice.  Finally, a mom told me I should write my own advice blog, so here I am!  Do you have questions?  I have answers!  Here are a few questions I've been asked repeatedly, and I'll be answering them.



Should I use a nanny agency, website or word of mouth to hire a new nanny?

What should I ask a nanny in an interview?

I love our nanny.  How should I show her our gratitude?

I like our nanny, but there are a few things I'm worried about.  How should I bring this up?

How do I know my nanny is taking good care of my child?

How do I teach my child boundaries?

How do I handle a temper tantrum in public?

How many after school programs is too many?

Homework help!

TV show reviews!

Any other ideas?  What would you like to know?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Nanny-Parent Relationship

Recently, a stay at home mom I'm friends with was toying with the idea of going back to work and hiring an after school nanny for her children.  She told me she would want a "super nanny" (her words, not mine!) like me, but had no idea how she would find one.

I thought for a second, and told her that even though I take my job very seriously and spend tons of my downtime planning out fun and educational activities, it's not just me.  My little kiddo's parents and I are a team.  The communication lines are wide open between the three of us, and that is the key.  Yes, I work hard at my job and I am an accomplished nanny.  But that is only half of the equation. 

I told my friend that the parent-nanny relationship is kind of like a marriage.  She laughed.  I said it's true, you're letting me into your home every day, and I care for your most precious cargo: your children.  I also need to feel comfortable there.  That only happens when the parents trust me, and I trust them.  My current job is exactly like that.  I know my MomBoss likes to text or email me every day, sometimes multiple times.  I know this has nothing to do with not trusting me, she just likes to be informed as much as possible.  She also understands that if I don't text her back immediately it probably means her little guy and I are busy.  I also get texts that just say, "thank you," and "you're the best" pretty regularly.  Also, when she's been on business trips, she calls me to just see how I'm doing.  To say I feel appreciated is an understatement.

Because of this respect, I feel comfortable talking to both MomBoss and DadBoss about any issues I may have with the job, ideas I've got for new activities, or concerns I may have about the kid's development.  So the little guy gets the ultimate home: three adults who do whatever they can to help him be a fabulous, happy, healthy child.

Sadly, I have been in negative nanny-parent relationships.  One where I extremely rarely heard a simple "thank you," and my schedule would change at a moment's notice.  I would respectfully try and suggest an idea for a new activity, and it would be dismissed without hearing me out.  So I stopped trying.  Then things kept getting worse, since the lines of communication were never truly open.  I loved the child, but going to work each day became more and more stressful.  When the job finally ended, I was relieved. 

Anyway, I told my stay-at-home-mom friend that I'm good at my job, but that's only part of it.  It's also that I have a strong relationship with the parents.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Hot and Dry Sunday Makes Me Ready to Get Back into the Pool

On a day like this, with the temp spiking in Southern California, I'm thinking it's definitely time to start up my swimming lessons for the season.  Right now, I'm waiting to hear back about my two pools I teach at in Hollywood and West Hollywood.  I've really loved teaching the group baby classes, and I still like my one-on-one lessons with the older kids.  I teach with a great company, www.kidswim.org so if you're in the Hollywood area, and you'd like to sign up for lessons, go sign up!

Yes, this will cut into my crochet and knitting time, but I'm still able to crank out most of my items pretty quickly.  Each item can be ready in about a week, depending on the size of the project and how many are ordered.  But remember to add a bit of time to that for the Post Office.

I've started branching out and making coffee sleeves.  A friend of mine asked if I could make them, which I totally can, but I wanted to make them a bit different from the usual regular sleeve.  My first one has a cute black cat on it!  What other animals should I try to make?  A dog, pig, elephant, monster, mouse?

Remember, if you see an item I have here or in Etsy and you think, "that'd be perfect, but I wish the doll had red hair, or I wish that crown was pink and green," or whatever other modification you can think of I can probably oblige.  I've got a ton of different colors available!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Don't want to register with Etsy? I accept PayPal, too!

My Instagram account (www.instagram.com/tomboynanny) has photos of pretty much everything I have available.

Some people don't like to go through Etsy - they don't want to sign up for another website, they don't want to get email from Etsy, etc.  Well, fear not!  If you see something you like, or something you'd like slightly modified, I accept PayPal.

Just contact me here in the comments section, or at melissamarah@gmail.com

Friday, January 30, 2015

Working on Something BIG!

I have some new items I've been working on, mainly Amigurumi (crocheted dolls).  I'm not putting any of them up on Etsy yet, since I'm working on a major project right now.  My charge's birthday is at the end of February, so I'm making something special for him.  Don't worry, I'll put up photos when I get closer to being finished.  I found the pattern on Ravelry, but it was in Japanese, so I had to use Google Translate.  I really hope this new project is worth my time and effort!

I've got a month to finish this project, so feel free to order a doll from me, just contact me on Etsy (my shop is Tomboy Nanny), and request a custom order.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One of a Kind Dolls Available!

I've been playing with making "amigurumi" (Japanese for "crochet stuffed toy") dolls.  I'm going to be selling these awesome friends on Etsy, but if you'd prefer to just go through PayPal, I can do that too!  Would you like one that looks like your child? They are made to order, and depending on my workload, they take about 3-4 days to make.  

The boy I take care of was my first model (the blond one with the big smile), and he LOVED it.  He's tossed his doll in the air, dragged it around the house, and squeezed it in a super tight hug.  The doll held its shape perfectly!

They are $25, plus $6 shipping.

The arms are moveable, and the entire body is soft.  They're made out of acrylic yarn with polyester fiberfill stuffing.

If you're interested, my Etsy shop is HERE.

Or if you'd prefer, here's my Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.  Contact me on any of these.








Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Dragon Scarf

One of the fun things about knitting without a pattern is not having any idea what a finished product will look like.  Sometimes it turns out to be a total mess, and sometimes it turns into this awesome dragon! 
https://www.etsy.com/listing/217039240/childrens-dragon-scarf-green-and-orange?ref=shop_home_active_1 
If you'd like to purchase this adorable monster, click HERE.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Items on Their Way!

I'm almost done with another monster inspired item. But this little guy is available now!