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Are We There Yet?

Archive for November 2008

Babies at work

At some companies, employees can now bring their babies, according to this recent article from The Burlington Free Press.

Zutano, a children’s apparel company, allows its workers to take care of children from 2 months to 12 months while doing their duties in the office, reported staff writer Dan McLean. “Aside from being a cost-free benefit prized by employees, Zutano has found allowing workers to bring newborns to work strengthens workplace connections, prevents parents from taking extended child-rearing leaves and keeps the company focused on its mission of creating playful children’s apparel,” he wrote.

Has anyone ever worked for a company like this? Are there any businesses in the Inland Northwest that allow employees to bring babies? Can people actually get work done at their desks when their babies aren’t sleeping?

Sick kids

Sometime in the fall or winter and maybe once again in the spring, our children inevitably catch a bug that gives them congestion and a runny nose. For some, the illness can be a lot worse. The kids may end up with a fever, diarrhea and other symptoms. Some might even get a virus or infection that drains them for days.

Most child care centers and preschools have explicit rules when it comes to sick kids: Please, mom and dad, don’t bring them to school. Please don’t make all the other children sick, too.

Parents who work outside the home usually have to take sick leave or a vacation day to take care of their kids. But this option isn’t available to everyone.

According to the Project on Global Working Families, more than one in three families have family caregiving needs requiring two weeks or more of their time each year. While 50 percent of parents with paid sick or paid vacation leave stayed at home with their sick children, only 13 percent of those without paid or vacation leave were able to do that. The Project also found that nearly 60 percent of poor working mothers had no sick leave.

What do you do when you have a sick child?
a) Take a day off and stay home with your kid
b) Tell your boss that you’re working from home
c) Call a relative
d) Call a friend
e) Send them to school/daycare anyway if they’re not feeling too bad – skipping work is not an option
f) Other

Home Alone

My sisters and I were latchkey children. When I was 11 and my sister was 9, we would take the Metro bus home from our north Seattle Catholic school back to our home in the suburb of Brier. From the bus stop, we walked for about half a mile (we took a shortcut through the cemetery) before reaching our house, located in a quiet cul-de-sac.

My parents had to work full-time so we were usually alone from about 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. It never occurred to them to hire a babysitter at the time and we didn’t have relatives close by. I don’t remember having any problems – my sister and I made a snack, watched some TV, played the piano, did our homework, even cooked dinner. Although some of our neighbors thought it was weird and irresponsible that our parents left us home alone after school, we were pretty good kids and didn’t get into too much trouble.

The National SAFE KIDS Campaign, however, recommends that children shouldn’t be left alone until he or she is 12 or older.

Other websites on this issue caution parents to also consider a child’s maturity level. Most states don’t have laws that specify an age in which a child can legally stay home alone. While some parents leave kids as young as 9 or 10 at home unsupervised, others wait until their children are in their teens.

What do you think? How old should a kid be before he or she is left home alone? Any guidelines to follow? Any advice to make sure they’re safe?

Can Boys Just Be Boys?

Always knew about the harsh way that girls can treat each other, yet not so much about boys. My 7th grade son, now attending middle school, told me how a neighboring 8th grade boy ignores him at school. These kids play together occasionally, riding bikes or skateboards, playing video games after school. Yet when my son says ‘hi’ at school, it goes unnoticed. They ride the school bus together, but he is ignored, except for the alone time when walking home.

What goes through their minds that make them think it’s cool to ignore a younger friend?

Teens and TV sex scenes

Watching sexual content on TV can increases the likelihood of teen pregnancy, The Washington Post and other newspapers reported earlier this week.

The story, based on a three-year study of more than 2,000 young people ages 12 to 17, described sexual content as “kissing, touching, having sex, and discussing past or future sexual activity.”

Are there any TV shows that you deem too mature or too sexual for teens and/or adolescents?

Birth order and careers

Where you rank among your siblings – whether you’re the oldest, the youngest or in the middle – might actually affect the kind of work you do as an adult, according to a recent survey conducted by

“Clearly, birth order affects personality, but what about career advancement and success? Several studies show that firstborns and only children usually reach higher educational goals, obtain greater prestige and acquire more net worth, while the middle child is likely to struggle a bit more,” Rachel Zupek, a writer and blogger, wrote in a recent article.

To summarize:
* Firstborns are more likely to earn $100,000 or more annually compared to their siblings. They are ambitious, assertive, dominant and disciplined. They end up working in government, engineering, pharmacy and science. They’re also in senior management.
* Middle children are easy-going and diplomatic. They find jobs in nursing, law enforcement, firefighting and machine operation.
* The youngest tend to be creative, charming, funny and sometimes manipulative. They’re the least likely to report earning six figures, according to the survey. These last-borns end up in athletics, advertising, sales and journalism.

Do these findings reflect the reality of your family?

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This blog is intended to provide a forum for parents to share knowledge and resources. It's a place for parents young and old to combine their experiences raising families into a collective whole to help others.

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