NYC Nanny 101: The finding and care of your nanny, Part 1

Nannies. They're all around you, and yet, somehow the perfect one seems so unattainable. How do you find a nanny in New York City? Where do you look? What do you look for? How do you know they're the right one? And what do you do once you get them? How much will you have to pay? And can you find someone to work the crazy hours you need? I don't have all the answers, but I'll give you my honest, hard-won, down-to-earth experience with this issue and you can add it to all the other junk you hear and make up your own mind.

This is going to be a several part series on childcare. Today's post is all about how to find a caregiver in NYC.

A Kid's Guide to New York Underground: Subways and Beyond

Some kids are obsessed with the subways of NYC. They memorize the maps and know the trains inside and out. Other kids amble along the city streets never giving a second thought to what lies beneath. But at some point every kid wants to know what those big steam chimneys are for and if there really are alligators in the sewers. Here's some really cool places you can start to explore the world beneath our streets.

Princess Katie and Racer Steve want you to win this CD

Princess Katie and Racer Steve are on a mission to do good. A married couple who started out performing at children's hospitals singing pop-y, fun kids rock and are now becoming a kid rock sensation with their songs that appeal to kids and parents alike with life lessons wrapped in pop music.

But the urge to do good doesn't end there. Princess Katie emailed me last week and said she just couldn't sleep knowing that there were poor, deprived Mommy Poppins readers out there suffering without the help of her, Songs for the Coolest Kids CD. She wants to remedy this situation immediately by giving one lucky reader a copy.

Where I'll Be This Weekend: Learning About Tlingits, Free Music and More

This weekend is jam-packed with so many great goings on for NYC kids that I'm kind of conflicted about which one thing to write about, but the one event I think is the most unique, educational, and rare is the event at the National Museum of the American Indian. (Well, plus my mom told me I had to write about it).

Actually it's a couple of different events, but all themed around the Natives of Southeastern Alaska, so spending a day at the museum this weekend turns into a fun and enlightening introduction to this amazing culture that kids don't hear about much here in New York. And the whole thing is free.

eBeanstalk Toy Store: The Gifts that Keep on Coming

Sometimes I look around at my kids' toys and wish we only had the really great ones, you know. Why do we have so many toys that are just junk? How do we get them? Why do we keep them?!

That's what I think whenever I go to sites like eBeanstalk.com, a toy site that only sells the good stuff. Toys are selected by child development experts and tested by real parents and kids and helpfully categorized by child's age, developmental stage and skills. None of that is that unusual, but eBeanstalk has another unique twist.

Lunch Box Ideas: Kids' Lunches Made Easier

I wonder how the Iron Chef would do with school lunches. "Okay, you've got ten minutes to make a healthy, fun, kid-friendly lunch that my child can eat in 15 minutes and you can only use what's in my fridge. Go!" Now that's a food challenge - the one parents face every weekday morning. Whether their kids are in day care or school a nutritious lunch must be provided one way or another.

On the surface it seems pretty simple. Slap together a sandwich, toss in a juice box and some string cheese. Done. It's the every morning thing that makes it so ornery. Whether it's because I'm running late, I've run out of bread or run out of ideas, there are definitely more days than I'd like to admit that I've been so desperate I've come scarily close to sending my child to school with a Happy Meal.

As is our wont, Mommy Poppins has scoured the known universe for resources, services, tips and ideas to help NYC parents make making lunches for school easier.

153 preschools you don't have to call on Sept. 4

It's pretty much generally accepted knowledge that to get your toddler into preschool in NYC one has to sit on the phone with her fingers hovering over the redial button on the day after Labor Day in order to be one of the lucky few who will receive an application - forget about getting accepted.

While it's true that there are a handful of schools that really do seem to put their prospective parents through this absurd torture, for the most part this whole story is a big myth. I'm not saying that getting into preschool in NYC is easy (actually it can be), but there is absolutely no reason why schools should make parents do this and very few still do.

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