Roxy’s Best Of… New Jersey

The Best of the State of New Jersey, from entertainment and events to kid stuff (including birthday party venues and summer camp) to restaurants to art galleries and shopping

Nov
15

London’s Nanny Diaries

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As part of the Columbia University Writer’s Workshop being implemented by our daughters’ teachers at Mendham Township Elementary School, Maddie’s first grade class has been gearing up for a Publishing Party in December by beginning to write their autobiographies. Maddie did an amazing job of gathering interesting facts about our family life, listing and illustrating ideas for her book:

  • I was born at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
  • I like to play tennis.
  • I wont to be a football player.
  • My favorite thing in scool is writing.
  • I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters.
  • I have a beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey.
  • I love dogs.
  • I have a lote of best friends.
  • I have 12 dolls.
  • I have 1 niece and 2 nephews.
  • I have 14 Webkinz.
  • I like to climb trees.

Maddie started with a bit of phonetic spelling, but then went back and asked Rex or me to help her get the spelling right in most cases. The preparation for Maddie’s autobiography took me back to this time last year, when Rex and I proudly attended London’s first grade publishing party. I don’t have the exact text of London’s autobiography, as her impressive first grade portfolio remains on loan to her teacher, but here are the basics:

  • I was born at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
  • I had a babysitter named Nana who made fried chicken drumsticks for Alex and me.
  • We moved to Mendham when I was two and a half.
  • I had a nanny named Katie. She had a baby she brought to work with her. We loved Katie and her baby. Then she had twins and moved to Alabama.
  • Then we got a new nanny who is very nice. I am almost as tall as our nanny…

You get the picture. Maybe it was because London hadn’t brought home a parental prep sheet ahead of time like Maddie did this year, but Rex and I turned a bit red as London gave the impression she had been raised by wolves… I mean, nannies. Anyway, our family has had the benefit of four wonderful live-out nannies, and each one has turned out to be just right for the girls’ stage of development.

I’m frequently asked where we found our wonderful nannies, so I’ll pass along some free advice and contact information for the Best of Morris County NJ and the Best of Somerset County NJ:

When we were leaving New York’s West Village to move to Mendham NJ in October 2003, we employed two New Jersey nanny agencies to help us in our Search for Mary Poppins for two-and-a-half-year-old London and eighteen-month-old Maddie. Choice Care Nannies of Westfield NJ (now with an office in Morristown NJ as well) offered up six or more great candidates for us to interview, but none of them turned out to be the perfect fit. A Choice Nanny of Montvale NJ found us only one qualified candidate, but Katie turned out to be The One. She quickly settled in with the girls, finding them toddler activities like Little Musicmakers in Bernardsville NJ, as well as swimming and gymnastics classes at the West Morris YMCA in Randolph NJ. Katie connected with other local Morris County NJ nannies, and took the girls on outings to pet the animals at Alstede Farms in Chester NJ or storytime at the one of the local libraries in Mendham or Chester. When the girls started pre-school at Westmont Montessori in Mendham NJ the next year, Katie would let the girls sleep late, take them out for morning activities, then drop them at school and do our grocery shopping at Shop-Rite of Chester until it was time for their afternoon naps. In January 2004, Katie told me that she was pregnant and hoped that she could continue to work through her pregnancy and bring her baby to work starting in the Fall. Although Rex and I were skeptical at first, the girls loved having a baby around the house (and I was not about to provide another one), and Katie was able to juggle the three of them for about a year after her daughter was born.

In a Pinch, a temporary childcare referral service in Randolph NJ, proved to be a lifesaver for our farmily during Katie’s maternity leave and whenever any of our nannies has called in sick. As their name suggests, In A Pinch provides short-term and emergency babysitting services on short notice.

Katie, our first NJ nanny, ended her two year stint with us when her daughter turned one and became too hard to manage in our not-so-toddler-proof home. She quickly became pregnant with twins and moved to Alabama with her husband and the three girls, living happily ever after as far as I know. We found her replacement through Choice Care Nannies, and our girls spent almost three years under Melissa’s excellent care.

This past September, London started second grade and Maddie started first grade, so our family’s need for childcare was reduced to part-time/after school care, most importantly driving the girls to and from their activities — Garden State Ballet, Randolph Gymnastics, Pavan’s Tennis Academy at Fox Chase Tennis, play dates, Brownies, and kids’ birthday parties. As you might imagine, I hoped to avoid the nanny agency fees associated with full-time care, but didn’t want the hassle of placing an ad, screening applicants, and doing my own background and driving record checks. I had discovered Sittercity.com when our family traveled to Baltimore, Maryland for Rex’s high school reunion and we needed someone with solid childcare references to take care of the girls for one night while Rex and I connected with his high school classmates. This time, SitterCity.com delivered our new part-time nanny and house manager, a nursing student at a nearby community college.

Here’s the contact information for all of the nanny agencies and services our family has used with great success. Don’t forget to tell ‘em Roxy sent you!

  • Choice Care Nannies places legal, experienced live-in nannies, live-out nannies, full time nannies, part time nannies and baby nurses.
    Choice Care Nannies Westfield location: 149 South Euclid Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090. Phone: (908) 317-9777.
    Choice Care Nannies Morristown location: 914 Mt. Kemble Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07960. Phone: (973) 425-1002.
  • A Choice Nanny, Montvale, NJ: the right choice in private childcare since 1983. Experienced nannies, local nannies, full-time or part-time, live-in or live-out, summer, after school care. Phone: (201) 391-2616. Fax: (201) 746-6217.
  • In A Pinch in Randolph NJ: Temporary childcare, sick childcare, occasional sitting service, overnight situations, pet sitting, party assisting, non-medical eldercare. Covers 11 Counties in New Jersey: Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Northern Middlesex, Essex, Morris, Somerset, Northeastern Hunterdon, and Eastern Warren, NJ. An on-call coordinator is available 24/7 for last minute jobs. Phone: (973) 989-0327.
  • At SitterCity.com, their mission is to connect parents with caregivers in a local area to give each side what they want - some time off for adults-only activities and access to a multitude of child and pet care jobs. I pay $9.95 per month to access SitterCity’s database. With over 150,000 caregivers across the country, Sittercity is the nation’s largest and most easily accessible database for babysitters, nannies and pet sitters. Find great sitters in your area on Sittercity.com. Try Sittercity for free today! Click Roxy’s referral link and use coupon code SCSAVE10 to save 10% off your membership.
  • One last resource for parents and nannies, not just in New Jersey but across the United States… my friend Deb runs a web site, 4EverythingNanny¬†where you’ll find all your nanny needs in one place:¬† find an agency, a new nanny, or a job as a caregiver, as well as helpful tools and advice.

I hope you’ll find these resources helpful. Please leave a comment to let us know your success stories in searching for Mary Poppins, and please post any additional recommendations that didn’t make the Roxy’s Best Of… list. Thanks!

1, including: Margot already leave comments. Why don' you?
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  • Margot
    8:20 pm on November 17th, 2008 1

    Another great site for nannies and sitters is Care.com. The site is very easy to navigate, and has great tips and articles as well. They do free background checks on request (in addition, I also check references and interview in person). I’ve been really impressed with the quantity and quality of sitters I’ve found there– well worth the money it costs to join. You can get a discount on joining by using the code CLUBMOM.

 

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