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  1. A younger cousin and FB friend of mine, who recently had a new baby, just posted about some new baby/toddler products that she feels are awesome. One is a backpack to use in place of the more conventional diaper bag. She feels that it's easier to carry and loves the fact that it has several compartments. Sounds great, but I'm wondering how many parents/GP caregivers/babysitters want to carry a backpack like a schoolkid. Also, unlike many diaper bags, the backpack doesn't include a changing pad for families who are traveling or visiting others. But that's ok b/c, as my cousin also showed, you can now get a portable changing station. Of course, that means taking along 2 items in place of 1 when you travel/visit. Then there's the "travel bed" for toddlers, a convenient item that inflates and deflates, so it's easy to pack and set up in a guest/hotel/motel room. Of course, if you bring one of these rather than a pack & play, you don't have a safe, confined play area for your toddler if you want one. Or, of course, you could use both, but that, once again, means you would need 2 items in place of 1. What's your experience? As a parent or custodial GP/relative do/did you find that new products were helpful or that it was better to stick to the tried & true? As a GP/relative caregiver/babysitter, if you ever watch(ed) the LOs in your home, are/were you up for new products or more comfortable sticking w/ what you know/knew?
  2. Do your kids/GC get out in the snow? Making "angels?" Building snowpeople or snow forts? Having snowball fights? Sledding? Skiing? Do you get out there w/ them or do you leave that to the parents (if you're a GP),  the GPs (if you're a parent) or other adult relatives or friends? Or are they old enough to be out there by themselves? Or does your family just not "do" snow? Or??
  3. Are you...

    ... watching your GC on New Years Eve? Or doing your own thing? Or if you're the parent of young children, will their GPs have them on NYE while you go out? Or do they still socialize on NYE themselves? Or if you're a custodial GP, will you be leaving your GC w/ any other GP/relative, so you can go out? Or do you spend NYE w/ the kids? DH & I haven't gone out or had friends in for NYE for years. So we, generally, have the DGC stay over for on NYE while YDD goes out. In fact, often, we  get to have them for a couple of nights - this year, they'll be w/ us from Sat night through Monday morning. We are all looking forward to it! How about you?
  4. Maybe all your kids knew the truth about Santa Claus by the time they were 5 and you're worried b/c your GD or GS still believes in him at age 10. Or perhaps you clung to the belief till you reached your teens, and you're not sure how to react to your DS or DD who seems eager to know the truth at age 4. Or maybe you're a custodial GP and suddenly faced w/ the question of "when to tell a child about Santa Claus?" - a question you thought the parents would have to handle this time around. Regardless, if you google "what age is too old to believe in Santa?" you'll see a number of articles on the topic. Some of them point to a specific age by which the author thinks a child should have let go of the idea. But most of them suggest it "doesn't really matter." Then again, in almost the same breath, some of those say it would be odd for, say, a 16-yr-old or even a 14-yr-old to still believe (barring certain mental and emotional disabilities, of course). What do you think? In your opinion, are any of your kids/GC holding/did any of your kids/GC hold on to the Santa myth "too long?" Or are they giving it up/did they give it up "too soon?" Or do you feel, perhaps, that their parents/GPs/other relatives let the cat out of the bag "too early?" Or??
  5. If you're the regular nanny granny (or grampie, etc)/go-to babysitter for your GC, does that mean they make sure to see you on Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa? Or do the parents feel that since you see the GC often, they need to spend that special day/event w/ other GPs/relatives and see you on an alternate day/occasion? Or do they, perhaps, prefer to spend Christmas (or that first night of Hanukkah, etc.) w/ just their core family? Or?? Also, parents & custodial GPs/relatives, what's your take on this? All others are welcome to comment, as well, of course.
  6. As the regular caregiver for my 2 DGC (dear grandchildren), I'm often fortunate enough to get invited to join them and their mom/my YDD for fun holiday events. For example, yesterday, I had the pleasure of going w/ them and my ODD to a "Santa's/Restoration Village," as I describe in Gigima's "GC are such fun!" thread in the General Gabbery. I don't get included in everything, of course ( for example, YDD still takes the kids to tell 'Santa' what they want for Christmas, but hasn't asked me along in a while). Also, some outings I decline, simply b/c I have other appointments or need some me-time, etc. But now I'm wondering... If you're the nanny granny (or grampie, etc.) or frequent babysitter for your GC (grandchildren), do you find you get to do a lot of Christmas or Hanukkah, etc.) activities w/ them, such as going to "meet" Santa Claus? Or do the parents tend to keep these activities just for/as a bonding experience for their core family (parents & kids)? Or to share w/ the GPs/relatives who don't babysit? Or hey, if you're not the go-to babysitter for your GC, do you find yourself getting invited to share these kinds of holiday events? Or inviting your GC (and perhaps their parents, also) to share certain holiday-themed/vacation activities w/ you? Or do the parents tend to include only the GPs/relatives who are caregivers/babysitters for the kids? Or as asked above, do the parents prefer to keep those events for just their nuclear family? Or as a parent, do/did/would you ever include any GPs in holiday-related activities? Or do/did/would you do those w/ just your own family unit?
  7. Haven't done this in a very long time.... If you are/have been the regular caregiver for your GC (grandchild/ren) - or the go-to babysitter - or if you're raising/have raised any of your GC - do you have any updates for us? Have your circumstances changed in any way? Would love to hear....
  8. Maybe you'll be watching your grands less often in the coming year b/c they'll now be in full-time school. Or b/c they've "aged out" of needing a babysitter. Or you'll be babysitting more kids b/c there's a new GB or 2. Or more often/longer hours b/c the parents have heavier work schedules. Or if you've been raising your GC, perhaps you'll finally have full custody. Or, conversely, their parents have met court/CPS requirements for getting their kids back, and so, your GC will soon be returning to them. Or...  IOWs, what changes in babysitting/caregiving are you expecting in 2017? And, if you will, how do you feel about them?
  9. In another thread, the OP asked advice about getting paid for watching GC (grandchildren), etc. Now I'm asking more specifically, do you get paid in any way for taking care of your grands, whether it's occasional babysitting or daily caregiving or something in between? Or if you're a parent or custodial GP, do you pay GPs/relatives for watching your kids the same way you would a hired babysitter/nanny? Also,  if you're a custodial GP, do you get any financial assistance from the state, etc? Or do the parents pay any kind of child support? Regardless, if you will, are you satisfied w/ this arrangement? If you would like to pay/get paid more or in a different way, please feel free to let us know (I'm not asking for specific amounts if you'd rather not say).
  10. Seeking advice about family daycare/relative babysitting? Or have some good advice to give? Please feel free to post your questions, concerns or helpful "tips" below...
  11. Is a GP or other relative your babysitter of choice for your children? Or do you have a GP/relative as the frequent/daily caregiver ('nanny") for your kids? Or have you in the past? What is/was your experience with this arrangement? What do/did you see as the pluses and minuses, if any?