Articles by Kellen Kaiser

Friday, June 28th, 2013

8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality

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8 Reasons to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Growing up with lesbian parents, I wished my classmates' parents had talked to them about homosexuality. Here are eight reasons why it's important you talk to your kids about homosexuality. It's all part of the mission of raising globally-minded children!   1.  Eventually, inevitably, they will meet someone who is gay.   They may have already. With more and more gay people having kids there could be gay parents in your preschool or playgroup. When that fateful meeting occurs, it might be nice for your kids to have some context.  Read more »

What Sucks about Being a Nanny

When friends hear the nanny position that has served as my main gig for the past year and a half is ending, the most common question I’m asked is, "But won’t you miss him?"   Him.  Read more »

I’m Your Nanny, Do You Really Trust Me?

The first week of my new job coincided with the heavily media-covered murder of two children by their nanny in the Upper East Side of New York City.  Read more »

The Only Things Your Baby Needs

Jail is an interesting place to observe parenting in practice.  Read more »

Why the Car is Bad for Your Kids

I’m a strange candidate to argue for a car-free approach to childrearing. As a resident of Los Angeles, I practically live in my car. And If I’m being completely honest, I can’t even ride a bike. But unlike those critiquing cars for environmental reasons or even social (the argument has been made that cars are essentially tools of isolation), my concerns are child centered.  Read more »

Exploring Masturbation in Children and Other Taboos

When I told some people that I wanted to write about childhood sexuality, they were understandably wary. I wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole, was the way one friend worded it. They were only partially reassured when I promised that I wouldn’t be advocating having sex with children, only acknowledging the inherent sexuality children have from birth.  Read more »

Toddler Food Wars

Lately the families I work for are dealing with issues around food. In one household, I am told that the toddler has decided not to eat her dinner one evening and so as a consequence I am not to give her any food if she asks. They hand me a full sippy-cup of milk that the toddler has disdained and mention that is her only option. I felt uncomfortable denying food but also knew she was generally well fed and that if she didn’t eat anything that night, it would in no way compromise her nutritionally.  Read more »

The Globalization of Childcare: The Consequences of Trading Love for Work

Here in Los Angeles, there’s a listserv that features ads from people looking for nannies and from nannies looking for work. There’s the occasional reminder posted about the rules: a place where posts are restricted to ads. Another clarifies that conversation should be shifted to an alternative forum. The rule was broken recently when a virtual riot broke out in response to a potential employer’s offer.  Read more »

When the Latina Nannies Found Out I Spoke Spanish

I had tried to hold out on the older Latina nannies in the park knowing I spoke Spanish. As long as we spoke in English our relationship was kept shallow, limited by their vocabulary. They would ask about my day and coo over my infant but that was about it. I knew that once they knew about me, I would never again be alone for better or for worse. While I occasionally listened into their conversations in order to entertain myself while the baby dug in the sandbox, I also appreciated the lack of forced socialization.  Read more »

Warning: Babies Blinded by Eating Sand (and so I let them)

While reading Lenore Skenazy’s book Free-Range Kids, I couldn’t help but think that while dubbing her “America’s Worst Mom” was an overstatement, I wouldn’t put a nine-year-old on the subway alone either. That’s what she did. She handed her son a subway card, a map, a few bucks change and bon voyage. I am too over-protective for that, maybe because having gone to college in New York City, I know how gross and scary the subway can be.  Read more »

What Makes Breastfeeding so Darn Controversial?

I’ve done a lot in my day to support the breastfeeding cause: calling moms at work to schedule feedings, carefully titrating breastmilk into bottles from plastic bags without spilling a drop, feeding with a spoon when a bottle was refused. I’ve even ignored what was probably a sign of postpartum depression: a woman clad almost exclusively in an open, pink terry cloth bathrobe, in the interest of encouraging breastfeeding.  Read more »

Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids

What does Ann Coulter share in common with the average American anarchist? If you guessed parenting goals, you would be right. Hard to believe? Well, I’ve been rereading my favorite parenting book, Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent by Meredith Small, which looks at how parenting has evolved around the world. Every time I dive back into its pages something new catches my eye.  Read more »

International Baby Naming Laws–Are They a Good Thing?

In my last column I looked into a friend’s wacky baby-naming. As it turns out, the degree of freedom we enjoy here in the States with regards to baby names is not shared internationally. Naming laws abound worldwide: France, Poland and New Zealand are just a few countries that have laws on the books. In Germany, the first name must indicate the baby’s sex--I’m not sure what they’d do with a name like mine, and who decides on which side a name like “Jamie” falls.  Read more »

You Named Your Kid What?

A friend just named her child with a celebrity-style moniker. Think an obscure shade of blue and a Greek god for a middle name, just to make sure he cant fall back on that one: Azure Poseidon. These days, the desire to name your child in a way that stands out is not for the rich and famous alone. Watch out Apple, Moses and Audioscience—the mainstream is following right behind you!   I have an unusual name myself, so I have an opinion on the subject.  Read more »

Nanny Wanted: Must Be Both Idiot and Expert

On a parenting message board, I compete with people named Luz Hernandez, Diana Carrillo and Alma de la Cruz. In Los Angeles, Latin nannies are ubiquitous. As I recall in New York, it is West Indian women raising the upper class. All over the world, women trade parenting. In Hong Kong, babies are raised by Indonesians, in Australia they’re Filipinos.  Read more »

Is Nanny a Fancy Word for Domestic Servant?

I’ve been looking for work lately. As a nanny this means a variety of things. Posting advertisements on parenting message boards, interviewing at Nanny agencies, filling out myriad online applications and getting recertified in any lapsed certifications (CPR, TB whatever). I consider it a practice session in Zen-like humility; a test of dignity under duress.  Read more »

The Performance of Parenting or Why I Hate my Job

Nannying can be terribly boring. This is because the infants I care for (most of whom are under a year old) are busy entertaining themselves. They are working on physics equations in their head (don't believe me? Read The Scientist in the Crib) and testing objects' densities with their mouths. Their laboratory is a mat on the floor of their homes in general.  Read more »

Why Gay Parents are Superior to Hetero Parents

I was raised by a fabulous set of lesbians in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early eighties. There were a lot less kids of gay parents then, even in San Francisco, and although it may have been an unusual childhood, it was a very happy one. Now that I am of an age to be having kids, I am reflective about the parenting practices that made my parents such successful caregivers.  Read more »

Maybe Amy Chua is Not so Bad

Having thought further about what intentional parenting entails, I sought counsel from my mother, Nina, about her parenting practices. She summed them up, patly, as "values based parenting." I was instantly appreciative of her co-opting of the term "values," as the right wing has cashed in on it for way too long.   "In parenting we transfer daily messages to our children about what is important," she told me.  Read more »

Intentional vs. Default Parenting

Everyone in my family had saved up in anticipation of my arrival. Nonetheless, when I was under one year old, they needed part-time childcare for me while my mother Nina went back to work as a nurse. My mom had heard of another nurse who had recently taken leave and might be willing to watch me. Enter Simone. My mother is a lesbian and Simone, a born-again Christian.  Read more »

Parenting Against Society

Okay, having spent 800 words convincing you that I don't wander into people's homes to judge their parenting, now I can start playing Solomon—cut that baby in half! Let the judgment begin. For the record, often I don't feel like I have a philosophy until someone else's parenting is counter to it. Sometimes it surprises even me the things that I disapprove of but I have racked up a list of questionable behavior over the years.  Read more »

The Eight Essential Hanukkah Books

Having taught Sunday school briefly, I understand the challenge of bringing holidays into an understandable form for children. On top of that, there is definitely a smaller selection for Chanukah than what's offered for Christmas. We may be Chosen but we can't be choosy. I can't imagine what the folks who celebrate Diwali have to choose from. I was concerned there might not even be enough Chanukah books up to snuff since we can't even agree on the spelling.  Read more »

Parenting: A Horse of Many Colors

As a nanny, I get to watch parenting. Being in people's homes and caring for their children is necessarily intimate. Up close everyone's eccentricities are magnified, so I get a good view. Each job and new family brings a different set of expectations and assumptions about what ideal parenting should be. I also came into the field with my own set of ideas based on how I was raised.  Read more »
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When I was pregnant I told myself my son would sleep in his crib from day 1 and I would breastfeed for 6 months. Well, I stopped breastfeeding after 2 weeks because I was so sleep deprived from him ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
hello, my name is kate and im single mum of 5year old son. we live in england. im from czech republic and my drem is to move to thailand. he start school last september. i work as a care worker. i f...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
I can also fully relate to what you say, but don't agree to what you say about Latinos. I'm half Peruvian, half German and grew up mainly in Germany. Although my mother (the Peruvian part) raised me...
From Why People Tell Me I’m Not Really Jamaican
Matches my experiences with the power of the surrounding language :...
From Why Arabic is Dead and Spanish is Alive for My Kids
I love this article. I get comments every day, isn't your baby happy, doesn't he ever cry? I breast feed and he is now 6 months and we co sleep, I sleep better this way!!! I ignored all advice from ...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2013/09/7-diverse-childrens-cartoons-where-the-main-character-isnt-th… […...
From 7 Diverse Children’s Cartoons (where the main character isn’t the standard white one)
[…]  (http://www.incultureparent.com/2010/12/why-african-babies-dont-cry/ ) […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
Hello I love this article. I admire the move that you made. I been looking up articles or moving to Thailand as I love the country, been there many times as it just 2 hours away from me in Singapo...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
I think France ought to get with the program. They signed the treaty, so not following it is asking for trouble. I was spanked, for hitting other children. Gee, I wonder where I learned that beh...
From Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?
We absolutely loved San Juan del Sur and Grenada…..we went there last summer and rented a house in SJDS. We had a great experience with Iskra Travel transportation…..they basically took us ever...
From 6 Days in Nicaragua with Kids
[…] and was greeted by crowds holding palm leaves. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own palemki out of paper!   Święconki   On Saturday, people often bring little bask...
From Polish Easter Craft: Palma-Wycinanka
[…] place mat to the kids places. They can make their own before the big meal like this adorable one here on http://www.InCultureParent.com or create one for play like the felt plates found [...
From Passover Craft: Seder Placemat
[…] place mat to the kids places. They can make their own before the big meal like this adorable one here on http://www.InCultureParent.com or create one for play like the felt plates found [...
From Passover Craft: Seder Placemat
I love this post! What a great reflection. I have traveled a lot and lived in San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mexico for a summer. On the flip side, I love going barefoot and consciously choose to allow...
From What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala
Beutifully written! I grew up in Soviet Union and I never had more than one pair of sandals for summer, one pair of shoes for spring and autumn and one for winter! But I didn't care much, I had a ha...
From What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala
Hi Crystal. A year later and I'm back to this thread. I had no clue that you responded to my comment. Thank you so much. Better late than ever eh. I hope all is well with you and your famil...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
Take heart...as a grown up expat kid who spent my entire childhood & adolescence in Asia, I HAVE heard these words (or their equivalent) since infancy. In fact, I have early memories of being s...
From Are Parents Too Overprotective in the West and Too Lax in the East?
[…] How I Talk to my Kindergarten Class on Race by Madeleine Rogin […...
From How I Talk to My Kindergarten Classroom About Race
I live in Taiwan currently and often see children overdressed and it drives me crazy! I am a teacher and will see a child walk into the classroom when it is 80 degrees outside with four sweaters on....
From Common Disagreements in Multicultural Families
this is an awesome story i actually went to school with Ella and Grace at WYWLA but sadly they left today to move to ******( don't want to say where lol) If you see this which you probably wont coul...
From Death of a Parent and Ella’s Troubled Hair
[…] To get to the original website where the article was first published, click here […...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
[…] Breastfeeding Around the World. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.incultureparent.com/2012/03/breastfeeding-around-the-world […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
[…] Straw Painting from InCultureParent […...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Messy Paint and Hand Traced Flowers from InCultureParent […...
From Holi Crafts: Messy Paint and Hand-Traced Flowers
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/08/mothers-to-be-pregnancy-around-the-world/ […...
From Mothers-To-Be: Pregnancy Around the World
Hi Linda. Thank you. I too hope our paths cross again. I think the challenge of having the privilege of traveling is not to feel guilty and compare, but rather to learn to observe and listen. Sounds...
From What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala
Michelle: This is an eye-opening piece. After just returning from Mexico, I see that we have so much privilege and we don't always realize how it appears to others. We (and our traveling companions)...
From What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala
[…] Gang · Grogg.org Growing Book by Book ·How the Sun Rose I’m Not The Nanny ·Imagiread InCulture Parent Indian American Mom ·Hey Mama His Mama Java John Z’s Joye Johnson Journey...
From Multicultural Children’s Book: One City, Two Brothers
Thanks for beautiful post. As a muslim parenting is huge responsibility for us. May Allah make us good parents and make our kids source of blessings for us in both world...
From Raising Good Muslims
I am Australian with a British background. I have five daughter's and I am not keen on 'sleep overs' at all. I do not think I'll be allowing it. My husband is Australian with an Italian backgroun...
From The Cultural Battleground of Sleepovers
[…] http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/02/breastfeeding-land-genghis-khan/ […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
[…] Gang  · Grogg.org Growing Book by Book  ·How the Sun Rose  I’m Not The Nanny ·Imagiread InCulture Parent Indian American Mom ·Hey Mama His Mama    Java John Z’s Joye Joh...
From Multicultural Children’s Book: One City, Two Brothers
I am willing to donate but l am very sick presently receiving an intensive treatment. Tell me what to do Thanks, Mrs. Diana Wlat...
From Letters from Orphans
My mother in law comes with a different set of problems. She invited herself to stay at my home two weeks b4 my due date and chooses to sleep on the sofa almost all day. She sets her alarm clock to ...
From How I Reclaimed My House from My Mother-in-Law
Well, Asian is always has being describe only to East, Central Asia and the Pacific, but by knowing the Indian, they always mis lead the world, it's a common alter they have made to deceive their ra...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
its not just white kids that be racist some can be black and Japanese and chine...
From Amazing Portraits of Biracial Kids
Hey Fiona, Like you I never spoke Cantonese at home and never had attended Chinese school. I had the unusual type of Chinese parents who were not the "tiger" type, more liberal and very open mi...
From How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest
[…] you enjoy cooking, here is a recipe you can try out: Yuanxiao Recipe  Source Ingredients:  4 1/2 cups glutinous (sticky) rice flour 7/8 cup (14 tablespoons) butter 7 oz (200 […...
From Chinese New Year Recipe: Yuanxiao (sweet rice balls)
OMG!!!! Lulu i agree with you. I am 20 years old and i am nigerian but i was born in london now i live in america. I get called a bastard by my parents because i don't behave "nigerian" or "african"...
From How I Raise My Kids to Respect Their Elders, Nigerian Style