I was ten years old when my youngest sister was born, so I have been babysitting to some degree since then. I love taking care of babies, but I feel most comfortable with children ages 1-2 and have more professional experience bottle feeding and caring for babies around that age. I grow more and more skilled with the delicate art of bedtime with each passing year.
My very first job was as a counselor in training for toddlers at a day camp, and since then my childcare skills have developed very naturally alongside my career as an artist. I had a few odd babysitting jobs in high school and college, but my first professional childcare job was also my first acting gig. I was a tour actor/director for Prairie Fire Children's Theatre, working in schools supervising, directing, and acting alongside students in K-12. I have found that I'm good at teaching and I can adapt almost anything for any age group.
After my tour ended, I was accepted as an Intern at Camp Red Kite (Chicago Children's Theatre) where I worked with children on the autism spectrum who also had a penchant for the arts. This was an immensely rewarding experience for me. I worked with boys and girls ages 6-7 and helped them with art, music, movement and drama. I learned to keep peace amidst the storm and developed a reverence for the universal language of the arts.
I grew weary of winter, and soon moved back to South Florida where I worked at Miami Theater Center (Formerly the Playground Theater) for almost three years as an actor and teaching artist. I was a lead counselor at their summer camp and holiday camps where I supervised children ages 7-12 and helped them develop, write and perform their own musicals. I gained a lot of conflict resolution experience while working with that age group. I also learned to listen and to trust in the brilliance of a child's idea because it is often unencumbered by the constraints of "reality."
After three years, I moved to NYC where I have worked with many families. My first long term babysitting job in Manhattan was for 10 year old twins in Chelsea. I cooked for them and helped with homework. I picked them up from school and brought them to their practices. I was there to help them through their last year of elementary school and I learned the ins and outs of the liminal emotional realm between child and preteen.
My next job was working for a then sixteen year old girl on the Autism spectrum. She is a very high functioning opera singer who I have since gotten to watch sing on Broadway. We have taught each other a lot about self-care throughout these last couple years and I feel lucky to help her learn to navigate through social situations as well as the streets of New York City. While I have been at this job, I have also been babysitting for a boy age 8- we play a lot of Pokemon Go and explore Central Park. Once a week I accompany a girl who is 8 and her brother who is 6 to their after school activities, bring them home, cook dinner, and read/talk about/play Harry Potter.
Every flight of imagination with a child is like doing improv comedy with a tiny, but very silly and funny comedian. However, I am also a person with a mindfulness practice that allows me to speak with clarity and authority about behaviors that may be discordant to the expectations of a parent. I get along with most everyone and I take direction very well. I believe that humor has the power to make most situations better, but I know when to be open, honest and vulnerable.