Monday, May 7, 2018

Apprehensive Parent?

This morning, I met with a Mom that is here for her sisters destination wedding; she has two toddlers 3 and under.  As many parents can be, she's apprehensive about leaving the children, mostly the older boy.  We had a lovely morning at the park.  Other than a strong will that mommy had to assist with the restroom (which I totally understand); he seemed to really enjoy playing with me, and we had a fun morning.  I asked him if he would like to go to the park with me without his Mom and sister later on in the week; and he said "Yes" but then said "When I'm older" I thought that was so adorable.

It brought me back to a memory of another family I met recently; it was soon after Irma and they traveled from the Mid-West with 2-toddlers, under 3, and a boat.  Yes, they drove.  That's some intense dedication.

I remember when we were coordinating our first evening together, I got a text message that said something like "whatever your next available open date is, we will take it" The sincere honesty that they needed a break was refreshing.

When I met the kids, I quickly found the first born, a very lively and energetic boy not entirely keen about being away from his Mom. Transitioning him into "Mom needs a little break" took some creativity. His little sister although determined was not walking yet.

It was hard to miss me around town in the coming weeks during the few times I assisted this family.  One of the local Moms saw me at a stop light... on our way to the park "Erin, is that you? For how long? That's a lot!" I quickly learned that a double-stroller catches attention.

One afternoon, I showed up after what was "intended" to be naptime and asked how the day went and got an honest answer "well, neither really napped, this has never happened before, so I'm not sure what will happen next" That evening went fine, as did all of our time together. 

My very last afternoon with the kids, we went to the park and had a wonderful time.  Not once did that energetic boy ask when his Mama was coming back and his sister learned to walk just days before; it was such a blessing watching her feel so confident suddenly walking.

In 3 short weeks so much happened, it was hard to say goodbye.  I recently learned that not only will they be returning, but baby #3 will be with them!  Oh, and that boy that was so attached to his Mom, asked when he was going to see me again.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Falling into the Holidays - Post Irma

“One Human Family” is not just a slogan, it is a lifestyle.  In the Florida Keys, the yoga instructor, the barista, the plumber, the bartender and the restaurant owner all become family.   When I was
advised to “pack my valuables and evacuate” I looked around my apartment and really had no idea what to pack.  What I wanted most was to come back to my island, the love, the ocean, the smiles, and the business. In a moment that I can only describe as numb, I packed the items from my office, a photo album that my Mom made for me of baby photos, and my college degrees.  The final item was Minnie ears, mostly because they make me happy and I knew uncertainly lay ahead.  In the days that followed, I heard from so many families that I was beyond touched.  My feelings were fear, sadness, rage, and anxiety.  In many cases I couldn’t even respond, but to know and feel the love was comforting beyond any words on a page.

Some lives were lost, some people no longer have homes, and some were blessed with minimal destruction.    Whatever each individual situation is, we are in this together and we will rise.  While Key West has made a miraculous come back, our neighbors just to the north have a long road ahead. The humanitarian efforts have been extraordinary. I’m a proud member of this “One Human Family” and am looking forward to the 2018 season.  I have an unexplainable renewed gratitude for life and love.

Note from Erin’s Desk….
It’s best to use the online form 4-6 weeks prior to your arrival. http:// 
If you are unsure of the time or exact date of your request please fill out the form and at least let me know when you are going to be here.The base rate for 1 child in 2018 is $35/HR. More than 1 child and/or family rates may increase. Special events such as weddings, and holiday weekends are in high demand; rates will be estimated based on the details involved.*  

A personal message from Erin... 
I returned from evacuation October 1st. The damage to my own personal property was minimal and I have been able to get back to work and help others in the community.  I have had both returning families and new families contact me and come here because they want to support us! The love coming from near and far is just another confirmation that I have some of the best families and children in my life from all over the world.   Have a wonderful holiday season!  

and SO MUCH MORE than Babysitting! 

* Rates will be discussed at time of reservation 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Consider a Babysitter in Key West: Quiet Afternoon? Date Night?

If you are like most families, you think, Key West! Family Vacation! FUN! SUN! BEACH! SWIM!

You might be thinking, its an entire week of not rushing to soccer practice, dance lessons, or trying to get the kids out of bed to get to school on time.

Perhaps you are considering not cooking as often, allowing yourself some wiggle room with that health food kick you have been on;  maybe you are looking forward to letting your hair down; relaxing, chilling, visiting the spa, reading, and leaving it all behind for a week,  You are even a little excited that housekeeping will be coming to your room daily to change the sheets and clean the bathroom.. you are really thinking, I am OFF DUTY!

But, then, the reality sets in.  You have free time for that yoga class you love while the kids are at soccer, and although driving the kids around to activities isn't ideal; at least they HAVE activities. Suddenly you are wondering..when do they go back to school?  Almost immediately, you are the activity director, and mediator.  You are trying to find things that will be exciting and fun for the kids, and meanwhile, you are trying to watch everything from sugar intake, time on electronics, and, the kids are NOT getting along. (...wasn't I going to let my hair down? I thought family vacation was supposed to be fun?)
Suddenly, the kids don't have the structure they are used to; you are almost certain your kid(s) are the loudest at the hotel pool. Plus, you think, they are good swimmers, right? (....can I go to the restroom? Or should I take them out?...)  You brought along your book, but so far the only action it has seen is the back pocket of the plane and a few splashes from the pool.

This is why planning a date night and perhaps an afternoon for yourself is an essential part of family vacation.  Personally, I haven't been to a hotel yet, that is not filled with kids; I jump in and play along with them; one of my favorite family friendly hotels is Casa Marina this hotel doesn't just have a separate pool for the adults; but it also has Higgs Beach Park that is just a 5-minute walk away that is a great place for children of all ages.  Salute on the Beach  is also right in that area, and a family friendly restaurant.

Key West Childcare will babysit and take your children swimming and to the park; but we are also happy to take your children on a excursion such as a visit to the Butterfly Museum, Bayview Movie Series, a Trolley Ride, or a variety of other activities.  Our goal is for you to get some time to read that book your brought, perhaps attend Yoga on the Beach and enjoy a restaurant without a kids menu; such as Hot Tin Roof, Louies Backyard and/or some fabulous dessert at Better Than Sex.

You may have concerns; the kids are not getting along, perhaps you have an infant? You are traveling for a destination wedding and just don't see how this is going to work out.  Read the reviews, feel free to call me; I look forward to meeting your family.

Advance booking before you get to the island is encouraged.  Go to to reserve your time! Make it a great vacation for the entire family!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Destination Weddings - Key West

January was full of weddings for Key West Childcare.  I know you might be thinking that kids and weddings don't always go together; but that's exactly where my services come in.

Kids at weddings; and in wedding photos are amazing! They are so adorable, right?  But, what about after the ceremony when all the adults want to relax, and its much past the kiddos bedtime?   You might think that "Uncle John" or "Granny Mae" would be happy to take care of the kids after dark -- but, the reality is, this is Key West, its a wedding -- they both could be busy having fun!

Many times, the kids end up somewhere the night of the wedding; and it's often not with the same people they were with during the day.   Was the bag packed? Do they have food? What about pajamas? What house/hotel room is the pack and play? This gets even more confusing when more than one child  is involved.  Which one needs to be held all the time? Which one needs to eat every few hours? Who's going to change them.. after all, you would probably prefer to keep that dress clean.

Likely, things like "who has the rings" "where is Mom" and "don't forget the comfy shoes" are on your mind.. so, it's a little difficult to remember who you assigned to "pack the babies stuff" Then you think, wait, was that job assigned?

Most things are within walking/biking/strolling distance in Key West; but if you have a baby, are wearing a dress and heals.. oh, and lets not forget the jewelry; jewelry and children; two items you can't live without but when together you think -- what was I thinking?!

All of these situations, and many more are possible during a wedding.  Why be worried about these small things; when you could rely on Key West Childcare for a smooth evening; a flawless transition between the reception and the party; and the peace of mind that your kiddos are in excellent hands, allowing you the comfort to enjoy a day you planned perhaps for a year. or maybe even have been dreaming about for a lifetime.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Marathon Monday

You can take the girl out of Boston, but you can't take the Boston out of the girl. Today is Marathon Monday – The Boston Marathon. It's also Patriots Day. Or, if you live in any state other than Massachusetts, Maine, or Wisconsin, it may just be a regular Monday. Unless of course, you have kids! It could be the start of the famous April Vacation.

My family’s April Vacation wasn’t really a vacation at all. Once the snow had melted, we no longer had to get up at the "crack of dawn" to beat the "impending snow storm" and all pack into the family station wagon to head up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to ski. The April Vacation was time to stay home, spend time with Nana, visit with school friends and, most importantly, go on Mystery Rides.

None of us kids knew when we got in the car where the Mystery Ride might be going but usually it was Boston. We went to The Boston Children's Museum, The Museum of Science, the Boston Public Garden, and for rides on the Swan Boats.  Something  as simple as riding the T (which is what Bostonians call their subway, for those who don't know) was super exciting and scary all at the same time. It was important we all were dressed well, and acted on our best behavior.

My mom was a teacher, so to have her to ourselves for an entire week was really special. My dad was a police officer, and as you might imagine, not a huge fan of Boston and the crowds, but he would make an occasional exception for a trip to Fenway Park or a day at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, especially if he could end up at the North End for dinner.
When we were in Downtown Boston my Nana would tell us how she used to climb the State House steps everyday, and how she went to work at Filene's Department Store against the direction of her husband – all to give her family a good life. In retrospect, I think she just didn't like being told what to do.

What does April Vacation mean to me now? Well clearly it's not a vacation. But it's something I look forward to, I'm blessed to spend time with children in the evening, usually after they have had a full-day of family activity. When I meet families here in Key West my first question is usually, "how was your day," and I love when I hear things like, "we relaxed and spent the day together." The "family-friendly" to-do list is endless here in Key West. But sometimes, just stopping to enjoy one another is what’s most important.

Love is now; and I can't think of anything more precious than seeing life through the eyes of a child.

Have a fabulous week!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dear First Time Moms and Dads

I have a confession to make. I just met your child; you know the one that's 18 months (young) .. or perhaps 6 months; or 10 months or 22 months. I just met you child and my confession is: "I know"
Every child is unique and every parent has a special technique.  It's most often true that each child has a special blanket, or toy and most kids have that one food that they will eat if all else fails.  Just about every child cry's when you leave; but I promise you, (at least when it's with me, their is a good chance you might be crying longer) As a suggestion --- long goodbyes, always make it worse, for everyone.
Here's the thing.. I will listen to all the instructions; illnesses; allergies, medications,bedtime, etc.  All of this is important.  Having a phone number to reach you in an emergency; that's important -- Beyond that, we are really going to be great; we are going to be more than great; we are going to be excellent.
You could spend hours in your head thinking of all the possible things that might happen and, I could mention in the 20-years I've been doing this, I've had lot's of interesting situations; and most of my stories are about you -- yes you -- first time parents. Which, by the way, is totally understandable! But, I'm here to tell you now -- because I won't tell you in person; "I know"  I'm going to let you babble on about the special blanket and the hidden snack (but only if I definitely need it) I will also let you show me how to use the IPad, and how to put the special movie on (but only if he won't sleep) I will consult with you about your hair and clothing, because; you left it until the last second and now you can't decide. If you are like most, you have suddenly realized you haven't been without him in months and your not sure you want to even leave.. we will work through that together as well.
Here's what "I know" --  vacation doesn't usually run exactly like home; as much as we try to keep some kind of structure.  "I know" I will do my best to follow the instructions I'm given; but mostly "I know" I will provide a safe and secure place for your first child, and no matter what happens, I am confident I will find a solution.  Lastly "I know" if you can relax just a little bit, your will find Key West to be a great place to go out and have an amazing time.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March Madness - Key West Style

Let me give you a sneak peak of the great stuff going on in March! Stay tuned for the next post, because this is just a sample! 

March 4 & 18 @ Dusk: Free Movie under the stars at Bayview Park; to follow up- to-date information; go to

March 5 @ 11am-3pm Key West Pre-School Key West Pre-School Co-op Annual Spring Fair

March 4 & 5 @ 8pm The Jewel Box Review: Celebrity Impersonation and Comedic Performances by Boys in Dresses! Featuring comedy, live vocals, show-stopping production numbers, dazzling costumes, and much more!

March 12 @ 5pm "Picnic Under The Stars"-- a fundraiser presented by Boys & Girls Club, Key West Art & Historical Society, Mote Marine Laboratory, and Womankind.
The family-friendly event welcomes all to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic-style celebration in the grass-covered citadel grounds of the historic Fort located at 3501 South Roosevelt Boulevard. 
The entry fee is only ten dollars, with children twelve and under free.

March 11 & 12 @ 1pm-4pm Old Town Restoration Foundation House Tours  

March 14 @ 8:30pm Key West Theater present Julia Murney singing "Broadway" hits!  

March 19 @ 5:30pm-8pm Equality Florida Key West Gala - The Gardens Hotels; 526 Angela Street to RSVP; go to;

March 1-26 "The Producers" @ 8pm The Waterfront Playhouse

We look forward to your arrival!