Back in January, Owen told us he wanted to figure out a way to earn some money. A friend of his had started getting paid to do some occasional babysitting after school for neighbors, and he was kind of envious that she had a “job.” So, we talked about some things he could possibly do — shovel sidewalks when it snowed (but there’s no guarantee of snow), help neighbors clean up their yards (but that’s more of spring or fall task), help younger kids with homework (which is still an option).
Then, he asked, “Why can’t I babysit?” And I told him there was no reason he couldn’t, as long as he had the proper training to do it. While I’ve left him in charge of Sasha at home for short periods of time, taking care of someone else’s children in their house is another story, so I thought he should have some formal instruction on it — and figured the extra knowledge would benefit us, too.
Owen’s friend who was already babysitting told him about a class she had taken with the American Red Cross, so we signed him up for a session. The Babysitters Training workshop, recommended for ages 11-15, covers the basics on becoming a responsible babysitter. Here’s the full description of the class:
To provide youth who are planning to babysit with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly give care for children and infants. This training will help participants to develop leadership skills; learn how to develop a babysitting business, keep themselves and others safe and help children behave; and learn about basic child care and basic first aid.
Classes are $89, last a full day, 9am – 4:30pm, and are offered some weekends at Red Cross locations around the area. Owen took his class in DC with the National Capital Chapter, located close to the White House. I dropped him off in the morning to an instructor and a room of about eight other kids that looked around his age.
When I picked him up in the afternoon, he had a Babysitters Training Handbook along with loads of new knowledge. He learned about feeding babies and toddlers, changing diapers, ways to calm down upset little ones, what to do in emergencies, how to perform the heimlich maneuver, and much more.
So, Owen is now ready to book some sits, and I also have greater peace of mind when I leave him to watch his younger sister. (And if anyone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is looking for an occasional after school/early evening or weekend daytime sitter, let me know! 🙂 )
If your tween or teen is interested in the American Red Cross Babysitters Training class, more information and registration are available on their website. And if you don’t see a convenient class listed, keep checking back, as new ones are always added.
Join the Friendship Party and vote Hello Kitty for President! Hello Kitty has set up Campaign HQ at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street NW office for fun giveaways, art, curated activities, collectible merchandise, Sephora makeovers, games, and more! You can also meet Presidential Hello Kitty and her running mate, Tuxedo Sam.
Hello, Hello Kitty!
If Sasha could vote, Hello Kitty would likely be her write-in, so we paid a visit to the pop-up event this afternoon, and my little Hello Kitty fan was not disappointed. She was immediately adorned with a paper crown (complete with side bow, of course) along with campaign buttons and other adorable shwag.
Watching another little girl get the star treatment
Upstairs, there is a cosmetics area where guests can get a Sephora makeover before their photo op in front of a “Hello Kitty at the White House” screen. And much of that level is a retail shop with loads of limited edition collectibles, including Hello Kitty campaign shirts, one-of-a-kind (and priced that way) paintings, plush toys, totes, and more. Staff let us know that proceeds from the event benefit 826DC and the American Red Cross to help support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Some of the limited-edition merchandise for sale
And the candidate herself was there with her running mate. Sasha, however, was so starstruck she shied away from a photo. But for a fun outing and a little shopping for a Hello Kitty fiend, this pop-up definitely gets our vote.
Hello Kitty and her running mate, Tuxedo Sam
Hello Kitty’s Pop Up Campaign HQ will be at LivingSocial’s 918 F Street through November 6. It’s open 10am – 8pm everyday, except for November 3 when it closes at 5pm. There is no admission fee, and anyone is welcome to pop in. Oh, and I heard there is going to be wine this weekend!
It’s just a matter of time until DC is at its prettiest. The National Park Service recently announced the peak dates of our famous cherry blossoms: March 29 – April 3. And the timing couldn’t be better. Not only does the dazzling flower display coincide with the start of spring, it occurs during the 2011 National Cherry Blossom Festival, over two weeks of special events, including tons of entertainment and fun activities for all ages.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 26 – April 10, is more than just a celebration of spring and its namesake flowers. It also honors the friendship between the U.S. and Japan, who gifted us with the cherry trees, a relationship especially significant in light of the devastation the country just endured. A wonderful way to acknowledge our Japanese friends is with contribution to relief efforts. If you’d like to make a donation, consider these charitable organizations: American Red Cross Mercy Corps Doctors Without Borders GlobalGiving.com International Medical Corps
As for the Festival, it’s chock full of activities for families to enjoy. Here are select events and dates to mark on your calendar.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day and Opening Ceremony Saturday, March 26
The National Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off with a Family Day at the National Building Museum from 10am – 3:30pm before the official Opening Ceremony from 4–5:30pm. The free, drop-in program will feature hands-on activities and exciting indoor and outdoor performances that celebrate spring and explore Japanese arts and design.
Performance Stage at Sylvan Theater Saturday, March 26 – Sunday, April 10
In the shadow of the Washington Monument, this is the Festival’s primary stage. Enjoy recognized and diverse talent from around the region, country, and world, including varied genres of music and dance, martial arts exhibitions, marching bands, and more. Free performances can be enjoyed from 12-5pm on weekdays and 12-6pm on weekends.
Music of Spring at Eastern Market Saturday & Sunday, Marc 26-27 & April 9-10
Along with several children’s performances presented by the Boogie Babes, there will be upbeat, springtime jazz, world-beat, Americana, classical, and spoken word in the street, on the plazas, and in Eastern Market’s newly restored North Hall.
Our dragon kite from last year's festival
Blossom Kite Festival Sunday, March 27 Rescheduled for Sunday, April 10
Even before having kids, this was one of my favorite DC activities. With babes in tow, it’s even better. The sight of thousands of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes flying in the air around the Washington Monument is a sight to behold. And imagining it from my kids’ perspectives adds a touch of magic to it all. So, when I say kites of all shapes and sizes, I don’t just mean the typical diamonds and triangles; the sails you see at the festival each spring get a little more sophisticated than that. There are sharks, butterflies, giant soccer balls, even some that look like intricate works of art. While the festival is open to the public to come fly their kites, there is some competition and exhibition to witness, too. Expert kite enthusiasts will wow crowds with cool stunts, and prizes will be awarded to winners of various categories such as most beautiful, funniest, and aerodynamics. The Festival is free and will run from 10am – 4pm.
ImaginAsia Family Program: Painted Parasols Sunday, March 27
At 2pm, at the Freer Gallery Courtyard, kids ages 8-14 (suggested ages) can participate in a hands-on art activity reminiscent of Japanese culture as they paint a paper parasol to carry as they visit the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin. Find inspiration in some of the gallery’s exhibits that depict spring flower motifs in the clothes and accessories of Japanese women as they stroll through parks in springtime.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Fun Day at The Yards Park Saturday, April 2
There are two things we can count on as spring begins in DC: cherry blossoms and the start of the baseball season. You can celebrate both at the Yards Park, the centerpiece of the new Capitol Riverfront area. The Family Fun Day will include kids activities like boat making and moonbouncing, lantern making for all ages, Trapeze School, Japanese performers and music, a variety of Japanese cuisine from Nooshi Sushi, and Sake tasting and a Japanese beer garden (for adults, of course) from Mie N Yu. The event is free and open to the public from 11am – 4pm.
DISC Cherry Blossom Regatta Saturday, April 2
Young boat enthusiasts will love watching sailboats from Daingerfield Island Sailing Club (DISC) and Potomac River Sailing Association race near Hains Point and East Potomac Park on the Potomac and Anacostia rivers with cherry trees lining the shore. You can probably get a good view of the boats from the Yards Park during the Family Fun Day. For a view from the water, the M/V PATRIOT II, the official spectator boat of the regatta and DC Harbor Cruises’ new luxury catamaran, will offer a special Cherry Blossom Regatta cruise.
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival Saturday, April 2
Another family event happening along the water is the annual fireworks show at the Southwest Waterfront. It’s an all-day and part-evening affair with live music and family-friendly festivities starting at 1pm. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Fireworks Show lights up the night sky.
Clifford at the Cherry Blossom Parade
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade Saturday, April 9
The mac daddy of cherry blossom festivities is definitely the parade. Thousands of people line Constitution Avenue every year to watch the spectacle of lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, and a variety of performers travel from 7th to 17th Streets. The parade begins at 10am and last about two hours. Tickets for grandstand seats are available for $17, but you can stake out a spot along the curb for free. Plan to arrive early t get a good view — the crowds come out for this one, especially if it’s a nice day.
Sakura Matsuri Saturday, April 9
Immediately following the parade, many folks head right over to Sakura Matsuri, the Japanese Street Festival that is America’s largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture. Stretching down six city blocks from 9th to 14th Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, there will be live music and dance performances, all kinds of Asian and Western foods, martial arts demos, a Children’s Corner with storytelling, origami, Japanese games, calligraphy, and more. Festivities go on until 6pm, and there is a $5 charge for adults (free for children under 12).