The hunt for the elusive nanny
June 8, 2015
I’m not asking for much, I swear.
We just want someone polite and competent to help me with LB during my work day. If we’re all lucky, ze will even sleep for half that time so the nanny can do whatever she wants, within reason. But we’ve been striking out left and right.
Our latest bomb candidate was a real doozy. I spent 18 hours working with her, willing to compromise on most things if her care was good, only to have her really drop the ball at the last hour. She was an older woman from my homeland, and that could have made it easier. Obviously, in this case: NOT ONE BIT.
The laundry list of objections felt endless. She would interrupt every time I gave her instructions, refuse to take no for an answer, take every conversation as an opportunity to persuade me that I should hire her, argue that we really didn’t need 2 or 3 trial days despite having agreed to work them, felt that “but I’m healthy” was an appropriate response to the requirement that she be vaccinated, insist on doing the opposite of what I asked her to do, and bother Seamus.
Seriously, if I say that the kid isn’t to watch tv so don’t point it out to hir, the first thing you do after that should NOT be turn the kid toward the tv and say Hey Look!
If I say that the dog is forbidden to have people food, it’s not funny to wave your lunch in his face and pull it away laughing. Baiting a dog you don’t know? That’s stupid, rude, and just highlights the inanity of your repetitious “will he bite me?” No, but I’m about to.
LB would dive for the diaper box and I’d set it aside saying, no, diapers are not for eating. The nanny would grab a diaper and toss it to hir during a change saying, here play with that. Um, “play” for LB means EAT. So you’re giving hir a diaper to eat. Thanks.
She probably could have been broken of all those habits, like a poorly trained horse, over time.
It wouldn’t have been easy for me because correcting an adult, in our culture, is Just Not Done. And if they’re ridiculously nosy, asking “how much did you pay for X? What’s your rent? Are your utilities included in the rent? What does Y cost?” you can’t directly tell them to buzz off. Thankfully, I’ve learned some acceptable defensive conversational judo in the past several years and stopped myself from getting sucked into the subordinate’s vortex of compelled and regretted answers.
The death knell was this: we have one of those cheapish electric chair swings, a lightly used hand me down. We use it once in a while but only with supervision because LB cannot be trusted. Ze is the squirreliest, wiggliest, contrariest kiddo I’ve ever cared. Strap hir into that chair and ze will have contorted in some unimaginable fashion trying to vault out of it two seconds later. So I tell the nanny that ze cannot be left alone, asleep or awake, in that thing. Ze may look conked out but ze wakes up at the drop of a pin and the very second ze realizes that ze is unwatched? FLIP!
Worried that it was actually me being unreasonably picky, I even invited a friend to come observe the nanny. We didn’t end up having her back for that observation but this very honest friend came prepared to tell me that I needed to compromise only to find that it’s not me! I’m reasonable, thank you very much.
I was working away, trying to decipher some weird work problem, when I heard the bathroom door click behind me. My brain turned over and I popped around the corner to find that Nanny-No-More had left LB alone in the chair, asleep, unsecured by the safety belt, with the rocker wheek-whacking away on High.
Now I GET that kids get injured on their own. I know that kids – hell, I was one of them – can be beyond accident prone. I don’t plan to wrap hir in a bubble suit. With me as a mom, ze is genetically coded for klutz. Kids don’t need our help or to be set up for more injury!
Just as egregiously, why is she incapable of doing as I ask? It’s almost as though I’m not paying for her services, so have no reason to expect compliance. Oh, WAIT.
Obviously, that was the end of that run. *sigh* We were so hopeful.