By: Revanche

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.


23 Responses to “The hunt for the elusive nanny”

  1. That sounds kind of crazy. There has to be better qualified people out there than that!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Real Money Stories: The StorytellerMy Profile

  2. How awful. Thank goodness you had a trial period. Are there any high school students you could get for the summer? I think K-12 school just got out last week where you live.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Renting in paradise, an updateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      We don’t know any but since my ad with the local colleges has brought zero nibbles, I may have to figure out how to advertise for responsible high schoolers…

      • Back in the day, people used to call the local high school main office and they would hook people up. I’m not sure if that still happens though with all the FERPA etc. protections. Still, you can always call and ask if they have any recommendations.

        That sucks that the local college advertising hasn’t yielded anything.
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  3. Kris says:

    Thank JEEBUS for the trial period. That’s bananas!

    • Revanche says:

      I know. If she’ll be that irresponsible while I’m here, I’m so glad I found out before I left them alone.

  4. Mimi says:

    Hi Revanche

    I’ve been following your blog for a few years now, and have a few things in common with you (live in the Bay Area, slight-workaholic, have a 6 month old!) I did the nanny hunt a few months ago, so I know how you feel. One resource you might want to look at is a yahoo group called childcare_ca. The user-base is almost entirely Indian people (and mostly Indian nannies) but its been a great resource for me and my friends(I’m Indian too). I’ll be happy to give you more info on email as well, if you’d like.

    • Revanche says:

      Hi Mimi! Thanks for introducing yourself and for the suggestion, I’ll have a look at it. If you wouldn’t mind sharing a bit more about your experience by email, I’d very much appreciate it!

  5. I am horrified she didn’t strap her in… Omg babies are so wiggly!!!!!
    Save. Spend. Splurge. recently posted…May 2015 Budget Roundup = $400,341.03 or an increase of $28,892.17 or +7.77%My Profile

  6. Oh, dear. My sympathies!!! One of the wonderful things about getting old (there are many, but this one is right at the top of the list) is NEVER HAVING TO INTERVIEW NANNIES AGAIN!

    Keep looking. Sooner or later you’ll find someone who’s not a nut case and not a moron.

    After a long period of what exactly what you describe, by pure serendipity we came across an RN who had been chair of the nursing program at one of the local community colleges. She loved kids and was happy to babysit just to be around people and specifically small people. Turned out to be perfect at the job. Overqualified, but perfect.

    Another possibility is SAHM’s who take in kids to help support the household. Some of these women (if they still exist, that is) are also very excellent and highly professional. One of the best caretakers we had fell into that category.
    Funny about Money recently posted…Profit & Loss in the Micropublishing BizMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      We’ll someday look back on this time and fondly smile about how we never have to do this again.
      Sure does seem like the best care options happen by serendipity, doesn’t it?

  7. Warren Lee says:

    The teasing of the dog might have got her dismissed on the spot for me, how obnoxiously rude (I have a dog and no kids yet, ha). She sounds like a total…. well I’ll be nice. But fill in the blanks. Her behavior seems typical for a teenager, I’m very surprised this was a full grown adult. Anyway, I hope your search ends well, finding someone to watch your child is a HUGE decision. Sounds like you’re taking it very seriously. Best wishes Revanche.
    Warren Lee recently posted…How To Get an Unsecured Home Improvement Loan – Without EquityMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I was seriously biting my lip on that – my dog is part of my family too! And thanks for the well wishes.

  8. Cloud says:

    I got nothing but sympathy and a fervent hope that a nanny of Mary Poppins-like ideal fit for your needs appears soon! (Have you tried tearing up the ad and burning it? It worked for the kids in Mary Poppins… Why yes, I have seen that movie a lot recently. Why do you ask?)
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  9. Hannah says:

    Oh man, I am feeling increasingly lucky to have such a great babysitter. Do you have friends who are stay at home parents who would be willing to take the kiddos, or is one of your requirements to have them at home?

    • Revanche says:

      None, unfortunately! I really would prefer to have hir at home but at a trusted friend’s would work if we had any hereabouts. All our good childminding or SAHM friends are out of state.

  10. […] continued to save on childcare this month. […]

  11. […] take care of our progeny.  It’s clearly because I’m a first time mom that I object to bad judgment and blatant negligence or unreliable people. If I had another, I wouldn’t be so foolish as to insist on someone who […]

  12. […] Over several months, we’ve tried nannies, sitters, and daycare. Some were ok, some were most decidedly not. […]

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