Posts Tagged ‘ caretaker ’

The Neglectful Nanny

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Okay, I know I’m not talking world peace here. And I know there are plenty of clueless parents and caretakers who commit far more egregious acts. But I have to vent about this one nanny who drives me crazy at Emmett’s gymnastics class.

First of all, it’s a “baby and me” class. Which means you have to be with your kid the whole time. It’s for tiny tots. Em and I have a blast—he runs from the rings to the mats to the trampoline while I dash behind making sure he doesn’t smash his face or break his nose.  Or run into another tot and smash their face and break their nose. The first 15 minutes are free play. Then it’s trampoline time.

One by one each child gets on the trampoline while the caretakers/parents and kids sit on the sidelines and clap an ABC song. It’s not even as annoying as it sounds (unlike music class). It ends with a seat drop and a high-five to Coach Sam. If your kid doesn’t want to sit and wait his/her turn, you just take them to play on the other 51 things available. In other words, participation is not required. However, being present is.

The coach is really good about telling kids who invariably jump out of turn to, “sit down and wait or go play somewhere else.” Parents/nannies are generally really good about jumping in and making sure their kid isn’t being disruptive. Except for “Purple Shirt” nanny. That’s what I will call her. Because today I went to take a picture of Emmett on the trampoline and she ended up in my picture. You can’t see it because I cropped it (though I did debate…), but she is standing there on her phone. The girl is to the right of Emmett jumping up and down.

Notice the other kids are sitting down, waiting for “popcorn.” That’s when the coach bounces them up and down together. You have to be sitting for it. But is this girl? Of course not. Is her nanny telling her to? Nope. She’s too busy doing something incredibly important on her phone. Maybe she’s CIA? Though I doubt it.

From the very first time I saw this woman, she wandered aimlessly on the mat, eyes glued to her iPhone while her then 2-year-old charge ran wild. Before I knew which parents/caretakers went with which kid, I wondered if this tot was here by herself. Which I knew wasn’t possible. But literally the little girl would be on one end and the nanny would be at the other (and it’s a real gym, used for gymnasts. It’s big). That was 6 months ago and it’s never changed.

It continues to astound me that this woman has a job taking care of a kid.  I cringe to think what she’s like on the playground. It would be pretty easy to abduct a child when your nose is buried in your phone.

On the trampoline the girl repeatedly kept jumping up and down out of turn. Coach Sam had to keep stopping the other kids to say, “Charlie, sit down. Charlie, sit down or go play,” as Purple Shirt did nothing. Nada. Every other adult holds their child so they can’t just randomly jump out of sequence. Not Purple Shirt. She doesn’t even sit with the kid. She just sits there half smiling, eyes half glazed from looking at her phone, and waits for the coach to get up and physically remove the girl. If I didn’t know better I would think she was blind, deaf, and dumb. Luckily, the coach is very patient and gentle about it, but I can tell even he is annoyed.

Here’s the kicker: when Coach Sam told the girl to go play somewhere else, she did. She jumped off and went running. And Purple Shirt? She stayed at the trampoline with her back to the girl. Head down, eyes on the phone. Maybe she is a spy and solving world peace. But something tells me her phone is just much more important than her job.  I can’t imagine the parents are aware. If they were, how could they tolerate this?

And remember: this happens Every. Single. Week. It’s sad and annoying all in one.

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A Horrible Tragedy and Our Grief For the Family

Friday, October 26th, 2012

No. No. No.

Stop reading!

It can’t have happened.

Eyes partially shut, trying to skim the story without really digesting it.

Compartmentalize. Don’t think about it.

But then, you look at your kids–in my case–Fia hugging Emmett. Your heart crushes to its core.

Super Why is on television. It’s daddy’s birthday and we’re letting him sleep in. It is, by all accounts, a normal morning. Except it’s not. Something awful—unthinkable–has happened.

Two kids are stabbed to death in their Upper West Side apartment bathtub. A 2-year old and 6-year old. The mom is out with her 3-year old. She comes home to a dark home. Something is amiss. She opens the bathroom door and sees something no one, absolutely no one, should ever witness. Her two children. Dead. Her nanny is also there with a stab wound to her neck. She is alive and suspected of committing this atrocity. The mother goes into a psychotic state. The father gets off an airplane in New York. The police meet him and deliver the awful news. They take him to the hospital where he joins his wife. Their life is forever changed. For the worst.

Terrible things happen all the time. A plane crashes and it’s front-page news. This too, is front-page news. But as awful as all tragedies seem, this one hits a different chord. It is so personal. We are moms and dads. It is we who make the decision to have someone help us with our kids. We entrust these people with the most precious thing in our life. And 99.99 percent of the time they are a gift. A story like this so rarely happens. But when it does, it is a nightmare beyond comprehension.

There are no words to comfort, no justification to make us feel better for this family. And no God who can say this was meant to be.

I have a nanny. She loves my kids like they were her own. I know her whole family. We did a background check on her before we hired her. It was flawless. When I told her about this story, she started to weep. “How do you ever know someone, truly?” she said to me through tears. “You know me, you trust me with your kids, but how do you know you really know me?” I understood exactly what she meant. Sometimes as hard as you try to do the best for your children, your efforts fall short–and tragic.

I don’t want to put myself in the shoes of this mom or dad. It’s too painful. But I can only imagine if the allegations prove true, and the nanny did this, not only will this mother be haunted by the loss of her children, but also by what she maybe had missed. The clues, the signs. And sometimes there simply aren’t any. Sometimes people just aren’t who they seem. My heart just aches for her, the dad, the surviving child–how will they go on?

When Fia was a newborn, I, like many moms, was paranoid to leave her with anyone. A friend of mine said, “At some point, you just have to trust.” She was right. But stories like this leave you reeling. Questioning.

I can’t live my life in fear. But today’s nightmare is a stark reminder that it is only by the Grace of God, Go I. And all of us, for that matter.


Darkness picture courtesy of Shutterstock

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