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Friday, April 28, 2006

spies like us

internet, let this be a warning to you. mr nice guy fights dirty. he hits below the belt. he's a sneaky bastard.

this may be New York City, but let me tell you something internet: Park Slope is a small town. (Paul Auster has a great line to that effect in his new book, Brooklyn Follies, but i can't find it again. maybe i imagined it.) anyway -- i have many friends, acquaintances, fellow-moms, and i have enlisted every single last one of them to watch the nanny and report back to us. i am not ashamed to say it: i have asked people to spy on my nanny. you hear that, nannywoman? WE'RE WATCHING.

and Operation Nanny Stalker is already yielding information. just yesterday a good mom-friend of mine said she saw nanny and baby at the tot lot around the corner. here's how the conversation -- which sent me into a blind burning rage -- went:

"the baby had been sitting in the nanny's lap. then the nanny put her on the ground."
"was she ignoring the baby?"
"she was kind of ignoring her, yeah. she was talking to other nannies and the baby was just sitting there for a while. but she didn't seem upset."
"if it was your son, would it have bothered you?"
[pause] "yeah. i wouldn't have liked that."

do you have any idea how much the image of my baby sitting on the ground being ignored rips my heart to tiny shreds? do you have any idea how much hurt i want to put on the nanny?

and yet maybe i'm being hypocritical. lord knows i ignore the baby sometimes. she's sitting on the floor right now as i type this, playing with an open bottle of Drano. i've seen mrs nice guy chat with one of her friends while the baby crawled around, ultimately grabbing a piece of sidewalk chalk and popping it into her mouth. so it's not like we have a leg to stand on.

still, this is not good news in the nanny's first week. as mrs nice guy puts it: do we think she's a bad nanny? no. is she an indifferent nanny? she won't be if we get another report like this. we'll be sure to mention that her ample form will keep the Gowanus Canal fish happily feasting for a loooong itme. YOU GOT THAT, NANNYFRIEND? I WILL KILL YOU AS MESSILY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE IF I HAVE TO. you best check yourself, lady.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel the pain, but remember that screaming, drooling, feverish child of the last entry. Be very carefull of ill nanny thoughts.

4/28/2006 3:32 PM  
Anonymous dear wife said...

That nanny does not know what she has coming.

4/28/2006 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Mandy said...

Good for you with the nanny stalking and what-not. That was one reason I liked the idea of daycare for my son, that there would be many eyes on him and on his caretakers all day long, with other parents and other teachers around, etc. I know the feeling--If I can't do the job of being there all day for him, then the person(s) I hire better do an even better job than I would! I hope that you find that you are very happy with the nanny.

4/28/2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

I'll remember not to make enemies with you!
Seeing the concern and fear (fellow mom speaking) that you feel stalking your poor nanny, I can so imagine that rip and tear through the heart of leaving your babelet..good thing this blog can do therapeutic wonders..
hope the nanny will work out, it's a 'b' having to go through finding someone else ..

4/28/2006 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So glad y'all are on with the nanny spying.

And, wow, once Nanny of Nice Guys gets what's coming to her, Baby Nice Guy will be the most coddled baby ever.

4/28/2006 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I have worked with children - in a daycare, as an elementary school teacher - for over twenty years, and there's a different perspective on this:

It is not necessarily good for a child to be entertained every second of its waking day. A child that can be set down to play happily on their own is not learning that no one cares, she is learning that she is independent, she is capable, she is an individual. Now, if the nanny ignored her when she cried, or asked for assistance - then you'd be right to be upset.

When I'm in the classroom, I can often pick out the children who are used to constant attention, reinforcement, praise, etc. They're the ones who often have the most difficulty working independently, who expect attention and feed-back for every small accomplishment, instead of working through their task to completion, and getting feedback then.

After all, you admit that you do not attend to your child with unblinking awareness for every second of her day. I bet you sometimes set her down on the living room floor while you and Mrs Nice Guy talk. And you know what? This is a good thing!

It is good to be cautious and aware of what your nanny is doing. Is it fair, though, to expect her to do more than baby's loving parents, especially when over-attention may detract from your daughter's ability to develop that much-needed (and tantrum-inducing, dammit) independence?

4/28/2006 10:36 PM  
Blogger Catharine said...

Ohfuhpetesake -- relax, will ya? Have you any idea what a mealy, pukey little kid you'd end up with if the nannywoman doted on her every waking minute of the poor kid's life?

Did you ever stop to think that maybe Baby was kind of looking for a minute or two by herself, so she could mull over that poem she's been working on? Do you know how hard it is to iron out your iambic pentameter when you can't get a moment's peace because you ahve the freakin' nanny breathing down your neck.

She's fine. She's fine, the nanny's fine, you're... well.. you're kind of a mess, frankly, but you'll be fine eventually, and so will the Mrs.

Mine turns 18 in two weeks. She survived in one piece. So will yours.


4/29/2006 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're freaking out because the nanny set the baby on the ground next to her and was talking to someone else? Get a grip! She didn't walk off on the baby, the baby wasn't crying, she wasn't neglected. The baby was forced to entertain herself - the horror!

4/29/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Hee hee. I go back to work in a couple of days, and will be feeling this exact same thing soon enough. I feel your pain. "Don't ignore my child!"

Y'know, Baby Nice Guy will be just fine. Now, if the nanny were leaving her at home alone and running off to the park, 'cause she thought it was too much of a bother to get the wee one ready for an outing ... well, that would be another story entirely. But she was right there, watching her, and just letting her have some alone time. Kids sometimes need alone time. As long as she's still being watched over, it's all good.

I can say this, and it works in theory. But I, of course, will still react with utmost rage at any ill report on my child's caregiver, however small it may be. And that's life as a parent!

4/29/2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

Rather than wasting your time nanny-spying, you'd could make much better use of your last few days of joblessness by getting involved in this sort of debate :The Park Slope Hat Spat like all self-respecting Brooklyn parents.

4/30/2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger Janie said...

I've got your back on this one, MNG. Despite the calls for relaxation, I know just how you feel.

I had to leave the Wee One at a truly wonderful, top of the line, company-sponsored day care center when I returned to work.

I could not bring myself to leave him unless he was IN THE ARMS of a caregiver when I left.

I could not sit him on the floor, I would not leave him by the door. I could not lay him in the bed. "Hold him! Hold him! Hold him!" I said!

Ummm, yeah. Anyway, it still pains me to see little ones alone on the floor. I know they put the Wee One down and commence ignoring him as soon as I go, but at least my last sight of him is in the arms of someone.

Good luck back at work - it will get easier.

5/03/2006 11:42 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I'm with the others - making sure she is not treating your child badly is totally understandable, but this is not it. I suspect that deep down you know it, as you point out yourself that you guys do it yourself when you need a minute. Well, your nanny is human too, and as you know, it's a long day with a wee one. I guess and hope that you are being mostly tongue-in-cheek here, but if not... then yeah, you would need to relax before you make all involved bonkers.

5/31/2006 2:32 PM  

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