Nanny Nightmares: Follow Your Gut (Chapter 1)

9 years ago

We had wonderful nannies for our girls over the last 5+ years. Three
nannies in 5 years and one who stayed with us for three – not a bad
batting average. And why not? I ran my own business and had plenty of
experience in hiring people over the last eight years.


August 2007 – nanny nightmares begin. 10 different people over three months.
My confidence in my ability to hire was shattered. Not only did our
nanny troubles stress out my whole family, it was an omnipresent
distraction. These three months seem vaguely humorous when looking
back, but still beg the question as to whether or not I had my
priorities straight, as you will see in the ensuing chapters.

Chapter 1: Danielle

Our first hire last August was Danielle. She wasn’t exactly what I was
looking for, but seemed nice enough. Her references were only okay. But
my husband and I logically discussed the pros and cons of Danielle
versus other candidates, and realizing that we were desperate, Danielle
got the job.

My first mistake – I didn’t listen to my gut and hired Danielle anyway.
What I learned over the next two weeks is that she was a push-over and
lacked good judgment. She drove around with my youngest daughter
improperly buckled into her car seat for several days. Of the 3-point
buckle, only the plastic piece across her chest was closed. How did I
learn about this? My children told me! When I told Danielle what the
girls said and asked her about the seatbelt, she denied it. Later that
evening, I decided to see for myself. I put my youngest in her car seat
to discover that only the plastic top buckle would close. The strap had
been pulled so tight that the buckle portion, which is the true anchor,
would not close. I fixed the seat belt and took note of Danielle’s lie
and lack of good judgment. Strike1.

My oldest daughter came home from the local lake/beach one day wearing
platform flip-flops about 4 sizes too big for her. Danielle explained
that she had gone out of the house without shoes and so they had taken
these from the lost & found. How do you not notice a child leaving
the house for the day barefoot? How can it be right to take something
that is not yours? Still desperate with no other nanny prospects, I
kept Danielle on but started looking again in earnest. Strike 2.

My girls' behavior was getting brattier by the day. Clearly they had no
boundaries and were calling the shots with Danielle. I learned that
Danielle had given the girls peanut butter and mint jelly for lunch.
(Mint jelly… isn’t that only used in recipes? What kind of lunch is
that?) I casually asked Danielle not to give them mint jelly again
while we were preparing dinner – she replied that the girls had asked
for it so she figured it was okay. So, if they ask for chocolate ice
cream for lunch tomorrow, would that be okay? Strike 3. Since when do
three and four-year old kids know what’s best for them? Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of Nanny Nightmares...

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