Received Thursday, July 3, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I am having a bit of a problem that I'm not sure how to deal with. To give you background, we live on the Upper West Side in a co-op that has lots of families. There is a pool on the roof, and our babysitter, a very sweet girl in her early 20s, will often take my two boys, seven and nine, up there to swim after camp. She is great with the kids and they adore her. I love that she brings her bathing suit and doesn't mind getting wet; I've gone up the roof to see the three of them jumping off the deck, screaming and laughing.
She always puts all their wet stuff away, makes them dinner, and even cleans up, which my husband and I have never asked her to do. We're very happy to have her! The problem is my neighbor down the hall! Our kids definitely like to roughhouse, and while we don't let them beat the shit out of each other (pardon my french), we recognize that boys will be boys. The babysitter is great, and definitely pals around with them, putting them on her shoulders in the pool, playing water basketball, etc.
My neighbor, who up until this point never seemed nosy, is constantly telling me that my "nanny plays way too rough." I politely told her that our boys needed someone who would really play with them, and that we were quite taken by the sitter. She has no kids of her own.
Last week - and this will allow you to see how incestuous the co-op really is – the mother of a boy who both my kids are friendly with came up to me at the pool. The sitter was off, and both my husband and I were up there. She said that she had spoken to neighbor X in passing, who mentioned that she thought our babysitter was way too rough – jumping in and out of the pool, playing splashing games, etc.
Meanwhile, we have never gotten any complaints from the lifeguard or other residents (many of whom are elderly). Finally, yesterday, the boys and babysitter came in from swimming all looking a little despondent. I asked them what had happened and our sitter responded by saying neighbor X had chastised her for roughing around with the boys, suggesting she "had better learn to behave like a young lady."
I feel terribly for our sitter and for my kids, who probably felt awkward. I told the sitter I would take care of it, and I certainly want to, as she deserves nothing like this. What can I say to my nosy neighbor? Remember, what I say to her will definitely come back to me, despite how big our building is. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.