Received Wednesday, August 27, 2008. - Rant
I am a stay at home mother and I have a bone to pick with other mothers who allow their children to be cared for by what I see as a pack of transient Jamaican nannies. The children are kept out all day long. The nannies arrive at a congregating place at breakfast time with bagels, bread and rolls. The children are left in their strollers while the nannies drink their teas and coffees and eat their pastries. Some even read the paper. They chat on cellphones, but mostly among each other.
Ninety minutes passed and the children who were fed single fruit loops and cups of golden grahams for over an hour to keep them pacified are now released for play. Those who need changing get changed. Those who need to toilet are encouraged to relieve themselves on trees, shrubbery or on the grass which I stand. The children play while the nannies continue to talk amongst themselves, read the newspaper, make and take cell phone calls and sit. The nannies do not rise from a sitting position. True, some of the children do call out to be pushed but most have learned their lesson that nanny doesn't move. Some of the nannies disappear from the pack.
Did you know that? They return with shopping bags from the Gap, Old Navy and Mandy, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc. When those nannies return, the nannies all look over their purchases and ooh and ahh with delight. The same ooh and ahh your daughter Charlotte sought from her nanny when she went down the slide on her stomach, but alas nanny never glanced her way.
Lunchtime arrives and the children are fed first. They are fisted squished sandwiches, crackers and bags of processed foods. Hands that have never been washed, hands that have wiped the bottoms and wrung out the weiners of their charges are stuffed into the mouths of toddlers with blank faces. Toddlers who must dream of the comforts of home and their beds. All the while the children are being fed, the nannies conversate over them. They do not look, speak or even pat a child on the head. They ooh, ahh and laugh amongst themselves. The children exchange blank expressions, big, hollow eyes on a sunny day. A shared, sadness.
After the children have finished eating, it is time for the nanny's feast. This involves shooing the children off to the equipment or sand and strapping the youngest children down in their strollers. The nannies whip out paper bags and old bread bags. Money is exchanged and a few of the nannies depart, (leaving our children under the care of this emotionless group) only to return with heavy, sopping styrofoam containers, dripping the secret grease of pungent ethnic food. They drink fruit sodas and bottled water. And what a spread it is. These nannies hurt not for money. Their portions are enormous, eaten with great gumption while talking amongst themselves. In the distance, a child calls out. A nanny in teal pedal pushers squints to see if it is her charge, but recognition does not register on her drawn and angry face.
An hour or so has passed and the children trickle back to the nanny's spot.. One little girl in a short sleeved red shirt hugs her nanny's legs. The nanny moves her knees to the left and the right, effectively shooing the child away. Another child, a boy of no more than three tries to climb up on his immense nannies lap, but he too is pushed away. "Go play, go on now".
The nannies clean up their area and most of their trash makes it's way to the garbage receptacle. A little boy named Adam asks if he can go home now. His nanny tells him that she is beat and now she gets to take a rest. With that, she crosses her arms across her chest and settles into the bench. The conversation slows. The nannies sit stone faced, baking in the afternoon sun.
More time passes and now it is snack time. There is more apple juice, there are cheddar crackers and goldfish. The children grope hungrily for the kibble and the nannies control each cracker with an iron fist. This nannies, their bellies still bursting from their afternoon feast share in every snack. For the most part, the children have grown accustom to this kind of sharing and are grateful for their nine goldfish and two ounces of juice.One thirsty boy defiantly remarks that his nanny drank his whole box of juice is dispensed to the water fountain and told to quit complaining, "go get some cold water now". The children are toileted on trees and the smalles among them are stripped down and changed roughly across park benches. One particlarly grim looking nanny has stowed all of her dirty diapers from the day in a bread bag at her feet, even though the garbage can is but 50 feet away.
It is now mid to late afternoon. Soon the nannies will warn that it will be time to go home soon. And slowly, they will gather their charges and most of their trash and trudge home. A whole day has passed with nary an educational activity, a word of praise, a loving gesture....
Location: All over Park Slope. Who are the parents that employ these nannies?
(edited 8/28/08 12:00 AM)