Friday

Trial Run

Friday, August 8, 2008 - Guest Column by Abbey
Several years ago I decided to quit my job working in HR and go back to school for my Masters in Education. I'd been a live-in nanny during college, and I knew I could find a childcare job that would give me the flexibility I needed, so I started a job search. I registered with a few agencies, including one I'd worked with on my previous search. They set me up immediately with an interview for what sounded like the perfect family.

They lived on the UES in a beautiful penthouse apartment. I met with the mother on my first interview and everything went smoothly. There were three children ages 8, 11 and 13. My day with them would begin around noon while they were in school. I'd come in to get their rooms together, run errands, etc. Then I'd pick the kids up, help with homework, after-school activities and getting ready for bed. My day would end around 8pm. That sounded great to me as I'd have all morning for myself and my classes. The pay was 1K/week which was exactly what I was looking for. I think after that first interview I believed I'd found my dream job.

We decided to do a little "test run" the following weekend. They were going to head out to their house in Bedford for the weekend and I agreed to join them. That Saturday morning I showed up at 8am to find the beautiful penthouse apartment in shambles. Each child had something that he or she couldn't find but desperately needed for the trip. The housekeeper was going from room to room, rifling through drawers, pulling things out, muttering to herself and then moving on to the next screaming child. The mother hid until the housekeeper and myself (although I had no idea where anything was kept) sorted the children out and then she and the father emerged to load up the cars.

The ride took maybe an hour and a half but it seemed like a lifetime. I rode with the father and the two sons. He spent most of the drive alternately belittling and yelling at them. When we arrived at the house this carried on. The mother yelled at the father, the father yelled at the groundskeeper (memorably: "This is a 3 million dollar estate! Why can't I get anything to work correctly! 3 million dollars!!). The children yelled at everyone, including me, whom they'd know for only about 4 hours. And through it all the housekeeper wandered around the kitchen muttering obscenities about everyone under her breath (but not all that quietly).

The kids, when they weren't angry or yelling, were actually nice, and we had a good game of soccer out on the lawn. My overwhelming feeling was of being an expensive toy. I didn't think I was going to be able to discipline these kids, and it didn't seem that the parents were interested in that either. But, when kids are just playing it's hard not to have a good time with them, even if you can see they have great brat potential.

The final straw for me came at dinner time. The housekeeper prepared and served dinner in the dining room for the family, who always dined formally when in Bedford or Manhattan. They sat down to eat and I was left out on the lawn picking up balls. Neither mother nor father ever thought about the fact that I, too, might be interested in eating dinner. In my past jobs I had always eaten with the family, or at least been given that option. It would not have disturbed me at all had the mother said, "We're going to have a family dinner in the dining room, but please help yourself and take dinner to your room or eat in the kitchen." But that was too much to be bothered with. When it dawned on me what had happened I was incensed, but also kind of relieved, because it made it much easier to do what I'd been thinking practically since the moment I arrived that morning.

I helped with the children's baths and getting them into bed and then I asked the mother if i could speak with her privately. To this day I remember exactly what I said to her, "I've had a nice time today and you have a lovely family, but I don't think we're a good fit. Is there a train station nearby?" She took on a very pursed-lip look, but to her credit, she never really batted an eyelash. She said of course, took me there herself and wished me well. It made me feel a little guilty for not sticking it out until the next afternoon, but I was so absolutely relieved to be going home, that guilt quickly evaporated.

34 comments:

UmassSlytherin said...

Abbey,
I love this story!!! It was so well-written and I especially love the ending and how you handled yourself!

Well-done!

Casey said...

Loved the story, very nanny diaries. But who helps an 8, 11 and 13 year old with baths?? Made me think this was made up.

v said...

Nice. Especilly love the last line.

v.

kc said...

Good for you for resolving the situation fast and getting out of there!

kathleencares said...

Great story – thank you for sharing! Good for you for getting out of there quickly. I don’t think I would have had the guts to take off that night, even though I’m sure I would have wanted to.

the mrs. said...

I'm sure had you stayed, they probably would've taken advantage of you. The disrespect was enough for you to leave, so I'm glad to hear you got out as fast as you could. I'll bet she hardly knew what hit her!

Anonymous said...
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??? said...

You helped children that old with their baths?! That is either extremely weird... or fake.

sad, but true said...

Great post...BUT, I have to agree, when I read the sentence regarding helping the children with their baths, I was a bit taken back. Eight is "bad" enough, but 13? Come on now.

I don't have a problem with fictional stories (as occasional guest columns, or even perspective columns on this site), BUT I am wondering, if the authors could let us know beforehand-seeing as "I saw your nanny" consists of a subject matter which is non-fictional. Perhaps, there could even be a time once a month when a new fictional story gets posted for sole entertainment value.

lisajean said...

I think the op probably had to clean the bathroom after the baths so the parents could come home to a clean house.

UmassSlytherin said...

This story seemed very real to me. I absolutely loved the ending!

If some of the parts are embellished, that doesn't bother me at all (although I cannot see any parts that seem fake to me) it is called artistic license and writers do it all the time. Not a big deal.

The OP said...

By "helped with their baths" I did not mean that I directly bathed any of the kids. But I did help out with getting towels into the right bathrooms, reminders to brush teeth, etc. I thought that would have been obvious, my mistake.

UmassSlytherin said...

OP, this is a great article, the best one I have read in a long time!

Duh said...

OP, it was completely obvious to anyone who has ever been a nanny.

DowntoEarth said...

I am sure she had to clean the bathroom, run thier bath water and get their towles for these kids. I doubt if she was implying she was Bathing them.
I can believe her story as I know people who act exactly like this and I am not a Nanny and our nanny doesn't even want play dates with these peoples children (neither do I)..yes they are out there,disfucntionable as all get out. More worried about the $$$ then their kids.

British nanny said...

I have just experienced a similar situation myself, only I was flown out from England. I would LOVE to tell my story but I fear that I would give too much away! The package on offer was great ($80K and a separate apartment) but no matter how much money they were offering, there was no way I could put up with either the children or the mother (if I said who it was, you'd understand why!)

So my search continues....!!

UmassSlytherin said...

british nanny, tell us please!!! a hint????

Kelsey said...

british nanny, you could write the story but use fake names. I doubt that people could figure it out from that, although I already have my guess at who it is.

british nanny said...

My story is so long that it would probably cause the website to crash :)
They aren't really famous as such, though the mother would like to think she is! They just have A LOT of money (billionaires) and have been in the media because of where they live.
All I can say is that the favourite part of the trip was meeting the pet pig who had its own driver :)

mom said...

Awwww..British Nanny! You have awakened a very curious bunch. Just tell us what it rhymes with or something. It's not like you work for her and have breached coinfidentiality, or will be fired. Plus, you haven't even said anythng bad about her except that we would know that she is disagreeable if we heard her name. It doesn't rhyme with Slickmoria Fleckham, does it?

PS As far as the pig needing spiffy wheels...how can I judge? I keep two Chinamen and a rickshaw in my garage just in case my puppy desires to be carted around a bit before bedtime.

Janes addiction said...

mom you are too funny. Slickmoria Fleckman..2chinamen and a rickshaw?
where the hell do you come up with these?

bebe said...

Thanks British nanny, I know who it is, lol. There ain't but too many bamillionaires with pigs, and if you pay attention to media, well .... lol!

bebe said...

Yeah mom, you are a trip! too damn funny, you are!

mom said...

OK fine, so you're really going to make me google, "disagreeable british billionaires with bratty kids and spoiled swine?"

I'll let you know what I find.....

mom said...

OK, here's what I found out:

The Brisitsh seem to have an ongoing, and rather curius fascination with pigs as pets. Who knew?

George Clooney once had a pet pig (maybe still does) named Max, who he forced his then girlfriend, who was British, to meet so he could get the pig's approval. (Pig liked her...THANK GOODNESS!!! Huh? The real big mystery to me is that she kept on liking George after that. But then again, it was George Clooney. Even I have a fish named Danny Ocean...TRUE!)

There is a pig who plays chess who once hosted a television program with a b-list celebrity, whose name has already escaped me.

There is a woman in Geneva who has a very close...some might say too much so...relationship with her very large pet pig.

There is a new breed of pet pig, recently developed in England, that can sit in the palm of your hand. (Handy for those who dwell in tiny flats, I suppose.)

There is apparently a muslim plot against pigs, as I found this article posted, "Jihad Watch: Spencer: Britain's War on Pigs."

And apparently this is all working out much better for the humans concerned than their poor pet piggies, because I found the following article as well:
"Survey of Clinical problems Identified in Pet Pigs on the UK."

I really thought that last one might lead me to the identity of the mystery woman in question, since she sounds to be not so nice...which could certainly lead to psychological symptoms in even the most well rounded of pet pigs...and her piggy already has his own chauffer to drive him to his therapy apointments...but alas, the link was disconnected.


So you see, somebody who knows is just going to have to tell us who she is.

the mrs. said...

Mom, you are just about the funniest person on this site, next to UMass! I love you both!

UmassSlytherin said...

mrs. you are too kind. I am not worthy of your praise. thank you for putting me in the same category as mom: that is a compliment! :)


mom, your discussion of pigs reminds me of the "niffler" in the HP books: remember them? cool little pig-like creatures that sniff out gold and shiny objects! Ron speculated that it would make a great pet, but they really wreck the place tearing through it! Don't know how a niffler can be worse than a toddler, though! I'd sure as hell take one of 'em! :)

mom said...

Awww thanks mrs, and bebe.

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about umass...being regarded in her company is a high compliment.

I have always loved her completely off the wall sense of humor (my favorite kind.)I think we could have a hilarious conversation...and plan a couple of pretty funny pranks.

mom said...

So now....will somebody actually tell us who the billionaire with the pig is? What's the big secret? Nobody has even said anything bad about her.

british nanny said...

I didn't think this would cause such a stir! Ok, it definitely wasn't "Slickmoria Fleckman" LOL or anyone half as famous! Oh, and the family isn't British; they are American. I guess you would know who she was if you were up to date on the NY social scene (which I wasn't!!)As I say, they have been in the news because they own one of the most expensive properties in NYC.

The fact is that I still want to come to NYC to nanny so I don't want to name names incase it comes back to haunt me somehow!!!

I'll just leave you with the image of me finding the pig in my bedroom, with its snout in my hand luggage eating the snacks I had from the plane journey! Am sure the mother would have killed me if she had found out her pig had eaten cookies as she was a health freak! She definitely wouldn't have told the pig off because she didn't have a cross word to say when one of her kids bit me and hit me in the face; instead they got asked why they did it and praised for "explaning their feelings very nicely". OK, no thanks!!

Anyway, luckily I managed to get the pig out of my room before he had eaten my passport, otherwise I would never have been able to escape and then I would have had to go to therapy with him in his chauffeur driven car. :)

UmassSlytherin said...

british nanny,
do you know michael pitt and if so did you get to make out with him and if so what was it like can you please decribe it in detail.
thank you.

bebe said...

Umass, you are so funny. Now what in the world leads you to believe british nanny ever got down michael pitt's pants?

Haha, pitt's pants.

UmassSlytherin said...

IDK, cus like, she has known famous people and stuff. I just thought I'd ask. I only had a few minutes to stop by and it seemed like the most important issue to discuss.

bye guys happy posting. :)

Swiss Nanny said...

HAHAHA!!! I love it. Thanks so much for brightening my day with this subject...hehehe...