Received Sunday, May 3, 2009
I saw a dreadful scene on the number 4 Lexington Avenue train this past Thursday at approximately 5pm.
Nanny: Black, 40-something, long hair possibly from the Caribbean.
Child: White, 4 years old, female, light brown/dark blond hair.
On their way to visit another child named Tavia (?) who the 4-year-old did not want to see.
Exited the train at the Wall Street station.
It was rush hour on a crowded train and the child was misbehaving and refusing to hold on to the pole. She was very defiant towards her mostly very patient nanny and would not obey. The child kept falling on the floor and the nanny kept repeating that the little girl hold onto the pole. The girl refused and after the nanny squatted down twice to patiently try and reason with the girl, the child tried to kick the nanny several times. In an effort to both keep the girl standing upright and keep herself from being kicked, the nanny gripped both of the little girl's wrists in one of her hands and held the child's arms up over her head. The girl was crying and screaming at the top of her voice for the nanny to stop that she was hurting her. I have no doubt that the nanny was squeezing the girls wrists extremely hard and that she was very angry at the child for misbehaving. (Many people on the train seemed annoyed by this child's bad behavior.)
This went on for what seemed a long time (5 minutes). Eventually, the nanny did let go of the girl's wrists but then she gripped her upper arms very tightly instead. The girl continued to scream as if she were being tortured. I tried to intervene asking the nanny how old the girl was and she told me she was four. Then I spoke directly to the girl and suggested that she hold on to the pole hoping that the nanny would then not hold her so hard. The child ignored me and continued her tantrum.
It seemed rather late in the day for a play date and I heard the child insist that she did not want to go to "Tavia's". I think I heard the name right, but we were on a noisy train so, it could have been a similar name.
Here's my take on the situation: the parents are too absent and the child is not being disciplined properly. The nanny did everything she could but she was not really in control of the situation. However, she did keep the child from falling on the floor or causing a nuisance on the crowded train. This is a very disturbed little girl who needs someone who can deal with her spoiled behavior in a way that is not physically or emotionally painful.