4 Lexington Avenue Train in NYC

Received Sunday, May 3, 2009
nanny sighting logo
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.


Wondering said...

Is this related to the other train nanny that is pictured a few ads down?

mo better blues said...

No, that is the 5 Train. Completely different. One could ride the 4 train and never need to ride the 5 train, ever.

Nanny Taxi said...

Wait...what..two different trains, two different nannies, two different kids, same situation? Hmmmm.

sh said...

No way, this is the same incident. Same day, around the same time, this one maybe just sounds like a defense?

seattle said...

or maybe the nanny/little girl changed trains at some point.

it sounds the same.

either way. whatever.

Manhattan Nanny said...

It certainly sounds like the same nanny & child. I think one poster made a mistake re the train number. Interesting how differently the two posters saw it. An example of a Roshmon type situation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Not Annoymous said...

thought we werent doing annoymous posts anymore???

daisy said...

That kind of behavior in a four-year-old is somewhat disturbing. I used to teach that age, and only the "problem" children would behave like those- those with problems at home.
It can be incredibly difficult to discipline in a public space like that. It was a crowded train, so it's not like they can get any privacy, and there's really no way for the nanny to calmly reason with the child. Plus it was late in the day, so the child was probably tired. Hopefully next time the parents will spring for a cab.

chow said...

as a nanny i have had times where i needed to restrain a child and they act like you are killing them. i know that i was not using excessive force. she might just be a spoiled brat who wanted to attention.

get a clue said...


just because a child has a temper tantrum does not mean they have "problems at home." There are many, many reasons why children misbehave, and to just make a sweeping generalization like that is ignorant. There are many children who have special needs and issues that have nothing to do with failed parenting or problems at home.

need a moniker said...

After reading both posts,and looking at the picture, it was a reminder to me to stand and give my seat to a person with a child, who may need a lap upon which to be more safely contained. Wouldn't it have been a much better situation if the nanny could have contained the child on her lap (no poles, no outstretched arm) and talk directly into her ear? Let's help one another in this world!

May 3, 2009 8:30:00 PM

Senior said...


I ride the subway said...

It's extremely easy to mix up the 4 and 5 trains since they run on the same track in Manhattan and make the same stops. This is probably the same incident as the earlier post. If two separate people are reporting it, this blog must have a large readership!

Why on earth didn't someone get up and offer this nanny/child duo a seat? It is much, much easier to control a small child if you can either sit them down or hold them on your lap. Trying to get a tired kid to hold onto the pole never works well. As to the nanny's handling of the situation, it's hard to judge without knowing more about history and circumstances... sounds like the kid is a handful, but unless the "playdate" was actually a dropoff with a different babysitter or some other appointment which absolutely had to be kept, the nanny should have gotten off the train with that kid immediately, marched her home and given her an appropriate, non-abusive consequence for her behavior. But looking at the two posts side by side, it's hard to tell if the child's kicking was a reaction to mistreatment from the nanny, or vice versa.

daisy said...

get a clue,

You're absolutely right. Children misbehave for many reasons. I may have misspoken in that I in no way meant that any child who has a temper tantrum in public has "bad" parents. I was simply stating an experience I had.
However, I would still be concerned to see this behavior in a 4-year-old and it would alert me to possible "special circumstances" with the child, whether that is special needs or inconsistent discipline. However, if the child did have special needs, I would wonder why a meltdown like this (late in the day on a crowded train) would not be anticipated by the parents and/or the nanny.

WTF? said...

OMG daisy, stop while you're ahead. Your experience with children is clearly limited to the classroom (and my guess is, not one where the children feel especially comfy ~ daycare, maybe?) 4 year olds throw tantrums for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with special needs or bad parenting. kids act up with the people they feel comfiest with (in other words, not you).

Wicker Park Nanny said...

everyone has different perceptions and this/these post(s) proves that. whatever the reason for the temper tantrum it would have affected viewers differently.

knowing what kind of force was being used on the child is extremely difficult to judge unless there are bruises or red marks left to show for it. it sounds to me like a 4 year old being a 4 year old.

if anything it sounds to me like the parents and the nanny need to sit down and fine more appropriate discipline techniques for these "emergency" situations.

whats all the who-whoey about? said...

A 4 yr old child throwing a temper tantrum is ridiculous.A 4 yr old throwing herself to the ground/dropping to the ground when upset is even more insane.
4 yr olds getting upset,fussing & protesting..ok..normal.. but if you have a 4 yr old having temper tantrums..discipline is lacking.
That tells me that said 4 yr old is smarter than her parents/nanny..she is working them all.
WTF..your experience with these "comfortable "children who feel so secure in your precense that they must have temper tantrums is very unusual in my experience with children.
My charges & my children ages 4 and older,while getting upset on occassion,do not throw themselves to floor having temper tantrums and it is not because they are uncomfortable with me. It is because they know it is completely unacceptable at 4 yrs of age to do so and they will be disciplined.
Children that throw such tantrums do not do so with "people whom they are most comfie around." They do it with people whom let them get away with it!
Kicking a nanny and dropping to floor is outrageous at this child's age..any age really but 4..come on!
What an obsurd post yours is!
I do not condone sqeezing a childs arms/wrists out of anger or at anytime.

ohwhynot said...

A "very disturbed" little girl? Because she threw a tantrum in public? When it was late, crowded, loud, and she was going to a place she didn't want to go?

Look: I love my kids to death, but even my wonderful children were more than capable of throwing a hell of a tantrum under the right (wrong?) conditions. You saw ONE moment of this girl's life - to call her "deeply disturbed" and a disciplinary problem is WAY over the line.

MinuteMuggle said...

Kids throw temper tantrums. It is a fact of life. It does not mean they are a bad kid or they have special problems. Teenagers throw temper tantrums.

I just don't see why people are so shocked at this behavior, especially in a four year old. It is quite normal.

50/50 said...

I wouldn't go so far as to say this child was "deeply disturbed" based on one incident. However, in my years of experience, I have never had a 4-year-old child throw herself on the floor in a tantrum. And these were children who certainly felt very comfortable with me. Of course, we also worked a lot on social emotional skills, so that they wouldn't have to resort to that. Have children cried or whined when they are tired/don't want to do something? Of course. That's normal, and I'm not saying this little girl is abnormal. But I personally think 4 is a little old to be having a tantrum like that.

let's be friends said...

I don't know what all the fighting is about. There are many possible reasons for the tantrum:
-Girl was tired/hungry/etc
-Girl had some special need
-Girl is not consistently disciplined (by parents and/or nanny)
-Girl is neglected by her parents (that was someone's theory, right?)
-etc, etc, etc.

What is clear is that her behavior was not safe and had to be stopped. I wonder what else the nanny could have done other than holding the child's wrists like that (which probably did hurt, although the child may have exaggerated). I agree with those who say someone should have offered them a seat. But since no one did, what are other suggestions for how she should have handled it?

daisy said...

just one more and then I'll stop (I swear I didn't mean to be so controversial).
Of course children in my class cried and whined when tired/hungry/couldn't get what they wanted/etc. But not many of them had actual temper tantrums. In my mind, I was comparing this posting to when we used to take field trips. I would prepare them for what to expect and how they would need to behave, and they mostly did well, especially since we were in a strange environment where they weren't as comfortable to "act up." The ones who "acted up" in spite of this were children with ongoing behavior problems, who, coincidentally or not, came from very strenuous home situations. This may not be a good comparison because the child in the post may feel very "at home" on the train. I don't know. But I'm saying, based on my experience, it would concern me to see a 4-year-old behaving that way in public (not just whining or crying but putting herself at risk of physical harm). If that's ridiculous to you, I think you're the one with limited experience.

WTF? said...

whats all the who-whoey about?,

Your ridiculous and an ass to boot. Your making things so personal makes sense though. Your moniker is showing. ;)

Every child is different. They each have their own speed of developing impulse control. Anyone who claims their tired preschooler never ever threw a fit is a liar. My second child was the mellowest kid on earth and even he lost it sometimes. Yeah, maybe he could have held it together if he knew that I'd be hitting him if he lost it, but that's not the relationship I'll ever have with my children. now please sign on and claim you'd just theaten to put the kid in timeout to knock him out of a tantrim. :::eye roll:: Since my most difficult toddler/preschool is now junior high aged, I'm pretty sure I'd know by now if my discipline skills were lacking.

WTF? said...

your = you're.

WTF? said...

Okay people, this is really, really basic child development info here. Children can behave perfectly for teachers and daycare wotkers and save their acting up for safe people like parents or primary caregivers. This should not be a mystery to anyone who claims to work with children. I've raised three children past the age of four and taught at co-op preschool for the past 6 years. Unless you've raised your own children, you really don't know what you're talking about. And like I said, if you claim your preschooler never, ever throws a tantrum, you're a liar. And with that, I'll bow out of this convo and be glad my children aren't in some crappy daycare or in the care of a nanny who doesn't know squat.

what about the child? said...

Whether or not it is normal for a 4-yr-old to throw a tantrum, I won't debate. I just wonder why this outing was so mandatory that the nanny could not take the child off the train to calm her down, and possibly just take her home. She was obviously in no mood for a playdate, if that's what it indeed was. (It would be different if they were on their way home and the child was melting down, but it seems they were on their way out)
I don't know whose idea it was to go, but either way, the child's needs (which is what we're about here, right?) were not being met. And without casting blame on anyone (child, parents, nanny), that would concern me to some extent.

DenverNanny said...

"Unless you've raised your own children, you really don't know what you're talking about."

Seriously? We're totally not the audience you're looking for with that comment...

WTF? said...

It's the truth and I feel no need to pander to any particular target audience. All clear now?

DenverNanny said...

Not suggesting you pander... you obviously have a right to say whatever you want.
My only point is that if you're trying to share your point of view with a group of nannies and their employers, and want anyone here to respect ANYTHING you say, you might wanna avoid saying we don't know what we're talking about... I've cared for kids since I was a kid and had many parents ask my advice on a wide range of childcare topics--I obviously know what I'm talking about and no, I don't have any children of my own.

But hey, if you wanna be regarded as a troll, no skin off my back :)

MinuteMuggle said...

It is totally different when you are dealing with your own children. This is true. It does in no way mean that nannies don't know what they are talking about, but the fact remains that until you have your own kids, there is no way you can know what it is like to be a parent. It is a different ballgame. That's just a fact.

Manhattan Nanny said...

"Unless you've raised your own children, you really don't know what you're talking about."

Many nannies are also parents FYI.

As a parent, you have experience dealing with children who are your own. Caring for someone else's children is a totally different situation, and not one being a parent necessarily prepares one for.
A nanny can be knowledgeable about child development, may have a degree in ECE, have years of experience with a broad range of children, and have that special quality that just connects with children. Many new parents on the other hand start out with little or no experience, and are franticly reading childcare books, and learning on the job so to speak. That is where I come in. Nanny to the rescue!

DenverNanny said...

Manhattan Nanny:
You are much more eloquent than I, so thanks for saying it better!

Mascha said...

Maybe the Nanny was taking her to a completely inappropriate place, to someone who had been hurting the child before. No one knows why the child threw a fit. Time to maybe call the police to have them check it out, No wonder why so many child abusers get away with it.