Received Sunday, July 12, 2009
If you are the parents of 4 year old twins, Gabe and Zoe, and live in the Essex County area, please consider the following information. I frequently see your children at Verona Park with their nanny, who is frequently no where to be found, as your kids scramble all over the playground equiptment. She is a middle aged, West Indian woman with a sour expression who is usually dressed in large t-shirts and baggy capri pants with her long, graying hair in a ponytail. There are two playgrounds at VP, separated by a large grassy area and swing set, and your nanny can often be found at the "older" playground, sitting with her nanny friends, as your kids play completely unsupervised on the younger area. My charges and I are frequently at the park and Gabe and Zoe always greet us with hugs and frequently ask me to "watch this!" or play with them. Your nanny and I have never spoken but she is comfortable with me (a total stranger) interacting with her kids. If she is in the general vicinity of your children, she is rude and short with them. She never has snacks or drinks with her, even in the heat, and gets upset with the kids if they interrupt her while she's on her cell phone or talking to another nanny. This week, Zoe asked your nanny for her bagel (the nanny was eating a bagel at the time) and the nanny responded, "I will tell you when it is time for lunch." VP is very busy this time of year and Gabe and Zoe have made lots of new friends, who keep an eye on them while your nanny is busy doing other things. My primary concern is your children's safety - the park is frequently crowded and Gabe or Zoe could slip out of the gated playground area, which is located to a very large (and unfenced) pond. Besides the safety issue, your kiddos are truly delightful and engaging (Gabe loves to tell me about the sharks on his shirt and Zoe, although less gregarious, loves to talk to my charge about Minnie Mouse) and deserve a nanny who feeds off their energy, instead of ignoring them. If you are this nanny's employer, please consider dropping by your home during the work day or asking a friend to observe your nanny at the park. I think you will be very unpleasantly surprised by what you see.