Received Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm the person who asked about how much I should be paid to be the sole caretaker of an 8 year old boy for the entire summer. Well... you were all right, $500 is definitely not enough money. Unfortunately, I did accept the job at $500. It was my only job opportunity, so it was pretty much $500 or nothing. I know that that's probably all he can afford right now, so he was being truthful and I don't think he's trying to take advantage of me, but it doesn't make the job any easier.
I've been on the job for almost 3 weeks now, and I've had 1 full day off. The relatives who live nearby are nice, but I do feel as if I'm on my own most of the time. The child has a learning disability, as well as ADHD, so doing homework is always a battle. I don't think his father really understands the difference between telling him the answers and helping him, so I get huge amounts of resistance when I tell him to try figuring things out on his own (even things like reading the directions himself). Papers that should take 5 or 10 minutes (I was student teaching in 2nd grade just a few weeks ago so I know what the skill level should be) take over an hour, with me sitting right next to him, prompting him every step of the way. I had a meeting with his teacher and she let me know that he's extremely far behind the rest of the class and I'm going to need to do quite a lot of teaching over the summer in order for him to be successful in the 3rd grade. I can only imagine the way he'll react when I bring that up.
Food is another issue that we have. I've tried over and over to cook things that are healthy and also kid-friendly, but I have had no success. When I got to the house his dad had said that he had done bulk grocery shopping that should last for several weeks, but I discovered that most of it was snack/junk food, or freezer meals. I did some of my own shopping and I've tried to prepare things that he'll like, but I always end up having to stick something in the microwave while I eat the meal I made, alone. With any of my other charges in the past I would not hesitate to tell them to eat what I cooked or not eat anything at all, but as this child has been brought up eating this way and his dad approves of it, I don't know if it's really my place to come in and impose all kinds of new rules. However, I did remove the soda from the fridge and informed him he could only drink it on weekends or as a special treat, which did not go over well. It's hard for me to see him eating this way, especially considering his ADHD, and the fact that all of those processed foods and sugars cannot be helping. I need to bring it up with his dad, but it will probably have to be done in an email, as the kid is always around and able to hear me talking to him on the phone.
I've had some problems with attitude/rudeness, and I often feel like I'm talking to a 15 year old in an 8 year old's body. I made it very clear to him from the beginning that I don't tolerate being spoken to that way, so maybe with time it will get better. I do fun things with him, but it's hard to want to when I get moaning/eye rolling/ talked back to constantly. I'm trying to stick to my guns and be firm, and hopefully things will get easier as time goes on.
This wasn't supposed to be a rant, just an update for anyone who was wondering if I took the job. This job definitely has it's challenges (more than any other nanny/babysitting job I've done) and I'm having a really hard time, but I made the commitment so I'm sticking it out. Luckily it's a short-term position so there is an end in sight. Thanks for all the advice you gave me, a lot of it was useful. I only wish I had listened to all of it ;) =