Received Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I saw a terrible nanny today who seriously made me fear for the children in her care. Location: Davis Park in Scarsdale, NY (off of Grand Boulevard). Date: 6/2/2010, I arrived at park around 11 AM, she was already there with 2 little boys. Nanny: I think her name might be Sofia. Older, my guess is at least 40's + looks rather worn out. Either African or West Indian, had an accent but I could not really place it (was speaking in another language to another nanny, but I couldn't place the language). Medium Tall (about 5'5" to 5'8"), fairly thin (probably about a size 6?). Wearing lime green t-shirt, black sweat pants with "Las Vegas" across the seat, and a cap on her head (could not see hair length due to cap). Children: 2 boys, I believe the older was Mason and the younger Alex. Older boy was probably 4-5. Curly brown hair, blue top, very calm demeanor. Younger boy probably 2 1/2- 3 1/2. Younger boy had light blonde curly hair (very wild hair!), wearing orange striped polo shirt + blue plaid shorts. He seemed like he was a bit of a handful, but he also was not getting appropriate attention or guidance, and I never saw him do anything actually naughty. Both boys wore crocs + had scooters. At one point I thought I heard the nanny call the younger boy "Mr. Ellis", but I may have just misheard Alex, not really sure.
WHAT HAPPENED: Arrived at playground with my niece. As we were on the slide, Nanny was just behind me having a very angry sounding conversation with another nanny in a language that I did not recognize. Shortly after, I noticed her raising her voice to the younger boy (Alex?) and forcing him towards the sandbox, where she wanted him to apologize to another child. The little boy was crying + didn't want to, so she picked him up by his arm (he was dangling in the air) to move him to where she wanted him. She picked him up this way at least twice. Once she had him there, she held him in place by his arm, obviously squeezing at least slightly, until he said she was hurting him, then she let go. Many good nannies in the vicinity were obviously horrified. She noticed me staring at her + gave me a dirty look. The entire time, her voice was raised as she berated him. She never cursed at him or anything like that, but her language in my opinion was not how someone should speak to a child in their care ("What is wrong with you? You are bad!"- That kind of thing.). She then picked him up by his arm and sat him on the bench where she made him stay, all the time being loud + angry with him as he cried. Eventually she carried him over to a baby swing, sat him in it, and walked away to sit across the playground with several nanny friends. She sat there chitchatting, never looking at the boy, as he sat there for a little while. He eventually stood up in the swing + started swinging back + forth, but she never bothered noticing him. At this point I noticed the older boy half lying in her lap, and she was smiling at him + stroking his hair. I hadn't even realized that this little boy was with her as her group of nanny friends had a pack of children all playing together and this child hadn't played with the group at all. He had been by himself the whole time, quietly doing his own thing without interaction or supervision until that point. It seemed like this child "Mason" was (to her) the "good one" + "Alex" was the "bad boy". For the next hour and a half, it seemed like I was hearing her scream at him for something else, most of which was standard behavior, and never once did I see her attempt to be positive with him, give him any instruction or guidance in play, or redirect him in an appropriate manner. At one point she put the older boy in a baby swing + left him there for awhile, he just calmly sat there- I'm not sure how long- he was such a calm child + I was keeping track of my niece so I couldn't always pay as much attention as I liked. At another point, Alex came over to the nanny + started to climb in to her lap, when her friend reached over + smacked him on the bottom! I don't know if it was a playful tap or a swat from where I was, but either way, I thought it was inappropriate. Then the friend began swatting Alex in the face! I think this was intended as playful, but again, I found it inappropriate. Not too much later, the nanny was rounding up the kids to leave- I noticed because she was screaming at Alex, asking if he'd worn shoes to the park. (He was at the oldest 3, and she's paid to take care of him. Shouldn't she make sure footwear is worn to the park? By the way, neither boy was wearing shoes the entire time at the park, which is covered in woodchips + sand.) Again, she was pulling him around roughly, being nasty + loud while he cried. They left the park, Alex still upset, the nanny still being mean, and Mason seemingly oblivious to it all. Leaving the park, they turned right on to Grand Boulevard, nanny walking + boys on scooters, so they must live nearby. I am at that park frequently, so I will keep my eye out for their parents, but if anybody recognizes them + knows their family, please pass this along.