Houge Park in San Jose, CA

bad nanny sighting
This incident occurred approximately a month ago (end of May) at Houge Park in San Jose, CA -- I've only recently (re)discovered this site and thought that although this sighting is a month old, it might still be worth a post.

Nanny: A young (early 20s) Caucasian female, slightly overweight, average height. She had pink hair and was wearing a sleeveless striped button-down blouse and a bowler-type hat of some sort.

Charge: A male child, approximately 4 years old, Caucasian, with blonde hair.

When: I initially arrived at the park with my charges, I noticed this woman because of her unusual hair and her very distinct, loud voice. She was talking to a mother (or perhaps another nanny) who was pushing her child/charge in the swings. The pink-haired nanny was sharing "funny" anecdotes about her charge, and the way that she was speaking, I initially thought that she was the child's mother. While she was talking, her charge roamed the (relatively large) park freely, and she never once stopped her conversation to make sure that he was nearby and safe. Initially I filed the sighting under the "unfortunately typical inattentive nanny" category, and just tried to periodically visually locate her charge and make sure he was never in danger, since she seemed more intent on having conversations about him with the local mothers than she was on actually paying attention to him.

However, about 20 minutes into our visit to the park, I heard this nanny shouting expletives over her cell phone. She continued her loud, heated argument for a good 10 minutes while sitting at the corner of a picnic table, again completely ignoring her charge's whereabouts. Meanwhile, the boy had found another boy his age to play with, and that boy's mother seemed to have more or less taken over care of the child, supervising their game of catch and engaging both children contentedly (the way the nanny SHOULD have been). At some point my older charge wandered over to their ball game, and I noticed the nanny was nowhere to be found and I could no longer hear her arguing. Her charge was playing without any of her supervision -- she totally and completely allowed a stranger (a mother, but a stranger nonetheless) to take over care.

Eventually she returned and told the boy it was time to get going to "meet mommy". This was the point at which I realized she was NOT the child's mother. I, of course, can't guarantee this was a nanny -- could have been an aunt, a family friend, a big sister. I have no idea who was caring for this child, but whoever this woman was, she was clearly far too distracted by her social life to be involved in the care of a preschooler, ESPECIALLY in such a busy, public setting.


Just sayin' said...


Is this abuse? No.

Should she have been more professional? Yes.

Was this *probably* a bad day (maybe worth investigating, and doing random drop-ins to make sure this isn't an everyday occurrence)? Sure.

My reasoning for not sounding "the alarms" (other than the fact, she wasn't mean to the children) is due to the fact, she liked the child SO much, that she spoke of him so fondly, that you could not differentiate ( or decide) whether or not she was his mother. Sounds more like a "bad day" than a bad nanny to me, but sure check-in and make sure.

I'd worry said...

Just sayin', while I understand this was not abuse per say it was totally neglectful nannying and that kid could have been kidnapped in an instant. I don't care if my child's nanny loves him etc. if she has no idea where he is for a good while, then that is cause for concern.

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

I would not allow a 20 yr old Nanny w/pink hair watch my four yr old.

I prefer older nannies as they have more life experience, are more responsible and mature + they have a better work ethic and lack self-entitlement issues.

Over 30 + nannies are much better.

Wow said...

It doesn't sound like this was a nanny. My guess is that she was probably an older sister or an aunt to the child.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Thanks for the sighting OP! Regardless of who this woman was in relation to the little boy she was "watching", she was certainly not doing a good job making sure he was safe.

Someone's Nanny said...

It may not of been abuse, but it was certainly neglect and I would want to know if it were my child. We're all guilty of having a bad day, but there is no excuse for completely ignoring a child in a public park. At the very least, she could have turned her body so she could keep an eye on him at all times. If I loose sight of one of my charges for a minute, I get a feeling of panic in the pit of my stomach.

Just sayin' said...

^ That was the point I was trying to make (unsuccessfully, obviously. lol)

I agree she SHOULD have kept a closer eye on him, but I also agree that it is okay to let a four year old entertain themselves (to a degree - no need to ignore them) otherwise they will lack appropriate social skills, confidence, independence etc etc

I would not have a problem with my nanny allowing my child to play independently and explore (age appropriately of course) but, yes, I would have a problem with her zoning out and not keeping my child safe. Perhaps, I skimmed the article too quickly and focused on her affection for the child rather than the fact she was so tuned out. Regardless, I wasn't trying to nitpick the OP and hope it didn't come across that way, I was simply surprised to see how much she seemed to care for the child (while somehow still doing somewhat of a shoddy job???) and that made me question whether this was just a bad day.

"Miss Chelsea" said...

I originally emailed this in. Just want to clarify to "Just Sayin'...", my impression of this nanny during the sighting was not so much that she deeply cared for the child, and that was why she was speaking of him, but that she was grasping for some commonplace between herself and the mothers at the park in a social regard. The majority of her anecdotes involved her comparing her charge to the children of the people she was speaking with. She struck me as lonely, perhaps, which is unfortunate, and I understand that socializing is nice, but she was going about it in all of the wrong ways, and completely ignoring her charge in the process.

wait said...

What if she did know the other mom?

wait said...

I dislike the ageist comment above. People should be evaluated on their individual strengths and weaknesses, not their age.

ALN said...

I agree with wait. I dislike Miss Billy Lamar's post as well. I care more about my nanny's personality than I do her age or the color of her hair. I am a mom now, but I used to be a nanny. I always had to lie to my employers, because really, no one was going to hire an atheist lesbian nanny.

"Miss Chelsea" said...

I dislike the ageist comment as well. I'm a 21-year-old nanny. I've been working full time as a nanny since I was 18. My very first nanny job that I was hired for, I had pink hair at the time of my interview. I got my first tattoo while working for that family as well (it was, of course, a tasteful tattoo). My appearance has no effect whatsoever on my job and though I'm young, I have PLENTY of experience and take great care of my charges. The families I've worked for have never had any complaints in regard to my age (or, really, any complaints, period).