10 December, 2012
Spurning the Nanny Raises Questions
I am the mom of a 26-month-old boy. We employ a part-time nanny for 3.5 days a week that we have been very happy with, and our son is also taken care of by his grandparents 1.5 days/week. Our nanny is generally punctual, pleasant to be around, and seems to enjoy spending time with my son. She is not afraid to report when he has had a bad day or when things do not go well, and he is clean and usually seems to be enjoying himself when we come home. I also think she is happy with the working arrangement.
In the mornings my son is often a little upset when she arrives and wants to nurse before I leave. He then is content to sit down with the nanny and read a book while I grab my things and leave (my husband has typically left at this point). When his grandparents come over, he is very excited to see them and waves me out the door. This morning before the nanny arrived, we were talking about his grandparents and then I reminded him, "Today, Nanny X is coming to take care of you." At which point my son said very clearly, "I don't like Nanny X." We were running a bit late this morning and the nanny was due to arrive any minute so I did not push him for any additional details, as I didn't really want to be discussing this right when she arrived, but of course I found this concerning.
I will try to get more information from my son, but I am curious as to how to approach the situation. He has not dramatically changed his behavior at separation or anything like that so I don't have any evidence or strong suspicion that something in particular occurred which upset him. I had felt very positively about the nanny and am not sure that this is really cause for ending our relationship, but of course I would very much prefer my son to feel positively towards his caregiver. However, I also worry that any caregiver is going to come up on the short end of the stick in comparison with grandparents that are positively enthralled with their grandchild, and spend extensive amounts of time planning activities and outings. I also wonder how to make sure of his feelings without repeatedly asking him if he likes the nanny, which seems like it might be setting him up to say no. He has fairly good language skills for a 26-month-old but communication about feelings is a bit beyond him! I am interested in any thoughts about how to approach this situation. - A Concerned Mom
at 2:22 PM