23 Year Old Reflects on Her Perfect Nanny

When I was about 8 years old, my mom hired a nanny for myself and my brother. We were both in school. Her job was to work in the morning and get us off to school and then get us from school and drive us to horseback riding, activities, etc.  She lived in and was with us for about six months in 1999.  My mom and brother thought she was perfect.

I've never understood the way she treated me. I used to want to track her down and let her know I remember what she did. She was nice to my brother. In fact, I remember him and his pals all had  a crush on her. I was a kid with issues and one of the appointments she took me to was a weekly therapy appointment. I'll never understand why I didn't tell the therapist how she treated me. Maybe it was because she was so savvy and together and everyone seemed to like her.

The things she did to me. Other people I know have had it worse. She made me a vanilla milkshake and put horseradish in it. Then she made me drink it. When I wet the bed, she made me wear my underwear on my head and strip and wash the bedding myself, all the while calling me disgusting and telling me "no wonder no one likes you". I was 8 years old.

Katie Jeanne Wood
One time she asked me to help her find her earring. I was so eager to please, I was helping her. She pushed me in the trunk and slammed the hood. I don't know how long she left me there. It wasn't that long, but it was terrifying. On nights my brother had soccer practice, she would take me to the park next to his, just out of sight and make me run. Run against a stop watch and run to the point of vomiting.

She did strange things like stole homework I know I did from my backpack, slipped a crudely drawn (imitating an 8 year old) penis in  with a book report, ripped library books, and literally dumped a can of coke in my back pack once and just smiled at me daring to say something. When I had friends over, she was so nice to me. She would sing, dance, buy us treats with her own money (ice cream store). After we dropped off a friend, her and I, if alone, would drive back to my house and she would drive and make reckless turns to scare me. She would scream "I HATE YOUR FRIENDS, DO YOU THINK I GET PAID TO TAKE CARE OF ADDITIONAL SHITHEADS?"

I am writing this now, not because I still want to contact her and ask her why she did what she did. I have made peace with my childhood now. I am writing this because I was a regular kid. At the time, I imagined I was somehow deserving of this treatment, but the truth is the only thing odd about me is that she caught me as my parents were going through a divorce and I was emotionally struggling. In pictures, I was an attractive child who always had a smile on her face. She made me feel so ugly and worthless. I no longer care why she did what she did. I care that people like her out there. People who smile and joke with parents and even treat one or more children with kindness and regard while systematically destroying the child. I didn't tell my Dad until years later. The fact that I had waited so long and never told anyone made him think it wasn't that big deal, maybe I remembered it wrong. You know kids...they have imaginations. I was a mommy's girl, I just missed my mom.

Wrong. This all happened.  I don't know if a site like this will help you find a nanny like mine. In public, she was usually quite nice. If we went to the mall, she was nice to me. She glared, she cursed under her breath. Once, when I got in the car, she hit me with her flip flop in the head, hard atleast ten times while screaming so loud, calling me a retard and telling me I was going to end up in jail. I remember sitting in the backseat of our family's SUV and her so out of control, the SUV was shaking. Why? I never did anything. I really wanted her to like me, like she liked my brother.

If I were to see a nanny like mine in public, I would recognize her. I'm just writing to ask all of you to look out for the kids around you, children in daycare, children with nannies, children with au pairs, children with stay at home Moms. Some people will tell you to mind your business.  Watch for the nanny who seeks to much control over her charge, he seems miffed when the child steps out of the control zone. One thing I remember is my nanny loved Subway, but I like most kids loved Burger King. Since my mom paid for our food out, she needed me to like subway. I once voiced that in front of my Aunt. My Aunt agreed with the nanny and said, "Oh I hear you, I hate fast food, just take her to Burger King and go to Subway for yourself." A simple solution. Right?  After a dentist appointment where I couldn't eat for a half hour, she drove to burger kind and got me the kids meal I wanted. Then she said, "Oh no, we should have went to Subway first, this is just going to get cold". So she set it on the seat and made me go in Subway while she ordered and ate, a foot long subway, a huge drink, chips and a cookie. I was starving. My dentist appointment was right after school. As she was finishing up, she smiled and said, "yay, your time is up, you can eat now". We went out to the car. She picked up my drink and handed it to me, but it had just a sip of soda in it and ice, I guess she laid it on it's side. I pretended not to see her pick up a gallon of water and drop it on my Burger King bag five times. She passed it back to me and said nothing. I said nothing either as I ate, cold mushed fries and a flattened soggy burger.

Other kids have it rougher. I get that. But this sort of person shouldn't be working with children. So, keep your eyes open, get in someone's business. Start conversations with nannies. They don't have to be accusatory. Listen.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you had to experience such horrible abuse as a child. I could never imagine going through that or ever doing that to the children I care for. I'm a nanny that is kind, caring and fair to my charge in the public eye and at home. I wonder what you mean by you can 'see' that nanny when you're out- how do you tell? I'm still so shocked someone could get away with such horrendous treatment of a child. I hope you've healed and are able to move on with your life.

Ferni said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through this. I'm so sorry that people like her can fool parents. That must have made you feel crazy, knowing what she was but everyone touting her as wonderful. :(

cat said...

that is absolutely horrific. i am so sorry you went through that. thank you so much for sharing this story so that parents like me can be more vigilant in assessing a caretaker's behavior. i always feel, and my husband sometimes makes me feel, like i am too paranoid in observing who our children are cared by. but this is a reminder that you can never be too careful. thank you again.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible woman. I am so sorry for what you went through and the years of suffering. You are in my prayers.


this_nick said...

God help anyone I come across treating a child this way. That's all I'm going to say, lest further statements be used against me in a court of law. I'm glad you're doing well now, but you never deserved to go through such horrors. No one does.

wow said...

As a nanny, I'm so sorry that anyone, especially a nanny treated you this way. What a horrible human being

Alice said...

Wow, that's pretty extreme! And who ruins awesome food for a kid. :( I mean, any fast food is terrible for you even Subway, but like.. jeez.

I may have been a bit brash and harsh with a few older kids, but I certainly never beat them on the head or screamed at the top of my lungs at them like a psycho.

I'm glad you've taken it well..

SfNanny said...

Wow! I can't believe you went thru this and no one ever noticed. That's one of the reasons I am all for nanny cams. Hidden or not - gives me peace of mind.

RBTC said...

i am sorry you had to deal with an evil person like this - this site helps. i saw a post where someone saw this side of a nanny, the parents did not believe it as she had two faces - they did more research, found the truth and fired her - prayers to you