Adventures in Nanny Camming

 I hired a young nanny from Poland in March. We used an agency and everything seemed to be going smoothly. She was quite loving with the baby, even wore him most of the time, at her own choosing. We had a nanny camera set up and loosely looked at it in the beginning.

As our child started getting older, we noticed some problems. Nothing specific, but I am glad we noticed them. They were issues of judgment and intelligence would would have likely culminated in a problem.

Some of the things we noticed. We had trouble getting my son to start solids. He didn't seem to want to eat for us.She told me and I remember specifically, "he likes the sweet potatoes warmed". But he wouldn't eat. Using the camera and clarification, I saw the problem. She was using (Jackson's Honest) Sweet Potato Chips and mushing them up with formula and then microwaving them. I know, it probably doesn't seem like a big deal, it was just troubling. We had bought jars and jars of baby food online, from farmer's markets.

The next thing I noticed was that she was giving baths outside in a plastic planter. When I asked her about this, she said that she got warm water from the hose and he bathed under the sun, like this was common place. She said, "In the garden on a beautiful day, what problem could you have with that?" I suppose there is nothing really wrong with it, but why did she think of the things she thought of?

I came home early and heard what I thought was something Satanic, but it turns out it was Buddhist Monks Chanting. She always seemed surprised when I asked her about these things, like it was common place. Again, was it hurting my son? No.

So this caused me to look through some footage on the nanny camera drive. I found multiple instances of her doing "baby yoga." I don't know if she is trained for that or not, but I didn't like to see it, especially going back to 4 months of age. Wouldn't you expect your nanny to ask before she did yoga with your child?

The final straw for me was when I saw her lighting something on fire in the kitchen and blowing smoke all over. It scared me to death. I assumed it was some sort of voodoo.  She literally lit what looked like a dried bouquet. I asked her the day after watching it what was going on and by this time, she wanted to know why I was looking at old video and what was wrong. (She said she was smudging the house with lavender and sage.) I told her I was just deleting files and saw what I thought was a fire and became alarmed.

This was Wednesday morning as I greeted her and prepared to leave for the day.
She said, "Do you want me to go"
I said, "No"
She said, "You want me to stay"
I said, "yes, yes, of course".
She said, "Disconnect the nanny camera. You have to trust me or not".
This conversation went on. I suggested I would talk to my husband. She walked over to the counter, took out a piece of paper, scribbled some things. Then says, "You owe me $398. I will take it now."
Then I am on the other end, practically begging her to stay. She's looking at me like I am untrustworthy and refused to talk anymore. She said about five times, "Please pay me what you owe me so I can be on my way".

And I did, and that was that. I'm knee deep in interviews for a new nanny. My whole life has been upset. I have clients that are being held up on things that only I can help them with. My job performance is in jeopardy.

Will I use the nanny camera again?


Emily said...

No problem for me regarding nanny cams. As a nanny, I love them! Peace of mind for me and parents. They get to see the phenomenal job I'm doing and I am safe from accusations. Win win!

Other than giving a baby chips, I don't see an issue. Communication regarding expectations is very important. Baby Yoga is great. My family pays for me and baby to take it. Again it should be done with your knowledge and consent. The chanting is questionable but only because I don't know why she did it.

Everything else could have been solved by communicating. Both you AND nanny.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you were uncomfortable with her habits, and she was offended by it. It was best for you to let her go anyway, I can't imagine being a parent at work trying to concentrate on your performance when you're worried about your child and your home.

That said, next time you should give it a trial period and make sure to mention the camera. Go through an extensive interview process, bring the person in a few times before you decide. Share your beliefs and or parenting preferences so you know you're on the same page. Might be annoying, but it should save you a lot of time in the future with turnover.

Anonymous said...

Its not so much the cams but your narrow mindedness earned you some bad karma that now you are paying. You turned events into something negative, implied accusations and disrespected her. Newsflash, each person thinks differently, especially in other cultures. That should be CHARISHED and learned, not scoffed at. You had a fabulous nanny who was creative and earthly. Hopefully she got a family that appreciates her.


Anonymous said...

Let me clarify...the part where you questioned her way of thinking set me off the most. God forbid should she think differently than you. She's younger, she's from a different culture and shes not you...what a concept.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like English may have been her second language so that can make communication difficult. Otherwsie she sounds like a great nanny!

If you want someone just like you, maybe get someone local who speaks English as a first language.

Also, many parents would love their children to do baby yoga!

Anonymous said...

If it were my child, I would be livid if my nanny was doing baby yoga without my consent.

Seems like communication wasn't her strongest suit, even if I did agree with anything she did, I would still fire her for it. If she can't tell me what she's doing in my house, around my child, then she doesn't keep a job. Simple.

this_nick said...

OP you have every right to expect your nanny to consult you on such things. Maybe not doing so is a cultural thing (in that perhaps it's not expected where she's from, idk), but in this culture keeping parents apprised of what you are doing with their child is standard. If she's unwilling to do so she's not a good fit for you, as you've discovered.

Kara Ivy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RBTC said...

OP - it's a blessing in disguise that she left - she has boundary issues - smoking up your house? doing things with the child not informing you? you dodged a bullet - what else might she do? it sucks that you work and have a child but you need to find the right care giver and this person was a loose cannon - look at it as a good thing that she did not stay and do weirder things

Anonymous said...

Maybe she thought you had given her permission to apply her childcare skills and knowledge to raise your child. I wouldn't be too harsh on her and just accept this as one of those times where child rearing styles clash. She wanted to be in a professional relationship where she was free to care for a child how she's comfortable with.

Overall I think trust is a huge part of a nanny-parent relationship. It sounds like she felt that you had a lack of faith in her making "right" decisions. It's like being in a relationship with someone you don't have much in common with but it serves the main purpose so you continue with it.. I don't know if that makes sense. But it's a good thing she was so forward- she didn't want to waste your time or her time. It's unprofessional that she left so suddenly though.

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