Breaking Up Is Hard On You (But I must Escape The Jack In The Box)

SS's story reminded me of a time I felt it necessary to quit a nanny position. And it was really hard, because I had alot of mixed emotions about it. I really liked Jamie ( 2 yrs and a little older, not his real name) and he liked me, we had a mutual admiration society going on. His dad was a very intelligent lawyer and you could see the intelligence in the boy, even though he was too young to talk - he used his eyes, fingers, and sign language to actually convey complex concepts - really great kid.  ( The sign language stuff people say about now is very true).

I was placed there by an agency, did not work every day.They had had several nannies before me.  Here is why i felt the need to QUIT: The parents, mostly the mom would have TEMPER TANTRUMS , attack me for something - and then be ..fine..and love me and tip me even. Jamie and i adored each other.

Here are some examples: I had to learn to talk to him NON STOP when ever they were around - they wanted him to be "stimulated verbally with zero tv". I did not get it yet, I would talk to him about normal stuff like food and activities but if i stopped just to finish making his food then the mom would come after me with an angry look and say " his father wants him stimulated!!" And if we were in a different room she would hear if i was "stimulating"  by the monitor ,so - i developed a way of ...just.... babbling... "oh who is the king green beanyouare the king green bean, what does big bird say tweet tweet" The kid would roll his eyes like - boy are my parents weird. He got it, my kind of kid.

This is when i learned why it's ok for a nanny to not like the parents to be around - it's not because we want to do bad , it's just in my case - the kid and i had a human being relationship when we were on our own and it was strained around the parents.

Here is another example: The little stinker-roonie, my charge, was obsessed with the TV because his dad would not let him watch it, so when I was NEW, my charge pointed with great enthusiasm at the little black and white TV in the kitchen and.. GASP...It's hard to talk about now..the shame.. I turned on the little tv for him and switched the channels around to find a kid thing. The DAD came home and saw this, they were big about coming home at odd hours, and THE LOOK, angry and said " he is not allowed to watch tv" and i explained i did not know i was sorry etc.

Fortunately the mom listened to me and took the little tv out of the kitchen because it made the child feel bad that his parents could do something he could not.

Example: After his nap he would wake up and sing and babble and then you knew he was up by the monitor. One day he woke up while i was in the bathroom, using the bathroom. The mom comes in, he had just woke up, and Jaime was happily babbling, i was in the bathroom and did not hear immediately, she rushes up the stairs SCREAMING "MY GOD MY GOD ARE YOU ALRIGHT? WHERE IS HE"  I was struck with fear - do i take the time to wash my hands before running to explain? yes i did.  And she was fine when i explained, all ok. But being screamed at like that made my stomach hurt.

Example more: We were able to get away from his mom each day by going on a walking trek around the neighborhood and one thing Jamie loved was watching work trucks, bull-dozers, cranes and such. On the way to a fun safe area to watch the building trucks was a Randalls which gave free samples of juice and coffee.

On many days Jamie and I would relax with our treats and watch the bulldozers, he did not want me to talk he was watching the builders with the intent expression as if he was their boss. But twice his mom freaked! Of course she knew where we were and once she SPED to our outing with his RED hat ( verbal anger flying !) because she thought I had neglected to bring his hat, but i did - his identicle blue hat. After she was done screaming...she was fine.

Then another time she was worried and came to us watching the trucks and saw i had a sample coffee cup from Randalls - she did not see his little juice cup and screamed " MY GOD ARE YOU  GIVING HIM COFFEE"..i explained it and she was fine.

Now - in the mom's defense, she was a good person, she was a psychotherapist (!) and would make a point of talking to me about my family and college and roomates etc in a very nice way.Really caring.

Also - when i very much goofed she was good hearted. We were putting Jamie in a stroller the make of which i was unfamiliar and i turned away and J and the stoller lurched down the driveway, there was a lock I did not understand. It scared him and he cried and if I had made that mistake near a busy street..i can't think about that! J and I were crying and the mom was a saint about it saying it was ok, don't worry, let me explain the lock!

So - this is not - I quit an evil family.

I was not comfortable because i never knew when the "Mean Jack-in-the -Box" would jump! Otherwise they were very nice people and they tipped me frequently and really cared about my choice of lunch and dinner. Also - I was a student and did not depend on nanny work for a living. I really feel for the nannies that depend on this for a living.

The way i quit is kind of banal, i gave any 22 year old excuse.  "i need more study time blah blah" The mom tried to offer me more money going around the agency and i told the agency. I heard that the mom went to ALL agencies in town and no one ever fit the bill. I kept working for the agency - they were great.

I just was not able to deal with the "Jacki-In-The-Box attack. And I completely weenied out and di not tell the mom why i was quitting.

That is my story, thank you if you read!


Jaxx said...

I know how hard it is to leave a nanny position especially when you are attached to the child. You and the boy must have always felt like you were walking on egg shells. Mother seemed like she had a lot of issues ....very unstable. I think she should have been on meds. I feel bad for the boy. Do you still have contact with them? Keep us posted if you know anything about how the family is and are you still a nanny? How is that position?

Leigh Raymer said...

thanks for asking Jaxx. I regret that being busy i have not kept in contact with them, i kept hearing thru 3rd parties that the mother could not find a nanny. She really liked me because i did not argue - she never knew why i quit, she would contact me trying to get me to go around the agency which i do not believe in and the agency kept trying to deal with her and she bounced around agencies.The little boy was the bomb and i'm sure he's ok, and when she was not outbursting she was a good person - just i personally have an issue with that. Thank you! I am no longer a nanny but i still work with children on and off - i have cleints for years, and i am now baby-sitting my charges' children.

Corina said...

Wow, the mom was a Psychologist she sounds bat shit crazy! She needed to seek help for her outburst. I can't believe you were expected to talk nonstop! That's crazy!