What did you get for Christmas?!

 As soon as you get your Nanny Bonus, make sure you send it for all to read! It is one of ISYN's most popular Features and the Reader's can't wait to see what everyone got for 2015... good or bad! Please follow the format below and e-mail it to:

* Bonus this year (2015):
* Your weekly salary:
* Any supplementary gifts aside from the Bonus:
* Length of time you have worked for the Family:
* City, State and Country where you live:
* Additional comments:

* Physical description of nanny/caregiver
* Physical description of involved child/children
* Address or venue of observed incident
* Date and time of incident
* Description of what you witnessed
* Description of vehicle, bag, or stroller that may aid in identifying caregiver
* (Your identity will be respected and withheld)

Gift Giving Gesture

So, I'm in a panic right now. I've been working for my current family since June. When it comes to the holidays, I always buy gifts for the kids that I care for. And in the past, I've bought gifts for the parents as well--just when it was a family that I'd been working for for quite a long time, or felt especially close to, and it was always a relatively generic couple's gift (a bag of coffee I know they like, a gift card to the movie theaters, etc.). So this year, I did my normal kid-shopping, and decided I wasn't quite to the point where I felt that I should buy my employers a gift as well.

Fast forward to yesterday. My sister is pregnant, and my charge is 5 months old. Mom Boss owns a rather expensive top-of-the-line baby doo-dad which is no longer in use, and was only used for a few months to begin with--it happens to be something that my sister will need when she has her baby. I know that Mom Boss had been wanting to get rid of various baby things that were no longer in use, including this particular item, but it had just been sitting for at least a month. I decided to offer to buy it off of her for my sister. She completely refused to allow me to pay for it, and just gave it to me. I've already instructed my sister to make her a "thank you" note of some sort, but now I feel like it would be nice if I could get a small Christmas gift as well, as a token of my appreciation.

So, my problem is...I have no idea what to get for my employers. They don't drink coffee or tea and very, very rarely drink wine--and I'd have no idea what kind of wine to get them anyway. I have no idea what restaurants they like, and I know that their eating habits are kind of, I'd have no idea where to even start with that. I thought about just getting a movie gift card, but there are no local theaters that sell gift cards in their area. There are really no local chain theaters in the first place. Plus, very rarely do I hear them speak of seeing or wanting to see movies, unless it's Mom Boss taking my older charge to see something. So. What do I do? Please help me! - Anonymous

Puzzling Question: Should I or Shouldn't I?

I started a new part-time job (about 25h a week) after Thanksgiving and it will end in late January. I make $15 an hour and have been charging that much for the past 5 years. I haven't had a full-time job since 2008. Besides this part-time job, I work for other families a night or morning here and there, earning an extra $60-$200 a month. I take care of three children ages 6, 4 and a newborn.

I thought about giving them a small present but by watching them I noticed they play with the exact same toys every day and every new present they got over the past three weeks in the mail, they played with it as soon as they got it, then forgot all about it the following day. I feel as if I'd be throwing my money away by giving them a present they won't play with, or worse: I will find pieces of the toy (I was thinking a memory game or puzzle) scattered across their playroom, like the toys all over the place this morning. Will I look bad if I don't give them anything? My boss is oblivious to my personal life and lack of money but she did mention that she would have a gift for me. - Anonymous

Nanny Template

Hi Nannies! My current family is moving out of the country come Feb 1st, they have given me their notice so I will be moving on as well. I have started looking/applying with other families and right now, I am in the process of writing up a Nanny Agreement. I have never written one up before or had to sign one until I was with my current family. I am using that Agreement as a template to write up a new one. I hear it is good to write these up so all your bases are covered, in writing, signed, etc. My question to you is... Is there anything I should most definitely add? Anything you think should most definitely be in there to protect me? Or maybe you have a great Nanny template already written up that I can borrow? I just want to make sure I do this the right way... Thank you so much for your help!! :) - Anonymous

X the 1099

I just accepted a nanny position with a great family in North Carolina. The position pays $700.00 weekly for the care of 1 small child. The family has requested that I "take care of" my own taxes. I'm not sure how to do that. Am I an independent contractor? Help please! - Anonymous

Winter Wonderland

Message from ISYN reader: The PTO of the neighboring town of Newtown Ct are asking for people to make snowflakes. The children will be attending school in a different location in January and they want it to be like a winter wonderland when they walk in. Would any of you be willing to make some snowflakes and send them? The school needs them by January 13th so we are a little bit tight on time. Be creative... glitter, sequins, etc. How cool would it be if they opened a big box and hundreds of snowflakes came flying out? If any of you could help, it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much to those of you who are willing to help! - Do you mind sharing that on ISYN?
For those interested in participating, please ask for more details in this thread. Thank you!


Would Parents Approve of Babywearing?

Is it okay for a nanny to "wear" her charge without first seeking permission from the parents? For all of the parents reading, how would you feel about your care giver wearing your child without consulting you first?

I was first introduced to babywearing while working with my previous family. MB owned a few different types of carriers and her little one LOVED being worn. It wasn't long before I began seeing all of the wonderful benefits and started investing in my own stash of beloved carriers.

Present day, I am employed with a family caring for a thirteen-month-old, and have been wearing him since he was seven months. The parents aren't necessarily "baby wearers", although they do own a Baby Bjorn, and until the little one outgrew it, they would wear him on occasion. I was told I was welcome to use the carrier as well, but it was never any kind of expectation. Since the Baby Bjorn is a "crotch dangler" (which is not only bad for any child's hip and spinal development, but really uncomfortable as well) I never wore him in it myself, but also never spoke up or questioned the parents judgement. It never really occurred to me to ask the parents beforehand if I could use my personal carriers instead though, since babywearing has been such a normal thing for me the past few years. I in no way have tried to keep it from the parents, and their older child has seen me wear the toddler many times.

A friend recently brought up the question, "How does your MB and DB feel about babywearing?", and it occurred to me that I have never really had a conversation with them. Again, not for any malicious reason on my part... it just honestly never occurred to me to ask. The family is really easy going, and overall give me free range to care for their children in whatever way I believe works best during the day. It is also important to point out, I am a very knowledgeable wearer, and would never put a child in a carrier I wasn't completely comfortable using.

Should I have some kind of conversation with the family in the near future just to ensure they are okay with me wearing their little one? Did I make a poor decision by choosing to wear my charge without permission? Or am I over-reacting and feeling unnecessarily guilty for not having some kind of conversation beforehand? - Anonymous

Atypical Tips

Hello all, I have been a babysitter since I was 14 and a nanny since I was 21. I am 24 years old now and I have received quite a few "tips" along with my pay: 1) a bag of Victoria Secret bras and panties (the mom works in Victoria secret) 2) a burrito and a bottle of Tequila 3) a bag full of chocolate milk. I was wondering who else has received weird "tips"? - Anonymous

Family Trying not to Underpay for Overlap

My wife is a nurse and I'm a restaurant manager, and we need to hire a nanny for our 4 year old daughter for 3 days a week one week and 4 days the next week, always alternating 3 then 4. We only need a nanny 7 to 8 hours a day for each of these days, for the hours my wife's schedule and my schedule overlap. The best I think we can afford is $10 an hour. We feel bad about such low pay, so we thought if we threw in a few benefits it might help. We are considering offering a $25 gas gift card weekly, meals provided while she's at work, an entertainment allowance for her to take our daughter on outings, a doctors visit (check up) paid in full once every 6 months, and a dental cleaning and check up paid in full once a year. Can we get a good quality nanny for this rate? We know it isn't the greatest pay, but it's the best we can offer. Thanks. - Anonymous


Throwing in the Towel

I've been a nanny for a family of 2 middle school boys for almost a year now. From my perspective, everything has been going reasonably well. There was a small adjustment period for the kids in the beginning since the mother went back to work, but for the most part I felt like I had good communication with the kids and they trusted me. This job is only part time and even though I make an average hourly wage doing this, per month I don't make enough on this job alone to live in this expensive city. So I work another job in addition to it which means, yes, I DO have a life beyond being a nanny, and I do have other daily responsibilities.

The other day, the mother of the children walked in the house and immediately pulled me into another room to "talk". She didn't give me any specifics, she just said that she needs me to put my full focus on the children while I am with them. She said that children can pick up when someone is distracted or preoccupied with something else and that makes them feel as if they aren't worth the attention. I'm not exactly sure where this was coming from, but I'm guessing that her children told her something that led her to this conversation with me. She was extremely vague in her words and I'm really not sure what she's referring to, or how she would even know considering that she works full time and doesn't see me interacting with them most of the time. It was a pretty embarrassing conversation because I take great pride in what I do, I work my ass off with those kids (and they are NOT easy to handle!) and I almost feel betrayed, as if the kids don't like me and they're feeding their parents false information about me.

I can admit that I might glance at my phone a little too often during my time with them for work-related things. But to ask me not to seem distracted around the kids - how do I even do that? I'm human. I work 2 jobs and I have a lot of things going on in my life. I'm not a couch potato nanny - I play games with them, I have interesting conversations with them. The only time I'm not 100% engaged with them is when they're studying and need quiet time. If I come off as distracted or preoccupied, then unfortunately that's just my personality that they're looking at, and they need to find another nanny that will please them.

I'm not sure how to approach this situation. I'm tempted to just quit - I'm so discouraged at the negative feedback after I've tried SO hard and honestly thought I was doing a great job. At times, I really wish they would put up a hidden camera so they could see just how hard I work with them, and how patient and loving I am. I want to throw in the towel. This doesn't feel worth it anymore and if the mother isn't happy with my performance now, she never will be. Thoughts? - Anonymous


Core Values

I have been employed as a professional child care provider for over four years, and have worked with two different families as a Full-Time Live-Out Nanny. With my first family, I cared for two adorable children, ages three months and two years at the time of my hire. MB was a single parent, and I quickly found our philosophies in child rearing and personalities in general to be very similar. The children wore cloth diapers as opposed to disposables, both MB and I practiced baby wearing frequently, and we both agreed with attachment parenting practices. I fell in love with this family, and was so sad when MB was transferred to another area for work. I was invited to live with them in the new home, but declined due to my own continuing education obligations, and wanting to stay near my own family.

Fortunately, MB was able to introduce me to a friend in need of child care, and I was able to start the new position almost immediately after their move, and this is the family I am currently employed with (children's ages are twelve, five, and one year). However, after working with the "new" family for about six months, I am finding that I just don't "click" with any of them. The family raves about how much they love having me, and compensate me VERY well. Often I feel like the only reason I stay with the family is for the high salary. The family pays me $400.00 per week (which may not sound like much to some nannies, but is a big deal in my small city), and I am paid for ALL time off (including sick days, holidays, vacations, and anything else that may arise for either the family or myself).

Unfortunately, in my area, it seems to be difficult to find a family that realizes I am a professional care giver, and not just a babysitter. Therefore, it can be tough to find a family that both values my work, and compensates me fairly. And even though I don't "click" with their personalities and parenting styles, my current family DOES value me, compensates me well, and shows me a ton of kindness.

Ideally, I would love to be employed for a family with a young infant (newborn - six months), and possibly a toddler (one year - three years), similar to the ages of my first charges. I would like for the family to be at least a little familiar with attachment parenting and baby wearing, and hopefully already practicing it themselves. It is also very important to me that the family value my experiences and expertise, and compensate me appropriately.

My question is, have any other nannies experienced a similar situation, feeling unhappy in the job, but fearful of leaving because the compensation is so good? Also, how would I go about finding another position with a family that more closely values the same things I do, AND is willing to compensate we as well as my current family does? Sometimes it feels like parents in my area want the best care giver available, but aren't willing to pay much more than $150.00 per week for that "amazing" person caring for their children. - Anonymous

Cross Town Bus, 79th and 1st ave - NY

* Nanny wearing a black puffer coat and a knit hat w/ an appliqué (I think an owl or bird).
* 7-12 month old boy in a baby bjorn type carrier, baby had a grey snow suit type jumper and a blue and white striped hat w/ a red P on it.
* Cross town bus 79th and 1st Ave.
* Monday, December 10th, around 9:30am.
* Disgruntled nanny on the phone speaking loudly about how she is treated like a slave, is overwhelmed, works 14 hour days and was pissed off over the fact that her employer called her on her 1 day off. There was mention of 3 kids, the fact that she can't do it anymore, her asthma is acting up and "they" need to get more help. Sounded like she was referring more to the father but did mention the name "Martha" as well. The nanny was not harming the baby at all, she nuzzled him a couple times and he seemed happy (and adorable) but it was clear that she was unhappy and could care less about airing it for all to hear on the bus. It was very uncomfortable and inappropriate. I'm not trying to get anyone in trouble but this nanny is clearly unhappy and overwhelmed (maybe rightfully so). Hopefully this gets to the right person and the issues between nanny and family get resolved.
Please be respectful... all negative comments directed toward the OP will be deleted.


Nannies and Parents!

* Leave an ANONYMOUS comment on this post
* Leave an ANONYMOUS comment here
* (Your identity will be respected and withheld)

* Physical description of nanny/caregiver
* Physical description of involved child/children
* Address or venue of observed incident
* Date and time of incident
* Description of what you witnessed
* Description of vehicle, bag, or stroller that may aid in identifying caregiver

* Bonus this year (2012):
* Your weekly salary:
* Any supplementary gifts aside from the Bonus:
* Length of time you have worked for the Family:
* City, State and Country where you live:
* Additional comments:

To read ISYN Bonus Surveys from previous years, click below:
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2006 - Part I December 2006
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2006 - Part II December 2006
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2007 - Part I December 2007
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2007 - Part II December 2007
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2008 - Part I December 2008
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2008 - Part II December 2008
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2009 - Part I December 2009
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2009 - Part II December 2009
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2010 - Part I December 2010
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2010 - Part II December 2010
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2011 - Part I December 2011
Holiday Bonus Feature, 2011 - Part II December 2011 ________________________________________________  
Please be respectful of one another... rude comments will be deleted. Thank you.

Walgreens in New Canaan, CT

I saw a middle aged, Asian Nanny driving a red Jaguar station wagon (tan interior) with a U Michigan license plate frame - can you believe I didn't think to get the plate?!!! She was at the Walgreens in New Canaan at 2:15 today, Monday December 10, 2012, and left your baby and toddler in the car while she ran into the store. When I realized the children were alone, I stood by the car until your nanny came out. She immediately started yelling at me that "She didn't want to come down, don't you understand? I just run into store to get something, She didn't want to come down, OK?" When I responded "no, it's not ok", and an assortment of other things like " you cannot leave babies in the car by themselves, ever"  your nanny suddenly decided she was unable to speak English. I've reported it to the New Canaan police department.
_______________________________________________ Please be respectful... all negative comments directed toward the OP will be deleted.
This is a slice of what I do. Everyday is different. That is why I enjoy being a nanny. My job is never boring.

7:11 I kiss my boyfriend and head to work flipping stations. I pause long enough to sing along with "I'm a believer," by SmashMouth and "You are Holy," by Michael W. Smith.

8:04 I arrive late as usual cursing myself in my head to get my tardiness under control. I am greeted by a happy five year old. I unload dishwasher and praise myself for getting the top unloaded.

8:19 MB leaves to drop off the two older children at school while two year old Obadiah* blows kisses and waves calling "Dwive safe!" though the front dining room window.

8:28 As I slice cucumbers, strawberries, and apples, Obbie* does his new trick on his blue rocking horse. "Wook! Wook at me!" he calls as he stands on the back of the horse and rocks at gravity defying angles. I give him a thumbs up not choosing this battle because he is only four inches off the ground.

8:39 We read four books. Two of them matched our Holiday theme. One matched our letter M theme, and the last was a classic "Three Little Pigs."

9:02 I ask Obbie* if he needs to potty before we go out. He says, "no." I encourage him to at least try.

9:16 I strap Obbie* in his car seat reminding him to pull the top restraint up to his nipples. "Why?" he asks. "Where is my complete sentence?" I ask patiently. "Why I need to my nippows?" he asks. I inform him he needs to be strapped in safe. We listen to Laurie Berkner on Pandora before arriving at the mall.

9:49 I unstrap Obbie* and grab our Star Wars lunch box holding hands as we walk into the mall. Obbie* goes straight to the train table as I gently remind him him "In ten minutes, we will go to listen to a story."

9:56 The intercom reminds us story time will start in five minutes. I remind Obbie* and ask him how many five is. He holds up two hands. "Nope, try again," I encourage. He holds up one hand, and I smile and nod.

10:04 Obbie* finds a green chair up front while I sit on a wood bench off to the side six feet away where we still see each other, but I am not taking a seat away from another child.

10:31 After two books and some coloring, we return to the train table. When he starts to wander and look disinterested, I suggest we go downstairs to the Play Place. His eyes glaze over, and I remind him to use his words."One more minute?" he asks holding up two fingers. I smile and nod.

10:51 We skip to our Lou through the middle of the mall to the play place. Some laugh; some smile. I don't care. I am 28, and the children keep me young.

11:43 We potty and wash hands before lunch. I order chicken and fries while unpacking the Star Wars lunch box. Obbie* asks for his apple juice, but I tell him to eat a few bites of actual food before I can give him his cup. He finishes all of his strawberries and pokes holes in his cucumber slices. I offer him some chicken bites and he gladly gobbles them in one bite each.

12:18 We walk hand in hand to my car. Obbie* asks if a black Toyota is mine. I say, "No, but it does look like my green Honda doesn't it?" I hand Obbie* an ABC book as I drive back to his home. He comments as I drive. "Is dis a Q?" "I found T! I found dah letter T!" "Dat a wed wight, Manna." "Thank you for reminding me," I respond reminding myself not to skirt through yellow lights.

12:46 I arrive at his home, unlock the door and remind Obbie* to potty and find a diaper for nap. He sings, "Life is a Highway," from his favorite movie.

12:59 We both climb into a twin sized bed and cuddle listening to Deepak Chopra on Pandora.

1:21 I ask if Obbie* if he is asleep. He nods gently with his eyes closed. If he smiled huge and squinted his eyes, that means he is not really sleep yet. Even though he is unconscious, I tell him I will go downstairs to do dishes in ten minutes.

1:32 Obbie* is good and asleep. I kiss his forehead, and walk downstairs to finish unloading the dishwasher. Then, I load it as I listen to "Braking Dawn" by Stephanie Meyer.

2:26 I pause my book to take out the trash and recycling. I press resume as I take down eight pieces of artwork hung and displayed over the last month. I label each piece with the month, year, child's name, and child's age. Then, I place each piece in a save box for MB.

3:29 I rub Obbie's* back telling him it is time to awake. He scowls at me red faced blond hair a sweaty mess and shoves his arms high in the air. "Words?" I ask. "Cawy me, pwease," he huffs.

3:41 After a snack of peanut butter and wheat crackers, DB arrives with the nine year old and five year old from school. I argue with the nine year old about his homework before threatening to take away his Lego privileges.

3:57 I practice math facts with the nine year old. Then, I tell DB about Obbie's* day before leaving.

4:04 I start "Braking Dawn" again as I pull away from the curb and drive home.

4:56 I exit my car, make a couple calls and organize supper plans.

*Obadiah is a name change.

Thank you for reading, "Nannytastic"
What's your Nanny Day Like? Email

Know-it-all Nannies

How do you handle the know it all and holier than thou nannies that are convinced they know everything there is to know about being a nanny, and that their way of doing things is the right way. I've been a nanny for 5 years, and with my current family for just over a year. At first I thought it was because I was new to the group, but as I said it's how these nannies are hyper critical of everyone around them and there is so much cattiness. One girl out of the entire lot I've met is that great, unfortunately our schedules don't overlap often so I can't spend much time with her. - Anonymous

Pros and Cons of CIO

My employers want me to sleep train their 5 month old using CIO. I think this method is incredibly cruel and studies have shown brain damage and its possible link to mental health disorders later in life, and causes issues with trust. How do I educate them of the dangers? - Anonymous

Sneaky Send-Off

Back in August I accepted a non typical nanny position where I worked anywhere from 24-100 hours at a time just me and my two charges who are both toddlers. You think that sounds rough? I once worked for a family for a year straight (live in) 7 days a week minus one weekend a month off. Anyway I'm going to get straight to the point... I cared for them solely for days at a time for about 3 months and everything was going great. The children were well cared for and I made myself very available to the parents who needed extreme flexibility. Everything was going great and then I opened an email from the website they hired me at (I still get job posts for the area and nannies are not at all in demand here so I was curious) low and behold it was the same ad they hired me with. I was so shocked and confused. They never once came to me with any concerns or treated me anything but kindly.

Long story short, I lucked out and found a new position to interview for the same day and got the job. Which I look at as things meaning to happen because really, like I said, there is no demand out here. I didn't quit on the spot with the family I work for now (as of this week) and the new family didn't need me to start for a few weeks at the time, so that gave my old employers time to keep looking and I did notice they closed the ad right before I quit (via professional email) so I don't feel bad about it. My question: is there something I am not thinking of that would cause them to try to and find a replacement so sneakily? There was literally no issues addressed ever. And they seemed very grateful. The mom did seem like she was very unhappy with her job though and would text me sad things about how hard her job was (traveling). But why a new nanny? Things are going amazing with the new family and it feels right but I am still so curious. Please don't just say ask them! - Anonymous

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

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

What is a good going away gift from nanny to bosses and nanny to children? I have been with my family for 3 years since little one was 3 months old. I will be starting a graduate program in January and the family will be moving cross country. Do you think a photo book is an appropriate gift for the parents? I have tons of pictures from our time together, some they don't have and was thinking to put one together. If I go with a photo book should I use Shutterfly or Snapfish? What is a great and thoughtful gift for a 3 year old that has basically everything? I want something she can use now but have in the future. Thank you in advance. - Anonymous

Casual Survey

I enjoy reading this blog and get good advice. There seems to be a ton of knowledgeable nannies here. I've noticed the last few weeks posts with specific ideas on how children should be raised and it got me thinking. So here is my informal survey:

Nannies, are you a parent? If Yes: How many kids do you have? Are your children raised? If you were a nanny before becoming a parent do you think your experience as a nanny has helped you in some ways as a parent? Do you think you are a better nanny now that you are a parent? Do you find it easier to find work now because you are a parent? Do you find parents that employ you respect you more because you are a parent?

If No: Do you feel the parents you work for would respect you more if you had children? Do you feel they find it strange someone without children wants to care for children? Do you find it hard finding work because of your non parent status? Do you plan on having children? If you have children do you think your experience as a nanny will help you be a better parent? For parent and non parent nannies do you think parenting and nannying compare?

For the parent posters: Would you prefer a nanny who is also a parent? Why? Would you feel threatened by a nanny that was also a parent? Do you value the childcare opinions of nannies with children over nannies without? Do you feel nannies without children "don't get it" and are far too judgmental of parents? Thanks everybody. - Anonymous

Awkward Invitation

I have worked for my current family for 2 almost 3 years, since the boy I care for was a newborn. My MB recently invited me to attend the birth of their second child in February, which is to be a homebirth. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about being invited to the birth. I am also a little surprised. We get on very well and couldn't ask for a better fit, but I still don't think with something this personal, a nanny should be invited to. I am also not comfortable with homebirth. Have any of you ever received an invitation like this? How would you decline? What is your opinion on homebirth? - Anonymous

When the Bough Breaks

How can I get a baby to sleep. She doesn't like to be walked, held, swaddled, rocked, put in her swing etc. Crying it out doesn't work as she will just scream for hours . I've tried putting her to sleep at a set time. I've tried putting her down at the first sign of sleepy, I've tried waiting till she is exhausted. Nothing. She forces herself awake. No health problems. - Anonymous

Fair Fee

I work 5 days a week as a nanny to a 6 year old child. My job includes cleaning (very messy every day). Shopping for food. Shopping for child's clothes and shoes. Teaching basic reading and math, writing etc. I organize play dates that include 7 kids with their nanny's and parents. We go out of town which takes a lot of planning. I cook child's food. Give child a bath. Brush teeth, etc. I play actively with child. This child has only one parent. I want to know what is a fair weekly rate for these services. Thank you. - New Nanny in NYC


Tragic Outcome for Missing Iowa Cousins

Evansdale, Iowa   
Hunters reportedly find bodies of missing Iowa cousins
Hunters found two bodies Wednesday believed to be those of young Iowa cousins who vanished five months ago while riding their bikes near a lake, authorities said.

The families of 11-year-old Lyric Cook and 9-year-old Elizabeth Collins have been notified of the discovery, said Capt. Rick Abben of the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office. Abben wouldn't say where the bodies were found.

Appearing to fight back tears as he broke the news in Evansdale, near where the girls disappeared in July, Abben said: "It's definitely not the outcome that we wanted, obviously. "This is a difficult thing for us to go through. It's a difficult thing for the community," he added, recalling how officers had worked around the clock looking for the girls.

The girls' families have asked the media to respect their privacy, and they offered no immediate comment.

The bodies are being sent to the state medical examiner's office to confirm their identities, and the area where they were found around 12:45 p.m. is still being searched, Abben said.

The girls disappeared the afternoon of July 13 while riding bikes in Evansdale, about 110 miles northeast of Des Moines, near a popular recreational lake in the middle of town. Investigators found their bikes and a pink purse near the lake hours later, but no sign of the girls. Hundreds of volunteers canvassed the area in the following days, traipsing through cornfields and wooded areas. The mayor even flew above in his private plane looking for them. Abben said additional details would be released at a news briefing Thursday.
Special thanks to Dr. Juris and slb3334.

Educating Adults

Something happened at work the other day that distressed me. I work with 2 girls, F, age 8, and L, age 4. Their grandfather came to visit over the weekend, and when I arrived Monday morning, DB was just leaving to drive Grandpa to the airport. As DB was leaving, he said, "Come on girls, give Grandpa a kiss goodbye." F, the 8 yr old, shuffled up to Grandpa, gave him a peck, and backed away. She looked really uncomfortable. L, the 4 yr old, refused to give Grandpa a kiss. She looked totally freaked. The dad grabbed her arm, and said,"You are making Grandpa sad. You don't want to make him sad, do you? Go give him a kiss." L started to cry, DB got mad, and he and Grandpa left.

Now, I realize in the past, we were all expected to hug or kiss our relatives. But in this day of child molesters and teens being pressured into sex, this is no longer appropriate. This scene looked to me like a father forcing his daughters to perform a physical act of affection that they were clearly uncomfortable with. I really feel that this is not ok. If you tell a 4 yr old to kiss someone to avoid hurting their feelings, this could mean a 14 yr old who gives in easily when a teenage boy pressures her to go too far. She might not want to hurt his feelings, right?? The 8 yr old was already giving in, kissing Grandpa just to avoid a negative reaction. We all know that when teenage boys want sex and can't have it, the reaction is almost always negative. How is she going to see that? Will she give in just to avoid a scene?

This got me thinking of all the times moms have told their kids to give me a hug goodbye. I always say to them, "you can have a hug if you want, but you don't have to." I would never want a child to hug me because it is expected, and I would absolutely hate to think they are forced into it. Are these relatives really ok with that? Do they really want a kiss from a child who was forced to do it? That seems sick.

I feel that this is really important to teach children to respect their own bodies, especially girls. We need to tell them that hugs and kisses, as well as other physical acts, need to ALWAYS be their decision and no one else's. Yes, perhaps some older relatives will be insulted, but sorry, the well-being of the children is way more important. Forcing a child to kiss someone against their will is doing irreparable damage to them. Yet this seems to still be happening all over the place. I even had a friend of mine say, "I make them kiss Aunt L because if they didn't, I would never hear the end of it from her!" So this mom is putting her own inability to deal with difficult relatives on her kids. She would rather damage their self esteem than listen to an aunt bitching? I was horrified.

I don't know if I can actually mention this to any parents, employers or otherwise. Is there any way to bring up this perspective without being insulting? If I worded it like this post, parents would think I am accusing them of child abuse, and I would most likely be out of the kids lives. I think that some parents aren't thinking of this in todays terms, they are just remembering when they were kids, this is how it was. Is there any way to educate them without insulting them? - Anonymous


Target - Mountain View California

Hello, I was in Target today (Tue, Dec 4, 2012) in Mountain View California. A little girl named Hannah was screaming "Enrica!" at the top of her lungs over and over again, pacing and frantically looking for her adult, and crying. I approached her and asked her if she was lost. She was terrified and obviously didn’t know whether to trust me. She told me she was looking for her nanny Enrica. I told her, "Let’s go see if we can find her.”" but she was reluctant to walk with me because she was clearly trying to decide if I was a good stranger or a bad stranger (good for her!)

Instead of encouraging her to walk, I quickly surveyed all of the aisles I could and then I called out to a Target worker and asked him to come over. I didn’t want to take my eyes off of her because honestly, there were quite a few people around and I didn’t know if they could all be trusted to help rather than take advantage. I asked the Target worker if he could page her nanny because she was lost. We went together to the nearest courtesy phone, where we proceeded to give the information to the announcer to page her nanny. This whole time, she’s still shaking and crying and terrified. An elderly lady that was seeing all this kept saying, "Honey, you’re safe. We’re gonna find her.." because she was in such obvious emotional distress.

This whole event took approximately ten minutes. As we were paging the nanny, she appeared, without a care in the world, chatting with her shopping friend, smiling, clearly unaware that she had even lost her charge. And she was at least six aisles away from where Hannah was! Hannah ran to her and with a huge cry of relief hugged her legs. Enrica’s reaction? She rolled her eyes, and said, "You knew where I was. Stop crying.”" in an annoyed tone. No shock at the realization that Hannah had been lost. No concern or apologies or thank yous. Just an eye roll and scolding the girl. The elderly lady that had been with us was so fuming mad she wouldn’t leave. I started to walk away and then I came back. I said to the nanny, "Not even a thank you for the people that helped her while she was lost???" Nanny replied with, "She wasn’t lost.”"  I said, "If she wasn’t lost, how come she was screaming YOUR name at the top of her lungs and crying, and you didn’t hear her or see the crowd gathering around her??? How did we have time to look for you and page you? Just be grateful someone less trustworthy didn’t find her!"

She was clearly unaffected by my words so I walked away. But it’s killing me to think that this woman is getting paid to watch this child and has such a casual approach to her safety. Her mother needs to be informed! It is every mother’s worst nightmare to have a nanny like that. Please post this. Maybe we’ll get lucky and someone will forward it to Hannah’s mom. Thank you.
Please be respectful... all negative comments directed toward the OP will be deleted.

Nocturnal Enuresis

My charge is 5yo and she still wets the bed. We've tried many things to help her: no drinking 2 hours before bedtime, setting an alarm in the middle of the night, reward chart, etc. Unfortunately, I think MB is starting to get frustrated and I'm worried it could stress the little girl out even more.

I know what this feels like. I wet the bed until I was around 9yo, but only realized when I got older and into therapy, it was from being molested by a family member. However, I'm pretty sure that isn't what's going on here as I'm a live-in and know who this child comes into contact with. Her parents separated about a year ago, so it could be emotional. I just wish I knew what to do or say. I need to intervene before MB says something damaging to her personally. A comment she made to me the other day was incredibly upsetting. MB threatened to "hang her daughters pissy sheets out in the front yard", thinking it would embarrass her enough to stop. I had to walk away and cool off before saying something and losing my job.

I don't know if anyone can advise me, maybe I just need some words of encouragement. I feel so horrible for this sweet little girl. Help? - Anonymous

Heaping on the Housekeeping

Hi MPP, my circle of nanny friends get together once a month for our "nanny's night out." During this time we often discuss issues that are affecting us at work, both the positive and the negative. This last nanny's night we were talking about frustrations that have arrived for almost all of us regarding housekeeping. Some of us do only LIGHT housekeeping, and some people, like myself, do house management in addition to the nanny work (think Alice of the Brady Bunch.)

The question that I am interested in asking the nannies and parents that read your blog, is where does light housekeeping become HEAVY? When does Housekeeping become personal maid service? What are the lines between these things for your readers, and what if anything, makes them blurry? I'm sure that your nannies have felt that those lines have been crossed at times, as have I, and the others in my "nanny night out" group. What happened, and did they address the issues or just get so fed up that they gave notice and left? Did they talk about it with their employers? If so, how did it go? Sorry for the rambling letter and the tons of questions - It was a heated discussion for all of us and left us all asking more questions than when we started. - Thank You, CleaverJune

Avocado Kitty

Hi, I would like to get some advice about a couple of things that bother me. I have been working for this family for the last 5 months. They have a one year old baby girl. The mom works shifts so if she is working, I am working. Sometimes I work while dad is at the home office and sometimes he arrives from work right before I put the baby in her crib (around 7:30). I feed her around 6pm and we play for a while before going to bed. The dad brings take out food for his dinner around 90% of the time. He brings it upstairs to the baby's room and eats sitting down on the floor while they both play. Sometimes the kitty joins them and dad feeds both the kitty and the baby.

A few days ago we were playing, dad came with sushi and the kitty came to the room. Dad started to give avocado slices to the baby (she already had dinner at 6 and this was around 7:15). Dad showed the avocado to the kitty and told him, "what are you smelling? you know you do not like it!" and gave the avocado to the baby. He did this 3 or 4 times more. He showed the avocado to the kitty, told him it was not for him and fed the baby. I am not sure if I should tell him that he shouldn't do that. For me is obvious that he shouldn't play like that with the kitty's feelings. Btw, the kitty has a very short fuse and he gets angry very fast. And one more thing. Do you think that he should feed the baby again at 7:15 when she already had dinner at 6pm? It's not like he is eating at the kitchen table and the baby is sitting down with him. They are on the floor of her room eating! I think she should learn that dinner time is at the kitchen table at the same time everyday (more or less). Do you think is appropriate to have a 2nd dinner like that? I do not know if that will help the baby to have a bad relationship with food. Is she too young to create bad food relationships? Should I tell him something? Thank you very much all! - Pokenanny

Greener Pastures

Hello, I'm looking for advice on leaving a family to work with another. I've been with my current family for about 15 months now. I originally thought that this would be a long term position as the kids are still little and everything seemed to be working out pretty well. I was never very close with the parents, mostly I think because we have very different personalities. But they are fair employers and I love the kids with all my heart.

Unfortunately, my feelings about this position changed a few weeks ago. There were a few instances where I felt like I was being taken advantage of and treated a bit disrespectfully. Nothing as horrible as some of the situations I've read on here but enough to leave me feeling slightly unhappy. I then approached them about a raise since I did not receive an annual raise or review. I was told that they felt the rate was already high enough and since my job hasn't changed much (their opinion, not so much mine) they would not be raising it anytime soon. Very coincidentally, a week later I was approached by another local family who were looking for a new f/t nanny. After talking, emailing and meeting in person, I have decided that this family will be a better fit for me. I feel more comfortable with the parents and they are willing to offer me benefits and raise my salary 15% from where it is now (for 1/2 the amount of children). I'm very eager to make the change because I feel I would be happier and more comfortable working for this family so I accepted the offer and will start in about a month.

My question is, how have you other nannies handled the situation of leaving one family for another? I want to be professional and gracious but the mother has a tendency to be bitter towards people, and not very empathetic. I don't want my last weeks to be awkward. Also, I think I will have to give my notice via e-mail as she is hardly ever at the house when I am. Most of our communication is through email or texts. Will this be ok? Also, I'm really hoping that she will allow me to continue to babysit/visit this kids occasionally... has this worked for any of you? Also, how much notice should I give? I want to give as much as possible as I know it can take awhile to find a replacement. But I'm nervous about her replacing me before I leave or just telling me not to come in my last weeks. Sorry for the very long, rambling post, I wasn't sure what would be relevant! ANY insight/thoughts from both nannies and parents would be appreciated! - Anonymous

Homeless Nanny Needs to Address a Share

I started a job a month ago caring for an infant. Things are going well and the bosses are great. The baby is adorable. The problem is in a few more weeks I will no longer have a place to live. I was staying with a relative that let me live with them for an extremely low rent which was perfect for me while I paid off school bills from undergrad and started graduate prereqs. The hours I work for my new family leave me no time for a second job, and while the pay is fair it will not cover what I will need to pay in rent. Do you think I would be crossing the line to bring up the idea of a nanny share to them? I don't know what else to do that doesn't involve me quitting this job. - Anonymous


Unwavering Whining

Hello all, I am wondering if anyone can give me any fresh insight on how to deal with whining. I've worked with children for over 10 years so I know it's normal behaviour and I am aware that modelling appropriate ways to talk/ignoring it etc. are good ways to deal with it. I am just looking for some new ideas! My charge is 16 months old and for the past 2 weeks or so has been whining constantly. The typical screwed-up face with the fake cry has now become how he spends the majority of his time. He used to be so happy-go-lucky, his parents and I regularly went an entire day without hearing him cry! Now he constantly whines. Wipe his face, he whines (I'm not talking a typical little whine because he doesn't like it, I mean a full on melt-down that lasts a minute or two)...tickle him when he didn't want to be tickled, he cries for 5 mins...don't pay attention to him for literally 30 seconds, he comes running over whining!

Both his parents and myself are getting very fed up! Has anyone else experienced this with a child of his age? I think it started because when he was upset/whiney before, his mom would give him kisses and cuddles (because he was so very rarely whiney), but now it's escalated. I don't think it's related to a lack of communication (he's quite verbal), and while it is sometimes out of frustration (like when we wipe his face or put his coat on), mostly he just does it for attention. There have been no big changes like a move or a new baby. He just whines all day long! We have simply started ignoring him when he does it. Any words of wisdom/encouragement from anybody? - Canada Nanny