The Confession

Illustration by Sandi Fitzgerald
     I was a nanny in Oakland Park for a year that spanned 2003-2004. I was a sole charge, live-in nanny for a 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy. I had come up from Kentucky and was so excited to be near the city. I was 21 and armed only with an associates degree.
   I'd like to say I look back with pride and comfort on my year of nannying. I don't. I hate to think about it because I was a terrible nanny and not a very good human being during that time.  What affects me most is that the family I went to nanny for wanted to believe the best and gave me a second and a third chance.
   I was never malicious or mean, but I was reckless, thoughtless and self centered. I used the $700 cash a week I made per week to explore the city and shop, only I didn't wait for the weekends. I took the three year old boy with me on many trips that weren't good ideas. They weren't good ideas not because I was visiting drug dens but because I didn't know my way around. I would get lost. I would be late. I would have to lie about why I was late picking up the sister. I used the three year old to help me proffer these lies.
  When the five year old was home from school, I would lock us all in the basement playroom and fall asleep for hours in the middle of the floor. I left dunkables, oreos and juice boxes lined up on the art table.
    I was tasked with helping potty train the three year old, but it didn't fit with my plans. I would put him in a diaper, even bought diapers on my own dollar so the parents wouldn't notice the supply dwindling.
    When the parents traveled together, I was left in charge of the home. Fortunately, this only happened a few times. I would give the children Benadryl right after dinner, regardless of the season and let them fall asleep much earlier than needed, even in their street clothes.
     My social network was largely inclusive of people I had met online. I would invite these people over to my employers home and fete them with chips,beer and wine while the children slepts soundly upstairs. One time, my employer came to me delicately, and told me she wasn't accusing me, but she couldn't find a pair of diamond earings and two bracelets. I told her truthfully that I didn't know about it, didn't take it and would never. But in my heart, I knew it had to do with some of the people I let come through the house, which wasn't limited to just times when they were out of town. I couldn't even imagine who it would have been or when. I thought I'd done a reasonable job of safeguarding the house and laying down rules. But the jewelry must have been upstairs, and that couldn't be, because I didn't allow anyone upstairs.
     I met my first nanny friend. She had a boy of almost two that she cared for and we would take the boys together to different playgrounds. They ended up having to be different playgrounds because we were so obnoxious while there. We always had our cans of Arizona Ice Tea with tequilla. I never drank before I moved to Chicago.
     I was at the doctor's office once, having been sent on from school with both kids as a follow up to make sure the five year old was okay after falling off the monkey bars and having another child fall on top of her. I didn't appreciate how wrong this could have gone. My iced tea and  tequilla was in a insulated cup. The five year old was being checked out and the three year old was messing with all of the equipment. A second doctor came to see me and a social worker. I had signed paperwork that I could seek treatment for the child, so I didn't understand the problem as I chomped on strong gum and answered their questions. The questions turned harsh. They had tried to call the mother and could not reach her, did she know I had brought the child in. They found her injuries strange. I told them of the fall from the monkey bars and added, "oh but another kid fell on top of her then". If the mother hadn't been enroute to meet us, who knows what would have happened. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have presented myself and the whole situation differently. I only realized months later how I must have looked.
     I took the three year old to the bookstore one day. We started out in the children's area, but I wanted to go and look for a novel that I'd read a review on that weekend. I woke up with an irate black nanny standing in front of me. She was holding the three year old's hand. "Is this your boy. is this your boy? He was looking all over for you, I stopped him from leaving". I apologized profusely. I explained that I was sick. I assumed she believed me. I gathered the three year old and we left.
     My last day of work was the 3 year old's fourth birthday party. It was at 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday. I had helped the mother put together the list of friend invites. She had relatives and friends of hers there. The adults were drinking wine and as most adults do, they conduct themselves appropriately when in the company of children. My nanny friend and I had mini bottles of alcohol, from Kahlua to sour pucker to Cuervo. I don't know how much I drank.I think I behaved okay, likely a little loud. I know I ate a lot then, and I only knew that because by the time we got home, carrying gifts, including a big stuffed blue bear, I began to vomit uncontrollably. All over the presents, the foyer. I remember looking up at this beautiful entry mirror and seeing the vomit shoot from my mouth. But it didn't end there. At first my employers thought I was sick. They were worried that it was the food we had just eaten. Both of them helped me to my room. They went back upstairs and I am guessing they cleaned up the mess I had made.
     Later that evening, I heard a knock at my door. It was my employer. She asked to come in. She came in and sat down in a chair by my bed. She asked me if I had been drinking. I told her I had. She said that she was concerned for me. She told me she was sorry. She told me I should get myself in the shower. I fell back asleep, and heard knocking again. She asked if she could come in. I sat up and looked at her. I remember she said, "If you'd like to shower and clean up now, you should. We have a car coming to take you to the airport in 90 minutes. You'll need to get your things together quickly." She wasn't mean. She left. I almost fell back asleep, but something inside of me clicked and realized the mess I had made.
      I showered. I packed. I was afraid to go upstairs from my room. I put my suitcases at the bottom of the steps. I stood there looking at them listening for sounds from the top. The father began to start down the steps with exasperation when he saw me standing there. For a second I think I saw a flash of pity on his face. "Good, you're ready" he said and turned back. I remembered him carrying my bags down these steps almost a year ago, cheerfully, welcoming. He wouldn't help today. I took one suitcase at a time and set it outside the front door. When I went back down to grab my carry on and purse, he met me at the top of the stairs. He asked me for the keys. He handed me a check, folded. I looked at him, ready to ask if I could say good bye to the children and he just shook his head at me. I walked outside and waited with my suitcases for the car to come. I never heard from them again.
     I really wanted to apologize to the family, but it's easier for me to admit that never happened. When I moved up to Chicago, I had a one year nanny contract. I remember the mom saying "we shoud tear this up now, because we're keeping your forever." I'd forgot about making actual plans. I'd taken some terrible personal risks while I was there, but more so, I'd failed to do the one thing I had gone there to do and that was to be a good nanny. I was always a great babysitter. The best. I lived in fear for awhile after I returned to Kentucky thinking that they were going to contact me. They never did. I explained my sudden move back to friends and family by saying I had gotten in a huge fight with my boss at the birthday party..when he wanted to sit next to me. It was ridiculous. To excuse my sudden return, I had to paint them, particularly the mother as jealous and vindictive.
    I hope the next nanny who worked for that family was much better. I think of the mistakes I made every day, they aren't all included here. I was careless. I was glib, I was selfish. I am sorry. I returned to school three months after my return and graduated with a bachelors in sociology and then later a masters. I work with the public schools now. Life turned out okay for me and for that I'm grateful. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.
-edited for content & space, ISYN

What's Good for the Goose

     I'm really mad right now. My boss told me if I take one month of maternity leave only they will pay for the first two months of childcare. I was going to use this daycare that she found for me which is near my job. Now my Mom says she can come from Jamaica and stay here at the house for two months which make things even better for me. My boss told me, "Yes that's great but I am not paying YOUR MOTHER." She wants me to leave my new baby after four weeks and was okay to pay a stranger money and now my Mom says she will do it and at the house so I don't have to bother with getting the child ready and dressed and everything. She's acting like I'm trying to pull something over her eyes when she is the one who cannot live without me taking care of her children. Do you see the problem here? She's saying her children are worth not interrupting their life as much as possible but a newborn baby of mine just throw to the wolves. What would you do about this?

Nanny Appreciation Week

-I'm curious to see how many nannies have actually been acknowledged during nanny appreciation week? When I worked in preschools I was always acknowledged along with the other teachers. Not only during teacher appreciation week but holidays as well. As a nanny not once has a family acknowledged my hard work during nanny appreciation week OR any other nanny that I know.

     National Nanny Recognition Week was created in 1998 to recognize and celebrate nannies across the country. NNRW is a week during which families, businesses, and the media will be encouraged to focus on the positive aspects of the nanny profession, the important role nannies play in the lives of the families and the wonderful contribution they make in the lives of the children they care for. This year NNRW is from 9/20-9/26.

10 Ways to Celebrate Your Nanny During NNRW
Appreciation Gifts for the Nanny on Pinterest


Good bye Gift

     I have a question for other nannies regarding the end of nanny jobs. I have been with my current family for 9 months as a live-out nanny, and my job ends next week as my boss is taking maternity leave. I will not be coming back, and I wanted to get them something meaningful as a thank you. They have been the most amazing people to work for, and I know that I will want to still be a part of their lives. I am making them a Shutterfly book out of pictures I have taken of their son (aspiring photographer). I'm not sure if this is enough, what have other nannies done for their bosses? I just want to show them my appreciation and also make sure they know I would like to still be a part of J's life.

Island Harbor Park in Mamaroneck, NY

Date: 4/28
Location: Island Harbor Park in Mamaroneck, NY
Description of Nanny: White, about 5 feet tall, blonde hair in long strait pony tail, wearing jeans and a red sweatshirt with a yellow lion on it.
Description of child: White, boy of about 3 years old, round face, dark brown hair, wearing a long sleeve white shirt with a cartoon of a walking hamburger on it.
Description of the vehicle: 4 door, white Toyota Camry, 2011-2013, tinted windows.
Incident: The nanny was on her cell phone most of the time, even when the boy was playing in the saucer and being pushed around by an older boy who was clearly sick, dripping snot from his nose and being physically aggressive with this boy. When the boy was playing he would yell occasionally, "I need to go to the bathroom,"but nanny didn't respond or look up. Finally, an Asian woman took him by the hand to the nanny and said, "He needs to go to the bathroom". The nanny responded really sweetly to the lady, as if it was the first time she heard it. She got up and walked to the bathroom, as they got parallel to the bathroom area, the nanny started talking really tersely to him. The kid had crapped his pants and she was trying to chastise him as harshly as she could without alerting other people. I was watching her the whole time. She acted like the kid had done something wrong. I heard her say, "you kept playing with shit in your pants?". She never touched the kid but grabbed him by the elbow and told him that he had ruined his time at the park and they had to go home now. When she got closer to the park she didn't say anything but sighed in my direction (expecting sympathy?). As she made her way to the parking lot, she started getting louder and telling him he "would NEVER play at the park again, NEVER" and "see what you've done.


The Veiled Threat

     I'm really tired of people talking up the nanny contract as if it is a lifesaver. If you are the nanny and it says you have to do something and you aren't doing it, best you believe you will be taken to task for not. But if it isn't in the contract and they ask you to do it, what the hell are you supposed to do? I don't have any power here. Every damn week they are sliding some more stuff into my job description. I only took the job that averages at $12/hr because there was ample downtime during the 12 hour day. But no, all that downtime is being eaten away.
     I was to cook for the children who are 3 and 9 and I have been doing that. During my interview I was told that they eat simple foods like Amy's macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets and cut up fruit. This didn't sound complicated and of course I would be cooking for them since I work from 7-7 five days a week. Last week, boss mom starts to leave me magazines with recipes marked with big arrows on folded post-its. When I made some of the first recipes, the kids didn't want nothing to do with it. She told me then, she wants to try new things for them and I should still make it for them and offer it to them eveyday and if they don't eat it they can have the back up option of scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese or soup. But, "don't throw anything out, save it for Hank & I".
     So now, not only am I cooking dinner and lunch and making dishes like mustard baked balsamic chicken and apple, beet and arugula salad for the kids, but I have to go to Whole foods to get fresh food everyday. And the kids don't eat this stuff. Its just an elaborate ruse for me to cook for the parents. What power do I have with my sad little nanny contract? I surely wouldn't want someone that begin to hate me cooking for me every damn day. That could end badly.
Situation got you down? Email

Nanny Dearest

     I am an employer in the Chicago area. My nephew in Indiana is in need of a kidney transplant. My nanny had offered to get tested to see if she was a donor match. I know she did and was not a match. What I did not know is that over the past two weeks, she has had her sisters, cousins, aunts and other nannies get similarly tested. She has driven people in for testing and given other's subway fair. She told me none of this. Needless to say, I was reduced to tears. Is there anyway to show my appreciation to her for this? I was thinking rather than money or a gift certificate that I would get her a piece of jewelry, a necklace? I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas.

Sociology 101

       I have school aged children who ask  a lot of questions. We live outside the Baltimore area and my children have had a lot of questions about the protests, riots and unrest in the city. Because of their age, I answered their question as honestly as possible but with the goal of making them feel safe. At 6 & 8, they don't have the ability to comprehend the expanse of social conditions and issues that are at play here.
     The nanny however has given the children more in depth answers, such as "they are not doing wrong, they are doing the only thing they can to express themselves and they can't stop until the police stop killing black men." I am not getting in to the opinions of the rioting, because as stated, my children are 6 & 8. Believe me when I say I am raising my children to be respectful of all cultures and people, but I don't want her to continue on with this banter. It has been going on for over a week.
     My 8 year old told me, "Bunny told me that cops don't kill bad guys, they like to hurt black people because nobody cares," and "Bunny said it doesn't matter if I am polite to an police officer or not or rob a bank, he doesn't want to kill me because I am white."
     After I attempted to address this with the nanny this morning, she became verbally aggressive and told me, "you can't have the news on and not give your children the facts." I suggested in a calm voice, "We don't have the facts yet." She responded, also in a raised voice, "What more facts do you need, another black man is dead". After that, I tried to change the conversation completely to the day's schedule. When I was going over things with her, she would only say, "uh hum" in an obviously perturbed way. She wouldn't even look at me.  What did I do wrong here? Don't most families have the news on television? Don't most parents break the news down for their children in the most age appropriate ways? I am really upset that she yelled in front of my children and that she cannot put her feelings for the situation aside for the time she is at work, in rural suburbia enough for my children to feel safe, but I feel like she wants to hold all of us responsible.
     I am a single mother and our nanny has been with us for 14 months.

Pampered Chef

     We have a live-in nanny for the first time ever. She has been with us two months. There are some issues that we need to work on, but one that I don't know how to address is with food. As a live-in, she eats her meals here. She grocery shops for me, which is helpful. The problem I see is with her meal times. The children are on a regular schedule so they eat their meals as breakfast when they get up, lunch mid day and dinner around 6. The nanny has breakfast at 10, lunch around 3 and dinner at around 8 or 9. I didn't think to address this in the beginning because it never occurred to me. There are a couple of problems with this. The first is that she cooks her meals during what I would think would be working time. When she schedules a play date or appointment, it is either around her meal schedule or at our house and during. The second problem is that my children, 2 and almost 4, sample in her meals. If they eat breakfast at 8, I don't like this habbit of the second breakfast followed by lunch followed by a second lunch. The third problem is that when I have suggested that she makes her meals in advance, she got upset and asked "Why don't I deserve fresh food". When I followed up with a suggestion that the warm weather would make it ideal for her to pack lunches for all three and go to the playground, she asked me, "Where would I eat?" I suggested she eat on a picnic blanket with the children or a picnic table. She replied that it was bad for digestion to eat on the run and made me feel like I was suggesting something outlandish. She's worked as a nanny before. She takes the children to the park, I know she sees other nannies lunch with their charges. It has been two months and she seems very rigid in her eating routine. The last problem is that she cooks her main meal at around 8. She gets off at 7 when my husband and I come home. This is causing my husband and I to fall into a pattern of taking the children upstairs, putting them to bed and staying upstairs until she is done. I have no problem with the expense of the food, but I can't live like this.


Her Sister's Keeper

     I wanted to share this with you. I know it's not my problem, oh I have heard that. My sister is 10 years younger than her husband. She is happily married and they have two children. The youngest started an afternoon program in January. Their live-in nanny no doubt is loved by them all, she takes great care of the kids. I see a problem in that she hasn't made any friends and she is always with them. They both do consulting work so they work from home offices. My sister says she can't say anything even if it feels a bit weird because she would never want to hurt the nanny's feelings. I think if she doesn't say anything, it's going to get much worse.
     I'll leave you with a few sister calls me from the car, 'it's gorgeous out, want to have lunch outside at BBs", I agree and arrive only to find she and the nanny sitting together waiting for me, My son, age 5 runs into the nanny in the children's section of the bookstore. She knows him, greets him warmly, I come by and say hello, then my sister and brother in law appear behind her and ask her if she's ready. Who goes to the bookstore on a Tuesday afternoon, with her nanny? Or her husband for that matter. When my brother-in-law took the kids camping earlier this month, my sister had a paint night at her house with friends, wine...and the nanny. I kid you not, I went to my hair dresser on Friday and during talk he started telling me about an experience my sister's nanny had in highschool. (You know hairstylists). I recognized the story and I said, "I know who you're talking about, how do you know her". Well, of course she comes in for cuts with my sister. This is an upscale hair salon. Not too sound rude, but I am surprised a nanny would pay $160 for a cut. I realize this make me seem like a negative person that it bothers me so terribly. One final thought, I only moved to California in November. Is this a Southern California thing? Our nanny from Boston moved with us, and our relationship is nothing like ours. I too am concerned that my nanny, having relocated with us (her choice) might be envious of some of the things my sister and brother in law do for their nanny.
     Email Anytime.

ISYN Day in the Life 2015, #11

7:15 Set table for kid's breakfast. Wake up kids if they are not already watching tv in family room (which they normally are). Wrangle three half awake kids to the table. Help them get their breakfasts ready -- cereal, toast, Nutella, waffles and on some special mornings eggs and bacon, which the kids like to help make.

7:30 Unload dishwasher from previous night and lay out lunch boxes. Ask if anyone wants to buy lunch at school today (they are allowed once per week) and prepare lunches. Usually they have sandwiches or leftover pasta. Make everyone a healthy morning snack for school as well. Mom and dad are either still getting ready upstairs or are on their way out the door.

7:50 Finish making lunches as kids finish breakfast. Remind at least one child to clear their plate. Head upstairs to get clothes on. Youngest and oldest usually pick out their own outfits, and mom or I pick out middle child's (he just isn't picky about what he wears).

8:10 Youngest and oldest are dressed and brushing teeth and hair and washing faces. I'm helping slow poke middle child get his clothes on still, because he was doing god knows what (staring out the window/laying in his brother's bed) while the others were getting dressed.

8:15 Oldest is downstairs with shoes and coat on ready to go to school. Middle child is finally dressed and brushing his teeth. I do the youngest's hair in the chosen style of the day (or a pony tail if we are running late).

8:20 Everyone is downstairs and are hopefully putting shoes and coats on. I send them outside to play soccer for a few minutes to get some energy out.

8:25 Walk, bike, drive to school (depending on weather, how early or late we are, and after school activities).

8:40 The latest we can arrive at school before they are considered late. Remind everyone to have a good day and I will see them after school. They run off to their collective doors and are ready for another day at school.

8:50 Arrive home from school drop off. Clean kitchen from breakfast explosion and reload dishwasher. Wipe down table and any visible crumbs/messes. Give cats food and fresh water.

9:00 Make myself breakfast and watch Kelly & Michael while I sit for the first time in 2 hours. Catch up on Instagram and Twitter and any tv shows I missed the night before.

10:00 Head upstairs to start the daily laundry loads and clean up kids rooms and bathroom.

10:30-12 Go to Zumba or Yoga some days and other days take a nap.

12:00 Head out to do errands (grocery store, family errands, personal errands, shopping) or go to the gym.

2:00 Return home to have lunch and switch loads of laundry. Vacuum the downstairs about 3x a week. Straighten up downstairs and prepare any afternoon activity bags and snacks.

3:00 Head to school to pick up kids.

3:30 Play dates, activities (soccer, gymnastics, Dutch school, more soccer), carpools, arts and crafts at home.

5:30- 6:00 Return home with some or all of kids. Set them up to do homework while I cook dinner. Send them up for showers or join them upstairs for a bath.

7:00 All kids are home and showered, in pajamas, with homework finished. Kids watch a bit of tv while I am finishing dinner.

7:15-7:30 Set the table and call kids for dinner. We eat and talk about their days.

7:30 One or both of the parents usually arrive home at this time. (Some days they will not arrive home until after 8, so I put kids to bed myself. They are pretty good about sending texts when they will be late, so it isn't a huge deal) They will join in for dinner if they are home at this time.

7:45 Finish dinner. Kids are allowed a bit more TV or some iPad time. I clean up kitchen with parents help if they are home. Load dishwasher and turn it on.

8:00 Head upstairs with kids. If parents are not home I do whole routine with kids. Brush teeth, go to the bathroom, fill water bottles, tuck in bed. If parents are home I help assist because the kids can get a little crazy!

8:30 Everyone is tucked in and youngest and middle are most likely sleeping. Sometimes the middle and oldest have trouble settling down and I have to go up and give a warning about losing iPad time for the next day. This usually silences the chatter and giggles.

8:45 Finish cleaning up kitchen from dinner and do quick pick up of downstairs.

9:00 I'm off duty and retreat to my room to watch tv and prepare to do it all again tomorrow!
*Live in Nanny in Greenwich, CT and have been with this family for 8 months. I take care of three really great children, ages 6,8,10. 
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Pricing out a Portland Gig

Kiki Ibanez
     Any info appreciated; Portland, OR. Offered a gig that includes 24 hour care from a Tuesday afternoon, until Sunday. LO's are; 6 year old boy, and 3 year old girl, who is potty trained. Boy attends school from 8:30-2:30, 3 year old would be with me all day. Family would be providing the vehicle for me to drive. I would have to bring my two dogs with me (with their kennel and familiar things), who are SUPER friendly and affectionate towards kids/animals/anything really, and of course would be kenneled if we were not in the home.
      What should I offer as a rate? I really enjoy working with this family and want to keep the relationship amicable, but also fair. The family is doing research on a fair rate, as am I, and we have agreed if they are completely off that we can probably work something out in the middle. I am currently only doing 'date night' and sitting gigs, so my rate is $45 for up to 5 hours, and then $5 an hour after that. Obviously that doesn't seem fair, since I'll be away from home and the comfort of my own things. Thank you in advance for any help! I have a few days to come up with a number, so I'm looking for as many responses as I can get.

Ads of Ill Repute 2015, #2

(formerly CL-WTF)
"Screw you Marquita and your mind games!"

"She is a very emotionally unstable, Extremely Racist, lazy, lying and very unprofessional woman. I mistakenly hired her for just only a week trial and she did not fulfill her duties the entire week'" 
(*One screen shot could not contain all this madness, to read the whole, visit the link above.)
"This mom's screening process is grueling. Sigh."
"You don't want to pay fair, you'll be in the home, you have a TINY house, and you have 4 kids under 6 who you want to 'clean up after' themselves? Lady you should just learn to take care of your OWN kids, since what you're saying is you want your employee to incur all costs related to taxes, so you can reap the benefits. :)"
"You ALSO want to 1099 (DHS 1099s regularly), and you can only afford 2.77 an HOUR?! You make WAY MORE off of those kids than that, so good luck with filling that job too!"
  "'You had me at Staten Island', said no person ever. Who would work for $375 a week in some ratty SI house where you probably share a bathroom with the whole tragic family?"

"I'm too sexy for this job"
 "Bitch please, $250 a week and you want me to be in shape? For $250, I'm counting on helluvalotta snacks, and I won't be moving like at all."

"Because $100 a week would be too little"

"The hell I will"
 Depending on which ad you look at, this guy has 2,3 or 4 kids of his own. And where are they while he's sewing and playing midnight manny?
"Stacy, where are you? And why did you put a stop payment on this check?"
"Um,  $5 per kid & $10 per day?  So that equals ? Why don't you drive? And why don't you have custody of your daughter. Lots of red lights on this one"
"You might want to bring a dictionary for that sit down"
"But if he/she wants to earn actual money, they MIGHT be able to work in her restaurant"
"This is in the childcare forum. Can't imagine how this could possibly go wrong"
"don't get me wrong, he sounds great, if not too great? Those finishing, prep and Ivy league schools..was your path to mannydom deliberate? Is Dad okay with this?"
"Why not?"
"Clearly there were no warning signs that this might not work"
She stole your 6 year old's tooth fairy money. Be glad she didn't steal your six year old! No excuses for hiring a stranger with no background check! No sympathy for you! 
"She soon will be having a criminal background"

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Turns out Nanny Can Cook

      Our nanny of less than a month is taking charge in her new position. I had not asked her to cook because we have three children and didn't think she could work it out. As it turns out, she has been cooking and she is quite good at it. Good at it as in, I see myself looking forward to coming home wonderding what she has made. Because this was not a part of her original assignment and because she is so good and we want to keep her happy, what would be a fair amount to add to her weekly salary for cooking four nights a week?  I was thinking $100 for family dinner for 5. Friday, we usually go out or do take out.  Her currrent salary is $825 after taxes for five 11 hour days.

ISYN Day in the Life 2015, #10

7:00 Wake up, having slept in workout clothes, I wake up and start working out. Quick lunges and sit ups and then I run outside. I live where it's fairly cold in the winter, but I run in every temperature.
7:50  In shower, Dress, Head Upstairs.
8:00 Simultaneously start toasting waffles and pancakes, select yogurt, slice bananas and brew a pot of strong coffee. 8:105-8:15, Dad comes downstairs, grabs coffee and heads out the door. Mom has already left. She goes in early to be home by 6, he goes in late and works until 8.
8:20-8:35  Feed up and clean up after the twin 3 year olds.
8:45 Kids are both dressed and playing on the floor in the playroom.
9:00 Physical therapist arrives for Twin #2.
9:10 Leave with Twin #1 for his Pre K group. Put him in the jog stroller, bundle him, get my gator on and start running, Try not to get frustrated with the pedestrians and stoplights.
9:25 At preschool, make small chat with some of the nannies. Talk about the weather. We wonder where Spring is. I'm draining my bottle of Poland Springs.
9:30 Twin #1 is in the classroom, backpack in his cubby. I leave the stroller tucked in a special closet and run home. The physical therapist leaves by 10:15. I go three blocks further South than I need to to make the loop longer. The air stings my lungs.
10:10 I'm home and catching up with the physical therapist who demonstrates some activities that will help with hamstring flexibility. After she leaves I wash my face in the kitchen sink with soap and cold water, then I drink a cup of black coffee and a cup of hot lemon water.
10:25 I get out the trainset and set the tracks on course. I attempt to get #2 interested in playing. I put the different trees and train parts in his chubby hand. He laughs and watches me with wonder. It's too quiet so I put a CD on. Mazzy Starr.
11:00 Morning snack for #1. Cheese and a cut up apple with peanut butter. I let him take his time and encourage him, but I don't help him any more. I've learned that I was giving him too much help and I need to let him do everything he can for himself. The apple pieces are in tiny bites with no skin, even his jaw muscles are weak.
11:20 I take him with me down to the laundry room in the building. He loves riding in the cart. If the laundry room is empty, I can spin him around and chase him between the machines. He's the sweetest and easiest kid ever. After getting the clothes from the washer to the dryer, I head upstairs and we dress to go out to pick up brother from preschool.
12:20 We arrive at the school in the double jogging stroller. I get brother, load him up with his artwork for the day and we head home. #1 asks to go to Dinosaur park, his favorite, but it's too cold.
12:40 We are home and I am making lunch for the two. They are fighting over a cookie monster toy that neither of them really likes. I put in a swing CD and crank it up on high volume while I make grilled cheese and slice tomatoes.
1:00 The boys sit at the counter in their big boy stools at the counter. I drink a cup of coffee and nibble on some cheddar cheese and tofu. #1 will fall asleep in his jello if I don't watch him. I scoop them both up and carry them back to the bathroom. #1 is diapered, #2 uses the toilet. Both lay down on their beds in an L Shaped formation and I read them one story. It's so cold outside and so warm and comfortable there, I am tempted to fall asleep. I don't, but I do stay until they are sleeping and then quietly sneak out the door.
1:10 With the baby monitor I run downstairs and get the load of laundry from the dryer and bring it upstairs to fold it.
1:30 On my IPAD, emailing friends, checking FB, sharing status updates about my little charges. Mom is a FB friend. I never share too much and I never share pictures of their faces. Nina, who lives two floors up rings the bell and brings the single stroller back from this morning. She uses it on the return trip for her daughter, who is usually tired after school. She comes in to chat for awhile, holding her baby monitor, of course. She declines tea today.
3:00 I wake the boys if they are not already awake. Today both have to be woken and so they are grumpy upon rising. I ask them if they want to go play. #1 leaps up off his bed and rushes in my arms, "Dinosaur, Dinosaur". I tell him again, it is too cold out today but suggest we go to our favorite indoor playground. They cheer unanimously, "yeahhhhhyy".
3:15 We handle bathroom functions, pack snacks and head off, again in the double stroller. This ride is short though and they chomp cheerfully on Cheezits the whole way. At our favorite indoor play spot I run in to Bindi. Bindi is a  busy body who visited my employers on a Saturday morning to tell them that I favored one child and wouldn't let the other out of the stroller. She smiles at me now, I look through her. These boys are differently abled, I love them the same but things are not the same for each of them.
5:30 We are home. The boys show no sign of tiredness. I was thinking maybe a movie to wind down before dinner, but they want to do something. I get out some of my home made dough (I have all kinds) and set them up at the kitchen table while I bread chicken breasts to make what I hope will pass as chicken nuggets for dinner. I mash some sweet potato and give each a scoop of greek yogurt on their personalized plastic dinner plates. #2 drinks from a sippy cup still but #1 uses a regular cup. They sit like little men across the table from each other and grunt conversation to each other. The nuggets are acceptable but only when dunked in ketchup.
6:05 Mom comes home and throws her stuff down on the entry table. "I'm so tired, I'm late, do I have time to change" "Of course", I say, "Do  you want me to do baths tonight?". She insists she will do them. I hang back in the kitchen cleaning up as the boys finish up to give her some time to wind down. I carry the boys to the bathroom where she is sitting on the side testing the water. "Anything to report" she asks.  "Same ole, same ole" I say.
6:15 I am out the door and off work for the night. Tonight I will hit an SAA meeting at Times Square Art Center and an NA meeting at St Francis. I'm sure I could find closer spots, but I'd prefer not to run into any neighbors or acquaintances. Some days I wonder if I'll still be sober when I wake up in the morning. It's a fear that never leaves you, as committed as I am to my complete recovery.

"K" has worked as a live in nanny on the for this UWS family for 10 months. She does not wish to disclose her salary.
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One Late Appointment Gets Her Grounded

 I have an issue I would like to speak to my family about. Now, they are a wonderful family with one baby. He is almost 14 months.  Let's go back about 2 months ago; mom had ask me to meet her at doc office for baby's appointment.  The night before I ask her the address so I could put in my GPS unit.  She didn't know what the address was so I had to guess.  It was in a general area.  On the way there, my phone died with no charger.  It was one of those days where everything goes wrong.  Got to a store and got hold of mom; who was, of course, really upset.  I went out that night to purchase a new GPS and phone charger.  I never want that to happen again.  ow, they are really hesitate about me going anywhere.  He needs to be outside the house to socialize with others and get exercise.  What can I say to them so baby and I are  not stuck in the house all summer? 

Nanny Wonders What Her Rave Review Was Based on...

     I have been working for this family for three months. I have a nanny contract. We recently had a meeting where the parents told me that I had "exceded their expectations". They in return asked me how I liked things. I said that I loved the kids and planning days with them and spending time with them but I felt that some of the things addressed in the nanny contract were not correct. The husband grimaced. The wife looked uncomfortable. There were more than a few things, for example I am always on time. One time I was five minutes late and as a result, she missed her train and was 40 minutes late to a meeting. She impressed that on me for assertively. However, my hours go until 7:00 pm. That is what I am paid for in my weekly salary. At least twice a week, they are late, usually by only ten or fifteen minutes. When I brought it up in the meeting the husband said, "so what's the problem, you can see the next movie". He clearly didn't equate the importance of my time with his. The wife got the importance of holding her coworkers up at the meeting, but what of my friends waiting for me at the movie? I wavered on this and asked if they could at least call and let me know if they had gotten on a later train. The husband looked severely annoyed. The wife agreed.
     The next thing is the housekeeping and personal assistant tasks that it is assumed I will take on. When I brought this up, they both looked at me with a blank stare. The husband said, "this sounds like girl talk" and excused himself.
      It was easier to talk to my boss, who after her husband left again said how happy she was that I chose their family. I told her that we agreed on specific hours and tasks at a set salary. I suggested that we should consider time for going over seven PM as well as the cost for tasks she would like me to do, tasks I could decide if I wanted to do, based on the pay. She then said, "so if I ask you to clean the downstairs bathroom for $5 a day on a daily basis because ___ is potty training, and you don't want to, who is going to do it for $5?" I said, "well that is kind of the point. If you want extra work done, you can have someone else come in and do it".
     With this, she got exasperated with me and stood up. She said, "why don't you do this. Why don't you make a list of the jobs that we have asked you to do that you didn't agree to and let me know how much each job is worth it to you. I don't know what else to tell you". And she just left me sitting there like a complete moron.
      Has anyone ever been in this situation?
      The list of things would include vacuuming the downstairs, mopping the kitchen floor (not mopping up a spill, but mopping the whole flour), washing bedding from each of the family beds once per week and remaking them, washing, drying, ironing and folding the children's clothes, dropping her husband's shirts at the drycleaners and picking them up, emptying the dishwasher which is left STUFFED full every monday morning, washing pots and pans left in the sink ANYTIME they cook, they leave their pans "soaking" and sweeping the front porch. To be honest with you, I would rather not do any of this.
     This meeting took place last Friday and no one has said a word since. I have continued to do the things they asked of me as listed above. What do I do now? *Also, I feel both parents have been cold to me. Is it possible my rave review was only based on the stuff I was doing that was extra and doing it for nothing? Is it possible to assign a fair dollar amount to these tasks?

McDonalds in Glastonbury, CT

Date: Thurs, 4/23
Location: McDonald's in Glastonbury,CT
Description of Nanny: I saw Your Nanny, a very large woman, possibly size 28. Tall. AA, hair smoothed very straight and wearing a North Carolina Baseball cap.
Description of Child:  Called "Annie" by the nanny. White girl, 2.5-3.5, brown straight hair, wearing a brown corduroy pinafore with light colored tights.
Incident: These two were sitting near us having lunch. After lunch, the nanny went over to the playspace, helped the girl out of her shoes and let her loose in the play area. All fine. Then she goes outside to smoke a cigarette.  And then she did it again. The girl seemed to be fine, but she did exit the play area and run to the window to look out and make sure nanny was still there. I don't think that was a good set up. The nanny was driving a cream colored Toyota 4X4, I think called an FJ. When the nanny was outside smoking she was leaning on the hood and looking down at her phone or out towards the street. If she had still been trained on the kid she was watching, I would have been more comfortable. Maybe this isn't a big deal to you, but if she was my nanny, it would be.

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The Meeting

     On Tuesday, my new nanny asked if we would have time to have a meeting some time this week, just to 'catch up' and see 'what's working and what isn't'.  I suggested Thursday night. (Tonight). This meeting was her idea. She knew when I would be home. However, the kids were running around demanding my attention and hers. Had she planned better, she might have had them set up with an activity or even a movie.
     Once I got the children engaged in a project I sat across from her and asked 'what's on your mind?'
     She then began to go on at length about what the boys were eating for breakfast and how she tries to follow a paleo diet and she could leave me a grocery list so the boys could be sent off to school with whole grain waffles adorned with pears and blue berries. I smiled politely, but I was cringing inside. You see, we're just not that family.
     She also made some organizational suggestions, particularly with morning and afternoon routines. Some of these were interesting and will likely be time saving. I thanked her.
     She then said that..and this is with a big build up...that she could not any longer, in good conscience give my boys cow milk. She offered three solid minutes of explanations and two solid minutes of alternatives. I looked at her, suppressed my irritation and said, "do they ask for milk" and she said, 'yes, but only because it is all they know'. She then went on at length about how she would at her own expense bring in soy or almond milk and let them try it. I'm looking across the table at this girl and this really means something to her, so I suggested that she take some of the house money and buy a half gallon of what she thought best.
     I smile and ask if there is anything else on her mind. She says, 'there is, but I just can't bring myself to bring it up'. I suggested that she could. The kids were stirring and coming to us for evening snacks. She tells me, 'The timing is all wrong. I'm sorry.' Then she gets tears in her eyes. I ask her if she is okay and she says, 'I'm sorry, yes, no everything is fine.' I have one child climbing up my leg and I say as nicely as I can, 'we'll talk more tomorrow, okay?' She nods, gathers her things, says good bye to the kids and leaves.
      What was that? She's been here three weeks. It was the oddest conversation I've ever had, certainly the oddest I've ever had at my own kitchen table. I was a little perturbed, but I was very kind to her and I believe I always have been. She seems to like the children and they like her. I'm sitting here thinking I've hurt her feelings. And hoping I can remedy that in the morning, if that was the case. What else could it be?

Double Negatives

      How do you deal with toddlers that spend their days with nannies and pick up their speech inflections? I'm noticing a lot of double negatives and dropped 'ings'. Am I being over sensitive? I find myself cringing when my four year old says "walkin to the park" or "I don't want no apple." He has been in preschool mornings since the Fall, but he still spends the majority of his day with the nanny. I keep hoping the direction of his teachers will knock some of these language stumbling blocks away, but thus far I've seen no improvement? For the record, she's a wonderful nanny.

     Suggestions? Ideas? Sightings? Email ISYN.


Nanny Notes 2015, #3

I don't know where the Cinnamon Toast Crunch is going dude, but have you
seen the size of your ten year old?
This is from my nanny who makes it clear she does no housekeeping.
My husband left the house in a hurry and left a pan on the stove. The horror!

My boss texted this to me one day after work with the message, "could you
PLEASE clean the drain before you leave?" I texted back, "it's not my hair".
I take care of a bald baby. No, I'm not cleaning pubes out of the drain.

This is a scan of the "bill" my nanny left me on Friday, after we took her away
with us to Belize for ten days,all expenses paid!!

Has someone left you a nifty note or sent you an interesting text? Have you seen a sassy tweet or received a baffling email? Email us with a scan or screenshot.

Facing Burnout

 For the sake of being low key I'm going to just use X to represent the # of vacation days I'm referring to.

      I'm early into my nanny contract at less than a year but have a review coming up in a couple of months. I watch two children under 12 months and am really feeling the burn lately.

     The families I work for are pretty understanding and we have a contract for the share that we've all abided by and that I truly agreed with at the start.

     My issue... There are X paid vacation days BUT half of those are picked by my employers and the other half by me. It leaves me with less than a week that I pick myself. At the time this felt fair because I saw it as vacation days either way, but now I really don't. I want/need some time off because I can tell I'm getting moody and less motivated but I only have so many days I can pick for the whole year. *side note* I do try to incorporate things into the days they pick to feel like they're my own but my body/mind doesn't tire when they decide to go visit family.

     How can I explain to them that the days they choose aren't really my days too? In the past if a parent decides to stay home or not take part in the share I've always been paid... I just feel like they tried to trick me into thinking I had more days than I do.

     At my past childcare position (non nanny) I had 11 days. I switched to nannying thinking I would have more peace in my work but am learning I still need those breaks to manage the stress.

     Am I wrong to bring this up before the review? Or at all? I did sign the contract :/
What's happening? Email ISYN with your thoughts.

No Grill for You

     My boss had asked me to house-sit for twelve days in June when she and the family go away. I would normally be paid anyway.  She said she wanted to leave the dog here too and that I would be good company for him. I have a three year old son, who she also said would be great for the dog. She even said she's make sure the heat to the pool was on so we could use the pool. This came up again yesterday when I made a reference to using the grill by the pool and my boyfriend (of 7 years & baby's father) would love to fire that up. She grimaced and said, "Oh I wasn't expecting that Mike would be coming". There was no doubt about how she meant it. She even followed up with a head shake and said, "I don't think that would fly with Mr. X." (her husband)At first I felt embarrassed like I was being presumptuous. But the more I think about it, I am getting fiercely pissed off! I work 45 minutes from my home. She wants me to stay there, watch the house, get the mail, supervise the grounds crew, water the plants, bring in the paper, put out the garbage and she wants my son there, but had no desire for my boyfriend to come and stay? He does work full time, but did she really think he would not see his son for four days?
      I complicated things when I told my boyfriend what had happened, complete with facial expressions. He is pissed. I told him I would talk to her and he doesn't care. He said he wouldn't go and doesn't want me to go and that he is going to take vacation from work and we are going to go down to South Carolina. He's more angry than I am and says he doesn't care if I quit or lose my job. He also made several references to my employers having a slave mentality and no respect for me.
I'm going to work tomorrow as always and I don't intend to say anything. I'm just a wreck though. I have worked for the family since before my son was born. I feel stupid because I was looking forward to this and felt it would be a vacation of sorts. But my boyfriend is right that there was never any talk of any extra pay beyond what I would usually be making, despite covering two weekends and that I would be paid while they are away even if I was not house sitting. Help!

Have a situation? Share with ISYN. Email us now.


The Pavilion on 77th & York in NYC

So, this is how your nanny conducts herself on a daily basis. This nanny works at the Pavillion on 77th Street. No other words necessary.

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The Broken Tooth

     I am aggravated. Does anyone else feel the nanny/employer relationship is all about power and control? I am a good nanny and have been with this family for 7 months.  About three weeks ago, the fourteen month old was having a fit and kicked me in the mouth. He was wearing a shoe. My lip was cut, but did not need stitches and he knocked out a tooth. #13, left first bicuspid. The parents were apologetic and offered to pay to get it fixed. They sent me to their dentist. The dentist gave me a bridge like contraption which hooks on to the teeth on either side of it. I don't want to complicate this post with technical information, but I now have a removable tooth. I can mostly leave it in. It is noticeable in some ways and also not comfortable.        When this happened, I was just grateful they were being so nice to me. But now that I have my final appointment coming up, I am wondering why they didn't just let me get a dental implant? I am 27 years old. This was an on the job injury that occurred at no fault of my own. I think if I had been more assertive they would have been eager to do things the right way. Instead, I was polite and I am stuck with a temporary appliance type thing in my mouth. What really got me thinking and made me kick myself for being so nice was that I heard my employer talking to her best friend and she said something like, "well anything would be an improvement". This was hurtful because my teeth aren't perfectly straight. My parents couldn't afford braces. I am so focused on this now it is to the point of distraction. Do I have any recourse? I never signed anything and I only went to their dentist who in retrospect only offered the solution he did, no doubt because it was the most cost effective.

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A Day in the Life 2015, #9

6:30 AM: I make it to work and am bombarded by 6 little arms wrapping around my legs and waist. After a quick greeting, I usher the kids back to the table to finish their cereal. Dad usually has them at the table when I get there and has making his coffee. He gives them all a quick goodbye and is out the door. I turn the t.v. from cartoons to music.

6:45 AM: I remind big sister that she needs to hurry with breakfast so she can brush teeth and do hair. She almost always already dressed so she’s 75% ready for school when I arrive. I put together her lunch, make sure all needed items are in her backpack and zip it up and throw it on the floor - next to the door. I then grab her shoes and jacket and throw it next to her backpack. I grab the little kids’ (twins) shoes and jacket so that they can accompany us to the bus stop.

7:00 AM: Big sister finishes up with her teeth and I start to get her hair brush, spray, and hair ties ready. I create a fun and fancy little do for her hair and ask her to get her shoes and coat on. I also ask the little kids to get ready for the bus stop.

7:15 AM: We walk a few houses down to the stop, greet the parents and other children. The bus quickly arrives and I give big sister a smooch and remind her to have a great day.

7:20 AM: Little kids and I walk home, get inside and they finish up with their breakfast, clean up, and brush teeth. I head upstairs, make everyone’s bed (even Mom and Dad), get together a load of laundry, and straighten up rooms. I throw the twins’ clothes over the railing and into the living room and ask them to get dressed.

7:50 AM I put together little kids’ snacks for school, make sure their backpacks are ready to go, pull out their shoes and jackets again, and throw it all by the door.

8:00 AM Little kids and I load up in the car. I am so happy that we have big kid booster seats now AND they can even strap themselves in. I do a double check to make sure they’re fastened safely and then we are off. I always smile and giggle at their cute little twin conversations. Twin #2 asks if we can play at the park after school and I happily say yes.

8:10 AM We head inside to school (I remind them that we use walking feet), twins hang up their backpacks, and we walk down the hall to their classroom. I sign them in, check their cubbies, and place their snack bags in the container. They usually go in without saying goodbye but I never leave without hugging them and telling them to have a good morning. I then head back to their home.

8:20 AM I’m back at the house and I unload and reload the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe the breakfast table, wipe kitchen counters, and swiffer the kitchen floor. I head back upstairs and fold whatever load Mom has left in the dryer, move clothes from the washer to dryer, and start another load. I lay out jammies for the night, and on Mondays I lay out their soccer clothes.

9:00 AM I pull out the vacuum and vacuum under the breakfast table and in the family room. I straighten the living room. I do a quick walk through on the main floor just to make sure it’s not messy.

9:30 AM If I have some more time, I straighten up the mudroom, pantry, and coat closet. I’ll then sit down for a cup of coffee and some downtime.

9:50 AM I head back to pick up the little kids from school.

10:00 AM I wait in the hallway for the twins and they soon emerge and attack me with the best hugs ever. I remind them that we can play on the playgroup for a little while and their little faces light up with big smiles. We talk a quick potty break and then head outside. We play for about an hour, they usually play with some of their classmates and I keep a watchful eye and chat a little bit with the moms. I am happy to report that all of the moms are so easy to talk to and respect me and my job. Sometimes, they’ll ask if I am available to sit for them on certain dates and if I am, I happily accept the gig.

10:50 AM I give the twins a “we leave in ten minutes” reminder. I gather our things and soon gather the twins and head home.

11:00 AM I turn music on, let the twins freeplay while I fold laundry and put it away.

11:30 AM I start to put together lunch: PB&J, apples, yogurt, and popcorn. I’m more than welcome to eat whatever is at the nanny house so I find something and join the twins for lunch. We talk about their day at school, what they want to do for the rest of the day, etc.

12:00 PM Clean up from lunch, load the dishwasher, wipe the tables and counters (if needed). Twins do more freeplay and I usually put together a craft or activity for us to do together. We’ve been prepping a lot for Kindergarten so I put out some shaving cream, spray it on the table, and let them draw letters and pictures in it. They would do this until the end of time if I let them.

12:45 PM We head outside to play in the backyard. Twin #1 rocks at swinging herself but we are still working on it with Twin #2, so we practice. They also love to head into the near back park of the backyard and find acorns and throw them into the woods.

1:45 PM We head inside and I put together some water and a small snack. I set up ABC Mouse for them on their own iPads and they enjoy their snack and get their gaming on. I use this time to unpack their backpacks, empty snack bags, and set forms on the counter. I run outside and grab the mail and also lay that on the counter.

2:05 PM I give the twins a “ten minute left on iPad” warning and head upstairs switch over the laundry.

2:15 PM Twins put away their iPads and free play for a bit. I’ll either engage with them if they want me to or I’ll have a few minutes of downtime.

2:30 PM I ask the twins to get their shoes and jacket so we can go get big sister from the bus. If we have time, we’ll also do a quick run-through of the house (together) to pick up toys and any messes.

2:40 PM We always head to the bus to get big sister a little early so twins can run and play. Once the bus comes, big sister comes off of the bus. She tells me about her day as we head home.

3:00 PM We head inside, and I ask all kids to put away their shoes and hang their jackets. Each kid picks out a snack and heads to the table. I empty big sisters backpack and lunch bag and lay her homework out on the counter.

3:10 PM Mom usually arrives home around this time. Kids and I greet her, I tell her about the day, and she gives me a few reminders. I give each kid a hug and a kiss and head out the door.

I am a full-time, live-out nanny in Virginia for a 6 year- old big sister and her 4 year old twin siblings. I've been employed by this family for a little over 4 years, they’re a great family to work for and pay very nicely