When I began student teaching we hired a nanny to take care of Baby Love. I sifted through almost 30 applications to the position, phone interviewed close to a dozen applicants, and interviewed two in-person. We thought we had found the perfect person to take care of our sweet daughter while I was unable to.
We were wrong.
It soon became apparent that the nanny, Z, and us were on different pages. I would request she do something one way, I would learn later she did it a different way (after agreeing to do it mine). For example, she was a big believer in schedules. We keep Baby Love on a loose schedule, but she’s such a tough sleeper we stay flexible to meet her daily needs. We told Z to let Baby Love sleep in as long as she would and to just adjust naps a little later if she slept late. Sleeping in usually meant a bad night, and she needed the sleep so she didn’t get a sleep deficit and then have a harder time sleeping the next night, get a bigger deficit, etc. I learned after many weeks that Z had been waking Baby Love at exactly 8AM every morning if she wasn’t already awake, despite these instructions. I told her to not let Baby Love cry herself to sleep. She didn’t seem to mind if she screamed herself out (for short periods, if it got too long she’d go in there…I think). I just didn’t trust that my daughter was being taken care of the way I asked.
On top of that we had habits that annoyed each other. She brought her 14 month old with her (which we were fine with in theory), and he ended up being a whirlwind force who got into everything. We babyproofed, but the amount of stuff we had around annoyed her. I’d regularly come home to find something thrown out of the room she watched the kids in primarily…like my Roomba, which had charged in that room…or a single pair of shoes I forgot to move after taking them off the night before and she threw in front of a heater and ruined. I was annoyed by her uncleanliness. I have berry stains in my carpet from where her child threw berries and she didn’t pick them up or clean the stain. And so on.
Worst of all, Baby Love was stressed by the transition away from being with mom. She wasn’t eating very much at all. We almost completely lost her EC. Her sleep was backslid and flatlined at about the worst it had ever been. She’d cry and fuss at least once a day, and would fuss herself to sleep for every nap. She was unhappy.
After being with us for about a month (out of the 14 weeks she committed to) she told us she may have gotten another job for after her time with us ended, but that it started about 2 weeks before ours ended. She said since that job was permanent she’d do whatever she had to to get it, including leaving us early, despite previously committing repeatedly. Then she told me the date. It was actually 4.5 weeks before she was supposed to stop with us. She was leaving us with 1/3 of the job still to go.
I was upset. I had been trying to let the annoyances go, thinking that it was just part of having a nanny and I was being a control freak. Baby Love was stressed, but I thought it was just that Z was not-me, not that she was bad in any way. She was another person “living” in our house for much of the day, and we all had to adjust. I wasn’t sure how I could find someone else we could trust, since we had had to weed out so many people with what we could afford to pay. As much as Z annoyed me, we were at least settling into each other. I didn’t want to start the process over. Nevertheless, we began the search again.
Z told us she got the job on Friday.
That evening I put up a position.
Over the week several people applied, including E. I phone interviewed many. On the following Sunday we arranged to meet with E. And fell in love.
She was fantastic. A calm but competent presence. She had no formal experience, but we still trusted her to take care of our daughter. She was pregnant with her first child, who she had just learned was a girl, and doted on Baby Love.
We hired her an hour later. She started on Tuesday (since the hubby was home on Monday).
I came home that Tuesday and was amazed. Baby Love was so calmly happy to see me. With Z she had always been borderline frantic, borderline melting down, happy to see me in a “OH MY GOSH MOMMY HI PLEASE PICK ME UP HOW ARE YOU!?” kind of way. With E she was just…content. Happy. Peaceful. She beamed at me. It was the same kind of reaction the hubby gets when he comes home and Baby Love has been with me. A, “Oh, hi mom! I’m glad you’re here! Want to play with us?” kind of reaction.
I talked with E about the day. It went fabulously. Baby Love didn’t cry. At all. Zero fussing. Zero crying. She let E rock her to sleep in her arms on the first day she stayed with her! She peed on the potty for her. She ate a generous amount of bottle and solids. She was happy.
I was happy. E was nice and calm and assured but willing to do whatever I wanted. She felt like this was a wonderful job with a wonderful child, rather than something beneath her for not enough pay, and that attitude showed. I felt comfortable inquiring about things, requesting things, letting her know how we did things, and felt I’d be listened to rather than be an annoyance.
As time has gone on the change has been INCREDIBLE. Baby Love has never been as stressed as she was during her weeks with Z. Her nighttime sleep is steadily, sharply increasing as E stays with us. I cannot stress enough how amazing this is for this sleep-deprived mama! She still naps for E relatively easily, getting much longer and better naps on a flexible schedule. She eats an appropriate amount of bottles and solids. Her EC is back.
I had no idea how stressed we all were with Z until she was gone. E is like a breath of fresh air. I am so happy. SO happy.
You better believe E will be getting one well-thought-out baby gift from us!