Over the years, your face has changed—not just from the sweet rounded cheeks of a newborn to the angular face of a seven-year-old, but from face to face, of all the babies I have been privileged to know and hold. Your eyes have been blue, brown, green, grey. Your skin tone has ranged from dark to light. And the hair that I’ve buried my nose in while I rock you back and forth after bad dreams has changed from curly and soft to wiry to finest spun cornsilk.
It’s rare I make posts about being a nanny these days -- that’s partly because I’m not a full-time one anymore. I do still look after children, but I do it on an occasional basis, and it’s not as big a part of my life. But I was having a conversation with my friend Anne and realized that it’s really hard to explain nanny attachment and the feelings you get when you end a relationship, for whatever reason, with a child that you have spent a lot of time with and become very attached to. There’s a certain sort of pain that can’t really be described. Attachment goes both ways -- but the child has an advantage, in that they forget you fairly quickly. You have the memories, and the memories are often very bittersweet.
Before I did a lot of nannying for babies and toddlers, I used to scoff at people who thought cry-it-out (CIO) was hard to do. “If the kid doesn’t need anything, then they’re not going to get to stay up later by crying and trying to get sympathy!” I said. “Let them cry and know who’s boss.”...more
One thing I hear a lot as a nanny from parents is that “it’s SO different when they’re your own”, often accompanied by a stifled look of superiority as they watch me wrestle my latest charge. I also hear a lot of “oh, you SAY you won’t do this now, but trust me, when you’re a parent, you will. You’re going to do basically everything you said you wouldn’t. Being a nanny is NOT the same as a parent.”...more
I used to scoff at all the nannies and parents who would complain every day on social media about the children in their care who just wouldn’t eat. Up until my last nanny job, I was blessed with children who might have been picky, but sat down and ate quietly at the table with little complaint. I was a picky eater myself, so I had a bit of sympathy with kids who just didn’t like a lot of things. I engaged my mother’s rule -- three bites and you can be finished -- and found it bore fruit. So I was really confused by people who complained about their child’s eating habits. Why did food need to be a fight?
Well, then I met Glo-Worm, and I understood completely why food turns into a fight....more
I get asked a lot about interviewing childcare providers, probably because I’ve been through so many of the interviews myself. I’m normally able to give a few tips, but I think now I’m just going to point people to this post. Here’s how NOT to interview a nanny....more
I’ve talked to a lot of parents over the years who love every part of parenting except sleep training. These days, sleep training has become controversial, involving dozens of methods that range from gentle to strict. Some cry-it-out methods, that may have been popular in the past, aren’t considered good for child development now. Sleep training can be done without hours of crying and tears. ...more
Whenever I look at ads for nanny jobs one of the main job duties listed is “educational play.” Traditionally, this means spending time with children working on writing and reading using electronic LeapPads or tablets, doing mathematical worksheets, using flash cards, or playing board games that are meant to increase literacy. I understand the importance of doing these activities. Kids who practice reading, writing, and arithmetic skills at home often do better in school. ...more
I’m kind of a fan of writing controversial parenting-related posts, and this one is going to be no exception. It’s worse than the great breastfeeding debacle. It’s worse than vaccinations. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to write about diaper changing. *cue ominous music* In public. *cue gasping*...more
I admit that as a nanny, I am sometimes excited when the parents come home late. It means extra money for me. It may also mean more time with the kids, which can be great if we’re doing a special craft or watching a movie. But nine times out of ten, I want the parents I work for to arrive home on time. I have plans, I have chores, and I need time to myself – it’s what helps me to be a better nanny. ...more