The Nanny Chronicles

For the past two years, we’ve had a nanny taking care of the kids during the week. The cost of putting two infants in daycare was severely prohibitive, and the thought of doing it was emotionally crippling for me. Since I couldn’t stay home, I felt like having someone I trusted staying home with the kids was the next best thing.

And it has been fantastic. Our nanny is young, and energetic, and loves the children very much. Her duties have always included the twins’ laundry and dishes (bottles when it was that time, and dishes and sippies now), and after she moved into our house last September, she’s had to maintain her room and bathroom and the kids’ play area.

More often than not, it’s been the best situation for us. Sure, are there times when having her living with us felt like we never had any privacy? Absolutely. But given that the house we were living in (at the time) was 2-3 times bigger than any normal person’s house, it never really seemed that bad. We always hoped to get 3 years out of our nanny, figuring by then the twins would be ready for a more pre-school type atmosphere.

Then about 3 months ago, our nanny decided to move back “home” – which means 3 hours away from here. Her dad is ill and all of her friends are there and she never really took advantage of the opportunity she had being here in a more metropolitan city (those of you who know where I live stop laughing please). She could have gone to school, learned to drive, made friends, etc… But instead she would go to her room and watch tv after work and never went anywhere unless she came with us. We tried to convince her otherwise. But she never took the initiative. So it was less than surprising when she decided to move back.

We planned on the summer, figuring it would be easier to find daycare spots then because there would be a lot of shuffling – people moving, kids graduating to kindergarten, etc…And then we found a place close to our new house. An in-home daycare, in our price range, with a very nice woman named Maria. She would teach the kids in English and Spanish, and would have no more than 8 kids for her and an assistant to take care of. The catch was we’d start the kids May 1st. Not August, not September, but just over 30 days away (at the time).

I dreaded telling our nanny. I knew she wouldn’t take it well. And she didn’t. And I can’t blame her – faced with the idea of not seeing two children I’d taken daily care of since they were 12 weeks old I’d be heartbroken too. The only weird thing was she’d have to move with us, but only stay here for 2 weeks until she moved out permanently.

That’s when the nightmare started. She bailed on the move – leaving me sick, caring for both kids while trying to power through moving all while feeling like I had a truck repeatedly running me over. She left her stuff a disaster, forcing H and our friends to pack her bathroom and most of her room. Our move took two days, and on the second day J spiked a fever of 102.7 and made it virtually impossible for me to do much of anything around the house. By Sunday night of that weekend, our nanny text messaged me that she didn’t feel good and was “texting in sick” for the next day. I had already missed 2 1/2 days of work due to the Plague, so there was no way I could stay home another day, PLUS she had gotten sick with the same Plague I had on the same day, so I knew that part of it was just laziness. I texted her back and told her that wasn’t going to work and she needed to be here, and that after ditching us to handle her responsibilities for the weekend (her stuff AND she was supposed to help watch the kids) that she needed to be at work in the morning.

She showed, but was super crabby. And it seems that every day that goes by as her last one gets closer she has less and less interest in leaving on a good note. The clincher came yesterday, when she told H that she was probably not going to come to the kids’ birthday BBQ because she’d been here on their actual birthday. Could you imagine if the kids were older and actually understood her absence how they’d feel?

I’m dreading her leaving, not because I think she’s doing a great job now, but because I know my kids will be heartbroken. She’s been spending her weekends here less and less, and I’m hoping that eases the transition, but I’m dreading the day they ask for her, cry for her, and I have to tell them she’s not coming back.

Why does their first lesson in heartbreak have to come so early?

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