Nanny Apprehensions

the nanny tv showI was at the bank today, waiting in line. The bank has a short ledge about 5 inches below the tellers table for the card swiping machine and for customers to keep their bags or papers on, or fill out forms. In front of me was a nanny with her ward, a two year old cheerful and chubby Indian girl. When she reached the counter, she placed the baby on the ledge. The ledge is not a stable area, as it is only about as wide as my hand, but it was enough space for the little girl. Then the nanny started her discussions with the teller, digging through her purse, asking for something, debating another. All this while the little girl, the ward, was sitting totally unattended, not held by anyone, on the little ledge 4 ft from the ground. I kept calculating. Will she fall on her feet or her head? Should I say something?

In true two year old fashion, the girl started wiggling around, playing with her cap. The nanny was too busy and she was getting perilously close to falling. I was about to say something when the bank manager skillfully slid upto the counter. And stood at a short distance from the girl, ready to catch her if she falls. The bank manager said nothing but I knew she was there with a purpose. When I left, they were still debating the nanny’s money issues.

And I thought – there is no way the parents will ever know. Even if the girl got hurt.

This weekend I was talking to an old school friend about my nanny apprehensions. Why I left the babe in daycare at 7 months. I couldn’t reconcile myself to keeping my son for hours with a relative stranger alone, even though one with great background checks and references. Its not just the ‘Nanny put the baby in the mirowave’ stories that scared me. It was the more minor ones. Suppose she is rude to him in my absence. Suppose she punishes him in a way I dont support. Suppose she doesnt buckle him up properly in the car.

In India where nannies stayed in joint families it was easier. Or in flats where neighbours keep an eye on each other, and you run into people you actually know at the bank.

Of course, there are nanny cams. But how many and in what rooms? What about outside the house? Daycare issues are many too, but somehow they seemed more bearable to me.

As a Stay at home mom over the last few years, I have seen many nannies in action – in the babes music and art classes, park, library, art museum. Let me tell you that Mary  Poppins or even the Nannies from the TV shows are far in between. Most of them have been average. Nothing remarkable, nothing I would choose over daycare. I have probably found two that I liked, and they are both nannies of kids in the babes current school.

And I had been thinking after seeing the great nannies who come to pick up kids from the school of maybe trying one when I get back to work.

But after today I will have to rethink. Again.

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3 Comments

  1. Tana

    Khushi, your fears are very real. Just a gentle non-mom perspective: perhaps for every slightly careless nanny, there will be a watchful bank manager nearby? The universe has mysterious ways of taking care of us all. I used to ride the DTC bus system at age 13 in New Delhi … when I think back to that, I am aghast 🙂 Yet I know that it makes me who I am today.

  2. Anonymous

    I think the topic is good but photo is not appropriate.

  3. Suzie

    I completely agree. The worst act I’ve seen so far was a Nanny at a museum leave two young children, under 4 years of age, in a hallway while she went to use the restroom. When she came out they followed in the bare feet many feet behind her. Appauling! If the parents only knew.

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