The Exploits of a Nanny

Taking the pain May 14, 2007

Filed under: baby behavior,nanny issues,the apartment,the bad — S @ 7:03 pm

My neck, chest, and bossom (or is it the plural bossoms?  This is a hot topic in the apartment) take quite a beating while I’m rocking Liz to sleep.

Yes, she cannot yet put herself down, and she’s still sleeping in her swing.  It’s not what I would chose, but I respect the parent wishes.  I don’t think it’s horrible either.  She’ll learn in her own time.  Besides, she’s going to grow out of that swing soon, and then a new situation will have to be found and she will have to adjust.

Ok, back to the topic at hand.  Liz likes to slap, claw and pinch me in an attempt to keep herself awake.  Ouch.  But what can I do?  She doesn’t know that she’s hurting me.  She doesn’t really understand that concept yet.  At least her mom has started trimming her nails more.  There were a few weeks where it was really painful.  I do what I can to discourage her, and try and at least get the concept across that she shouldn’t do that, but it often helps keep her awake.  Grrr…

 

Signing and sitting up March 13, 2007

Music: Hey Jude by the Beatles

I had tentatively started using signs with the girls in the past month or so, but wasn’t sure about the timing. Was it too soon for it to be of any use? But I recently discovered a community of nanny bloggers (yippee!) Several of them talk about signing with their kids, and I asked Shel when she started and her response was 6 months. So I’m a little behind with Liz, but I don’t think it’s going to be much a problem. Today I started using the signs for hungry, tired, water, sleep, eat, no, finished, calm, and ILU. Getting them to make eye contact can be a challenge, and I’ve been more successful with finding times to use them with Liz, but it’s exciting. I do have some reservations, but they have nothing to do with childcare, maybe I’ll go into that another time.
Rose’s sitting up on her own! I still have to sit behind her in case she loses her balance, but it’s exciting. We’ve been working toward this for about a month now. She’s doing pretty well at correcting when she starts to lose her balance, but there are still times when she topples over.
Yesterday I was told for the first time that one of the girls looks like my child. On our walk a woman who was probably about 4-6 months pregnant told me that Rose looks like me. The was even after I had told her that I was only the nanny. My roommates thought it was because of the eyes; Rose and I both have big eyes with long lashes that sort of dominate the face. But hers are brilliant blue and mine are just plain brown.
It’s glorious today! Can’t wait for our walk.

 

Falling Down March 8, 2007

Filed under: nanny issues,the bad — S @ 3:29 pm

On Monday I fell down a flight of stairs.  I slipped on a patch of ice stepping off of the porch at Cana house, and landed hard on my thigh and then again on my hip before coming to rest on the ground.  There were about 8 or 9 steps, so I guess I’m lucky I didn’t break anything.  I’m also lucky that I didn’t land on my back.  But Tuesday was a really bad day for me.  It hurt to move.  It hurt to get up and down off the floor which is something I do constantly during the day.  It also hurt to go up and down the stairs.  I carry the girls on the hip that I landed on, and it’s hard to break old habits.  I have the most massive bruise ever.  It’s bright purple.  Yesterday I only had Liz, so that made it alot easier, and I wasn’t in nearly as much pain.  The problem wasn’t even so much my hip and thigh as it was general achiness and tense muscles, or maybe it was just a combination of all of it.
It made me think about what would happen if I did seriously injure myself.  I wouldn’t be able to care for the girls if I broke a bone.  There’s just no way.  So then what?  It’s not a pleasant thought, and it’s making me think more seriously about health insurance.  I’m making enough money to afford it, but it’s SO expensive.  So far I’ve just put it off, but in the back of my mind I think I’ve been planning on just not having it.  My dad’s a doctor, as well as my sister and brother, so unless I need hospital treatment, I don’t really need insurance.  But it could happen, and if I can’t pay for it, then I’m in trouble.  Serious trouble.  I love being a nanny, but that’s one area of the job that sucks.

 

Celebrating the Warmth February 21, 2007

Filed under: baby development,nanny issues,the good — S @ 4:53 am

Today the girls and I got to go on a walk 🙂 Rose’s teething, and it makes her really uncomfortable. She also doesn’t want to sleep and gets really upset when she’s about to go to sleep. When we were on the walk and she was getting tired she started cooing to herself really loudly, and I thought it was pretty funny. She sounded so cute, and I didn’t have to feel bad about the noise the way I do sometimes in the condo because Liz’s mom is working. Speaking of Liz’s mom, she seems to be more tired recently. She’s just more quiet and not as communicative. I don’t really mind, I just feel bad for her, and hope it’s not something more serious. I still worry sometimes that there are things that I do that she doesn’t like, or times when she wonders “why is that baby still crying?” There are times when I have no choice but to let one of the girls be fussy for a little bit. I just have to make a judgment call about how “legit” their complaint is, and how fussy they’re being. Like for example, Liz doesn’t like to be alone, and is only ok with it if she’s in a very specific mood, so when I need to change Rose, I just have to let Liz fuss. She’s not in pain, she has all her needs meet, etc. She just doesn’t want to be alone/needs someone to keep her entertained. Same thing when I’m feeding Rose. Sometimes they both get tired or hungry at the same time and set each other off. Often they are tired at the same time, and the only way to get Liz down is to feed her a bottle, but Rose’s fussy because she feels herself going to sleep, but doesn’t want to, so I feed Liz a bottle downstairs so that Rose doesn’t distract her, and pray that Rose can self-sooth enough that I don’t have a real disaster on my hands. I have to assess the best way to handle the situation so that neither of them gets too upset, and often have to chose to let one be unhappy for a little bit. I try to anticipate them as much as possible as to avoid this situation, but there are times when no amount of anticipation can prevent these moments. You can’t make a baby go to sleep, and sometimes if Liz’s a little tired, seeing Rose get a bottle will set her off even if she’s not that hungry. It’s hard to let one of them cry. Usually I can create a situation where neither of them is all out crying, but the fussies are harder to totally eliminate.

 

Cursing the cold January 18, 2007

Filed under: baby behavior,nanny issues — S @ 3:04 pm

It’s been super cold here. Of course we haven’t had the really horrible weather that some of the country is getting, but cold enough that I don’t even consider taking the girls out. Days that we don’t get a walk get long for all three of us. The girls accumulate tiredness and crankiness throughout the day, and are worn out by the last couple hours. They also start wanting to see their parents. By the end of the day it’s hard to make them both happy, because often they both want to be held, and I can’t hold/comfort them both for very long. My most recent solution? I calm Rose down, put her in the swing with a toy to hold onto, and I bounce Liz on my hip standing in front of the swing so the girls can look at each other and Rose can see me and I can make her giggle with my funny faces. Whatever works. I miss the walks because it’s sort of a break for me. Liz will fall asleep without me having to coax her into it, and neither of the girls needs much attention. It’s a nice breather. So I’m looking forward to the warmer weather.

 

It’s been a while October 26, 2006

Filed under: discipline,nanny issues,the bad,things kids say — S @ 9:29 pm

I’ve been MIA for a while because I’ve been so stressed out about things. And life has been keeping me moving. Last weekend I went down to Goshen, and the weekend before that Mike was up here. I’ve been working late days/overnights at least once a week, although yesterday I got off early because the boys were getting Flu shots.
Here’s the thing. I’m not sure that I’m a good fit with this family. Being a nanny you have to fit with your family’s needs and values for it to work, and I’m not sure that’s the case here. Honestly, I don’t think Jordan likes me very much. He does on some levels, but I think we kind of clash. He wants to believe that he’s in charge and calling the shots, and that doesn’t sit well with me. I can let it go most of the time, but there are times when I need the boys to do what I say without me repeating myself 10 times and having to resort to threats or counting. I try alot of tactics, like telling them why they need to be doing what I’m asking (we need to get to school on time, etc), but that doesn’t work alot of the time. The past few weeks ever since Janice talked to me and talked to the boys, I’ve let things slip too much. I’ve given the boys too much rope and they took it and ran. It’s gone majority downhill. They get in fights all the time. They talk back to me and order me around. They honestly function better and are happier when I have things under control and they’re not doing whatever the hell they want.
So I cracked down a bit more today. I talked to them about their fighting and asked them to think about what they can do to end them. I also was basically more of a hard ass in general. Not obsessively, but when Jordan was blowing bubbles in his milk and getting it every where I told him to stop and took his milk away when he didn’t. I told Anthony he had to eat all but one of his pineapple. I can’t keep catering to their whims. They need a nanny, not a pushover, and if they can’t handle it/ their mom doesn’t like it, than maybe it’s time that I start looking for another job. Which is exactly what I’m doing actually. I haven’t given up on this one yet, but as my flatmates can attest to, I come home miserable every night! It’s easy to say, “just ignore it” “don’t take them seriously” all that, but in the end, they are the people I see all day and when they treat me like shit it’s hurtful. I’m just tired of fighting them on everything. This morning, getting them to eat their breakfast in 45 minutes and not spill their milk everywhere was a test of wills. Getting Anthony to go upstairs and get his socks and then put his shoes and coat on took at least three times as long as it should have.
One thing I’ve realized is that Jordan’s taking about his frustration from school on Anthony. Last year Jordan was at the top of his class age group. They go to a Montessori school, so they are with three grade levels together. Now Jordan’s a 1st grader in a classroom with 1st-3rd. He’s used to being top dog, and now that he can’t be that at school he has to assert himself and his dominance at home. I asked him about that yesterday, and his response what “I like being teased!” He won’t take any of our conversations seriously the way Anthony will. He makes a joke out of them. Says stupid stuff. It’s hard not to be very frustrated.
So I’ve been thinking about where I want to work, and if I might work better in a different environment where there are co-workers to go to to consult, and other people “on my team”. I don’t feel like I’m a team with Janice, because she has made it clear that she doesn’t want to deal with issues, that she wants to come home and hear about what we did that day and then I leave and she has fun with her boys. So that’s what I’m trying.

 

Am I going to lose my job? October 4, 2006

Filed under: nanny issues,the bad — S @ 9:23 pm

So I’ve been worrying about the fact that Janice wasn’t giving me any feedback about my job, but then last night when she came home she unloaded on me. Once I turned the corner and was out of sight of the house, I couldn’t hold back my tears. She just wants me to “get it”. She doesn’t want to have to tell me what she wants. I mean Mona (their previous nanny who was with them since the birth of Jordan) didn’t have the issues I’m having! So what’s my problem! That’s sort of what she said. I’m too strict. I’m not realistic with my goals. I have too many rules. She doesn’t want to have to come home and try to figure out what “the newest rule” is. She doesn’t want to have to deal with anything. Oh, and I have the easiest job in the world. What am I going to do if she fires me??? I think she’s going to fire me.