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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Nanny Chronicles: Part Dos

This post is a continuation of this earlier posting.

"Hola everybody! Sorry I'm la -a -ate!!!"

Every morning Poppy would breeze through the door about twenty minutes later than expected and sing her standard greeting as she walked into the kitchen.

Now, I don't think that Poppy was really all that concerned about being late. Because no matter how late she was, she still took a good ten minutes to put that stupid solar panel up in her car everyday.

I would look out the window and see her parking her car. She would then take about ten minutes to get the car closer to the curb. Then we had to factor time for that solar sun visor thingy. By the time she made it in the house, she was already on our cul-de-sac for a good fifteen minutes.

"Jimmy, what do you think of her?" I asked my husband's stepfather, Jimmy.

Now, Jimmy is a pretty laid-back guy. I don't know many people that Jimmy DOESN'T like. Really.

So I was a little concerned when Jimmy took a little longer than was necessary to respond.

"She's . . . definitely . . a character."


"What do you mean by that?"

"Well . . . have you seen her drive?"

"Yes. She's terrible."

"Well. There's that. And I don't know . . . I just have this feeling . . . "

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Jimmy. But Jimmy can be kind of . . . hmm. Intimidating. He's tall and broad and I think Poppy was just a teensy bit awkward around men. And, even though he is the gentlest soul, if I saw Jimmy in a dark alley in New York, I MIGHT think he was Mr. Clean's cousin from Brooklyn and I COULD be a little intimidated.

Jimmy, you know I love you. I'm just saying.

But Jimmy's response had me thinking.

A week after we hired her, John called me at work.

"Hey . . . I wouldn't worry about it, but do you think Shaila will get sick from eating raw meat?"


"Ok, so don't panic." Yeah - great way to start a conversation. I won't panic SINCE YOU SAID THAT. "Well. I was working from home and walked into the kitchen where Poppy was feeding Shaila turkey bacon. Raw."


"She said that you told her Shaila likes it?" John asked.
"Well, yeah. But I meant COOKED."

Cooking bacon seemed like a pretty common sense thing that I might fail to specify for Poppy. What other things were happening in my absence like this? How specific did I need to be?

What would have happened if John hadn't been working from home that day? Would Shaila have just kept eating raw turkey bacon?

What else did I need to specify?

"Poppy - remember not to let my daughter play with those knives!"

"Poppy, can you please make sure that Shaila doesn't crawl into the street?"

"Poppy, remember! No smoking marijuana in the house! Not on Wednesdays anyway!"

I don't know. I was starting to worry.

But any time I would worry, I would also get a glimpse of the loving woman who my daughter seemed to love. And there were some good moments. Really.

But one day John walked into the house unannounced and walked into the following scene.

Poppy in the family room with her feet up on the ottoman on the cell phone.
Television on.
Gates to the family room closed.
My daughter in a walker by herself in the kitchen. Shaila could walk, so what was up with that?

He told me about it that night.

"Well, what did you say to her?" I asked.
"Uh, nothing."
"But she could tell I was upset. I don't think it will happen again." Well, John was a lot more confident than me.

But the next few weeks, we had no more cause for concern like that. Shaila seemed happy and content with Poppy and we were pretty sure that it was an isolated incident.

We wanted Poppy to feel comfortable in our neighborhood, so we introduced her to another nanny on the block who cared for our neighbor's children. Poppy instantly felt comfortable with this woman and soon was making playdates every day.

But one day, I was about to leave for work when I realized that Shaila was running a temperature. Ugghh. 101.5. Not good.

When Poppy got to the house, I told her about Shaila's fever. I had made an appointment for Shaila at the doctor's office but needed to work from home for a few hours before taking her in. However, the appointment coincided with Poppy's plans for that day.

"Well, you know we go over to play with the girls today at that time."
Excuse me?
"Hmmm . . . well Shaila has a fever so she won't be playing with anybody today."
"Awwww. So sad. I was really looking forward to this."
Are you for freaking real?
"You know what, Poppy? I will be watching Shaila today. You can go home."
"Oh, goody!"
I'm not kidding.

I was starting to realize that something needed to change and change fast.

I know what you are thinking. Why did you let this continue? And you know, I don't know why. I think that it's really hard to be objective when your child also seems to love the person I was having these doubts about.

So what did we do?

Stay tuned . . .


Glennon said...


Your blog is very helpful to me. and hilarious. more please.

Jodi said...

Sounds like our last au pair!, you can't park in the "Arrivals" lane at Dulles airport when you go to pick up your friend!

And the new au pair says that the kids vehemently yell "ARE YOU LOST? DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING?" whenever she makes a u-turn. An obvious sign that the last one had no clue....can't wait fo ryour ending!

Kiran Kairab Ferrandino said...

Glennon - yes! We do cook it in our house but you know us and the vast quantities of bacon we consume here ;-)

Jodi - the only reason I don't write out the whole thing at once and just get it over with is that I start to make myself sick every time I start recalling everything and I just have to walk away. Not sick so much with the nanny - but mad at myself that I was not stronger in that situation.


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