We have been using a nanny for a little over a month. She came highly recommended by the owner of our building who has employed her for two years and continues to every day after her kids are out of school. (I have her in the mornings, three days a week.) She’s been perfectly fine. She takes him to the playground. She plays with him. He seemed to really, really like her, which is why I overlooked the problems I was having with her. (Yes, there have been some problems.)
She’s from Mexico, which is awesome. I asked that she speak spanish to Emory a bunch because I wanted him to pick up some words in another language or at least begin to understand that there are other languages. The problem is she doesn’t speak much english at all. And when she does speak in english, it’s so damn difficult to understand her I spend most of the time asking that she repeat everything. My spanish is rusty at best, so that’s not an option either. The isn’t a problem for the owner of the building because she and her kids speak fluent spanish.
We’ve had some issues with miscommunication. There were two times she didn’t show up because she didn’t understand what I had said. Then there was the time she showed up when I had told her not to. There have also been some problems with what he eats while I’m out but that’s really nothing. Overall, all of these things could be overlooked because she seemed to be doing so well with Emory.
Recently, however, he’s begun to express dread the moment I tell him she’s coming to hang out with him for the day. He used to answer the door gleefully whenever the doorbell rang, now he starts to cry and runs away from her. And I know this is probably because he’s attached to me, but it’s heartbreaking.
It’s been getting progressively worse the last two weeks. Things were getting more and more difficult up until yesterday when he did something so heart-wrenching, it will probably haunt me until the next time he does something heart-wrenching. (So, what, tomorrow then?)
She showed up. He started to cry and asked that she leave. He said he wanted to come with me. He sobbed. Followed me around. Grabbed my legs and wouldn’t let go. Naturally, I couldn’t leave with him acting this way. I tried reasoning with him for a while, explaining to him that I would be back in a few hours, that I had to go do some work but I’d be right back. Nothing helped. After about 15 minutes of trying to reason with him, I took my coat off and decided I would try and work there for a while and see if he calmed down. I went and sat in our room, on the bed, with my computer. I told him, “I have to work. So you play and I’ll work.”
And this is where things took a turn for the ouch. He grabbed a hold of his Fisher Price drawing toy and climbed up onto the bed and said, “Mama, I will work too. I wanna work too. I work with you.”
(Reenactment. I didn’t pull the camera out during the whole ordeal.)
I said, “You should play, Emory. You should have fun and play.”
That’s when his lip began to quiver and he looked at me and said, “Mama doesn’t want to play with me. No playing with Emory. Mama wants to work.” And he began to cry, but these weren’t normal tears, these were tears fueled by sorrow, like I had just abandoned him, told him I didn’t love him anymore. I know! Sounds so over-the-top, but I’m not kidding. I’ve only ever seen tears like this one other time. (A story for another day.)
“You don’t want to play with me.” He finally said. And looked down at his toy, which collected tear drops.
How could I leave after that? I hugged him and said that I’d much rather play with him. And even though I did have actual work to do, I decided I would stay until he said I could leave, if he said I could leave.
An hour later, he was OK with my leaving. So I did. But not for long.
My brother suggested that this might be because the three of us never play together. That he might see her as NOT me since the moment she comes over, I leave. And that makes sense. Everyone else I leave him with (my mother, father, brother) he’s completely fine with—we’ve even gone away for a few overnights. So maybe it just takes some work. But there are other problems with this nanny and so I’m beginning to think it might be time to let her go.
And that’s why I’m writing today: I want advice from those who’ve been there before. Am I overreacting because he was so sad and, in turn, made me so sad? Or should it be easier than this? Should I wait to let her go for another week? How long is too long to try if your little people don’t like being with someone?
As much as I love the time I have to focus on work, I’m not sure putting him through so much sorrow and anxiety is worth it.