Finding a Nanny Is Like Trying to Mine Gold

We recently were “blessed” with a little screaming, grunting, rooting, writhing “bundle of joy” in the form of a baby boy. My wife took approximately 2.5 months off to be with him, using a combination of disability leave and vacation. As all moms do, she fretted over having to put him in the nursery at our older son’s daycare. There’s nothing wrong with it really; it’s small and it seems that anytime you go in there, there are 4-5 screaming youngin’s. It’s just not the calm, nurturing environment you want your children put in.

But, that’s life.

But then, as mentioned in an earlier post, we found out how much the ladies at daycare are paid and we thought, “Hey, let’s get a nanny.” Great idea! (at first)

We embarked on a search for a nanny through various channels and here’s what we found:

  • friends don’t wanna give up their sitter or nannies, so don’t bother asking them for a good name
  • online, so-called “Nanny reference services” run the gamut of everything from “fresh off the plane” foreign nannies, for which you pay a premium up front, but who are generally cheaper on the back-end because they live with you, to simple classified listings that are free for the nannies to post to, but for families looking for nannies, cost anywhere from $19.95 per month, to $200 per month.
  • free classified ads like those found on Craigslist

The problem with paying for one of these online listings is that you’re never really sure if the ads you can “preview for free” are real or not. So you may see some great listing, pay your money to access her contact information, only to find out (via e-mail) that “Oh shoot, I just accepted a position this past week.”

Therefore, we went the Craigslist route and received many responses, most of which were college-age girls with horrid MySpace sites that intimated everything from drug and alcohol abuse, to an abhorrence to children. It was truly mind-boggling.

After I screened and contacted several potential nannies (yes, that’s right “I”, as in “Me and not my wife”), I showed them to my wife who just kindof hmm’d and haaa’d over a few, without showing much interest. See, apparently my wife’s first reason for wanting a nanny was to make it easier for her to get out the door in the morning, but since she started getting up earlier, rather than at the last minute like she used to do, she’s been able to get herself and the boys ready (with my help I might add) with a minimum of fuss. So, Reason #1 for a nanny…GONE!

Reason #2 for a Nanny became the whole daycare thing, and how it’s just not a healthy environment for a newborn.

So, all this time that my wife has been back at work, we’ve had two different “nannies” helping us with the newborn during the day because we can’t get him in daycare till June anyway. Both are very nice girls, but all they want to do is lounge around and watch TV. Our son, who is now 3 months old, gets almost no stimulation until we come home and take over (I work from home sometimes so I see what goes on during the day). As time has gone on, I’ve run this whole nanny business over and over in my head and come up with the following reasons why a nanny may not be ideal:

  • while cost-effective now that we have two boys in daycare, when our oldest son starts pre-K and then kindergarten, and will NOT be in full-time daycare, it will not be cost-effective to have just one being cared for by a nanny
  • given the complete laziness exhibited by both nannies thus far, I fear how little exercise and artistic activities our children will be given. Currently, our eldest son plays on the playground for almost 2 hours a day, and does at least two different craft activities, on top of learning Spanish (at 3 years old). I don’t see a nanny doing all that
  • external social interaction will be much less with a nanny

After nearly two weeks of almost no nanny searching by my wife, I recognized that it was time to bring up my points. I did it subtely one evening while watching TV, “So, what do you want to do about a nanny?”

Subtle huh?

Her reaction was much the same as it had been for the last two weeks at which point I finally laid out my reasons why I was now against it. She agreed, but still wouldn’t commit to ending the search.

Another week went by and I’ve got three nannies awaiting a callback and finally I say, “So, are we done with the nanny idea?” Put on the spot she finally says, “Yes.”

YES, YES! OH YEAH BABY, RIGHT THERE! JUST LIKE THAT!

GAME, SET, MATCH!

I’m done. No more postings on the Internet, no more searching Myspace and Google for e-mail addresses and names to see what inane postings by these women I can find. I’m done! Fini!

In retrospect, as a friend pointed out, I should have realized by her lack of desire to be the one looking for a nanny, that it had become a non-issue. A momma-bear who isn’t taking the search for a surrogate caregiver firsthand, probably isn’t really into the search anyway.

Had I let her do it, I could have saved myself a lot of time and hassle. Sometimes I’m really dense.

Watch Your Kids for Goodness’ Sake

There’s a time-proven method of getting over writer’s block, and that is to just start typing and see what goes from there. I’m doing that today because nothing of note happened since Mother’s day. I suppose I could go on about Mother’s day and all, but it too was fairly uneventful. I suppose I’ve always wondered about people who blog on a daily basis. How do they come up with that much material? OK, here’s my last couple of days in a nutshell for those that are interested:

  • Mother’s day came and went with no special events. We had my wife’s mom and dad over and I grilled sausage and chicken. There was cake, we shared wine and hugs. It was all good.
  • Our neighborhood pool opened this weekened. Oh, see it worked! Now I have something to complain about 🙂

Moms…when you’re at the pool with your children, especially those of you with young children, other parents who are also there with their children and who are actually IN THE WATER playing with their own children, don’t want your children hanging all over them.

Our son met some kids at the neighborhood park over the summer. Two little girls and a boy. They were at the pool both times we were over the weekend. I, loving the pool, and wanting to get our 3-yr old used to the pool fairly quickly this summer, was in the water with him. This family’s oldest daughter (of 5 years) would not stop crowding us and trying to get into what we were doing. She’s a really cute little girl and I like her, but ENOUGH! And where’s your mommy little girl? Oh, there she is, sitting up beside the pool, fully dressed, yapping away with her friend, not in the least bit interested in what her kids are doing.

Yes, I get it that we have a lifeguard, but if you aren’t interested in watching your kids for safety’s sake, at least keep them out of other people’s hair.

It’s really funny watching kids around the ages of 3-6, and I don’t know if it’s always been this way or just our society has forced little girls to become extroverts, but the boys appear to be the well-behaved ones and the little girls are these noisy, bossy little things that want all the attention. Truthfully, I always wanted a boy and a girl, but I have two boys and quite frankly, I think it’ll be an easier road. We’ll see.

Digging Up Other People’s Memories

We have two rather large dogs, and like all dogs, they LOVE to chase critters, of which we have a-plenty. This means that when any sort of critter is spied and takes to ground, digging ensues. However, sometimes digging ensues even without an obvious critter hole. Such was the case when I peered over my balcony and spotted a fresh hole near one of my sprinkler heads.

Also flapping around in the breeze were two old polaroid pictures and what appeared to be the corner of some kind of box jutting out of the freshly-pawed earth. My curiosity piqued, I walked down the steps and crouched over the pictures. The were of a middle-aged woman, lovingly hugging her Golden Retriever…

Uh huh, now you know what the box contained right? Yep, the apparently cremated remains of one much-loved Golden, contained within a hard plastic box wrapped up in a plastic bag with matching Polaroids.

Part of me wanted to say, “Ick!” and throw it away. After all, the thing was only buried like two inches underground, and very close, I might add, to my sprinkler pipe. The other part of me that likes dogs and understands the owner’s intent, figures I should go bury the thing again.

For now, the box remains where I pulled it out of the ground. It seems pointless to bury it. After all, the previous owners will never know. But what if I don’t, and my basement becomes haunted by the ghost of a Golden Retriever? That would be too weird.

Those oh-so generic Toyota Camrys

The Toyota Camry. You see them every day. They’ve been around for years, changing little more than the hood on the front and the trunk and taillights on the back. But despite their never-changing look, people continue to buy them. These people are all alike. They drive the same. They are the bane of my morning commute. Here’s what we know about the Toyota Camry:

  • Camrys continue to make the Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicle List
  • The Camry was the first non-domestic car to compete in NASCAR in recent years
  • It is THE most popular car in America

Now, here’s what I suspect about the Toyota Camry based on my own informal research study:

  • The most popular color is Gold
  • Drivers of Camrys really like their bumper stickers, vanity plates, and license plate frames
  • They all drive a two-lane stretch of road near me between the minutes of 6:48-6:54 a.m.
  • They all drive at least 5 mph less than the speed limit

There is a 4 mile stretch of 2-lane road that I travel on each morning going to work. The speed limit is 35MPH the entire way, and the middle of it includes a very steep valley, which, if you don’t build up enough speed, requires you to hit your passing gear to climb out of if you’re not going fast enough already. Each morning, despite varying my departure time by a few minutes in either direction, I inevitably get behind a Gold Toyota Camry. I have identified at least three different ones. My method of differentiation determination is as follows:

  • They appear at various stretches of the road. Two at the very beginning, on about 1/3 of the way through
  • They all have a different tag number (satisified?)

The interesting thing is, that despite their differences, they share some staggering driving similarities, mainly that of driving VERY slowly, and completely ignoring the rather large-grilled pickup truck on their tail urging them onward. And it’s not like they see me there and I upset them to the point that they obstinately refuse to speed up…they just don’t care. When I do inevitably pass them at the traffic light, they are middle-aged working women staring blankly off into space pondering Lord-knows-what–that hair appt. they need to make; what to put in the Crock-Pot tomorrow before leaving for work–I don’t know!

I’ve tried to avoid them, but I think they have hacked into the Sirius satellite orbiting the planet and have triangulated my location through my sattelite radio receiver and act accordingly in order to foil my attempts at a frustration-free drive in the morning.

Or…I could be just completely unlucky (and paranoid). YOU make the call!