Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Update on Nanny V

 this was the only pic I took at the photo shoot and it is lovely! Miracle!

Yes, I've been promising to do this post for awhile.

Do you also feel like there's about 3 times the things to post on any given day?

Anyway, D and I had a lovely discussion and he wanted us to give her notice and get the agency to get us another nanny.

My D is patient as anything but when he's pushed one too many times he turns hard-core.

I was all "but V is PERFECT for our kids and is that not the main thing?".

I managed to persuade him that 5 minutes here or there is not going to make this into a big deal - long-term we want V for our kids - and we should be patient with her while she sorts herself out.

As an aside, everyone tells me I'm being too soft. Me - too soft!!!! I know.

So she tried taking her son directly to school first and then coming here. This actually made matters worse. Yes, she was saving the money paying for his school bus but she was pitching up at 8 and 8:05 regularly, and of course, in the process, driving D dilly.

I had another little chat with her and finally agreed with her that maybe Zimbabwe is the best place for her son to go to school.

Inside this kills me. I hate the thought of a mother having to send her son away so that she can take care of my kids.

Monday she pitched up at 8:10 (I know I'm being pedantic but in Jhb, in the mornings, every minute counts in the traffic), Tuesday at 8:07 and so yesterday I had a chat with her again.

She confirmed that she now could pay for the bus again (1st of the month) so it should be better from today.

Today she arrived at 7:42 so yes, it was much better.

I noticed something today - I'm much, MUCH nicer and calmer when she's early. I don't feel like I'm as tense and we start off the day on the right foot (the kids and I talking lots of nonsense and laughing a lot).

I must confess something though - I'm a bit worried inside.

I don't want to be messed around next year.

What if her son's in Zim and she is still late?

I said to D last night (after V left) that it should be better from now onwards but I'm going to keep track of her timekeeping (I hate this!) and have a letter ready (a warning letter, if you like) on Monday.

Basically, my feeling is to say that if she's not punctual for two weeks we're going to have to start interviewing other nannies again.

Strange, we interviewed her at this very same time of year. She started working for us on 30 Nov 09.

And if worse comes to worse, we'll give notice on 1 Dec and start with "new nanny" (kills me to even write this) on 1 Jan.

On another note, I'm also wondering if V is the right nanny for the kids AT THIS AGE. No question in my mind she is outstanding with little kids but even ONE of mine can walk all over her at their current age; she is that soft.

Sometimes I hear things going on and I have to step in to tell her to put them in time out.

I told you how I feel about the kids going to school (not happening) so I'd rather have a nanny than put them in pre-school.

It will have to be someone firm but loving (like me - hahahha).

What do you think of this whole situation?


  1. Occasionally things come up and a person is late, but when it becomes routine, I think that they might be either disorganized, or uncaring. I was a business manager of a neurology clinic, and I faced this situation many times. Some of the offenders, I really liked, but I had to think what was best for the whole. It is a hard decision to terminate someone, but make a list of the pros and cons. We pray for wisdom for you.

  2. Oh, yikes. I don't envy you - that's a tough situation.

    I just hate the thought - like you said - of her having to send her child away so that she can look after yours. It feels like something that shouldn't be happening in 2011. But I have no advice to offer; my experience of domestic help is limited to watching Downton Abbey.

  3. Horrid crap situation. My nanny also does not have her child with her - but that is her choice, not mine.

    I would also keep a time register (i do with mine), but perhaps before you do that, (yes i know you've spoken to her a million times already) say to her that unless her time keeping reverts to 7h45 whatever, for more than a couple of days in a row, you will have no other choice but to find a new nanny. then the ball is completely in her court.

    And yes, i think that 2yr olds require a lot more stimulation and attention (different attention) than babies do.

    so perhaps it is time for a new nanny?

    Your gut (or the HS) will be telling you what to do in this situation - am sure you can already hear it loud and clear xx

  4. Oh wow, that must be so hard sending her son away! I don't think I could ever do that to my kids. What is the schooling like in Zim? We had family who decided to move to Aus because the schooling was so shocking where they were in Zim.

    It is tough, really tough for both sides. And seems hard to find a workable solution.

    Definitely a praying matter!

  5. Eish. That is a VERY tough one. The thought that she would have to send her child away to look after mine would kill me. Seriously. How can this be happening? In 2011? It just feels so very unreal.

    I don't know the ins and outs of her relationship with your kids and the employer/employee relationship that you have but I think that I would let her go. Legally of course. Maybe she could be retrenched?
    Fact is, her issues are affecting you and D (and indirectly the kids) and as you say, she isn't what your kids need at this point in other words, she no longer meets your requirements.
    Lots for you to think about. Good luck with this one.
    And yes, it takes a lot of self-control for me to not publish at least 4 posts a day.

  6. How seriously does V take her job? I'm under the impression that without a job she would lose her visa and have to go home? This is so tough, but I am more amazed that you tolerate such behavior.

    I was also under the impression that you left later in the morning. Would it be possible to alter your schedule in effort to keep V? Is that something you're willing to consider?

    I don't envy your position at all. I thinking finding another nanny would be too much trouble. V needs to be more firm with them, but by the time you find a replacement the kids will be ready for school. Then there is the issue of transitioning to another nanny and explaining that V won't be back. This is soooo tough! If only there were a way to entice her?!

  7. My opinion, better the devil yo know than the one you don't. That being said, keep an eye on the time thing. As to soft, I have found Lucy, and a lot of other nannies my friends have had, too soft. Not sure if it is culture or if it is that they do not want to be too hard on someone elses' kids.

    As to stimulation, here is what I did - I got some books with things to do for little people (like crawling maizes, art things etc) and actually gave her an activity per day for every week plus she repeadted the previous week's. The rest was unstructured play. And reading - getting books into their lives and puzzles are now important. Give her a sturcture and see how it goes.

  8. Shame M, a tough place to be in. Me and DH moved to SA from Zim almost exactly 10 years ago & my Mom still lives there. It would be interesting to know where in Zim V's family are (I gather she would send her son to stay with family?). The difference in quality of life between a domestic worker in SA and a domestic worker in Zim is MILES apart. Very hard indeed.

  9. Guys, I have NO DOUBT that V is stimulating them enough - they learn TONS and know alphabet, numbers, etc. and this is all her.

    It really is just the time thing and we feel she is too soft with them.

    She is a gentle spirit so doesn't like conflict with the kids. They, of course, have no issues with this and give her a run for her money.

  10. I think the one plus in Zim is that there is more likely to be a "live in" position (little room/s on the property) but I can't see a part time or live-out maid there being able to make much of a living at all -- so, wage-wise, SA tops Zim for sure.

  11. You know I have nanny issues with my nanny having her own kid soon. I can't really blog about it because I'm afraid if she reads my blogs (we are friends on FB). My husband is the one that convinced me to try and let this work with her bringing her baby part-time. But deep down I think the best nanny is one who loves kids but has none of her own or they are all grown. Because at the end of the day we are going to be scrambling for issues with our kids, our own and then her kid (if she can't come to work). How will she be rested and patient with my kids when she's up all night with a newborn?

    Are you paying V for the time she isn't there?

  12. It is so hard when someone is good with your kids and knows your kids and gets your kids. It's really hard to let them go, but you're right...what if someone could be better?

    Tell me this (because I don't pay attention so well sometimes)...why not preschool? Not that I think kids need to be in school this young for the entire time, but I can't remember why you don't want it.

  13. If it's not working, it's not working... I think it might be time for you to start looking. She's not hitting all your must-have buttons anymore, never mind the lateness. If you want to keep doing the nanny option for however long this will become more and more of a problem for you going forward, even if she's on time.

  14. My mom was a nanny for 2 girls (the mom's were best friends) born about 8 months apart. Later, one of them had a little brother. She also looked after the house and did errands and lots of other things.

    The kids adored her - and my mom reminds me of your Nanny V.

    She was extremely organized and worked hard, the kids learned a ton, and often "walked all over her" as she bought and made them all kinds of things and she would do projects and crafts and sit on the floor and play dolls, and still got the beds made and supper cooked, clothes washed, and the floors mopped and vacuumed, etc.

    BUT my mom had absolutely no sense of time or how long anything took.

    She loved those kids dearly (my baby sister was in upper high school) and the girls ages are between my Kendra and Vannan. So she was in her mid 40s when she started sitting them.

    And when she started, she worked hard to be on time and everything - in fact, she worked harder to be on time there, than she did for anyplace else.

    But eventually, her time did become a slight issue.

    I really don't know how to advise you on this ...

    But I can also offer, that just because she seems unable to control them with Mom and Dad around (when you are watching) doesn't mean that she isn't much firmer with them while you are gone.

    I know for me, I have a very difficult time with other people's kids while the parents or siblings are around ... often the kids really don't know who is in control, and so they act up terribly to see who is the person that is in charge - and they will keep acting up until they find out. .... And this must be replayed every single time that this problem happens - 2 authority figures and not knowing which one is top right now.

    And personally, I had a huge problem with showing authority when an especially strong parent was involved ... because I was afraid of them not liking what I was doing.

    I'll be praying for wisdom for your decision.


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