Lucky Number Seven

One little girl, two bewildered and frustrated parents, and seven would be nannies.
 
1
 
To some New York parents, “seven” is the number of the train they ride to work, the floor they live on, or the series BMW parked in their garage.  For me, well, it’s the number of nannies we’ve gone through over the past three years: an often-comical, sometimes frustrating, and occasionally agonizing series of trials and tribulations—all to find the perfect nanny to watch my one and only whirlwind of joy.
 
After succeeding for two decades in Hollywood and then Wall Street, I figured motherhood—and subsequently finding a nanny—would be relatively easy. Being a mother has simply been one of the single greatest experiences of my life. But finding a nanny? Well, that turned out to be another thing entirely.
 
A NEW DAUGHTER & A DOULA
 
After the birth of my daughter, I decided to extend the standard 12-week maternity leave offered in my benefits package. My husband was simply terrified of our newborn: other than changing the occasional diaper, he just stared befuddled at our sleeping, suckling, pooping, spitting-up angel. In order to regroup, I found a lovely doula named Jenny—the perfect short-term solution, even if she was a bit…granola/earthy.
 
But what I really needed was some more permanent part-time help. It would give me some flexibility to go to doctor appointments, get back in shape, do household errands, and even stay somewhat connected with my office. 
 
So I started the search for what I will call Nanny Number One (“No. 1” for short). During my few saner (yet still sleep deprived) moments when Jenny was around, I had joined an indispensable resource: an online mom’s group specific to our neighborhood. The postings allowed me to feel in touch with all of the things happening in our area, and connect with nearby moms over everything from common problems to current gear recommendations.
 
 I also attended a few of the local social moms’ gatherings. At one of those fetes, I met a very chic and quirky mom—also a career woman for many years—who already had a part-time person in place. The proverbial light bulb went off: I could just use her nanny the other days and we could share this great person whom she endlessly raved about. 
 
NUMBER ONE
 
I met No. 1. She seemed nice, and I asked the basic questions about her experience, safety, and how long she had been working for my newfound friend, etc. She seemed to answer everything in the correct manner, and so No.1 would work for us two days a week, while still working for my friend for three—the perfect “nanny share.” She was sweet, positive, and a mom too, which I liked a lot, and reassured me as to her ability in watching a newborn (which she did with a certain aplomb). 
 
The summer ended all too fast. I wasn’t the least bit ready to get back to the office, so I resigned. I had No. 1 and the hubby (still lovable, and upgraded to ‘quasi-useful’) to help out with the baby, while I embarked on the search for a new position.  During that search, I realized that while my future position might not be 60 hours a week, it would still be in the 40- to 50-hour range—meaning I would need to secure a full-time nanny prior to accepting anything.
 
I thought: I’ll ask No. 1 if she has any friends looking for a full-time gig. But No. 1 didn’t want to make any suggestions: she started recommending herself! Yes, she wanted to drop my friend’s kid like a hot potato and come work for me full-time. In fact, she confided, her true desire was to work for just a single family. That was understandable, maybe, but also not terribly honest, and definitely not acceptable. I was not about to screw over my new amiga, especially after everything she’d done. No. 1 had to go. 
 
NUMBER TWO
 
To search for No. 2, I went back to my mom group postings. I found some names and started to call those who fit the full-time criteria. Thus, the first big round of interviews began. But after two weekends and about 15 babysitter prospects later, I had failed to come up with one acceptable candidate.
 
Plan B: reach out to friends and work colleagues who had children. Maybe they could give me some advice, or had a fabulous person they could recommend.
 
That tactic worked: a former coworker suggested a nanny who had cared for her son for the past four years. The boy was off to a full-time preschool, and she no longer needed the help.  Perfect, right?  Plus, No. 2 had tons of experience and lots of personality. We hired her on the spot.
 
Still new to the world of nannies, I didn’t formalize anything in writing of our arrangement.  We negotiated a salary, the times she would work, a few paid holidays and the standard offerings that other moms had recommended (such as overtime and a taxi home if they left after 9 p.m., certain paid holidays, a metro card for the subway, etc.).
 
No. 2 started, and I began a new job. Then, a few weeks into her employment, No. 2 started asking a lot of questions. First, she first wanted to know when she would get a raise! It was a bit precipitous, two weeks in.
 
Then she wanted weekly petty cash. When I probed a little further, inquiring as to what she intended to use the petty cash for, she responded, “…snacks, coffee, or anything I might need during the day.” I was supposed to fund her Starbucks addiction while she watched my kid? I demurred subtly, mentioning that we had a fully stocked refrigerator. I also said that I would be happy to pick up any special requests she had next time I went to the market.
 
Next, No. 2 asked if she could explore the City with my daughter, wanting permission to take her on the bus or the subway. She added that it was something she did quite often during her previous tenure; however, that child was 4 years old. At this point, my daughter was all of 6 months old. I wasn’t ready for a new nanny to venture on to public transportation with my infant.
 
This was not going well at all. To top everything off, No. 2 was unhappy about my decisions. And then the truth came out…No.2 was still in touch and very friendly with several nannies from her former job (located near Union Square, we were in TriBeCa) and wanted to continue those social relationships while dragging my daughter along. It was not going to happen. Time to start the search again. 
 
NUMBER THREE
 
We interviewed ten other candidates before finding No. 3.  On paper, she was stellar! She had worked with newborns, multiples, preemies, knew the downtown neighborhoods, references couldn’t say enough and we seemed to be on the same page with all of the logistics and terms for her employment.
 
Right before No. 3 started, she kept saying: “You won’t go wrong with me, I am one of the best, and I will make your life so easy.” That was on top of her chanting: “Ronni rocks! And she will do it all.”
 
She was a little loud in the house the first few days, which kind of annoyed my husband (as he worked from home on occasion), but I chalked it up to her enthusiasm. Everything went fine until day four, when No. 3 tells me that she simply must make more money—effective immediately. This was outright extortion.
 
I knew I was paying top dollar after conferring with a number of other moms. However, the truth finally came out— No. 3 turned out to have another family—one with twins, and apparently willing to pay more. She took her weekly salary and walked out the door. Once again, we were without childcare.
 
NUMBER FOUR
 
I simply had to find No. 4. I spent every spare moment in the search: before work, lunch time, after work, practically through the night.
 
Then I bumped into a neighbor, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, in the elevator. I told her my woes, and she offered a solution:  Her son’s nanny had an aunt who was looking for a babysitting position. I agreed to meet with the aunt. 
 
My husband flew to Brazil and then Chile as part of a work assignment. The same day he flew out, I interviewed and hired No. 4, a.k.a. “Auntie,” on the spot. My only real concern was that she was a tad bit older than the previous nannies. Okay, make that a lot older. Could No. 4 keep up with my very active daughter for a full day? Both my daughter’s grandmothers and great-grandmother are on the West Coast, making her unaccustomed to long periods with someone older.
 
These questions kept me up at night—but I needed someone fast, reliable, and it came from a resource I knew and liked. At least short-term, I hoped I could make it work. 
 
She was quirky. She made soup every day for my daughter and herself. But she seemed a little reckless with things in the house. Pots and pans were being destroyed at an auspicious rate, along with glasses. The baby’s things suffered the same fate: she managed to flatten the tire on our big stroller—twice in two weeks. The money was less a concern to me (though fixing the stroller at 176 bucks a pop wasn’t inconsequential) than the looming question in my mind: where was this woman taking my 1-year old? No explanation was forthcoming.
 
Finally, hubby came back. He was tan, happy, from a great, productive trip—I wanted to kill him. His first morning back, we sat down for a chat with No. 4. We were covering the basics; safety and whatnot, when he politely asked what she would do in case of an emergency. 
 
Most of us would say, “call 911,” “call the parents,” “call the pediatrician.” Except she told him: “There will never be any emergencies.” As lovely and optimistic of a notion as that might be, clearly this was the wrong answer. No. 4 was out.
 
NUMBER FIVE
 
My new search approach involved a) Checking references and b) Having the next nanny work a few half-days over the weekend in order to get to know her style and whether we could relate. I started to feel like I never should have gone back to the office, given how difficult this was all becoming. I had felt so good about keeping up my career while balancing a positive home life—but at this juncture, it all seemed to be such a mess and I was losing confidence that I could rally to find the “right” person.
 
And then No. 5 walked in our door, proud as a peacock with colored hair to match. She could have been funk impresario George Clinton’s younger sister. I really liked her because she had been a former nurse, because that meant long hours working with newborns. She was also neat as a pin in her appearance (hair color aside) and very proud of her prior experience.  After a few trial days, we hired her.  Unlike the others, No. 5 seemed extremely social and liked to go out quite a bit. She made loads of play dates and tons of new friends. My husband agreed she was a winner. 
 
That was before the accident.
 
No. 5 was coming up on almost a year when, one afternoon on the playground, my daughter fell and broke her leg.  My husband and I were just crushed. To see our little one in a cast, immobile, was just so sad. Luckily though, a friend introduced us to the head of pediatric orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, who assured us it was a common break for lots of toddlers and not to worry.
 
Certainly accidents happen, and No. 5 called me immediately to say my daughter had fallen. But what troubled me was how No. 5 really couldn’t explain how it had transpired. Obviously she fell, that much didn’t require an explanation, but the circumstances remained a mystery. The lack of details smelled fishy, and No. 5 was asked to leave.  
 
Soon after No. 5 left, the truth came out, courtesy of some nannies from the area who had seen our daughter fall. They all recounted the same sad tale: No. 5 had been sitting on a bench, gossiping with her friends, a fair distance from my little one, and just not paying attention. It was that simple.
 
Five nannies in 23 months—was this a record? Was I an unreasonable Momzilla? Time for new tactics—again. I thought about an agency, but in the end I decided to speak with Edwina, a longtime staffer who worked in my boss’ household.  He had a big and very professional staff, many from the agency I would have inevitably engaged. So I spoke to Ed, who seemed to have a solid network of people she could recommend to care for my daughter. I asked her for recommendations, which they happily provided.
 
NUMBER SIX
 
So I began the interview process again, exhausted, but still determined to find the allusive “right” fit.  This time, I insisted that my husband be much more engaged in the process. Maybe he would see something I didn’t. We decided to interview candidates separately.  
 
Now my list of questions was rock-solid: vacation days, time off, sick leave and any other issues that had come up in the past, in addition to a well-defined salary in the agreement and very specific terms about hours, overtime, travel and expenses—I even had an attorney friend write up a letter agreement that spelled it all out.
 
After an exhaustive search, No. 6 joined our little household. She came on board on the tail end of my daughter in her cast, but I could see from Day One she took exceptional time and care of her. I tried showing No. 6 how I liked things done and what was the best for our daughter, especially with the broken leg. Happily, the cast came off the day of her second birthday: we ate, drank and celebrated a lot.  She was a little wobbly but seemed to bounce back almost immediately and was ready for a fun active summer.
 
No. 6 seemed quiet around me, I think she was a bit nervous, because she came from a connection that worked for my boss and seemed to want to do a few extra things around the house to help out and show us she was a hard worker.  She liked to clean, organize, and managed to redo our daughter’s closet and dresser every week.  I didn’t mind, even if it took a few minutes extra to find things on the weekend, as it was very tidy and I appreciated her efforts.
 
Late summer, we went away on vacation to Cape Cod for a summer holiday—and decided to take No. 6 with us (something we had mentioned in her agreement and prior to hiring her.) However, in the end it was decidedly no vacation for me. Apparently, No. 6 didn’t like the sand and surf (odd considering she came from an island nation in the South China Sea). She spent her days hiding from the sun under the umbrella and relentlessly complained every minute of every day. While my daughter, now typical of any 28-month-old, wanted to play, build sand castles, find seashells, run her toes in the water, and enjoy a day in the sun, No. 6 was the inertia personified. I ended up being the one chasing after our daughter. Though we were having a ball, I really wanted some help, but No. 6 wanted no part of it. After three days of this nonsense, I sent her packing.
 
Back home, No. 6 seemed to have lost her energy. If I didn’t organize classes, story time or other activities, she went to go on play dates with the same two neighbor sibs almost every day. I had started the preschool tour process, as well as searching for an alternative (at least 3 times a week) that would let us get rid of No. 6. I didn’t want to make a change until autumn, when our daughter would start preschool. But plans have a funny way of not working out.
 
The holidays passed without incident, and we were on to the New Year. Our daughter’s 3rd birthday was in sight, along with summer, and then pre-school—until one ill-fated afternoon when I came home early from work to find No. 6 also in the lobby of our building, but not with my daughter. 
 
I shouted at her immediately: “Where is she!? Where is my daughter!? Why are you down here without her?!” 
 
No. 6 told me she had misplaced her cell phone and came to search for it in the lobby. The doorman, who adores our little perpetual energy progeny, got off the house phone, and looked at me aghast and ashen.
 
I was hysterical. Livid! Panicked! I jumped in to the elevator, sobbing, and shouting at her to explain where my child was, and all she said is, “She’s fine, and she’s upstairs.” I thought, with another babysitter? Napping?
 
It was far worse: this idiot had left my 31-month old daughter in a water-filled tub, alone, in a locked apartment. Thank goodness my daughter was just sitting there, smile on her face, singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
 
This was inexcusable. No. 6 came back upstairs, and I told her to leave, immediately. I didn’t want to hear a word that came out of her mouth. She insisted on trying to explain her actions, and I literally had to push her out the door. I cried most of the weekend after this happened, and filled out the paperwork for the three-day-a-week pre-preschool program that started the following week.
 
NUMBER ONE
 
I met No. 1. She seemed nice, and I asked the basic questions about her experience, safety, and how long she had been working for my newfound friend, etc. She seemed to answer everything in the correct manner, and so No.1 would work for us two days a week, while still working for my friend for three—the perfect “nanny share.” She was sweet, positive, and a mom too, which I liked a lot, and reassured me as to her ability in watching a newborn (which she did with a certain aplomb). 
 
The summer ended all too fast. I wasn’t the least bit ready to get back to the office, so I resigned. I had No. 1 and the hubby (still lovable, and upgraded to ‘quasi-useful’) to help out with the baby, while I embarked on the search for a new position.  During that search, I realized that while my future position might not be 60 hours a week, it would still be in the 40- to 50-hour range—meaning I would need to secure a full-time nanny prior to accepting anything.
 
I thought: I’ll ask No. 1 if she has any friends looking for a full-time gig. But No. 1 didn’t want to make any suggestions: she started recommending herself! Yes, she wanted to drop my friend’s kid like a hot potato and come work for me full-time. In fact, she confided, her true desire was to work for just a single family. That was understandable, maybe, but also not terribly honest, and definitely not acceptable. I was not about to screw over my new amiga, especially after everything she’d done. No. 1 had to go. 
 
NUMBER TWO
 
To search for No. 2, I went back to my mom group postings. I found some names and started to call those who fit the full-time criteria. Thus, the first big round of interviews began. But after two weekends and about 15 babysitter prospects later, I had failed to come up with one acceptable candidate.
 
Plan B: reach out to friends and work colleagues who had children. Maybe they could give me some advice, or had a fabulous person they could recommend.
 
That tactic worked: a former coworker suggested a nanny who had cared for her son for the past four years. The boy was off to a full-time preschool, and she no longer needed the help.  Perfect, right?  Plus, No. 2 had tons of experience and lots of personality. We hired her on the spot.
 
Still new to the world of nannies, I didn’t formalize anything in writing of our arrangement.  We negotiated a salary, the times she would work, a few paid holidays and the standard offerings that other moms had recommended (such as overtime and a taxi home if they left after 9 p.m., certain paid holidays, a metro card for the subway, etc.).
 
No. 2 started, and I began a new job. Then, a few weeks into her employment, No. 2 started asking a lot of questions. First, she first wanted to know when she would get a raise! It was a bit precipitous, two weeks in.
 
Then she wanted weekly petty cash. When I probed a little further, inquiring as to what she intended to use the petty cash for, she responded, “…snacks, coffee, or anything I might need during the day.” I was supposed to fund her Starbucks addiction while she watched my kid? I demurred subtly, mentioning that we had a fully stocked refrigerator. I also said that I would be happy to pick up any special requests she had next time I went to the market.
 
Next, No. 2 asked if she could explore the City with my daughter, wanting permission to take her on the bus or the subway. She added that it was something she did quite often during her previous tenure; however, that child was 4 years old. At this point, my daughter was all of 6 months old. I wasn’t ready for a new nanny to venture on to public transportation with my infant.
 
This was not going well at all. To top everything off, No. 2 was unhappy about my decisions. And then the truth came out…No.2 was still in touch and very friendly with several nannies from her former job (located near Union Square, we were in TriBeCa) and wanted to continue those social relationships while dragging my daughter along. It was not going to happen. Time to start the search again. 
 
NUMBER THREE
 
We interviewed ten other candidates before finding No. 3.  On paper, she was stellar! She had worked with newborns, multiples, preemies, knew the downtown neighborhoods, references couldn’t say enough and we seemed to be on the same page with all of the logistics and terms for her employment.
 
Right before No. 3 started, she kept saying: “You won’t go wrong with me, I am one of the best, and I will make your life so easy.” That was on top of her chanting: “Ronni rocks! And she will do it all.”
 
She was a little loud in the house the first few days, which kind of annoyed my husband (as he worked from home on occasion), but I chalked it up to her enthusiasm. Everything went fine until day four, when No. 3 tells me that she simply must make more money—effective immediately. This was outright extortion.
 
I knew I was paying top dollar after conferring with a number of other moms. However, the truth finally came out— No. 3 turned out to have another family—one with twins, and apparently willing to pay more. She took her weekly salary and walked out the door. Once again, we were without childcare.
 
NUMBER FOUR
 
I simply had to find No. 4. I spent every spare moment in the search: before work, lunch time, after work, practically through the night.
 
Then I bumped into a neighbor, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, in the elevator. I told her my woes, and she offered a solution:  Her son’s nanny had an aunt who was looking for a babysitting position. I agreed to meet with the aunt. 
 
My husband flew to Brazil and then Chile as part of a work assignment. The same day he flew out, I interviewed and hired No. 4, a.k.a. “Auntie,” on the spot. My only real concern was that she was a tad bit older than the previous nannies. Okay, make that a lot older. Could No. 4 keep up with my very active daughter for a full day? Both my daughter’s grandmothers and great-grandmother are on the West Coast, making her unaccustomed to long periods with someone older.
 
These questions kept me up at night—but I needed someone fast, reliable, and it came from a resource I knew and liked. At least short-term, I hoped I could make it work. 
 
She was quirky. She made soup every day for my daughter and herself. But she seemed a little reckless with things in the house. Pots and pans were being destroyed at an auspicious rate, along with glasses. The baby’s things suffered the same fate: she managed to flatten the tire on our big stroller—twice in two weeks. The money was less a concern to me (though fixing the stroller at 176 bucks a pop wasn’t inconsequential) than the looming question in my mind: where was this woman taking my 1-year old? No explanation was forthcoming.
 
Finally, hubby came back. He was tan, happy, from a great, productive trip—I wanted to kill him. His first morning back, we sat down for a chat with No. 4. We were covering the basics; safety and whatnot, when he politely asked what she would do in case of an emergency. 
 
Most of us would say, “call 911,” “call the parents,” “call the pediatrician.” Except she told him: “There will never be any emergencies.” As lovely and optimistic of a notion as that might be, clearly this was the wrong answer. No. 4 was out.
 
NUMBER FIVE
 
My new search approach involved a) Checking references and b) Having the next nanny work a few half-days over the weekend in order to get to know her style and whether we could relate. I started to feel like I never should have gone back to the office, given how difficult this was all becoming. I had felt so good about keeping up my career while balancing a positive home life—but at this juncture, it all seemed to be such a mess and I was losing confidence that I could rally to find the “right” person.
 
And then No. 5 walked in our door, proud as a peacock with colored hair to match. She could have been funk impresario George Clinton’s younger sister. I really liked her because she had been a former nurse, because that meant long hours working with newborns. She was also neat as a pin in her appearance (hair color aside) and very proud of her prior experience.  After a few trial days, we hired her.  Unlike the others, No. 5 seemed extremely social and liked to go out quite a bit. She made loads of play dates and tons of new friends. My husband agreed she was a winner. 
 
That was before the accident.
 
No. 5 was coming up on almost a year when, one afternoon on the playground, my daughter fell and broke her leg.  My husband and I were just crushed. To see our little one in a cast, immobile, was just so sad. Luckily though, a friend introduced us to the head of pediatric orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, who assured us it was a common break for lots of toddlers and not to worry.
 
Certainly accidents happen, and No. 5 called me immediately to say my daughter had fallen. But what troubled me was how No. 5 really couldn’t explain how it had transpired. Obviously she fell, that much didn’t require an explanation, but the circumstances remained a mystery. The lack of details smelled fishy, and No. 5 was asked to leave.  
 
Soon after No. 5 left, the truth came out, courtesy of some nannies from the area who had seen our daughter fall. They all recounted the same sad tale: No. 5 had been sitting on a bench, gossiping with her friends, a fair distance from my little one, and just not paying attention. It was that simple.
 
Five nannies in 23 months—was this a record? Was I an unreasonable Momzilla? Time for new tactics—again. I thought about an agency, but in the end I decided to speak with Edwina, a longtime staffer who worked in my boss’ household.  He had a big and very professional staff, many from the agency I would have inevitably engaged. So I spoke to Ed, who seemed to have a solid network of people she could recommend to care for my daughter. I asked her for recommendations, which they happily provided.
 
NUMBER SIX
 
So I began the interview process again, exhausted, but still determined to find the allusive “right” fit.  This time, I insisted that my husband be much more engaged in the process. Maybe he would see something I didn’t. We decided to interview candidates separately.  
 
Now my list of questions was rock-solid: vacation days, time off, sick leave and any other issues that had come up in the past, in addition to a well-defined salary in the agreement and very specific terms about hours, overtime, travel and expenses—I even had an attorney friend write up a letter agreement that spelled it all out.
 
After an exhaustive search, No. 6 joined our little household. She came on board on the tail end of my daughter in her cast, but I could see from Day One she took exceptional time and care of her. I tried showing No. 6 how I liked things done and what was the best for our daughter, especially with the broken leg. Happily, the cast came off the day of her second birthday: we ate, drank and celebrated a lot.  She was a little wobbly but seemed to bounce back almost immediately and was ready for a fun active summer.
 
No. 6 seemed quiet around me, I think she was a bit nervous, because she came from a connection that worked for my boss and seemed to want to do a few extra things around the house to help out and show us she was a hard worker.  She liked to clean, organize, and managed to redo our daughter’s closet and dresser every week.  I didn’t mind, even if it took a few minutes extra to find things on the weekend, as it was very tidy and I appreciated her efforts.
 
Late summer, we went away on vacation to Cape Cod for a summer holiday—and decided to take No. 6 with us (something we had mentioned in her agreement and prior to hiring her.) However, in the end it was decidedly no vacation for me. Apparently, No. 6 didn’t like the sand and surf (odd considering she came from an island nation in the South China Sea). She spent her days hiding from the sun under the umbrella and relentlessly complained every minute of every day. While my daughter, now typical of any 28-month-old, wanted to play, build sand castles, find seashells, run her toes in the water, and enjoy a day in the sun, No. 6 was the inertia personified. I ended up being the one chasing after our daughter. Though we were having a ball, I really wanted some help, but No. 6 wanted no part of it. After three days of this nonsense, I sent her packing.
 
Back home, No. 6 seemed to have lost her energy. If I didn’t organize classes, story time or other activities, she went to go on play dates with the same two neighbor sibs almost every day. I had started the preschool tour process, as well as searching for an alternative (at least 3 times a week) that would let us get rid of No. 6. I didn’t want to make a change until autumn, when our daughter would start preschool. But plans have a funny way of not working out.
 
The holidays passed without incident, and we were on to the New Year. Our daughter’s 3rd birthday was in sight, along with summer, and then pre-school—until one ill-fated afternoon when I came home early from work to find No. 6 also in the lobby of our building, but not with my daughter. 
 
I shouted at her immediately: “Where is she!? Where is my daughter!? Why are you down here without her?!” 
 
No. 6 told me she had misplaced her cell phone and came to search for it in the lobby. The doorman, who adores our little perpetual energy progeny, got off the house phone, and looked at me aghast and ashen.
 
I was hysterical. Livid! Panicked! I jumped in to the elevator, sobbing, and shouting at her to explain where my child was, and all she said is, “She’s fine, and she’s upstairs.” I thought, with another babysitter? Napping?
 
It was far worse: this idiot had left my 31-month old daughter in a water-filled tub, alone, in a locked apartment. Thank goodness my daughter was just sitting there, smile on her face, singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
 
This was inexcusable. No. 6 came back upstairs, and I told her to leave, immediately. I didn’t want to hear a word that came out of her mouth. She insisted on trying to explain her actions, and I literally had to push her out the door. I cried most of the weekend after this happened, and filled out the paperwork for the three-day-a-week pre-preschool program that started the following week.
 
NUMBERS SEVEN AND EIGHT…
 
I was fortunate to get a space at a program in the City, but there was still the issue of covering two days a week when my daughter was not in school.  After the weekend, our doorman (who had heard the lobby exchange with No. 6) mentioned he had a twin sister with babysitting experience who was looking for work. Their mother worked for another child in the building, she came highly recommended. 
 
This was it: a part-time hourly sitter, no vacation pay, no sick days, who I could send home if I got off early. After checking references, meeting her twice and introducing her to my husband, No. 7 would work just two days—when I made a drastic and fateful decision. I knew I loved my daughter more than anything. I didn’t have to work at the moment. What was stopping me from staying home and playing domestic goddess until my daughter started school in September?
 
In making that decision, I was reminded what a friend told me at the beginning of this baby-care odyssey: “No one will ever care for your child they way you will yourself.” After three years of trial and error, I can only agree. 
 
In the fall, my daughter will start full-time preschool 5 days a week and I will go back to work full-time work. Which begs yet another question: who will pick her up at 4 in the afternoon each day? Maybe it will mark the return of No. 7. If my mother refuses to move back East, there will be only one solution: Nanny No. 8. 
 
Words by M. Kaye Sigmond

Illustrations by Ahlee Del Rosario

Story from BC Magazine U.S. Spring 2014

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