Nanny Spy Games

The high stakes world of hiring and training a new nanny is one that involves quick-decision making skills, finely honed gut instincts, and a willingness to get your Jimmy Choo’s a little muddy. Those who make slow decisions and are too much of a ninny to spy, need not apply. C’est vrai.

And for those of you on the edge of your seat for a nanny update chez moi, the latest breaking news is that we did, in fact, hire a nanny. Mais oui! I can hear your deep yoga exhalations of great relief, happening, across the land!

For an insider’s look into the fast-paced, high stakes underworld of hiring a nanny, read on, dear kittens. It is not for the faint of heart.

First, to all of you indecisive, slowsky’s out there – step aside and know this, when attempting to hire a nanny who meets all of your criterion, the good ones all share two traits:

  1. They want to work and now. They don’t have time to waste for you to think on it a bit. If you think you have some special unique benefit to offer that will buy you some time, think again. We all do.
  2. Someone else is lurching in the dark corners of your nanny’s email inbox and voice mail, waiting to spring and hire them the second you turn your back and take a minute to mull it all over.

So, back to hiring our new nanny. How we found her is truly just plain weird but we found her. She is legal, she speaks great English, she will continue speaking Spanish to our darling daughter throughtout the day, she came with glowing reviews and good experience. And she passed the ultimate test, our daughter.

Which brings me to last night. To add to the stress of the week, I arrived home only to take one look at the baby and know she was sick. Then I touched her forehead and thought I might have gotten a third-degree burn. Turns out the MMR shot they get at 15 months can spark a fever exactly 7 days after they receive the shot. And well, that is precisely what happened to my baby, complete with a 103 fever, her highest fever to date.

And so, the new nanny arrived for her interview,  I knew immediately that I would like to hire her (recall my earlier posting on trusting your gut instinct), and as part of the process, I made up an excuse to leave the room so that I could spy on her interactions with my daughter.

The real test was – how would darling daughter with her 103 temperature respond to this virtual stranger in my absence? In retrospect, I couldn’t have asked for a better test – a better coincidence couldn’t have come my way – a sick baby faced with a prospective new nanny.

So back to my test, which who am I kidding, was most likely not that subtle or discreet. Darling daughter was happily sitting on nanny’s lap, reading her musical Elmo book, in my absence. Clearly new nanny is up to it.

But here is the real lesson in today’s posting, dear kittens: Spying.  Any self-respecting mother spies and coordinates ambush visits to the house when a new nanny is present until a comfort level is reached. Not a one-of-us is above lurking in bushes, peering in windows, and generally behaving like your creepy neighborhood peeping tom. Additionally, ambush visits and random acts of spying should intermittently continue as time passes and comfort levels are reached with said nanny. Note to the CIA – locate any neighborhood mom if you need an expert spy.

But dear kittens, what is bothering me now is not our decision to hire said nanny, it is the continued emails I keep receiving from other prospective nannies that I reached out to yesterday afternoon. After-all, one never knows how an interview will turn out, so I kept the emails and phone calls going.

And so here I sit, surely I must be more relaxed because we have hired a new nanny and she seems fabulous. And yet, my mind is racing and my stomach is in knots each time I receive another email from another contender. What if she is better? What if she has more experience? What if I like her more? How will I ever know?

The most recent one congratulated us on finding our new nanny, wished me luck and ended her email with “kisses to your baby.”

Be still my heart.

How could she not be perfect?

Do I bring them over to satiate my curiosity, or do I just let them know the position is filled and move on? Will it continue to gnaw away at me? Have I really become this person? Have I really become a second-guesser? A doubter? Is it really moi? Have I suddenly become a commitment-phobic man? How can I go from making such an important decision, rather quickly and with such confidence one day, to entertatining the emails from other nannies today?

And on that note, you better believe that I have my plan of ambush home visits drawn up, alerted the generals, and am ready to move full steam ahead with the nanny spy-games next week. Dark glasses and trench-coats, need not apply. Spying mom’s aren’t afraid to get their heels a little muddy.

One Response to Nanny Spy Games
  1. Selfmademom
    March 2, 2007 | 2:11 am

    Cool Kitty! Go with your gut!

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