Friday, November 30, 2007

The secret lives of nannies

A friend and I were out lunching today with our kids (she with her 3 year old and infant, and me with my 11 month old -- it was a sight!), and we couldn't help but notice a chic woman, about our age, at a nearby table with a little boy. She was perfectly dressed. Her hair was done. And her shoes were, well, of the non-mama variety. But here's the thing that really got our attention: She seemed so vacant with this little boy, who might have been about 2 years old. She hardly looked at him as he sat in his high chair and ate his buttered noodles. He babbled on, singing and chattering to her, but she hardly looked at him -- instead preferring to stare off into the distance. Her mind was elsewhere, and she seemed annoyed by him, actually. And when it came time for his faced to be wiped, she did it robotically. Clearly, there was no love in the task.

When we left the restaurant, I asked my friend Katie if she noticed this. And she had. But Katie had connected the dots farther than I had. "Did you see her True Religion jeans?" she said, pointing out the fact that the woman also wasn't wearing a wedding ring and was in too good of shape to have had a baby in the past 24 months. "She's a nanny, not a mommy."

And she nailed it.

I couldn't help but wonder what this sweet little boy's mother would think if she had been a fly on the wall. Sure, the kid wasn't being neglected, or anything close to that. But isn't engaging and communicating with a child part of the job? I shuddered at the thought that some mother out there is going about her day with absolutely no idea that her son is being carted around Seattle by an emotionally unavailable child care provider. I snuggled Carson a little tighter at the thought of it.

P.S. How about this for an idea: You know those "How's my driving?" bumper stickers? Nannies should be required to wear stickers that read "How am I doing taking care of this child? Call 1-800-TELL-MOM." : )


Suasoria said...

Funny stuff, but being in Los Angeles, I would have jumped to a different conclusion: she is indeed the mommy, but the nanny needed a day off to go to her own kid's funeral, who was killed in a gang-related shooting at school.

So the mother has to take care of her own child for the day, something she's ill-equipped for. Since she's not the primary caregiver, she doesn't have a normal bond with him, and she's on Xanax so she's completely expressionless anyway.

Oh, and she's the trophy wife of a big-time producer, which explains the designer jeans and the shoes. (Nannies in L.A. couldn't afford such luxuries!)

Sarah Jio said...

How funny, and a little sad -- yet so true! I can totally see this being the case. Love your observations! Ha!