Sunday, September 16

What would you do?

We have a babysitter/nanny who we like.  She loves our kiddos, is willing to come ridiculously early, and we pay her peanuts.  It still ends up be a lot every month, but it's better than some alternatives.

Anyways, lately a few things have been coming up, but honestly I don't know how to bring everything up.  Some of it isn't even big deal stuff, just stuff that'd make my life easier.  But since she's here with 4 kiddos (my three and her 2 year old boy) I hesitate to bring anything up because it'd all just be more work.

For one, clean up.  We have 2 toy boxes w/ shelves on top, a 9-cube bin organizer, 4 or 5 separate plastic bins of Colby's stuff, and then several larger toys (play tables, walker, ball pit, etc) all in our living room.  We have things separated pretty well.  The girls toys are in their toy box, Colby's are in his.  Then in the 9 bins we have smaller toys & I have made hanging picture labels for all those bins to help Colby put things away.  His plastic bins are the same way with picture cards on them to help him.  The shelves above the toy boxes are filled with books.  My point is that everything has pretty much been in the same place for the whole time she's been with us (since Feb. last year) and everything is picture-labled.  Colby can tell you where something goes and he's amazing (and maybe a little OCD like Daddy) about putting things only where they go (and getting annoyed if cars and up with trains and so on).

But every single day I come home and everything is completely mixed around.  Now the larger toys don't bother me, but when I find tiny Legos in the bottom of the toy box, or puzzle pieces hanging out in the block bins I get a little frustrated.  I know things can get put places accidentally but it's an every day thing.  It's like at the end of the day she just quickly scoops things up and then throws them in the nearest bin, so everything is completely random and every night I feel like I have to go through everything to separate the blocks again and the small baby toys and the balls and so on.  I guess my main issues with this are that I know Colby knows how to put things away because we worked SO hard on that this summer so I feel like yes, she's the nanny, but she should be helping to teach him the right way.  (Or continuing it in this case)  My other issue is the small pieces.  We have special bins for legos and puzzles and small cars to keep tiny pieces out of the way of the babies.  They're getting much better at not eating everything, but I'm not aways home so it makes me really, really nervous.

Another thing that's bothering me is broken toys.  There are always broken toys.  I know (KNOW) my kids aren't perfect, but toys rarely get broken.  If they do Colby brings it to me immediately (in general, I'm sure some have gotten past me).  But almost weekly we find a broken toy somewhere-- lately they've been hidden behind the couch.  But I think what bothers me the most is that she doesn't tell us about them or take care of the pieces.  Which I guess leaves the chance that she doesn't know, but that raises the whole issue of why doesn't she know what's going on?  And there are always chewed on books and DVD cases, too.

And meal times.  She has a little boy who is just younger than Colby so I think she feels very experienced with raising kiddos- which she is.  But I think that translates into her thinking she knows best.  After the summer I had the kiddos on a pretty amazing routine which we needed with the girls.  They'd eat around 8.  They're down to 1 nap, so I keep them up in the AM- sometimes they get a little whiny, but they can be pretty easily distracted.  Around 12/12:30 they'd eat lunch.  Around 1/1:30 the girls would go down.  They'd be up around 3/3:30 and then that'd be the afternoon.  I explained this all to her when she came back in September, but every day lately I'm coming home and she's feeding them lunch at 3:30.  And of course that means they don't really eat at dinner.  And I'm pretty sure she doesn't really feel Colby meals.  Instead he eats a lot of bread and cheese (which he likes)... but it's not a meal.  With fruit and veggies.  And they're (Colby and her son) always eating on the couch so we always have milk and squished cheese and broken crackers on the couch.  I've mentioned that we're really trying to keep Colby to the table, but it hasn't seemed to change.

Lastly is something I know I can't control, but it's her son's behavior.  If you're trying to get him to do something he doesn't want, he screams in your face & tries to hit you.  If you pick him up, he will try to bite you.  These are things I see him do all the time and Colby had never once done any of them.  Until the end of August when I had the nanny and her son here for a few days while I set up my classroom.  We're working on it and I know he'll pick up bad habits (and hopefully good) from other kids as he moves on to preschool and school in general.  I know it goes with the territory, but right now with him in our house it kills me that he's picking these things up.  It's just so frustrating when you can target where it's coming from and you're powerless to stop it.  Colby realizes now after he says something he shouldn't and will usually give a quick "Sorry, Mama," but still.

And the last thing her son does is throw toys at Colby.  I got home on Thursday and I was on the floor talking to Colby when L came over with a car in his hand raised over his head and looking at Colby.  These two love each other, but Colby got hysterical.  He started crying and yelling "No no no.  Don't throw!" and tried to hide behind my back.  His mom told him not to throw it, but didn't do anything.  I ended up taking the car away from him and telling him that he can't throw things because Colby was so upset.  Later on after they left Colby told me that L throws things at him.  I can only guess that it's fairly often by Colby's reaction.

I'll stop there because I really do like her, but I'm nervous to approach her because I don't want her to feel like I'm attacking her and because I am nervous that she'll say "Fine, you don't like what I'm doing?  I'm gone."


Hoping for our own Peanut said...

Honestly, I think you should talk to her. It sounds like you have a pretty friendly relationship with her, which can be hard for situations like this. Maybe write downa few notes and one Monday morning tell her you and Johnny talked over the weekend and were trying to think of ways the day can go better. She should totally support the sorting of toys. Stress about the small pieces..Im sure she doesnt want to be responsible for one of your girls choking. I think asking her to follow your routine for eating/napping isnt too much to ask. Her job should be to keep the kids on the same schedule 7 days a week. Thats what youre paying her for(even if its not much). I think its really rude she lets them eat on the couch. What a terrible habit and terrible mess!!

Lastly, be very careful about her sons behavior. That is something she may take offense to and be tempted to leave. You have to remember he is 2 and not all kids are as well behaved as Colby. :) I know how frustrating it is for kids to pick up bad stuff from others, I dealt with it having older kids over this summer. The Mama bear may come out in her if you say anything about his behavior.


juliane2004 said...

I think for me, the biggest thing would be a messed up schedule (lunch at 3:30, what?) and cheese on the couch. I couldn't not talk to her about it. To me, it's like she's letting things go, which might translate into your kids thinking they can do whatever whenever.

I know she has 4 to take care of and it's HARD, but you need to be able to trust that she can do it as you would do it, not just simply get through the day (leaving the house messy and food everywhere).

I agree with Erin that you should be careful about her son, that it might make her want to leave. No advice, though, sorry :(

Anonymous said...

Since you end up having to recheck every night would it be easier for you to do it with the kids? Just an idea. I completely understand. I was in the same boat a few years ago and in the end chose to put stuff away with my son.
Routine and eating in designated area are huge for preschoolers so I would make those a priority.
Good luck!

Jen McLaughlin said...

I love the comments from above... how's the baby baby????

Leah said...

Seriously, I could have written this post myself! Ha! :) We also have a nanny. It's cheaper than a daycare center for two littles, but more expensive than a home daycare, and to be honest, I just don't trust home daycares. (Unless it's someone I know, or who comes highly recommended by someone I know)

I happen to be a bit particular about things being in their place, and our nanny never puts things back where they belong. The kids don't know exactly where things go, so I do rely heavily on the nanny to make sure that happens. I also keep my kids on a strict schedule. . . and she doesn't stick to it, so I would get home at work at 4, and the kids were still sleeping, which meant bedtime was a disaster.

Anyway, I did have to bring a few things up. I prefaced it all with how wonderful she is doing, but told her I really want the kids to learn where toys go, so if she could put things back in their designated spot. I also talked about sticking to my schedule.

Things got better, but they still aren't perfect. I did get to the point where I realized that as long as I had a nanny coming to our home, my home would get messy faster, and the house would never look the same as it does when I left for work, but at the end of the day, she is still the best person to watch my kids, so I let a few things slide.