I don’t often write about the children’s nanny – but I have to write about this.
Anyway, so our nanny (E) has been with us since Vins was six months old. She lives with us, in our home and sleeps in the children’s room. Vins is very attached to her. He adores her and she loves him. Knowing that she’s with him has allowed me to have a life of my own. I can go out during the day or night (not that I have anywhere particular to go – but at least I have the option!), meet friends or whatever.
She travels with us when we go on holiday, and she spent five months with us in London last year while we were waiting for Booni to arrive.
She goes on leave for a month every year (back to the Philippines). I HATE that month. But I’ve survived so far!
In March this year she was going for her annual leave. The immigration laws over here changed before she came back and we had to redo all her paperwork before she could return.
While E was away, Vins was very insecure – and became very clingy. Everything was ‘mama, mama, mama’. Only mama could bathe him, put him to sleep, drop him off at school, pick him up, etc.
Luckily we had another helper (T). She took over Booni completely. I was happy, Booni was happy, Vins was happy and T was happy.
Vins slowly became more accepting of other people helping him out. He let LagosDad brush his teeth for him every day. He eventually started sleeping downstairs with my in-laws. And he eventually started having breakfast with my father-in-law every morning. This was a huge relief for me.
I was feeling so stressed. Vins wouldn’t let me spend any time with Booni. I felt guilty that I wasn’t giving Booni the same input that Vins had his age. Going out at night was off the cards unless my in laws were home. Going out during the day was off the cards as I couldn’t leave both children at home. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea when E would be back.
Do I sound very spoilt? I realise there are parents all over the world who do everything by themselves all the time, without any help. But this is what I’ve been used to.
Right before the boys’ birthdays I found out that T wasn’t the trustworthy person I thought she was. I found, in her bags, a whole bunch of the children’s clothes. Many of the clothes were brand new, with the tags still on. Some of the things weren’t new – but I was keeping them – either for Booni or for sentimental reasons. I found a pack of Booni’s spoons. A brand new tumbler, bowl and plate set and balloons that I’d bought for the party. Oh and E’s UGGS.
It was night when I checked her things (I’d received a tip-off). I took everything away and put it in my room. The next morning she obviously knew I’d been through her things but she didn’t say anything.
When I eventually spoke with her (when the children weren’t around), she started crying and apologising. She said she didn’t know what she was thinking and that it wouldn’t happen again. How many other things had she taken over the last few months? I asked her – she said nothing. But I know that’s not true.
My first instinct was to throw her out. I’d trusted her! I left Booni in Lagos with her (and LagosDad and my ins) and gone to London with Vins for two weeks!
I decided to give her another chance. How would I cope with the children? Especially with their birthdays and party coming up?
On the 11th T was going off and coming back the following evening. After another tip-off, I asked her to open all her bags and show me what was inside before she left. She showed me everything confidently and happily. Until I went back to the first bag she opened. I asked her to take out the plastic bag that was at the bottom of the bag. She did and told me it was clothes. The shape of the bag was oblong. So I asked her to open it. She did everything she could to delay the process. She pretended she couldn’t undo the knot she’d made at the top of the bag. She pretended she couldn’t find the scissors she needed to open the bag. I brought them to her. Once she undid the knot, she put the bag on the floor. I was carrying Booni at the time and told her that I couldn’t open the bag, so could she please open it and show me what was inside. She nudged the bag in my direction. I got a bit cross because I’d been waiting at least ten minutes to see what was inside (though I knew by now). She eventually showed me. It was a brand new pack of 52 Pampers. Not Pampers that Booni had outgrown (those are also easily accessible), but the 4+ size, which he’s currently wearing.
How could she do this to me again? How naive was I? I was so cross with myself.
I told her to pack up her things and leave. I watched her as she packed all her stuff and then I instructed the security not to let her back in the compound.
That was a terrible weekend for all of us. Vins was fine – my mother-in-law looked after him. He slept downstairs, ate downstairs and spent a lot of time with my in-laws.
Poor Booni, though. He was missing T a lot. He wasn’t used to me putting him to bed. I wasn’t used to putting him to bed. Or doing all the other things that T normally did for him. It took us both a couple of days (and a few VERY long nights) to readjust to each other.
And finally… on the 14th (five and a half months later), E came back! Vins was super excited. I didn’t tell him she was coming back (just in case something went wrong).
Vins is happy. Booni is used to her again and is happy. LagosDad is happy (I’m not bitching and moaning at/to him any more). And I’m ecstatic. I’d never have found the time to sit and write this post otherwise!