I kept searching for the next thing to write about since I am trying to post regularly (or as regularly as possible for me) and I was too distracted by the upcoming vacation my 2 year olds nanny is going to take. So I decided to write about that!
I got verbally attacked once when I wrote about having a nanny and having help around the house and as I said then frankly I don’t care. I am blessed to be able to have this help and I truly think I would not have had 3 (4 in April inshallah) kids by 32 had I not had this help. Or at least I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it as much as I do.
Now a negligent mother will be negligent if she was in a fully staffed house or in a locked room with her child. Having help does not mean not doing anything for your children. It does mean however that your time is not taken up with the washing and the ironing and that it is possible to not have to run around like a mad woman, 6 months pregnant, when you take your 8 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old out for the day.
Having said that, I have made a mistake. It is a common parenting mistake I have seen made here in my community. It being common doesn’t make it less of a mistake it just means I saw other make the mistake and wasn’t able to or active in trying to avoid it as I believe I could have been.
I was lucky enough to be able to get a nanny for my son when he was born. She took care of him from his first week of life. She is from the Philippines and before coming to work for us as a nanny she was a nurse. She has taken really good care of my son and I am grateful to her for it.
In 3 weeks she is going on her first vacation since arriving here. This is where my problem lies. My son is very attached to his nanny. He is dependent on her and used to her hovering around him all the time. I think, from observing other nannies form the same part of the world, it may be a cultural thing. I am constantly having to ask her to let go of his hand if we are in the garden. Or to sit down when he is eating and let him feed himself. and to not jump and pick up every toy he drops, or worse throws.
I have seen kids with a worse dependency than he has as he can go the whole day on her days off without fretting and is even happy to go to sleep without her being back. The problem is he does keep asking about her and checking on her when she is around. And the first few nights she took off he did freak out at her not being there to do the nigh-time routine. Unfortunately he is not used me doing the night-time routine as my older kids were for many reasons that are too long and boring for me to list here but in short it was easier to do it with the other two. (example of one of the ways I could have tried harder and not had him be so dependent on her).
Now I know that when she leaves he will be anxious and upset for a few days and I know (Inshallah) that he will get over it. In fact it may be a good thing that this is happening now. Although a lot of the research I have read says that children naturally dis-attach around the age of 3 when they gain more independence and confidence. I guess I could offer her extra pay to not go see her family for another year (kidding).
What I am trying to figure out is how to explain to a 2-year-old who is about to move from one city to another. To a new house and eventually, shortly, get a new baby brother, that his nanny is going away for a couple of months? Is this even possible? The question I have is how do I make this as pain-free as possible?
Here are my thoughts: Get him used to other people to do the things his current nanny does. Check, we have an “it takes a village” attitude here and that’s how it’s working out when she had been sick or had some time off.
The other idea I am having is trying to get her to back off as much as you can back off a 2-year-old. Example, If he is playing with me during the day I’ll ask her to go have a cup of tea or watch some TV somewhere else away from us. Asking her to back off enough to let him feed himself without her wiping his mouth or scooping up his food for him.
The third thing was to try to prepare him that she is leaving but how do you get that through to a 2-year-old? like show him a picture of a plane and tell him “nanny’s going to see her family for a while”. Yeah… I don’t see that working out so well.
Someone recently pointed out to me that maybe my daughters nanny up and leaving without notice and without saying good-bye when she was the same age as B might be the reason she has some anxiety issues. Pile on the guilt.
So, my lovely readers, Any ideas? Suggestions? Comments? And don’t let one of them be “Don’t make the same mistake with the baby on the way” because I know… I won’t inshallah.