Tuesday, August 12, 2008


We didn’t know the first thing about hiring a nanny. We looked online to see what they made, which is variable—but the bottom line seemed to be it was at least twice the cost of daycare per week. That stung, but we were convinced that Elena needed to be home during her first winter. I wanted someone who loved kids, who had experience with preemies, who was college-educated, and who knew infant first aid/CPR—basically, I wanted me as a nanny (but who was willing to work for much much less). Ideally, we did not want a live-in caretaker, but we were trying to keep an open mind. We also decided we would not hire an illegal worker, as we would be paying them in accordance with the tax laws. I thought I found a good candidate, but she wanted 20$/hr, and this was her first job—and she was only planning on working for a season! We had an excellent reference from my husband’s coworker. This woman did not meet all the expectations on my list—but she had 7 years experience, loved children (but had none of her own, which I considered an advantage). We met with her, and it was hard to gauge whether or not it was a good fit, but we were out of time. Her asking salary was actually below our agreed weekly minimum. We decided to hire her for a “month trial” basis, where either of us could pull out with no hard feelings. We had been paying the daycare “on retainer” until we were happy with the home care situation. At the end of that trial period, we bumped up her pay, and everyone was happy—she was happy with her job and extra happy with her pay, and we were satisfied we weren’t taking advantage of her services. It turns out our nanny not only loves kids and has great experience, but she also had a foster sister with CP and she was a preemie herself. By my request (and I paid for her time), she got infant CPR/first aid certified, and she accompanies us to nearly all Elena’s therapy appointments. When Elena was an infant, she wrote down what she ate and what kind of diapers she made, and any changes in her behavior. As Elena gets older, she does PT at home with Elena while we are at work, reads to her, and tries to teach her new skills. Elena calls me at work every day after her lunch. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter has a closer relationship with our nanny than she does with me…but maybe all parents wonder that. I bought a clunker car as my work commute car, so the nanny could take Elena out to Storytime or lunch, or whatever (she has a great driving record) in our nice safe Forester. Hiring Annette was one of the best things we ever did.

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