Hi everyone, I am new here and am looking for some comfort/feedback from like-minded AP moms on some changes we've decided to make with my son's nanny, and starting him in school....
Our son is 2 and a half, and our current nanny has been with us four days a week (9-6) since he was 5 months old. We recently decided to reduce her time to 2 days a week, starting in January. The other three days he will be in school in the mornings, and a different babysitter will pick up him from school and watch him in the afternoons. He seems really ready for school, and for a nanny change, but I am feeling really nervous and guilty about it.
Our nanny is 69, is a retired dental hygienist, and has 6 grown children of her own and 9 grandchildren. She was so wonderful with our DS when he was a baby. He was always so happy with her. I worked from home often, and I never heard him crying for me. More recently, she’s taught him to sing the alphabet and count, and his diction is incredible for a two year old. She reads to him constantly and takes him to the playground or swimming in the pool every day. She has always really respected my “attachment parenting” way of doing things. She cuddles or reads him to sleep for his naps, just like I do, and holds him while he sleeps if he wakes up too early. She is completely reliable, and often comes early or stays late without any issues.
However, for the last three months or so, DS has started to say he doesn’t like her. My departures for work, which always used to be easy, have become increasingly difficult, with lots of crying. In October, we went on vacation for a week without the nanny and he had an absolute meltdown when we were driving home from the airport and I mentioned he was going to see her the next day. He was sobbing uncontrollably in a way I had never seen him do his whole life. It broke my heart. At first we chalked it up to normal separation anxiety for the age, and I think much of it is.
Unfortunately, there have also been behavioral issues. Over the last several months, he has been very high anxiety at the end of the day when she was there, and having lots of melt downs in the evenings. We chalked this up to the terrible twos and simply started counting the days to three. However, nanny recently went on a two week vacation, which we covered through a patchwork system of back up babysitters and my husband and I taking some time off work. His behavior completely turned around during this time. He was a happy laid back kid. No tantrums, no whining. However, on the second day she was back, we noticed the behaviors starting again, just a bit.
This is not a complete mystery to us. While she is wonderful with babies, I think some of her personality quirks are not good with an older child (or adults). She is an extremely high anxiety person. For instance, if he falls down or gets a scrape, or something in the house gets broken, she is literally distraught. We are much more laid back about things like that. She is also a bit hard of hearing, so she seems to be shouting when she speaks, and sometimes she has trouble hearing what he says to her. Personally, I find this very unnerving when I communicate with her, and imagine he must as well. In addition, while we have pretty much the same rules, and all enforce them, she takes a much more stern tone with him sometimes, whereas my tone and the tone of his other babysitter and our family members is gentler (or perhaps just quieter!).
She is also extremely protective of DS, much more so than we are. For instance, there is a little jungle gym at the park, and she won’t let him go on it without holding her hand, and she won’t let him climb the ladders. We let him go on it by himself, and just stand close by in case he seems to be exceeding his limits. I have asked her to let him go on the jungle gym by himself, but she told me she was too nervous something might happen. She is constantly telling him, “be careful or you’ll fall down and hurt yourself.” Also, we let him walk to the park or ride his little motorcycle toy, which is his favorite thing to do, but she pushes him in a stroller. I think she is concerned that because of her age and hardness of hearing, her reaction time would be too slow if he dashed into the street, and I get that, but it is frustrating for DS. He has started to point out these differences to me, and really focus on them.
So for all these reasons, we decided to scale her back to two days a week, beginning in January when he starts school. I delivered this news on Friday, and absolute hysteria resulted. She was crying and angry. She made me feel bad for putting him in school, and bad for scaling her time back. I feel terrible because of all she has done for our family, and how much love and devotion she has given our son while I am away at work. These emotions are coupled with my natural nervousness about him starting school and spending more time with the other babysitter who at 22 is loads of fun but not nearly as experienced. So I am just a bundle of sadness and nervousness and guilt right now. Any feedback, encouragement, thoughts would be much appreciated!