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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a nanny and I just started working for a new family. They have a 10 month old baby. Today was my second day with my new charge, so we're still very much in the bonding stage of the relationship. I take bonding very seriously with my new charges, because bonding helps everything. It makes me more in tune with my charges so I can interpret their many varied ways of communicating (especially in the pre-verbal years); it helps me to be aware of their own limits and needs, so that I can make sure they stay safe; and of course, when we're bonded, the love is there, which makes everything better. So, yeah...bonding to me is very important.

With my older infant charges (6-11 months), they usually want to move around a lot, so a lot of our bonding is my sharing new games with them (bubbles, finger rhymes), but I also like to carry them for 1 hour each day. To make it more interesting for both of us, I like to put my charge in the sling and do an activity with them in there. Sometimes we'll take a walk, go to the waterfront, see a gallery...if it's nap time, sometimes they spend that hour sleeping.

Now, my charge (according to his parents) doesn't nap well in his bed, so my charge's mother asked me to take him out for a walk for his nap, which I was happy to do. He started out in the buggy, but he was fussy, so I transferred him to my sling. I have my own sling (along with a myriad of other baby things that I keep in my nanny bag...wipes, blankets, first aid kit, etc.) because I take care of a lot of babies, not all families have a sling, and to me it's essential if I'm looking after an infant. My charge fell asleep within seconds once he was in the sling and he stayed asleep for a solid hour - probably would've slept more, but he was getting heavy and he woke up while I was transferring him back to his buggy. Once he was awake, he was very happy to take in the sights (we were at the park and it was gorgeous outside), so we walked around for another half hour before coming home.

My boss has told me multiple times that her baby doesn't nap well, and today she said she was hoping he would get a solid morning nap in while out with me. I'm experienced with sleep training and trouble shooting sleep issues, so I offered during our first interview to sleep train him (using any number of methods) if she wanted that, but she doesn't seem that concerned about her baby's napping habits; all fine. Anyway, knowing that she was hoping her baby would nap well with me, I thought she'd be pleased when I told her he'd napped a full hour. And she was until I mentioned that he slept in the sling. When I told her that, she said that, even though she know's he sleeps well in the sling, I should never use it again with him, that she'd prefer he slept in the buggy (even though he has a much harder time sleeping there), and that he's too old for the sling (he's only 10 months - still an infant). She said he needs to learn to be more independent, and that I shouldn't even put him in the sling while I'm doing dishes or preparing food, and that I should put him in the pack 'n play in stead and ignore him if he cries, because if I hold him too much, he'll just ask for it all the time and be fussy and dependent. Then, she was also upset that I kept him out a half hour after he woke up, because she said she doesn't like him to be in the buggy too long, and instead would prefer him to be inside where he can crawl around...(my question is, what about fresh air or outside stimulation?)

Given that it's only my second day, I didn't pipe in with my experience and knowledge of attachment (how it actually aids independence), nor did I go over bonding and its importance. I just nodded, smiled, and agreed. Yes, this is my employer's first baby, and yes, this is the 16th baby I've cared for, so I do have more experience; but she's his mother and has waaayyy more experience with him personally, and I want to honour the importance of the parent/baby relationship. I don't want my boss to feel like I'm stepping on her toes or telling her what to do. I suppose what I'd like to ask for is room to do what I do best while I'm on the job - room to bond with my charge, space for her baby and myself to figure each other out, and a little bit of freedom to do things slightly differently than she does; but how do I communicate that without giving the wrong impression? Or am I even allowed to communicate that? The families I've worked for (apart from one) have all been very relaxed and easy going, and they pretty much gave me license to do what I felt was best for the time that I was on the job. They took about 45 minutes - if that - to go over what they wanted for their baby from me (here's his clothes, we use this cream, here's her food), and then that was it. Sometimes we did things differently (my other charge's mother never used the sling; I used it all the time), but that was okay. We all brought something different to the table, and that was celebrated and embraced. Obviously, we continued to communicate after the initial run down, but it wasn't about telling me how to do things...more, "He did this today!" "We're having this difficulty." "I'm interested in doing more of this." "I heard about this activity, if you want to take him there."

I'll say that this family definitely has first-child-syndrome (see him as older than he is, paranoid about germs, a little too helicopter-ee when it comes to activities), which may be part of the problem. I'm also not their first nanny or babysitter, so perhaps they're more cautious and less trusting of new comers. It sounds like they never had a truly awful caretaker, but were also not able to find a solid match that really clicked with their family. I've been trying to bond with the mother (another one of my priorities during the trial phase), but she seems very closed off. It's been very hard to get any sort of conversation going (another thing I've never had to deal with before - most of my mothers have always been easy to talk to). She's very nice, but also very quiet and withdrawn. I spent the entire first day with her, and still barely know her. Since babies are what we have in common, I kept trying to bring up various parenting things, talking about my experiences and asking her thoughts/experiences, but I worry that I just came off as miss know-it-all (not my intention or something I even think) and now the mother feels like she has to prove herself to me (just a possibility).

I suppose I feel like I'm in a bind because I'm not a novice when it comes to child rearing. I've been doing this for several years and have taken care of several children. I feel sure of myself, sure of my abilities. That's one thing my previous families really like about me - that I can handle the job and do it confidently and well. When I was brand new to this field, I asked a lot more questions. I was less sure of what I was doing. I was much more dependent on the parents' experience because I had none of my own to fall back on. All I had were my instincts (which were definitely helpful); I had very little knowledge or experience. Now, with the gifts of knowledge and experience in hand, I have a much better idea of how to do my job well. I can gauge a child much faster. I've learned how to connect with a new child. I've learned a lot of hacks. I know what to take my time with and what not to waste my time with. I've learned when to push and when to hold back. I'm aware of what's helpful to start early, that will make life easier down the road. I've learned much and continue to learn with every new day. But it's almost as if parents don't want a nanny who has experience under her belt and know's what she's doing - who might be able to bring something new to the table; it's like they want someone who's such a novice that she will ask them how to do every little tiny thing, as if they are the only ones who know how. They don't seem to want someone who stands on sure feet; they want someone who has wobbly feet and is dependent on their arms to stay up. It makes no logical sense, but there it is. How is this so?
 

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As someone who has had nannies, both as a parent and as a child, I am a little creeped out by the way you talk about bonding.

Emotional attachment develops over time, out of experience. I don't feel comfortable hiring people who want to move past a professional connection with me into an emotional one. (I'm very fond of people who have nannied for me, but I need some professional distance.)

I agree with your approach to ten month olds, personally, but if I didn't, I would want us both to be up front and move on. Your approach is not the only one. It's a bad fit. Give notice and move on.
 

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You made a similar post last year about another family you worked for - issues with how a mom didn't want her baby to be cared for in the way you preferred. Bottom line? You aren't the parent. While you have nannied multiple babies everything changes when you become a parent. If you cannot accept doing things how the parents of this hold want it done then part amicably and move on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As someone who has had nannies, both as a parent and as a child, I am a little creeped out by the way you talk about bonding.

Emotional attachment develops over time, out of experience. I don't feel comfortable hiring people who want to move past a professional connection with me into an emotional one. (I'm very fond of people who have nannied for me, but I need some professional distance.)

I agree with your approach to ten month olds, personally, but if I didn't, I would want us both to be up front and move on. Your approach is not the only one. It's a bad fit. Give notice and move on.
I'm sorry...how does wanting to have a good relationship with the parents and baby sound creepy? I'm not expecting to be best friends or even friends, there's a line there, I agree. But with my previous families, we got along well. We had conversations. Even after I moved away from a previous family, we still kept in touch. And with my other charges, yes, I love them. I will always love them. I care about them. They're not MY babies, and I have never thought of them that way, but they are important people in my life. We're glad to see each other. We make each other laugh. We're in tune with each other. That's what being bonded means, to me. And yes, that happens over time (sometimes, it depends on the child, really), I agree. But I don't like to treat my new charges like a doctor treats a patient - removed, cold, just doing the job. If I were a parent, I would want to be close to my nanny. I would want to feel comfortable with her - not just with the care of my child, but in general. Bonding with the parent, to me, is about building trust, compassion - being on common ground. Maybe you were raised differently, but the families I've worked for (and my own family members who've employed nannies) treated me like a part of their parenting team - almost like another member of the family. Maybe not the norm. Maybe most families want a distant, removed nanny who just does the bid and moves on. Maybe I've just lucked out. I will say this though: when my mother was a baby, her mother was very ill and so her parents hired a nanny to take care of her. My grandfather told me years later that they weren't looking for another member of the family. But she turned out to be one, anyway. She was like a second mother to my mother, and is like a second grandmother to me. Her husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are all like family to us, and I am so glad it is like that, because if she had simply had the cold, removed, "professional" relationship you reference, I would have never known her, and that would be a huge loss.
 

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You may be overthinking this situation. Maybe it's just not a great fit with the family. I think you are right that there are pluses and minuses to being experienced. You're a better resource for a family that wants what you have to offer, but you're less moldable for situations that are incompatible with your past experience/training. I think this is a common dynamic in other fields as well. Maybe you can find a way to be more descriptive/communicative about your experience and style of nannying, so this kind of mismatch is less likely to happen.
 

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you posted something very similar last december. I think there is not one size fit all with children. Every child is a world per se and so parents. This mother has her own reason to be silent and you gotta accept her as she is. Same with her style of education. You might know a lot about bringing up babies but still it is not one size fits all. You don't have to be perfect for all families. It's ok to not fit and to change. Forgive yourself to not be perfect and move on.
 

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Shoeg8rl, there were a lot of nannies involved in my childood. Three of them were at my wedding. There are nannies involved in my children's lives because, yeah, serious illness (among other things), and I am pretty fanatically loyal to those people. But you have listed emotionally bonding with parents as a priority for the trial period of your employment.

To which I say, it is the gosh darn trial period. Sometimes trials don't work out, and as a parent, you have to remain able to cut ties and move on. Respect her emotional reserve.

And consider developing some of your own. This is the trial period. You aren't so much trying to bond with the baby (because that bond will hurt both of you if it doesn't work out) as get to know the baby, get solid information.

Putting the label of bonding on it is, in my experience as a child with nannies, kind of about making it tough for people to move on.

Anyway, this isn't the first time you've had basically this problem. I think you should put your feelings about childcare philosophies out front and center when you're interviewing and look for families who want what you offer.
 

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sounds like maybe

A poor fit for you. I think Attachment Parenting is less in vogue right now (maybe I'm wrong). Sounds like the mom wants the baby to sleep more independently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This other family which I previously posted about was completely different. They were asking me to deliberately deprive their baby of a basic human need. They said upfront that they were looking for a nanny, but when it came to working for them, it became clear that what they really wanted was a cross between a housekeeper and a parent's helper. They were also quite rude, talked down to me, and showed little to no respect towards myself or what I do.

This family has done none of those things. They're polite, kind, and respectful. I was upfront from the initial interview that I believe in holding babies. I mentioned using a sling while doing household chores. Only now am I hearing from the parent that she doesn't want me to do this. The mother appeared not to care where her baby slept, so long as he slept. She told me herself that when she's putting him down for a nap, she nurses him to sleep (in her words, a sleep crutch) and he sleeps on the bed next to her. She seemed to put her baby's sleeping ahead of worrying about sleep methods/"crutches"/environments. That's why it came as a surprise to me that she was against her baby sleeping in the sling. I've never met a parent before who thought their baby sleeping in a moving stroller was sleeping independently. Usually, parents are set on their baby sleeping in their bed (whether that involves sleep training or not), or they're more into letting their baby sleep whenever/wherever/however (in the car, sling, buggy, family bed); so long as their baby sleeps.

And if attachment parenting has gone out of vogue, that's terrible. I view AP as one of the most useful, beautiful, healthy parenting guides out there. It's so adaptable, the ideas are based on actual research, and it's so helpful - both for parents and children - in so many areas. Cognitive development, PPD, attachment, safety, overall health - all aided by AP. I wonder what's happened to turn parents away from such a helpful, flexible, logical parenting style?
 

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There are lots of different ways that things can fail to work out. You're having a major problem with a thing that the parents may have solid concerns about, so it kind of doesn't matter how nice they are, or what they said in the interview. It's not working out.

You've had two of this basic problem in a pretty short amount of time, so it might be time to reconsider how you interview.
 

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I, too, am creeped out by how you speak of bonding with someone else's baby. (I also really hate how you keep saying "my charge" but maybe that's a cultural thing, kind of like "buggy".)

I'd be so pissed to learn that my employee was complaining about me online, not to mention talking about my child.

Yes, AP is the best way to care for a baby, but these babies are not yours and I can't help but wonder what personal need you are trying to fill and if perhaps it is time for you to find a new career.

And finally, gently and with all due respect, it does not matter how many different infants you have babysat, if you are not a mother (by birth or adoption, same difference), you have absolutely no freaking idea and you are not an expert. No amount of college, no degree will make a babysitter qualified to give parenting advice to a parent. Sorry, that's just how I feel.
 
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I actually think your comments are sweet, especially your consideration for the baby's emotional well being. Sometimes I worry my sitter isn't bonded enough with my daughter. There doesn't always seem to be an emotional loving connection. Which I guess is ok,... I was a nanny for a family for many, many years and basically became a member of the family. Sometimes the relationships do take longer to be created, perhaps with the mom she will just become more accustomed to your presence and be more open with you. Or perhaps she is looking for a nanny who sees it as a job rather than someone who wants their child to feel affection for another adult, which is super weird. Personally, I think all of your observations sound right in regards to the family. However, I'm not sure what choices you have. Since it seems to be mostly the sling as an issue, maybe try to not use and use it more rarely. Perhaps you can just have extra cuddles with the baby or use it to get him to sleep and try to transfer him elsewhere. If you are having problems doing that maybe you could broach the subject with the mom and see what she does. It's unfortunate and sad when people think a baby won't be independent because they slept on someone, but I know a lot of people who believe such things. If you find you are just too philosophically different then it may be time to move on. However, I would try to make it work since it doesn't sound as if it's really that big of a deal, but just getting used to the new family. Good luck.
 

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A lot of people are pissed because you mentioned the importance of your relationship with the child. Or are "creeped" out by it. Such a weird cultural phenomenon thing that people would want their childcare to not want to bond with their child. As someone who worked with children in day cares and as a nanny while I went to get my undergrad and Masters (unrelated to childcare), I would much rather have someone who loved my child in either setting than have the professional type that acts one way to the parent and doesn't actually care about the child because there are plenty people like that in childcare unfortunately. Of course the mother gets to decide what will happen to the child, no one is debating that. The question is how should she handle it if she wants to offer other possibilities that the parent may not have considered. I would advise just to say it in a general off handed way without pressure or guilt, and then give it up.
 

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I used to nanny too, before I had my own dd. I always bonded with my los too. I didn't use a sling, because I didn't Really know too much about them or need them much. The parents I worked for always wanted me to bond with their babies. I agree it is very important. I genuinely loved those babies, I bonded by pretty much holding them all day when they were tiny, playing with them, reading to them, etc. I think you should just have a talk in a casual way about why you love your sling, and I like the suggestion of taking the baby out once asleep, that would be a good compromise. But, the sling and ap is your style and if they really don't want that for their baby you probably aren't a good fit. Dont change how you bond to these babies, that's a big part of being a good caregiver. I think most parents would want the person caring for their child to love them and truly care for their needs. Don't feel bad if it just doesn't work out though.
 

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I, too, am creeped out by how you speak of bonding with someone else's baby.
I honestly don't feel that is creepy. I do understand that creating a bond takes time, but when someone becomes the caretaker of a child, there has to be some sort of bond for the relationship to go well. Maybe it seems like she's working too hard at it and seeing the process as a series of things she can do to provoke an emotional response, but babies need a lot of attention and love in the early years. I would assume that is why one would hire a nanny rather than just put the child in daycare with more staff turnover and a high caretaker to baby ratio.
 

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Let the record show that while I am a little edgy about the way this nanny talks about bonding with children, my main objection is about the fact that bonding with the parents is on her list for the trial period.

I have had nannies, both as a child and as a parent. I'm hugely emotionally attached to some of them. It is just that when I hire childcare, I am hiring childcare - not hiring an honorary aunt or a new best friend.

On what happens to AP - look, I was a super AP parent back in the day. I co-slept with my babies, so that I could nurse absolutely on demand, and then my 9 mo DD stopped sleeping for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. She hadn't been a great sleeper to start with, and after a few weeks of never having a complete sleep cycle, I was a disaster. It was dangerous. We had to sleep train. If, at that point, someone had come in and started to create a sleep association (like walking in the sling), if I hadn't felt able to recreate that association myself at all hours (because, say, i didnt personally own a sling, the neighborhood isnt that safe for walking at night, and the weather is chancy this time of year), I'd have begged them to cut it out.
 

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I, too, am creeped out by how you speak of bonding with someone else's baby. (I also really hate how you keep saying "my charge" but maybe that's a cultural thing, kind of like "buggy".)

I'd be so pissed to learn that my employee was complaining about me online, not to mention talking about my child.

Yes, AP is the best way to care for a baby, but these babies are not yours and I can't help but wonder what personal need you are trying to fill and if perhaps it is time for you to find a new career.

And finally, gently and with all due respect, it does not matter how many different infants you have babysat, if you are not a mother (by birth or adoption, same difference), you have absolutely no freaking idea and you are not an expert. No amount of college, no degree will make a babysitter qualified to give parenting advice to a parent. Sorry, that's just how I feel.





I really don't think that it is fair to accuse the OP of being creepy! She seems like a very caring individual that wants to have a relationship with her charge (which is what the children she is watching are called in many nannying societies) to best take care of the children. It makes sense to me. I have always been an at home mom, but if I had to hire a nanny I wouldn't accept one that didn't want a loving relationship with my children and I. I also don't think that it is wrong for her to come on here looking for advice. She never disclosed the family's names, address, telephone number... so what is the issue there? She isn't even talking bad about the family she just wants advice. Isn't that why we have mothering.com. I feel like this website should feel like a safe place and people should not worry about being "attacked" from other posters. She obviously likes no loves her job and does it well, why would you suggest she find a new job? That was just hateful and you should be ashamed to carry such a hateful attitude when someone is just trying to get some advice. Always choose on the basis of love.
 

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Mamabear7, nannying is a job that requires the nanny do to work that has a pretty big emotional component (because caring for children causes us to feel attached to them), to someone else's specifications. Nannies have a lot of responsibility for the children they work with, but very little control over their lives. That means that agreeing with the parents' decisions and feeling able to cope with them - practically and emotionally - is a big deal. If the OP can't do that, she needs to not work with these parents. And that is why I, and others, are recommending finding a new job.

If I am unable or unwilling to walk my kid around the block in a sling to help him fall asleep, a nanny who does that - who WANTS to do that, and insists that it's the right thing to do - is going to be a disaster for me. Because that nanny is setting up a sleep association for my kid that involves something I can't do, which potentially puts me up a creek at bedtime. Basically, at that point, I have paid for hours and hours of services and wound up sleep deprived as a result. I need my nannies to either do it my way, or find some new way that works for everyone (me included), or acknowledge that I need to hire someone who will do one of those things.
 

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yeah that's the nature of working for others

I even have to face this in regular type jobs where I'm serving certain clients needs, like if someone has asked me to clean up their yard. And I'm not even in that emotional minefield of looking after someone else's kids (although I have) or working inside their house. It's a very tricky balancing act. You've got to find out what the parents want and then decide if you can do it. I was very lucky that I was looking after other kids just for friends who knew me pretty well, so for brief stints and without a lot of demands, just trust placed on me. Personally, I'd find it difficult if I was under observation all the time, not that I'm not trustworthy LOL. The mom may be having qualms about handing over care of her child, and may not be expressing it in a way you recognize. I also knew one nanny who had a super relationship with her charge, so close and so caring that I'd always assumed the little girl was her daughter. She was fired after some time of looking after this child simply because the mom couldn't handle the jealousy. People are complex.
 

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Shoeg8rl, I'm also a nanny, and I can very much relate to where you're coming from. It's very frustrating when you think you've covered your bases about something in the interview, only to find out later that you weren't on the same page with the parents at all. It sounds like that's the case here. It's certainly a fine line to walk, wanting to share your personally experiences, but also not wanting to step on the toes of the parents. If I were you, since you're still in the trial phase, I'd ask for a quick sit-down with the parents and just lay it all out: "I thought we were on the same page about most things, but it seems like we may have had a bit of a misunderstanding and I think it's in all of our best interests if we talk it out and make sure we're still a good fit for each other before continuing this work relationship."

But be prepared, if they come back saying that no, they never want you to use a sling, etc., is that something you can live with? The second hardest part of this job is doing things you feel are the wrong choice for a particular child, because that's what the parents want done (the hardest part, IMO, is leaving the kids). That's why having a good fit, and minimizing those occurrences, is so important.

As for "bonding" with the parents, some families like to keep it all business with their nanny, while others want to make their nanny "part of the family," and there are families who want it everywhere in between. Some nannies can only work for families who are closer to either of those extremes, while many other nannies are fine with whatever. Again, you have to decide for yourself where you fall, and how important it is to you.

Finally, you might get better advice from a group of nannies who know where you're coming from. Though I love MDC, it's not where I go for job advice. Feel free to PM me if you're interested in joining some other nanny-only groups. :wink: (p.s. I LOL'd at our oddly similar SNs!)

I, too, am creeped out by how you speak of bonding with someone else's baby. (I also really hate how you keep saying "my charge" but maybe that's a cultural thing, kind of like "buggy".)

I'd be so pissed to learn that my employee was complaining about me online, not to mention talking about my child.

Yes, AP is the best way to care for a baby, but these babies are not yours and I can't help but wonder what personal need you are trying to fill and if perhaps it is time for you to find a new career.

And finally, gently and with all due respect, it does not matter how many different infants you have babysat, if you are not a mother (by birth or adoption, same difference), you have absolutely no freaking idea and you are not an expert. No amount of college, no degree will make a babysitter qualified to give parenting advice to a parent. Sorry, that's just how I feel.
Wow, what a harsh reply! You are of course, entitled to your opinions, but I strongly disagree.

I challange you to find ANY good nanny who does not bond with the children s/he cares for! Notice I said "GOOD nanny" because I'm sure there are plenty of bad ones who don't bond, but it's much easier to handle the tough moments with children if you're bonded. But seriously, it is impossible for me to take care of a child, day-in, day-out and not fall in love with them. Because any good nanny is fully invested in the child's wellbeing, emotionally, physically, and mentally, there's nothing strange or questionable about a nanny who chooses AP techniques to care for children.

As a nanny, I am very open and honest about the fact that I have ZERO idea what it is like to be a PARENT. But that does NOT negate my huge amount of experience caring for children. And frankly, yes, I absolutely AM qualified to give childcare advice (i.e. parenting advice) to parents under certain circumstances. In fact, some of the families I have worked for often ASK me for advice.

Finally, there is a HUGE difference between a babysitter and a nanny. http://nannyfaq.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-nanny-and-a-babysitter/ and https://www.care.com/a/what-is-the-difference-between-a-babysitter-and-a-nanny-1203061623 can provide more info on that if you're interested.
 
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