Monday, October 10, 2011

Nanny Talk

I feel so lucky because when my kids were born, cell phones were just coming on the scene.  They were rare to see on the streets of New York. My nanny took care of my children, spoke to them, sang to them, played with them, named items for them; she was great for my babies.  She excelled at infants, there was no doubt about that.  With each new person that came into my children's lives, cell phones became more acceptable and necessary.  Necessary only for emergencies or if my husband and I wanted to locate the kids.  

The struggle to limit cell phone use became an underlying problem with the caregivers, but now I feel so lucky.  Now, I see  caregivers talking on their cell phones constantly.  Not paying any attention to the children.  Yelling, laughing, cursing, swearing, and gossiping on the phone.  The children are not engaged. Left to their own devices, to hear sounds and not certain to whom they are directed.  I am concerned for the well being for these little people trying to navigate the new world they are a part of but are not participating.

I do understand that taking care of children may not be the most stimulating job for some. If I had babies today, I would have an extremely difficult time figuring out the phone rules.  Nanny's in NYC make a minimum of $500 cash/week; no taxes for most, I suspect.  If they were working in offices, they could never sit on the phone all day long and take personal calls. Maybe over lunch, coffee breaks (if they still exist). I find it so disturbing to see.  Sometimes I think about saying something, particularly when the language is colorful, but then I think again and I don't have the chutzpah.  If a caregiver was endangering the child, I would speak up.  Though I do think that the lack of attention paid to their charges, will cause long term damage to the child's well being.  Unfortunately, only time will tell and by then, it will be too late for a generation of babies.

Side bars:  Made it through the Yom Kippur fast. As I have always said, as long as I can eat dinner, I'm good.  Today is Columbus Day. Nowhere is it a bigger deal than here in NYC.  I don't think they think that much of Columbus in Spain or in Italy, but here...they pull out all the stops.  A big parade up 5th Avenue. Dancing With the Stars is on tonight.  Cher is supposedly in the audience tonight.  Can't wait!!!

If you enjoy this rumination, please feel free to re-post or send to friends.


  1. Well I have been a nanny on & off for 30 years. Not only do I not talk on the phone when they are awake, I don't watch TV or even listen to the radio. But then, I am awesome. I find nothing more interesting than chatting with babies. =D

  2. if it isn't stimulating work, then they clearly shouldn't be doing it. Being a nanny is a specialized position. I, too, am glad that my kids didn't grow up in that era and that was one thing I didn't really have to deal with. Course they are all so attached to their phones anyway.
    Happy Columbus Day! xoxo