Friday, June 19, 2009


Sometimes, good news comes in wolf's clothing. Or something like that. Sometime after this totally deranged post (you're a real fan if you managed to read it, and sorry about that), we hooked up with another daycare-waitlisted family to embark on a phenomenon known as a "nanny share." In sum: 2 families + 1 nanny = less cost.

I responded to a post from our badass Cap Hill parents listserve, a post from a mom who had a six month old girl to do a nanny share. I responded with interest. As soon as she wrote me back with their address, I knew who it was. "We know these people!" I laughed to Seth. I once described them as the "alternate universe us" at the Axiom (the beige apartment). It was Christian, the building manager, his wife Jennifer, and their daughter Ellie, born a week after Helene.

Jennifer and I engaged in a tornado of nanny interviews, online research about how to legally compensate nannies (no Dan Snyder syndrome for us), how to get an employer Federal taxpayer ID number, workers comp insurance, the cost of a double stroller, etc. etc. etc. Jennifer had a new job that starts July 1, so the pressure was on. They would host it at their apartment, fabulous for us, since it's a five minute walk from our office. The babies are the same age - they'll be like sisters! I could nurse the bottle-recalcitrant baby at lunch every day! We'd be apart from her for less time! It costs a bit more than daycare, but fewer viruses!

We interviewed. We met women from Brazil, Togo, Trinidad. One had been granted political asylum. One had taken time off because her mother had died. One spoke limited English but promised to speak French to our babies. They all conscientiously washed their hands and were gentle and sweet with our babies. I wanted to know the political asylum story, but couldn't just ask yet. We were delighted with two of them, satisfied with all. One's references did not return our calls. We made a job offer to another. It was turned down - she wanted to take care of only one child. We floundered. We worked on setting up more interviews. I got a deal on a Phil & Ted's second-hand double stroller, and hauled it home. We tried again for references.

My stomach began to hurt. Seth tried for several hours one day to give Helene a bottle, while I tried to relax in the hot tub at the gym. I bought new bottles, new bottle nipples, a sippy cup. I tried to get Helene to open her mouth for rice cereal, bananas, pears. I made plans to adjust my work hours, to give up my cherished Regular Day Off every other Friday, so I would spend less time away from my baby, my girl. I wondered if I could nurse her every day at lunch for the next four or five or more months. My stomach still hurt. I laid awake, wondering why I had jumped into this nanny share, when I didn't really have to go back to work until September. I wondered how I could get out of it, my mind exploring dead ends like a mouse in a maze.

Then Jennifer called. They'd gotten a place at a daycare next door to her office. I could hear that she was nervous over the phone, nervous about telling me. All I felt was relief, giddy, happy, relief. Of course they needed to take it! They had to do what was best for them! No, you don't need to pay anything for the stroller - we might use it, or I can easily resell it. Please stay in touch!

I e-mailed my office. Could I go back to the "return in September" plan? My nanny share just fell through. I don't know how long it will take me to find another. (Meanwhile, there are at least two posts for nanny shares on the Cap Hill listserve that very day.)

I took a long walk with Helene in the Ergo and hugged her close to me, kissing the top of her head. More time, more time, more time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This rug fringe is the best thing ever! Have you tried it?


Karen said...

So jealous. I go back to work part-time on Monday. Mark has 12 weeks paid leave so he is Mr. Mom until August!

Karen said...

BTW...we also have the ERGO - love it. We carried Liam all over Russia in it. We still carry him up front at 22 pounds.