Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Nanny Dilemma

The past couple of months we have been on a nanny roller coaster! We were lucky to have had the same person working for us for the past 10 yrs. She and Noah even shared the same birthday!

Earlier this year, we had to cut her back to four days a week, but we all adjusted fine. Noah started school in September at a private Montessori school in town. He attends every morning for two hours, so we decided, along with the economy's great persuasion, to cut back our nanny to only part time, from 12 -5. This wasn't enough hours for our her, and she decided to find another job. So the search began...

We were blessed to have my sister-in-law coming in every few weeks from California to help us with Noah while we were searching for a new nanny.
I believed this process of finding a new nanny would be a simple search. Noah is so easy and adorable, who wouldn't want to work with him? I know Noah has Down syndrome, but in all honesty, he is just like any other typical three year old, he just doesn't have a lot of words right now. I really didn't think finding someone new would be all that difficult. We want a person that will first of all accept him 100% as the amazing individual he is, and also someone that can help to work with him on his program and therapies while we are gone.
Boy was I wrong!

I did many things to try and find the perfect nanny.
I contacted the agency that we hired our first nanny from ten years ago. Now they are outrageously expensive, but they do all the background work and really have quality people, or so I thought!
The second thing I did was to contact our local university, Arizona State, and they have a learning center there for infant language research. I thought how perfect if I could hire a graduate student who could also work with Noah on his speech! So I e-mailed the director, never heard back. I called the administration and I e-mailed her a flier on Noah that she posted in their department, and I never heard from anyone.
I also found an on-line nanny source called This place only charges a small fee per month and puts you in contact with people who meet your search criteria. All is handled via e-mail and they also provide basic background checks and references.

Interview with nanny #1...from the expensive agency.
While she was here, she was more interested in carrying on a conversation with us than talking/playing with Noah. As I'm talking with her about Noah's therapies and NACD program, some of which I would want her to implement while watching Noah, she tells us that she "really just likes to get on the ground with the kids and push the ball back and forth... don't we ever just play"? If that wasn't enough to make my hair stand up, while in the playroom with Noah, and I am in the next room in the kitchen, Noah picks up a tiger and growls like the tiger. She comes running in and asks if he is ok because he is making a weird noise! She obviously wasn't comfortable with Noah having Ds. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable with her.

Interview with nanny #2... from the site
She had great credentials, looked amazing on paper, had a lot of experience and had even worked for three years with a little girl with Ds, helping her to learn and express her speech. Sounded too good to be true... it was!
Poor thing, she was so shy, so quiet, so easily to be run over by Noah!!! I think she was only 12 herself!!! (ha, thats just my 40 something hormones rearing their ugly head)
Anyway, she was nice, just way too young and way too timid.

Interview with nanny #3... also from the site
This one was actually really good. She was young, yet bright, eager and very outgoing. She kept a great balance of talking with me as well as paying attention to Noah. She asked great questions, about what we are doing with Noah and why (re: his therapies). All seemed too perfect, and actually it was. Come to find out, she was available only limited times/days, and that just isn't going to work for us. We need to know we have someone on a regular basis, and so the search continues.

Finding a nanny has been quite the challenge. I think the hardest part has been the realization that other people look at Noah with such judgement, looking at what he isn't or can't do vs. all that he is and has already accomplished. I wonder if this is how it will be throughout his life? Will judgement come automatically from people without ever getting to know him? I hope not. I hope with all of the pioneering that parents of children with special needs have already traveled that society will begin to treat everyone as equal. Learn who an individual is on the inside, not to just judge them by stereotypical labels. Yes, that is my hope for the future of my little man!

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