March 14, 2022

not my first rodeo

I apologize. I promised you Mini's scholarship update. That will be shared on Wed. I needed to share this ASAP, cuz this is a hot topic.

I had an opening in my home daycare. More on why in a later post, when I back up the bus to the beginning of the school year.  

I met 'Nurse' on FB moms page. We spoke. I usually sit for teachers. Her 4 day a week schedule rotates, so I wouldn't necessarily have Thursdays off. Nurse was supposed to drop 3 month old Bubble-boy, or BB, off at a KinderCare but as the time approached she was panicked, wanted to be a  little bigger before going there. 

* A few days later:  They were now thinking eventually they'd hire an au pair. Poor, poor au pair. 

I said, I'd babysit for him until the end of the school year. I described our outings/ routine. Not rocket science, but families I work for are crazy about me. I offered their contact info. She called all of them. 

Nurse wanted to bring BB before his 1st day for a few hours. Nurse asked me multiple times, HAVE YOU EVER WATCHED A 3 MONTH OLD BEOFRE? Like, what? 

No (insert sarcastic voice here), in 7 years of my day care, BB would be the first 3 month old. And I birthed all my kids at 6 months of age, so no experience. 

The two hour trial run:  Nurse and Hover Fool  (dad/ HF) arrived. They settled in on the couch. Huh? Drop and go, people. DROP AND GO. 

HF instructed me where to put my hands when holding BB. HUH?  They'd been surprised recently, BB cried when a friend held him, soon for stranger danger? 

* Turns out, BB was fed bottles in his room almost always and rarely left the house. It wasn't stranger danger, it was FEAR OF LEAVING HIS BUBBLE.

Eating:  They gave me a typed up schedule with a feeding position photo.  "more comfortable for him." She gives him breast milk in a bottle. She warms a bottle of breastmilk at night EVEN THOUGH SHE'S GOT IN ON TAP. 

Sleeping:  "Here's his magic suit." Think snowsuit, since he is too big for swaddling. It eliminates reflexes that could wake him. When I said I'd be keeping him in the dining room in a bassinet, she charged in there. 


I guess he isn't bothered by
his arms not laying flat.
Me (looks around to see if hidden cameras have been installed in my home, as in:  WHO IS PULLING MY LEG HERE, ARE THESE PEOPLE FOR REALS?) I can always put him in the study. I can close the shutters in there.

Did I want to use their video monitor? No. 

He likes the pacifier. They prefer he find his thumb. Um, he won't find his thumb if he can't bend his arm while in his puffy suit. 

They left. The bottle feeding wasn't ultra smooth - fed inclined on a pillow, his head towards my knees while he's on his side. No eye contact. No cuddling. 

Me afterward:  Do you expect me to wake him according to this schedule?


Me:  (not about to lie) OK, CAUSE I DON'T WAKE SLEEPING BABIES. They do typically let you know what they need.  

Not my first rodeo. 

On Tues - DAY 1, HF arrived. Mini laughed at how he took everything out of the diaper bag. 'Splained to me what it was:  snot suction thing. Thanks, totally unfamiliar. 

BB cried or screamed every waking moment at my house. Fortunately the instant I laid him down in his DO-NOT-BEND suit with his pacifier, he slept. They brought a noise maker. HF demonstrated how to hit the button to get back to the preferred sound should I bump it. I was like, GOT IT. 

BB napped over 2 hours in the morning and around 2 hours in the afternoon. Most parents would be thrilled if their baby slept that well at a sitter's house. This.Is.Not.Most.Parents.

When HF picked up, he was distressed that I hadn't followed the schedule. BB had slept through the night a few nights prior to starting at my house. I think they feared deviating from their schedule, which was in military time:  0700 WAKE BB EVERY 1.5 HOURS. FEED BOTTLE. HOLD UPRIGHT 10 MINUTES. CHANGE DAIPER.

Super grateful for this info, because how else would I know when to change a diaper? 

DAY 2:  HF informed me BB'd had a terrible night (each morning he debriefed me on the night routine, # ounces ingested, etc), he demanded that I feed BB at exactly 11, 1 and 4. I reminded him that when we met, I pointed out that I wouldn't be waking the baby up. He was like WELL, WE CAN'T HAVE ANOTHER BAD NIGHT.

Me:  BB's adjusting to a new setting, not surprised he's a little thrown off. 

I was shaking when he left. I've NEVER been spoken to like that by a parent. They'd confused me with a personal nanny. I had 4 or 5 other kids to care for. I do what I can to meet everyone's needs. Not just BB's. 

I bent over backwards to follow their schedule. I called Delilah and I broke down, why so stressful? Why so rude? 


On BB's first day, I'd noticed on FB someone looking for a sitter for a 2.5 year old, rest of school year, 2 days/week. I reached out. I could juggle people to Thursday to accommodate. I was also worried that BB wasn't going to work and was trying to cover my bases. 

When HF scolded me, after they'd said DO WHAT WORKS, but they meant:  OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. I reached out to FB lady. I was like IF YOU HAVEN'T FOUND ANYONE - I WILL PROBABLY NOT BE SITTING FOR THIS BABY, I'LL HAVE SPACE. She'd already made other arrangements. Damn. 


They'd chill out, right? It was an adjustment. I wanted to quit, thought about collecting BB's fat suit, etc and having it ready at the door, but worried about leaving them in a bind. Nurse called to chat and have me fill her in on how it was going. She worried HF wasn't telling her everything. "You can combine our strict schedule and your way." The next day I allowed 15 minute leeway to the strict schedule. 

Can we pause here and recognize that 3 MONTH OLDS DON'T HAVE SCHEUDLES. *sigh*

DAY 3:  Nurse picked up that night. I gave her homework:  Have someone other than you feed him. Take him somewhere, like the store. Try another position to feed him because how can I recreate that when we go to the zoo next week. She froze. 

When do I decide about outings? Sometimes morning of. I'd reviewed this when we met. One of the moms I sit for later told me that she'd stressed how much they love that we go places. Not new info. Nurse said she'd likely just hire a backup sitter for the day. I told her, great but you're going to pay me anyway, because we agreed to 4 days. Not going to skip out on using me because you aren't comfortable with something that I made clear from the get-go.

I also told her general rule is not to wake a sleeping baby. She told me there's lots of ideas nowadays. She's following one online, her sister follows another one. Who is this 'one' - an influencer? Curly:  SHE'S LEARNING HOW TO BE A MOM FROM THE INTERNET?


That evening at pickup, HF: "Nurse paid you, but we've decided to go in another direction." *as if they almost didn't pay me, and I should count my lucky stars that they did?  


HF:  Just a difference of opinion. Plus we felt disrespected when you said, GENERAL RULE IS DON'T WAKE A SLEEPING BABY.

You felt what? Disrespected? Because I, an expert in my field, shared with you what most people already know?  I pointed out:  THIS IS THE WRONG SETTING FOR YOU.  He agreed. Why then, did you waste my time and energy? I could've filled the spot with someone else. 


Me:  OH, I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR OVER 25 YEARS. * been babysitting since age 12, probably since before HF was born. 

Me:  As a courtesy you can send me two weeks pay. 


Why? I want to know why? Because you don't value what I do? Because me caring for infants and toddlers and keeping them safe AND happy while their parents work is not essential and important? Really, because it seemed important and valuable enough for you to leave BB here. 

People, I'm hot. When I back up the bus and explain all that's gone on here - you will grasp why. I couldn't wait to tell it from the beginning, because I'm all kinds of fired up. The bottom line is:  they were dishonest. Turns out they DID care that he be kept on a crazy AF schedule. They DIDN'T want him to leave the house, but they knew I treated my charges to fun adventures. 


I want to tell them to get a hobby. These people are future presidents of the HPA, helicopter parents association. BB is looking at a lifetime of being controlled. 

* If you were me, what's one line you'd include in a note to them? 


Nicole said...

It sounds like it's best you aren't working with them anymore! They sound very nervous and controlling.

Pat Birnie said...

They sound like a nightmare. As frustrating as it is you are better off without these parents. When my second was a couple of months old he seemed to always fall asleep just when I had to pick #1 up from kindergarten. So frustrating - because, yes, you never wake a sleeping baby!

Colleen said...

Um yes, NEVER wake a sleeping baby. Duh. Parenting 101. Most new parents look to the babysitter/nanny with loads of experience to teach them what to do. Yikes. Good riddance.

Kate said...

Oh good heavens. Their expectations are more in line with what a private nanny might (MIGHT) accomplish, definitely not a group childcare situation. Super frustrating for you to be providing what you know is good care and for them to fault you for it. As a counterpoint, MY 3 month old just started daycare 2 weeks ago. The first few days she was fussy when I picked her up because she had only cat-napped (as expected! She's adjusting!). On the third day, she took a 3 hour nap in addition to a few other cat naps and was pleasant as can be, and I was thrilled!

Jenny in WV said...

Very frustrating! Do you do a contract with the parents? Maybe you could do one that includes a clause of "two weeks of fees are owed if parents terminate services earlier than agreed end date". You deserve a little cushion. Hope you find some not crazy families in the future!

Instagram has been showing me a lot of Irish dancing reels lately, I wonder if it knows I read you blog?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this could work, but could you require a deposit from new people? Like a 2-week deposit up front with the understanding that the deposit will cover the final 2 weeks, whenever that date comes? That would save you a lot of hassle with people who terminate early, plus the people who stick with you for a few years might regard it as a bit of a gift. Sometimes a long-ago pre-pay can feel like a present from your past self.

jg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jg said...

do they think any child care home or center will follow their schedule/rules?

Deedee said...

Write that letter and then delete it. Or print it out and burn it in the backyard. Don’t send it to them. You are the first child care provider they annoyed but you definitely won’t be the last! They will likely figure out at some point that you were right. But unfortunately, at this point a letter from you is not going to change their minds or child rearing theories. I am in awe of the precision and detail in their schedule. That’s crazy! And yes, never wake a sleeping baby!

ccr in MA said...

Oh good grief! Super annoying for you, but in the long run it's for the best that they are riding their high horses away. Are they ever going to be in for a shock as the baby becomes a person whose behavior they can't always legislate.

That poor baby.

Jeannie Bruce said...

I would type the letter, get out all the frustrations and then burn it. Then mail them a copy of a basic parenting book lol. Parenting rules to live by
1. never wake a sleeping baby
2. Babies make their own schedules
3. Learn to adapt, babies are babies after all.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my lord. You dodged a bullet here and I wish I could say the same for BB. That poor kid; his father is trying to control his every move...even bodily functions!

I agree with the others for not sending the letter; they won't understand it now, but maybe later on they'll figure out they were totally in the wrong.

Laughing at your daughter's comment about the Internet training them how to raise a baby. What the hell with these people and that darn schedule. It's ludicrous.

Kari said...

I believe that most of us parents recall being first-time parents. We all need to be kind to individuals who are away from a newborn for the first time. Having said that, they should have known better than to put their firstborn in a daycare setting. That wasn't fair to you. They are unquestionably an au pair or nanny family.

I'm sorry you had to go through this, though. That must have been stressful. As previously said, compose the letter and then burn it.

Kara said...

These are first time parents who probably never spent time with babies in the past 20 years. They're wound super tight. All babysitters will be nightmares for them. Run away! Warn the other sitters in the area! She probably had a birth plan, laminated, in a binder, that went to the hospital for the baby's delivery.

I wouldn't bother with a note. Just a reminder in your head to never watch their child.

Beth Cotell said...

Oh these poor people. NEVER wake a sleeping baby and NEVER to feed it (unless it's underweight and you've been instructed to by a doctor.) You are definitely better off without them as clients. I'm sure they will relax over time and realize they totally blew it by not keeping BB with you.

Ally Bean said...

I know next to nothing about babies, but I am clear about how they let you know what they need. I'd suggest they could see a mental health therapist about their OCD tendencies so that their child has a chance to grow up normally.

Gigi said...

Jumping in too add - write the letter, then delete or burn. You will release some of your frustrations and won't have burned any bridges that someday, down the road, may need to be crossed.

I would check the contract they signed. Is there a two week, early termination clause? If so, they are obligated to pay it. If not, I would add something to that effect to all future contracts.

Bibliomama said...

"Birthed all my kids at 6 months of age" omg, hilarious. I was nervous with my newborns, but this is next-level. They're in for a rude awakening if they think anyone is going to cater to their nit-picky schedule. "We usually change his diaper when"... um, good lord, is there ANYTHING more intuitive than WHEN TO CHANGE A DIAPER.

mbmom11 said...

Oh my goodness, what a pair. I know I was wound up a little tight as a first time parent, but that's a little extreme. and the mom's a nurse?
The feeding position is similar to what I had to do for my daughter who was a premie with low muscle tone. It allowed me to support her jaw while eating. So maybe they picked it up somewhere on the internet - the best baby handbook ever. ;)
I;d include a line about save up money for BB future therapy bills. But delete the letter. One day, when they walk past you in the neighborhood, with a kid who's doing all the regular things and their obsessive parenting traits have been ground into dust by reality, you can just smile and wave!

ka-lyn said...

So sad for that baby.... and those parents. They must be driving themselves absolutely crazy. I think all the "parenting experts" out there have drowned out natural parenting instincts entirely.
When my oldest was about 2 months old, I threw away all my parenting magazines (back when the internet was still relatively new). They contradicted each other and stressed me out. I figured people had been parenting for millenia, long before magazines (or social media) and I'd figure it out. That "baby" is now 23 years old and doing well. Throwing those magazines away was one of the best things I ever did- for her and I. Hoping BB's parents will stop checking their Instagram feed for parenting advice and do what **should** come naturally.

joymariecooks said...

Oh my. I feel so bad for BB. A schedule for a 3 month old? L.O.L. I also feel bad for the parents. What a stressful way to be. I'm honestly surprised they didn't demand you download some stupid app and log every feeding, sleeping, diaper etc. Apparently those are all the rage now. (I'm the sort of mom who kept the nursing/diaper log in the hospital to be sure baby was eating/pooping/peeing enough those first couple days and because the nurses would come and check it and add it to their records,bbut the instant it was clear baby was doing all things normally stopped and just go with the flow.) However since I'm in the young parenting circles with a 2 year old and almost 3 week old, I know the apps are an obsession for many young parents.

Anyway, I'm also sorry you had that experience and hope you find a (same) replacement soon! Your sitting situation sounds wonderful and reminds me of my 2 year old's babysitting situation when I was working full time when she was 3-14 months old. As a first time mom I was relieved that she was with a mom of 4, including twins, abd while I told her sitter some basic info like "C usually naps midmorning." and "She loves being worn in the baby carrier." or "She's typically taking 2-3 oz for Dad when he gives her the bottle.' I figured that she'd have figured all that out herself on about three days lol.

Really hope this comment all makes some sense. See part above about ages ofy children lol.

joymariecooks said...

*sane replacement not same !!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Yes, bullet dodges, as Coach likes to say. It just stinks that I could've possibly been hired by the teacher who reached out to me on BB's first day. By the time I realized, they'd found someone. Timing is everything.

Controlling to say the least.

Ernie said...

Pat - True, better off without them. It is a bummer because they wasted my time and energy and cause me to miss out on another job. I know people who know them, they live 2 blocks away. I will see them again. You'd have thought they would've handled themselves better than that.

Ernie said...

Colleen - Exactly. Funny a mom I sit for, whose name is COLLEEN - said the exact thing. She was like "I WAS GLAD YOU KNEW MORE THAN ME."

Ernie said...

Kate - You nailed it - I did provide excellent care and they FAULTED me for it. Exactly. Look at you - recognizing that your baby is adjusting. BB was adjusting too but they figured I was the reason he stopped sleeping through the night. Even a private nanny is bound to feel frustrated - who would follow such an inflexible schedule.

It is impossible not to take this personally, especially when I bent over backwards to accommodate them. Another mom I sit for said she would have been thrilled if her twins had napped 2.5 hours a few times at my house as infants. Of course, it makes them more happy. What if BB doesn't want a bottle at exactly 11 am?

Ernie said...

Jenny - I do NOT do a contract. I should. I know this. I've been burned before. The issue is that I feel bad asking for money upfront, and I don't want to scare them off. If other places don't do that, then my place might appear 'nutty'. They might fear that I'm hiding something - like WHAT IF SHE IS HORRIBLE AND THEN WE CAN'T GET OUR MONEY BACK?

Instagram must be watching us, knowing that we are chatting.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - I do like that idea. It makes a lot of sense. I would worry that if other caregivers don't do the same thing, then they will fear that I don't do a good job/feel like I might be overly cautious because people leave if I don't do a good job, etc. I've thought of this sort of thing many times. It might be time to just do it.

Ernie said...

JG - Great question. Having no flexibility really limits their childcare options.

Ernie said...

DeeDee - I agree, I won't be the last child care provider that they will annoy. I didn't intend to tell them that they're doing it wrong, but I did want them to grasp that this situation arose from them not being honest with me. Big difference between: this works for us, do what works for you. And: do it our way, right now! Also I really didn't appreciate how dismissive the dad was when I suggested they pay me for two weeks. As if I didn't matter. Incredibly rude.

Ernie said...

ccr - I agree. Since I sit mostly for teachers, I recognize that these people are going to be a teacher's biggest nightmare one day. "Little BB was told he can't eat his granola bar at 11 am, but that's when he's hungriest." Yes, at some point they will be up a creek when they can't dictate everything he does and says (and when he sleeps and wakes).

Ernie said...

Jeannine - I like that idea - mail them a parenting 101 book. Very funny. Why would they need a book when they have the internet? Just bazaar.

Ernie said...

Suz - That poor kid indeed. Honestly both parents were on the same controlling page. I can't even. I told Coach, HOW WEIRD THAT THEY ARE BOTH LIKE THAT. But if neither has any baby experience, then he is clearly feeding off of her. She has a sister who follows the internet. Monkey see, monkey do. Then he's just a horse's ass for thinking these two women know their stuff. Laughable.

I just want to point out in a note how rude they were, how pathetic it is and what a poor reflection it is of them to have undervalued me and what I do. I wasn't going to tell them not to keep doing 'their thing'. I know their neighbors, since they live two blocks away. I want to sit back and find out how it all backfires on them. :)

Curly is going to be able to do the baby caring for her own offspring with one eye closed, while napping. Her poor future spouse, she'll probably be like YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG, I'VE GOT THIS.

Ernie said...

Kari - I've worked for plenty of first time moms. I've actually had some of them tell me that when they get to work people ask how they are holding up, and they've replied: ACTUALLY FINE, BECAUSE I KNOW BABY IS IN GOOD HANDS.

I was certainly not unkind to people who were away from their 3 month old for the first time. Quite the opposite. I was reassuring. After the trial when he took a bottle and napped at my house, the parents were visibly more relaxed. I thought we were good to go.

Thanks, I appreciate that - it WAS stressful. What I do should not be stressful. I wish they'd been honest with me from the start. Things could've been much different. It has been a very stressful school year, and once I get back to the beginning of the story it will become more clear how this was just the icing on the cake.

Ernie said...

Kara - I think you are probably right, they are extremely inexperienced. It blows my mind that she is a nurse. I have thought about reaching out on the FB page I use to let the administrators know, in case they can put up a warning. I don't think I will be able to pull that off. I would guess that she got her doctor to agree to have her deliver on a set date. There's not way she would've been able to leave that to chance. No way in hell I would ever sit for them again, and my girls would never be available to them either.

Ernie said...

Beth - Precisely. What if the baby doesn't want another 6 ounces at exactly 1:00? They know people who know me. I know their neighbors - I used to teach them Irish dancing. Mini used to sit for their neighbors. A woman I know works with her as a nurse, I found out. They have spoken to all the families I sit for. They will know that this was a mistake to not leave him here and leave me alone, because all of those people think highly of me.

Ernie said...

Ally - See - it is widely known that babies alert folks of their needs. How did the rest of us do this without the internet? I love the 'get your OCD addressed for your baby's sake' advice. Solid.

Ernie said...

Gigi - Oh, there is NO chance I'd cross a bridge that would mean that I'd share a space with them. I'd take that bridge down with an axe before I'd cross it. I might run into them at a playground, since I bring my little charges to the park. That'll be interesting.

I do not do a contract. Sadly. I've been burned before, but it isn't all that common to do that in a setting like the one I offer and I don't want people to be scared off. Might need to rethink that.

Ernie said...

Ali - Tank was over 10 lbs at birth, so he felt as big as a 6 month old at birth. Ha. I literally blinked a ton when I met with them and thought, WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE? But when they arrived back and were so relieved that he'd taken a bottle AND a nap in his snowsuit, I thought the anxiety was manageable. Diaper changing is intuitive indeed. I mean, so is baby crying - feed it, or sleep it, or burp it. I'm good at what I do, but this really isn't rocket science.

Ernie said...

mbmom - I keep thinking the same thing - SHE'S A NURSE? Another mom I sit for saw the schedule and mentioned that the feeding position is used for preemie babies. He's huge. When I did attempt to hold him normally to feed him the end of a bottle, he kept smiling at me, like OH, LOOK - I SEE YOUR FACE, WEIRD.

I like that idea, save $ for his therapy bills. I won't send that, but I appreciate the chuckle. I just really feel like I need to defend people who work in service for other people, we have value, are providing a service, acting as if we are disposable is rotten. True colors have been shown here.

I don't think I will run into them in the neighborhood with a normal kid. I think they will be pushing their kid to the park in his giant bubble. ;)

Ernie said...

kari (deux) - My oldest is also 23. I look back now and laugh. I probably got tired of waiting for him to burp and just laid him down and then couldn't figure out why he wasn't staying asleep. How did we all survive? I did learn a lot from my sister, Ann, who is a nurse. I knew what lotion was the best, and how sleep sacks made night changings easier. It was baptism by fire back then and I was an experienced sitter. The breastfeeding past had me so freaked out, as it was technically the only thing I hadn't done. I dreamt that I left Lad with friends after he was born, showed up days later wondering if it was too late to nurse him. Hee hee. Glad you tossed the magazines. You're right - so much of it is natural, or at least trial by error.

Ernie said...

joy marie - Your comment makes perfect sense. Congrats on the new baby. I told this mom, it usually takes me one day with a baby before I figure them out. What their preferences are, etc. Can't figure a baby out when you are ordered to do xyz. Sigh. What you desribed dropping off your baby at a daycare like mine sounds like what the moms I sit for feel like - she knows what she's doing. She'll figure it out. If they'd asked me to add an app to my phone, I would've shown them the door. My phone has memory issues (as do I!), so adding an app is not ideal.

Thanks for that. I have bounced back and I feel so much better. Getting support here has really helped. I appreciate all the 'oh my gosh, what?' comments. I have given up adding a family to my daycare for the rest of this school year. I'm avoiding the websites for the rest of lent as part of my Lenten sacrifice. It is life giving. Letting myself off the hook and enjoying having a slightly easy schedule. Off to the zoo tomorrow.

I DID have a woman reach out to me for next school year. We meet on Saturday and she sounds very interesting. Was at her in home daycare for 6 years but the woman is retiring. Sounds promising, and her sister wants care too. It would be nice if they say yes, because I can take the summer off from looking. ;)

Ellen said...

That's so sad for the baby and parents! How could that mom not cuddle her own baby!? I recall being very anxious with my first, and giving grandma way too much info when she babysat, but oh my! I'm sorry they were so rude to you

Ernie said...

Ellen - I found it so strange. Still do. It was like living in an alternate universe for a week where the internet dictated how we parent. I'm laughing at you remembering giving grandma too much info.

I did find them rude and I appreciate you saying that. I think I have a hard time letting it go because I grew up the middle child and whenever I objected about an oversight I was told to knock it off. I need to tell these people that they can parent any way they want, but to not be clear about their expectations and then to take it out on me was ridiculous.

Suzanne said...

This is so awful, Ernie. I'm so sorry. What a terrible experience.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - It was *shudder* the pits. Wishing they hadn't stumbled across me on the internet. Maybe they weren't clear about their expectations because they didn't know what they wanted yet, but they were doing it this way for 3 months, as they liked to point out to me, so then why didn't they know what they were looking for? Super weird. They live so close to me. I know we will cross paths again.