Archive for March, 2010

18
Mar
10

Oh, Nanny!

At first I was going to make this a Facebook status update, but it turned out too long. So forget trying to squeeze it into 140 characters on Twitter. Now I can just natter away as long as my thumbs allow. (I’m trying out posting directly from Blackberry.)

As working parents, we have to rely on nannies to help take care of our triplet sons during the day when we are not around. So far we have been very fortunate; one (we’ll call her B) has been with us since they were born, and as an older nanny is very knowledgeable. The other one (O) is young but very sweet, never seeming to tire playing with all the boys. She joined us about 5 months ago when our other nanny W, (who we loved) had to leave because her husband was a irrational, jealous piece of human waste (a story for another time).

Our housekeeper P helps us a lot as well. Even though she has no formal training with kids, she’s a natural, especially with our hellion-in-training, Troy.

Many households in Thailand use nannies, who mostly hail from the Isaan region of Thailand, though some families go for Burmese or even Filipinos. Burmese usually cost much less, but many of them are illegal migrants. Besides that reason, I don’t want to hire one because they usually speak Thai with a heavy accent, which I don’t want my kids to adopt. They are already going to be burdened by Daddy’s shitty Thai accent.

So in essence, we have 2.5 live-in nannies. And my Mom flew over from the States to help look after them during the day. Everything seems peachy; the wife and I even have chances to go on a few movie dates after they go to bed.

Then O tells us she is going to get married.

Her private life is not my business, but I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend. But now she is planning to leave at the end of April. To her credit, she hasn’t let it affect her work, and she helps give Trip the attention he craves. We’re going to hate to lose her.

On the other hand, B has two grown children, and one of them needed tuition money, so she asked for an advance on next months salary. At first we were hesitant, but we felt like we should help Trey’s favorite nanny.

Most nanny centers have a policy where they don’t allow their staff to hit up employers for loans. After 10 months, B told us she was leaving her nanny center, so she could take the full salary (instead of having a 2000 baht cut taken out each month). We didn’t ask her to do this, and it seemed a little fishy but she said she wasn’t planning on being a nanny after us so she might as well quit the nanny center then. She mentioned it happens all the time for nannies who don’t plan on taking on future cases.

What we should have realized is that we would be at a disadvantage if she started slacking, because we wouldn’t be able to ask the nanny center to help reprimand her. And now she was talking about becoming a retailer later because she could make more money.

Meanwhile, B’s true nature began revealing itself in more blatant displays of laziness, not cleaning up after herself when preparing food for the kids or herself, complaining we take the kids out too often (which we most definitely do not), and getting up a little bit later each day.

So now we have learned our lesson, and have begun the arduous search all over again. Finding a good nanny is very difficult, you need someone knowledgeable with a great attitude who you can trust with the most important little people in your life. All the great ones seem to be taken, so it feel a bit like trying to take home a hot and sane girl from a bar at closing time; the pickings are slim that late in the game.

An we need two (and possibly three) new ones. Stress levels are high right now.

In the meantime, I would like to impart to you some of our hard earned lessons:

1. If you suspect your nanny is thinking of leaving, replace her as soon as possible. An unsettled nanny is just not going to be focused, which is annoying at best and, in the worst case, possibly dangerous.

2. Don’t loan your nannies a significant amount of cash, especially if it would take them more than a month to pay you off. Then they have you by the balls knowing you can’t let them go until they pay you back. (Though some will seem like they are doing their best to make you fire them so they can default*.

3. One last thing, which we didn’t worry too much about in the beginning (because nanny centers provide blood test certificates), if you want to hire someone, send them to the hospital to take a blood test. Recently we know of one nanny with excellent references who tested positive for hepatitis B, while another family (who fired nannies like Donald Trump wannabees) discovered nanny applicants who had syphillis and even HIV. Now that’s some scary shit.

BTW, if anyone reading this knows of a good live-in nanny (or two) who can start right away please let us know! Thanks…

Cheers,
Jack

*”Oh but you can sue them” you might be thinking, but it doesn’t work like that in Thailand. It would take forever in this legal system, and cost many times the amount of the loan. It would actually be easier to have her executed, which right now I am a bit tempted. Kidding. (Sort of.)

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