We had a bit of a gap in coverage in Star's childcare schedule last week. Star's old preschool had ended, we had returned from our New Year's trip to Atlanta and her new school wasn't set to start until the following Monday. So, we needed coverage over the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of January.
My mom, our usual backup childcare provider, would be with my nephew visiting from Los Angeles, so she wasn't an option. I couldn't think of any creative options, so we had to hire a nanny.
I emailed about 20 nannies who had posted on Berkeley Parents Network. Of those, about half weren't available during the time period I was looking for. I email screened about 10 of them and had in person interviews with 2.
We liked both of the people who interviewed for the position. We asked Star for her opinion, and she said that she wanted to play with both of them again, but she didn't think that candidate #2 was feasible. Candidate #1 was feasible, in Star's opinion, so we hired her.
Jen started on Monday. Let me stop to say that she is not a professional nanny. She has nannied and babysat in the past, but she has another career that is her main focus. She's not full time with the other career yet, so she's filling in her employment schedule by doing some nannying.
She is amazing. When I get home, they've put away all their toys, and Jen has somehow managed to do all the dishes - including the ones that Scott and I used for breakfast before Jen even arrived for the day. It doesn't seem like she puts anything in the dishwasher. She also makes Star's bed after nap time.
Jen asks smart questions. "Do you compost?" "How do you approach discipline?" I was able to definitively answer the first question, but I somehow wiggled my way out of specifically answering the second question.
"We are having a great time! We made a lion. ;) "
Throughout the day, she texted Scott and I pictures of Star with descriptions of what they are doing. On day 1, when I returned home from work, Jen and Star were doing yoga. Jen had tied Star's hair back into a ponytail (which Star generally won't let me do), and Star happily demonstrated to me various yoga poses which she had been doing.
"We made doggies with playdough!"
On day 2, Jen somehow got Star to nap in her bed for 2 hours. I can't do that. I generally resort to driving her around until she falls asleep or pushing her in the stroller. I'm not proud to admit this, but I believe that sleep is a good thing, and I'm willing to help Star sleep however possible.
"We made a caterpillar and a rainbow tunnel!"
On day 3, they made their most impressive creation - a caterpillar going through a rainbow tunnel. They also walked to the library and picked out a book on a caterpillar - it was a whole lesson plan! Star napped again for 2 hours in her own bed.
Star was happy. So, Scott and I were happy. Generally, I prefer some sort of "school" environment over nannies so Star gets to play with multiple caregivers and multiple kids, but this nanny experiment has been a good one! And, we've learned to trust Star's opinion more - Jen turned out to be way more feasible than the other nanny option.