November 13, 2008

On My Mind

Here are some of the random things on my mind today:

(1) I keep reading about how the Nebraska lawmakers want to amend the child safe haven law to make it clear that it only applies to abandoned infants. I fully understand the intent and purpose of that law, but there has been a total of 31 children abandoned since the broadly-worded law was passed. It seems to me that there is obviously a need for some type of help for parents who, for whatever reason, can no longer care for their child, no matter what the age. Now in no way am I encouraging parents to abandon their children, but it's apparent to me that a parent who drives from Florida to Nebraska to drop off their 11 year-old clearly has run out of resources and options. What will happen to the families (and children) in those situations once the law is passed? I guess what I'm trying to say that changing the law to apply only to infants won't eliminate the need that obviously exists out there for a safe alternative for parents of older children.

(2) Yesterday as we were walking into a bagel shop a (homeless?) guy asked us for money to buy breakfast. Hubby bought an extra bagel and cream cheese and offered it to the guy on our way out. Can you believe the guy looked at the bagel and said: "Nah, I'll catch you next time." Huh? What? You'll catch us next time? Think again buddy. Clearly he just wanted cash and not food. How rude!

(3) Anyone out there with a nanny that's in your house all day? How do you handle the food situation? Is she free to eat whatever she wants from your fridge/pantry? We never laid any ground rules so our nanny has been eating our food here and there, which is totally fine. But lately she has eating more and more of out leftovers which causes me to (a) have to make an entirely new meal for dinner each night and (b) buy more groceries. Any thoughts on how to navigate this? It's a delicate situation.


Smiling Mama said...

I am so with you on #1 -- I was just saying that recently. It is clearly a big problem. On #2 - so funny, that has happened to me, too. Oh well, you got an extra bagel, I guess! On #3, sorry no help :)

Justice Ny said...

On # 2 - extremely funny. That has happened to me so many times. But there will be that one time that the food is accepted and even eaten in your presence and it makes up for all the times that your gesture was rejected.

On # 3 - not quite sure how to handle it. When we had a nanny she nibbled on stuff all day -- probably because there weren't any real left-overs as I don't really cook -- but she did nibble and I actually felt bad that I dind't have food for her to eat.

Do you know whether there is something going on in her life to cause her to eat more of your stuff than regular - stress, money problems, depression. I would suggest that you check with her to make sure she's okay. Can you imagine if it's a case of things being so tight at home that she doesn't have much food - I've seen these stories on the news? Or what if she's depressed? You should also check because if she's having some issues at home, they could spill over into her care of BabyJ and you most definitely don't want that.

What I'm saying is inquire as delicately as you can about whether there's a change in her life.

If there isn't a problem, then give praise that you're able to help/provide for her where you can.

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

I agree with you on #1. It is sad that a parent has to make such a difficult decision but if it is best for the child so be it. What is the alternative? Having a child suffer abuse?

#2 As a New Yorker I am so used to people asking for help and I generally offer food if I have it. Or purchase food because I believe that is the best way to help out.

I can't personally help you with three but I can ask around if you like.

jpdmom said...

#1 very sad - I can't even imagine dumping my kids off. As for #2 - when I was in college in SJ this happened all the time, I would buy a taco for someone or some piece of food and they would decline. So I stopped offering to help. #3 Isn't that the worst? My husband does the same thing - just tell the sitter please don't eat this. I started asking my kids what she liked to eat and I would tell her we bought such and such and such so she would take the hint.

Cheryl M. Wenzel-Nelson, M.A. said...

#1: This shows such a great need for a safe-haven law for older kids, as well. I mean, really, don't we care about ALL kids and not JUST about newborns? I say: AMEND THE LAW!

#2: The next time, rather than buying something you think he/she might want, tell them first that you don't like to give cash but you would be willing to buy them a sandwich/bagel if they like. This way, if they say "No", no harm done.

#3: Why do us White women have a tendency to assume the nanny, who we're paying good money to care for our kids and do whatever else she agrees to do for the money, should be as one of our children and eat anything she wants whenever she wants. I would tell her that she is welcome to eat a meal when you guys eat a meal, period. No snacking or helping herself to your refrigerator as if she's one of the family. You may like her as such, but she's not, she's a paid employee first and foremost.

Just the humble opinions of one mom (who doesn't have a nanny, by the way.... :)

JJ said...

i'm with ya on #1 and #2. and had that happened to me with two actually, i offered leftovers in a carryout tray from a restaurant and the guy said, "ew, you done ate off of that. what do i look like to you?" hilarious! can you believe that? to which we said, "um a hungry homeless man."

on #3 to that i retort? you have a nanny? oh how i wish! lucky you. when i had one, i think the problem with setting new rules is that it will create friction that may last longer than necessary. i'm going to take note though b/c i've found the easiest way to avoid such situations is to lay the groundwork from the get go. oh the lessons i've learned by not obeying by that rule. *sigh* good luck. sorry no help here.

hey Fergie, you're White now? just read Cheryl's comment above mine! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I've never had a nanny, so I don't know the answer to #3, but I just have to say that #1 is tragic. There clearly is a need ... and that is so very sad. I hope that it spurs more discussion of what can be done.

Good luck to you with the nanny situation!

Kim Moldofsky said...

I can weigh in on #2. If I have food to give, I will give it to a homeless person on the street, but will never give money because that can be easily used to buy alcohol or drugs.

#3 I never had a nanny, but I worked as a counselor for an au pair agency for many years. I think it is reasonable to ask her to leave certain leftovers for the family to eat for dinner. At the same time you can ask her if there are certain foods she'd like you to have on hand for her lunch. As a SAHM, I ate pretty much what my kids ate- sandwiches, soup, mac and cheese, so I wouldn't expect (nor would I fulfill) requests for say, caviar.
If her eating habits have changed recently, it might be worth finding out why, as Justice Ny suggested.

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