Last night, I let go one of Alphonse’s nannies.
I’ve never really had much luck with household help. In all the years A and I have been married, we’ve only had one really good person come into our lives, and even then, she left to get married and raise a family of her own. Of course, I don’t expect them to stay forever, but given the way they are treated as family in our home, and not as help or employees, I always expect better but I never seem to get it.
In the last few months that I’ve been sidelined by this neck injury, I’ve had to rely on Nannies L, D, and B more and more for Alphonse’s care. When he wakes up in the mornings, they are usually ready to take him off my hands. The routines he and I used to share together — eating, bathing, dressing, getting ready, learning — have been replaced by their own routines for preparing for the day. And long after his lessons are done, they are there to keep him company, keep him safe, keep him loved. Or so I thought.
In the past week, however, we’ve noticed Alphonse’s reluctance to go with Nanny L in the mornings. He would cling to me, oftentimes hooking his arms around my neck to keep him from being pulled away. He would inadvertently cause me more pain but the more they tried to pry him away, the more he clung to me. I thought it was just another phase of separation anxiety until I found out the truth.
I received these distressing news last night. Nanny L had told me a few weeks ago that she would going home this Christmas to her family. Her father was gravely ill, she claimed, and she was needed at home. A week ago, she changed her mind suddenly, claiming that her father did not seem that ill after all. Yesterday, I found out that her father was not ill after all (she made it up only to set the stage for leaving) but she changed her mind because her boyfriend was coming to Manila. I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend.
The lies were already bad enough but it gets worse. Apparently, whenever Alphonse would shout, she would clamp her hands down on his mouth. When he would jump around, she would kick his shins to keep him from jumping. And when he would refuse to obey her, she would hit him with quick little slaps on the mouth. I asked the other nannies about this and when confronted, they both broke down and corroborated these. Nanny L crossed the one line I kept sacred in my household — no one ever hurts my children.
Nanny L had been part of our household for close to two years and I trusted her to care for Alphonse while I was injured. It hurts to be betrayed. It hurts to find out that the person you let in your home and treated as one of your own will hurt your child. And it hurts that I have not been able to see the signs sooner.