my husband gave me during her birth. It was later
stolen by my nanny.
I interviewed several nanny's that I had found on Care.com and fell in love with a sweet girl, who at the time was named H. B. During our initial meeting at Panera, a lady she babysat for happened to be there and took time to come over to our table and tell me how fabulous of a babysitter H.B. was. H.B. was from Michigan. She had been married for 7 years to Tim, who was a student at Athens State. She was also a student. Her mother lived in New Market. H.B. was also livung there, but had lived in the Hampton Cove Apartments as well. She had a really close relationship to her younger brother. She boasted about how she was studying early childhood education and had taught baby sign language to the children she had babysat for and she was bilingual. Lucia was with me when we met and she mentioned I should try using teething tablets, something I had been unfamiliar with at the time. I was sold! She was cute and sweet, knowledgeable and I liked everything about her. We negotiated back and forth a little bit about price through email and on November 10th, 2009 she started watching Lucia who was around 7 months old at the time. I paid her $216 a week to watch Lucia 3 days a week. I paid her whether I used her or not because I wanted her to have a set salary from me. Within the first few weeks of her working for me, she bought a new car. A really nice red Volvo and my husband and I joked with her that she bought a red car because she was a huge Alabama fan.
It didn't take long before I began having strange feelings about H.B. I wasn't sure if it was just being a first time mom and being away from my daughter, or if it was my "mommy-instincts" trying to tell me something. One night I opened the medicine cabinet and realized a whole bottle of children's Benadryl was practically empty. Once Lucia turned 6 months her pediatrician said we could give her a 1/2 teaspoon if she was congested and couldn't sleep. But there is no way a whole bottle should have been empty. I asked H.B. the next day if she had given Lucia any Benadryl and she said "no", without any further explanation of where it had disappeared to. So, I decided it must have spilled or something, but just to be safe, I bought a new bottle the next time I was at the store, poured a little out and marked the bottle with a marker.
I let H.B. leave early the next time she was at our house. Once she drove off I looked in the cabinet to find that the new bottle of Benadryl was practically empty. I panicked. My instincts were right. Something was wrong, but I didn't know what. What should I do? Was she giving it to Lucia? I remembered there was a day she told me Lucia had thrown up on her sheets and so she put them in the wash and changed her bedding. The wash machine hadn't started correctly like she thought, so when I went to change the wash to the dryer it was still dirty and there was pink vomit on the sheets. At the time I wondered what my 7 month old had eaten that was pink, but it never occurred to me until this moment. I really didn't know what to do, mostly because I DID NOT WANT TO BELIEVE that she would harm my child in anyway. I was full of anxiety.
I talked to my husband about it and he told me if there was any question at all, I needed to call her and fire her. But I couldn't. I didn't feel like I could prove anything, and let's face it, I really LIKED her. I am the one who hired her. If she was a bad person than my "mommy-instincts" when I hired her were wrong and I couldn't face all the mommy guilt of leaving my child with someone who would do bad things. I didn't want to believe it. But I was panicked. So I got on line and googled her name looking for something. I wasn't sure what I was looking for at the time, but it just took moments for me to find it.
Her husband at the time had a facebook page that was open to the public. I found it odd she had never mentioned to me in the 3 months she worked for me that he was in a wheelchair. I saw so many pictures of the two of them from several years back since they had been married over 7 years. She had gone through a huge weight loss and even in the 3 month span she worked for me she was still losing noticeable weight. His facebook talked about her leaving him a lot and coming back. It looked like they had just gotten back together when she began working for me. Which made sense why she was living in the HC apartments for a while. It also talked about when they got their van broken into while in Nashville on their Valentine's weekend there. She had told me about this and how violated they felt and weird getting back in their van after someone else had been in it.
And then there it was RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE, photo's of H., wearing my clothes. Talk about feeling violated. Some of the clothes I knew were missing and had been frantically searching the house for them, but never even thinking she would've taken them. There was NO DENYING it now. She was a thief. And if she was a thief, then she was probably a liar and lied about the Benadryl. My husband had advised me to check around the house to see what else was missing. I had already known my diamond cross he gave me for our first anniversary was missing, but I had no proof she took it, and because it was all hard for me to grasp anyway I really just wanted to believe I had just misplaced it. The only way I could identify it as mine was the clasp was a bit bent out of shape from me wearing it constantly and sleeping in it.
It was 9:00 that night and I called her to let her know I didn't need her to come back the next day. I simply told her I was going to stay home and watch Lucia from now on. When her response was "ok", my heart sunk. I wanted her to say, "oh my gosh, I'll miss Lucia", or "you'll have to still call me to babysit". Or something. But her response was just "ok" and we hung up the phone. I had seen her three days a week and some weekends for the past 3 months and all she said was "ok". As if the photo's weren't enough, the fact that she didn't care she wasn't working for us was. I had considered her a part of our family in the short time we knew her and trusted her, but she just said, "ok"???
I sent her an email a few days later on March 02, 2011 entitled "closure". You can read it here. Email Closure
In the email I accused her of stealing from me and I asked about the missing Benadryl. I called the police to file a report, but the officer basically without receipts and proof there was little I could do. I reported her to Care.com. It's when Care.com removed her that I received an email back from her. She mentioned nothing about the stolen items only that she took the Benadryl herself.
I saw her in the grocery store about a year ago and she was very pregnant. She also had a little boy in her cart who couldn't have been a year yet. So I knew he couldn't have been hers if she was pregnant. I stayed clear of her, but was sad that she was obviously working for another family and possibly putting their child at risk and possibly stealing from them. It made me very sad and brought up a lot of feelings I had buried.
Then just this last week, on a local "Mommy's R Us" consignment facebook page a girl posted that her family was moving and their nanny, Mrs. Paula, needed a new family to babysit. I looked up the nanny and she looked lovely. We had several friends in common from my church and with a recent inquire I received to go back to work I commented that I wanted more information about Mrs. Paula. And I corresponded with Mrs. Paula a bit.
But then I got an unsolicited private message from a different person stating that she saw I was looking for a nanny. The person's name was H. P. and with one glance at her profile picture I knew who she was. This is what her message said:
"Hey! I saw where you were looking for a nanny. Where are you located? I'd love to talk with you about the position. I was a full time nanny for a little boy from the time he was 6 weeks till he was almost 3 when my husband and I moved back to Huntsville. I used to do all kinds of different arts with him from the time he was just infant, I set up play dates, took him on walks, took him to the library, parks, zoo and did a Gymboree play & learn class with him. I also taught him baby sign language and was working with him on colors, numbers, letters and ha him potty trained by 1 1/2. I now have my own little girl who is 10 months old and do all the same with her. She already understands several signs and can do "more" when she wants more food. I made all her food until she decided she didn't want puréed food anymore and only wanted foods she could chew. We don't let her watch tv unless its absolutely needed or in the car because she hates the car!! I do all cleaning needed as well. any other questions you may have please let me know!!"
She obviously didn't realize she was sending that message to me. If she had taken one look at my profile pictures she would have not only recognized me but would've seen that I have 4 small children. How would she take 4 small children plus her baby to the zoo or on playdates or the library?
To see our full conversation go here: entire facebook convo
"H., I'm surprised you would reach out to me. You nannied for me already and it did not end well when I discovered that you had stolen from me. Items I still would like back from you. I believe in second chances, but not when it comes to the well being of my kids. Congratulations on your new marriage and becoming a mother yourself. I hope you've matured some through the experience."
It is then that she denied her own existence saying she doesn't know me and I've mistaken her for someone else. I went through all her profile pictures and found several of her still wearing my clothes she stole and several of her with my diamond necklace on. I saved the photo's to my computer, which is a good thing, because upon her denying she was ever H. B., but that she had only been known by her maiden name, H. N., she also immediately removed all her photo's of her wearing my cross and my clothes. She stated that she only wears two necklaces in her response to me, but I have photo's of her with a third necklace on...my cross. Here is a blog I wrote about my cross and how much it meant to me: My Cross.
|Here is one of the many photo's I downloaded |
before she removed them. She is wearing
my diamond cross necklace in this photo.
The fact that someone has to deny who they are because the real them is too disgusting to claim is heartbreaking.
Someone who can't come clean about what they have done and who is trying to run away from themselves is heartbreaking.
I could press charges against her, however, I've made the decision not to focus on the past and not to give this person any more of my time and worry. I have a lovely, healthy, God-fearing family that I do not want to lose sight of while minding someone else's poor behavior. I do not need people like her holding me back from enjoying the life and family that God has blessed us with.
The price of doing business with H. was losing a beautiful, expensive and meaningful necklace, a pair of my favorite seven jeans I bought in Chicago and other boutique clothes. But in the end my first daughter who she watched is safe and healthy despite being cared for by a liar and a thief.
I write this blog post for two reasons. The first reason is because I have so much sadness, anger and anxiety in my heart I need to write it out to clear my head and thinking it all through I have been given a huge lesson in discernment. I hope I can pass this lesson on to others. Not just a lesson about trusting who you leave your children with, or to dig further even when a person is sweet in nature and looks awesome on paper, but also in whether I should pursue this issue or not. Learning to discern what is important to me has been a big lesson. When I first texted my husband the photo of H. wearing my necklace his first response was, "that is fucking awful". And then his second text said this: "I gave you that necklace as a representation of our love. A symbol. It does not even come close to the feelings I have for you and our children." My necklace and my clothes are not important. My family is. Discernment.
The second reason I write this blog is just in case anyone else is looking to hire a nanny, or particularly this nanny. Do your homework. And most importantly trust your instincts. Even if they change over time. Trust Yourself.