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Too Close for Comfort?

Have I told you how much we adore our nanny? As hard as it is to work full time out of the house –- and yes, it still is hard for me, emotionally – if it weren't for our nanny and how amazing she is with Preston, sometimes I wonder how I'd balance my work schedule with a new baby. Though she only takes care of Preston three days a week, she's with him for 10 hours a day, and at this point they have formed an incredibly strong bond. She loves him like he's her own (she has five almost-grown kids, her youngest is 15). And Preston seems to love her just as much. His face lights up when she walks in his room in the morning. He squeals with excitement, in a way that he only squeals for his mom and dad.

On the one hand I am so grateful that they have this bond –- I leave the house every morning knowing he's in great hands. So, as heartwrenching as it is being away from him all day during the week, at least I am secure in the fact that he's well taken care of while I'm at work. But on the other hand –- and this is where you'll either agree with me or vehemently disagree with me – I secretly kind of hate it, their bond. A bond he should only have with us -- his mommy and daddy.

I hate to even admit that out loud, but what can I say, I'm only human. Technically, she spends one more full day a week with him than I do. I put him to bed every night, but she put him on a swing for the first time. That one was a little tough on me, actually, but I didn't tell her not to put him on a swing before I did –- so she didn't exactly do anything wrong. Hearing about it wasn't easy though. Nor is it easy when she tells me things about him that I don't know, like about a new girl friend he has at the park. Not that I don't trust her implicitly, but she's started having playdates with a friend of hers and the nine-month-old girl she takes care of –- people I don't know.

The other odd thing about the bond that our nanny has with our baby is, when it comes to raising him –- or, say, helping encourage him to crawl –- she and I go about it differently. Because she's not his mom, she doesn't feel comfortable making him do things he doesn't want to do –- like tummy time, for example, which is crucial to any crawling progress. And since I'm not home to "oversee" things, I don't know how much time she's actually working on these developmental stages with him, even though I tell her every morning to try to put him on his tummy and make him reach for his toys. When I talk to the nanny about his crawling, or lack thereof, she tells me that she doesn't think he's ready yet, and how much he doesn't like being on his tummy...she doesn't want to make him do anything that's going to make him cry. Hey, it's not like I enjoy making him cry either, but some fussing during tummy time doesn't constitute torture in my book, it's just part of the process. But I also understand where she's coming from –- I appreciate her not wanting to upset him, of course.

It's a catch-22, I guess: I don't want her babying him too much; I see her carrying Preston around a lot, and taking him on long walks in his stroller –- these are not bad things, in moderation –- but she needs to put him on the floor more and let him figure out how to be mobile on his own. It's the only way he's ever going to learn to crawl. This is obvious, I know –- but being away from home nearly 50 hours a week means I am not the only person responsible for his development. And the catch is, the alternative –- if she didn't mind seeing Preston cry and fuss, and forced him to do things he didn't want –- would be way worse.

She's wonderful in every other way, honestly, so if babying Preston is her worst fault, I guess it's a small price to pay for how much she loves and cares for him. So the bigger issue is, how do I raise Preston the way I want when I'm not home to micro-manage his development? But there's another issue lurking here, and it's a harder one to reconcile: Is it possible my baby and my nanny have become too close? Is she not able to remain objective? I am trying not to let the affection she shows him bother me; she smothers him with kisses the way we do. At first I didn't mind it; but she'll do it in front of me, in the morning, during the little time I have with him before I leave for work. Like I said, she loves him like he's her own. This is not a bad thing, but it's also not easy to see someone else bond with your child. Have you ever felt the person caring for your kid has gotten too close for comfort?

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