If you'd told me I would be
shopping for a nanny cam to spy on my babysitter when I was pregnant with my
first son and just entering the world of motherhood, I would have laughed my ass
Let's just get one thing straight:
I am not a paranoid weirdo. I was a nanny myself in college and throughout my
20s. The thought of someone taping me unawares would have infuriated and
embarassed me deeply. There were many times where I would do strange things
myself while babysitting.
These included: rifling through snack cabinets and eating Doritos straight out of the bag, flipping through someone's wedding album, putting my feet up on the
coffee table, picking the odd wedgie here and there, putting on the Rolling
Stones and dancing with the kids when they were supposed to be in bed, and making
them ice cream sundaes—again—when they were supposed to be in bed.
Sure, none of this is harmful. But
had the people paying me $15 an hour seen any of it, they might have been
miffed. Or intrigued, depending on their disposition. The bottom line is I am
human, and over the course of babysitting for at least 10 years, I am sure I
sometimes watched way too much MTV instead of helping with homework and called
my boyfriend approximately a million times.
I imagined the "smack" sound a wooden spoon would make on tiny, chubby toddler feet.
Everything changed, however, when
friends of ours told us in quiet, strained voices over the phone they'd
discovered through a nanny cam that their son was being regularly hit on the
bottom of his feet with a wooden spoon. A wooden spoon! The thought was so
grotesque, my husband and I thought they were joking. I thought of their son, a
sweet, shy boy with a stutter. I imagined the "smack" sound a wooden spoon
would make on tiny, chubby toddler feet. "I feel sick to my stomach," my
husband said. "Me too," I replied.
I quickly hopped online, feeling
dirtier and more ill-at-ease than if I were peeking at porn. There are a few apps where you can use your iPhone for spying (I hate that word!) but none of
them seemed right. Plus, I have a tiny living room and nowhere to hide my
phone. A quick search on Amazon yielded a few teddy bears with built-in
cameras, but I kept thinking about the scenes with Ben Stiller and Robert
DeNiro in Meet the Fockers. There are
alarm clocks with a camera hidden inside. iTunes has iCam, which gets top
ratings. The app costs $5.
I haven't downloaded it yet. I
simply can't bring myself to do it, despite our friends' experience. (They
called the police, and are beginning a long battle of bringing their nanny up
on charges.) I only have a babysitter
twice a week for three hours. It's hard for me to believe she would be inclined
to beat one of my kids in such a short amount of time, but I guess you never
My babysitter recently asked me my advice on how to handle things when my
toddler pushes my 1-year-old down on the floor. I took her interest and hints
at the infamous "time-outs" as a good sign that she is mentally there. I
haven't ruled out the camera, just putting the thought on the back burner. As
of right now it is easier to try and trust my babysitter, but in the back of my
mind I know that could change the instant I read another nanny horror story in