April 20 07

seems to be quite the week for language and speech trouble…especially on America’s Next Top Model. Renee seems to be the only one who can carry on a semi-intelligent conversation…but no one wants to, since she’s proving herself to be the world’s largest bitch. Jael speaks (well, spoke, since Tyra kicked her sorry ass to the curb this week) like she’s fellating someone…all garbled and such. and Dionne is all “that’s coo! That’s coo!” Natasha, everyone’s favorite mail-order bride, suffers from a serious language barrier…among other things. but, seriously, her Aussie accent on top of her Russian accent trying to speak words in English made me pee my pants a little. and then there’s Brittany who suffers from short term memory loss and apparently can no longer read. sheesh…even Leonard in Memento could read!! and last but not least we have Jaslene. they can blame English being her second language all they want, but that girl has a serious speech impediment. she sounds like Marlee Matlin (and seriously no disrespect for the deaf) and it’s strange that someone who can hear speaks like she’s deaf. maybe she needs a Q-tip or something!!

anyway, that sure was a long and winded sequeway to get to my point this morning, which is exactly what the title says….i feel lost in translation.

i mentioned earlier in the week that my new nanny Michelle started working on Sunday. What a sweetheart. she’s the polar opposite of my other nanny. in probably every way you can imagine.

Jhoanne was very talkative and outgoing. Michelle is timid and shy and reserved.

Jhoanne couldn’t clean to save her life. Michelle is a cleaning machine. seriously, i leave a room and come back five minutes later and it’s clean! amazing!

Jhoanne was a party girl. she went out every night. she used her phone, her email, her tv etc. Michelle doesn’t. she doesn’t even have a phone yet! she goes to bed early and is up working before she’s supposed to be.

Jhoanne spoke English very, very well. Michelle, erm, not so much.

i’ve been having trouble assessing how it’s going. people keep calling and emailing me to ask me. and i totally appreciate it, i just don’t really have an answer. is it too soon to tell? maybe. is it because i’ve been on my own this week while my husband was in vegas? likely. is it because i’m stressed to begin with so the added stress of this is clouding my vision? 100%.

she’s so eager to please. i think she really wants to make it work. the thing is, though, the way this nanny agency works, the agent does all the interviewing and sends you a girl. a “quality girl” as she calls it. the agent convinces you that she will do a better job choosing someone great. but, i’ve got to be honest. had i interviewed Michelle before, i probably wouldn’t have hired her. not because i don’t like her and not because she won’t be a great nanny – she probably will. but because of the English skills.

she can carry on a great conversation with all three of my kids, which is great. but when she and i talk…i have no idea if she’s understanding what i say.

do any of you out there have nannies or caregivers who don’t have great English skills? any advice for me? i know she’s grasping at least some of what i’m telling her. and there are little things that i’m sure can be smoothed out along the way. for example, this week she was feeding Isabella cheese in the family room. i said, straight out, Isabella should ONLY be eating in her high chair. and since then, she’s only eaten in her high chair. (Michelle – 1, Jhoanne – 0)

but let me ask you….how do you know if it’s a good fit? the kids really like her…that should be a good sign, yes? i really like her….that should be another good sign, right? is it worth trying to smooth out the wrinkles and work through the language barrier? i don’t know! how do you know? was i just spoiled because Jhoanne’s English was so great?? do i just not remember what the beginning stages with Jho were like? i mean, you have the same nanny for three years and you develop some sort of rhythm, right?

  1. What is her first language?
    Sorry I’m no help. We’re not a Nanny family.
    (That’s probably translating into snark, but it’s not intended to)

    Comment by Christine on April 20, 2007
  2. as far as the english goes, have you maybe thought about finding her an esl class? perhaps find out if any of the other nannies may have taken one.

    so is she the right fit? i think that if michelle were already the wrong fit, some sort of flag would be raised. michelle sounds completely different from jhoanne. sometimes getting used to change just takes time.

    Comment by age on April 20, 2007
  3. I think, if the kids like her, it’s a good fit — and if you like her. And, if the ROOMS ARE CLEAN!!! Her English will probably get better as she gets more comfortable with you, too. She’s probably nervous and feeling out of her element — new job, new home, etc., etc. Hang in there! And, call me, of course, if you need a spy…. 😉

    Comment by Haley-O on April 20, 2007
  4. I think after 3 years its hard to remember the beginning stages of adjustment and making everything fall into place. Can she read English at all? I’m all about leaving notes in the morning with last minute reminders and suggestions, even after I tell Lily the same things in the morning (we usually only have about 5 minutes to talk in the morning before I run out the door). Things will definitely improve- youre both just getting used to each other. it takes time.

    Comment by obabe on April 20, 2007
  5. I think language is important, but not the MOST important. Kids pick up on everything and maybe you could ask her to tell use both the English and other (French?) with the kids so they learn them well.

    I wouldn’t let her go, but that’s just me. Sometimes these little quirks can be just enough to make the difference (in a positive way)

    Comment by Kristi on April 20, 2007
  6. PROS vs. CONS

    PROS: you probably won’t find pictures of her drunk and tittie flashing on MySpace, she at work on time or early, she cleans, she’s eager to please, she carries on converstations w/ the kids, which means she interacting with them, she follows directions, the kids like her, you like her.

    CONS: Language

    hmmm…seems like a no brainer to me.

    Comment by susan on April 20, 2007
  7. I think she sounds great. It will take you time to get used to someone who doesn’t just do thinks matter-of-factly .. since Jho was there for 3 yrs she would have known the routine really well. She obviously understands you, and maybe she is just shy and not comfortable yet. I think it’s awesome that the kids like her, they are your best judge of character! And she cleans, and gets to work on time, awesome! Stick with her Ali..

    Comment by Sarah on April 20, 2007
  8. My housekeeper speaks Portugese, and we’ve had lots of miscommunication, but I just got a Port/Eng dictionary and we flip back & forth until we get (kind of) the message. If it’s complicated, she calls her English-speaking friend, who translates. Sometimes it’s a hassle, but having someone in your house, who you trust, is invaluable!

    Comment by Cristan on April 20, 2007
  9. Sorry Ali, I’ve got no experience on the nanny front so I really don’t have any advice for you. Hopefully someone who does can stand up on my behalf. 😉

    But. I am a religious ANTM watcher and I agree with everything you said, especially about Jaslene. LOL!

    Comment by mamatulip on April 20, 2007
  10. Good call on the models, you pegged them all perfectly…especially Jasleen, lmao.

    You have a nanny ? I can’t close my mouth.

    Comment by Jasmine on April 20, 2007
  11. I agree too…keep her! Normally it’s a “vibe” you get from someone if they are right or not – so it’s sounds like everything else is going good, except the language thing. Does the nanny service who placed her offer any type of Emglish classes or services to make communicating easier? I have a friend whose job is to place au pairs within homes that are all from other countries and she says language is always an issue – so I think what you are experiencing is completly normal! 🙂 And besides, if she cleans and the kids like her, you all will settle in to each other.

    Comment by Sara on April 20, 2007
  12. hi Ali,i think you should give her a chance to fit in better.and ,hey, if the children like her does it matter that english is her second language.and someone commented about sending her for ESL classes.great idea.and good call on the models.i cringed every time jael spoke.she sounded wasted or something.

    Comment by LAVENDULA on April 20, 2007
  13. I would give it time because if she seems eager to please – or to do things the way you want them done, I would keep her for a while to see how she does.
    How bad is the language thing? Does she understand English well enough?

    Comment by bella on April 21, 2007
  14. Like pretty much everyone else here, I’d say these are just adjustment pains and that it’ll get better soon…

    Comment by suze on April 21, 2007
  15. yep, I am Lost in the Fog on this one

    Comment by Sparky Duck on April 21, 2007
  16. “Jael speaks like she’s fellating someone”

    Love that so much. Will now dedicate my life to finding a chance to use it myself.

    Comment by Beth on April 21, 2007
  17. I have 4 jobs. One of them is a nanny. I am a nanny for 3 children, all from the same family. 3 boys, and 2 of the boys have Autism. I have been with them for 7 years. It works becasue I know how to work with children with Autism, they know what they can get away with and what they can’t, and becasue their parents have grown a strong trust with me. In the beginning all I did was listen to the oldest boy tell my his alphabets, over and over. It went on for about a month, and then the parents started leaving me at home with them, and it grew from there.

    Comment by Keri on April 22, 2007
  18. For what it’s worth, an English speaking nanny may be pretty important for Bella’s language development…Is she going to preschool? What about helping Emily and Josh with homework? The sister in me wants you to be happy and she sounds fantastic. The type-A psychologist in me wants it to be PERFECT! Hugs and Kisses

    Comment by Charna on April 23, 2007
  19. I remember dropping my first born off at her first day at day care at 6 weeks of age (her, not me) and realizing that I could barely understand her caregiver, Paulina, who was from Columbia (the country, not the University). I was very concerned…how was I going to communicate with her about my child? Something told me not to make a fuss and just see how it goes…and it went great. She loved my daughter like she was her own. We ended up having her babysit for my daughter as well as my son when he came along. We somehow managed to communicate…and the love she showed my kids was evident in any language.

    I think with many speakers of other languages, their understanding is much better than their speech. I certainly feel that I can understand French better than I can speak it after my seven years of French. Plus when I am speaking to someone French, I feel embarrassed about my pronunciation and end up trying to say as little as possible so as not to make a fool of myself.

    I have a lovely cleaning lady who is Brazilian and speaks Portuguese…so when I want to communicate something, whether it’s “Please organize the Tupperware in the pantry” or “You did an amazing job cleaning and organizing the closets!”, I use http://www.freetranslation.com. That way I am fairly certain that she’s getting what I’m saying. The web site is not perfect by any means…but you get the general idea…maybe just not in perfect grammar.

    If it doesn’t work out, send her to Florida…she’ll love it here!

    Comment by Di on April 24, 2007
  20. Prevacid adverse reactions….

    Bethanecol prevacid. Plavix prevacid. Prevacid iv. Prevacid. Prevacid versus prilosec….

    Trackback by Prevacid ready tab. on April 5, 2008

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