C & S Mommy

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kleptomaniac (n): An obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need

The first person sent to us from the Nanny Service to watch our children was a kleptomaniac. She has not been back in our home since the end of October, however, my white-hot rage over the whole situation has pretty much prevented me from writing about it until now. So here is the story:

I come into the kitchen on a Tuesday morning and Keith asks me what I did with the knives. He goes on to explain that he can’t find four of our knives. I tell him not to worry I will call V and ask her where she may have put them. Then he tells me that we are also missing spoons. That, of course, gives me pause because why the hell would we be missing knives and spoons – strange. After a minute, I tell him that I will call R (the owner of the Nanny Service) to let her know that we are missing things. I ask Keith if he looked in the other drawers for the knives and spoons, as V may not have realized where things went. He said that he had been through the whole kitchen and had made sure Cecilia hadn't taken them. It probably took another full minute for it to fully register in my head that V had taken these things from our home. At that point, I go into my bedroom and check my jewelry to see if anything is missing. It all appears to be there.

My conversation with R does not go exactly as I thought it would. She is not outraged by my news, nor does she appear upset. In fact, she seems pretty unfazed by what I have told her. She tells me she will check with V, as she is sure there is a reasonable explanation for the whole thing. I get off the phone feeling confused and completely invalidated. I wasn’t wanting an all out emotional outburst from R but a little indignation would have been nice. As I go through my normal morning routine, the gravity of what is happening begins to envelop me like a thick fog. My confusion gives way to such intense anger I can barely breathe. The person who I allowed in my home, who I trusted with my children, stole from me. I could barely see straight. I called Keith and raged at him for a while and we agreed that regardless of V’s explanation we would never be able to trust her again and she would, of course, not be allowed in our home. After many phone calls, including one with V that night and the next morning, we realized that V was never going to admit what she had done and we were never going to get our stuff back. R (who later apologized for her lack of reaction to our initial phone call chalking it up to being caught off guard) placed a new sitter and I tried to get past daydreaming of running V down with my car.

Well, getting past it was clearly not going to happen because over the next few weeks I discovered more and more things missing. V had stolen two t-shirts (one a workout shirt), two tank tops (one of my favorites and one workout top), one pair of workout capri pants, one pair of workout pants, a bra, a brand new sweater (never worn), and a gym bag (to apparently carry it all in). Plus six knives and 5-6 spoons. I tired to make light of it. I tried to laugh about it. I dreamed of tearing her little head from her petite little body. The last straw came when I discovered an outfit of Cecilia’s missing. It was all I could take. Stealing from me is one thing stealing from my child…I had no idea the level of rage I could achieve. As I traveled to these new heights of fury, I tried repeatedly to get in touch with R. The only thing I was taking solace in was that V was not working for R anymore. R was going to let her go not because she stole from me (she couldn’t really prove that) but because she broke her contract by working for a family that she interviewed with through the service. Evidently, V didn’t limit her stealing to just material things. As Keith sat on the couch with his jaw clenched silently raging (he is not a yeller like me), I informed R about the latest items taken from our home. Her reaction was slightly better this time. However, in this conversation R informed me that V was still working for her because she couldn’t prove that she was working for that other family. I naively thought that she would have, at the very least, informed the other family that V was accused of stealing but she didn’t do that either. In fact, to make matters worse, the mother of the children V was still watching was going to become R’s business partner. It was all too much for me. Keith and I started discussing alternatives to our current situation because I kept questioning what R was keeping from us about our new babysitter if she wasn’t going to inform this other family about V.

So now Sophia is in a daycare center two days a week and Cecilia goes to an after school care program one day a week. So far things seem to be going well. The daycare center is a four star center with a superior rating. Sophia cries when I drop her off but she seems pretty happy when we pick her up. After our first experience with Cecilia, we are a little nervous. I am keeping an eye out for personality changes in Sophia…nothing yet thankfully. Cecilia’s after school program is great. It is not affiliated with her elementary school unfortunately, as that one was full. It has been three weeks and overall, we are pleased. For right now at least.

As for R, she left me some guilt-laden message about doing her “best” for us and how sorry she was that she couldn’t “accommodate our needs” and that she would be sending a gift card to us to cover our “material loss” from V of which I have yet to see. Cecilia asked why V wasn’t babysitting anymore but didn’t seem too upset over it. She was also a little confused about being sent to the ASP but she is enjoying it too much to really care. I still dream of running into V and beating the ever-living crap out of her, which is actually progress if you think about because I don’t want her dead anymore…