Neha was fuming. She had come in from work early to find the child unbathed and watching a video. As her baby was eating she didn't want to interfere right then and went to her room slamming the door shut.
This was it. There were too many such instances of her nanny deliberately flouting rules. She had to get a new one. Devi was beginning to think of herself as indispensable. When she had specifically told her- no videos at mealtimes.
She called her husband. No answer. She dropped a hurried text. Devi put video while Aadu eating and then texted her mom. Her mom called.
"Ok now calm down. Don't get angry with Aadya.
Can you stop interfering?
Huh? Then why did you text me?
I was just frustrated. I need someone to listen. I don't need you questioning my parenting.
Ok- I will keep that in mind. I am sorry. I will never interfere again. You barely ask about us anyway and when you do you just shout...
Argh.." she cut the call
Hands still trembling- she called a nanny agency. Yes they would get back if they had anyone suitable. And then another.
They would manage the interim, she told herself. But it was important to have someone they could trust.
But Devi was trustworthy. Up to a point. She did put her down for her nap and kept her on a schedule. And could be relied to pick her up from playschool. Maybe it had been a difficult day. Aadya could definitely be a handful. Also- the research around TV was inconclusive.
She took a deep breath and came out.
Pretending to read something so as to not look at her, she said carefully. "Devi- why was Aadya watching a video while eating?"
"Arre didi- she just kept crying for Mumma, Mumma, wouldn't eat at all. I told her Mumma is at work and let me tell you a story but she just cried and threw things. And I knew you would be upset if she hadn't eaten by the time you got home", she said deftly moving the question back to her. Would you rather your child starve for your ego? Her tone was obsequious but the subtext was unmistakable. Neha felt her cheeks go warm.
"So then, why didn't you call me to check?"
"Arre she was missing you so much, if she heard your voice so would have been inconsolable".
Neha glanced at her child, happily playing now. She had not evening received her daily hug today as Aadya had been totally engrossed in her video.
"Aadya beta you were asking for Mumma na?" Devi crooned. Aadya looked up. And she gave her Pavlovian response.
"Mommy I missed yoooouuu".
Neha knew she had been played but as she scooped the child in her arms, she asked herself. Would she rather let her child starve for her ego?