The Perfect Nanny

She was warm and cheerful and good with the baby—and not at all what she seemed.

  1. Her presence on the phone drew me to her. I cannot tell you exactly what it was—her simpleness, her saneness? She said her name was Maggie Boyle, she was 20 years old and one of 13 children. She spoke with a thick Brooklyn accent, but she said what I wanted to hear, and when I hung up, I knew that of the hundred callers, she was the one I must hire.

    Our baby was 2 months old by then, and I had already hired and fired three helpers. Friends had warned me that finding good child care is the hardest part about having kids. But there was no way any friend could have prepared me for what was to come.

    The first woman I had hired when our son, Daniel, was born, was a British nanny named Glenda. She turned out to be a magpie, who yammered constantly and complained that our baby cried too much and needed too much holding. Before long, I was taking my meals in my bedroom, huddled over my desk with the door locked.

    I next tried a Danish au pair girl, who was sunny and serene but had had no experience with babies and left after one day to go to Hawaii with her boyfriend.

    After two more disasters, I placed an ad in the newspaper. On the first day the ad ran, I received a hundred calls. Most of them sounded flaky, a few were promising, but of all the callers, Maggie Boyle stood out.

    “Have you done this type of work before?” I asked her.

    “Yes. I worked for a family in Sherman Oaks.”

    “How many children did they have?”

    “Two boys. Age 1 and 3.”

    “How long did you work there?”

    ...

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