This issue has concerned me for several months, but afer a week at half term without my nanny (she had flu), I feel acutely aware of it this morning. A bit of background:
DD1 (6 next week): Intense, complex, funny, sensitive, curious, "knowing" about social situations, meticulous, conscientious, reserved, stylish and beautiful. Not in the 'queen bee' group in class, but she has a small group of friends and gets on with her whole class.
DD2 (4.5): Straight-forward, exuberant, utterly in the moment, extravagently affectionate, stubborn, wired-to-the-moon, the joker, bright, idiosynchratic and generous. Everybody wants to be DD2's friend because she doesn't give a t*ss.
DD1 is, in a classic big sister way, quite anxious about her position vis a vis DD2. She went through a phase of asking us repeatedly whom we preferred: "Do you love me just a tiny bit more?". We're on nanny #4 and nanny #2 (you may recall the "got drunk and felled a lamp-post in the nanny car" nanny) did prefer DD2 and did admit her preference, so we have been round this before. I have gone through phases of preferring DD2 to DD1 (see agonised threads passim), although got over it. However, DH has always preferred DD1. So, there is some history here, I'm almost certain that DD1 is sub-consiously aware of Nanny #4's preference and I feel bad for DD1 that we are exacerbating some not unfounded anxieties about DD2 being the 'favourite'.
I could give examples of why I think nanny #4 prefers DD2, but they would sound trite and trivial. I don't think I'm being paranoid and I've had 15 months of observation. There are some perfectly understandable reasons for her preference. DD1 is at school all day, so the nanny just gets the hurry-up, process end of DD1 - get ready for school, pick up from school, homework, tea, pyjamas, teeth cleaning. And, like a lot of her peers, DD1 is often tired and sometimes grumpy and fragile at the end of the school day. DD2 has way more time at home hanging out with the nanny and her time at pre-school is undemanding sticking and gluing. I can also see why our nanny, who is emotionally repressed to the nth degree and a little narrow-minded, finds the simplicity of DD2 much more appealing.
So, what to do. Our nanny is leaving in mid-August so I can:
- Do nothing and wait for her to leave.
- Talk to her. It will be agonising (see emotionally repressed above), will undoubtedly end in tears and could even precipitate a walk out.
- Sack her (which of course I would never do without trying 2 first).
Our nanny is a paragon in every other respect and every conversation I have with pre-school staff, school teachers and other mothers begins "Nanny #4 is so wonderful."