'Jesus, please calm my soul,' I say; nanny cam shows toddler left in corner 4 hours

 The My D-Link baby camera captures footage of my daughters Wryen and Wrylee playing together in their spare room in Nashville, Tenn. Years ago, the device captured what happened when we decided to hire a nanny. (Home video footage)

The My D-Link baby camera captures footage of my daughters Wryen and Wrylee playing together in their spare room in Nashville, Tenn. Years ago, the device captured what happened when we decided to hire a nanny. (Home video footage)

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By Judea Dee-Steele, Honeycomb Moms

I had just given birth to my youngest daughter Wrylee when my husband and I decided to hire a nanny. He was working as an engineer at the time. I was balancing an intense pharmacy school schedule, and we also had a 2-year-old, Wryen, in the mix. So we needed the help.

We posted a listing on Care.com and started fielding applications.

That’s when we came across a promising woman, 40, with previous nanny experience, but she mentioned she was booked for the days we needed. However, her 19-year-old daughter was in the same business and available. They sent over references that I thoroughly checked. She had no complaints, so we decided to give her a shot.

That was our first mistake.

Within about two weeks of her start date, Wryen was crying hysterically when the nanny arrived. It is amazing how perceptive toddlers are and how at a young age she knew something was not right. I trusted my daughter. So that night, I transformed the My D-Link baby monitor we had purchased into a nanny cam. Soon after, the evil nanny revealed herself to me.

While away, the next day I spent hours on my phone watching her neglect my kids. She held the baby and texted on her phone while making Wryen color and watch cartoons in a corner for four hours! I was sitting in class furious while watching my monitor. I paid zero attention to the instruction. It got to a point that during the class break I spoke to my teacher and said: "I'm sorry for my mental absence, but I'm watching my nanny cam collecting evidence." Luckily, my teacher is also a mom, and she understood. 

On the way home, I mentally prepared myself not to fight this lady when I walked through the door. I remember role playing in the car how I would conduct the conversation. When I got home, I politely asked: “How was your day with the girls? What did you all do?”

She gave me lies on top of lies. She said: We played games, colored and watched TV, but the video footage showed there was no we at all.

I started walking in the kitchen, checking for dirty dishes to indicate Wryen had eaten because I didn't see her leave the couch.

"What time did you feed the baby," I asked.

"I just finished that bottle," she responded, pointing to a bottle in the room.

It was cold.

"Why is the bottle still cold," I asked. "Did you warm up the milk how I told you?"

She admitted that she hadn't and had been feeding the 1-month-old cold milk each day.

At that point, I remember thinking I was about to flip the hell out. 

"Jesus, please calm my soul," I prayed.

Then, I revealed what the video of her showed. I could not believe the words that came out of her mouth next.

"Well, I didn't know you wanted me to get down on the floor and play with her all day," she said. "The baby cries all the time and only wants to be held, so I can't do anything but hold the baby to get her to stop crying."

I responded: "You are a nanny, and you agreed to take on this responsibility to look after two kids. If this was something you were not capable of, you should have addressed it."

"Are you mad at me," the woman asked. 

It was like she couldn't process the conversation, and I didn't have it in me to keep explaining why you shouldn't feed a newborn cold milk or leave a toddler in a corner for hours.

"No, I am not mad at you," I said. "We will be in touch. Have a good weekend." 

Needless to say, she didn't return to our home. We were blessed with a new application that came through the next day. Annie Johnson became our new nanny, and I loved every bit of her.

Wryen is 4 years old now, and I still think about what could have happened if I didn’t have a monitor.

About the monitor:

My baby monitor search started shortly after Wrylee was born. I wanted to replace the monitor in Wrylee’s room. So after researching it, I decided on the My D-Link HD WiFI baby camera, for $50 on Amazon. It was cheap, or rather cheaper than the other WiFi cameras. It had a sleek and inconspicuous design, and it was compatible with the iPhone. Once you download the mydlink app, your phone directs you through the set-up process fairly easily. The camera allows for photos, videos, night vision and communication through its two-way talking function. It also allows you to monitor the baby from anywhere on your phone as long as the camera is connected to WiFi. I have had My D-Link baby camera for three years and haven’t experienced any problems.