Gibson-Nannies

The stick annoyed at the interference neil continues

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Unformatted text preview: nterference, Neil continues. “No, Neil, no,” Soccoro says. Socorro turns to Lucy and asks her to tell Neil in English to put the stick down. Lucy turns to Neil and tells him to be careful because “you’re going to ruin your beautiful blue eyes.” This example demonstrates the ease with which nannies ask for and receive help from one another. Socorro draws on her relationship with Lucy to seek support in caring for Neil. In this case, care work is not solitary, but collective. Nannies often do each other small favors while working at Pebble Park. These favors can be as simple as watching a child while a nanny takes a bathroom break, or offering snacks or trading toys to appease the children. Nannies are especially careful not to exclude children from any activities. One day, Marlena brought construction paper, stickers, wooden craft sticks and paint for all the children to work on an art project. When Colby and Nathan brought colored clay to the park, Alicia separated the clay into small pieces for other children. Similarly, when Jack rode his bike around the park, Julieta insisted he share the bike with others: “You have to share, Jack” she tells him in English, as she attempts to distract him with other toys. After he reluctantly gives up the bike, she tells me she often persuades him to leave the bike at home because he doesn’t like to share it, and other children always want to ride it. “It’s easier to leave it at home,” she says. Sharing is part of the collective ethos at the park, so it is not surprising that Julieta requires Jack to share. Julieta is not only motivated by her desire to teach Jack proper manners, but sharing is important in keeping the peace among both children and nannies. Jack’s bike is particularly sought after amongst the children, and Julieta tries to minimize outbursts by forcing Jack to share the bike or trying to avoid bringing it altogether. Unlike in private homes where nannies are the sole employees and caregivers, at the park nannies turn caring for children into a collective act. Nannies work together by supervising all the children and planning group activities; furthermore, by encouraging children to share toys, nannies attempt to minimize conflict. Working together helps nannies take care of the children and it builds good will amongst the group; collectively caring for children at the park strengthens nannies relationships with one another. Qual Sociol (2009) 32:279–292 285 Sharing food In the employer ’s household, food illuminates the boundaries between employers and employees; often domestic workers eat alone rather than eating at a table with their employers (Hondagneu-Sotelo 2001). At the park, it is unusual for nannies to eat alone; in fact, nannies created a weekly ritual around sharing a meal. Thus, in addition to regularly spending time together and sharing care work, nannies also share food with one another, illustrating another dimension of community life at the park. Eve...
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