Singaporean mum Selvi Ramanathan wanted to share this incident that happened to her child, with all parents as a cautionary tale. Thankfully her little one is okay. However, the trauma of watching someone else hitting their child will never leave her and her husband. Here’s her story; you can also watch the video at the end.
Thanks to our nanny cam, we were able to catch Lisa red-handed. | Image source: iStock
The lead-up to this incident: Warning signs
Within a week of *Lisa working for us, we found out that she had lied about having friends and relatives here. She told us she had none.
Before the incident via recording, we would see her sitting in the corner of our living room or in the kitchen and talking to herself while crying. So we tried to be understanding towards her family situation.
She appeared to be getting along with my son until I noticed that she would talk endlessly on her mobile, even while with him, and then she’d even use our phone when her balance was low. That’s when I noticed she’d get annoyed with my son.
On one occasion, he seemed to have gone up to her to play and, as we observed on the nanny cam, she took his kiddy chair and raised it above her head to throw at him. But she didn’t. This first incident happened about 3-4 days before she slapped my son. At that time, I felt terrified that she’d do something way worse very soon. It had only been three weeks since she joined us and she had so much anger.
I begged my husband to take me seriously. He had told me to calm down and not overreact and give the helper a chance as she seemed to have a lot of problems back home. So I had him promise me to check the nanny cam every day.
At that time, we had an offline nanny cam that overwrites every 12 hours. During the afternoons when my son was awake, she was supposed to give him fruits and some snacks. But we caught her eating them instead. We told her to make sure she feeds him instead of eating his food.
That’s when we caught her force feeding him by holding his chin from behind. What’s worse is what happened next, when she slapped him on his back. His cries, his tears – they were heartbreaking and something no parent ever wants to witness.
I dread to think what would have happened had she stayed with us for any longer… | Image source: iStock
The police refused to watch the video. They instead told my husband that Lisa could argue that it was an accident. Also my son was too young to be a witness and it would not hold up in court.
I was so furious. My hubby was more so. He watched the recording first and he almost exploded.
Lisa did not know about the nanny cam, plus we had to find someone to replace her. We had spent so much on the fees and all my leave was used up looking after my son before she arrived to work for us. We were supposed to have gotten a transfer maid from another household, the paperwork had all been done but the girl decided not to proceed.
I consulted a lawyer and the best that I could do was send her back with no pay, the first month’s salary was paid to agency. We had no option but to keep her for one more month until we got a different helper. After going through so much, we were not prepared pay again for her airfare back to her home country. So we kept her until we found someone and told her we will deduct her airfare from her salary.
During this time, I had to get the help of my parents to look after my son for fear that she would do something really horrible.
In the second month with us, while she was home alone, she went through my things and stole some Indonesian currency. We heard her tell someone over the phone saying she found some large notes and was asking how much they were worth.
We confronted her on the day of her flight back home and she lied blatantly about the money. She cooked up a story about someone giving it to her before she came to our house. All I can say is, I am thankful Lisa is no longer in our house, and in our lives.
Lessons for other parents
Be very aware of warning signs that your maid might be hurting your children. | Image source: iStock
It’s really so rare to find someone who can be honest and look after children, and you are blessed when you find such a gem. We were unlucky with Lisa but we learnt a few lessons from the incident that we’d like to share with you all.
- I’d recommend investing on a good web camera network in the house and make sure the helper is aware of the cameras as a deterrent.
- If faced with such a situation, I’d recommend that parents don’t confront their helper at all.
- Seek pro bono legal advice first, remove your child from the helper’s care immediately.
- Find alternative arrangements. Make a police report but don’t always expect help.
- Send the helper back home as soon as you can and report her to MoM.
I’m sharing the video from our nanny cam where we caught her red-handed, hitting our son. This video was taken just after my little boy turned two, last year. This is when Lisa smacked him on his back for vomiting fruit that she force fed him.
*Not her real name. This story is from our archives.
Also read: 8 warning signs that it’s time to let your helper go.