Por Favor, Nanny: Houston Moms Teach You How to Tell Your Nanny to Wash Her Hands

How to get those receipts.
How to get those receipts.

First World Problems, part XVII: Communicating with your nanny. A hassle!

Luckily, three plucky Houston mothers have banded together to put out a new book called Por Favor Nanny, Please Make Dinner, which comes complete with a Por Favor Nanny Web site.

We are three busy moms who are raising our families in Houston, Texas. Like most mothers, creating healthy meals at home while juggling the busy schedules of our families can be very time consuming.

Some of the wonderful women who care for our children and style our homes with their impeccable tidiness speak a different language. Because of this language gap, asking for help in the kitchen is difficult.

That's Catherine Chastain, Jennifer Kearns and Heather Talbert, who are about to launch the book and site.

Authors Catherine Chastain, Jennifer Kearns and Heather Talbert
Authors Catherine Chastain, Jennifer Kearns and Heather Talbert

One reader wrote us calling the thing "racist" and saying it "seems to take the attitude that the 'nanny' is a complete idiot."

We asked the authors about that, and via e-mail Talbert said the accusation is completely off-base:

The nanny can be anyone, the mom, the dad, the babysitter, the housekeeper, the grandparent or the nanny hired to help the family. A nanny is a trusted member of the house who helps keep things running smoothly when mom and/or dad are away. I can't think of any more honorable profession than one that invites a person into your home to help take care of your family. What a blessing these women and I'm sure a few men are to the families they work for.

So you need to learn Spanish phrases for your mom?

The Web site does offer some insight into the book.

Things to apparently remember about your nannies, given some of the choices on the "how do you say" page: You need to keep a sharp eye on the money, and the germs. My god, the germs!

Among the phrases translated: -- Please bring me back the receipt. ( Por favor, traeme el recibo.)

-- How much did you spend? (¿Cuanto gasto?)

-- Please wash hands before preparing food. (Por favor, lavate las manos antes de preparar la comida.)

-- Please wash hands after... using the restroom, coughing or sneezing. (Por favor, lavate las manos después de... usar el baño, toser o estornudar.)

There will be a series of book signings around town, at such places as the Blue Willow Bookshop and the Bering's on Westheimer.

So if you've been having trouble getting the nanny to understand what it is you want, act now!

Or for this reason, offered by Talbert: "I know there are a lot of people who come to Texas for business that don't speak English. If a child comes home from school asking for lasagna and mom doesn't read English, isn't it nice to have Por Favor Nanny, Please Make Dinner available with the Spanish translation?"

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