Recently, many Upper West Side parents may have noticed we’ve ventured outside the traditional circle of trusted nannies and private schools, and hired a 400-pound silverback gorilla for our daycare options. We recognize this has caused a disturbance at the local parks and activity centers, and we’d like to explain why this was the right choice for our family.
When we initially discovered the price involved in hiring a nanny, we got into such a tremendous argument over whose idea it was to have children, we didn’t speak for several weeks. We considered adopting an age-appropriate babysitter from Russia or Uganda, but were quickly made to realize that was illegal and morally corrupt before having our names attached to some fascist “no adopt” list. Preschool also did not fit our family’s financial profile, which was fine since we’d spent months loudly complaining about nepotism and bribery at school open houses regarding the waiting list policies. We weren’t getting in anyway.
That was when Steve arrived and asserted himself as our daycare solution. We assumed he escaped from some failed laboratory experiment. He was foraging through the trash bin for scraps and climbed to our fifth floor apartment through the garbage chute when he heard us fighting about whose turn it was to “work from home.” We’ve learned a lot about gorillas these past few weeks. For instance, did you know silverback gorillas like to make ALL the decisions? They must eat first and will consume most of the food before you even get into a position to look inside the refrigerator. And they can end conflict just by staring in a certain way, or slapping a lamp across the room. But when it comes to watching our kids, we’ve never been happier.
We recognize this is unique to many parents with traditional nannies—Steve’s knuckle-walking for instance, or how he climbs the fence before the park opens and gets the best swings, or how he sits in the water fountain for the first few hours, just bathing and defecating. Many of you have pointed out that your nannies are uncomfortable with Steve’s nose-to-nose greetings, or how he decides everything at the park—where everyone sits, how everyone must leave together, no snack time unless our children eat first even though Steve never remembers snacks. We fear much of the complaints are sexist, because he’s a male nanny. The rest are speciesist, because he’s a 400-pound gorilla nanny.
A few specific incidents: Last Tuesday’s encounter at the Riverside dog park, when the game warden was called in with tranquilizer darts. Steve was not going to eat your dogs. Gorillas are herbivorous by nature. More than likely he just wanted everyone to know—both the dogs and the dog-owners—that he could eat all of you if he chose. Any of you could have discovered he was an herbivore if you Wikipedia’d it, but instead my wife had to take a personal day to deal with the fallout.
The incident at the Whole Foods on 97th Street: Gorillas ride escalators alone. We didn’t know either. But I think it speaks to our innate survival code, as New Yorkers, that if you see a gorilla on an escalator—not just an angry gorilla, beating his chest and clearly making a big thing about no one riding the escalator with him, but any gorilla on any escalator—it’s safe to just wait a few moments for him to finish his ride. When did Whole Foods begin arming employees with tranquilizer darts?
People ask all the time where he lives and how much we pay him. We won’t discuss either. We’re aware of how low certain parents will stoop to poach a nanny.
The money we would have spent on childcare is now spent enjoying Manhattan’s nightlife, mostly because a silverback nanny will refuse even parental access to the living area until the children are down and he’s decided it’s time to leave. If any of you would like to discuss the matter further, we can be found most nights at a local watering hole, coffee shop, or our front stoop, just waiting to hear the rustling in the trees above. Usually until 2 a.m. or so.