Upper West Side Nanny Fatally Stabs 2 Kids Blocks from Me

Posted On: 10.25.12

I don’t normally post here at night, but I don’t really know what else to do.

Two-plus hours ago, I left home to head to Middle Girl’s Preschool for Curriculum Night. I heard sirens and there were helicopters everywhere. I happened to be on the phone with Mom and she told me that she was watching the news and that there were several people stabbed just a few blocks from where I live. This had all just transpired and there weren’t many details.

On the way home from Curriculum Night, a wonderful event where I learned all about my girl and her school day, I read a news story on my iPhone learned that it was a nanny who allegedly stabbed two kids, ages 3 and 5. Per the news report, the mom of these kids came home with her third child and found her two other kids stabbed and in the bathtub. The nanny had also allegedly stabbed herself, but was still alive. I read these things and started to shake. I am a mom on the Upper West Side, I have three kids under 5; It all hit too close to home. My own beloved Nanny and I texted about all of this, both of us very sad and incredulous.

I got out of my taxi on my corner and saw all of the commotion. The news vans, the police, the yellow tape, New Yorkers clustered on the corner in front of my Pinkberry where I get my yogurt usually around this time of night. I walked toward the mayhem and stood there silently and watched. I took the above picture and it’s blurry, but kind of reflects how I feel right now: blurry, confused, impossibly sad, sick to my stomach.

I walked home, through our front door. And I chatted with Nanny about all of it, both of us just stunned. I thanked her for taking such wonderful care of my girls, for putting them to bed. And I closed the door behind her, locked up.

And I came straight here. To my screen. To type words. Husband is away on business and here I am, a mom of three, sad and stunned, stunned and sad, feeling suddenly wild with gratitude that my girls are tucked in, sleeping and safe. Now I’m going to order some dinner and watch something very silly on television and try not to think about all of this that happened, and is still happening, yards from me. I will try not to think about those kids and that mom and that family, but it might be hard.

I’m not sure why I am writing these words at 8:42pm, but it’s probably for the same reason I write so many of the words I write here: Because I am feeling something, something complex and gritty and gray, and I don’t know what else to do but put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keys.

Update 10:26pm: Per this article in the New York Times, the kids were actually 2 and 6, not 3 and 5. This article includes many more details about the family and the crime.

Oh, and...

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20 Comments for: "Upper West Side Nanny Fatally Stabs 2 Kids Blocks from Me"
  1. It’s the stuff of the worst kind of nightmares. I hope you can find a way to sleep tonight.

    • Aidan Donnelley Rowley

      Thanks, you. It’s so odd but I just literally grabbed for my computer as soon as I came home and started to write and write. Really not sure why. I guess this is my primary way of processing, of feeling? I just can’t fathom why something like this would happen. It is indeed the stuff of nightmares.

  2. I like to think most things happen for a reason…but I just can’t think of a reason why this would happen.

  3. D

    Hi Aidan,
    It is beyond awful. I heard about this story as I was about to surreptiously check my math on my Iphone calculator my daughter’s homework. (6th grade math is harder than I remember). I think what makes it especially horrifying for me is 11 years ago, when I hired our wonderful nanny, I focused on her honesty and her judgment but never for a second thought about a capacity for violence at this level. I scrupulously checked her references, even had doormen and neighbors keep me informed as to her temperament with my baby those first months. And yet, hearing this story makes me hyper aware how lucky my family and I are that this brutality skipped our home, that we have someone wonderful and loving in our lives. So tragic, that poor, poor family.

  4. I thought of you when I saw this on the news. The ages of the children and the location are just too similar not to. I use my blog to process things often. To let it all out, put it in form, and send it out into the universe. Cathartic, no? I hope you find peace tonight.

  5. In all my years of listening to/watching news, I’ve decided that I just can’t handle it anymore. There’s just so much that makes my heart sick that trying to find that silver lining from the news is like looking for that needle in a haystack. And so I decided to just go with ignorance. Sure, that also means it takes me a lot longer to find out about Gangnam Style and Binders Full of Women, but I’m okay with that. There is only so much bad news I can take.

    I hope you will be able to find some peaceful rest tonight. It is pretty horrific, especially when it’s that close to you.

  6. I, too, was sickened by this story. In trying to find out more info, I learned that the mom was also a pediatrician. Close to home for me. I, too, have 3 girls snug in bed tonight. I cant even fathom the horror.

  7. It’s so awful on a number of levels. But one of the reasons is you never think it will be you. Obviously this mom didn’t think this could happen to her or she wouldn’t have left her kids. But it did. And now all of the rest of us are left to stew in our own marinade of worst-case-scenario questions.

    I’m glad you have this space to come to with your fears and sadness. I’m sorry there is nothing that any of us can do for the victimized family or the rest of the families in Manhattan who are scared to death tonight.

    Get some sleep if you can.

  8. I can definitely understand your need to write things down to process. I feel as if I am the same way. When I need to get out my feelings/process things, I often write – rambling about it and finding a way to get everything out. It is very therapeutic.

    I am glad that you were able to have an open conversation with your nanny about it – maybe showing how comfortable you both are with each other and engaging in a trust – I wonder if I would have shyed away from the topic for any of a number of reasons (she might think I wondered if she could do something similar, I might come off angrier than I am/direct my anger from the situation at her).

    Hopefully you were able to sleep and writing things down did help you process and get the raw feelings down.

  9. My mom called to tell me this news last night because my sister and brother in law live on that block. I was horrified at this tragic event. I’m not going to lie…I’m SO glad to hear you and the girls are okay. Thankfully, I knew you lived a few blocks away. Hug those beautiful little girls!!

  10. This is totally the wrong response but I have to wonder if there were signs? Someone said the nanny was unfriendly. I have left the boys for nights out with sitters I wasn’t 100% ok with. I have also come home early when I had those terrible feelings. This is the most hideous crime and I couldn’t sleep but do we all, always vet childcare well enough? Can you? You went to the computer, I got in bed with my 8 year old and couldn’t leave.

  11. This breaks my heart and terrifies me at the same time. I work with children every day and everything I know about child development leads me to believe that when I have children, at home care with a nanny will be best for my future family. I realize there are background checks, references, etc but what is enough? Leaving your most precious people, your littles, with a stranger is a scary thing. I don’t know if there will ever be a fail proof method. My heart goes out to this family.

  12. Kristen

    Why is there so much madness in the world lately? How could anyone do this? Children…they were helpless children.

    I’m deeply saddened by this story. Hold your little ones tight, Aidan.

  13. I am still reeling from this news. I cannot even begin to imagine what this family is going through, nor how they will ever recover. Off to give our babysitter a giant hug, and my kids an even gianter one. xo

  14. Hi Aidan,
    I read your blog last night and have not been able to stop thinking about this. What an unimaginable tragedy. My heart breaks for the family.
    I wanted to share a quote with you that I shared with a writer friend of mine on Monday.
    “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” -Joan Didion
    Your last paragraph reminded me of the Didion quote. In happy or sad moments, I want to write. It’s the only way I know to express myself and to discover what I need to know. Hug your girls and thank you for sharing your words with all of us.

  15. Shannon Welling

    I’m sitting here at my desk, at my ‘job’ with tears in my eyes thinking of the ‘job’ I had before this one. Where I took care of such precious babes. Where I worried about them constantly, and smooched them, and carried them, and watched them grow from teeny tiny things to smart, strong independent beings. This story makes me so sad and hurt and something else I can’t quite articulate. I’ve never loved something so much as I love those 3 and can’t fathom someone doing this to some other little ones. I’m glad you shared this Aidan, that you wrote about what you were feeling when you were feeling it. I think I’m feeling a similar sentiment of swirling emotions, and I’m sending good thoughts all the way to The Upper West… To you and to this family.

  16. Dana

    I read this last night and couldn’t sleep, my own 3 year old safely tucked in her bed. I feel sick by this story and so grateful for the loving care my daughter receives at preschool. I am glad you wrote and that you had a place to “go”, you must have been so shaken, especially with your husband away. I send my blessings to the family and to yours.

  17. D

    I live in London now but always check NYC news before bed and learned about this right when the new broke. It struck home as for years I lived just a few blocks away. Both my husband and I work in busy city jobs and rely on our beloved nanny to look after our little one. You see the photos of these beautiful children and just can’t imagine the horror and can feel it because you have a similar background and are in a similar position…
    After a few days have gone by, I’ve started to think more about the nanny and her desperation. I hope that her teenage son does not become another victim in this. Like all of us mothers, her primary concern must have been to provide for him. Whatever happens to her now, he’ll be left more or less orphaned and haunted by this for life. I hope someone looks after him now.

  18. Meg

    Just unspeakably awful.

  19. This was the most disturbing news story I have read in years. There is no way that the family could have suspected this.

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