Q:We live on a street with about 20 kids under the age of eight. Everyone gets along really well, except one of the families has a live-in nanny who insists on picking up my daughter and hugging her and kissing her. My (almost 3 year old) daughter is many things, but accommodating to overly-touchy-near-strangers is not one of them. The nanny speaks almost no English, and is an older lady. I'm sure that it's just a part of her culture to be so touchy... but how do I get her to stop bugging my kid? (PS: talking to the mother (the nanny's boss) isn't an option--it would be incredibly uncomfortable all around, and she can be a bit aloof.)
One (Loves her kids even more than she hates conflict): Never one to shy away from a righteous confrontation, I have no doubt our own Mom could resolve the fawning nanny situation in a flash, (and the woman (and her boss) would become Mom's lifelong friends and disciples. . . or she'd verbally ninja-chop their teeth out. But I digress). Mom also taught us that doing/not doing/enduring stuff that you don't want to do/desperately want to do/think will kill you is an essential life tool. Presuming hugs from the weirdo nanny won't actually hurt your kid, I'd try to cram some lesson about getting along and respecting the elderly down her sweet little throat and tell her to deal with it. I certainly wasted many youthful hours feeling angry/bitter/miserable about Mom's faintly Tiger-esque "buck up, Kiddo!" approach to things. But it's the reason I can swim, went to college and converse with customer service representatives without resorting to felonious violence. Thanks, Mom!!
Two (Practicing Invalid): Tell the lady your daughter is immuno-suppressed (only if she is, of course...). People can't argue with that.
Three (Senior Scientist-ish): I had a friend named Igor P. who was obsessed with how he could make his dog salivate. Personally I'd be more impressed if he could get the b%#ch to stop slobbering, but I digress. Every day he'd ring a bell before bringing in Fido's food. After a while of this the dog would hear the bell, expect his dinner, and yes, drool. Eventually, the poor puppy just had to hear the bell to get her glands going.
I hear you saying "thanks for the mediocre science lesson Three, but what does this dog have to do with my baby?" Well I love babies, but even I have been known to relinquish my darling Tiny if he's sobbing. So here's what you do. Every time the nanny comes into view pinch your three year-old, HARD. This should in turn make the child cry. Eventually no pinch will be necessary, and the mere sight of the nuzzling-nanny will be enough to turn your bundle of joy into an inconsolable mess.
Four (Resident Expert on Unwanted Hugs): As someone who often receives distressing hugs (usually from someone whose name rhymes with Spruce), I can say--with complete authority--that they suck. Hugs should be comforting representations of affection, but when they come from someone who you honestly don't feel any real affection towards, they become agonizingly awkward--and occasionally smelly--body sandwiches (I know the analogy is weak, but whatever). Despite my disdain for these wretched embraces, I must urge you not to intervene. As someone whose mother never, ever sided with her children on things like this, I think it served me well in the long run. I learned to deal with uncomfortable situations and--though it didn't turn me into a picture of tolerance and love--it did equip me to function effectively in most settings. I would tell your daughter to count her blessings. She's lucky to have this sweet foreign nanny hugging her instead of a lecherous 300+ lb, sexagenarian man. . .
Five (President, AntiSocial Party): As one who has never really dug hugs (especially from unfamiliar sources), I understand that platonic PDAs can be legit scarring. Some people just don't get that not everyone appreciates being squeezed by their love vice, and it can be awkward to inform them so. I'd suggest deception as a possible solution: try to convey to the nanny that your daughter has a chronic and communicable virus. If that doesn't stop her, train your daughter to hack on the nanny every time she embraces (preferably with spraying saliva). This should engage the reptilian center of the woman's brain, which cares more about self-preservation than displays of affection.