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Autistic 12yo told to pay nanny for books out of her allowance. AITA? UPDATED

Autistic 12yo told to pay nanny for books out of her allowance. AITA? UPDATED


Mary's Poppin' her budget.

One single parent was use to her nanny buying thrift store books for her 12-year-old autistic daughter. She made her daughter pay for the books out of her own allowance. When the nanny came back with an expensive haul, she was shocked and felt the gift was inappropriate.

"AITA for not reimbursing my nanny for books she bought for my daughter?"


My daughter, Ruby, is 12. Recently, she has gotten into the original Star Trek show, as well as the Next Generation. Ruby is also a big reader and has started to collect a few of the old Star Trek books that she finds in used bookstores and thrift stores. These books usually cost anywhere from 50 cents to a couple of dollars.

My nanny, Tessa (f22), hangs out with Ruby most days after she gets out of school. Tessa has been our nanny for over a year now and she and Ruby get along great. Tessa is big into to thrifting and will often keep an eye out for the books Ruby wants. This is not typically a problem and Ruby always pays Tessa back for the books using her allowance.

The problem occurred when Tessa went on a family vacation out west. Apparently she went thrifting during this trip and found some books for Ruby. She texted Ruby asking her if she wanted the books and Ruby said yes.

Well Tessa returned yesterday with a stack of about 35 books and told Ruby they cost $50. Ruby doesn't have this much money and told Tessa. Tessa then asked me if I would cover the cost. I said no as Tessa had never asked me about buying Ruby the books, nor was I aware of the conversation between the two of them.

Tessa got upset and I asked Ruby to show me the text which made no mention of price, or even the amount of books she was buying. Tessa only said that she found 'some' books for Ruby. Ruby is on the autism spectrum and does not read between the lines. You have to be very literal with her.

Previously, Tessa has never bought Ruby more than one or two books at a time, so I told her that she should have clarified with Ruby regarding the amount, or double checked with me before purchasing, and that I would not be paying the $50.

Tessa said she could not return the books because they came from the thrift store. I stood firm in my decision and reiterated that she should have asked me first. Tessa left and Ruby is very upset. I know Tessa is a student and does not have a ton of money so am I the a*^%ole for not paying Tessa for the books.

Initial comments were varied:


YTA. You’re stingy. You’re blessed with a very thoughtful nanny who thinks of your child even when she’s not at work. There was a misunderstanding about the cost. All you had to do to behave decently was pay her but ask her to please confirm amounts with Ruby in the future and that if it happens again you won’t be able to pay for it.


Wow, today I learned a single parent not wanting to fork out $50 for books they didn't ask for or give permission for is stingy.


NAH here IMO. Tessa shouldn’t have bought so many without checking with YOU as the parent but she was trying to do a good thing. Pay for the books this time but then tell Tessa that all future things like this must be approved by you and not Ruby - or set up a limitation.

The OP provided more information a few hours after comments flooded in.


Because some people are asking- I am a single parent to Ruby and while $50 dollars will not make or break the bank, it is definitely an unexpected expense.

I provide Tessa with an extra amount of money each month to spend on whatever she wants to do with Ruby (movies, the mall, etc). If she wanted to spend this fund on books for Ruby, that would have been totally fine- but she had already used it up.

Readers responded:


YTA and you're going to lose a nanny that cares about your daughter and your daughter's interest and tries to keep her engaged and happy over $50. Better to have paid it but asked her not to spend more than $x in the future, or told Ruby it would be part of her next birthday/christmas/whatever gift.


YTA. A great nanny that cares about your child is VERY hard to find. A great nanny that cares and is actually interested in making sure your “special” child is stimulated and interacts with her is very very hard to find.

Instead of being upset about 50 I would be crying tears of joy that my Nanny loves my child so much that she took time out of her vacation to find her books she loves. I couldn’t get her the 50 dollars fast enough.

YTA because this was a special thing - not something she does all the time and instead of being over the moon that you have a Nanny that loves your child - you shut her down and act like she did something wrong. I can not say it enough. YTA.


YTA. Pay for these books and tell her that any future purchases need to be approved by you directly. Then have Ruby do chores to pay you back for the books.


Are you seriously risking the relationship with a nanny who gets along with your autistic daughter and encourages her interests? The communication was not great but it’s really sweet that Tessa was thinking of Ruby’s interests while thrifting. Why not pay her and have Ruby do chores or something to earn the money? The $50 is definitely not worth compromising the relationship.

ETA: To clarify, I think that OP could give Ruby the option of buying the books from her a few at a time after she pays the nanny. I do not mean that Ruby should be forced to do chores to pay for them. Ruby didn’t know she was agreeing to $50 worth of books so that would be unfair to her. My original comment was ambiguous.

The OP updated again in defense:


I definitely didn't expect this post to blow up overnight, so I'm going to add a bit more context.

For those of you who are asking how I can afford a nanny for Ruby and still have $50 be a large unexpected expense- I do not pay for Tessa's services. Because Ruby is on the spectrum, she is entitled to benefits from our state, including care. The agency I work with pays Tessa. I am not involved in that process at all.

Here is what readers had to say:


Sometimes it’s better to salvage an important relationship than to be right. Pay for the books. Let Tessa know that you can’t do so in the future, though, without talking about it. Tell her how much you appreciate her thoughtfulness, now and always.


I hope the library offers those old books! I personally would give the nanny the money, put the books somewhere safe and enjoy the knowledge that I'm well provided with presents for my daughter for this year's birthday and christmas.

It's $1.50 per book, that's wonderful! OP, I totally get where you are coming from, I hate it if somebody springs onto me with an unexpected demand for money, but on the other hand your nanny really seems to care for your daughter and she probably knew that your daughter would pay much more for the books elsewhere.

The nanny is young and probably lacks experience how to handle those things, just tell her communication is key and always speak clearly beforehand if it is about money, but you appreciate her help in providing your daughter with books. I really hope you two can sort this out!


Library cards are great, but as a fan of both Star Trek and libraries, I can attest that many older Star Trek novels (and even some of the more recent ones!) can't be found in libraries.


As the old saying goes… would you rather be right? Or would you rather be happy? Some battles just aren’t worth it.


NAH. You're N T A for expecting costs to be cleared with you beforehand, but she's N T A for asking to be reimbursed. I agree with the top comment that sometimes it's more important to maintain a good relationship than be right. If you can't afford the $50 then take it out of next month's spending budget that you provide her.


Your second edit ADDS to the reason I think you should've automatically paid Tessa. That said, a reasonable conversation ought to be had with both Tessa and your daughter establishing the parameters of extra expenses.

What you recommend to this single parent and her well-meaning nanny?

Sources: Reddit
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