December 12, 2008 10:13 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny’s headed to Houston this week, to help out a sports celebrity family. Mike James plays for the NBA, and leaves wife Angela at home alone with their four little girls. They’ve just moved into a huge new house, and it’s not easy to keep an eye on the kids or child proof things. Mike lives in Houston, but plays for New Orleans and when it’s basketball season, he’ll be gone for several months. Usually Angela follows the team wherever they go, but this year the girls are staying put.
The girls range in age from 8 years to 7 months. Angela doesn’t get any respect from the kids. “Because Angela is with the kids more, she tolerates more from them,” Mike says. Angela’s overwhelmed. She’s a mother of four, started a new construction company as well as owning two other companies, and is expected to be an NBA wife. She has no time for herself and has a hard time balancing her schedule. “Mom’s seriously stressed out here,” Supernanny says, and is on her way to help Angela raise her kids right.
The James family lives behind an electric gate and are in the limelight, and Supernanny acknowledges that their situation is a little different. Angela already has a nanny to help out, but she’s used to doing everything herself. Jo decides to have a look around the property, first. Mike has a full basketball court at his home, and there is a large pool in the backyard.
The girls have huge, beautiful bedrooms, the girls prefer to sleep altogether in the play room. Supernanny watches Angela juggle the phone while calling to the girls to behave and stop climbing up the shelves. Jadon, the 8 year old, is missing when Mom finally gets off the phone. The nanny thought Mom was keeping an eye on her, and Mom thought the nanny was playing with her. She’s safe watching her daddy practice, but it’s a scary few minutes.
There are lots of things that need to get done, but there is no schedule. Angela gets the older girls down by 8:30 or 9 pm, since they are in school, but the younger two don’t have a set bedtime. Angela had lots of siblings in a small home, and it’s natural for her to have all the kids sleep in the same bed. After the girls are in bed, they don’t stay there.
The Parent Meeting
Supernanny talks to Mike first. He doesn’t care about bedtime, and just leaves it to Angela. He has no ocmpassion for his wife or her tiredness. “There’s no rest for the weary,” he says. “You cannot come to a conclusion of a situation in 12 hours,” Mike tells Jo. “I’ll show you how I can,” Jo replies. “Bull crap!” he says. “It’s always easier to deal with other people’s children.” Supernanny thinks he’s arrogant.
Jo thinks the first thing that needs to be addressed is child safety. including a pool alarm. “We need to have a conversation about safety with the kids,” she says. The next issue is the bedtime routine. Jo thinks that making the bedroom a little more personal will help them want to stay in their room. Mike doesn’t think their bedrooms need to be more cozy, he just thinks the kids need to learn how to obey.
Supernanny brings in a schedule board for Angela’s office, to keep her on track. Jo also decides to leave Mike to take charge of all four girls on his own so he can see how crazy her day is. Meanwhile, Jo’s brought in a yoga instructor for Angela in the gym.
Jadon’s playing on the swing and one of the toddlers runs underneath and gets knocked over. He notices that the baby’s stinky, and calls for Angela. She’s busy, though, so he’ll have to change her himself. Supernanny points out that he’s wiping wrong, and Mike gets defensive. The girls want to go swimming, but Mike wants them to watch a movie even though it’s his last day at home. Mike only watched the girls for an hour, but he realizes how hard keeping an eye on all of the girls can be.
How long should a bedtime routine take? Supernanny says bedtime should take no longer than an hour.
There is a pool, a guest house, a gym, and a playground as well as the main house. The James’ write out a list of places that are off limits. Then the family puts alarms on the doors around the pool as well as a special alarm for the water itself. Jo tells Mike to jump in and show the girls how the alarm works. He jumps in, but then storms off angrily and won’t let Supernanny show him a bedtime routine. “It’s not about what Mike always wants!” Jo says.
Mike doesn’t want to see what Supernanny is going to do with the kids to get them to sleep in their bed, and picks a fight with her. “How come you always get to be right?” Mike asks. “You asked me to come in here and help you!” Jo tells him. They talk, and he agrees to let Jo try her bedtime routine. The girls get to pick a few things to make their rooms more cozy, and Mike tucks them into bed. Then Jo asks Mike to record a few DVDs of bedtime stories to stay connected to the girls while he’s gone, and Mike decides she does a good job. “She’s an expert,” he concedes.
Mike leaves for training camp, and now Angela is parenting alone. Jo finds out the girls slept in their beds all night. Now it’s time to teach Mom the basics of discipline, warnings, and setting up a bedtime routine. Later that evening, the girls have quiet time and Jo plays Mike’s DVD. Now it’s time for Jo to leave Angela for a few days to see if anything needs tweaking.
Jo returns to review the video of Angela’s parenting. She also teaches Angela a couple of games to play with the baby so encourage her to move and crawl. Jo also shows the girls a new webcam, so they can visit with their dad over the Internet. The girls are so happy to see their dad, and Angela thinks she can handle things now.
Photos courtesy ABC