Friday, October 26, 2012

A parents' nightmare

A parents' nightmare.

Why?

They were beautiful children. The young Krim family's life appeared idyllic, NYC-style. However, when the father was hired by CNBC Bloomberg, the parents apparently left behind a close-knit extended family for both parents when they moved from California to NYC. If they feel guilt over the killings, it will be from leaving a good job in California that allowed them access to regular family childcare help for a better job in NYC that took the Krims away from their families. So they hired a nanny. Mom's livejournal featuring her children. The condolence I left on her blog. Dad and mom's old livejournals.

I hope it at least turns out that the nanny was wounded trying to defend the children. One seemingly odd detail in the newspaper account: "When Ms. Krim returned around 5:30 p.m., the commissioner said, she found a dark apartment." Would the nanny turn off all the lights in the apartment before trying to commit suicide in the dark? Why it's not odd: Sunset in NYC on October 25 was 6:01 pm and the apartment building is on the upper west side and its windows face west and south, so it would have caught the last light of the day. There's still enough daylight to see without artificial light at 5:30 pm in late October in NYC, but the daylight is just dim enough at that time to begin switching on the room lights. Presumably, the murders occurred before 5:30 pm during the dwindling afternoon light. Does "dark" mean the shades were drawn? A still, quiet apartment probably worried the mom as much as the gathering gloom.

An updated report on the nanny. The update says the nanny tried to kill herself in front of the mom when the mom walked in on the nanny and the children in the bathroom, and a neighbor (Charlotte Friedman, aka Songline) shared the elevator going up with the children and nanny at about 5 pm. More here and here.

I wonder if more UWS moms will now opt to hire Columbia and Barnard girls as babysitters rather than full-time nannies.

Nov 3, 2012 update: The nanny has been charged with murder. I wonder whether the Krims returned to California to be with their families. I wonder whether the father has returned to their UWS apartment.

A troubling question: Some news reports say the children were still breathing when medical help arrived at the apartment and they died either in the ambulance enroute to the hospital or at the hospital. They may have been mortally wounded regardless of medical help; in other words, there may have been no 'golden hour' where medical help could have saved one or both child's lives. If the children were indeed still alive when discovered in their bathroom by their mother, though, precisely when did they first receive medical attention? The reports seem to indicate the mother immediately ran out of the apartment with her surviving daughter while the super shut the door on the bathroom with the nanny inside - with the dying children still in the bathroom with the nanny. In other words, it's implied the children did not receive medical help from the mother, super, or anyone else until emergency services arrived. Was a fleeting opportunity missed by the first responding adults, including the mother, to save one or both lives? It's a troubling question.

Nov 6, 2012 update: The memorial for the children was held at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center yesterday. Does this mean the Krims are staying in NYC? I can't imagine they'll return to live in La Rochelle. Perhaps they will stay in the NYC area, but move to a secluded rural location upstate, so the father can stay in his job.

Radaronline seems to be following the nanny's story and reports the unspooling details of the nanny's resentment are as sordid as speculated. The NY Times reports on same. The nanny reportedly criticized how the mom spoke to a housekeeper, which matches a post in the mom's blog. If what the nanny says about arguments with the mom is true, then why didn't the Krims let her go, and instead allow the tension between them to build? Could it be that the parents viewed the nanny too much like family, which you don't cut loose at the first sign of trouble, rather than an at-will employee? Or, could it be that the perception the Krims had about their relationship with the nanny was radically different than the perception the nanny had about their relationship? I believe it's the latter. There are reports the nanny had exhibited outward signs of changed behavior indicating mental illness. A spiraling state of depression and anxiety in a corrupted mind can alter one's perception, judgement, mood, decision-making, values, thinking processes - the whole mindset. A corrupted mind can lose its resiliency and become stretched thin and brittle, so that the person can no longer solve problems effectively. Thus, adverse situations and challenges that are normally bearable for the person turn into sparks landing on dry brush or a rock thrown against glass. The unsolved life problems worsen and compound, becoming harder to solve, thus placing greater pressure on the person, thus accelerating the disintegrating spiral. The nanny could have been interacting directly with the Krim family but literally experiencing a different reality in her mind about their seemingly ordinary interactions than the Krims experienced. In other words, the nanny was no longer thinking like a 'reasonable' person, while the parents, long accustomed to thinking of their nanny as a reasonable person, were ill-equipped to detect the change. (The Massachusetts crime lab tech comes to mind as someone in a responsible duty position who reacted extremely and unexpectedly within her duties.) Still, while changed behavior, worse judgement, and reduced capacity to deal with life are par for the course for a stressed anxiety/depression sufferer, the Cujo-like killing of children is an abnormal radical leap in reaction. A more normal reaction would have been a withdrawal from the pain of life (suicide being the extreme measure), not killing children. That's not to say the nanny was incapable, in the legal sense, of knowing that her killing the children was wrong - an altered mind is not necessarily out of mind.

There is trollish facebook page of indeterminate authorship proclaiming the nanny's innocence.

The parents have started the Lulu & Leo Fund to promote children's participatory arts and science in the names of their deceased children. A joint statement from the parents.

I feel it's important to recognize that when she was attacked, 6-1/2-year-old Lucia fought back. Reports say Lucia suffered multiple knife wounds, including defensive wounds. I like to imagine Lucia was trying to defend her little brother as well as herself when she died, and it's not a stretch to think she realized the danger to both of them. She went down fighting. That matters.

Today, I ate a hot dog at Gray's Papaya, asked about pool fees at the Jewish Community Center, drank a (gross) chocolate milk from Duane Reade at 325 Columbus Ave, gazed at the family's dark, curtained windows at La Rochelle, couldn't find an outside path to the Natural History Museum Rose Center's outdoor water fountain, used the boys bathroom in PS 87 (open to the public for election day), and spoke briefly with the custodian? at La Escuelita. Earlier, I had left 2 pennies, 1 for each child, in 1 each of 2 candles outside of La Rochelle.

08 1630EST NOV2012 update:

The time is now 4:30 pm EST on Thursday, November 8, 2012. It is now exactly 2 weeks since the mother discovered her dying children. (Due to the time change, 4:30 now was 5:30 two weeks ago.)

Good-bye, children. Rest in peace.

Lucia Ursula "Lulu" Krim
May 25 2006 - Oct 25 2012

Leo Hidalgo "Lito" Krim
Sep 30 2010 - Oct 25 2012

Jan 7, 2013 update: How did I miss this? The parents have a Lulu & Leo Fund facebook page. Their latest updates inform they are currently on a RV road trip from California returning to NYC. My god, they're strong. Folks who dismiss American "bobos" (bohemian bourgeoise) like the Krims underestimate the underlying toughness many of them possess. The Krims' decision to openly - even defiantly - return to NYC shows the inner steel belying the Eloi exterior of their lives. Their success in life before their children were murdered was not accidental; they made it. Will they actually return to La Rochelle? I'm already surprised (and admire) they left their strong family safety net in California to come back to NYC. I'd be more surprised if they resumed residence in their old apartment, but an argument can be made that staying close to Lucia and Leo's spirits means living in their home. If they live in NYC and don't return to La Rochelle and the Upper West Side, based on the family's bobo lifestyle, I guess they would relocate to West/Greenwich Village or perhaps hipster Brooklyn.

May 17, 2013 update: They'll be having a son this fall. Mom's Lulu & Leo itinerary, a walking tour.

October 25, 2013 update: One year anniversary. Rest in Peace, Lulu and Leo. I was a little surprised there wasn't more of an impromptu memorial to the children outside La Rochelle.

September 30, 2014 update: The Krims did not move to West/Greenwich Village. I came close. They moved to Tribeca, which I should have included in my first guess.

April 27, 2017 update: The Krims have added 2 sons who are now 3 and 1. Their middle daughter, now eldest child is 8. Dad and mom reflect on Lulu and Leo's death at Option B. They started a new project, Choose Creativity, at the lulu & leo fund.

Eric

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