Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A mother's intuition--Daycare version

When I first started my in-home daycare in September, I started with four kids.  I had three boys and one girl.  After a month went by, I began to catch on to the ever growing trend that one of my parents was slowly but surely not bringing her child without notification or cause.  I was only watching her little girl a few times a week, so when the little girl didn't show up at all one week, I knew that was the end of that.  She was no longer my daycare child.  Her parents had skipped out on me, AND they owed me money!  I guess I should have known better to take her on when the mom told me that she stopped taking her little girl to the old babysitter one day without warning the sitter first.  First there were four, and then there were three.

In the beginning of November, I began to notice very strange behavior from the dad of one of the boys I cared for.  At first these parents were wonderful.  They paid on time, the mom brought the boy every day when she said she would, and she had him picked up at the times she said she would, too.  It was all good.  The dad got laid off work in the beginning of october, and he found a new job which meant that he would be bringing the little boy to daycare instead of his mom.  I quickly noticed that the dad would bring the boy earlier and earlier every day  (they even showed up at my front door right as I was getting out of the shower--talk about getting dressed in the fastest time ever!!!).  Along with dropping off the boy earlier every day, the dad began to pick the boy up later and later, too.  First it was 30 minutes late, then an hour, and sometimes he didn't pick him up until an hour and a half after he was supposed to be picked up.  Of course, I became very agitated, but I don't like confrontation, so I just let it happen.  One day, the dad dropped off his little boy and I noticed something was off.  The dad was acting really weird, but I went ahead and took the child and let the dad leave.  When the dad came to pick the boy up  (an hour late, might I add), he wouldn't make eye contact with me.  He was stumbling around my living room, and the things he was saying just didn't make sense.  I was scared to let the little boy go with with his daddy, but I couldn't keep him from going with his dad, could I?  Looking back on it, I wish I had called the police, but I didn't.  A week after the dad stumbled into my house that day, he came to pick up his boy again.  This time, which he was an hour late for again, he parked really close to my garage door, and then he stumbled in my house again.  He talked a bunch of nonsense and then said something about he rear-ended someone,  and the airbags in his car went off.  He acted all angry about the accident, and he said that now his car will probably be totaled.  I felt bad that he had wrecked, and I asked him if he called the police.  Now, when I said the word police, this man semi-freaked out on me.  He started breathing heavier, and kind of got defensive--almost as if he was hiding something from me.  He quickly grabbed his son and went out the door.  As he was walking out of my house, I told him if he had to be off work because of the "wreck" then I asked that he let me know (via text or call) that his son wouldn't be there.  That was the end of that.  He pulled out of my driveway so fast, almost as if he didn't want me to see his car, but I did.  I did see his car, and nothing was wrong with it.  No dents, no cracks, not even a scratch on the front of his car.  My guess is that he didn't go to work that day, or if he did he smoked something other than cigarettes before he picked up the boy.  Something was seriously wrong, and I didn't know what to do.  I had one of those motherly feelings to protect the children, so every time this parent would pull in the driveway, I'd put the other kids in the back room to play until he was gone.  It's my job to protect the kids I watch, but I never thought I would feel the need to protect them from one of their own parents.  I've never been in situations like this before.  Anyway, when the dad pulled away from my house, that was the last time I saw the little boy.  It's been a month since the dad came staggering into my house, and a month since I've seen that precious little boy.  I never got a call or an explanation.  Granted, I called and texted the parents numerous times just trying to get a response to make sure that they were still alive, but....nothing.

Every day when my current daycare kids show up, I think of that one little boy.  I wonder if he's okay.  I wonder if he made it home safely a month ago.  I wonder if I could have done something to protect the boy from his dad.  I also wonder if I SHOULD have done something based on my initial gut feeling.  I've heard the power of a mothers intuition, but I'm no mother.  I'd love to be, but I'm not.  So, how could I ever explain to the police that I think the dad is doing illegal things and is putting his child in danger?

Unfortunately, I couldn't.

9 comments:

  1. It's so hard knowing what to do sometimes. I've been in similar situations before. The first time I didn't call the police. The next time, I called social services and all they did was "visit" the family. Nothing was fixed . . . nothing was done to help the poor child. It made me so angry because it was a very bad situation :(

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  2. I read a story call A Piece of Cake. It basically unveils California for their horrendous child safety and welfare laws. You were put in a tough spot and you handled it well.

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  3. Yeah it's easier for them to just let it be. So no matter how much you plead with them or say your piece. They'll go, the parents will put on a show and that will be that. Not a whole lot you can really do unless child welfare gets their act together too.

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  4. This is just me, but I would call the mother and inform her of your concerns. She may not be aware of his behavior.

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  5. THERE you are!! I've been trying to go to your blog for awhile now, and couldn't. Did you shut it down for a little bit?? I promise I will update tonight or tomorrow:)

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  6. What a tough spot to be in! Sorry you had to go through that! :(

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  7. oh alicia, i'm so sorry for all that you had to deal with. breaks my heart for the little boy. you did the right thing by keeping the other children away.
    it's so terrifying what kind of parents are out there. that little boy was lucky to have someone like you take care of him.
    you're blessed to care for these children <3
    i hope you have a wonderful thursday. i'm glad your blog is back up and running!!
    xoxoxo
    maria

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  8. I am so glad to hear that google deleted your account. WHY? because in my silly head of mine, I thought you got mad at me for my reply to your post about my baby being a human! I called you a silly girl or something like that, but I meant it all in good fun. I was like, oh no, I didn't mean to offend her at alll. I thought about it for days! I'm just that kind of person, if I feel like I accidentally hurt/offended someone, it bothers me forever, or until it's resolved.
    I would feel the same way you do about that little boy. I would always think about him... forever. Until I knew for sure things were okay, or I heard from the family again. It's a tough situation that you were in... I mean, part of me would want to call the mother, but who knows?? She could get really offended. Part of me would want to call the police after he left, or maybe even before he showed up. Who knows what they could have done though?
    And just because you're not a mother to your own child, doesn't mean you don't have mothers intuition. I mean, I have a little niece, and whenever I get to watch her I go in over protective mode. I am overly aware of things in public, and at home. When there are children around, we as women do what we need to, to keep them as safe as possible. I'm sure if that was your little boy, you'd want your daycare nanny to do just that! And that IS what you do. At least you did what you COULD. Don't be too hard on yourself about it.

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  9. btw, I've worked at daycares where I've known the owner to not allow the child to go with the parent b/c the parent seemed to be under the influence, they would ask them to wait for the other parent to show up. So you might want to look into it as to what you can/can't do as far as letting or not letting a child go with his/her parent.

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