Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In Which I Told - The Follow Up Post

I finally managed to get in touch with the parents of the 3-year-old who I found being left alone for half an hour on Friday morning at a local play gym.

It took all weekend, and all of yesterday, and many rounds of phone tag and messages, but I finally got one of the child's parents on the phone. Even though I know them personally, this took some doing. I had to actively push past my own desire not to keep picking up the phone, again, and again. But I'm glad I did.

I found the father to be completely unreachable, and the mother to be unreachable at first, and then a bit of a denier.

After I left a voice message saying "I need to speak with you because I witnessed your daughter in a dangerous situation on Friday" - in no uncertain terms on their landline, the mother finally sent me a text yesterday evening saying "It's hard to talk when I have all my kids, could you just text me about it or send me an email?" I called her back again and she picked up and I said "I wouldn't insist that we talk on the phone about it if it weren't serious - it will only take a minute."

Then I told her about the little girl being left alone for 30 minutes.

She said "My nanny would never leave her alone at the gym intentionally."

To which I said, "Be that as it may, that is what I witnessed, and I suggest you speak to so-and-so at the gym about it."

She said she would. She also mentioned that the kid was supposed to be in a class that morning, and wasn't sure what was going on. Ugh.

I wanted to tell her about the part where I heard the sitter say she's probably going to quit, but I felt there was a vibe of too much denial and probably shock for me to mention it.

I'm blogging about this to process it all, really. I'm just really shocked at how many walls these parents have up to prevent them from having any dialogue about their kids. I'm sure they don't see it that way though. Maybe it is unintentional.

Am I weird for thinking this whole thing just seems off?


nicoleandmaggie said...

You did the right thing.

At this point it's up to them, and they may actually take it more seriously after 1. the shock wears off and 2. they're in a position where they're not helpless about doing anything about it. It's easier to be in denial when not being in denial would mean hopping the next flight back and still being helpless for at least 8 hours while on the plane.

Anandi said...

You totally did the right thing. I think there was a section about denial in 'Protecting the Gift' - that parents are resistant to claims of sitter wrongdoing because it basically makes them confront the fact that they picked a person who put their kids in danger. It's a hard thing to deal with.

Hang in there hush, and be proud you did the right thing.

hush said...

Thanks @N&M and @Anandi. I'm feeling better about it already.

Zenmoo said...

You did the right thing. That reaction (which honestly, I would expect - you can't leave your child with someone you believe might not look after them so of course the first instinct is deny/justify) is why I recommended only talking about what you saw & could have independently verified.

All the same - no sensible person likes to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes, it just has to be done.

Vacationland Mom said...

You have done a good thing for this family- even if they never see it that way. I'm glad there are people like you in the world.

CG said...

I was on the receiving end of an intervention like this a few years ago when my older son was about 22 months old (a mom I didn't know came up to my friend and me on the street, had recognized our kids from the park, and told us our shared nanny was not watching them as they wandered off near a busy street). She was nice about it, and said she hadn't been sure whether to say anything, but that she would have wanted to know.

I can't remember exactly what we said to them, just that we thanked them. We were both stunned and sick at hearing this. I don't know how our reaction came across to them. But we did fire the nanny immediately. So, you did the right thing. They may just not have been able to process the information right away. Hopefully they will also do the right thing.

Claudia said...

Fucking A, hush. Good work. You did the right thing, and you must now leave it in their hands, which is probably hard when someone exhibits denial. I would be spluttering at a parent who wasn't immediately INDIGNANT and PISSED about the lack of care for their child.

But they are informed, and they can do what they will with that information. As Zenmoo said, they had trusted this person. It is probably hard to accept that the person totally and unequivocally let them down.

Fist bump, chiquita.

mom2boy said...

You did do the right thing and in one of those situations where it's not the easy choice.

the milliner said...

Great job in sticking to it Hush. I think @anandi's got it right on about the motives of the parents denial.

I'm still floored by the parent of one of DS' play mates at his first daycare, who, upon hearing of the misconduct at the daycare (for which we immediately pulled out DS), said 'Oh no, X is fine here.' What?!?! But I'm still glad, a year later we told this parent.