Saturday, February 11, 2012
A Phone Call I'm Not Looking Forward To
Yesterday, I witnessed a friend's babysitter, Ms. H, do something that crossed a major boundary for me.
Unfortunately, a little over a year ago, I'd heard the same sitter had (allegedly) behaved inappropriately in the exact same venue, and I even blogged about it. So now I feel I really do need to pick up the phone and say something to the parents. Here's what I saw that upset me yesterday.
I took my kids to the local indoor play gym. We were the first ones there that morning. Or so we thought. As we walked in, I was surprised to see my friend's 3-year-old daughter playing all alone in the huge gym, which is filled with gymnastics equipment such as rope swings, huge trampolines, parallel bars, pommel horses, and balance beams. As my mother would say: "innumerable, creative ways to fall and get paralyzed if not used properly" - or, more probably, to just have a ton of fun on.
Nobody was looking after the little 3-year-old in this huge place. At first I figured her babysitter was in the bathroom for a minute (still, kind of questionable judgment there - why not take the kid potty with you if there's no one there to ask to please watch her for a second). Then the little girl started climbing a storage unit in an area that's off limits to kids, so I went over to her and asked her to come with me, and I took all three kids to the front desk, and reported to the receptionist that this little girl here was just playing completely unsupervised and went into a dangerous, off-limits area - and where's her babysitter?
Receptionist calls a young female employee from the back, and she agrees to look after the little girl for awhile until someone shows up for the kid. I check the bathroom with my own kids, nope, no babysitter there.
A half an hour later, the babysitter finally shows up, holding a disposable cup of coffee. Wow.
I'm flabbergasted. There are drive thru coffee places every 10 feet in Podunkville. This is the Pacific Northwest. There are several coffee places with nice play areas for the kids to roam. Nobody ever needs to drop a kid off somewhere in order to get themselves a decent cup of coffee.
Half an hour later, loads more people have showed up, and the little girl falls off the uneven bars, landing flat on the ground. She has really hurt herself and starts crying, literally right at the feet of me and another friend. We look around and at that moment, and unlike the rest of the adults present, the sitter is on the other side of the room, sitting down, texting, having no idea what's going on with the little girl. She finally sees us consoling the little girl and comes over, grabs her hand and says "You're strong, stop crying." I wouldn't call it a harsh tone of voice, but I wouldn't call it one with much empathy either. The little girl seems fine the rest of the time.
As we're leaving, and the kids are all waiting their turn for their hand stamps, the sitter gets into a VERY LOUD conversation with the receptionist. She's a loud talker I guess. And I can't help but overhear it, which sucks, because she said some incredibly mean things about the child's parents, like "they chose to have 4 kids,"..."they've been relaxing in Hawaii all week"... "it wouldn't be so bad if the stupid dogs would stop barfing everywhere".. and "I'm probably going to quit soon, after the baby comes (the sitter is pregnant)."
Awkward. And sad.
Sad that she agreed to watch 4 kids and 2 dogs by herself for a week while in the first trimester of pregnancy - clearly, this experience went beyond her personal limits. So I can see why she wasn't in the best of moods that day. But still. Shitty judgment.
And now I have a phone call I have to make. I can't not say something after all of that. I'm thinking of writing myself a script for this phone call. What to say? What to leave out? I dunno.
DH thinks I should tell the parents only the parts about how I witnessed her leaving the kid unsupervised for half an hour while getting a coffee, plus the very public, very disloyal shit talking about the parents that I overheard.