Tuesday, July 19, 2005

You, the Jury 

Thank you for your kind response to my previous post. Sorry that there were two different issues in there. With me, anger is the enemy of clarity. I will address the most important one here. Do I make the call to request support for the family? I have tried, and I have failed to get the parents of the child, and my parents to take my concerns seriously. As you know, due to my own daughter's condition, I will almost certainly be investigated at some point, but I am glad that these things are in place.

We all make mistakes as parents. Of course we do. It goes with the job. If I toss out a few examples, please give me your thoughts on what is, or is not "okay".

1. The family had a cat when "Jane" fell pregnant. That seems to be alright if you follow precautions, but not only did Jane not take those precautions, she decided, against my advice to take in a new, untrained kitten weeks before giving birth.

2. The child was a day old, and I was visiting. He had been sleeping for eight hours. I tried to explain that he needed to be fed, but was told by some friends of Jane's that he would wake up when he was hungry. My argument that he was sleeping because he was rapidly losing energy fell on stony ground.

3. At the age of three weeks, the child slept all night leaning back wards in this, which I am sure is not safe or suitable for a floppy newborn.

Hell, Tara slept in her car seat for the first few days, but she was still "uncurling". If she had vomited in her sleep, she would not have choked. Anyway, I was still at the mad stage of holding a mirror against her mouth every few minutes!

4. Just last week, I was shopping with Jane, and she put her baby in the back ward's leaning "infant carrier" seat. "Are you crazy?" I said. "He's been sitting up for months, and has been asleep in the car for the past three hours. Put him in the regular seat. No. Do not tell me he doesn't like it. I brought him here two days ago, and he loved it!"

5. The kid can roll. That's one thing he can do. He could roll for England, and has been rolling for months and months. We all get caught out reaching for a diaper and realizing that our babies have suddenly mastered the skill. So why leave a baby who has been rolling for months unattended on a changing table? Maybe the cats needed feeding. Who knows? I hope it was worth a lifelong scar on the forehead.

6. I am banned from giving the child bits of fruit and vegetables because it "makes him go". Of course it bloody well does, because his system isn't used to them. His lunch consists of some sort of processed meat on white bread and a packet of potato chips every day. No cheese, eggs, or fish ever. He is not allowed a drink with his meal, in case he fills up on it. Fair enough, but if you let him have a little to help wash his food down, he is hardly going to get up and chase you for it, is he? At night he eats the same things as his parents do. (Need you ask?)

7. He will sit quite happily in a dirty diaper. I guess it is a case of having to. I once held out for a whole two hours before doing the job myself. Jane was unconcerned because he wasn't yelling. By her reasoning, I suppose that made it alright. As long as you put cream on the rash, and can blame me for the soreness because I gave him a bit of peeled apple..

8. Jane plays darts two nights a week. Heaven forbid she should change her lifestyle for a baby! Two nights a week he goes with her, strapped into his car seat in a hot smoky pub till eleven at night.

I used to be in the habit of going to pubs and clubs a couple of times a week. Strangely enough, I gave this up, because I had the bizarre feeling that it was actually my baby that came first.

9. Talking of smoking, I am no saint. When Tara was born, I smoked. I smoked outdoors, or hanging out of the the window on whichever storey she wasn't sleeping on. These two have both smoked in the car, windows closed, since day one. He has a permanent wheeze. Tara has had one cough in five years, and has not been sick since Boxing Day.

10. One of the family's friends was recently paid a visit by a social worker. Jane was protesting the unfairness of the fact that she had been given no warning! "Her eldest opened the door, and it was bad luck that the visitor saw the baby eating out of the dog's bowl, and she hadn't had a chance to clean up the cat's mess that the other one was smearing on the walls. She was watching a DVD, so she didn't know. And she was hungover.." Argghhh!

11. "Why are you smacking his hand?" Because it will teach him not to bang his head against the wooden floor, apparently. Never mind that if he were to be given a toy or book, (he loves books) now and again, he might not feel the need..

12. The child has odd, curved feet. I am sure they have been deformed. What is the word for the opposite of the soles? The roof of the feet? He has been in "proper big boys sneakers" since birth. Surely, no matter how cute a kid is, they do not need, or want restrictive footwear before they can walk. You would think that a crucial element of teaching a child to walk would be to let them explore their toes and feet. This gorgeous kid can barely put his feet flat on the ground. Tara was born during a heatwave in June. She didn't own a pair of shoes until she could walk, seven months later, and it was winter by then.

I could go on. These are only some examples that have sprung to mind as I am writing this. The thing is, "Jane" and her husband are not bad people, but they are ignorant, and chronically selfish. I have recently begun to suspect that it is God's Will that the kid isn't moving around. Their house is full of dangerous clutter that they will not get rid of. They are talking of building a pond in their garden. I must admit, I clutched my heart at that news.

So. Again, do I make the call?

*SIGH* I need a "rants" category, I really do.

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