Reading Brittany over at Clumps of Mascara's babysitter horror story reminded me of my own, so I thought I'd share.
One of the hardest things I had to deal with after I had BabyCakes was finding a babysitter. I was fortunate to have three months off with her for maternity leave. When we started our babysitter search when she was a few weeks old it was stressful and I had extreme mom guilt. How could I leave my precious fragile baby with a stranger? Why did I have to work at all? Why was childcare so expensive?
Finding a babysitter was what HAD to happen. We can't sustain on one income, and neither Hubs nor I have family close by who don't work. When we found her first babysitter, let's call her Sharon, she seemed nice. She had a bunch of fancy baby gear, her home was clean, she was right around the corner from our home and her references spoke highly of her care.
The first month or so went great. She would clip BabyCake's nails and wash her bottles for me. She would send us pictures of her throughout the day and give us updates, everything seemed A-OK. Then one morning when BabyCakes was about 5 months old Hubs came back from dropping her off and started the conversation with "I don't want you to get mad." So of course, I'm preparing myself to get mad lol. He proceeded to tell me how Sharon showed him how good BabyCakes could eat from a spoon. ::confused face::
She was a five month old exclusively breastfed baby whose pediatrician had not said she could begin solids and I wasn't planning on starting for at least another two months or so. More important: Sharon had neither asked nor told us she was feeding our child baby food. She'd never even consulted us on any allergies, and why should she, if I'm sending breastmilk every day for her sustenance?
I texted Sharon and told her I was unhappy that she had given BabyCakes baby food without asking us. Her reply was that she didn't see what the big deal was and that she had been giving her baby food for four weeks. I freaked out. I was angry. I cried. I couldn't believe that this person had been giving my child jarred baby food at four/five months old without my consent. I also felt robbed of the opportunity to be the first person to feed my baby solids. My first baby.
At this point my blood is boiling. How could she not understand how not consulting a child's parents -a very young child- about what you are feeding them was a problem?
I texted my boss/"work mom" about the situation and she told me to go over to Sharon's house and talk to her face to face about the issue. So we went around the corner, unannounced, to talk to her.
When we came in the house my daughter was sitting about one foot from the TV in her car seat. I'm increasingly ready to choke Sharon but I'm still trying to talk. She's saying she takes care of children like they are her own and she felt the baby needed baby food. She's not getting the point at all. She's saying that she feels attacked, threatened and cornered because we showed up unannounced. And you know what? She probably was feeling those things. I'm sure she was feeling paranoid, because I think she was high, as a few minutes into the conversation I began to realize I smelled an underlying scent of marijuana coming from her second floor.
I felt like I was in the Twilight-zone. I don't think we could have worked things out if she couldn't acknowledge feeding my child something I hadn't approved was a problem, but there certainly wasn't any way I was going to tolerate marijuana smoking taking place while my child was in her care. At that point I just turned around grabbed our diaper bag, threw BabyCakes's coat on top her and walked out.
I was then plagued with another round of mom guilt. How could I not know that she had been feeding my baby baby-food? (part of the answer to this question, that realized later, was that even though I was sending cloth diapers each day, she was partly using her own disposable diapers so I wasn't seeing the solid food poop). How could I ever let my baby out of my sight again?
I'm very fortunate that after this experience all her caregivers have been wonderful. She had a great woman who was a family member of a friend watching her for a few weeks while we looked for a daycare, and she's been at a wonderful in-home daycare since then. I also found a great date-night sitter on Care.com.
Do you have any babysitter horror stories?