October 8, 2008

Is it my birthday yet?

Good gravy, you know your blog has sprouted a few dusty spiderwebs when your own mother tells you to just update the damned thing already.

So. Um. Well. *cough*

So, I made the mistake of telling Arun a few weeks ago that his birthday was coming. In feverish anticipation of party hats, cupcakes and friends coming to his house, he has been asking me nearly every single day if it is his birthday yet. Oops.

So, last night I dreamed that I was interviewed by Barbara Walters and in that interview, I discussed the basic principles of canasta. I covered the basic 4 person game, but also elaborated on the rules surrounding the variation known as "hand and foot". Then, later I went to a garage sale at my grandma's house. What the hell are Barbara Walters and my grandma doing in my dreams? That is just wrong on so many levels. Why cannot I dream of making a human sandwich with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon serving as the slices of bread?

So, I am just about ready to give up on Heroes. Am I the only fool who cannot follow what the hell is going on? How many versions of Peter can we realistically keep track of? Furthermore, when a television program begins to feel like homework and you find yourself procrastinating your viewings of it, then it seems that would be a good time to chuck the whole thing.

So, this is an interesting sort of week. I spent a fair amount of Monday at the hospital - one of my great aunts had quintuple bypass heart surgery and I waited with the rest of the family. She is coming out of it okay. Then, later this week, Mojavi is having her baby, so I will be back at the hospital to see her.

So, I did watch that segment last week on Oprah about the former assistant principal, Brenda Slaby, who left her two year old child in a hot car for 8 hours and of course, the child died. I hesitated to comment on this because I did not want to come across as all Judge Judy about it. But. Some pertinent facts were left out of the Oprah segment. Some very, very disturbing facts. Such as, the fact that Slaby had been warned previously by the director of her oldest child's school about not leaving her younger daughter in the car - there were at least 3 separate occasions that Slaby had done so. Also, video surveillence from the school in which Slaby worked showed Slaby backing up her SUV to the building, unloading some donuts, going back and forth to the vehicle at least half a dozen times, then moving the vehicle to a parking spot. Seriously? And this lady was not charged with negligence or child endangerment?? I am not saying that this woman was evil or a child killer or that she even did it on purpose. But truly, it is heartbreaking that she was not at least charged with negligence. In my extremely "judgemental" opinion, being "overwhelmed" is lousy excuse for forgetting your child. That is ludicrous. Ludicrous. Furthermore, another white, educated mother left her child in the Cincinnati area this year and that child also died. Again, no charges were brought against her. And then, another mother this year was actually charged with child endangerment for leaving her 12 year old daughter alone at home in charge of two younger siblings because the mother was working and could not afford to pay for extra care. Guess what color that mother was? Guess.

And yes, I did just Go There.

19 comments:

Stephanie said...

Child endangerment for letting your 12-year-old babysit her own siblings? Seriously? At 12, I was babysitting other people's children, not just my brother... and that wasn't so long ago.

Jenny said...

Um, I have a babysitter who just turned 13, and she's been babysitting for me for over a year. WTF? Did something happen that I'm missing in this story?
Also, I think the general concensus in these situations is that these parents have suffered enough knowing that they basically killed their own child by their forgetfullness - the punishment already fits the crime, before the government gets involved. I don't really think charges in these cases are helpful, and the cost to run it through the judicial system and maybe put that person in jail (also a cost to citizens, when they could be working and contributing to society) the possible future deterrent benefit to the public, which is needed to warrant charges. Now, I remember a guy left his kid in the car in So Carolina while he went in and played the slots for FOUR HOURS, ON PURPOSE, and that deserves charges. That deserved hanging, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Okay, rather than commenting on the obvious... your mother knows about your blog? Wasn't that something you were trying to keep from her a while back? What made you decide to let her know? You know, because it is my business and all ;).

alimomof3

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Yeah, wait...I was baby-sitting a 10 month old child at the age of 12!!!

Now, keep in mind

a) My parents lived next door

b) Everyone on my street knew each other and I could easily have gone to ANY of my neighbours in case of an emergency.

c) We lived, literally, 2 minutes away from the cops and the fire station

d) It was an exceedingly safe & crime free suburb of Boston

But...and this isn't just a comment on this post...I've read a few blog posts about how "X" is way too young to babysit and howdaresomeoneevenask and I'm just wondering, is this a trend amongst female bloggers or parents in general? Because back when I babysat we didn't even have cell phones and all the communication devices parents have now, but my neighbours were completely okay with leaving me with their baby daughter and 2 year old (hellbrat, now film student at UCLA...holy how did that happen?) son.

And I'm kind of inclined to think back on those days and say I was less fazed by children than I am now. Like when BB and I were hanging out with Anjali-I mean, we're a pretty smart couple, but oh the hand wringing and philosophizing about whether she was hungry or upset! Or BB's concerned suggestion we take her to the nearest kroger and buy her pureed carrots and a plush toy and a hamster. That's right! A hamster will calm her down.

I bet I will swallow my words when someone tries to take care of mah preshus baybee and I demand they produce a Harvard Law Degree for the privilege!

Anjali said...

Heroes bypassed my level of understanding last season. I bowed out then.

Dooneybug said...

I guess I don't understand the comment about the "color that mother was". What are you communicating there, I don't get it? Please elaborate?

kennalb said...

Good for you, when it needs to be said, it needs to be said!

moderndayhermit said...

*I, to remember when I used to babysit in the summer when I was 12 or 13.


* Heroes - the first episode was a little, "eh?" but I attribute that to the lapse between seasons and it's all good (for me)now.

Cagey said...

All,
re: the mother of the 12 year old left at home alone -- I was babysitting my sister way before I was even 12. And as I was "tongue in cheek" about the color thing, let me be clear: the gal was not white. Put it that way. *sigh*

re: Brenda Slaby - if the Oprah show had been more forthcoming in the additional details and if Brenda Slaby had not already been repeatedly reprimanded for leaving her daughter in the car, I would have been more inclined towards sympathy.

re: my mother knowing about this blog -- I told her about this site a few years ago. I knew that Rita Arens book was going to get published (I had faith!) and I knew that i would have to come out of the blogging closet eventually.

elizasmom said...

Woah. I was babysitting a family of three kids at 14-ish, and when I started there was one 11-month-old, one 3-year-old who had spina bifida, and one 5-year-old. Times have changed, yo, because that was totally the norm back then. And like Monkey, I was way less freaked about that than I am dealing with my own singleton now.

Mojavi said...

ummm yeah I have to say I totally FUCKING AGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! total BULLSHIT!

just had to cuss to make my full feelings known/ B U L L S H I T!!!

kristen said...

When I first saw the story about Slaby I felt gut wrenchingly horrible for her. I can't even begin to imagine going to my car at the end of the day and finding my lifeless child there. It made me question my own ability to parent. If that woman could be so tired that she just forgot then I didn't stand a chance.

I have fits of paranoia occasionally. Did I drop him off? I did didn't I? Of course I did. My husband is about to change jobs and will be able to help with taking and picking up from the baby sitter. While I greatly appreciate the help, I am worried that a change in routine will end up with one of us forgetting we have him.

Her story and other similar ones have made me more aware and a little crazy. Now you tell me she did this habitually? Well that certainly changes my opinion on the matter. Maybe I'm not doomed to forget my child in a hot car after all. I still don't know if I agree that she should face charges. Honestly I don't think I know enough about the situation to make that call.

I also don't enough about the 12-year-old baby sitter situation to make a judgement there. My husband is a police officer and the things he sees happen to kids and the situations they are left in, well... He doesn't tell me most of it because he knows I couldn't handle that much heartbreak. Was the mother charged because the daughter in charge was 12 or was there much more serious circumstances?

Jen said...

On the babysitting thing, it so depends on the kid. Some kids can babysit at 12 (especially with some back-up like that their own mom is right next door) and other kids/people probably should never babysit. I think younger babysitters are more likely to play and engage kids, too, and that's worth some cash right there! Especially now with cellphones, as long as you trust the kid to call someone if there's a problem.

It's one of those things that shouldn't be legislated at any certain number, for sure. Supposedly in my state if you were to leave say, your 13 year old with or without a younger child in a car (not hot, not dangerous, just you know reading books in a car on a mild day while you were buying a gallon of milk) you could be charged with negligence. HOWEVER, if they weren't in a car that 13 yo would be a perfectly acceptable babysitter. Go figure. Fortunately no one's been stupid enough to try and go after a parent for leaving a 13 year old in a [perfectly safe] car or say, walking down a street.

Olivia said...

The summer I was 12 I babysat 3 girls under 6, and I've already got my eye on my 14 year old neighbor for babysitting my future progeny. (she's got several small nieces/nephews so she's got some experience)

As for charges for Slaby? She already lives with the fact she killed her child and has been completely ostracized by her community so criminal charges would be like beating a dead horse.

What I always wonder about when I hear stories like hers is "Why the hell doesn't the babysitter/daycare call the parent and find out why the child wasn't dropped off?" As a care giver, I would think that if a child doesn't show up and there hasn't been a call to say he/she is sick, then wouldn't it be at least courteous to call the parent and check in? Don't schools make calls home when kids skip class without a note from a parent?

I'm thinking when I enroll my kid in daycare I will ask to be called if my kid isn't dropped off and I haven't called to say why.

kristen said...

Re: Olivia I love the fact that if I am running more than 20 minutes late I can expect my cell to be ringing. My babysitter calls me all the time to let me know what Caleb is doing and I know if he just didn't show up, she would be on the phone before I had time to make it to work.

As for the daycare being courteous and calling when a child doesn't show up. Isn't suggesting that the daycare should have called removing a lot of personal responsibility it a world where it is already so easy to blame others for our own screw ups?

Cagey said...

Olivia and Kristen,
The babysitter did not think twice about calling because it was not uncommon for the Slabys to not show up.

Olivia said...

Kristen: I get what you are saying about putting the onus on care givers. I just think these incidents have happened often enough it would be nice to have a precaution in place. Like when a cop shows up to your house if you just accidentally dialed 911, just in case...

Cagey: I didn't know it was a habit for the Slabys to just not show up without notice. Makes sense the sitter didn't call in that case. And I completely agree with your point about how she opened the back of the car, got in, got out, moved it, etc. and still didn't see the girl. That is a level of preoccupation I can't understand.

lorib said...

I'm skipping the heavy stuff, but do have a tip to share regarding Arun's constant "Is it my birthday yet?" that I learned from my SIL. When we have a big event coming up we tell Duncan that he needs to sleep X times before the event and then we countdown each day. Somehow it is easier for him to comprehend how many times he sleeps rather than how many days have passed.

Jerri Ann said...

Ditto That!
Here Here!
Hell Yea!
All Hail The Truth!

And that's all I can think of right now but I think you got the idea, eh! Good job probably would have worked to eh?