It's a little bit funny when I find myself coming to a cake forum for non-cake issues. But I know most of us here are females and I really would appreciate thoughts/advise from other women or mothers (not limited to only us, of course).
I had an issue with my neighbor today, just over an hour ago. I have not calmed down yet so I know I might be overreacting, but I still think I'll be upset even in a calm state of mind.
First of all, I have had many issues with this neighbor before and I'm trying to make it work with us. She just became a SAHM (as I am too) so we've been taking our kids to parks together while our older kids are in school. We are so different how we work, but I'm trying to be a good neighbor and bite my tounge many times to avoid more confrontations than necessary.
So today, I'm mowing the lawn (we live in a small condo-building so we all take turns mowing... or we're supposed to. I have done it every time for the last two months and this neighbor has never done it...sigh...). I only have one hour to do it until it's time to pick up my two boys from the bus stop. I have my 3 y/o daughter with me, right behind me.
At 3:42pm, my neighbor comes out with her 1 y/o daughter and plays with my daughter on the lawn. I'm still watching while mowing.
Then she takes my daughter upstairs without asking me. I'm in a hurry because I have to go at 3:50 pm. I turn the mower off and tell the mother I need to leave for the bus stop. She says fine.
So I put the mower away and walk to the bus stop by myself. It's so close I don't even cross a street. It took a little longer than usual. One parent did not show up to pick up her child, then we stopped and talked to another neighbor next to the stop. When I come home, my neighbor who has my daughter is not home and her van is missing. I run upstairs and call her, asking her if she has my child. She says yes. Then right away I ask her "Is she in a car seat?" She answers "No, but don't worry."
I reply "Of course I'm worried. You're driving in DC traffic with my 3 year old girl without a car seat! Please tell me where you are, I want to come and pick her up myself."
She tells me she'll be home in just a minute.
When I met her outside I was very upset and I know I had an upset voice and an angry tone. I told her "if you're in an accident my child has less chance to survive, you can't do this to someone else's child." She tells me she had to leave and could not find me.
I'm sorry this is so long. But she had to pick up her kids in school (which she never does because they ride the school bus and she does not even meet them at the bus stop, but she must have been going somewhere).
So this is how we left it. She had to go somewhere still and I was too upset to talk. I just said to her "why did you take my daughter home to you when I was mowing the lawn if you were leaving?" She says she could not find me and had no choice.
My opinion is that risking a child's life is never an option. If she truly could not find me (which I doubt, because I was right around the corner and she knows where the bus stop is) she should have called the school and told her she would be late because she is stuck with a little child and doesn't have a car seat for her. That's what I would have done.
I know she will be coming over here tonight to talk, or I'll meet her tomorrow. She is upset with me for blaming her, and I'm upset with her for risking my child's safety. I don't know what she was thinking. Why did she take her from me if she was only staying at home for five minutes and did not tell me that as she took her. Who does that?
I just looked up the statistics and I read that:
"Child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71% for infants, and by 54% for toddlers ages 1 to 4 years."
To me, this is conformation that I did not overreact. Am I the only one who thinks this neighbor lady (mother of 3 like me) is insane to feel that whatever she was going to was more important than keeping my child safe? In my opinion, who cares if you miss out on one hour of whatever class they had (I'm guessing) compared to my child dying and missing out on her whole life!
What should I tell her when I see her again?
Thanks to anyone who took the time to read through all of this!
Huh. Ya know, I think you were both at fault. No, she should not have taken your child without your permission. No, she should not have been out of the car seat. But you also should have come back right away instead of chatting with neighbors-what was she supposed to do? Just not pick up her kids because you were socializing? You said you were going to the bus stop, she was probably thinking that meant like 5 minutes at most.
I think you made it clear that you were upset and that the situation should never have happened. At this point, you've stated your case and should let it drop so that you can preserve the relationship.
But you also should have come back right away instead of chatting with neighbors-what was she supposed to do? Just not pick up her kids because you were socializing?
Of course, in hindsight that's what I should have done. But I'm not a mind reader. And had she told me she needed to leave I would have come home right away. It was not my neighbor doing me a favor by watching my dd. It was to give her dd some company. She always asks for my dd to come over and play. It's always for at least 20-30 minutes. Not in a million years could I imagine she would take my daughter inside knowing I was heading to the bus stop and she herself was leaving in the next five to ten minutes.
Like I said in my original post, even if it would have been my fault (which I don't agree with still), how can she make my dd be the one to risk her safety just for the reason of not being late. I'm just saying a child potentially missing 10-20 minutes of an appointment vs a child risking her whole life!
If your neighbor had to leave in 5 minutes, 1. she should not have taken your daughter inside to play. 2. even if she did, she should have said something to you, seeing as she had your daughter. 3. she knew you were at the bus stop, she should have taken your daughter to you at the bus stop. No child should EVER be in the car without a car seat. I don't understand how anyone, especially someone who is a parent of young ones, would knowingly endanger a child like that. I think that you definately need to express to her how upset you are about this. It needs to be CRYSTAL clear, that this was NOT OKAY! Then I think the both of you need to set some ground rules. Like mow your own lawn, and if you're feeling nice and have time you can do hers. And if you have to go somewhere, the visiting child's parents needs to know when the other parent has to leave, and they have to make sure that child is home with plenty of time to spare.
I hope this works out for you. I know how important relationships like this are, and it sucks when they don't work out. Keep us updated!
Assuming your laws are the same as they are here:
It is illegal for a child to ride in a car without a car seat or seat belt.
It is illegal to give a child a cigarette or a beer.
It is illegal to let a child drive without a driver's license.
Illegal. I dont' care what the act is. It's illegal.
She performed an illegal act with your child. She endangered your child. had your child been injured, the court would not have "let her off" with the excuse of "what was I suppose to do?"
Thank you for sharing your point of views.
When I told my husband, he felt the same way. This is the first time since the school year started, that she took her car to pick up the boys. So she should have informed me about the need to leave in 5 min's.
I talked to her today and it was both good and bad. The good part was we stayed calm, we talked to each other and we expressed our opinions and listened to each other. The bad part was it did not get resolved like I had hoped. Instead, it's almost worse between us. Because we just don't see this the same way (just like everything else).
She doesn't think it was a big deal, what she did. For her it wasn't in her mind to call the school and ask for them to keep the boys a little longer. She told me "Sofia, she wasn't going to get killed!" (I don't know what she means, who decides or plans or is informed before they go on the road that today you will be in an accident)
She claims she told me that she can only watch my dd for five minutes. I told her, with information that is as important as that, she can't just tell me, standing 12 feet away from me as I have my back to her mowing the lawn. Of course I'm not going to hear a single work she said, or even know she was talking to me.
You need to look me in the eyes and get a response back so that you know you were understood (yes, I actually explained this to her).
What really upset me was when she told me that first she thought of leaving my daughter by herself in front of my locked front door!!! Then she changed her mind and decided to bring her instead.
I said "How can that even be an option for you?" She said she was already running late and had to go to the bank, then to the school.
"Wasn't it better I took her than left her by herself?" she asked me. But I could not respond. I can't believe she said that.
So in the end I told her I don't feel safe having you watch my daughter ever again, knowing how you reason and value things in life. She called me ridiculous for not thinking she is capable of watching my child just because of what happened.
I feel better being honest with her, telling her how I feel. I really don't want her caring for my daughter since she obviously doesn't care much about her (considering leaving her locked out by herself... unbelievable).
To make this even longer, later on tonight as I'm sitting at the table with my kids doing homework (around 7:30pm) I get a knock on my door. It's one of the boys from next door (10 years old) holding his 1 y/o sister (the one I've been mentioning before). He is asking me for help to calm his sister down because she is crying and he can't make her stop.
My neighbor has done this before, when she is busy with something (usually dinner) and the baby is fussy. She brings her over to me and says her daughter needs a new environment, can I take her? So I thought that since she doesn't want to speak with me she sent her son over.
I asked where his mom was and he told me she was away with his brother and that he was alone with his sister and can't make her stop crying.
So I let both of them in (of course) and helped the "baby" girl. 30 minutes later, the mom is back and came and got her kids. She thanked me for calming her daughter down.
It's hard to get too close with a neighbor I personally would not choose to be friends with. I've had so many issues with them since the day we moved in (a year and a half ago) and I'm so tired of having confrontations with her when nothing is ever improved.
Thanks again for listening
I think you really need to distance yourself from her. We had a neighbor who's daughter was really rough with our son, and we didn't agree with a lot of their parenting (ie, they didn't care when their daughter tried to drag our son around the room by his neck, or pushed my friend's son down the stairs). So we just stopped calling them, and started making excuses to not hang out with them or watch their kids. So next time she tries to bring her fussy baby over to you because she can't be bothered to deal with her own child, tell her you're busy and just can't at the moment. Even if your doing absolutly nothing.
Wait? She left the 10 year old with the one year old and left? I have a one year old, and a ten year old nephew. I would NEVER leave him alone with her. If it happens regularly, there's another call you should be making.
As for the carseat, I think it is a big deal. Most accidents happen close to the home. My dad is a fire chief. When I was growing up, 9 or 10, he responded to an accident where the baby wasn't in a carseat...she died. He was the one who pulled her mangled, lifeless body out of the car. I'd never seen him cry before but he did that night when he came home. It's such a preventable tragedy. So when my friends roll their eyes at me because I hand them a booster seat when they pick up my seven year old, I tell them that story, and they shut up.
Yes, she left the 10 year old boy alone to care for the 12 month old. When I let them into us, I wanted to call and let her know since we are in a bad situation and had just had a severe disagreement a couple of hours ago.
But she had left her cell phone at home and could not be reached. What if the boy needed help with something? I can't believe she left him alone to begin with either, and especially without being able to call home and check on him. When it comes to her, nothing surprises me anymore.
cakemama22- what an awful story about what you went through with your neighbor. I think you're right about pulling away from her. When we moved in here I had issues with one of her sons (two 10 year olds, one biological, one stepson. And of course it's her biological son that I don't like). He did the same thing to my kids who are only 5 and 6 (also boys). When they would come home after a visit from their house bleeding and crying and telling me what was done to them, I banned them from going over there ever again.
So we have not spent much time together until this school year started when she quit her job to become a SAHM and we let our youngest alternate with play dates in each others homes.
It's probably better to be back to how it used to be.
I would absolutely not let her ANYWHERE near any of my children. Whether or not she thinks what she did is dangerous, it is illegal, so her opinion doesn't matter. I also can't imagine leaving any of my kids home alone, never mind to babysit at 10 years old. Don't let her talk you into changing your mind. If you leave one of your kids in her care and something happens to them it would be your fault as well; just like it would be hers if something goes wrong when she leaves the 10 year old in charge of her baby.
There is NO excuse, not EVER for putting a three-year-old in a car without a carseat. Period. It's not only unsafe, it's illegal. It doesn't even matter whether she OR you think it's okay. You do NOT put a preschooler in a car without a carseat -- unless it is absolutely a life-or-death emergency situation.
Also, leaving a 10 year old in charge of a baby may very well be illegal also. (State laws vary on the age at which and situations in which children can be left unsupervised.) At the very least, given that the poor boy obviously wasn't capable of dealing with the baby crying, it displays incredibly poor judgment on the mother's part. I feel really bad for her kids, and you did a good thing by helping them...but obviously it is a waste of your time and effort to try to get through to the mom, so I wouldn't try to have more than a vaguely cordial relationship with her.
And I certainly would not ever again allow my own children to be in this woman's care, not for ten seconds.
It's too bad, because it's so nice for all concerned when neighbors look out for each other's children and the kids can play together on a casual basis. But this isn't just, you know, she lets the kids eat more junk food than you would or has more relaxed rules about shoes on the couch. This is about significant risks to the children's life and safety.
Thank you all! I'm glad to read that most of us react to this. And I completely agree with what you've said about the "babysitting" incident. It was for oven an hour at least. I bet it's illegal to put a 10 y/o in charge of a baby. Either way it's extremely irresponsible of the mother and she put her baby at a huge risk. I mean, a 12 month old puts so much in their mouth and moves around fairly quickly. Would the 10 y/o be able to watch her every move? Would the 10 y/o be able to give the baby CPR if she needed it? Or CPR while walking towards a phone to call 911 (which you are supposed to do)? Of course not! And if something terrible would happen where the baby is choking and he can't save her, he would be left with a horrible guilt and memories for the rest of his life even if it would never be his fault to begin with.
But this isn't just, you know, she lets the kids eat more junk food than you would or has more relaxed rules about shoes on the couch. This is about significant risks to the children's life and safety.
That's exactly how I feel. We've always had small issues like you mentioned about the junk food (her watching my kids while I'm making a quick dinner (I told her no more than 15 minutes). I come to get my kids and find them sitting at her table being fed cookies. Lots of them. Then she told me she gave them candy as well. Guess how hungry for dinner my kids were?). But still despite her poor judgement (or lack thereof) I NEVER thought she would cross this line, and still to this day, calling it "not a big deal" about driving a 3 y/o without a car seat.
I completely agree that you should not let your neighbor watch your child ever again. If she feels it is ok to break the law I would not want her anywhere near my kids and frankly wouldn't want my kids associating with kids being brought up in a home with no regard for the law. I am a probation officer in my day job so I am very protective of my daughter and have seen the results of families that do not provide guidance and supervision for their kids.
These children are what I refer to as the "throw away children". These childrens' parents don't have time to be bothered with the needs of their children, because their own lives are so jam packed with activities or their own needs. These are the same children that grow up to bully or be thugs, and it really isn't their fault (I'm not making excuses for them, but parents can change this). It's sad really, but I really wouldn't want my children associating with children that are bullies.