Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"It's ok. I do Child Care." said Ms. Piggy.

A few days ago I went out shopping with the little man and the little wife.  While perusing the aisles of various foodstuffs I overheard this lady speaking to what I supposed to be her son.  Well, anyway, she was just berating this kid, calling him all sorts of names and telling him how stupid he was.  I really felt like I should intervene, but if I have learned anything in my almost thirty years of life, I have learned that sometimes when you mean well and get involved in a domestic situation like this it just turns out very poorly for the victim later on.  So, I ignored her as best as I could, hoping that she would have the common courtesy to keep it quiet at least. 

Later on, while we were at the checkout, this same lady with the vulgar mouth and bad attitude gets in line behind us.  Of course she was still berating the poor kid, albeit more quietly than before.  Apparently, she didn’t want the checkout operator to think poorly of her parenting skills or something.

Anyway, she says something a bit louder which made me turn to look at her questioningly.  Well, we made eye contact and the first thing I really noticed about her was that she strongly resembled Ms. Piggy from The Muppets.  Oddly enough, the name seems to suit that lady well because she not only looks like her, but she also has a piggish personality to go with it too.   The second thing that struck me as odd was that she flippantly said, “It’s ok. I do childcare.”  I didn’t reply.  I was too busy trying to determine what the heck she meant by that and wondering if she knew that she looked like that famous pig.

It was all too much for me to take in at once.  I mean really, who wouldn’t be a little taken aback if Ms.  Piggy came up and spoke to them, especially if she said that after acting like a child abusing bully?  Did this woman honestly believe that her behavior was justified because she was a babysitter?  I hope not.  In reality, she probably didn’t think anything of it.  There was just an air of nonchalance about it that I found so disturbing.  But, who am I to question a professional?

It took me until I got into the parking lot to really understand what Ms. Piggy was saying and meant.  Apparently, she was not referring to her previous behavior.  She was referring to us, my wife and I, and our lack of paying attention to the little man.  She was saying that our son had some paper in his mouth.  It was when my wife replied to her that Ms. Piggy said, “It’s ok. I do childcare.”  Thankfully, I caught myself before I said, “Thank god you don’t watch my kid!”  

Instead I chose to remain silent because she seemed to be the type of person that was perfectly fine with throwing a totally toddler-esque tantrum in the middle of the store.  I might be wrong, but based on her behavior with her son or whatever he was to her I don’t think that I am. 

Since then, I have wondered just how desperate I would have to be to let a person like that watch my son.  If she treats her own kid that badly you know she isn’t going to treat your child that well either.  I bet she could hold it together just long enough to get you out of the house, but after that all bets are off.  Just think.  There are probably millions of babysitters just like her, which is exactly why my wife and I have decided to have one of us, me, stay at home with our baby boy.  

Frankly, I am quite disturbed that there seems to be an abundance of sitters like Ms. Piggy who have no problems swearing around your kids, letting the television watch over your kids, or letting someone else’s older child clothe and change your baby’s diapers.  I know I am not being fair to this poor woman I haven’t even talked to, but I can’t help feeling and thinking that if it looks like trash, sounds like trash, and smells like trash than chances are it is trash.   Sure, it may not be true, but I am willing to play on the probability that it is.

It is because of Ms. Piggy and all the other sitters like her that it is so important for parents to interview prospective babysitters thoroughly.  You have to actually go and visit them and get a feel for how they do things.  Preferably, go when there are children there so you can see if they are happy or not.  Ask a ton of questions.  Any decent babysitter won’t mind in the least if you want to talk to them before you make the decision of whether or not you want them to look after your child when you can’t.  It’s a huge decision not to be made lightly.  It is also important to communicate regularly with the sitter after you choose one.  I would even suggest stopping in early to retrieve your child every once in a while just to see that everything is how you want it to be.  When your little on is involved, there is no such thing as too careful, and if you accidently chose a Ms. Piggy for a sitter when you didn’t mean to, then the sooner you know the better.     

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