Received Tuesday, June 24, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
I really need some perspective on this….
We have a relative caring for our only child – a 3 year old son. She likes to take him to a busy playground in New Jersey that is fenced in on 3 sides but open to the parking lot. Outside in the parking lot are bathrooms.
Yesterday, when I had my son at the same playground, I made him come into the bathroom with me when I had to go. He gave me an argument and wanted to keep playing. Then he told me that our relative always just leaves him to play and tells him “I’ll be right back” when she goes into the bathroom. I’m not sure if she even asks someone to watch him – but she doesn’t really know anyone by name at this playground – maybe just chats with some of the mommies there.
Hearing this, I felt like an icy hand just went over my heart. I cannot believe she would do this! but apparently, it happens almost every day – either in this public playground or on rainy days, in the for-fee indoor “playstation” she takes him to. (Son says she always takes him to bathroom with her when they are in a store or at the library but at a play areas or playgrounds she just lets him play)
I sympathize, she is 74 and has a weak bladder, so I know she has to use a bathroom often. I still can’t get over that she doesn’t make him go with her though. And then I remember she IS 74….and although this sounds ageist, but maybe she is not mentally up to caring for children. It’s hard b/c otherwise is in fantastic physical shape (lifelong gym rat). But b/c of her physical athletic appearance, I often forget that she is as old as she is…. Still, her leaving him there for even 2 minuts, I think , demonstrates an unbelievable lack of judgement when it comes to caring for my son.
Also, she has been losing things – she has multiple sets of keys and reading glasses b/c she is always misplacing them. She has forgotten my son’s coat, gloves, hats etc. at the mall, too .
I wonder if she is suffering from early dementia? my husband is defending her b/c he is fond of this relative andmy son loves her. But I no longer trust her to care for my son by herself.
Am I over-reacting, like he says?