I have worked for one family for a year now, who have two children. One boy age 10, who is from a previous marriage. He is in my care on occasion (School holidays, sick days etc.) And one little girl who is 2, whom we shall call 'Paris.'
The other family has a 9 month old, who has been in my care since she was 7 weeks old. The mothers work together at the same place of business. I work out of the family with the older children's home.
I arrived to work one morning and was greeted by the two older children. The baby had not yet arrived. The father was in the bedroom, showering and dressing for work. I began my morning routine, asking older boy if he had is lunch in his backpack, changing toddlers diaper, and preparing breakfast. I sat my two year old charge in her highchair and began to drink my coffee.
The father entered the kitchen, cleared his throat and spoke, "So, I found Paris in her bedroom this morning with an open bottle of medicine."
My stomach turned, I replied, "Oh! Where is the bottle?" Jumping into action, as I have always kept up to date on my Child&Infant CPR and First Aid Certifications.
The father left the room and returned with a large bottle of pills in hand.
" 'Mother' took the pills in the middle of the night and must have left the cap off..." He said as he handed me the bottle. The bottle contained a large quantity of adult extra strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500 mg and seemed to be halfway full.
I looked at the two year old, whose behavior showed no significant change. She sat in her chair, smiling and eating her oatmeal.
"Did you eat any of these?" I asked her softly, looking her directly in the eye.
"I ate two!" She replied with a smile.
"Oh!" I replied... thinking in my head, she is two years old.. everything is two...
"She seems to be acting normal, but I am going to call poison control and get some information about this medicine." I said, addressing the father, as I reached for my phone to dial poison control. A phone number I have programmed into my phone just in case such an occasion should arise.
I called poison control and filled them in on what was going on.
The phone operator asked, "how much does she weigh?" I scooped Paris up into my arms and rushed into the bathroom.
"Will you stand on the scale and sing me ABC's?" I asked the sweet smiling girl.
"ABCD...." Paris began.
"29 lbs." I told the operator.
The operator replied " Ok, at her weight her system can tolerate 5 of those pills. If she has eaten any more than that she could have liver damage and it is potentially fatal."
"Are there any signs or symptoms that might help us know is she has indeed ingested the pills?" I asked, my heart raced.
"With this medication there are no symptoms or signs of ingestion. What typically occurs is; 10-12 hours after the large dose of this medication has been taken there will be severe vomiting and the liver damage has already occurred. What we recommend is to take her into urgent care and have blood drawn, 4 hours after the time of ingestion, this way it will be in her blood stream and we can find out how much is in her system. Then a decision can be made from there." The operator explained.
I explained to the father what the operator had explained to me. And we both agreed that Paris should go in and have her blood drawn.
"I need to get '10 year old' to school. Call 'mother' and she can meet you at the urgent care center." The father said walking out the front door. 'Mother' was at a doctors appointment that morning, as she was expecting her 3rd child.
I nodded in agreement.
I called mother and left a message, as well as texted her, to return my call immediately.
I began to pack and prepare for the visit to the urgent care center. Change of clothes, favorite stuffed animal, lolly pop, blankie, sippy cup. Anything i could think of to help my sweet little charge through her visit to the doctors.
I called the mother of the other family (nanny share) and filled her in. "We are having a bit of an emergency this morning, Paris may have eaten some Tylenol and she needs to go into the Drs. to have blood drawn. "
The other mother was very understanding and offered to bring her baby into work with her that day as I obviously had my hands full and she didn't want her baby exposed to the germs at the urgent care center.
My phone rang and Paris' mothers name flashed on my screen. I answered on the first ring and she began speaking before I ever had a chance to say hello, " 'Father' filled me in on what is going on, and I don't think Paris needs to go to the hospital for blood work. This happened once before; She got into my prenatal vitamins and she just spit them out. I highly doubt she actually ate any of the pills, and I can't believe 'Father' didn't check to see if any of them were slobbery."
"I spoke with poison control and they have said this could be very serious. Maybe you should call them so they could explain what is going on." I spoke, thinking maybe father didn't explain the situation clearly.
"No, I called my pediatrician, they just said she'll vomit. Just watch her closely and call me if she is acting differently." mother said.
"So you want me to treat this, as if it was any other day, and just watch her closely?" I asked, my heart pitter pattering in my throat.
"Yeah, just call me if she is acting strange." Mother replied.
Now, here is when I said something that I will admit was out of line, but if I was in the same situation, I would probably say it again, "Well, if she were my child I wouldn't want to take that chance, but if this is how you want to handle the situation, that is what we will do."
"I have another call coming in, call me if she gets sick." Mother said hanging up the phone.
Panic began settling in.... what if my sweet little charge get's ill? What if she does vomit, and has liver damage, what is she dies? If I lost my charge, I do not know if I would ever emotionally or professionally, fully recover.
Then anger arose....What the F#%$ was wrong with these people? You find your daughter with an open bottle of pills, so you take a shower?! And leave it for your nanny to deal with?
Did mother really call her pediatrician? How is it that I am getting completely different information from poison control?!
I dialed other mother (Nanny share) , " Hi 'other mother' ...So 'mother' highly doubts Paris ate the pills and wants me to treat this like any other day. So if you wanted to bring 'baby' over, or I could come pick 'baby' up. "
"I am walking into 'place of business' now, I will call you back." Replied other mother.
Now, I do not know exactly how this confrontation unfolded, but I have reasons to believe, 'other mother' told 'mother' off...
My phone rang. It was 'mother', "Hi 'nanny' I am on my way to take Paris to the drs. Please get her dressed and pack her diaper bag."
"She is dressed and ready." I replied.
"I'll be there in half an hour." Mother said with a click.
I sat on the floor in Paris' room, playing with her doctors kit. I told her she was Dr Paris and that i was sick and needed a shot.
"Will it pinch?" I asked Dr Paris.
"Yeah." She replied.
"Will it be over really fast?" I asked her.
"Yeah and you get a 'pop' (lollypop) !" She smiled, as she gave me the shot.
"Ouch!" I said. She bent her head down and kissed the pain away.
She laughed as I pretended to lick my lollypop.
Mother walked into the door, her large pregnant belly swaying with each stride.
"Paris is packed and ready. Did you want me to accompany you to the doctors?" I asked, knowing this was going to be a very traumatizing experience for my little charge, as well as physically difficult as 'mother' was 7 months pregnant.
"No, I do not want you to come. I thought what you said on the phone was very opinionated, and that you sharing our personal family issue with "other mother" was extremely inappropriate. You can go home for the rest of the day." Mother said grabbing the diaper bag from my hands, scooping Paris into her arms and marching out the door.
I walked out of their house that afternoon, wondering if I would still have a job in the morning. I sat in my car and called my husband.... "Beep, beep", call waiting bleeped in my ear as I sobbed my story, 'other mother' was on the other line.
"Hello." I answered, my voice shaking.
" 'Nanny' I do not know what to say, I am at a loss. I am going to keep 'baby' for the rest of the day. I will see you in the morning."
That evening, I talked it over with my husband, I was not in a position to just up and quit my job, (that was assuming that they were not going to fire me, but if they did fire me, I would get it in writing and collect un-employment.) I began updating my resume and online 'Care Provider' profiles.
The red flags had always been there, when it came to this family. They never put sunscreen on their children, Paris always needed a diaper change when I arrived and often would have extreme cases of diaper rash, and I had arrived to work on more than one occasion where she was playing, unsupervised with dangerous objects; lighter, pliers, and on one occasion I found her holding a string of beads, which are used during sexual intercourse.
I texted 'mother' that evening asking how Paris was doing. She replied, "She is fine."
The next day I went into work and everyone pretended as if nothing had happened. The large elephant in the room was enormous and smothering.
Each relationship had been altered, yet no one spoke a word.
Did 'Mother' resent me for the words I had spoken to her on the phone?
Could 'Father' feel my heavy judgment, for his actions, or lack there of?
Did 'Other Mother' lose all respect for 'Mother and Father' due to where they held their priorities?
In the end, the happenings on that day were never discussed, and we all agreed that we needed to go our separate ways. I put my notice in last week and I have found a new position which i will be starting at the beginning of next month. It is a position I am very excited about...but as we Nanny's know, all too well, no one is perfect and sooner or later the skeletons do come out of the closet.
Wish me luck!
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