My little boy gets up in the morning and as soon as I change his diaper and clothes he says ‘ta-ta ‘ and points to the door. He wants to carry the bag with his dabba (snack box) and dress himself. Once I open the door, he points and pushes me till he reaches his Aunty’s house. He happily goes into his Aunty’s arms and says ta-ta to me and eagerly looks around for Uncle. I smile and walk back to our room.
Last April I returned to Dubai after my 7 months long sabbatical, with my 4 months old baby. My Amma came along with me to stay for three months and help me with the baby. I rejoined my work the next day.
For three months things were fine. Babs was with his Ammama and I had nothing to worry. But as the time neared for Amma to return back to India, we all were worried. The search for a baby sitter started.
We could not afford a maid, so the options left were Day cares or Baby Sitter. Location was one major issue in our search for Day care/Baby sitter, as we do not own a car. We had to look for a place near our home or my office or somewhere in the route between my home and office, so that my office cab would not mind me dropping and picking my baby on the way.
I was not much sure about Day cares. The stories I heard about Day cares such as that the kids are given cough syrups and put to sleep whole day, was not encouraging. We could not get any recommendations from any of our contacts, Google was our only guide. Online research and phone calls followed. Our options were limited – Few do not take babies below 1 year, few were off on Saturdays, few cases the timings were not ok, few were highly unaffordable.
Finally we found a Baby sitter, the week before Amma left. We visited her flat which was 15 minutes walking distance from my office. Her sweet talk and behaviour somehow convinced us that she was the right person.
But that turned out to be a horrible mistake. At that time Babs was 7 months old and still on milk and purees, he had just started crawling and could not stand without support. My baby cried a lot every time I left him there and went to pick him. I went in the afternoons to feed him. He was suddenly left at a new place with strangers, he would take time, things will be ok in few days, I thought. Two more weeks, there was no change and she had lots of complaints. She said he was a difficult child, fussy eater, not mingling with anyone. I told her not to force feed, I don’t force feed him. Let him have what he wants. But she kept comparing him with other kids and complaining. I was depressed. Didn’t know what to do. Was she no good or was the problem with my child ? Should I give them some more time ? Nearly a month and still I couldn’t see any attachment develop between them.
Then one day she called and said that Babs had fallen and bleeding from his nose. I rushed to her flat. He was sitting in a corner crying. I picked him up and he immediately clung to me and stopped crying. I checked his nose, bleeding had stopped. His dress had few drops of blood and there was little blood in his hanky. She was panicking and asking me to rush him to hospital immediately. I calmed her down and asked her what happened. She said he was sitting on the floor and falling asleep, she tried picking him up to put him on bed, but he would not allow her to touch him, he would cry when she went near him. So he dosed off sitting and hit his nose on the floor.
I took him home immediately and decided to not send him there again. Kids fall, bleeding happens, it sometimes happens even when you are most careful. I do not blame her of carelessness but I was disappointed the way she panicked and reacted after that. I could not understand why she was not able to pick up a sleepy child and put him to sleep. Why she could not connect with him even after so many days ?
But what knocked the daylights out of me was her call in the evening, “What can I do, he doesn’t allow me to pick him. I thought he was afraid because he was not familiar with us and so we all moved to other room and closed the door . Even then he cried. He is a difficult child, you better quit the job and take him with you back home. I tried my best but your son has some problem ”
What the hell! You don’t move out and close the door leaving a crying child alone in the room, in an unfamiliar place. She thought she was doing her best taking care of the child by leaving him alone crying? It was completely my mistake. I cannot still come out of the guilt of trusting my baby with someone like her . Even now the image of my baby crying in a corner of the room all alone breaks my heart to pieces.
I took off for some days . Had no clue what to do. How can I trust a new baby sitter ? How will I find one ? Then one of my husband’s acquaintances told him about a middle aged lady in the building next to his, who was taking care of kids for a very long time. They personally knew her and the parents of two kids going there. They assured us that we can trust our baby with her.
Continued on : Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)