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Who's Watching the Babysitter?
October 15, 2013 - Heather Ziegler
When our son was about 5 months old, he rolled off our bed as I reached across the bed in the other direction to
retrieve a diaper. He fell face first onto the soft cushioning of our large basset hound "Pumper." The dog never
flinched as if he knew he was needed at that very moment. Our son only cried for about 10 seconds as the fall scared
him but did not injure him.
I was the one who cried longer and louder, feeling like the worst mother in the world. It was only a second in
lapse of judgment that allowed our son to roll off the bed. It never happened again. Some things stay with you, lesson
learned. But for some women, the lapse of judgment goes on way too long. In the news recently there have been
several stories about infants and young children dying at the hands of their mothers' boyfriends acting as babysitters.
The actual fathers do not often appear in the picture. These are children not born of the boyfriends. They may act as if
they are interested in the kids, but their actions say otherwise.
I was very fortunate to have loving and trusted
family members to watch our son if the need arose. When he was 2, our son went to a licensed day care facility that
proved to be a good fit for all of us as my husband and I worked different shifts at times.
I was the only parent at the time who took the day care officials up on their offer to spend an entire day at the facilty
with our son so I would know how it works. I even spent the nap time there. It was well worth the time because both
my son and the day care workers knew I was serious about his proper care. I often showed up at various times of the day when I could arrange it so I could truly see how the center
operated. Paying for decent child care until our son was in school fulltime was a challenge. It was expensive but I
would have sold my car to make sure he was being cared for in a safe and nurturing atmosphere. We ate a lot of
meatloaf during those days. You just do what you have to do. Maybe some women are not so fortunate to have
such arrangements. But our children are defenseless until grown and look to us for their protection. Young, immature
men who have no vested interest in someone's else kids are not good candidates as babysitters. That's not to say
there are not exceptions to the rule. The police blotters are proving this is a grave problem in our country. No
paycheck is worth having your child beaten to death by "your man."
I don't know how you turn the tide of this problem, but perhaps we all have to be better caretakers of all the
children. Let's keep our eyes and ears open -- for the sake of the children.
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