IN the last few weeks we have heard stories such as that of a baby being locked in a car while the mother partied, and a baby being abducted after her mother left her in the care of a stranger while she used the restroom. And many people have cast blame at the parents, saying they were reckless and negligent. But many seemingly responsible parents also take risks with their children and just pray that the worst doesn't happen — even those who are quick to judge others.
Below a few parents confess to some bad decisions that they have made where their children are concerned that could have gotten them investigated by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, if only someone found out. It goes to show that parenting is a learn-as-you-go process, and mistakes are aplenty as parents navigate the childhood years.
When my son was younger I used to buy retail bleach from the shop, where you have to bring your own bottle. We always had Chubby bottles around the place, and one day I bought $10 bleach in a chubby bottle, but didn't get to do laundry, so I put it down. My son saw it and thought it was soda and drank it, then came to me crying and vomiting. When I realised what happened I gave him water, but I didn't bring him to the doctor because I was afraid. I thought he had vomited out all of it already anyway.
I left my newborn baby alone in the house a few times to run to the shop. I was alone at home because I was on maternity leave and my babyfather and neighbours were all at work and school in the days. It's a rural community so nobody was passing that I could send, and the shop is a little distance away. Sometimes in the afternoon I would want a juice or something, or something to make dinner, and I couldn't bother to wake up the baby to bring her in the hot sun, so I would run to the shop and return. I stopped doing it though because I would imagine the worst things as soon as I reached outside the lane.
I live alone with my toddler, who loves soup. One day I made soup and served some in his bowl, which he was immediately excited about. I needed to use the bathroom so I told him 'don't touch', put the soup on the counter out of his reach, and ran off to the bathroom. About two minutes later he cried out and I knew what happened even before I saw him. He had pushed his potty chair up to the counter, climbed up on it, and pulled down the hot soup on himself. I rinsed the wound and gave him Panadol but I didn't take him to the hospital because it left an ugly burn down his hand and I was afraid they would accuse me of child abuse.
I don't think it's illegal because I see it happening a lot, but I always thought it is irresponsible to let primary school children take the bus from school by themselves, knowing the kind of people out there. My daughter used to take the bus, and it worried me so much that I had to get a car.
I drink a beer or some rum every now and then, and I used to give my son a 'taste mouth' from he was young, even though his mother would curse. But he started liking alcohol too much, and would cry if anybody was drinking and not letting him taste it, so I stopped. One day when he was two years old his mother left us at home to go to the market and I fell asleep. The baby found half a bottle of rum cream that she had in the fridge and drank all of it. He was drunk as a skunk when I woke up, but he fell asleep before she came back, so I told her I drank it. He slept peacefully that night and woke up fine the next day.
Well I'm not sure what the law is, but I let my daughter watch her younger brother sometimes. She is 15 and the younger one is now five, but she has been helping out from he was very young. I know some people would see something wrong with it, especially in the urban areas, but it is the norm where I live, because it's a community where everybody knows everybody and if anything they can run to call somebody.
My daughter came home from daycare with ringworm on her arm, and I was too lazy to go to the pharmacy so I asked my sister in the country what I could use to cure it. She suggested that I put garlic on it, as that had worked for my niece. So I mashed out a clove of garlic, and used a bandage to bind the poultice to my daughter's hand. She would have been about four at that time, and after a few minutes she came to me crying, saying that her arm hurt. I shushed her, and she spent the night with the poultice on her arm. Well, the next day when I removed the bandage the skin had burned off, and only when I Googled it I realised that garlic causes chemical burns. My daughter still has the scar to this day, and everytime I see a tube of the dirt cheap Whitfield ointment on pharmacy shelves, I feel deep shame.