Yes, I know, I know - another sad story about child care gone horribly wrong.
But again, there is a purpose to this - other than me being able to vomit my feelings about this kind of abuse out via keystroke.
My hope is that every person who reads these stories takes time to re-evaluate their own childcare situation, perhaps think twice about behaviors you have seen that you may have otherwise written off as qwirky or slightly "off", and above all - be moved to action should you witness or hear of actions towards a child that should never be taking place.
Childcare is a necessity for millions of families in this country. It just is. Economic factors, for so many people, make it simply impossible to follow their emotional desire to raise a family, and stay home every day to do it.
Money is a key component to the whole child rearing equation - shelter, food, security, clothing - it all comes with a cost.
We have been lucky in that I have been a stay-at-home Mom since our first child was born.
I did try to go back to work three months after she was born. I was going to do it all, be it all, wife, mother, professional, and juggle it all with aplomb.
That lasted all of one day.
I realized, in that one day away from her, that everything I knew about myself had changed when she was born. I wanted to be with her all the time. I wanted to be hands-on in raising her. I gave my notice the second day back.
It wasn't an easy decision. We lived in Hawaii at the time - one of the most expensive U.S. locales in which to reside. But we cut corners, we adapted, and then we had a hurricane come along which moved us back to the mainland - tremendously helping us in the whole make-do-on-one-income thing.
Since that decision to stay home, we have been lucky in Rudy's economic drive upward in his profession, and my income from a job which allows me to stay at home, cater to the schedule of our daughters, and still do something I love.
That being said, I know not everyone can make our choice. It is, now more than ever, a luxurious one to make. And we never take for granted our circumstances.
In the same vein, we would never look down on anyone who must avail themselves of daycare. I can only imagine how difficult the process is to find someone, some facility in which to place your trust. And I know how hard it is to leave your child there and walk away - again, I only lasted one day.
That being said, I cannot stress enough how much thought, energy, research, and time MUST BE INVESTED in deciding on a provider. Questions which must be asked, referrals which engender your trust in a person or facility, drop-in touring of the place the care is provided, checking licenses, evaluations, even the local BBB.
Any child, every child, is worth the investment. Even if it is a babysitting, one-time, or intermittent situation.
And this is why...
Tampa, Florida - this past Wednesday - a babysitter/child care provider, 20 year old Maggie Nicole Williams, was arrested for methodically boiling water, dumping it into a pail, and dunking an 18 month old boy's feet into it, resulting in 2nd degree burns.
Maggie's mother, who says she has "watched children all her life", claims it was an accident. That it happened during a bath. Uh-huh. A bath in a metal pail of boiling water?
The second-degree burns, however, resembled what child abuse experts refer to as "stocking glove" burns - injuries found when both limbs are immersed in burning water against a child's will.
When investigators confronted Maggie and her mother with the ER report, they changed their story and Maggie confessed to purposefully dunking the child.
The baby remains in the hopsital, and Maggie remains in jail with her bail set at $25,000.
Again, I understand how difficult it is for many people to find affordable childcare, how income vs cost plays a huge factor in the type of facility one can afford. But even the most affluent of freestanding facility can have problems, abuses - just as the most humble of licensed in-home providers can be found to provide the most loving of care. You have to do your homework.
I know we live in a more is more society. People are constantly chasing bigger cars, McMansions, exotic vacations, and brass rings of all kinds. And that two working parent families are more and more the norm.
But in the end, it won't matter if your child grew up in 10,000 square feet, driving around in a Hummer to soccer practice, and wearing the latest in Limited Too or Abercrombie tatooed on their backsides.
What will matter is the care they have received. The love, the nurturing, the security.
If making do with less, in order to have one of you stay home with your child is at all possible, and you're not doing it? Shame on you.
You're throwing away an opportunity a parent like this little boy's mother, and so many, many other parents who must work to support their families, would die for. Luckily, her little boy did not.