Saturday, January 26, 2013

Favors and not so favorites

It's been a while. A long while. This is because I use this blog as a place to fill in gaps of time that either my husband is away or I truly need to vent. In this case, I want to vent.

I try to be fair... and yet I realize that can never be more than a subjective attempt. Especially when I know I am biased because anything that happens to us is tainted by our "perspective." I do try to take responsibility for my actions though, and I step up to the plate and apologize if I unintentionally wrong someone. So, after much deliberation and conversation with my husband, I'm done with trying to be fair and done with giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I'm simply angry and I'm going to let the poison out.

We had a young girl who was occasionally babysitting for us...

Side note: we have about 4 babysitters we call, and I have my two favorites. I'm not saying names, just that one of their names starts with J and ends with "ackie" and the other's starts with B and ends with "rittnee". So there. I can have my favorites, and I'm sure any mother can relate to this. It's our child and our money, so as long as we're paying someone to come into our home and take care of our daughter, we'll pick who we damn well please, thank you very much. But this does not involve one of our favorites.... thank you little baby Jesus.

Another preliminary side rant: I am a decent enough person that I would NEVER say something mean to a person's face (or through text). I would, like any other decent person, do it behind their back, in the privacy of my own home, and most likely only to my husband. Yes, I can be snarky, but only with those adults that I like and that I know will give it right back in fun. But I am not mean. And I most definitely would not be mean to some impressionable teenager. I remember what that age was like. Oh my goodness, girls that age are so very sensitive, and the ones who act like their bad-ass tough only do so because they don't want anyone to think they're weak.... but they're still all sensitive. If you show me one who's not, I'd be willing to bet there's some serious dysfunction or emotional damage, or a missing/extra chromosome. So, I would never say something to damage any young girl's self esteem. I try to give encouragement and positive feedback to any young girl because they all need it.

Back to the original situation. The teenage babysitter was in my home talking to me about how she didn't have anything nice to wear for her family Christmas picture... how she really wished she had a nice dress, but was broke. Well, **shaking head and sighing** trying to be nice... I offer her one of my dresses to try on. It was a beautiful, 100% silk, red, White House Black Market, around $200 dress. She tried it on, said she loved it, and asked me if I minded if she borrowed it. This is where I want to be clear: I told her that no, I didn't mind her borrowing it at all, but I did want it back within a few days of having the pictures taken... not two or three weeks. I said this! And I said it gently. I said I didn't expect her to return it the very next day, but within two or three days after they had their pictures taken. We live in the same neighborhood, too, so I didn't feel this was unreasonable. I made sure (or so I thought) that she and I were on the same page. Y'know... the page where you do something nice for someone and you think they'll show their appreciation by returning the item, or at least being honest and forthright if something happens and they can't??? So, I told her she looked great in it and even gave her a wide black belt to wear with it, and then took her home.

Fast forward to two weeks after her family pictures. I politely (yes, politely) asked her about the dress when I was taking her home and then she tells me her little brother got it dirty and she was going to have it cleaned and would get it right back to me. I told her that was no problem and that I understood. I even tried to make her feel better about it by saying something to the effect of how accidents happen and it was not a big deal.

In that same conversation, I asked if she'd be able to watch my daughter the following Wednesday (this was on a Sunday). She told me to check back with her later on during the week. I said, "It's only three days away, and if you don't think you'll be available then I'll need to ask someone else." She said she'd call me that night. She never did. Nor the next day. Now, this was over Bruce's Christmas vacation and we didn't have the flexibility between his schedule or the Arts & Crafts centers holiday schedule to wait around until the last minute or even go on a different day, and we really wanted to have a day to spend together and work on our pottery. If she really wanted to babysit for us, she would have gotten back to us. We're not talking about weeks from when I asked her, just three days, and actually only two full days between. So, that Tuesday (the day before) I lined someone else up to watch my daughter. Then I sent the girl a message saying I had it covered, I figured she was probably busy, and that I hoped she enjoyed her last week of break... and inserted a smiley face.... oh, and I also said that she'd definitely be hearing from us another time, though.

Of course, it will be a cold day in hell after her yelling and screaming, rude mother called me yesterday afternoon.

Ahhh... but I'm getting ahead of myself. So, that text was the last I'd sent. Not because we didn't like her. Not because she hadn't gotten my dress back to me. Not because of any reason other than one of our favorites has been available and we've just been asking her lately. One who is dependable, nice, knows how to deal with a four year old. One who doesn't ignore my daughter and get on Skype for hours at a time. One who I relate to and has a great and easily likable personality. It sure doesn't hurt that the young woman has some medical training, too. We also haven't been going out as much in the last month and a half. But anyway, it's no one's business who I ask to watch my child, and I do not owe anyone any explanations.

Here's the kicker: After loaning this dress to her daughter, waiting nearly two months and it still not being returned, and simply asking the daughter about it nicely through a text... which by the way, I asked her about it because she's the one who borrowed it, you'd think, and expect, that if a girl is responsible enough to watch a child, she should be responsible enough to do the right thing concerning something she borrowed. Not go lie to her mother, if that is the case, because I don't believe she's telling her mother anything close to the truth in all this. I'm thinking this might be the problem, or her mother is simply crazy, or both. And what has happened to teaching our children responsibility? Is it my fault that the girl didn't have enough common sense to simply wait until after school to text? If she knows she's not supposed to text then why in the hell did she text? She could've simply waited three hours and then responded. It's not like I was badgering her. I sent ONE text (at 11:45 or so) simply asking about the dress, and I did so because I happened to realize yesterday morning that she still had not returned it, as I was trying to decide on a dress to wear for a ceremony I was about to attend. She responded immediately that they were trying to get the money together to have it cleaned. Because she responded so quickly I replied "Goodness, how much are they trying to charge you?" and then immediately texted not to worry about having it cleaned. Once again, trying to be nice. If they're really so broke they can't afford the dry cleaning for one dress over a two month period, then I don't want to put that strain on them. So, I said "Maybe you could just watch Alyssa on a Saturday or a Sunday when we go to pottery." How is this being "awful"? But, she responded "Sorry. I can't watch her this weekend but that's fine, I'll return the dress." **shaking my head** Was she kidding me? She makes it sound like she's doing me the favor. Oh, and the only text she sent that said she was in school was an hour and a half after the last text she sent. I, honest to God, thought she was texting during her lunch when she responded earlier. Either way, it's no one's fault but her own for texting. Of course, this is the perfect example of deflecting responsibility. The mother's wrong and her daughter's wrong. They took advantage of a favor, and were not responsible or appreciative, or even decent about it. Instead I was treated to disrespectful, hateful, and rude behavior. The dress should have been returned. It's as simple as that. The daughter said they didn't have the money and the mother said they've been busy and had forgotten it. Either way, it's not a valid reason after two months. It's an excuse for being inconsiderate, especially after I told her not to worry about having it cleaned.

At 2:30, the mother calls me yelling and screaming that I did not leave things on good terms with her daughter, that I was awful to her daughter, and then proceeds to list many things that I "supposedly" said and did to her daughter. Some of which were: I MADE her daughter clean up after our cat (how could I MAKE her when I wasn't even here??? I NEVER asked her to, and when she did, of her own accord, I thanked her profusely.... our cat had been really sick and had spent three hours at the vet the day before); I "supposedly" told her daughter she was a bad babysitter and that we had found someone better; I was supposedly rude in a text about a milk cup (I couldn't find the cup and simply asked, word for word, "Hi, do you happen to know where Alyssa's milk cup was?", of which in less than a minute, I responded "Found it!" How much nicer can you possibly ask a question? I don't know how I could've phrased it any differently.) Oh, and then she told me her daughter had followed ALL MY MANY RULES. Yep, that sure makes me sound like I have a bunch of crazy rules, of which I don't. My daughter is on a schedule and I simply gave the babysitter Alyssa's schedule. She does well on a schedule. She knows what to expect and we don't ever have any huge tantrums or acting out (Well, even as I write that, we all know little kids act out from time to time, but that's normal). But do I really have to defend myself because we have a schedule? And it's not as if it's in stone. It's just a guide. All it included was what time her meal, snack, and nap times were, and that she wasn't allowed to eat on the couch. Oh! I did ask her if she minded pulling up Alyssa's comforter and throwing her two pillows back on the bed after her nap. She said "No, of course not." Oh, and I also asked her to wipe Alyssa's bottom after she went to the bathroom. That's it. Was that unreasonable of me? Did she think her daughter would come waltzing into my home and me just walk out the door without leaving any information or instructions?

At the beginning of the phone call I tried to get the mother to slow down. I said "Whoa, whoa, whoa... wait a minute... hang on, please... I think there's been a misunderstanding. Did you even read my texts?" I said all this in a surprised tone, not an aggressive one. But she was yelling over me the whole time, and only paused to tell me that I needed to "be quiet and listen to her". Meanwhile, I'm thinking "You are one crazy bitch" but I listened to her. She never gave me a chance though, through hurling her accusations and insults, and then she hung up on me. Then she sent more texts saying mean and untrue things about me and then telling me to never contact her daughter again. As if! But I never responded to any of it. She finally stopped texting. If I didn't mention it before, her behavior took me completely by surprise because we've had interactions since the last time her daughter babysat and she was nice... really nice. She had always been so bubbly and sweet, and I mistakenly thought we were somewhat friends. But, case in point, just because someone is nice and gives you the impression they are nice doesn't mean they behave consistently in a sane manner. And, although some people would say not to worry about it, or that if someone knows me they wouldn't believe her, I am worried they'd believe her because up until this point she was always so nice. And because we interact in the same circles, I hate the idea of people who know both of us thinking that any of this might be true. Even though it all made me really angry, it also really, really hurt my feelings. I literally cried for an hour after her phone call. Thank goodness I still have each and every text. My husband could hear her yelling through the phone. Once she hung up on me, he read through all the texts and said she was crazy.

While listening to her spew her insults during her phone call, in my silent, seething anger I wanted to fill her in about her "innocent" daughter, but I didn't. I didn't let her know the fact that her daughter ignored my child for hours while she logged onto Skype on more than one occasion (and it was not during nap time). Yes, I checked the history after I saw Skype was up and running in the background the next day. There are logs and our computer saved it all. I'm sure the mother is not aware of her daughter's activity. There are other things, but it won't do any good to bring them to light. I'm sure it will all catch up with her through karma.

So here's the gist of what I've learned: It's not worth doing any favors for people who are not close friends. Nor will I ever have another babysitter younger than 17. You just can't trust people will do the right thing. For those of you who only know me as an acquaintance, I can only hope that if you are friends with her, too, that you take what she says with a grain of salt and keep in mind that there's always another version of what happened. For those of you who truly know me, at least I feel safe that you'll just laugh at the idea of me being mean to this girl or any young girl, for that matter. I refuse to be bullied, and I also refuse to have someone say such things about me without standing up for myself.