Neighbor considers call about baby’s welfare
Dear Amy: I am in a quandary
about whether I should mind my own business about a situation in our neighborhood.
A neighbor had a baby a year ago, announced with a banner on their front porch. We did not even know she was pregnant. They keep to themselves. That baby has never been seen by any of the neighbors, not even their next-door neighbor.
They never bring her outside, and no one has seen the child (or the parents) in their yard. Other neighbors have had babies in the last three years, and they all play outside with one another. We have seen them take the baby out in the car maybe three or four times.
Attempts by various neighbors to be friendly are quietly rebuffed at the door. I’m wondering whether to make a call to Children’s Protective Services to request a welfare check on the child. Staying indoors 24/7 can’t be healthy for a baby. — Worried Neighbor
This child could have health (or other) problems causing the parents to keep the baby inside; you simply don’t know. You also don’t know what this family’s lifestyle or work schedule is.
Over the years, many people have contacted me to say they grew up in terrible circumstances in a neighborhood where “not one person intervened.” While I do not suggest being a busybody or necessarily judging choices parents make, our child welfare system is set up to be the advocate for children who cannot advocate for themselves.
If you are truly worried about this baby’s health, safety and welfare, and if you have tried other ways and cannot determine whether the child is okay, then you should make the call.
Dear Amy: Reading about
“Perplexed’s” struggles with connecting with her grandmother with Alzheimer’s reminded me of my father. As a child, I frequently played checkers with my dad. Much later, when he was deep into the forest of memory loss, I pulled out a checkers board and placed it between us. He made the first move, using several checkers at one time. I followed his lead and soon we were creating lyrical patterns on the board. It was a new game, new rules and a new way of connecting.
That simple moment of reimagined communication is one of my favorite memories of my father. — Out of the Box
Dear Amy: “Perplexed” asked for ideas about what activities to do with a grandmother with Alzheimer’s.
Often Alzheimer’s patients respond well to visual arts. Many art museums have special tours for people with dementia. — Art Historian and Reader