Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - ALL WOMEN - BY CANDIECE KNIGHT

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.

Toni, 34:

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.

Sophia, 29:

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.

Kym­berly, 24:

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.

Paul, 26:

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.

Ryan, 31:

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.

Ann-marie, 39:

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.

Paulette, 38:

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.

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.

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