When we first started with the baby sitter, things seemed to be fine. The house is very well kept and they seemed very nice. The only thing that made my gut tell me to pause was the yelling I heard from inside when I walked up to interview with her. She has 3 teenage children, so I chalked it up to a bad day with teenagers since while we were talking she was quite pleasant.
After a while though, my son started saying that he didn't want to go over there at all, and it became a fight to get him to the sitter in the mornings. He would ask to go back to the sitter’s that he was at before every single morning.
I noticed that he would get very angry, he started hitting my daughter a lot and hitting other things like the dogs, his mattress, and pillows, and he would yell all the time. He started to talk back very forcefully, not like a normal 4 year old finding some independence. He said that the sitter yelled at him a lot, and yells at sissy too. He never said that she hit him, and he doesn’t flinch or shy away, but he turned inward more and more the longer he was with her.
It was little things that would happen that added up that made me remove them.
1. I picked up my children from Sitter’s daughter’s doctor's office. It was on my home from work and asked if I needed to leave the car seats. She said no that she had extras in the garage (since she stated that she has been a sitter for 10 years, I did not find this odd). When I picked up my kids, my son was in the third row of the van not in a car seat; her own son who is 5 was also in the third row, not in a car seat. Only my daughter was in a car seat and it was obviously meant for her son's size. I told her that it was unacceptable. I told her that she is never to travel with my kids again. After that I was never told if they left, but every once in a while, my son would say 'we went to the park', their housing addition does not have a park.
2. Her husband smokes in the house with the kids around. This didn't happen right away, only when his work hours changed. We did not have a babysitter to move to at the time. He did start smoking on the porch in the mornings, however, during the afternoons when you would walk in, it was very smoky.
3. She relies on her oldest daughter for help with the kids. She is 16 and during the summer I saw her interact more with the kids then Sitter did. I think that is why she thought she could have more kids, because her daughters would help, but the 16 year old more than the younger one.
4. She would turn off her phones, or change her phone numbers without giving me the new information. One day every number I called was disconnected and I needed to talk to her. When I got to her house she stated that they turned them off because they did not want her mother in law at her son's graduation or party, and that they got a new home phone the day before and she didn't know the number. When I asked for it, she just stood and looked at me. I told her that I have to have a way to contact her now. She finally looked up the new number and gave it to me.
5. I do not believe that she was providing adequate food or drinks for all the kids. Both of my kids would come home starving and thirsty. I would have to make them food before our regular dinners because they would literally break down at home until I fed them. My son would tell me that his tummy hurt he was so hungry. Later when I left, she stated that I should have given her snacks for the kids and lunches. This was not part of our agreement at all when I started there. I would have gladly provided extra food had I known that my kids were not getting enough to eat at her house.
6. They would play outside almost all day, not really an issue for my kids, except that she would never put sunscreen on them throughout the day. My kids would come home with red noses, ears, and shoulders pretty consistently. I provided her with an Aveeno sunscreen bottle, very distinctive smell, and never once did they come home smelling like it.
7. There was no set place for the kids to nap or time for that matter. I asked her repeatedly to have my daughter nap as my son usually did not. When I first started with her, I gave her the pack and play that we had for my daughter so that she would have her own area to sleep. She gave it back to me filthy from another child’s mess saying that she did not need them anymore as my daughter was not napping. I asked her if she was even trying and she said that she was. Many times when I would pick them up, my son would be sleeping in the middle of the floor where there was traffic. They would step over him or around him, I would ask why she wouldn’t just put him up on the couch.
8. If they were not sleeping inside, then she would be waiting for me outside on the front porch, and allow my kids to run up to the car as I was driving in. Again, I asked her to at least hold on to them, and she would just laugh it off.
9. She would never report injuries to me or issues. My son told me that he fell down her stairs (she since got a baby gate for it), but she never told me. When I asked her about it, she said 'oh yeah that, well, he was ok so I didn't think I needed to tell you". She had a cat that scratched my kids' arms up pretty badly at times, but she finally got rid of the cat. She wouldn't pick up the dog poop in the back yard where the kids would play and they would come home with poop on their shoes sometimes.
There is no structure at the house, there is no plan.
The new sitter that they are at now, the kids are completely different kids. They come home all smiles and laughs, my son has come back out from his quietness that he got from being at the Sitter’s.
There is something going on at that house that is not outwardly seen. Her kids all have chores, so the house is very clean and picked up, I don't believe that there is any physical abuse, but I would not be surprised if she is yelling and verbally abusing the kids at all. My bright outgoing son turned to a sulking, angry, frustrated kid in the weeks that he was there. My daughter seems to take a little more in stride, but she doesn’t communicate like my son can.
Sorry this is so long. I just really don't want other people to send their kids there thinking that her lower rate is worth it. I can't even claim the child care credit with her because she refused to give me her SSN when I left. I gave her 1900, the 18 weeks that I was there and we can't claim that now.