Thursday, June 30, 2011

When someone hurts your baby

(obviously a day late)

Today is Parker's 6th birthday. Last year I remember blogging about my entire labor and birthday experience. Naturally I think about that day every year on his birthday. I remember and reflect on all the development and change that has happened since 2005. I can only talk about his birth because it is all I can think this point in my life, his birth is the most significant. Today it isn't the same and it is making me so sad that I am not sharing my experience with everyone (and I mean everyone, employees don't really want to hear about their boss' most important day, but dammit, I tell 'em anyway!) A quick example of how distracted I am from the day; Parker was born at 8:32 on Wednesday June 29th, 2005......and today is Wednesday June 29th! I didn't make the connection that this year his birthday falls on he day of the week he was born! This is something that I would have normally known if I hadn't been so distracted! I am mad because I didn't, even though I know it is small and trivial.

So why am I distracted? Because I am livid. Why am I livid? Because I don't know what to do. About what you ask? The negligence that I have encounter at the day camp Parker is attending.

I picked Parker up early on Monday because after my meeting in Columbus, I was through for the day. I got there before they got back from swimming. He is the first kid in the room and I gasp be use of how beat red he is. I wish I was exaggerating but honestly, he was redder than you can imagine. I asked the counselor what happened with the sunscreen. Of course he hadn't been with the group all afternoon but was told that Parker claimed to not have and then one application was made. Fucking bullshit!

According to the camp providers he had sunscreen applied once to him....but seriously, you look at this kid in the sun and you need sunglasses because he is so white!  I was mad.  And something you have to understand about me is when I get mad, like really mad, I get quiet.  I don't get outwardly angry until after I have time to collect my thoughts.  I wish I wasn't like that sometimes because I hold my immediate response inside.....but anyway.  I did what I thought would be best at that time.  He has never been badly sun burnt and I have always thought that he would have his father's complexion as in, sunburn is gone in 2 hours.  Well, needless-to-say, he follows my genes.  Like I said though, I didn't know this, so off to get aloe we went.  I covered that boy twice in an hour and a half, gave him Tylenol and sent him to bed.  Enter Tuesday morning and little blisters all over his shoulders.

Now I am worried.  I am sure that I blistered at least once or twice as a child but I can't remember if I did, I didn't know what to do.  The obvious would be no swimming.  But I didn't think that being outside with a shirt on would do any damage.  I took him to camp and told one of the morning counselors about the blisters, that he has 2 kinds of sunscreen in his backpack (and had since day 1), no swimming, shirt on at all times and to make sure she told the other counselors.  The day goes on, I make a shit ton of sandwiches and make plans for his Wednesday birthday.  4:45 my phone rings and it is the camp......the person on the other end tells me that Parker was burnt again and that he has really bad blisters, oh yea, and that he is freaking out a bit.  How the hell do you let this happen twice!?!?!?!  I snapped on the guy because he is the one who supposedly put the sunscreen on Parker the day before.

I get there and he is sitting in the office without a shirt (they had to pour water on it to get it to release from his skin) with people just looking at him and being astonished on what can happen when you get sun burnt.  I "talk" with the other adults in the room.  They all apologize but no one has an answer.  They ask if when they put lotion on, if I mean he has to have it when he is just at the park too and not the pool.  Yes you fucking idiots!!!!!!  Sun is sun not matter where you are!  The lady keeps apologizing, which I believe they are sorry but come on!  Look at him!  He is a sunlight magnet!  She says something about informing her superior and said absolutely, what is their name and phone number.  She calls him to the center.

Of course it is the first that he has heard of the incident.  We talk in his office for over an hour.  Mostly it sounds like bullshit because they are the one that provided the medical release form for sunscreen application.  Someone knew it was important to put it in the packet automatically!  Where were they on Monday?!?!?!  He explains that the staff has had no real training on sunscreen, it's purpose and importance.  Most of the people who work and attend this camp do not or have never used sunscreen.  I get it but it isn't just a group out for the afternoon, they are a licensed day care provider!  Nothing was resolved there.

The next morning, Wednesday, yesterday, after having to sleep in the same position on his back all night, we wake up groggy.  And with another blister.  Today he will go to the doctor.  I cut off sleeves on a t-shirt so that we don't irritate or pop the blisters.  Go to work and then the doctor.  There really is nothing the doctor can do but all the nurses told me that it is better to have the doctor's report in case I pursue and further action.  Then it is time for me to go to work and Parker to go to camp.  I hated dropping him off and was very unfocused during work.  I don't really think I did anything at all while I was there.  He didn't want to go because he was worried the other kids would tease him about his shirt.  The first 5 kids we walked by all asked him what was wrong with him.  He was embarrassed.  His group leader gave me a ten minute apology and assurance that she would be applying sunscreen once an hour at the pool or just outside.  (That was one thing that I demanded to get done from the on out). 

So now it is Thursday night.  His blisters all popped yesterday and he is starting to peel.  He is fine and I knew the entire time that he would be fine but I have never felt so out of control of his life and what happens in it.  It was terrifying and it was just a sun burn.  I have never thought about the places that have cared for him either day care, camp or before and after school programs because I have never been completely and utterly let down and questioned the care that was provided.  He is and always has been very well liked by the leaders in the class or group.  He is smart, outgoing and inquisitive.  But now their negligence has me questioning my next step.  I believe that they are sorry and that it was complete ignorance and because I believe that I don't think that getting all of my money for the entire summer back is necessary, but I am a minority in that thought.  I want something to be done and they will be reimbursing me for his doctor's visit, but I don't know what else is appropriate.

It isn't fair either that I was/am more focused on this than I was his birthday.  We still had a great night with mr at Johnny Rockets where they sang to Parker and then we saw Cars 2, which was pretty awesome.  I was so drained of energy and so was Parker that I wish it could have been a better day all around.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Seven days ago

Seven days ago Parker left for his longest vacation away from me ever.  It has been seven days and I won't see him again until Monday evening.  It is crazy how I feel like I am only half here.  I am not sad and lonely like I would typically be when he is out of town because I have been with mr for the entire time.  But I haven't seen my him smile or make him laugh or have a conversation with him in seven days.  He is a pain to talk to on the phone most of the time and my dad always puts him on speaker phone so then I hear everyone and they are always talking on top of each other and it is super annoying.  *deep sigh* I miss the little booger.  His 10 day vacation is a week at Grandma's and Grandpa's sandwiched by two different motorcycle races in two different states.  I know that he is having more fun on his vacation than he would be in day camp.  I know he is getting better sleep and a chance to not wake up so early.  I know that it is so important that he spends time like this with my dad because he is learning so much about who he is.....but I'm being selfish right now.  I want him here with me.  I want a hug from my favorite.

His big 6 birthday is coming up in the next 10 days.  I have only heard back from 3 people, I hope more show up than that...I have the cake figured out (kind of) and now it is down to the gifts.  This year's birthday planning has been the hardest I have done.  I typically have most of the details figured out atleast a month before hand.  It completely snuck up on me this year.  There is so much going on in my life that my days and months just blend together.

But days.  *deep sigh*

(sorry Ms. Melaina that I didn't participate in Feminist Friday again this week.....I couldn't concentrate)

Friday, June 10, 2011

This is what a feminist looks like......

Ever since I found out I was pregnant in Nov 2004, I knew no matter what gender child I had, there would be feminism in their blood. The first time I felt the baby move was in the middle of Feminist Critical Reading.....I took it as a sign that I held a little girl who would some day be passionate about women's history and the movements that have gained our rights as well as the movement that push for more. Most of the people around me said that I would have a boy and he would reject my radical feminism. They were right on the first account.....I have a son.

Although it has never truly worried me, but I have wondered how my feminism will affect him. Will he reject it? Will he accept and embrace it? Or will he ever question it? I hope for the last. I hope that he always questions why others don't think the way he does or question why other parents didn't raise him with the same understanding that I am. I read once that to raise a boy in a feminist home, the mother can not cater to his needs in a way that displays the idea that women cater to men's needs. There has to be an understanding that he is a part of the Mother's life just as much as she is a part if his. We make our children our worlds but eventually our world leaves us and we are only a part of their lives.  What the author was getting at, expecially in son/mother relationships, is that as parents we have to make the distinction that our children are not our lives but part of our lives as much as we are a part of theirs.  If we can do this, in terms of the mother/son relationship, then there isn't a need for a serverence of the bond that was created in the womb.  The author also suggested that society calls for a need of mothers to push their sons aways in their childhood in order to raise a proper man.  If you think about it, that is true.  Young boys that have a strong relationship with their mothers are often coined as "Mama's boys" or something of that nature.  Like it is a negetive to have a close relationship with your mother if you are a boy.....I hate that.  I think that men who are raised and have close relationship with their mothers or other matriarchs in their family are very different from men who are not or have mother that abided by the "code" and severed the relationship with their son.  I plan on Parker always being a part of my life but he will know that I do not and am not here to serve him as well as other women he will meet in his life.  He will see me as a woman who provided for him and cared for him to make his life the best that I could.  He will see strength in women and have a different appriciation for women.
I refuse to let him catagorize things as being for girls or boys.  I ask him why he has segregated them and then explain why there is no such thing as something that is strictly for girls or boys.  He is not allowed to say that his peers throw, run, act, sound like a girl.  Ever time he tries to do this, he explains to me why that is not alright.  He understands.  He will make better arguements as too why that is not allowed than I can make, or rather, he makes arguements that he can understand by using people or scenerios from his life to make it make sense.
I think that as long as parents are open-minded and do not push their children into the societal box of where they should fit, most children would grow up as feminist or any person who is against any -ism.  When we fall to the social constructs of who and what we are all supposed to be and what we are supposed to have and supposed to know, we fall into a very narrow space.  There isn't much room to move, think and grow in those confines.  Many people will not agree with me or my thoughts but I think what this all really boils down to is how much we want our children to grow and think.  I want Parker to question everything in his world.  Now of course I want him to do this in a respectable fashion, but I never want him to stop questioning society.  I want him to make his own decisions now so that he may practice which ones are good and which are bad while he has me around to help guide him.  A friend of mine said that no children should make any of their own decisions until they are atleast 10....that makes no sense to me.  They are their own person with their own opinions and thoughts and feelings.  We are to guide them to make those all positive.....not wait until they can't learn that within our shelter.  Embracing them for who they are is the most important part.  If Parker never considers himself to be a feminist, I will never be disappointed.  I know that I will have introduced it to him and he will decided through questioning the world whether or not he can consider himself a feminist.  There is no doubt in my mind that he will reject it at some point.  But, like I said earlier, he still will view the world differently because of his experience.  Just like when I was a small girl, I grew up veiwing it differently because of the lack of the double standard in my life.