I had a couple incidents happen over teh last few days and they're getting to me. I'll just lay them out on the blogging table and you can feel free to jump in and give an opinion if you have one, or just say hey.
Sunday, I walked down to the village center with my kids because my oldest son here, Timmy, was going to Lusaka to meet a new volunteer at the airport. As we were leaving I took a sleeping Grace down to the nursery and left strict instructions that she was supposed to sleep and then be fed at noon. It was then 11:15.
The bus arrived much sooner than we expected so we got Timmy on his way and walked home. It was 12:15 when we got home. At 12:35 I went down to the nursery to check on the kids and saw Grace still asleep in her bed. I was surprised because she is good about eating, playing for an hour or so and then sleeping. So, for her to be asleep wasn't in the pattern. I asked one of the nannies, L., if she had been fed, and she gasped and said, "Oh, no. We forgot!" But she was only one of the nannies on duty and had been up in the dining room with some of the older babies, so we waited to ask the other nanny who was about to leave at the end of her shift and was changing.
C. entered the nursery and I asked if Grace had been fed. "Yes, I fed her at 12". I then asked if she had played at all after eating. "Yes, she played for 30 minutes and then I put her in her bed". Since it was just then 12:35, the timing didn't add up at all.
I asked C. again and again if perhaps she was mistaken. No, she insisted that she had fed the baby on time. There was no way to ask Grace and so I let it go.
Fifteen minutes later Grace woke up positively ravenous. She drank more than her usual amount, settling the issue once and for all. She had NOT been fed on time.
I was livid! Not that someone could lose track of time. It happens to all of us. But, that she would not pay attention to the fact that she had forgotten and just own up to it.
The other thing that concerned me is that perhaps she really couldn't remember. We deal with sick babies many times, and I need to know that those looking after them are paying attention to details.
This particular nanny has concerned me for a while. Her hands shake all the time and she is very thin. We had another nanny who worked here who had shaky hands as well. I thought she was nervous at first, but later she began having problems remembering things and we found out that she had cerebral meningits.--Most likely caused by HIV or AIDS. She had not wanted to face the stigma and so refused to go to a doctor. She was one of my favorite nannies. She died a few months ago.
When I see the same symptoms pooping up in C. it concerns me so much. Especially when as of last week, this lady had never had testing done to know her HIV status. She claims she's had it done now, but of course I can't ask her about it and she won't tell me the results.
I didn't really know what to do, but I have cut her hours back. She was already a part-time nanny so I'll just give her less work. I want to see if I can trust her and I want her to be healthy. It's tough.
One of our little girls, Queenie, has a very devoted father. He could not look after her because she was so small and he had to look for work. So, he brought her to us at the end of 2007. Every Saturday afternoon, during family visitation, he was here with one of his older daughters.
Finally, he was offered a job but it required him to move to Lusaka (the capital) so he can no longer see Queenie on Family Day. He has been very diligent to call once a week to check on her. At first he would just ask if she was OK. Now that she is old enough, he speaks with her. We always have it on speaker phone so the nanny can listen in and help coach Queenie in how to speak on the phone.--At the beginning she would just nod every time he spoke.
Last week one of the ladies told me that Queenie had asked her dad where her mom was and after being told she was dead, had asked if she was buried. I was surprised by this because she was not even two years old when she came here.
Her dad called again yesterday afternoon so during shower time I asked Queenie about the phone call. She told me something about her mom. I asked if she meant that her mom was buried and she said, "no, my mom is coming". I turned to her nanny with a big question mark on my face and she told me that Queenie's father is remarried and so he had introduced Queenie's 'new mom' to her over the phone and said they will be coming in July.
I was a bit upset by this news. Not that he is remarried. Good for him! But, I'm afraid that Queenie is going to be confused. The whole idea of the kids living with us is that they have no moms and so we are taking care of them. I'm not sure they are even old enough to grasp that concept yet. What is going to happen if dads have new moms but they still have to stay here. Queenie is not yet five years old. In a year or two I can see her understanding the whole thing more. I just want to avoid pain for all the kids.
I also don't know what he meant by 'coming in July'. If just for a visit, great. He signed away guardianship so I hope he remembers that.
It's all so difficult. I'm not a psychologist. I'm just a mom who loves all her kids.
This stuff is so hard. I just have to put one foot in front of the other and pray that we are doing the best job for all who cross our path. Pray with me, would you?