By in Parenting

The Tale of the Pink Pwintheth

I’m interested to hear how other parents would react in the following situation:

A former colleague returned to work after maternity leave. Her baby had been unplanned but nevertheless was in danger of being smother-loved to death. She was the original Pink Pwintheth at just over a year old, fairy wings, pink dresses, glitter, you name it. My colleague and her husband both worked long hours and so Pwintheth was left with a daycare provider.

My colleague had just had some time off because her little doll had been sick so was unable to attend daycare. Eventually she was passed fit to go back to daycare, so colleague was back in the office giving us all the goss in her usual drama queen fashion. Her husband had dropped Pwintheth off at daycare on the way to work and we were all being regaled with the tale of how sick she had been when the phone rang. It was the daycare provider.

Pwintheth needed eye drops to finish off whatever nasty little bug she’d picked up, and these had been delivered by Doting Dad with his daughter on the way to work that morning. However, the daycare provider was adamant that she was not going to be putting Pwintheth’s eye drops in. She didn’t seem too concerned that Pwintheth needed these three times a day, nor that my colleague was paying top dollar to get such a young child looked after while she was at work. It was nothing to her that my colleague worked over an hour from where the daycare was. She expected my colleague to come and administer the eye drops herself. To drive an hour there, administer the eye drops and drive an hour back to work again.

Well, that was it. My colleague had a melt down there and then in the office. She had to be escorted from the room and taken to a quiet meeting room to compose herself after shouting at the daycare provider at the top of her voice and in every language she could speak.

I know what my reaction to that scenario would have been. Hang work, no one except me or a qualified paediatric nurse is going to be looking after my baby until she is fully well again. If she needs eye drops, she’s not fully well, therefore she should not be going to daycare, no matter what the doc says. And no matter how much work says they need me there, either.

There are several questions which occurred to me as the office settled back down after Pwintheth’s mum had been sent home for the day.

• Are daycares even covered for that scenario? I mean, there’s a world of difference between changing a nappy on a healthy baby who isn’t related to you and administering eye drops to one who isn’t yours.
• Would you have expected daycare to be able to administer eye drops or would you have decided to stay home and look after your child yourself?
• Would you have had the nerve to turn round and tell work to get knotted, that your family came first?

Interested to hear your thoughts on this one, especially as I know many of you are parents and/or have had experience of daycare provision.

Image Credit » by calliecmm0

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Kasman wrote on September 16, 2015, 4:24 PM

1) When to return to work after the birth of a child is a dilemma all working parents face. The reasons for returning to work (or not) are many and varied and often complex and we shouldn't really judge any parent until we have walked a mile in their shoes;

2) I wouldn't have administered the eye-drops either (or carried out any other medical procedure) and unless the daycare provider was a qualified nurse (and covered with malpractice insurance) neither should they;

3) Family comes before work - and if work don't like that they can go jump in the lake as far as I'm concerned.

WordChazer wrote on September 16, 2015, 4:56 PM

If I remember, the colleague had taken her mat leave and annual accrued leave to the max. She worked so close to her due date that she actually passed out a few times in her final weeks because she was stressing her body so much. I think the company asked her doc to sign her off in order to get her to go on leave in the first place, as none of us liked the idea of having to try to deliver a baby in the middle of the office! As I mentioned, Pwintheth was unplanned, and therefore a bit of a shock to her parents.

Would you have administered eyedrops to young Ruby, had she needed them? Just out of interest, because I know you dote on her. And yes, I'll agree with number 3 too. Live and work, not work to live.

wolfgirl569 wrote on September 16, 2015, 4:58 PM

It would vary according to what the daycare says they can provide, how my child felt, and how badly I needed my job. But if she knew in advance that they would not give the eyedrops then other arrangements could have been made. That should have been found out right from the start which would have prevented everything else

Kasman wrote on September 16, 2015, 5:01 PM

WordChazer - yes I would but she is my flesh and blood and that puts a whole different spin on it. I would not do so to a very young child I was looking after for someone else - I would insist the parents either did it our made other suitable arrangements although the older a child is the less reluctant I would be.

cmoneyspinner wrote on September 17, 2015, 4:24 PM

Our U.S. public schools have nurses. My kids were not put in daycare but most of the incidents I've heard of - if the child gets sick the parents have to come get them or the daycare people call an ambulance. Not sure our daycare centers are equipped for dispensing medications, eye drops, etc.

Equipped or not, it would be better if she or the father looked after the child to be on the safe side. People don't love your children like you do. Something could happen and the babysitters will run to cover their butts and lie until the Second Coming of Christ rather than tell you the truth about what really happened to your child in their care.

On the side of the worker at the daycare though, the caregiver should have insisted that they come and get their kid. Other children are in their care too! The parents just have to make a decision for their child. The daycare operators have to make a decision for all the children.

WordChazer wrote on September 17, 2015, 5:20 PM

I thought that too. No way should she have foisted Pwintheth onto daycare while she needed eye drops. I think our workplace was being too harsh on my colleague in expecting her to be in if her baby needed care. What about the other parents? I know how my mum would have felt if someone let their infectious child come to school and gave me the lurgy from all hell. I think she more or less was required to go and pick up Pwintheth from daycare, especially after the acrimonious phone call.

And you're so right, in this day and age, with litiginous humans in the offing, the daycare providers would have done anything to cover themselves if something had happened. I wonder what maelou would have done if she had faced the issue while offering daycare?

AliCanary wrote on September 17, 2015, 7:50 PM

I'd do the get knotted thing; I mean, you guys do have family leave over there, right? Plus whatever money you miss from work will be saved on the daycare. I don;t mind the vet giving my cat meds, but I don't want the cat sitter to do it.

WordChazer wrote on September 18, 2015, 3:23 PM

Carer's leave is an option for many people but has to be used sparingly. Too much of it and bosses look on it as something that needs to be a full career break. Personally, I think my former colleague hadn't quite got to grips with being a mum and thought that there would be more help for her than there was, in fact. Maybe in some countries there is a requiremenet for daycare staff to have basic nursing skills also, but not here in the UK. I also think she wanted it all - the baby AND the full time job with the salary to match. That would have meant hiring a nanny though, and she wasn't earning that much...

paigea wrote on September 26, 2015, 11:32 PM

I don't know what I would have done. I was a single parent and my job IS how I took care of my family. I guess my child would have done without the drops that day, and I would have tried to figure out a plan for the next day. I would not have fallen apart at work.

WordChazer wrote on September 27, 2015, 6:34 AM

It was certainly a dilemma for her. She was always a bit of a hot head anyway, and with her hormones all over the place during pregnancy she was even snappier, but she was also pushing herself too hard both while pregnant and I think after the little lady arrived as well. At least she had a husband who was earning too but if our workplace was putting pressure on her to return to work, then I think she needed to make some hard decisions.

MaeLou wrote on October 11, 2015, 5:18 PM

After your comment, I came to check out a few posts. Being that I was an in home care provider at one point, and about to go into a facility, no, I wouldn't have administered the eye drops either. There are a plethora of things that could have gone wrong with those eyes, and I wouldn't have been to blame if something DID happen. I am pretty sure that most daycare facilities would NOT administer any sort of medicine without some sort of major waiver going on

WordChazer wrote on October 11, 2015, 6:07 PM

Thanks maelou . I'm glad you found this post, because this was the one I particularly valued your opinion on. As I am a childfree female, my views are often discounted when I choose to weigh in on parenting issues. However, I was definitely of the opinion that Pwintheth's mum should have stayed home with her until she was well enough to go to daycare medicine free. There is a difference between an adult choosing to administer eyedrops, antibiotics or cough mixture at work (all of which I have done for myself) and a mother sending their relative newborn to daycare with any of those requirements, given that other youngsters may not have the immunity to overcome whatever the issue is.

Thanks for your comment. Hope everything goes well in your new job. God bless you, good luck and all that. I am I really looking forward to hearing how it goes. Hope you can find time to post to tell us emoticon :smile: