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Baby sitting

(157 Posts)
MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:00:06

Well, child sitting, seeing as my grandson is 11.
My neighbour/friend agreed that she would help out if I needed to work and wouldn't be home, which happened yesterday.

I worked until 10.
I came home to find grandson had put himself to bed (and was lying awake) and my neighbour had bought him down a microwave burger at dinner time.

She was sitting upstairs in her flat, and he was in mine, on his own.
I had shifts booked for the next two days, but have cancelled them, as I wouldn't have been home until 11.

I feel like crying...

In defence of my neighbour, she is a funny old stick and a bit eccentric, but I expected a bit more from her.

She knocks at mine several times a day to tell me every detail of everything that is going on with her life and that of her adult children, and I think I am more than patient.
I just feel really let down.
My first shifts and I have had to cancel..

I suppose I just wanted to get it off my chest. sad

MawBroon Thu 17-Jan-19 11:08:42

Dont cry - you and your grandson have survived! He may have found it all a bit of an adventure.
I agree your neighbour sounds (more than) a bit “odd” and might have reservations about depending on her. However in her day (and ours when we were children) we didn’t set quite so much store by childcare safety - remember all the latchkey kids?
So if you absolutely need her again you would have to give very clear instructions about how she does it.
But you have so much on your plate, - breathe flowers

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:13:08

I don't feel I can instruct her, as its a favour, (though obviously I would 'treat' her) but I'm a bit aghast that she could sit watching tv in her own flat and leave him down here on his own until that time.

She has already knocked this morning as usual (on her way to and from the shops) but I have ignored her, as I don't trust myself not to say something awful.

kittylester Thu 17-Jan-19 11:17:57

Don't cry MissA. I would feel the same a nd thwarted into the bargain. I can't help more than that I'm afraid but do understand!

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:23:16

Thank you for being kind, Maw and kitty.
I'm able to leave him for short periods, because I have to, sometimes, but I can't let him spend the whole evening on his own.

He just needs someone to sit in mine, to listen to him read and so on, and I literally don't have anyone to do it.

MawBroon Thu 17-Jan-19 11:24:13

When you can, I would start with the “positive”
He was fine
Thank you for the burger, another time I will leave tea
A 10 year old cannot (legally) be left alone in a flat -does she realise?
I will leave you something, or help yourself to the fridge and my TV, tea, coffee etc but do not leave him in the flat on his own.
(Although it is not ideal, a 10 year old can put himself to bed, he may have felt very grown up)

Telly Thu 17-Jan-19 11:26:16

Looks like a break down in communication. You obviously both had different expectations of what helping out entailed. You need to find alternative cover should the situation happen again so that you can accept shifts with some confidence. He didn't come to any harm which is the main thing, not that there is any reason that he should. I would just avoid the neighbour till you have calmed down, as you don't want a falling out.

grannyactivist Thu 17-Jan-19 11:29:26

This seems to me to be a simple misunderstanding, but I do feel for you - I would have been upset too. Your idea and your neighbour's as to what constitutes 'child sitting' are obviously different and perhaps you need to explain (kindly) that you had thought she would stay with your grandson and were surprised to find him alone when you got home.

I'm slightly bewildered that you feel you can't explain what is required of your friend because she is doing you a favour. I think an explanation is perfectly reasonable, favour or not.

Telly Thu 17-Jan-19 11:31:22

BTW - There is no legal age which defines when a child can be left alone. The govt website states 'The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.' It also seems that general thinking is that 12 is the age when they may be mature enough. But of course it depends on the child.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:33:44

I suppose I just assumed that she would know.
He didn't come to any harm, and it appears that he can be quite sensible, but I don't want him spending hours alone.

Its only a year since his life was turned upside down when his mum died, his brother went to live with his dad, his dog was rehomed and so on.
I just imagined she may take that into account.

Newatthis Thu 17-Jan-19 11:52:05

I guess if he was in a house and him downstairs and the childminder upstairs it wouldn't be a problem - not quite the same though. Does he have a mobile? would he have been able to call her for help if needed? Does he know not to answer the door to anyone but her? It seems a shame you have to miss work. What is your next door neighbour like? Can they help?

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 11:54:23

Yes, he knows all that stuff, but I don't want him coming home to an empty house, eating alone and putting himself to bed.
My next door neighbour works shifts too, so no, not able to help out.

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 12:04:57

I don’t think I would leave my grandson with the neighbour again. Despite your grandson being sensible, there is always risk of a fire or other emergency. Do you know of any older teenagers (sixth form) who would be looking to earn some money by keeping your grandson company when you are working? Or if the care of your grandson is official, can social services offer any advice? If none of these suggestions are feasible, are you able to work during the day rather than evenings? Your grandson is obviously very precious to you and to make this arrangement work, you need to think about a long term plan for the future.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 12:17:17

I think its one of those times when I could do with my mum. sad
No, we have no input from social services, although I have a court order in place for residency.
I think a teen is the best idea, although I don't know any.
My work is in the care industry, so the hours are pretty unsociable, but hopefully something will come up.
I think my neighbour is quite blinkered in her thinking sometimes.
She was quite obsessed by what time he should have the burger for some reason.. She has mental health problems, so is very set in some of her ways, and has some strange ideas.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 17-Jan-19 12:48:29

MissA, please do not upset yourself. You did all the correct things in order for your Grandson to be cared for, he was safe in bed when you came home.

Could he not have a "sleepover" with a friend from school when needed, and you could have the friend over to stay with you sometime.

Your neighbour sounds as if she is slightly confused and probably not the most reliable sitter.

Really hope you can get something in place soon.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 12:58:24

I don't know any of the other mums, as my daughters illness just took over both of our lives for the last year or so.
It was very isolating.. just hospital visits and treatments and so on.
My own friends seemed to fade away, too, apart from the odd text.
Its on my 'to do' list, to make at least one friend, just as soon as I get myself straight. Its just taking an awfully long time.

downtoearth Thu 17-Jan-19 13:07:44

MissA...can understand as I have been in the position when E first came to live with me,the responsibility gets to you to be mum,dad,not forgetting that he had also lost his nan too who then becomes 'mum' our case I was a nummy,you would do anything to make life secure for these children,I would have felt the same as you....still do,and she is now almost

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 13:24:24

Well, my neighbour has just been in.
She asked what time I was working today, and I told her I had cancelled.
"Oh" she said, "Well it will be alright".
"Well, I don't want him to be on his own until 11, and he was on his own last night".
"Oh, alright then" she said, then went straight on to tell me about yet more family problems her lot are having. hmm
I think yet another friendship has run its course.

Madgran77 Thu 17-Jan-19 13:54:43

Could you not say to her that there seems to have been a misunderstanding! Tell her that you are grateful for her help but that you are not comfortable for your grandson to be left alone so is she able to come and sit in your flat? If she says yes, then fine! If No, say thanks, we will leave it then!

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 13:56:04

MissAdventure, I have been giving more thought to your problem.
Might I suggest you contact the school your grandson attends and make an appointment to speak with the Headteacher as first port of call. She may be able to point you in the direction of useful contacts. The school may not know you are needing assistance with your grandson.
Please don’t leave him with the neighbour. She just isn’t a suitable person to be in charge of a young lad.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 13:59:28

I think its safe to say we'll be leaving it.
Also safe to say I won't be helping out with form filling in, moral support, help with appointments, explaining instructions, escorting to hospital and doctors appointments and being an 'in house' shoulder to lean on, cry on, and everything else.

Marilla Thu 17-Jan-19 14:01:18

You are quite right. You and your grandson are your priority and that will take up all your time and energy.
Please keep us posted in how things progress.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:05:21

Thank you Marilla.
Unfortunately, the school have been useless, unkind and dismissive of any problems.
Ranging from a teacher coming out to my daughters car to loudly tell her off for not getting out of it to pick up grandson at the gate, to the Senco person saying that since they knew that my daughter was dying they had no problem with grandson missing school as he wasn't playing truant, to still sending him home with letters addressed to my daughter months after she had died.

SueDonim Thu 17-Jan-19 14:21:14

I'm so sorry you've lost your daughter MissAdventure, what a tragedy. sad

Your neighbour doesn't sound suitable to be looking after a child. She doesn't sound deliberately uncaring but simply not up to the job. The way you describe her, she seems a bit airy-fairy.

Does your GS live with you fulltime? If so, then you need to arrange proper care for him and not have to rely on people's good will. Paying your neighbour might be a better option, as it would be more like a job and not just a favour.

MissAdventure Thu 17-Jan-19 14:26:26

She isn't deliberately unkind, its true; in fact she is one of the kindest people I know, but she is strange, and getting stranger as the years pass, sadly.
I would happily pay her, but as I suspected, she isn't up to the job. (I knew really, before we even spoke about it, so that is my fault, with hindsight)

I'm just feeling very sorry for myself these last few weeks, tearful and angry at being pushed out to work.

I'm sure things will get better.