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Continue caring for my nephew, or stop? (UPDATE post #75) - Page 5

post #81 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
I don't think lack of bathing to your standards is CPS worthy.
And luckily enough the gymnastics instructor and other observers agreed. However, that doesn't mean that the OP was foolish to worry given the stories of CPS getting called for all sorts of frivolous reasons that are far less indicative of neglect than looking like a child hasn't had a bath for a week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post
Why would he need to skip gymnastics just because he wasn't freshly bathed?
Because of the OP's concern that his neglected appearance might make someone think he is a neglected child and call CPS. The question in her mind was "will going to gymnastics cause more trouble?" And there is a big difference between "not freshly bathed" and "didn't have a bath in a week".
post #82 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Sometimes kids just are dirt magnets.

My nephew took two baths every single day. These baths involved large amounts of soap and shampoo, as well as quite a bit of scrubbing. Yet he was constantly sticky and sweaty and even sometimes there was an odor. DN was just a messy eater and sweated quite a bit.

I frequently skip baths with DS. It is completely unnoticeable. he is a fairly neat eater, and doesn't sweat all that much. When I pop him in the bath, it is mostly for fun and I often don't bother with soap at all.

Basically dirtiness of the child is not necessarily a reflection on how much effort the parent puts into caring for said child. My sis put in a ton of effort bathing DN, b/c it was needed, but probably had strangers thinking she was lazy about baths. I get away with putting very little effort into bathing DS, but he is always fresh and unsticky anyway and strangers probably think I put a lot more effort than I do into keeping him that way.

Since this unbathed thing is new, I would suspect that it was related to the cold. They may have old fashioned notions about not wanting to let him get chilled by being wet while he has a cold. It was how I was raised, and I was actually really surprised when DS's pediatrician recommend letting him sit in a steamy bath when he was congested (at first I thought she just meant for me to let him play on the floor in the bathroom with the doors closed and the shower running.)
Remember though, this appearance of her DN is a difference compared to how they see him on a regular basis. They've seen him freshly bathed, after not having a bath for a few days. She's comparing him to himself not to other kids.

But you're probably right about the cold thing. Which is a pity because warm baths are sooo awesome when you're snuffly.
post #83 of 115
I don't bathe my kid everyday, sometimes he's rather dirty. Often it is inconvenient to bathe him for some reason and we skip it (out late, activity, etc). I sent my kid to school today without having been bathed for possibly several days. He has very dirty finger nails and may even have a little egg on his face at the moment.

If this is the first week in a while that the kid is dirty I would just assume they have been busy or dn is resistant to baths for some reason and the parents didn't feel like having that battle. How many times do we see threads on MDC "my kid won't take a bath" "screams bloody murder in the bath" "afraid my neighbors will call the cops because of how much my kid freaks out at bath time" "haven't bathed in weeks, will anyone notice?"

Also, at 2 I would just give the kid a bath at my house, especially if you had him all day. That is not weird at all. I often give kids baths when we are babysitting. They cook, paint, play in the yard and they get dirty, then I throw all the kids in the bath tub, they have a blast. A resistant kid is also more likely to have fun with friends in the bath than alone.
post #84 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post
Just to comment on the bath thing...

In my world giving another kid (esp a young one like that) a bath while they were in my care would not be a weird thing. In fact it's happened before. I'd say something like "the kids got really grubby/muddy/messy while they were playing/eating, and we tossed them all in a bath". I've even found old clothes of one of my dc to put on a kid I was babysitting if they happened to get their clothes really dirty or wet and the parents had forgotten to leave a change.
Yes to this. My friend and her son only bathe two to three times a week, usually two. Her son comes over filthy sometimes and I have had him take a shower a couple times when I was able to do it without hurting his feelings. Both times his feet were so dirty, I mean really really really dirty, that I was able to use that as a way to get him in the shower. Once he is in he loved it and cleaned everything. The school district health curriculum that the nurses teach only says kids should bathe twice a week so I don't think infrequent bathing is something that CPS will do anything about. The nurses I have heard teaching the curriculum say the required line but always add that more is better.
post #85 of 115
I agree that:

1. It's no big deal to bathe another child.
2. Some kids get dirty really fast, and really dirty. I've known them.
3. If you are concerned about calls to child services, but you are also concerned about his welfare, my thought is, this is the perfect opportunity to see what the standards of the outside world are. If they mention it, if they notice it, then you know it's not just you and your high standards (and you do have high standards, nothing wrong with that, but you need to realize that). If they don't appear to be bothered or mention it, then maybe you can stop worrying as well.
post #86 of 115
Thread Starter 
Today DN was wearing the same clothing he wore yesterday when we came up to see him at GMIL's house (I was helping her find something- she had eye surgery yesterday). He went home with his mother and came back in the same clothing, and I know it wasn't washed because the ketchup stain from lunch was still there.

I'm just hoping that 1. He wasn't bathed because of his cold and 2. His mom was running late for work and wasn't able to do laundry and just put him in yesterday's clothing because she was in a pinch.

For the record, I don't bathe my kids every day, unless they need it. My baby isn't very dirty and when my toddler digs in the dirt she really only needs a good scrub over the sink. If I had a super sweaty child or if my child felt sticky to the touch and left some sort of residue on my hands when holding him, you'd bet I'd bathe him or her. I don't like frequent bathing- I don't shower every single day myself- every other day is more like it. So I don't feel that I have high standards in this particular matter (although I do agree with you on that, EdnaMarie).

My primary concern is that someone else will call DCFS, especially if they're mandated reporters. If the gymnastics coach feels that another parent might call, then the coach might take it into her own hands to call because not calling would be illegal on her part, and she would get in trouble. I'm worried that that might happen. I know that there are people who will call the authorities if you so much as breathe on your child the wrong way- I don't want anyone to see me with a very obviously unbathed child and figure "Oh, she doesn't care about her kids" or "Oh, she doesn't care about her son but cares for her daughters, poor thing" etc.

Like I said- I don't live in the best of situations. Suppose an oversealous social worker (or whoever comes out from DCFS) comes out and decides that my kids can't live with me because of our living arrangement. I can't have that happen- I have maybe three more months living here and we're out (Not out of the city like we'd hoped, but out of this apartment). The Emergency form from gymnastics has my address listed because I didn't have theirs handy. I need to change that just in case. (Everything else is correct with his parent's phone numbers, etc).
post #87 of 115
Yeah, I'd definitely get the address changed so that if anyone calls, the social worker won't be showing up at your place.

As far as a child wearing the same clothes he had on the day before -- even clothes with a food stain -- is this really a big deal?

I mean, I do make sure my girls put on a clean outfit if we're going out to a public place like a restaurant, or a get-together at someone's house, but if we're just staying around the house and playing in the neighborhood, or even going to the park, I don't necessarily worry about whether they have stains on their shirts. Since my girls play really freely and will just get more dirt on them.

I do make sure my girls are clean if we go see Grandma -- but we only see her one or two times a month. If her home were like their "home away from home," as it sounds like your MIL's is for this little boy, I'd probably be more relaxed about that.

I don't know...I mean, I definitely am concerned about some of the other stuff you've mentioned, like in the other thread about the too-small shoes -- but then it seems like you're throwing in a lot of other stuff that's really not important. IMO it would be better to focus your concern on the issues that are really harmful to your DN.
post #88 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I don't know...I mean, I definitely am concerned about some of the other stuff you've mentioned, like in the other thread about the too-small shoes -- but then it seems like you're throwing in a lot of other stuff that's really not important. IMO it would be better to focus your concern on the issues that are really harmful to your DN.
I am inclined to agree. There are things you say that concern me, but I think now you're looking for a reason to be upset with your nephew's parents each time you see them. Take a step back. Breathe. You're in the thick of this situation, and I think that's making you react strongly to everything.

Two things stand out to me in your posts about your husband's family. The first is that you view yourself as trapped, but that's not true. You don't *have* to stay there. You have other options, but you have decided this option is the best. So you need to make the best of it until you move on. If being with his family is causing you so much stress, then you guys need to reconsider whether your mental health would be better if you moved out on your own, rather than being dependent on his family at the same time that you seem to think they're generally bad people.

The second thing is that I'm the one in my marriage who comes from a very dysfunctional family. We have things far worse than not bathing kids that have gone on, but I know that there is no way my husband could/would live near them. He would feel like you - constantly worried about what's happening to everyone - and upset. You and your husband need to talk about his family, their values, and your boundaries. Otherwise I see this situation only getting worse until it deteriorates, and you cannot have anything to do with his family at all anymore without there being problems.
post #89 of 115
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, I agree, there are many things that I need to consider and reconsider and discuss with my husband.

Yesterday, I saw DNs older sister and I mentioned it to him. She told me "Oh gosh, I know, but it's annoying to bathe him because he splashes water all over the place and just wants to play... he's such a troublemaker." So I'm now wondering if his sister is in charge of bathing him and just doesn't.

My husband is going to speak to his grandmother about it, and we hope that she'll get the point across to her daughter (DNs mom).

Today I am caring for my nephew, because GMIL needed the help (still recovering from surgery). I bathed him and changed his clothing into some of DDs g/n things because he was still in the clothing from the other day.

I don't know.. I mean, my daughter has and does wear the same thing twice, but if it is dirty-feeling to the touch I won't make her wear it again, you know? And if she's dirty, I bathe her.

I don't know how harmful not bathing a child is, but would you like to be dirty and not bathed for a week and in soiled clothing for a few days? (The stain is not the issue, the overall state of filth that the clothes were in from being on him for that period of time is the issue.)
post #90 of 115
Quote:
I don't know how harmful not bathing a child is, but would you like to be dirty and not bathed for a week and in soiled clothing for a few days?
This. Yea maybe not the worst thing in the world BUT if you combine it with the other things, I'd be bothered too. FWIW, I'm not some clean fanatic but my DS and I shower together every night. I don't do any less for him than I would do for myself. I wouldn't throw a shirt on myself with a nasty food stain on it from the day before so heck no wouldn't put one on my DS.

It IS uncomfortable to be dirty and unbathed after several days. The skin starts getting itchy and the OP said it's a sweaty kid too. If you add into the mix a kid that is not PL'd, well it makes me want to scratch just thinking about it. I'm human and have certainly skipped a day of showering but I can feel the difference.

IMO, the mother of the DN is not treating him like a human being with wants and needs.
Does she work and that is why everyone else is always watching her kid?
Does she spend a significant amount of time with the child?
post #91 of 115
OP From what I can gather from your posts the little boy sounds neglected to me. Not intentionally I'm sure, but still sad. I'm glad that your interactions with him are getting easier and you're able to redirect him. I hope you will be able to continue as his advocate and a positive force in his life, he is very lucky to have you looking out for him.
post #92 of 115
for hundreds and thousands of years people did not have multiple changes of clothes or bathe on a regular basis. And yet we survived as a species.
post #93 of 115
Thread Starter 
Thanks to you both. He is currently napping upstairs at GMILs house, she's feeling a bit better. She noticed that I'd bathed him and I got a weird look for it, but you know... I had to. Someone had to do it, and it is unfortunate that his parents weren't the ones to do it.

His mother is working now and has been for a few months, but was a SAHM for the first two years of his life. However, most days he was brought to GMILs house. She spends weekends and evenings with him, as far as I know, though on weekends they do visit here alot so he's with the rest of the family.

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met." He thinks it's just something that people in his family are at fault for, and that it's just not DN and his issues. He says that it's how things are, have been, and always will be. I just don't know what to think about that. Just because it's the way things are and have been doesn't make it right and doesn't make it okay for my DN to suffer the way he has at such a young age.
post #94 of 115
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post
for hundreds and thousands of years people did not have multiple changes of clothes or bathe on a regular basis. And yet we survived as a species.
I know what you're trying to say. I know that he's going to survive. But this is 2010- and in this day and age, people bathe. Would you really make your child stay unbathed for over a week and in dirty clothing when you are perfectly capable of bathing them and changing them into fresh clothes? I think it's cruel, personally. If his mother and sister are both showered complete with hair done and makeup perfect, and well-dressed, why can't my poor DN get even his hands and face washed?
post #95 of 115
I have hesitated to post on your threads about your nephew because I really do hear your concern for this child shining through. I would hate to say to anyone that whatever is going on is okay when in reality it is abusive. I am a big follower of gut feelings and if your gut feeling is that this child is being abused, you should take action.

However, as some others have stated, some of your concerns are really subjective. It sounds like this family is one of those families that may not feel that children are as precious as you do, or at least this child. Which, although I don't agree with, is not necessarily abusive. It isn't their right to be abusive but what I have read online so far isn't necessarily abusive. Crappy, yes? But abusive no. There might be many reasons for not bathing a child or for not changing that child's clothing that the law would not classify as neglectful. Not buying clothing that fits is on the line but again, probably not something that CPS would call them out on. CPS allows spanking, CIO and many other things that I, personally, think are much more harmful than a messy house, dirty clothes or no baths.

It is illegal to not have carseats. That I would totally bust someone for. It isn't illegal to not treat children like they are the precious beings that I feel they are. It isn't illegal to benignly neglect them. Whether this qualifies as benign neglect or outright, call CPS neglect is something you and your community that actually has contact with this child has to determine. I don't think the online community can make that kind of determination.

So again, I think we can all agree that this is most likely really crappy parenting. But in the end, it sounds like your options are do what you can for your nephew and let it go, or if necessary, stand up for his needs and call the authorities. Otherwise I think it is going to drive you insane.
post #96 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met."
This is totally subjective. Not being in carseats MASSIVELY increases their risk of death. Car accidents are a major cause of early death in the U.S. and most rich countries.

I have to agree that if that is not something you'd call CPS for--and I would consider it, if I spoke to the person personally and told them how I felt, the statistics, and the law--then why worry about the baths?

Yes, he ought to have a bath but to me, the carseat issue is way, way bigger.

I agree, at some point you need to step back and let go. They aren't good parents. Watch for true neglect.

http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/fac.../whatiscan.cfm
post #97 of 115
ETA... I really meant, "So they do not SEEM like good parents from what we're hearing here."
post #98 of 115
Now no carseats is an issue!
post #99 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met." He thinks it's just something that people in his family are at fault for, and that it's just not DN and his issues. He says that it's how things are, have been, and always will be. I just don't know what to think about that. Just because it's the way things are and have been doesn't make it right and doesn't make it okay for my DN to suffer the way he has at such a young age.

I think you should listen more closely to your husband. First, short of the shoes that were too little, I wouldn't say your nephew is "suffering." It's not an ideal situation, but it sounds like he is watched, clothed (even if they're dirty), and fed. Your husband's point, though, is that you'd be taking on an entire family's culture, and that's a difficult prospect. I have limited contact with my own family because I cannot stomach the things that go on with them, but I also realize that when DH & I are 2 of 26 people, we're not going to make much headway in convincing people that their way is wrong.


Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Would you really make your child stay unbathed for over a week and in dirty clothing when you are perfectly capable of bathing them and changing them into fresh clothes? I think it's cruel, personally.
It's not cruel. Being cruel to a child and not bathing him for a few days are worlds apart. I think if you drop the hyperbole from your thoughts on your nephew, you all will benefit. To me, you're just so caught up in saying that everything in awful, cruel, terrible that you're having a hard time being rational about whether and how to help him. Look, it's crummy that his parents don't seem to care, but it's not cruelty. It's not abuse. It's just...sad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I agree, at some point you need to step back and let go. They aren't good parents. Watch for true neglect.

http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/fac.../whatiscan.cfm
Yes. This.
post #100 of 115
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. I do agree. It is unfortunate but maybe I should just let it go.

Oh- and I once called the police on the people with no car seats. I don't know what happened, other than the mother deleted me from facebook. I obviously didn't want to ask her "Oh, did you get pulled over the other day" because I wished to remain anonymous, again, because of our living situation (they live in the attic). But I agree. That's incredibly dangerous. I don't know what else I could have done in that matter.
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