I sent my mom an email earlier today asking for suggestions for blogging topics, but funnily enough, this afternoon one fell into my lap. Literally. Let me explain.
First of all, note the title of this entry. Ridiculous. I’ve mentioned before that I loved my old job and I was really sad to leave it. But I found a new job that I thought I would like almost as much. Not exactly. There is one huge difference between my old job and my new job: parents. My old job was working with kids at a residential school, so I almost never had to interact with the kids’ parents. In my new job, I see parents every. single. day. And anyone who works with kids will surely tell you that dealing with the parents is the worst part. It’s true.
Let me tell you about “Anxiety Mom.” Anxiety Mom is the mother of a new client I recently started seeing 2-3 times per week. Anxiety Mom is (clearly) anxious. I understand that having a child with special needs is extremely difficult and that while I choose to work with these kids, their parents have no choice. I really get it. But Anxiety Mom is off the charts. Anxiety Mom is anxious about everything.. everything having to do directly with her child’s health and safety. And completely oblivious to everything else.
When I got to La Casa de la Anxiety today (hey, I live in southern California, everything’s Spanish here), the live-in nanny answered the door and let me in. I went up to the little girl’s room and found her, along with Anxiety Mom there. I got started with my paperwork and Anxiety Mom told me that her daughter had to go to the dentist today, and asked if I could go with her. This type of requests aren’t really unusual as we assist families in all aspects of their lives, including the more challenging ones like going to the dentist. I said sure and asked what time we’d be leaving. A.M. said 3:30, and my shift was set to end at 4:30, so this was fine. A.M. left the room and I started working with the little girl.
We were dancing and listening to Hannah Montana (her favorite activity) and stopped to take a break to read a book. The two of us were sitting on the rug when she leaned forward and puked, right in my lap. Now, many of you are cringing right now, but honestly, this is part of my job. I have been scratched, bitten, snotted on, peed on, smelled, licked, and had my hair pulled tons of times. I knew that this little girl has tummy problems with reflux and things, so this also wasn’t very unusual for her either. This was one of those occasions when (you childcare people/mommies know what I mean) you get vomitted on/drooled on/burped on and you can immediately identify the last thing that kid ate. Today it was vanilla yogurt. ANYWAY, I went to the top of the stairs to yell down for the nanny (because I know that Anxiety Mom is not to be bothered with trivial things such as these) and she came up to help clean up. And despite the fact that so many wise, wise people have told me to do so, I did not have a change of clothes in my car. So I wiped myself up to the best of my ability.
It was almost time to go and Anxiety Mom was anxiety-ing all over the place, packing books and toys and snacks (why would you need snacks for a trip to the dentist?). Actually, she was telling the nanny to pack all these things. The nanny tells A.M. that the kid had puked (on me) but that she seemed okay, and A.M. didn’t seem concerned. We finally get out the door and A.M. chooses this minute to ask me what time I would be working til. “4:30,” I said. “Damn,” she says, “I thought it was 6.” So I tell her that I can just follow her in my own car and leave at 4:30, and she agrees. I walk around the corner to where my car is parked. As I am turning around in the next door neighbor’s driveway, I see Anxiety Mom, in her expensive-looking silver SUV, speeding away. I hustle to catch up but get stuck at a red light, literally a block away from La Casa de la Anxiety.
I knew that the dentist was off of a particular street to I just continued to follow along, wondering if I would ever catch up and be able to identify A.M.’s expensive-looking silver SUV, since those kind of cars are not exactly few and far between in sunny Los Angeles, California. I don’t see her but quickly hit traffic and know that there is no way we’ll make it there before 4:00, leaving my therapy session to about 30 minutes in the dentist’s waiting room. And my leg smells like vanilla vomit. At this point, I start drafting this blog post in my head, because this whole situation is just too ridiculous not to share. Anxiety Mom doesn’t have my cell number because we’re not allowed to give them to parents so that A. we don’t get to chummy (lol) and B. the parents don’t make us crazy (too late). So I wait until I’m damn well ready and call my office. My supervisor is basically laughing at me because she had just received a call from Anxiety Mom and probably had to endure her version of what had just happened. She said she was texting me the address. I’m stuck in traffic on the freeway with my windows all the way down trying to rid myself of the vanilla vomit scent.
I finally get there at 4:10 pm. Anxiety Mom says, “Sorry! I totally forgot you were following me!” Weird, because I spoke to you as you were getting into the car, but whatev. At least she was apologizing, which is new for A.M. Last weekend I was “late” to an appointment because I assumed they weren’t home after I rang the doorbell in 15 minute intervals for 45 minutes. When I finally realized they were inside (and she realized I was outside) she ignored me when I said, “I guess your doorbell is broken” and instead offered her kid a snack. ANYWAY, I started playing with her kid in the waiting room and Anxiety Mom starts sniffing around. “Do you smell throw up?” she asks the kid. I seriously cannot believe this is happening, because the nanny JUST TOLD HER that the kid threw up on me, and she was totally unconcerned, both with the fact that it happened, and with the fact that I was covered in vanilla-y vomit!! I could not even think of how to deal with this situation, so I ignored her. And then the receptionist called her daughter’s name. And then I left.
So that was MY Monday afternoon, how was yours??