It’s Not All Mary Poppins

One down…

… three to consider.

I’ve had four interviews over the past ten days.

Wow.

You know, the last time I lost a child at short notice, it took five months to fill that spot. After five months of 20% reduced income, I had eaten up every last penny of the cushion I keep stashed for these eventualities, and was beginning to get a little wild around the edges.

This time, the fates must be smiling. I’d had two people call in the preceding couple of weeks, people who I’d turned away, thinking I had no spaces. So of course I hunted them up on the call display and called them back. A couple others called me up out of the blue.

Four interviews! In ten days! Amazing. All of them lovely, lovely people, too.

Well. Almost all of them.

Then there was the awful, awful man.

I mean, really awful. Not just a style difference. Not just a little abrasive, but probably good at heart. Not “eccentric”, or “not too socially skilled”.

Awful.

The sad thing is, mom is a lovely person. Bright and bubbly, pretty as a picture, sunny, sweet. Her son is every bit as appealing.

And then there’s dad.

I’d spoken to mom twice on the phone and met she and baby once before dad came into the picture. Just to meet me, just so I could see him. He was in my front hall for perhaps ten minutes, and in that time I firmly decided I never, ever wanted to see him again.

As it happened, a couple of other things had happened with her job situation in the meantime to make us a bad fit for each other. Thank heavens, because it meant I could tell them no without feeling like I’d let her down badly. Because lord only knows that poor woman needs all the support she can get… whether she understands that yet or not.

But by now you’re all saying, “Enough with the foreshadowing it! Spit it out, woman! WHAT DID HE DO???”

Okay.

1. He’s holding baby while mom roots about in her purse for something. Baby is ten months old, a happy, chipper little guy, so friendly. He sees Emma sitting across the room, and is flapping at her, the way babies do.

“Stop that!” dad barks. I think maybe baby punched him in the nose or something, and the sudden pain caused an inappropriately severe response.

“What did he do?” I ask.

“He’s waving like a maniac!” dad gripes.

“Waving like a maniac”? Well, we can’t have that, now, can we? Because we wouldn’t want our child to be… oh… happy, or anything, would we?

(Mom doesn’t appear to have noticed this exchange. She’s still rummaging through her bag, talking… to me or to herself, I’m not sure. She hasn’t done anything wrong, I’m not saying that at all. She’s just preoccupied, and hasn’t caught it.)

But I’m feeling distinctly uncomfortable with this man now. Obviously, I’d have some work cut out for me, teaching him, if he’s open to it, to have some reasonable expectations of a baby. Assuming I’d want to take that job on. Hm.

2. A minute or so later, the topic of drop-off times arises. Now, I’d previously suggested that I would be open to taking the baby 15 minutes prior to my usual opening time, since mom’s work hours don’t quite mesh with mine. I’m such a morning person, 15 minutes early is not a big deal.

Except, I now find out, dad starts work 45 minutes later than mom, so she’s hoping that he could drop their son two days a week. His face registers nothing — not anger, not surprise, nothing — as he barks out (again with the barking),

“Not happening.”

That’s it. No explanation. No apologies to me, who is (hello!) offering to make a concession to their convenience. (Except, now that I know this, there is no way in HELL I’m going to open early so Mr. Anti-Dad of the Year can avoid his parental responsibility.) No apologies to his wife. Just a bald, “Not happening.”

She tries again, and he cuts her off mid-sentence, “Not happening.”

Okay, then. That’s two.

3. And then, as they are getting ready to leave, she is once again hunting through a bag for something to show me. She hands sweet baby boy off to his father, asking, “Would you put his coat on him, please?”

She and I continue to chat while she rummages, and then, somehow, before she’s found what she’s looking for, she’s holding the baby again. She’s a distractable sort, obviously, because she doesn’t really react except to distractedly hand baby and coat back to dad, repeating her polite request, and continuing to rummage.

It is not until baby reappears for the THIRD time in her arms that she stops chattering/rummaging, makes eye contact with dad, and says,

“I asked you to put his coat on!” If there’s some annoyance in her tone, it’s entirely warranted. Wouldn’t you say? And really, it was pretty mild.

“Yeah, I know,” he says. “You ask me to do a lot of things. And I don’t do them.” And he smirks a bit.

Oh.
My.
GOD.

It was at least two hours after they left that I calmed down enough to stop pacing and throwing my arms about. Two hours before I stopped with the sudden ejaculations.
“I don’t BELIEVE him!”
“Could you BELIEVE that man?”
“What an ASSHOLE!”
“AGH!”

As I say, I’m glad her work situation ended up precluding me from taking them because I would have felt really, really guilty saying no just because dad is an UNMITIGATED ASSHOLE… but I would have. Because there is no way, no way on this green earth, that I wanted to have anything to do with that man.

Not that I expected to see him doing any drop-offs or pick-ups. HA! But if something happened that he didn’t like… and god only knows there probably would be… I’m betting he’s the one I’d be dealing with. And what of the social events I plan from time to time? The pot-lucks and the sangria Fridays and the parties?

Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh…

I did have a conversation with her about him. A careful conversation on my part, wanting to communicate some important things, but not leave her feeling criticized, in which I tried to be supportive while not putting myself on the firing line. A conversation in which she said all the things a woman who doesn’t realize she’s in an abusive situation says… “He means well. My girlfriends have told me this, too, but they just don’t get him like I do. He just has an off-beat sense of humour. He’s a good dad. He really cares, he just has trouble showing it.”

Mm-hm.

I’m glad I’m out of it…

but,

bleah.

Just… bleah.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | eeewww, parents, the dark side | 23 Comments