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.

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

23 Comments »

  1. argh! i am physically nauseous right now! that man is the king schmuck. i can just see his sucky smirk. OY! how did you not sock him square in the neck?

    poor mom and poor kid. they are going to bear the brunt of his ass-hatness. sigh.

    Comment by shelly | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. i saw this when you tweeted them but the look so much worse with more details. what a jerk!

    like shelly said, poor mom and especially poor baby!

    Comment by Angela | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  3. “sudden ejaculations”

    Good thing you were not a guy, otherwise I would have been very much confused 🙂

    Yeah, what an asshole. Poor child, hopefully he comes out if it okay.

    Comment by Suzi | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  4. Sounds kinda like a man who has a disproportionate need to be “manly” and in control. Ugh. I feel sorry for the woman. Stories like that always make me soooo thankful for what I have.

    Comment by Rosie_Kate | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  5. I swear, I know this man. Or one just like him. Remember, that was probably his “good” behaviour, too!

    Comment by Tamara | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  6. Tamara is right — that was probably him on his better behavior. That poor woman.

    Comment by Helen Huntingdon | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. Oh, my god. What a horrible man. I really appreciate that you spoke to her about it, though. Most people would just accept it, or decide it wasn’t their place to bring it up. But I do hope that having a virtual stranger (you) bring up the fact she is married to a complete tool will make her start to see that he really is a jerk.

    Poor her, poor kids, and poor you!

    Comment by Becka | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  8. What an asshole.

    Comment by Bethany | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  9. It’s always so interesting to see the kind of people who shouldn’t have children but have them (although it’s sad for the kid). When I taught preschool I had one 4 year old who was one of the coolest, most interesting and nicest kids I ever taught, and his surgeon mom was a horrible woman who spent every minute of her time with me complaining about what a brat he was at home. Once she actually said, in front of him, “We never wanted children; we only had him because all of our peers were having children and we felt like we were supposed to have one too just to keep up with them.” I have thought about this child for a decade since; I hope he ended up doing okay. He was a seriously awesome kid in spite of the woman who seriously didn’t deserve to be his mother. I would have adopted him in a heartbeat.

    Comment by Kiera | February 19, 2010 | Reply

    • That is the worst story I have ever heard. That ruins my day a little. I’m so glad I’m not a teacher.

      Comment by ifbyyes | February 20, 2010 | Reply

      • It was horrible – the only saving grace was the child’s spirit. When I looked at him after his mom said this horrible, horrible thing, he made a face at me like “yeah, she is who she is.” All I could think was “keep doing what you’re doing, kid. As long as you annoy the hell out of her you’ll be okay.”

        Comment by Kiera | February 20, 2010

  10. There is a child who has a father like this at the daycare where I work. The child is a lovely little girl, but the dad wants nothing to do with her. Its sad.

    Comment by Cassie | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  11. I have been so blessed with a man who’s not only a great husband but a stellar father. Seeing someone in a situation like this lady’s is SO. SAD. Makes me want to either adopt her and her baby or just punch the daylights out of the jerk dad.

    Unmitigated Asshole. You said it.

    Comment by MJ | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  12. OMG. That is just INSANE. Yes, definitely don’t want any part of that ass in your life!

    Comment by Alicia @bethsix | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  13. His behaviour is so outrageous that it almost makes you wonder whether he just has a really twisted sense of humour and enjoys shocking strangers. I choose to believe that he’s actually a nice guy, but just enjoys “showing off” as an asshat in front of people.

    EIther way, though, I wish that you had just said abruptly, “I don’t think this is going to work. Thank you for your time, but I don’t think you will be a good fit here.”

    It would have sucked for the poor mother, but I think it might have been ultimately beneficial, as

    a) It probably would have shocked the hell out of Mr. Asshat, who clearly thinks that he is an admirable and fantastic person. Being told frankly and to his face that his behaviour is unacceptable, and so much so that they had lost a daycare spot because of it, would probably have pissed him off royally and shocked him into behaving nicer for a few days.

    b) It might have made her realize that Mr. Asshat isn’t so harmless after all, and that her girlfriends are right and he really is ruining her life. Sometimes people in situations like that get to thinking that this is normal, and a sudden reminder that what is normal for HER is not normal to the rest of the world can be the wake-up call she needs.

    Comment by ifbyyes | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  14. He is definitely a jerk. My husband wonders if the father deliberately sabotaged the interview for his own twisted, selfish reasons. Perhaps he doesn’t want his wife back in the workforce? The more time she spends away from him and their home, the more her eyes will be opened to her dismal situation.

    Comment by Marci | February 20, 2010 | Reply

  15. Bleah indeed. I’m queasy just having read that. Ughhhh!

    Comment by Mwa | February 21, 2010 | Reply

  16. Things always seem to happen for a reason. I feel sorry for the wife and the baby.

    Comment by Iris Robin | February 22, 2010 | Reply

  17. To this man no one matters but him. The child is an annoyance the wife is to be ignored. People judge people with autism or down syndrome as societal problems but nacisists like this who destroy other peoples lives wives children and parents are considered NORMAL hmmmm .

    Comment by billarends | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  18. […] It’s Not All Mary Poppins – Mary is awesome and gets automatic props just for dealing with this guy. […]

    Pingback by Jayme is Evil — bethsix | February 27, 2010 | Reply

  19. How horrible. And uncomfortable. And worrisome.
    I only hope it never escalates.

    Comment by kittenpie | March 2, 2010 | Reply

  20. […] mostly it is. Not always. And you know, for the sake of the mother, I felt really badly about saying no, and was greatly […]

    Pingback by Signed! « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  21. […] Trust your gut. If there’s just something about that family, that mom, that dad, that niggles, if you feel tense or uncertain… don’t tell yourself you’re just […]

    Pingback by Ten Nine Tips for Choosing Daycare Parents « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | June 27, 2011 | Reply


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