Sunday, June 26, 2011

Quick rant on parent-to-parent etiquette

I need to get this out before the rage dissipates. I know tomorrow my anger will be leveled and I will take on my more reasonable attitude that life is too short to sweat the small stuff. After all, I should be dumping my creative(?) juices(??) into a post about the loss of my Mum two weeks ago but I don’t want to go there right now. It’s better to focus on the trivial at the moment.

So, let me ask you what is the best way to approach another Mum about their child having nits? Is it to bring it up as an announcement to those shameful parents in front of other parents and grandparents of the soccer team? This is what she did.
Instead of talking to us discretely or calling us on the phone to let us know. How is this beneficial?

Let me explain the situation. We were given free tickets to a comedy show for Friday night and thinking we needed a big dose of the sillies after the last couple of weeks we’ve gone through, I didn’t want to pass them up. But seeing that our 12 yr old chicken was going on a sleepover, there was the small matter of 8 yr old dog boy needing care.

As available babysitters are as rare as free nights out around here, the offer from dog boy’s friend’s Mum to have him over for a sleep over was hard to resist. She had seen to be a personable and responsible citizen in the past 4 months we had known her and very friendly on the Saturday mornings we joined up with the team. Even when she said she would be out but her Mum was staying with them to fill in, I had my tiny feeling of unease but she assured me it was all fine.

So child was dropped off and we were free! It was a good night with a couple of solid hours laughing (even though hubby pointed out my similarities with Fiona O’Loughlin’s lazy mothering skills!) and even a sleep in! The usual Saturday morning still started at 8.30am with picking up daughter for netball and meeting up son at soccer after. Our ‘friend’ had already called to say she would take the boys straight to soccer but ‘had to have a talk to us both’ … did not bode well, assumed that he had been a bit of a terror.

Except he wasn't. When daughter and I caught up with the boys, Dad quickly whispered to me ‘he’s got nits’ before the woman grabbed me and proceeded to regale me with the description of his disgusting infested head and what she went through to rid him of them and that her kids had only had them once in kindy and hoped that they hadn’t got them again. This was in front of at least two other mums who looked suitably embarrassed for me.

‘You should have called us’ I meekly said after apologising and looking suitably shocked (after all, we do put that ghastly lotion in their hair every week because the only time they do not have an egg carried home from school is in the holidays). She said she was going to call us but he didn’t want to go home … what? This super mum panders to a shy, diseased 8 yr old boy?

But wait, there’s more….

Now dog boy has had a bit of a runny nose for a couple of weeks and as boys do, when it dries up he picks it. Disgusting I know but I’m learning that’s what boys are made of. So of course it bleeds and it dries and I put a warm cloth on and it stops then it runs, dries, bleeds etc etc etc. I know this will stop when his nose stops running, but what kid doesn’t have a runny nose during winter. He has no other cold symptoms and he’s as fit as a mallee bull so he doesn’t need medicine. But no, this was not good enough for supermum, she attacked his nose with an ear bud, baby oil and vicks. She explained it all to me (still in front of the other mums), how she shoved it all up his sore nostril and announced it was infected and would need antibiotics.

WTF!! This is the part I get really mad about.

Now I don’t know whether she’s had a medical career in a past life, but I don’t think you should be shoving anything up somebody else’s child’s nose in any circumstances. My medical knowledge is limited to a senior first aid certificate (even though I need the manual on hand, I’m still qualified to treat a few things on students at my work), but I’m pretty sure this is overstepping the mark. Now dog boy is a shy boy (outside of his home and the soccer field), so he told me later he didn’t cry out much when this was going on.

I just get madder and madder thinking not only did she do this but poured something all over my son’s head that morning. He said he didn’t know what it was but did not recognise the bottle as anything we have ever used – and we have tried every nit lotion on the market – and that it smelt like petrol. WTF again!!!! What if he had been allergic to whatever he had been soaked in? I know when I use KP24 on my daughter her scalp starts peeling, what if he had had a reaction and his skin peeled off like a mandarin?


But wait … there’s more to rage about.

Before I got to the soccer field, she had also announced the whole drama to his Dad in front of another crowd of parents, even the coach and his parents. The coach then let him know that when their son has an ‘illness’, they keep him home till he’s better so he doesn’t ‘infect’ the other boys and this will be particularly important when the boys are about to go away on a soccer competition.

So not only do I get it with both barrels from supermum but then my steaming-from-the-ears husband blasts me about it as soon as we get away from them. First words: ”great job, Fiona O’Loughlin”.

That’s it, I’m ready to let her have it (in my head, or blog, of course, too much of a wimp to actually confront someone).

After gritted conversation over lunch it was agreed to make an emergency call to my hairdresser friend for an urgent buzz cut. She was wonderful as usual and when I repeated the drama from the morning she was as enraged as me, particularly about the nostril poking (note that I took him to the doctor this morning and the nose was NOT infected, just a bit ‘annoyed’ and was given some healing cream to put on – it’s already better after one day).

Of course my husband cooled down and started a plan to ‘fix’ the situation – the cut and doctor already put in place – and sent an email to the other parents letting them know that our boy had lice and they might want to check their sons hair, also we had now eliminated them (just spent the last afternoon soaking and combing all of us – even the dog!).

Funnily enough, the boy and Dad bumped into one of the other dads in the park today and he asked if we had noticed that ‘supermum’ was drunk yesterday morning? She was showing us how she danced the night away and singing whatever song she danced to – come to think of it, a little strange? The other Dad was concerned when we said she had our boy over and had driven him to soccer – and of course he had been told about the nits. As I think every person within shouting distance had.

Now, please let me know, am I right in thinking this IS JUST NOT DONE? Is there etiquette when it comes to treating someone else’s child and letting them know in front of people you haven’t known long and are really trying to fit in as the new kids on the block?

And are we better off just not ever going out without children ever again? There always seems to be something you have to pay out. There’s no such thing as a free ticket.


  1. Oh. My. Gosh.

    I would be FUMING if anyone put anything up my kids nose, let alone broadcast to the universe that kind of information.

    Kids get nits. No big deal. And no need to put it on the news in an attempt to make your sorry drunk self look 'better' either.

    Meanwhile she drove drunk to a kids soccer game on a Saturday morning???!! With your child in the car??? Far out! Fiona had better watch out, cos she ain't got nothing on Supermum :o

  2. Oh boy I'd be angry too. I think future playdates would be having her kids to my house rather than vice versa.

    Perhaps investigate professional babysitting services in your area instead? That way you could have a night out occasionally without the drama.

  3. I would be furious. I don't know how I would deal with the situation but I would be pretty pissed off.

  4. Well I'll be.

    This parents 'parent-o-meter' must be totally of kilter.

    Ok first up sticking things up your child's nose -without your consent or indeed the child's is not on.

    How would she like if you did that to her or her child?

    Secondly if a child has head lice a parent should do what a good childcare / school does. Contact the parent (discreetly if in public) inform them calmly that the child has headlice and that they will need to be treated and that's it.

    Have you thought about speaking to this parent to tell her how you felt? Might be a good way to pass on the negative energy!

    Ann :-)

    (PS got a heads up on your post from @StuffWithThing :-) )


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