Dear Mom Spark, My Friend’s Children are Smelly and Dirty

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Dear Mom Spark,

I have a friend; we’ve been friends for over four years. She has three young children and recently started back to work. I have agreed to be her day care provider. The problem is that I didn’t know her as well as I thought. 

 

Her children are smelly and dirty. I had to finally ask her to not bring the car seat that reeks of urine again unless and until she had a chance to scrub it. The 2 year old had yeast infections in her diaper frequently. 

 

The four year old was using the word “sucks” the other day. I told him that wasn’t an appropriate word and suggested he used stinks instead. Dad came to pick them up that day and he asked Dad how work was. Dad replied “it sucked!” Ohmygosh.

Their car seats, as well as the children smell and it’s kind of nasty in my car. When I buckle them in, I have to wipe the sticky off my hands. But worse is the times the parents will come to pick the children up and drive off with the 4 year old not in a car seat! I did speak to my friend about that. She’s done it again since. 

 

Dad threatens to spank the four year old for wetting his pull up during nap time. I don’t want this to be a discussion about whether to spank or not, because I understand that is a personal decision. But to spank for wetting? That won’t solve anything. 

 

I have taught the children to wash their hands (especially after a bowel movement!!). But they tell me they don’t do it at home. I’ve even told the 4 year old I’ll give him a prize when he can report to me that he is washing his hands at home too! I’ve told him to ask mommy to help him remember. When I was at their house recently there was no soap on the bathroom sink. I used to go to their house for Thanksgiving, but after learning all of this I am going to have to find a way to bow out. 

 

I have two questions. The first is about them not using the car seat. That is in a category all by itself. I’d rather alert the police and have them be ticketed than see them loose a child and me think I did not do everything I could to intervene. Thoughts? 

 

The other is the general care/cleanliness of the children. It’s grossing me out and makes it impossible for me to feel close to the children. I need the job. I have lost a ton of respect for my friend. Thoughts on that? 

 

For the record I wouldn’t call Child Services (another acquaintance suggested that). In the grand scheme of things, this is not the worst case and friends just don’t do that unless it rose to a level that is definitive and absolute (at which point I’d have no problem doing so). I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’ve lost a friend by agreeing to care for her children. 

 

Thank you.

Anonymous

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