Thursday, 13 January 2011

Suspicious Minds

Today I collected Ruby from nursery as usual.  As the door was opened for me, one of the staff said "err, we need to have a word with you before you go".  "OK" I said as I breezed in and went over to the table to collect her coat and bag.  As I'm wrestling her into hat, scarf, gloves etc, I noticed an accident form on the table, with her name on it.  Nothing unusual there - this nursery practically fills a form in every time a child sneezes.

I assumed they needed my signature on the triple carbon copied paperwork, so hung around waiting.  Then the nursery worker came up and said "can we talk in private?"  Still I thought nothing of it, and it was only when she led me and Ruby into a different room that I thought it was all a bit ominous.

"When you dropped Ruby off this morning her face was bleeding" she informed me.  "Really?" I replied - I certainly hadn't noticed my child's bleeding face as I unwrapped her scarf, removed her coat and kissed her goodbye.

"Yes," she went on "She had blood down her T-Shirt and on her hand, and her face was bleeding quite badly". I looked at Ruby, who seemed absolutely fine, but had the little, tiniest mark on her face -seriously, the size of a pin-prick.  Yesterday, I noticed she had a tiny scratch or spot or something on her cheek, and I explained about this. I didn't notice how or when she'd done it, but explained that she'd probably just picked the scab and made it bleed.

"The thing is," she carried on, "Ruby got very upset and was crying a lot.  We tried to clean her up..." (honestly, they were making this sound like a blood-bath!) "...and we put a cold compress on her face, but she didn't want us to.  When we asked why she was so upset, she said 'she didn't want the Ladies to come'.  Do you know what she means by that?"

I had absolutely no idea what this woman was talking about!  So I bent down to Ruby and asked her why she'd been upset when she'd hurt herself earlier.  At this point, of course, she decided to go all coy, and hid behind my scarf, refusing to talk.  So, again, carefully I asked her "who are these Ladies you were talking about?"

"Her" she replied pointing at the nursery worker before me!  At this point I decided that this 'chat' was more an exercise in serious arse-covering on their part, rather than genuine concern for her wellbeing.

The nursery lady went on, "you see this is where we got confused, because at first she said it was us she didn't want to come, but then she said she didn't mean us, she meant 'The Ladies' "  She said this with a very sinister emphasis! I told her not to worry, that Ruby had recently started getting quite sensitive about anyone looking if she'd hurt herself, or fell over and grazed her knee etc.

Clearly, I'd said this with too much flippancy for Miss Marple the nursery worker. She was like a dog with a bone. "We wondered, if perhaps you had any scheduled visits coming your home?"

Suddenly the penny dropped and I realised what she was implying. No! I don't have anything like that I replied, feeling super-defensive.  How dare she?!  What was she suggesting? That I'm on some kind of Social Services list? I was quietly seething, and frankly quite upset and embarrassed by this.

I wracked my brains to think who these people where, that she could possibly be referring to.  Then I remembered, on our walk in this morning, Ruby had asked me where I'd been yesterday (I'd been to a meeting and Granny had looked after her for the day). I explained that as Ruby didn't know the people I was meeting yesterday, I'd told her that I'd got the train and met some ladies.

"Ahh" the nursery worker replied, "that might explain it.  Maybe she associated her being in pain and needing her mummy, with you not being around because you were busy with some 'ladies'. Where you out for very long?" she asked.  Honestly, what was I now being accused of? I'd hardly abandoned my child!  I told her (quite firmly) that I'd been out for the day. She was perfectly happy being cared for by her granny, and it was the first time I'd spent any time on my own for months. Why do I have to explain this??!

Ever one to help my cause, Ruby then pipes up, apropos nothing "I don't want Henry to touch my leg!" Oh good grief! The look that the nursery worker gave me.  Carefully, I explained that Henry is her cousin. He is 4 years old (he's not some sinister old uncle who touches my daughter).  Could this conversation get any worse?

I signed the accident form and said goodbye as cheerily as I could.

I know I should be grateful that the staff picked up on this, and that they were only concerned for her welfare, but I tell you, when it's you who's on the receiving end of the squinty-eyed suspicion, it's not pleasant at all!


  1. Gosh, I completely understand that staff that work closely with children have to be vigilant, but dear oh dear!!!

    Big hugs, I can only imagine that you wanted to ground to open up, but I bet they have those kind of conversations more often than you would think, and most of the time the parents are good, loving parents such as yourself.

  2. Thanks hun. I've never been in a situation like that before, it was horrible.

    The funny thing is, she eventually opened up to her dad this evening, and explained what she'd meant was that she didn't want all the nursery staff ('ladies') fussing around her, she just wanted to carry on playing! It was just such an innocent little comment and they seized on it :0(

  3. That's terrible, yes it's great that they picked up on it, but they had no right to accuse, exaggerate or to speak to you that way, especially not in front of Ruby, I hope you and Ruby are both ok now.

  4. Oh no! Gosh must have been excruciating for you. I think your right it was a mixture of obliged to ask about the incident and covering themselves!!!
    It did make me chuckle though when Henry and touching the leg was mentioned

  5. Thank Mel, yes we're fine.

    I think she just got quite embarrassed, she normally can express herself very well, but when she's not understood properly she gets quite emotional and upset.

    The staff weren't nasty or horrible to me, it was just the sickening realisation I felt when I clocked what they were getting at. I'm sure that they must deal with 'actual' situations in the course of their work, it's just very upsetting when you've done nothing wrong and it was over such a silly misunderstanding. x

  6. Thanks Gidders!

    Yep, typical of my daughter - when I'm in a hole, she'll dig it deeper for me! x

  7. LOL!! your last comment made me remember what I used to say about Middle Miss when she was Rubys age. 'She'd get me hung' and it's true. She could make the most innocent of things sound awful! Like 'Remember when you pushed me off the slide Mummy, and a cut my knee' She meant pushed DOWN the slide, as you do.... I'm sure people passing by had visions of me flinging her off the top of a helter skelter!!! LOL!

  8. That's awful and I'd have been tempted to have a proper go at the member of staff who was grilling you. It is good that they keep an eye on them, but honestly! Talk about over doing it. I did snigger at the 'I don't want Henry to touch my leg' bit though. They do time things perfectly don't they!

  9. Thanks Kay! Grrrr can't believe they put me through that!

  10. Hmm. I would be tempted to go back and say something. That's not a very subtle way of dealing with things.

  11. I agree with Kate, take it up with the manager of the nursery. Not a great way to deal with a situation, I think i would have flipped my lid. I understand that if they have a concern they need to raise it but surely if there was blood on her top when you had dropped her off they should have said something then. hope you're ok x

  12. Thank you both. It's really nice to get some other perspectives on this, I often wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill!

    I will take it up with them when she's next in x

  13. Your post "kind of" made me laugh, but I also see the seriousness of it all. It can be blown out of all proportion, so it's best to nip it in the bud. My daughter drops me in it no end too so I know where your coming from. xx

  14. Hi Mummyattheschoolgate :0)

    Yes, it is sort of funny now - especially when the little monster mentioned people touching her! Talk about timing!

    I was flaming furious at their insinuations though and I'm going to have to tell them. Dreading it!

  15. I really think that I would have to say something. They can't treat parents like that... that's just terrible. And on what grounds are they making these assumptions? On the basis of a teeny, tiny scratch?! I really think I would talk to the head and tell her while you appreciate their concern for the children, they can't talk to parents like that.