Friday, April 18, 2008

Lest You Think Having a Maid is All Fun and Games

This is a Muchacha Moment vent.

Yes, that's Pedro with a little cast on his little baby arm. My first child to have a cast.

Where to begin?

In the beginning of March my maid was hit by a car and broke her leg. The first doctor she saw told her it wasn't broken and therefore didn't treat it properly. She took the allowed two weeks off and we paid her. She returned to work mid-March and was obviously not better. So, she went to a private doctor (we paid) and he told her it was, in fact, broken and that she needed another 35 days to recover. The first two weeks of an authorized sick-leave the employer pays the salary, after that the Brazilian government pays (we are required by law to pay a tax every month on her behalf so that she can use this benefit if needs be). So, we stopped paying and supposedly the Brazilian equivalent of Uncle Sam (Tio Samuel?) picked up the slack.

We had Vanessa send her mom, Jane, to help me out on the days I needed it and were paying her each day. Her mom is a nice lady who normally takes care of my maid's three kids when she is here working. She actually cleans a lot better than my maid so I was ok with the arrangement.
Tuesday I left her with Pedro so I could go help in the Margarita's, Julio's and Juan Pedro's classes at school and go to their parent-teacher conferences (assuaging my guilt here: I was NOT getting a pedicure or out to lunch with friends!). When I got home Pedro was very fussy, so I grabbed him up and took him to my room to nurse him. He just kept looking at me with this so-sad look and grabbing his arm. I tried to move it and he yelped. So I go back downstairs and ask Jane what the heck happened to his arm.

She was shocked.

In very rapid Portuguese she said something like, "What? Nothing! He's been perfectly fine all day! Happy! Maybe he slept on it funny!"

Hmmmmmmm. Maybe.

I'm not the kind of mom who freaks out easily. So I gave it some time. He wouldn't use his arm and when he would walk and fall on it he would cry. I decided to wait until the morning to call the doctor. We put him to bed for the night; I was still fuming that something had happened and Jane wasn't talking. Then Guapo says, casually, "Maybe she's not lying. Maybe he has like bone cancer or something."

Thank you Guapo. So helpful. I spent the whole night mulling that pleasent thought over in my head. So by the next morning, when he still wasn't using his arm, I started freaking out. Unfortunately, I had fix brunch for 15 people because April is my turn to host the bookclub meetings here at my house and it just happened to be that day. Luckily I had Guapo's mom here to help me get everything done and take care of Pedro. I'm sure I was a great hostess since I was emanating something like, "did you eat? did you pick your books? Good-now GET OUT!!!"

Finally we got to the hospital and got the x-ray done.

It showed nothing. No tumors, no breaks, no nothing.

What the doctor thinks happened was that the maid pulled on his arm and it dislocated his elbow but that it went back in by itself, or why we were moving it around (it's called "nursemaid's elbow" and I guess it's fairly common in kids under 4 yrs of age). They casted it just so he wouldn't irritated it or fall on it the next few days.

I took him home and Jane was still at the house. When she saw him she was all surprised again and like, "oh, poor baby, what happened?" And I was like, "YOU TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED LADY!!!" (ok, so it probably wasn't that forceful since I'm not good at confrontation, but it was more forceful than my normal mild-mannered self). After some back and forth she said, "Well, maybe I was walking him and holding on to one of his hands and maybe he twisted and fell. But (still maintaining that she was never aware of any problem), he never cried."

No "sorry I broke your kid and made you spend $250 going to the hospital" Grrrrrr.

So, the lady can't be left with the baby. Not because something happened while she was with him, I understand that things happen with little kids, but because I don't trust her to tell me the truth. :(

Then she shows up to day (just to clean) and hands me a catalog of bedding products (I'm talking complete crap here-200 thread count twin bed sets that cost, I'm not kidding, $400 USD) and says that Vanessa never signed up for her benefits so she has no money and would I mind buying some bedding and showing the book to all my friends so they too will buy stuff?


Dreaming of a maid free life...


Awesome Mom said...

OH my gosh I would be so mad! Poor Pedro, I hope he feel better soon.

Maine Mom said...

That last paragraph has ME fuming, so I can imagine you are too!

Poor Pedro! Zoe had nursemaid's elbow when she was around 2. It happened when Matt was playing with her. We took her to the emergency room and they popped it back and showed us how to do it if it happened again. Not fun! I'm sorry Pedro got hurt. I'm glad it wasn't something more serious.

Janet said...

Wow, I'm glad it wasn't anything more than that. Too bad she had to lie about it.
He looks so teeny in that big old cast.

No Cool Story said...

ITA with maine mom >:(
I'm so sorry Gabs. I'd be fuming
and totally not able to trust her.

Once we had a maid yell at us and call us "stupid" (which we probably were, but still!) Thank goodness we told our mom and she fired her on the spot. But I can't tell you all the crap some maids put my sibling and me through that we never told.

Janice said...

I have a nephew who is very prone to "nursemaid elbow." And if it happens once, I am sorry to tell you, it will likely happen again. I would get rid of all of them fast. Its not worth it.

Sandra said...

I don't know how you kept your cool, I would have been spitting fire at the woman, nice or not.

Glad he's ok now poor baby.

Ballerina Girl said...

Hi Gabs
I am so sorry this had to happen. Hopefully it will pass quickly...poor cutie!
I have maid stories from Venezuela too....but I'll save that for another day!
Miss you! Talk to you soon!
Please give Pedro a kiss for me....
oh, and hey, what are you feeding Margarita? She is getting so tall! I saw her at school today and she seemed really tall to me!
Time to get together MORE...the kids are growing up on us way too fast.
Love, BG

marina said...

I would be funming too not only that but she lied to you she knew what happen and didn't want to tell you she acted like nothing, but I bet if it where her kid it would be another story,get rid of her,you can't trust her and poor little Pedro can't even talk for himself oh my heart aches,
I really don't feel good about her anymore and the lying thats not good.
I am gald he is ok ,and poor you suffering through all these not knowing really what happen I would of yell
I agree with sandra.
I will keep you in my prayers that you may fine a knew nanny and a good one,marina

utmommy said...

I would've been fuming. Poor little Pedro.

Sounds like having a maid isn't always roses.

When I was little my arms fell out of socket all the time. My mom said that she had to put tape on my arms that said, "Please don't touch". They had to lead me by my head, instead of holding my hand.

Liz said...

here's hoping utmommy doesn't have nursemaid's neck :) j/k

I hope little Pedro gets better! And is selling bedding by catalog like our version of a Tupperware party?

Kari said...

Gabriela! Yuk! I can only shake my head on the whole Pedro's arm thing, and then I can only WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVE YOU on the buy-my-sheets-because-she-has-no-money thing. Even if you paid her Guapo's entire salary, she probably would still "have no money..." Some cultures simply have no idea about the concept of savings, but that's another blog for another day.

Quick healing to Pedro!

k-squared's mom said...

I am so sorry. Poor Pedro still looks good natured even though he must be quite uncomfortable.

txmommy said...

poor Pedro!!

Calandria said...

you may want to learn how to do the nursemaid's elbow fix--it's pretty easy.

that would so bug me too that the maid's mother wouldn't just state the truth. Maybe she felt like it wasn't just an innocent accident. Maybe she felt that she'd been negligent or something.

Steve said...

Gabriela, strange calling you that...I saw your post on our blog and had to find out who it was. Then I saw this picture...Hudson just got his 3rd cast removed! We're hoping it stops. Hopefully this doesn't repeat itself for little "Pedro".

Hope all is well.