Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!
What a fucking day.
Have you ever had to call the cops because your neighbor left her five year old son to look after her nine month old son? Have you ever heard a five year old child sitting on his back steps holding his nine month old brother crying, "I want my mom!"
I was on my way back from the market, when Chad called me on my cell. "I have (the neighbor boy) and his brother in the backyard."
Not really putting two and two together and forgetting that the brother is only nine months old, I respond, "How did they get in the back yard?"
Chad proceeds to tell me that he heard the five year old boy crying on the back porch and went over to ask him if he was okay.
Then it dawned on me, "Oh. (The five year old neighbor boy) and his nine month old brother?"
Chad responds, "Yes."
I ask, "Where's (the mother)?"
"She's not there."
"Are there any grown-ups? Yesterday, a cousin was looking after them. Is there a teenager?"
"No. I'm making him lunch."
"Okay. Keep them outside. I'm two minutes away."
It may seem strange that I told him to keep them outside, but my attorney friend has told me some horror stories and the last thing we need is a child claiming sexual abuse. She has me pretty paranoid.
I returned home about two minutes later. The two boys were on the back porch and Chad was making lunch for the five year old. I made him lunch the day prior when he was on the backyard playing with my son and told me he was hungry. His teenage cousin was looking after the two boys. I asked him if he had lunch or any food at his house and he said, "No." By the way the teen was eyeing his PBJ, banana and sunchips, I believe it.
I asked Chad and he said that he returned home and was making himself lunch in the kitchen when he heard the little boy crying through our open kitchen window. He looked out the window and saw the boy (whose house is across the alley) sitting on his own back porch with his baby brother an crying that he wanted his mom. Chad walked across the alley and asked the little boy where his mother was. The little boy responded, "I don't know."
Chad asked if he was alone and if anyone else was in the house and the boy told him, "No."
Chad called into the house, but no one answered. Chad then offered to take him to our house. The little boy went into his own home, made his baby brother a bottle with no grown-up assistance, then went with Chad and that's when Chad called me.
The little boy's face was tear stained. I asked the little boy if there were any grown-ups at home or if his cousin was there and he said, "My cousin was here yesterday." Which I knew to be true, because they were all at my house and she kept using my phone trying to reach the boys' mother while I fed the little boy lunch.
The baby's diaper was soaked and leaking. I said, "Oh this baby needs a new diaper."
The five year old responded, "I need to get him a pamper."
I told him, "You don't need to do that. You are five. That's a grown-ups job. Not a five year old's job. A grown up needs to get him a diaper, and you need to eat your lunch. That's all you need to do."
It was promptly after this that I called the police.
I didn't call police because of this one incident. The little boy, as far as I know, is not even in the mother's custody. Last year, she was arrested. When the boy woke up the following morning and his mom wasn't there, he came screaming out of the house. The construction workers renovation the house next door called police, and the boy was put in custody of an aunt (with her own major problems).
A week prior, the boy was playing at our house. I had a few friends over and her child was over playing. We were letting the boys go crazy. Summer vacation had just started, we were all happy to be free of school schedules and kicking back with a few beers. At one point, the boys let themselves out of the fence and were in the alley playing. I shooed them back into the yard. The neighbor mother was on her back porch so I went over there to let her know that I wanted the boys in the yard. She said, "Well I'm out here." And she was, but when I went up her steps to go see the baby, she was there with the baby's daddy and neither one of them could barely speak they were so fucked up.
Anyway, the cops arrived, and I started crying as soon as I let them in my home. I was thinking, "Good God, this is really happening, and they are probably going to take these kids."
While the cops were at my house, the mother arrived home. She claimed that she had to go get the baby milk. Granted, she did have a small can of formula, and she went when the babies were sleeping. She was gone a minimum of thirty minutes that we know about.
She kept saying, "But Tracie, I had to get the baby some milk."
I told her, "But you wait till the baby is awake. You don't leave a five year old to look after a nine month old baby."
"But I had to get the baby some milk!" I could smell alcohol on her breath. It was a little after noon.
I told her, "(The five year old) made him a bottle!"
She responded, "But there's not much in that."
It was a full bottle. It was mostly liquid, but it was enough to hold a baby over till she could put the kids in the car and go get more formula.
I don't know what the outcome is at this point. Child protective services came to investigate. It's been very quiet at the house for two days. I have called the child protective service agent that showed up, but that was very late on Friday, and I haven't heard back. I'll call again on Monday.
I think they took the kids. I wonder if she'll get pregnant again? That's why she had the fourth baby. The other three children have been removed from the house and she was going to loose her Section 8. She got pregnant to keep her housing. The baby is nine months old and the size of a four month old child. Because they smoke around him all the time, he wheezes when he breathes. I can hear gurgling in his lungs.
I know this wasn't the first time that she has left those children unattended. The neighbor heard the boy crying earlier in the week and sat with them till she returned.
I know that I did the right thing. So why do I feel so awful?