Monday, August 13, 2007

Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!

Scale
There is a 16-year-old girl who babysits for us on the rare occasions -- once a quarter, really -- that Pete and I have somewhere to go in the evening. We found her through an F&B friend, and she's been great with the kids. Like our "nanny" before her, she's young and energetic, so the kids can't run her ragged, although I'm sure they try.

With Pete joining us on the bookend weekends of our kamping vacation, I asked the young lady if she'd dog sit for us. She's done so once before, about six weeks ago when we cruised down to Santa Cruz for a weekend.

She had a friend stay with her the first time. That was cool with me 'cause I know I'm not too keen staying alone in a strange house, and I'm 30 years older than her. When we got back on the Sunday that first time, I discovered that someone had gotten sick in both toilets. For once, I'll keep the details to myself, but let's just say that low-flow toilets don't really clean such episodes away entirely.

I'm not sure anymore whether my first thought was that they'd been drinking or they were bulimic. I think it was the former because the sitter is a rather hardy kid, not a typical candidate for bulimia in my eyes. My F&B friend thought the latter.

In any event, I asked her if she or her friend had gotten sick. She said they hadn't. I checked the trash can and there were no signs of booze, but there were plenty of food wrappers. I had already noted that much food was gone from the pantry.

Fast forward to the past week. I came home yesterday and found the same evidence. Lots of food gone, lots of food packages in the trash, and the telltale signs of illness in the toilet. I cleaned the toilet and didn't say anything to my husband about it. He volunteered, however, upon noticing a clean toilet, that he'd had to clean up after her last weekend upon his return home. Neither weekend did her friend stay with her.

I buy into the village theory. No one can stop me from speaking up when there's an issue with a kid -- mine or someone else's. I take it a step further and act the "villager" on other things, such as picking up trash when I see it or cleaning up other dogs' droppings down at the field. I especially buy into the village theory when it comes to people I know.

So it's intruder time. The question is: how intrusive should I be? Leave it at talking with her or taking it a step further and talking to the parents? It's not a task I want to undertake but is it the right path to take? I'd be curious if anyone has been in this situation before and has some advice.

5 comments:

raymond pert said...

See if you find this helpful

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eating_disorder_help_support.htm#help_family_member

la bellina mammina said...

bit tough - this one, ain't it? Why not, next time, before she goes, show her the bathroom and asked what happened. I really don't know what to tell ya..just follow your gut feeling I guess.

Sian said...

the fact that she didn't clean up after herself, leaving obvious evidence behind her, might suggest that she wants to be found out?
It is very difficult that one. I am sure you will handle it bravely, good luck

Bibi Move Scliar said...

I would talk to her first and explain that you will talk to her parents, not to punish her, but to help her. Offer you can do it together.
It is important to explain that this is a disturb and that she is not "guilty" for having done something wrong, but that she will need support of her family to find balance again.

Jeni said...

Gotta agree with you on the intruder time theme and also, with the other commenters too. Bulemia is an illness and a very serious one too. I don't know exactly how I would approach this but I'd figure out a way somehow. Definitely let her know that you're there to help, not to cut her down over the issue. Hope you find a way that is comfortable for you and helps her too.

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