When I gave birth to Dindin until I got pregnant, we did not have our own helper. Since we live with my in-laws, I would ask for help from the house help and my parents from time to time in taking care of Dindin whenever I need to go out or do something. But my husband and I are the primary caregivers.
This year when I got pregnant with Siobe, we thought that we already needed an extra hand, or two for that matter, because Dindin is already in school and we are pre-empting more needs when the second one is born. And by that time, the helper should be able to know her way around our family’s system so that I can leave her to take care of Dindin and our home while I am incapacitated.
That is what I thought.
When February 20, 2013 came, Jezza came into our midst. As with any new helper, I ran her through how we do things in the house and in our room. You see, we only occupy one bedroom and we have one toilet and bath. And our stuff is in the hallway. It is not really much to maintain so she has to clean all those from time to time. Her primary work is to take care of Dindin, play with her, rotate her toys and maintain them, and most of all, keep her good company. She gave Dindin baths and prepared her meals. So pretty much what I used to do for Dindin, she had to take over, especially that my baby bump is growing. But I made Dindin’s milk in the morning and evening, stayed with her from around 1pm to 4pm and then during bedtime, which is around 8:30pm. So the yaya’s work time is really short. Even when Siobe came, she still had her afternoon naps and she was off by 8:30pm. She had ample time to rest.
When my tummy was still small and there is still not much work to do, we would take her to parties and family gatherings so that she will know how we do things and so that she could feed Dindin. Eventually though when the baby was born, we left her at home so that she can clean the room while we are away, as we really have to go out when she is cleaning because we are allergic to dust. And if we kept on taking her with us, she could not do much housework. I think this move gave her more bad moods.
Now, as with any other person our yaya is not perfect. That is what I stuck in my mind so I would remind her how we do things around the house if she forgets or makes a mistake. For example, up until the day she left us, she would leave the kid’s used bottles in the sink without opening them. I specifically told her to open them, rinse them with water, and soak them in the basin filled with water so that the milk will not curdle in the bottle. That will also prevent the roaches from crawling over them. Things like that. The problem is, she would then frown and magdadabog. She is also not a stickler to cleanliness, such as washing hands, disinfecting, and stuff. After a few instances of this happening, I talked to her formally and told her that it should not happen again. This is our home and of course, she has to abide by the way how I want things done and should not be angry. We have had several of these pep talks and it seems that every time she would improve.
This month, hubby had two scheduled trips–one to Manila and one to CDO. Jezza was told that she should not make plans for this month, as I am alone. She has a habit of making plans without telling us and she expects us to follow hers. On the first day that hubby left for Manila, I told her to come home immediately after Dindin’s exams because I haven’t taken a bath yet. When they got home, I gave her the baby and Dindin played while I went inside the bathroom. When I got out, they were still inside the room. Then Jezza went out carrying the baby with her. When I went to my computer, I saw that my husband’s Facebook had shared Jezza’s photo. I asked my husband who was online if he shared her photo. He said that he didn’t even know that she had an account. So I told him to see his timeline because Jezza’s single photo was shared four times. When I asked her about it, she denied…several times. That was the last straw about lying. That was when we had really proven that she lies and that even if there is proof, she would deny it to death. And she told the other helpers that she would go home because we are just finding fault in her.
That night, Dindin asked for pancit canton. Jezza asked if she could, so I said yes. She cooked for Dindin and when it was about done, I went out to feed Dindin and asked her to watch over Siobe who was asleep in the bedroom. That was already her nighttime sleep that usually lasts at least 5 hours so I was confident that I can feed Dindin. Jezza asked me in a loud voice, “Ano?” And then angrily put Dindin’s plate down. She was angry because she wanted to watch TV while feeding Dindin. When she went inside the room, it was not five minutes until Siobe cried and from outside, I heard that it was a really painful cry. I don’t now what she did but I wondered why Jezza did not bring her outside. So I went in. She was squeezing Siobe so hard and shushed her so loudly by the ear so I took the baby from her and told her to feed Dindin instead. Siobe kept on crying for almost 2 hours and she was inconsolable. When I gave her a bath the next day, Siobe’s immunization area was swollen and her temperature has elevated. I suspect that Jezza squeezed it unintentionally and that’s why she cried so much because she was in pain. Sigh….only because she wanted to watch TV.
I resolved to let her stay until hubby came home four days later because Dindin still had exams and there was nobody to bring her to school. But I kept a close eye on them especially when they were at home. And I prayed really hard for protection on Dindin. Yet the last days with her were just crazy. I let my parents come over here every day so that they can help me take care of the kids so Jezza did not have much time with them. But despite that, she was on a bad mood everyday. I asked her to buy medicines for me from a nearby store and she got mad that I asked for my change. She had her hair down and she scratched her head with two hands violently and irritatedly said “Ambot nang a, nalipat na ko! (Ewan ko Ate, nakalimutan ko na!)” And I was like what? After 2 hours and she can’t remember how much money I sent her, how much she bought, and how much was her change. Actually, this was not the first time this happened. I just did not mind it before.
On Sunday, she asked to go home on Oct. 23, even when she knew that Dennis is still leaving for CDO that day. That was when I talked to her and said yeah, I will let her go but not the 23rd but the following day. That was when I detailed to her the wrong things that she did. Because aside from the Facebook thing-y, there were many things that were connected to my children but it was the Facebook thing that has proven that she’s lying.
1. Dindin cries every day. And whenever I would leave her with Jezza she frowns. At first I attributed this to having a sibling but when Jezza left, we have proven that this is not true. She adores her little sister and has no insecurities about it. The same is true with Siobe. Whenever I passed her to Jezza, she would look at her and then frown. I thought it was just coincidence but it happened almost every time, even when she had a playful mood with me.
2. I have caught Jezza many times in the past scolding Dindin and I have told her never to do that again because that’s my child and she has no right to do it. If Dindin did something wrong, she has to report to me. I know that Dindin is not an unruly child. She listens to reason. Eventually, when Jezza left, the two other helpers and the salespeople at the store told me how Jezza would often tease Dindin and scold her afterwards, even shouting at her and looking at her with angry eyes. The Tuesday before she left, she looked at Dindin angrily and Dindin just sat on the floor, her spirit crushed, and said she was too tired to go to ballet even though she was already dressed. This has never happened before. 🙁
3. She has very long rebonded hair that she doesn’t want to cut. I told her that if she doesn’t want her hair short, at least tie it when you are taking care of the baby. She would tie it loosely and complain that Siobe keeps on grabbing at her hair. And I saw that she got really irritated when the baby did.
As if these were not enough, I learned when Jezza left that whenever she prepared food for Dindin, she would eat using Dindin’s spoon before my daughter even ate. And she did this even when she was sick! Que horror! She was coughing when she left and my daughter did, too. For the first time, Dindin’s cough got so infected that she had fever reaching 40 degrees! She has never had this before! Upon learning this, I had no choice and decided to give her antibiotics. I also learned that whenever she would bring Siobe outside, she kissed her on the mouth, shook her, or squeezed her. And the saddest part is, nobody told me even when my kids were in danger. I really cried when I learned this. We have taken care of Dindin when she was a baby and now that she is older, someone else will do that to her because she is defenseless?
Jezza was always in a bad mood because she skips meals and stays up late. I specifically instructed her to eat at proper times and to sleep early so that she will be in a good mood when she takes care of the kids. I let her take naps and don’t call her until it’s around 4pm. But she wastes these times by texting or calling. I was told by different people including my in-laws that she is still on the phone even until 3 or 4am. It is no wonder why she is cranky during the day because she lacks sleep! She would shout, giggle, and flirt on her phone but she says it is only her mother and that they have family problems. But she is on the phone almost all day, even when she is eating and washing Siobe’s clothes! When I confronted her about it just before she left, she said that the other helper is using her phone. Gee, and really thinks that I am so tanga!
Additionally, I buy her snacks like biscuits and cereal drinks so that she would not have to go to the store when she gets hungry. She also has multivitamins because I wanted her healthier as she is so thin. But she refused to take them regularly because her appetite increases and I gather that she does not want to gain weight. Gee. We also incur an additional monthly expense for her medicines because she always has hyperacidity, cough, headache, toothache, and all other aches. Eventually, we bought her Gaviscon for her hyperacidity and she got well. That was when she started buying softdrinks from the nearby store.
Sigh…There are still so many things but if I write them all down, I would eat up the bandwidth of my blog. I am just so happy and relieved that she is no longer with us and we are now in the process of healing, especially for the children. I keep on praying for healing upon my children inside and out. Dindin is really so thin now. She got thinner while Jezza was taking care of her and I really wondered why because she said that Dindin often finished her food. So I kept buying different kinds of vitamins so that Dindin will eat better and gain some weight. I really thought it was just the stress of school, ballet, and having a new sister. But then again, I think she is too stressed with Jezza and Jezza might actually be the one eating her food (only God knows). God, I was so gullible to believe her! I am not sure if I was just too pre-occupied with my pregnancy and eventually childbirth to notice. But then Jezza must have thought that she gained our trust so she abused it to the max. Even if we had a CCTV, we couldn’t possibly wire the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, store, school, and all the other areas that Jezza has alone times with my children.
I am now very tired and sore. From my scalp to the soles on my feet, I ache in areas I didn’t even know existed. Not until the masahista touched them. I am tempted to take painkillers already. I am dizzy from lack of sleep that whenever my back touches a soft surface I would doze off. But I am happy and I have peace of mind that my children are not being abused. I am too traumatized to hire another helper and entrust my kids to another person except family.
What hurts me the most is that we really considered her a part of her family. I had many plans for her family, how we can help her nephews and nieces and especially her Mama. I was already planning to start buying groceries little by little for her family’s Christmas gift pack. Now, I wonder if any of those stories are true. We cared for her, but she did not do good things to my children.
Hubby and I are not one heart with this. He said that we needed a helper because he also has work and he can’t always be there with me. He also said that not all helpers are like Jezza. But I said, I am a stay at home mom, I can do this with God’s strength. I am not the first mom to do this, many had gone before me and had even more children. Pretty soon, without our knowing it, Dindin and Siobe are already older and will require lesser care. I don’t want to go through the trial and error phase again with a helper and risk damages to my children. I am willing to sacrifice my work, my rest, and pretty much everything else for my children. I already made a mistake with Jezza. I think that’s enough.
Sigrid - Bacolod Blogger
Sigrid is a work at home mom and Bacolod blogger who tries to juggle taking care of the kids, homeschooling in Bacolod, covering events, designing, writing, and blogging. After finishing her degree in Mass Communications from the University of St. La Salle, she went on to become a news reporter/writer for a local daily and eventually pursued a career in advertising as a copywriter and graphics designer. After her stint in the corporate world, she became a freelance writer, contributing to national and international publications covering a variety of topics. She was a contributing food writer to COOK Magazine before she became a food and mommy blogger. She blogs at: