That is how I would classify the children I am watching. Basically, the mom is super busy raising, training, and selling horses and running a farm while the dad works full time and then spends his time home working on projects. The yard looks like an organized junkyard. The children are loved. They are not ignored. But they are not bathed regularly, there is a huge lice infestation (which is where our children got the lice) and it is so bad that the boy has sores on his scalp. The dirt is so bad that under the dirt, there are sores.
I had a great reason to bath her children today. The boy took off his clothes, swirled them in mud, flung mud at everyone, and coated himself in mud. I also used to opportunity to do a lice treatment.
The boy has a severe speech issue (and I am sure the girl does as well. The baby is too young to know about yet) and she doesn't see it. When transferring the children to the truck (I am watching them overnight and met her at the trail head first thing this morning) I did not see that the baby who is in a baby carrier was not actually strapped in. She lives 25 miles away. That baby spent the whole ride here not being strapped in her carseat!
Basically, the children do what they want when they want. The boy got in the sugar one day and I took it away from him and the mom said "Oh, I let him have it. He feels better when he does so I figure he just wants it when his sugar is low."
I don't care if children run around barefoot, but if they have cuts on their feet, it is time to put a stop to it. For the record, my children like to go barefoot, and when they get a cut on their foot, I point out that this is why I tell them to wear shoes. Then they wear shoes for a while. The mom and children go barefoot all the time.
She has been very sheltered so there are things she just doesn't know. However, there are other things that she needs to know. Carseats are not just the law. There is a reason for infant carseats! If it were a 5 year old not in a booster, it probably wouldn't phase me. But an infant?
Lice can go unnoticed. However, when there is a huge clump of lice eggs that is evident from 5 feet away, there is an issue.
Children get dirty. They get filthy, disgusting, horribly dirty. However, they also need to be cleaned when they get dirty. I know having to heat water up is annoying. (Believe me, I know it is annoying.) However at least she has running water to begin with!
There are no toothbrushes packed. There was no clean shirt packed for the boy. There are no pajamas packed. No hairbrushes packed. Nothing. She did grab extra cloth diapers. But the only diaper cover is the one the baby is currently wearing.
And, Hannah said she brushed the girl's hair this morning. Looks like we'll be doing lice treatments here again. Crud. Neurotoxins, here we come. And, the hairbrush (as well as all the other hairbrushes just in case) will be soaking in bleach water. I am not messing around with lice. Not with the infestation I saw on the boy.
I need to figure out how to talk to the mom. I like her. I care about her and I care about her children. I am worried about them. I just need to figure out how to approach her about all of this. For all my grandstanding here at times, I am really a coward at heart. I do not like deeply personal conflict and this is deeply personal. It's her children which means it is her heart.