My Daughter, Grace Has a best friend, who we shall call Mary for the purposes of this blog. Grace and Mary are typical 8 year old girlfriends: The are inseparable, yet constantly bickering and fighting. They remind me very much of myself and "N" when we were that age, and "N" and I are still friends. So I have a lot of hope for Grace and Mary and I do my best to accomodate their friendship, despite the drama and the many ups-and-downs. It's quite entertaining, actually. Yes. I have little to amuse myself these days...
Anyhoo, the girls had stayed with Mary's mom on Saturday night and yesterday was Mary's 'custodial arrangement day' with her dad. The girls wanted to go to the local outdoor pool and Mary's dad offered to take them both, I agreed. I spoke with him beforehand, telling him what Grace is and is not allowed to do: i.e. she can swim in the deep end, she can go off the high-dive board, dietary restrictions... you know. All that usual parent stuff. I said "The only thing I am a Nazi about is sunscreen. You can see how fair Grace is,. She burns very easily. You really have to slather her with factor 50". He reassured me to death, Mary is the same way (she is). He has a brand-new bottle of factor 50. All would be fine. He is a medical doctor and a dad so I let it go, despite a nasty little niggle I had somewhere between my gut and the small of my back.
Grace was deposited rather unceremoniously on my doorstep at 4:45-ish. She said she had had a good time.
As we usually do on Sundays, I took my kids out for dinner in Friendly's while my husband had his soccer game. It is our time out alone, and we like it. I sat in the restaurant and watched Grace's face turn pink. First under her eyes, then a patch at the the side of her face, then her forehead. Then I noticed that her chest was red. Then the space under her eyes turned from pink to red and started to puff, and the initial pink areas turned red, while the rest of her face turned pink and everything got progressively darker and darker. Throughout dinner I watched my daughter turn redder and redder as the sunburn developed and all the while she was chattering happily away, completely oblivious to the fact that she was burned and would probably be up all night crying. Not to mention the cancer risk.
I couldn't finish my meal. In fact I barely made a dent in it. Joe scolded me: "Why did you get a big kids' meal if you weren't going to eat it? You should have gotten a little kids' meal." There is no arguing with that logic. It is mine. Verbatim.
As soon as I got home I called Mary's dad. I pointed out to him that I had always taken utmost care of Mary when she had been with us, wherever we had gone. That she had spent many many hours in our care and had always been fine. I had always treated her like one of my own. I asked him why he thought it was appropriate for him to repay my care of his daughter by taking my daughter out for one day and returning her burned?
He flustered about both girls being "a little bit red". As he had not seen Grace in hours. I don't know how he felt he could make that claim. I corrected him: "She is way more than "a little bit red". She is burned".
Then he blamed Coppertone. That's right. Coppertone. The sunscreen people. "I put the coppertone on her. The coppertone must have failed." Had I been wearing heels, I would have fallen off them. However, He could not explain how the coppertone appeared to have worked on parts of her body, like the center of her back, which looks kind of like a reverse target, and some splashy effect on her left shoulder.
I asked how the sunscreen was applied: According to him, The girls applied it on themselves (What?), then he allegedly went over it again. Hero that he is, he even insisted on continuing after they became bored with the process. "As is appropriate for the adult in charge" I told him. "Thank you for pointing that out" said he. What was he expecting? A medal? For allowing her to get burned only in patches instead of all over?
However, I explained the problem very succinctly. Not coppertone: "Negligence." He didn't like that truth.
You know, had the man sucked it up, taken the bollocking, accepted responsibility, apologized to my daughter -not to me, she was the one who got hurt. (He refused to speak to her when I offered to put her on the phone. "I am not playing these games" (?)) and acted like an adult, I would have been fine with that. But this squirming, defensive, argumentative dodging of the issue was just sickening. From a dad and a doctor, no less!
It is easier to see the damage in this picture than in the one I posted originally. The center of her back was obviously sprayed. You can also see some white splotches on the top of her left arm, where she must have gotten splashed with some sunscreen. And yet, according to Doctor Dad, this burn is the fault of Coppertone, and not his negligence.
Who thinks I should sue Coppertone? <looks around> No-one? Thought so.
I am posting this here so that Dr. Dad has access to it. He refused to give me his e-mail address. I asked for it when I offered to prove to him that she was more than "a little bit red". So now all of you can post your comments here tell him what you think of the effect of his inaction on my child.
He says I am overreacting. Am I? If it was your child, wouldn't you be be furious too (and the front is worse)? Please leave your comments to this one. I really want to know.