Judy struggled through the doorway holding Jake on one arm and trying to hutch up a shoulder bag on the other.
She asked, “Can you place my ad in this weekend’s issue, please?”
Judy had decided she would return to work – but not full-time – just part-time. She was advertising locally for a child-minder for three days a week. This would allow her to be hands on with Jake for most of the time.
A fortnight later whilst having breakfast John asked, “Have you decided yet which of the two you want to look after Jake?”
Judy had whittled it down to two possibilities: Mary Canns had a glowing reference from the previous family she had been with but had no formal qualifications. She had worked for her employers for twelve years, until her services were no longer required. However, June Jarvis, who was just 21, had a qualification in child care with distinction and brilliant references from all her main tutors.
“I think I’m going to go with youth. Plenty of energy and enthusiasm! June Jarvis has a first class qualification and good references from her teachers.”
Judy’s doorbell rang. “Hi there June, you’re good and early. I’ve fed Jake. Here’s a list to help you get through the day. Ok!”
Driving to work Judy thought how June was immaculately dressed. All that make-up and those painted nails. She thought, ‘Not conducive to diaper changing and child puke.’
When she got in to the work’s car park she phoned her friend Mavis. “Mave, would you mind just looking in at my place today, to see how things are going with Jake and his child-minder?”
“Sure – I’ll get back to you and let you know.”
In the afternoon, when Mavis arrived and let herself in, she was met by baby Jake screaming his head off. She looked round but could see no baby-minder. She checked Jake over and had to change his diaper – but still no appearance of June.
She looked out through the window and spotted June in the backyard smoking a fag with one hand and looking with admiration at her varnished nails on the other.
She decided to phone Judy there and then. “Jude, this child-minder’s really bad. When I arrived Jake was yelling his head off. Miss World was having a smoke break and checking out her nails in the backyard. You need to get rid of her and fast! I’m not leaving Jake alone with her Jude – shall I send her packing?”
“Will you give her $100 dollars for her short services and tell she is no longer required? If she’s awkward tell her to hang on there with you till I get back. Thanks so much Mave, see you later.”
Later Judy contacted Mary Canns who was available to start immediately. She was a pearl of a find. Jake grew up loving her and she became like one of the family. Jake as a child called her Mammy Canns and was still calling her that when he reached his eighteenth birthday.
About a year after June Jarvis had been sacked, there was a big court case involving her. A child had died in her care and it was alleged that there had been gross negligence but it could not be proven. There was a suggestion the child may have been shaken and that it had caused the brain damage. However, because of general slackness in duties she was officially blacklisted as being unfit to mind children.
Mammy Canns proved to Judy that common sense, real experience and dedication can be irreplaceable in matters of life and death.
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