It took me three months, but I finally wrote a letter to Golden Corral, the restaurant that accused me of starving and neglecting my child due to her health issues and small size. This was the first time anyone had ever humiliated and hurt me over my daughter’s special needs. Here’s a copy of the letter I sent. I feel sick even thinking about everything that happened that night. I am completely disgusted and sickened by everything that transpired that night. I hope they will take action to prevent this from happening to another poor mother and her special needs child.
I have debated contacting your company for a while regarding one of my experiences at your restaurant. I was really shaken up and upset by what happened and I feel that I need to let you know.
I visited your Anchorage location when I was on federal jury duty. I live three hours away from Anchorage, but was staying in a hotel with my friend and my nine-month-old daughter. We thought it would be fun to go out to eat, and I had always enjoyed dining there any other time I had visited Anchorage.
My daughter was diagnosed with failure to thrive, along with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy in August of 2011. She was and still is, much smaller than most babies her age and has special health concerns. These issues, quite frankly, are no one’s business but mine and my family’s.
My daughter would go into frantic fits if she was in restrictive clothing such as socks or a coat. Most likely a sensory processing issue, which is common with children who have her issues. Because of this, we wrap her in blankets when we go from the car to indoors. We did the same thing that we always do while we were visiting your restaurant. We wrapped her up snugly in blankets and carried her in and took the blankets off when we got inside.
Our server asked how old my daughter was, and not even thinking about her small size, I told the woman she was nine months and she looked shocked and I instantly regretted telling her.
While I was up getting my plate at the buffet, a waitress approached my friend to talk to her about how we need to have a coat on my daughter and that she’s just trying to look out for the little babies she sees and how she hopes we aren’t offended, but she wanted to let us know that the other waitresses were talking about calling children’s services on me because we didn’t have a coat on her (we used the blankets as I described) and because of how small she was.
When I returned to the table, my friend told me what happened. When the waitress came back I asked her what was going on and she told me. I was so upset I couldn’t stop crying. This was the first time I had really gone out and done anything with my daughter and this was how I was being treated. Waitresses criticizing my parenting, threatening to call the authorities and staring my daughter and I down during our visit. I couldn’t even eat my dinner, I was so upset. I was going to ask for a refund but I was so angry and hurt that I couldn’t even speak to my friend without sobbing, let alone speak to a manager. I was so upset, I felt like I was going to get sick. We ended up leaving without eating our dinner and I cried the entire way home.
There are children in this world that have special needs that the general population may not understand. I understand that and I do my best to make my daughter’s issues known to those who they are relevant for. However, I should not have to give a medical history to my server at a restaurant. Nor should I be persecuted, gossiped about and tore down for something they obviously knew nothing about. I was appalled at how I was treated and even now, three months later, I still cannot believe that my daughter and I were treated so poorly.
Needless to say, we have not returned to your establishment, and nor will we. Our experience and the lack of understanding and compassion has left a sour taste in my mouth that I don’t know that I will ever be able to get rid of. You may consider further training for your employees in regards to how these issues should and shouldn’t be addressed. I would hate for another mother and child to experience the horrific treatment that I did while I was at your restaurant.
Samantha Van Vleet
Who would have ever thought that I, the human milk machine, would ever be writing a post from the recipient side of milk donation?
In 2007 I donated a small amount of milk to two different babies. Not a lot, but still, some. In 2009 I donated over 2000 ounces to several babies. I had laundry baskets full of frozen milk inside the deep freezer. It was ridiculous.
My supply was one thing I was never concerned with, however, Ava was losing weight and we needed to up her intake since she was only processing a small portion of what she was taking in. Unlike the majority of parents, I didn’t jump to formula as my second option, but sought out donor milk. Ava has been able to receive milk donations from four amazing women, two of them possibly continuing. For this, we are more thankful than anyone can imagine.
In the few weeks she has been supplemented with donor milk she has gained over a pound. She’s happier. She babbles. She smiles. She’s more interactive. I’m convinced it’s helping, and if it helps us avoid the gtube, then I’m all for it.
Whenever someone asks me what’s wrong, it’s hard to know what to say to them. Do I tell the truth? Do I shrug it off? Part of me feels terrible laying that kind of emotion and sadness on them if I’m honest… But another part of me feels equally as awful if I lie or minimize how terrible I actually feel.
The last month has forced me to live a life I never would have imagined I would. I’m finding myself thinking and feeling things I never imagined I would ever need to. One of the strangest things I find, is how sensitive I’ve become. I’m sensitive over the tiniest things. Things people don’t even notice. Things I didn’t notice before, but now, I can’t help but notice.
Now, I can’t help but shift uncomfortably every time a stranger or even a friend or acquaintance asks me how much she weighs or how old she is. She’s tiny. I know this. I’m not blind. I don’t need eighty perfect strangers to point this out to me or interrogate me about how well she does or doesn’t eat. But I really don’t like being asked the weight question. I also don’ t want to explain what exactly is wrong with her to everyone who happens to ask. I also don’t like the shock and almost accusatory looks I get when I do answer the question. I also don’t like people who keep pressing for answers after I’ve already made it pretty clear I don’t want to talk about. My child is fed well and taken care of well. I don’t owe any one an explanation, and I’d really appreciate it if people stopped pressuring me and making me feel as if I do.
Maybe I’ve gotten mean since everything with Ava has happened. I feel like I have. I’m less tolerant of people now. I have a hard time caring about trivial “problems.” I’m really lacking in the empathy department. Your boyfriend dumped you? I’ll trade you. You’re broke? I’ll trade you. Your boss is a jerk? I’ll trade you. It all seems so stupid now.
I’ve been kind of lazy about updating lately. Sorry. My bad.
Things are going better on this end. Danny is feeling MUCH better, which I am super thankful for. I was so worried about him. Turns out he had the staph AND a strep infection at the same time. Definitely not cool. I’m just glad he’s okay.
On a lighter note, my little guy has a tooth! It’s just a teensy weensy tiny little thing, but it’s still a tooth. You can’t really see it, because it’s just the tip, and its barely out of the gum, but its there! It’s exciting but it makes me sad at the same time. He’s almost nine months old. It’s about time he got some teethers going!
Maddi is speaking much better. She still has issues pronouncing things, and trying to use words (she prefers to whine and cry… which she doesn’t get away with anymore). She just has to stop being lazy. She dosen’t like using words, and it’s pretty obvious she’d rather just grunt and get what she wants… But that doesn’t float anymore, not that it did before, but we’ve become much more strict about the no-whining-and-grunting-policy.
I’m struggling with my weight again. Don’t really know what else to say on that subject. Except that I’m struggling and I feel like I’m huge. Regardless of what everyone says and what my husband thinks. I know I’m not fat, in my logical mind. But I also know everyone’s lying when they say I’m not fat. I hate these feelings. But I knew they’d be back eventually, and quite frankly, I’m tired of fighting it. I knew that as soon as danny needed me less for nourishment, that this is what would happen.
On a much happier note, Dan was working our taxes… and I’m freaking excited. We’re going to get enough back to pay off ALL of our debt, AND have some left over. Which is awesome. I’m excited. I can’t wait. We’ll be able to pay off EVERYTHING (except the house). So this means, credit cards, collections, and our car! I’m so flipping excited. This is going to make our lives MUCH easier. Maybe we can even start building up a savings.
On top of that, I’m thinking I might adopt our next child. I’ve been putting a great deal of thought into it. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I’m thinking I will. I’d really like to. I may, I may not. We may decide to try for our own, or adopt. I know we’ll adopt eventually, but we may or may not adopt our next child. It depends on how much we’ve saved up, and whether we’re in a bigger house, or what not.
Anyways, that’s my blurb.
I’m really freaked out about this. We took Danny to the doctor on Monday because his poop had turned into really thick, mucousy, forest-green slime. Like… fish-slime thick. And it smelled really foul. He’s still exclusively breastfed, even though he’s eight months old, so any of you who are familiar with breastfed babies, know that’s not normal. It’s not normal for a baby NOT breastfed. My husband thought I was just worrying too much, but I took him in anyways. They wanted to do a stool sample, so they sent me home with a jar (they forgot to give me a popsicle stick, so I had to use a spoon). I had to wait almost twelve hours before he pooped again, and then took it into the hospital when the kids and I went to pick my husband up from work (his truck is having problems).
So, then that night, Danny gets REALLY hot. And we co-sleep so I notice these things pretty quickly. I didn’t really think it was a big deal, but I decided to take him to the ER because when I checked him, his fever was 102.6. We go in and all they do is give him some ibuprofin and then send us home! They didn’t do any blood draws, or stool samples, or urine collection or anything. They just looked at me like I was an overprotective mommy who was getting worried for nothing.
So, we take him home and start him on a regimen of alternating ibuprofin and tylenol. This keeps his fever down, but as soon as it starts to wear off, his fever jumps right back up to 102-103, and has continued to do that for well over 24 hours.
Last night and today, he’s been breathing funny. I think it’s just because he’s so worn out and tired. He’s sick and not feeling well, and his nose is boogered up. But I decided to take him into the doctor again to make sure his lungs are okay. They are, thank goodness, but we get some bad news while we’re in there. They got the culture results from his stool sample and he has staph in his stools, which means he has an internal staph infection.
I don’t really know much about staph, but everything I’m gathering from my doctor and my family and friends and various resources online are telling me it’s pretty serious. They immediately started him on antibiotics four times a day, but told me they may switch the antibiotics when they find out exactly what strain of staph it is.
So, I had to take Danny back into the hospital to get his blood drawn, his throat swabbed and a pee-bag put over his winky. He screamed like crazy, but he calmed down as soon as the needle was in his hand (go figure). I feel so terrible. He’s so miserable. He dosen’t really want to nurse, and even his voice sounds different. And his cry too.
I feel horrible and I keep worrying that something bad is going to happen to my baby. I couldn’t handle it if it did and it scares me to think that it’s even a possibility.
The doctors were supposed to call me with the results of the labs as soon as they got them, but they didn’t call. I called them at 4:30 and they still hadn’t gotten them. I’m going to call again first thing in the morning and see if they got them back or not. I’m thinking about asking to have him admitted for IV antibiotics if it’s a bad-bad strain, because he’d get better sooner with IV antibiotics. I’m not a fan of poking my baby with needles, but this is really scaring the living daylights out of me…
I’ve been thinking about my baby a lot.
The one I lost.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t work through it after it happened. I dont know. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately though.
I wish I could have met her.