Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What every mother should know before taking her baby or child to a gym child care

It has been nearly 2 months since our 6 month old daughter Mila was abused at the 24 hour fitness gym child care in Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.  I want to warn readers that there are graphic pictures of Mila and her marked and bruised legs that are disturbing.  My tears and baby kisses to ever single one of her bruises (which was over 30) does not take away the trauma that Mila and our entire family experienced as she healed physically and emotionally.  Mila has no voice, she is a baby so I am speaking out for her.  It is my goal to get proper licensing for these type facilities beyond the enticing and false advertising that moms can work out and leave their 6 month old babies with licensed personnel. Gyms get more contracts but at what cost?  I want our children safe and to find justice for Mila even if it is to warn and help protect other babies and children through sharing our heart breaking experience.  Thank you in advance for reading and sharing with others to find justice for Mila and other babies and children.  We are blessed to have wonderful friends and families who cried with us and prayed for Mila and our family as we went through this experience.  
On June 13th I signed myself up for a 24-hour fitness gym membership at the Rancho Cucamonga location on Foothill Boulevard and Rochester Avenue.  At the same time, I also signed my two youngest children up for the kids care center at the gym so that I could have them cared for while I work out.  I was surprised that they accepted babies at 6 months old and assumed they knew how to take care of them since they allowed babies that young.  I have 8 children and I have been blessed to be able to stay at home with them and raise them as opposed to working outside of the home and taking them to day care.  As you are probably aware, the news channels often circulate "day care horror stories" that mothers cringe at watching because it's sickening that someone would hurt an innocent child.  I know there are good licensed day care and child care facilities that love the children, but I do not believe anyone can love your child as much as the mother does.  The child care workers are sometimes detached and I believe this is how some children end up being abused.

On July 13th, I very trustingly left my baby that was 6 months old and my two year old at the child care facility at the 24-hour fitness location in Rancho Cucamonga on Foothill Boulevard and Rochester Avenue, obviously thinking everything would be completely fine and that my two kids would be safe.  After all, they accept babies that are 6 months old so I assumed that some screening, training and certifications were in place for individuals in charge of 6 month old babies.  My husband and I discussed taking them there so I could have some time to get back in shape after having my baby and have a couple hours to do that each day.  I told the employee where I would be in the gym thinking they would come get me when my baby woke up if I were needed for any reason.  She was sleeping in her car seat when I brought her in and dropped her off.   About 45 minutes into my work out I felt promoted, with mothers intuition if you will, to go check on my 6 month old baby.  I pushed the feeling away thinking.  "I'm sure she's fine they would have come to get me if she was crying". So I finished up and showered.  I even put on make up and changed my clothes there thinking there was finally circumstances that would allow me a bit of time to myself while my children were cared for properly.  I could have some "me" time and do something good for my body and get dressed for the day since being a mom of 8 that's often not the case.  I felt refreshed and was excited to pick my two babies up from the child care at the gym and it had been approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes since I had dropped them off.  My 6 month old baby was sitting on the hip of a young girl and had obviously been crying A LOT.  She has a "v-shaped" birthmark on her forehead and when she cries it typically turns purple if she gets upset.  I had never seen my daughters face look so distraught as when I picked her up from the child care facility.  She looked pale and was essentially just staring off into space.  I asked the worker "what happened?" I also asked them "how long was she crying for?"  A female worker  said she was crying for about 20-30 minutes.  Then I stated "Ummmm... ok why didn't you come get me I told you guys where I would be?"... "We handled it" she responded.  I noticed a red line mark on the top of her left thigh and I asked if my two-year-old went to her in her car seat and possibly scratched her or something.  I asked them "Did Roman scratch her?" as I look down at the mark on her leg touching it she says "no he was in his own world the whole time".  Then I said "Why is her hand all green did you give her a marker?"  She said "no we gave her something like this (holding up a yellow tissue paper)."  I was astonished at her response!  Did she eat the tissue paper I wondered? Who gives a 6 month old baby tissue paper? They put everything in their mouth!  I will say that the babies area is not to have any older children in it at all according to what I have been told.  They assure parents that your baby is in a specially-designated area that older children aren't allowed into.  I did notice that the 2 foot baby gate isn't a big deterrant I guess, because we found out later that a 5 year old and 12 year old were unsupervised while in with my baby and the 12 year old had her hands on my daughters legs and feet while she was in her car seat.

I questioned the child care worker for what seemed like 10 minutes trying to figure out when she woke up, how long she cried and why they didn't come and get me and during that time and it seemed like the worker was trying to change the subject because when I was asking questions about my daughter she asked twice if I had a good work out.  She also mentioned that they paged me twice when she was crying.  I answered yes both times to the workout question, but I wanted to find out what happened to my daughter Mila.  After all this interaction, I then left the child care area and talked to the front desk people for a few minutes letting them know I had some "me" time and was really excited to get to workout again after so long.  Then I went to my car, put Mila in her car seat and when we got to the car and I remember a panic look on her face when I put her in that was saying "don't leave me!".  I reassured her everything was ok and didn't think anything else of it.  Mila then fell asleep almost as soon as we drove out of the gym parking lot.  We then drove through Starbucks to get some treats for my 10 year old and his friends for his birthday.  When we got home Mila was sound asleep so I carried her and her car seat into the house and put the car seat with her in it on our blue couch in our living room.  The boys at our home for the party were being picked up by moms and the last child was picked up at 2:55 pm.  The door bell rang at 2:45 pm and our little dog barked and woke Mila up.  The mother and I talked for a little bit as I got Mila out of her car seat.  The Mother and I swooned over Mila and finally I said "Well I'm exhausted I'm going to feed Mila", and me and the boys were going to watch a movie together quietly.  She left at 3:00 pm, I nursed Mila and right after I nursed her she spit up! That's strange I thought since she does not typically spit up.  I asked my two year old to get a diaper for me so I could change mila's diaper.  As he ran to get one, I leaned her back on my lap and she pulled her feet to her mouth and started to play with her toes.  That's when I noticed what looked like red cut marks all over the backs of her thighs, legs and ankles.  There were two bruises on each thigh close to her diaper also.  I said out loud "what in the heck?!"

  I was in total shock so I drove back to the gym arriving not quite two hours after I left.  I was shaking and wanted some answers.  I went in and asked to talk to the child care workers but they had all gone home at 2 o' clock.  The front desk workers asked why I needed to talk to them and I held my baby up and showed them her legs.  They said wow they never seen anything like that happen.  I said "Maybe they had a watch on or bracelets that scrapped her.  She wiggles a lot when you hold her especially when she is hungry.  She is breast fed and she gets feisty and maybe they were holding her really tight because there's bruises and maybe they are finger nail marks from acrylics or something?"  They said "We can call the gym manager" and I said "ok yes I want to talk to them and see video tapes from the child care area and I'm calling the police."  The gym manager called and said the employees don't wear watches, no long finger nails, no jewelry at all.  And there's surveillance tapes that would be available to view for the police only until Monday and I would not be able to look at them.  She also mentioned the video footage is very fuzzy and pixelated and assumed nothing would be proven anyway.  The deputy sheriff came and after reviewing everything with him, he concluded that someone had abused my baby and he opened a criminal child abuse case at that time.  I left the gym at 8 pm that night.  Still in shock I held my baby close thinking about all that had happened.  More bruises started showing up as the day went on.  What? In. The.  World. Happened???  I didn't sleep at all that night.  I held her in my arms.  She still continued spitting up after I nursed her.  Sunday morning at 7 am I looked at her legs, the red marks were mostly gone leaving a scar type impression where the red lines were, but to my horror there were bruises everywhere the red lines were. 

 I quickly told my husband we need to go to the emergency room.  I don't know what they did to her and she has bruises on her stomach and her back on the right side and all over her legs.  We raced to the emergency room concerned that she had internal bleeding or damage, or that she could have been shaken.   Hours later after watching her and doing examinations, they let us know she has no signs of being shaken and that she seems ok and they are unsure how she was hurt, but it looked like someone was pinching her over and over and over.  Monday morning the bruises were worse and the video tapes were reviewed by the deputy sheriff.  One employee was wearing a watch and a 12 and 5 year old were unsupervised with my baby for at least 5 minutes.  The 12 year had her hands on my babies legs but it's not clear what she was doing.  She could have been playing with her or she could have been unknowingly (I hope) giving her love pinches or pinching her to hurt her.  I have no idea.  My worst fear is that one of the workers was pinching Mila because she was crying, only making things worse and traumatizing my baby.  The deputy specialized in child abuse and he said people actually hurt babies because they are crying and they don't know how to get them to stop crying.  And he knows that this is a horrible thing that happened to Mila but that she was still alive and that was the most important thing.  I cried all day Sunday, Monday and Tuesday waiting to hear sometime if justice for Mila would happen in some way.  The gym called and said they couldn't see anything in the videos because they aren't clear so they took the position that nothing happened and anything could have happened after I left the gym during the roughly 2 hours that I was gone and then came back to the gym.  The fitness manager Jordan told me no one was wearing a watch and they can't even see mila's face in the videos to see that she was even crying.  I said "Why did they page me twice then?" She said "They paged you 3 times  and you didn't come."  Why didn't they come get me?  I told them where I would be.  She then replied "Yes we're talking to them about making sure they don't do that again and instead get the parent."  That was surprising to hear to say the least.  The case has now been turned over to detectives at "crimes against children" and I have heard nothing from them for weeks now.  I called CPS and they can't help us because it's not in a home where this took place and they said to call the licensing entity for child cares. I called them and they said gym day cares are license exempt!  This was completely shocking! I called Trust Line, which is the company that 24-hour fitness uses to do back ground checks and they let me know there is no licensing for the gym and that the employees only need a background check.  That's it!  That explains why Mila was given paper and unsupervised because there is really no formal requirements or process to interview, qualify and train these child care employees properly.  This has been a very traumatic experience for our family to go through because its one of the worst things that can happen when a defenseless baby is harmed.  The sad thing is that this could have likely been avoided if the proper protocols were in place to ensure a qualified person at 24-hour fitness was giving the care to my 6-month old baby.  I hope something will be done to remedy this situation.  Thank you for your time.

Tammy Gallup

Friday, June 26, 2015

African JuJu hat tutorial

 I am in love with these African juju hats I've been seeing all over Pinterest! I wanted to make my own so I found the supplies I needed and made my own for a cheaper price!  
Here's how mine turned out! 

The picture below was my inspo for this project! 
Buying retail they run $450-$700 for the largest size 31" in diameter.  I wanted a big one.  I spent about $175 for the feathers from I bought these to make mine 
I bought 1/2 lb of the 5-8" feathers and 1/4 lb of the 3-6" feathers.  I used a piece of foam board that kids do projects for school on and a glue gun to stick them on with.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Affordable Reclaimed wood headboard DIY

Reclaimed wood headboard tutorial.

  This literally took 30 minutes to throw together.   When doing a wood project from home it's important to know you don't have to have large cutting tools like table saws or chop/miter saws.  Home improvement stores are able to cut the wood for your project on site so all you have to do is nail/screw it together.   This project costs $50 for a queen size headboard 62" wide X 43" high finished product is 52" high 

We used 1"x8"x62" pine.  Make sure the wood is not warped otherwise the boards will not be flush to one another but distressed and banged up is totally welcomed.  The legs of the head board is what secures the 1x8's and we used 1"x6"x52" high we nailed these on the back of the 1x8's perpendicular 10" in on each side.  Sand your 1x8's, then using a foam brush paint the dark walnut stain on the 1x8's including the edges.  

Wipe the stain off before it dries with a lint free cloth.  Let it dry 5 minutes.  
Using the same rag Dip it and rub in the direction of the grain, always go with the grain back and forth until you get the look you want with your watered down latex paint 4 parts water to one part paint.  I used CIL stratospher mixed into Behr interior flat enamel paint.  

I bought a quart but I honestly only used about 1/4-1/2 cup for all the wood! So don't waste the money buy a sample container and you will be fine.  Ta-Da!!! Your finished!