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'AITA for refusing to babysit my 4-year-old cousin because of my phobia of vomit?' MAJOR UPDATE

'AITA for refusing to babysit my 4-year-old cousin because of my phobia of vomit?' MAJOR UPDATE


No one likes to have their plans bailed on last minute, and being the bailer -- even if your reason is valid, can create some tense moments.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a teen asked if she was wrong for refusing to babysit her four-year-old cousin after finding out she'd recently thrown up. She wrote:

"AITA for refusing to babysit my 4 year old cousin?"

I (16F) often babysit my 4 year old cousin, who we will call Poppy. My aunt pays me a small amount of money to do so (even though I enjoy doing it and would do so even without the money). Poppy is a lovely sweet child and enjoys spending time with me. I have extreme emetophobia. (Editor's note- emetophobia is the phobia of throwing up.)

I'm getting better thanks to therapy, and most of the time I can cope with it quite well. However, if someone I know has thrown up, I will "shield" from them, until it's been like 48 hours since they last vomited. I agreed to babysit Poppy tomorrow as my aunt and uncle wanted to do something, and they didn't think Poppy would enjoy it. I agreed, because as I said, I love her to bits and she is easy to look after.

However, they just texted me to say that Poppy threw up this morning. They said she wasn't unwell and is completely fine now, and although she is complaining of a slight stomach ache, they think she's fine. They still want me to come and look after her tomorrow because they think she is absolutely fine.

I told them that I didn't feel comfortable babysitting her, as she has vomited recently and I just wouldn't feel comfortable doing so. They got extremely angry at me because they had planned this day out which wasn't really a child thing and they were looking forward to a child free day. They told me I cant just cancel plans like that, and Poppy is fine. I feel awful and I guess I want to know, AITA?

OP's quandary inspired a lot of comments and questions.

anonymom135 wrote:

NTA. Even without your emetophobia, it's generally considered the right thing to do to quarantine someone for at least 24 hours after vomiting (unless you can be absolutely certain it was, say, food poisoning or pregnancy rather than a transmittable illness).

Sure, they were looking forward to their day, but it's not your fault their child is sick. They can't know she's "absolutely fine," especially if she still has stomach pain.

KBD_in_PDX wrote:

NTA. It sucks as a parent to have to cancel plans, but if your kid vomits, the rule for most childcare (nanny, daycare, babysitter, school) situations is that they need to be fever free and v*mit/di*rrhea free for about 48 hours to avoid passing along nasty illnesses to other people.

Because you're family and young, they were hoping to b*lly you into doing it anyways. Unfortunately making alternate plans comes with the territory of being a parents.

Discount_Mithral wrote:

Leaning towards NTA, but INFO: Have you received a medical diagnosis for your condition? I'd say N T A because s**t happens with babysitters all the time. What if you got sick all of a sudden? What would they have done?

Only having one contingency plan for childcare when you have firm plans set can lead to the parents being stuck between in a rock and a hard place. Having multiple options for childcare is smart, and getting mad at you for saying no makes them the AH in my eyes.

OP responded:

Yeah, I have a medical diagnosis for anxiety (specifically emetophobia) because it got so bad that at one point I wouldn't eat or leave my room or even shower. I am so so much better now, thankfully. But yes, I am diagnosed.

Federal-Upstairs7902 wrote:

NTA. It is not you baby. If baby is sick - you can refuse. Parent should be more worried about their sick kids rather that having fun. And they have no right to be angry on you. If they are so irresponsible and want to leave sick kid alone - ther are plenty of baby sitters, they can call. Of course, they will need to pay.

And one important tip- if something will go wrong and baby will feel worst, you ll need to deal with emergency. It can be hard for 16 y old girl due to lack of experience. And in the end you will be responsible for everything that can or can't happen. Too risky.

Makethatnoise wrote:

Info: what would you do if she threw up while you were alone watching her?

Honestly curious; because when my kid was 4, he could end up throwing up from

eating too quickly

coughing too much

running too fast after eating

just being sick in general

OP responded:

Well obviously I'd look after her, but it hasn't happened yet so don't really know until that happens, if it happens.

The next day, OP shared an update.

Okay, so basically so my parents found out. And they are fuming. They told me they don't pay for therapy for me to go and overreact when my cousin throws up "once" (more on that in a sec). Technically I help pay the cost of therapy with the money I make from babysitting and various other small jobs but obviously it's expensive and I can't afford it myself.

They are giving me the cold shoulder and threatening to stop paying if I "overreact again". Secondly, my cousin is not "fine." She ended up having food poisoning. My aunt and uncle suspect she consumed some milk that was 8 days past its use by date when they found it open and on the side, where Poppy could of easily reached up and grabbed it.

However, this still isn't enough to convince my aunt and uncle. Apparently, it's not contagious so even though I was right that something else was wrong I still should of come because she really is "fine" and I'm overreacting. So now majority of my family isn't speaking to me, and frankly I'm worried about my cousin.

I'll update if anything else notable happens. Thanks for all the advice and kind messages, I really appreciate it!

People were quite invested in the update.

therumorhargreeves wrote:

Your parents bullying you on this is f**ked up and I’m sorry you’re dealing with all this. Threatening to cancel your therapy is extra bad. Could you talk to your doc without them and ask if they have a sliding pay scale? Some places work with your income.

Tolerate your parents and bide your time til you’re 18, then gtfo. Apply to unis far away and peace out. It seems like this might not be the first time they’re d*cks to you?

OP responded:

I've always been considered a problem for them because of my anxiety. Sometimes they would refuse to feed me or anything until for half a day as a punishment for having panic attacks. I have ADHD and they wouldn't let me take medication for it, even though I wanted to.

They don't explicitly "ab*se me" but they just treat me like s**t for no reason other then my mental health troubles which I'm trying so hard to (and I am succeeding to) fix. It sucks but I only have a couple more years before I (at least I plan) to go university.

therumorhargreeves responded:

Luv, that’s ab*sive. It’s literally their job to feed you. It’s why one of the things CPS checks for is a full cabinet of food. And making you feel like s**t all the time? Emotional ab*se/neglect. They don’t need to put their hands on you for them to mistreat you.

Do you have an escape plan for when you’re ready for college? You’re so close to getting out, and then you’ll be able to get the help you deserve! (I was also extremely anxious at your age, with daily panic attacks. (If you drink any caffeine I would cut that out, it really helped me).

OP responded:

Well my amazing grandfather, the only guy who actually cared for me, left me about 7k in his will and legally that will go to me when I turn 18 so that should help.

Canid_Rose wrote:

I’m sorry you have sh**ty parents OP. I have emetophobia and I would not be able to handle that. Not to mention it’s f**king cruel that they want to abandon their daughter while she’s sick, probably due to their own negligence (how did she get expired milk? parents let her).

OP responded:

They don't exactly neglect her, but they are selfish and ignorant. It's part of why I babysit her so often. Like, they look after her UNTIL it becomes an inconvenience to them.

Regular_Boot_3540 wrote:

She's not fine! If she has food poisoning, she may continue to throw up, and that's a bad scene for you! Plus who wants to deal with that? Plus that's just cruel to Poppy! She needs to be home in bed being coddled by her parents. The adults in your family are such jerks!

OP is definitely NTA here, in any way, but a lot of adults around her are.

Sources: Reddit
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