When working mom Claudia decided that she had no other choice but to leave her 2 month old daughter with her teenage niece, she knew that there might be a bit of a learning curve. But when this mother received a picture of her baby from her young babysitter, she could have never expected that the photo would create such a strong reaction.
A Working Mom Trying To Make It Work
Claudia Sorhaindo was like many busy, overwhelmed working moms. She was the new mother of a very young newborn, trying to balance the demands of caring for a daughter and the reality of needing to work in order to pay for this huge, new responsibility of raising a child.
Claudia was committed to spending as much time as possible with her baby but, like many working moms, there came times when Claudia would have to ask for a helping hand from a babysitter. But in one case, what started as a routine babysitting request quickly changed with just one photo.
A Protective Mother
Claudia was living in Lakeland, Florida with her two month old daughter, Ava. Among her friends and family members, in those short two months Claudia had already gained a reputation for being a very protective mother. She loved her daughter and rarely left her baby girl’s side. For Claudia, in a perfect world, the two would never be separated. But life happened, and that was not always possible.
One day, Claudia received a call from her work with some mixed news. She was requested to come to a business meeting, but it meant that she would have to leave her daughter at home for a few hours. As a very new mother, Claudia was hesitant about what to do next.
Stuck With A Difficult Decision
Immediately after hanging up from the phone call with her work, Claudia started to weigh her options. It felt like a lose-lose situation. She could either skip out on an important work meeting but have time with Ava, or she could choose to stay home but miss an opportunity to further her career.
Over the previous few months, Claudia had taken maternity leave while she was pregnant and shortly after Ava’s birth, along with a few sick days here and there to take care of her newborn. She knew that she should not skip the work meeting and decided to go. Little did she know that that decision would eventually lead to something completely unexpected.
Searching For Help
As soon as Claudia decided to go fulfill her work obligations, she started looking for someone to help out and take care of baby Ava while she was gone. The meeting would not be long, but she still wanted to bring in someone that she knew and trusted.
Claudia began to look through the contacts in her phone and reaching out to a few of her friends and family members. After a series of apologies and rejections, Claudia started to grow frustrated. When her sister said that she did not have time in her own schedule to watch Ava, she suggested someone who would never have crossed Claudia’s mind, but that just might be available.
An Unexpected Solution To Claudia’s Problem
It might not have been Claudia’s first choice, but her sister suggested that her teenage daughter, J’Ann, take care of Ava during Claudia’s absence. Claudia loved her niece and knew she was a responsible, mature girl, but she still did not immediately love the idea of leaving her 2 month old with a teenager.
With her sister’s repeated reassurances, Claudia decided to keep the option open as a last resort. At the time, Claudia could not shake the sinking feeling and anxiety in the back of her mind about a 15-year-old watching her newborn baby. She worried that her gut instinct might inevitably be proven correct. Either way, she was about to find out.
Claudia’s Last Minute Decision
Claudia’s job had not left her that much time to find a babysitter, and the date of her business meeting was quickly approaching. After facing a bunch of dead ends in her search to find a babysitter, Claudia made a last minute decision.
The new mother picked up the phone and hesitantly called her teenage niece, J’Ann. Claudia made sure that J’Ann was not only available during her meeting between all of her school work and her extracurricular activities, but that she was also prepared to take care of her 2 month old daughter. Her niece agreed, setting off a series of events that would lead to the fortuitous photograph.
When The Day Finally Came
On the day of Claudia’s business meeting, the new mother found herself feeling a little bit more nervous about leaving her daughter than she had expected. Maybe her nerves were due to her time apart from her daughter, but the fact that she was leaving her with such a young babysitter certainly did not help.
J’Ann showed up at her aunt’s house to learn the ropes, and Claudia was more than prepared. She showed her niece where to find just about everything, from formula to Ava’s favorite toys to all of the emergency numbers. Feeling slightly anxious, but a little bit more comfortable after the tour, Claudia kissed Ava goodbye and left to make it on time.
Claudia Heads To The Meeting
After a commute that seemed to last forever, Claudia was excited to have finally reached the parking lot of her office. She immediately reached into her pocket, took her phone out and waited for any messages from her niece to come through.
There was a delay and notifications were taking a long time to load, and Claudia felt like she was holding her breath the entire time. Was everything okay? Had she missed some important question or update about what was going on back at home? Then, Claudia saw a notification appear on her phone from her niece with a picture attached.
Waiting To See A Fuller Picture
As soon as Claudia saw the thumbnail photo of her daughter, her stomach dropped. She immediately started to think the worst. At first, it was difficult to make out exactly what was going on in the photo with such a small preview.
Those worries were compounded by the fact that the actual full-sized photo was taking longer than expected to load. From what Claudia could see from the notification, something was definitely off. Claudia was growing frustrated, angry and worried. She decided something must be wrong and questioned whether she had made the right choice to leave her daughter with the young babysitter.
Claudia Reads The Message From Her Niece
Claudia was looking for answers, and she needed them fast. If the picture was not going to load quickly, she decided she would just read the message that J’Ann sent her to get a better idea of what exactly was going on.
In the corresponding text message, Claudia’s niece explained that she was starting to get hungry while she was watching Ava, and went into the kitchen to make herself a sandwich. Immediately, Claudia worried that her baby had been left alone. And there was no telling what could happen if a 2 month old is left alone, even for just a few seconds.
Claudia Finally Sees The Picture
That was it, Claudia had read enough and needed to know what exactly was going on. From what she could see in the pixelated image, her baby’s legs looked like they were swollen. Her mind started running through possible scenarios of what could have happened, and how to solve any of those scenarios from her office parking lot.
“J’Ann knows how protective I am with Ava,” Claudia would later tell reporters. “Some might say I’m a little paranoid.” But as J’Ann’s picture finally loaded, Claudia’s paranoia quickly turned to laughter once she figured out what actually happened back at her house.
An Idea Just Crazy Enough To Work
Claudia was literally starting to see the bigger picture after a minute that seemed to last forever. And once it loaded, she could not help but smile to herself as she took one more minute to get out of her car. All of the anxiety that had built up as the photo loaded was quickly alleviated as soon as she could see exactly what was happening with her daughter and her niece.
It seemed that while her niece was a pretty young babysitter, she was also a pretty smart one too. “J’Ann showed me she is making sure she is keeping her eyes on Ava,” Claudia later told The TODAY Show. During Claudia’s short time away from the house, her niece knew she had to keep a watchful eye on Ava while she made herself a sandwich. And the idea she came up with was pretty genius.
J’Ann Thinks Outside The Box
J’Ann knew that she could not leave her baby cousin alone while she made herself lunch. A bit overwhelmed and afraid to put Ava down, she figured out a way to keep here eyes on her. Her strategy was like nothing Claudia had ever before considered.
J’Ann decided to put her right in the front of her own sweatpants, held up by her waistband. Claudia did not know what was better, the idea or the picture that resulted from it. She knew she needed to share the photo with someone else, and that ultimately led to yet another unexpected event.
An Incredible Idea
Claudia saved the picture and logged onto Facebook. She uploaded J’Ann’s photo showing her niece’s “hands free” babysitting method and typed out a caption to explain to her friends what was going on. Her post started, “So I had to run out the house for a quick minute.”
It continued, “So I asked my niece to babysit Baby Ava. A few minutes later I received a text saying that J’Ann wanted to make a sandwich but didn’t want to let baby Ava out of her sight. Lord send help this was her solution. Like really, creativity at its finest.” Claudia pressed post, and waited to see what her friends and family would say about the hilarious picture. And then comments started rolling in.
A Major Reaction
Once she posted the picture, Claudia went about her work. She knew the post would get a reaction from her followers. Her family was pretty tight knit, and there were a lot of them. She even joked that “every month there’s a birthday party.” Family members were always keeping in contact over social media, so she was excited to see what they had to say about her niece’s idea.
She was expecting her friends and family to laugh at J’Ann’s solution, and probably comment on how cute baby Ava looked hanging off her waist. But when she finally found time to log onto her social media and check her Facebook notifications, she saw something that she definitely was not anticipating in the comments section.
Getting More Attention Than Anticipated
Almost as soon as Claudia uploaded the picture of her young babysitter’s genius idea, her Facebook post started gaining attention. Her friends and family began commenting and liking the photo, then sharing it on their own pages with their own followers.
The constant liking and sharing meant that a lot of people were coming across Claudia’s post and were loving it. In just a few hours, the pictures of her young babysitter and daughter had racked up thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. Claudia could not believe how much attention her post was receiving. But it wasn’t until Claudia started skimming the comment section that another idea was born.
The Unexpected Comments
Claudia began to read the comments that kept rolling in on her photo. There were some people that were tagging friends, and others responding to her post laughing, sending their love, or commenting on how adorable baby Ava looked in the picture.
But there was another group of people commenting specifically on her young babysitter’s idea. “Brilliant!,” one person wrote. “Carried my babies around my hip in the 70s. I wish I had thought of this!” Another comment gave Claudia an incredible idea. “You could make maternity pants that turn into this after,” the person wrote. “Get a patent on that. I see $$$.”
The Start Of A Potential Business
Claudia immediately started describing how inspired she was from the Facebook comment once she returned home to J’Ann and baby Ava. The idea for maternity-pants-turned-baby-carrier was crazy, but could it actually work? Claudia felt that there were definitely a few mothers who would love the idea.
With all of this newfound inspiration, she and J’Ann started getting to work developing the idea and the design for a new kind of pants for pregnant women and mothers. They decided to call them J’Pants, based on her niece’s name. With all of the attention that she was getting on Facebook, she knew that she would have to act fast to get her pants idea off the ground.
One Pretty Big Problem
They were excited about J’Pants, but they were also realistic about what it would take to start a small business. They knew that, as for any initial business idea, it would take a lot of money to be able to make her pipe dream a reality. And there was another problem.
The two knew that in order to turn their idea into a something more than just a fantasy, they needed funding. Together, Claudia and J’Ann set up a GoFundMe page so that fans of the Facebook post could donate to J’Pants. Claudia hoped that the donations would encourage her niece’s creativity, and maybe even start a brand new business.
Mixing Business And Family
Unfortunately, the GoFundMe account was not able to reach its final goal, but people continue to donate to the page in hopes that one day J’Pants will be a reality. In the meantime, Claudia faced another reality. Seeing J’Ann take such good care of her baby daughter and going to such lengths to never let Ava out of her sight showed Claudia once again how lucky she was to have such a supportive family.
Claudia even considered herself lucky to have such a supportive community on social media. While thousands on the Internet had seen a picture of her baby in a waistband, to her, when she looked at that picture, she saw that she and her baby were surrounded by love and support.
She Wasn’t Sure What To Do, But It Kept Coming to Her Neighborhood
Two years had passed, and Joie was no closer to getting answers. Day after day, she kept encountering the same unkempt, haggard sight in her neighborhood in the Southern California desert, and it seemed that nobody else was going to intervene to make a change. It all depended on her, but she knew she couldn’t do it alone. She had to call for help from Los Angeles. Only together would they be able to tackle this creature.
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