Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Painful Parenting

Aside: Did you know that Hershey Park is 100 years old today? I love that place. It's the chocolatiest place on earth! One of my girlfriends was in med school down in Hershey many moons ago so Mr. T and I went to see her graduate and we hung out at the park one day. Just 2 childless people (unmarried at the time) having a fun day. We've got great memories. Sigh.

In other news, did you see the college football player who was diving for a ball on the sideline and took out a toddler by accident? I'm sure it's on YouTube somewhere but one of the things they talked about on the news this morning - as they aired the video - is whether or not this should be out there. I won't contribute to the voyeurism by finding the video and posting it here, even though it would probably be good for my traffic. People are saying they don't want to see it yet it's being played over and over. The 4-year-old boy is fine. He was bleeding from his head but he's purple and blue now. The tot's mom said it was one of those things where she turned to pay attention to one child and here is the other getting slammed - literally. I'm still waiting for someone to ask, "Why was the child on the field?"

I know very well how easily things happen to your kids. So does the mom down in NJ who sent her 7-year-old son into a bathroom alone and he got molested. Heard about that one last night too. I can guarantee she'll be beating herself up for that one for the rest of her life. Me? Son goes with me until Son is big enough to put a hurting on someone. It's as simple as that. I don't care if he's 7 or 10, and I don't care what anyone says about him being in the women's room. But you know what? I don't think anyone would ever say anything because it seems to be one of those things where everyone simply knows, no child should be left alone EVER. Most people anyway.

I won't even mention the Alec Baldwin incident. I wrote about him separately. Post it next time.

Now, I don't know why a toddler on the field is acceptable and I don't know what that mom was thinking sending that kid in the bathroom alone. I only know things happen and I have personal experience with that. The interesting part, at least as far as that football incident goes, is I wonder if social services will step in at any point. Too far you say? Oh no. Not in CT.

Briefly, because 7 years later I am still moderately PO'd and resentful. Son was 5 months old and being watched by his Godmother who at that time had been a foster parent for over 20 years. Not once has she or her husband had an issue. Never. A 2-year-old she watched as well put her hands on my son's face as he slept in his carseat and pinched him so hard I can't tell you the marks she eventually left. He looked fine, essentially, but the tell-tell signs didn't show up until the next day so Husband took him to the doctor because it looked worse than we thought. "You should have seen the way they were looking at me," he said. "Yeah. I can imagine."

The doc who saw him was new to the practice and I was at a meeting or something that night so I wasn't with them. He took pictures of Son and that set off the alarms. He didn't believe a 2-year-old could do this. He simply didn't believe it. Nevermind there is no history of abuse related to my son OR his Godmother. Nevermind that Husband brought him in and LET him take pictures. (Those are gone now.) Nevermind that our own records with the docs never showed them having concerns about him or us. Apparently we should have brought him in that very same night. Doc called me at work - my NEW job - the very next day and because I didn't say what he wanted me to say, decided to call in DCF.

Now, the docs have to follow certain rules. Granted. And I told him I was at work (in an office I shared with 2 other people, by the way). Plus I was the new girl and here he is accusing either my son's Godmother or even us of abusing our 5-month-old. I couldn't explain my level of anger and disbelief and hurt but in order to keep it in check I had to speak calmly AND cryptically, given where I was. I told him no, I did not believe the Godmother had anything to do with it and yes, I very much believed the girl did it. She has big hands and she is strong. Seen it for myself. Not good enough for him, I guess. He misinterpreted my calm for not caring or something stupid like that. (I told you I was still resentful.)

A DCF worker went to her house so I had to leave work early because I wanted to support her as well as show my face to this person. He, nice guy really, had to talk to her and he had to have a cop with him as he did it. Oh yes. Son's name is in some police file somewhere. I was livid about that too. But admittedly, the worker and cop were VERY accommodating and knew how to handle things. I told the cop afterward I appreciated his behavior. Apparently they could charge me with some kind of abuse or neglect EVEN THOUGH I WAS 5 TOWNS AWAY AT THE TIME IT HAPPENED. My allowing her to continue to take care of son was an issue for them. (The girl, incidentally, was removed by the parents because it came down to watching her or all the other kids she was watching and she had to choose for their safety.)

SO DCF guy had to go to MY house too. Must see how the child lives. Gee. Your son has his own room and clothes and food and toys all over the place, and he's happy. Plus, my pastor came to talk to the guy on our behalf. DCF guy could tell there was nothing to find and assured me of that. A day or two later a nurse went over to see the little girl and wrote in her report that the child is big and strong for a 2-year-old. The parents admitted that she pinches everyone and the nurse saw for herself what she was capable of. Done. The law-abiding citizens really were telling the truth. Imagine that.

We had a little chat with the head of the doc group and she defended her doc while understanding our position as well. But that doc? Well, I have friends who go to this group and not one of them will let him see their children. Neither do we. He meant well. I know it. But my son is now in The System needlessly. I also went to the DCF office to complain. I was the 2nd parent to ever do that, they said. What? No one wants to clear their name after an atrocity like this? Just you and one other, they said. Amazes them too. Still, the records are written and in the computer but the file goes away after a year and the computer file supposedly deleted after 2 years. I wrote a letter after years 1 and 2 but still no proof that it disappeared. This is the time of year when it happened so I think I should go revisit that one.

Lesson here? In the state of CT, children's rights rise above the parents. If you are a parent, you might understand how problematic that can be. But I wonder if anyone will be visiting that mom who's son got tackled by a college football player. Somehow I doubt it.


ELEVEL said...

Yes..Yes, a very disturbing video clip to say the least and I would have to agree that a child; let alone, a toddler should not have been that close to the side line. The mother is'nt the only one at fault... where were the refs, officials, cheerleaders even?

elevel said...

a quick change to my first response... can't blame the cheerleaders cuz it was only a practice not a game.