Today is the second week Summer Dance for Abbey. It's been a whirlwind the past few weeks. Our 4th of July was fun. We had an impromptu gathering at a dance friends house where we can see the fireworks from their yard. It was nice to see Abbey playing in the cu de sac and pool with her friends. We also planned a day of indoor fun at videogame/bowling/rope course/lazer tag place. It was a good time, but Abbey was the first in line for the rope course and she completely backed down. No amount of cajoling, bribing, encouraging or threatening could make her move. She did not believe my assurances of her safety and we had to get her down. It was a bit annoying but I am hoping that after she saw me and most of her friends do it without getting hurt she will be willing to try again next time.
She was not overly happy to see me when I picked her up from summer camp but she didn't cry and want to stay either so I will take it as a win! She had a great time and learned a lot. But it was SO FREAKING DIRTY!!! Everything in her bag was wet because it rained a lot and she didn't have any walls! There was a ridiculous amount of dirt and debris in her hair and what I got out of her ears is still giving me nightmares. Dont even ask me about her fingernails...She also came home without her beach towel, water bottle, bath towel or swimsuit. *Sigh* When I picked her up the very young counselor informed me that "she was quite explosive sometimes, and argued a lot when I told her to do something." I literally laughed and said, " sounds like Abbey. " (I did write them a small book about ADHD and how she is stubborn and emotional) She gave me this look and said, " well...I just wanted to share that with you." And again all I can do is laugh. Seriously......I do not need an 18 year old to give me attitude about my 8 year old being a PITA- does she think I dont know this? Abbey told me that she was not the greatest counselor, not very much fun and no one liked her that much. I'm sure she also knows more about parenting than me and her kids will never argue with her or end up ADHD or anything else *sarcasm* IF only I could remember the mind set of thinking "my kid will never do that...." Hahaha!
It has been a crazy week as Abbey had to start a new summer camp program for day to day care. There was an incident at her former center, where she attended pre-school, kindergarten and the school age camp the past 3 summers. I was phoned at work and told "Abbey found herself in a situation where another child was trying to touch her private parts. But she is ok, we talked, she handled it well." I was shocked. But the jovial and almost awkward tone that the assistant director had made me think it was a call she had to make by protocol and not a time when Abbey was actually violated. I am not a person who applies adult standards and laws to children, so I thought this had to be rather innocent. I hung up the phone thinking this will be right up there with the same time I got a note that she was making boobs on her chest with paper cups, and we would all have a laugh. I wondered if she was comparing character underwear with another girl (she just got Star Wars and is pretty pumped about it) or maybe there was a tickle fight gone wrong or some grabbing on the ladder to the slide. Yeah it was not what I had thought, or hoped.
When I picked Abbey up she informed me that a boy, who is a known trouble maker, actually put his hand down her pants, under her shorts and underwear. We had a long talk about consent and how to fight back. I made it clear to my beautiful 8 year old that she is allowed to protect her body by any means necessary. I told her its okay to kick, punch, bite, scream and eye ball gouge if she has to. I have no idea why this happened, what is going on with this other child, how he learned this or etc. The proper protocols have since been followed, as the school is now aware of how serious the incident was. Abbey told me she no longer felt safe. so I had to get her out. I never thought I would have this conversation with her this early in her life. I have always been very open and honest with my child about human anatomy, who has what and what it is called. I think this is the perfect example of why kids need to know proper terms for body parts and what is wrong and what is right and not be afraid to stand up for themselves and get help.
I have spent the past week having internal dialogue about this whole thing. It is any parents worst nightmare to feel they failed their child or put them in danger. Add the loss parent mind- set to this and it is multiplied at least by 10. I am struggling with a ridiculous amount of guilt for reasons I cannot quite comprehend. In addition to all the usual worries that I have, I now have this. Wondering if I handled it correctly, wondering if it will affect her in the future. She will be seeing her therapist again soon and it will be brought to his attention. Everyone tells me I had the right reaction, but I still wonder if there could have been prevention. What I really cannot handle is the phrase "she found herself in a situation..." Is this how young we learn this stuff? Should there be new programs in place to modify the language teachers use when dealing with these things? Or was it downplayed because it is too hard of a fact to face that children this young are being exposed to things they should not? I am at loss of understanding and it scares me to death. I feel like I failed to protect her. I promised her when she was born that I would never let anything happen to her and that I would always protect her.
It always comes back to her being my rainbow....would I move on easier if Josie were alive? Worse, if Josie were alive would this have even happened? Would she have been there to protect her? Would they even be in this place and time to meet this other child? Would her personality be different if she grew up with a big sister? I cannot allow myself down this rabbit hole today. That is why I had to write about it. Thanks for listening, as always.
Brandi, I'm sending you huge hugs right now. OMG! You totally reacted well to that phone call and it was good to move her outta there as she was telling that she wasn't feeling safe. I always wonder where the heck is the supervision? I know things can happen quickly anywhere, but extra eyes are always appreciated.
I know that it's not the same, but I understand those feelings of not being able to protect as we had an incident when D was in 1st grade. He was a young 5. I seriously hadn't thought about this one and thought we had more time. During recess, he was playing tag with some other boys and when he went to tag a kid, the kid kicked him hard in his private area. D said that he fell to the ground crying while all of the other boys just laughed! When he came home and told me all of this, I asked him if he told anyone like the person on duty. He said no because he thought no one would listen and the person didn't see it happen. He was able to tell me who kicked him, what class he was in, and the laughing kids. This was the first incident we had with his former brick and mortar school a.k.a. public daycare. The kid was talked to I guess and D stayed away from that type of play. Apparently, recess was a total nose pick anyway. I thought we had more time to explain that it would hurt to be kicked there and I felt horrible for not providing him with that information. I didn't think to tell my child to be watchful of other kids who might be more physical on the playground. In my naive mind at the time, kids were sweet and would keep their hands to themselves. In 3rd grade, we had lunch room situations of other "hot lunch" kids taking his "from home" food. Oy!
All of these feelings were amplified when T was in public preschool and Kinder. He did not have the speech to explain. He had been bitten pretty badly on the arm and had gone over to staff crying. I told them that they needed to be looking him over, pushing up his sleeves too as he never cries and an indication that "something" has happened. I also felt horrible when I'd see an incident report from daycare. I heard somewhere that most daycare incidences occur in the afternoons from somewhere like 3-5 p.m. when staff is tired. I'd cringe when I'd read 3:35 p.m. or 4:15 p.m. kicking myself for stopping at the store on the way to the daycare. Urgh . . .
I'm SO glad that you taught her the real names of all of her parts. I'm so glad that she was able to say what happened. I don't agree with the verbiage either that "she found herself in a situation." I'm taking more sips of my favorite beverage for you:) I hope that this newer camp is working out and that she enjoys going there.
I think you did an awesome job handling the situation at the school...From my background as a teacher that almost seems learned behavior and it sends up radar signals of what is going on in his life and I hope the school is looking into this and taking the appropriate steps on their end. I also think that it really sucks that you are the one that has to move your child while that child gets to stay and be around the other children...I go down that rabbit hole a lot...and have been doing so a lot this summer. It's so hard playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda we play with ourselves and it's just not fair we have to. It sounds like she had a blast at camp and don't you love how they always come home with less then they go with. sending a big hug. Nicki
Brandi, i am so sorry that this happened to Abbey. You for sure made the right decision to get her out of there. I think i would have flipped over that woman describing the situation about how she found herself in a situation. Almost seems like she was blaming her.
I think our rainbows put us into overdrive, as I know i am hyper vigilant too. But it's our job to protect our kids, and that is exactly what you did.
I am glad she was able to talk to you about it. Many hugs to both of you as you figure out next steps.
Brandi, I'm so sorry this happened to Abbey! Big hugs to both of you. I don't think you overreacted at all. I would have moved my child too....without a second thought. I'm very happy that Abbey shared with you exactly what happened. That is the most important part in all of this.
The school administration, staff and that child's parents need to be aware of what has happened. And like Nikki said... as a teacher and parent this is a huge red flag for that child who touched Abbey in that manner. At this age... I don't see this as typical at all.
I hope that time allows both of you to feel more settled and safe in her new school.
I think you handled this situation very well. Don't beat yourself up with guilt. You can't foresee everything that could possibly happen every single day. You talk, you teach, and you reinforce. The school failed in its response, and I would have pulled her in a heartbeat as well.
Sending you hugs.
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