Another Child in Pain
December 3, 2005

I was startled to realize that I hadn't posted in a couple of days ... sorry about that. As I said in my last post, I've been more than a little bit introspective lately. A part of it is that I miss teaching so very much ... another part of it is that I got to thinking about Mikey and all of the other kids like Mikey that I've known.

I met a kid named Chris once and after getting to know him for a while, he told me about his family ... I don't really know why so many people feel they can open up to me and tell me about their horrible childhoods, but they do. And since so many of them so obviously need to tell someone about the things that happened to them, I simply listen.

*** Again, this story is probably not for the weak of stomach ***
Chris had a clear memory back to the age of 2 or 3. With a father in the military, his family moved quite frequently, so he could judge an age by describing the house or apartment they were living in ... then his mother would tell him that he couldn't possibly remember that house as he was only 2 or 3 at the time. (Makes me wonder how many other people just assume that some of their early childhood memories are from an older age because they have no "place" context in which to judge the time period.)

So, Chris recalls waking up one particular morning with a tummyache. He was a bit startled to see his mom already up, happy and bustling about the kitchen. Generally speaking, he was far more likely to get up before she did. So, he told her that his tummy hurt (and being that verbal and male, he and both agree that he was probably three, not two). She told him that he'd feel better if he just ate some breakfast. He fussed and said his tummy hurt and he really didn't want to eat breakfast.

However, his mom had made him oatmeal and by golly, he was gonna eat it. So, she scooped up the toddler, fastened him into his booster chair and said, "Eat, you'll feel better."

A dutiful child, Chris tried a couple of spoonfuls of oatmeal. His tummy instantly felt worse. He squirmed a little in his booster seat, trying to decide if he should get out or not.

Too late ... breakfast was going to make a re-appearance. Not wanting to make a mess everywhere, he threw up into his oatmeal bowl. And, like most little kids upon puking, he began to cry.

Now his mother was behind him in the kitchen, presumably cleaning up the dishes from cooking. She came around the corner at his crying and asked why he hadn't touched his oatmeal and why was he crying.

Not the most verbal at that age ... and since crying and trying not to puke again really don't help a person in being very communicative, he just couldn't seem to get his point across to her.

"Eat your oatmeal."

"No, I threw up, I sick, no eat."

"Eat your oatmeal, you'll feel better. That'll settle your tummy and you won't throw up."

"No, threw up, tummyache."

Completely not hearing the boy, she made him eat his oatmeal in front of her. Naturally, having to eat the already eaten oatmeal didn't go over well, but at least this time she was there to visually witness the abused tummy's reaction.

You know, in and of itself, this could simply have been a terrible misunderstanding on the part of any parent. Kids at that age don't really communicate well, and often parents are still learning the idiosyncracies of that child. Mistakes, as big as they might seem to the kid, happen.

Unfortunately for Chris, this was simply one time among many that his mother refused to listen to the words he said. Without ever having reason to believe this child was a liar, she repeatedly ignored what he had to say all throughout his life.

At four .... "my ear hurts"
"Well do you need to go to the doctor?"
"I don't know. It hurts."
They went shopping instead. His eardrum burst in the mall ... he didn't even seem to notice even though this is supposed to be a very painful experience. Instead, his mom looked over at him after a while and asked what that green junk was on his face. Turns out it was the infection that burst through the eardrum.
They didn't go to the doctor even then. Went instead a few days later for the regular checkup.

At eleven ... "I think my arm might be broken"
"Are you sure? What'd you do to it?"
"I was hanging from the soccer goal and a kid pushed me off."
Three days later, they go to get it x-rayed ... he'd already tried to ignore it for a few days before then. His mother took one look at the x-ray before they walked into the doctor's office and proclaimed the arm not broken.
The doctor took one look and said, "Yep, snapped the bone right here."

At thirteen ... "Dad used to beat the crap out of me when I was smaller."
"No!"
She asked the father that night and then came back to the boy. "I asked your dad and he said he never did any of those things you described." (He'd given her three different, specific incidents.)
He decided he couldn't tell her the rest of what his father had done to him.

At fifteen ... "Mom, can I go to an Alateen meeting?" (His ride was already on the way.)
"Oh my God. Are you an alcoholic." She was completely stricken.
He looked at her in disgust ... "No, Dad is."
She was even more stricken, and shocked, despite the fact that he'd been drinking out of control for the entire 20 years of their marriage.

By then, he quit telling her anything at all. What was the point? She never did listen to him.

I still want to know ... how can people do that to their children? I could understand an incident here or there ... like I said, everyone makes mistakes. But his mother had a pattern of literally never believing this child who by all other accounts, was a great and trustworthy kid. How could she just ignore his health like that? Ignore him like that?

For some reason, these thoughts just keep coming back to me at this time of year. I think a lot about the various stories I've heard from those whose parents ... well, to be honest, I think they should have been shot for what they did to their kids. I've only sketched out the smallest bit of Chris's story, just to lay out the pattern of being ignored that he felt.

How many other kids like Chris are out there right now? How can we both find them and help them?

I don't know. And it really bothers me.

Posted by Red Monkey at December 3, 2005 2:46 PM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

Dawn said:

I don't know how parents can do that to kids, but you know, it's always those parents who get away scott free.

I have 3 kids, I've never hit them, I've never ignored them and I've always done my best for them. Yet because of some vicious lies told by a person with a vendetta against me, Social Services were involved and my Children were placed on The Child Protection Register.

They were taken off the Register earlier this year after being on there for more than a year but the fact remains that we as parents did nothing wrong.

December 3, 2005 3:55 PM

 

Red Monkey said:

I'm sorry to hear that, but really glad they were finally taken off the register. Were they ever actually removed from the home? I hope not.

It is amazing that the ones who do nothing wrong repeatedly get into these stupid little vendetta things ... and the ones who are guilty manage to fly under the radar. I'm always torn about this ... we have to have those reporting mechanisms in place or we'll miss even more kids .... but then we wind up punishing both parents and children who were doing just fine.

December 3, 2005 4:05 PM

Wow... what an amazing story. It is an eye opener. We have medical insurance for a reason, in my opinion.

I hope that Chris is now doing better and can break away from the mold of his mother. Altough, when he has children he will most likely be the polar opposite with his family.

Thanks for sharing this story!

XXOO,
JTL

December 3, 2005 7:21 PM

Feel free to check out my page for horror stories.
I had a piece of work parent.
Seems like she still is damaging me.

December 4, 2005 5:27 PM

 

Seawave said:

((((((((((ENDER)))))))))))

December 5, 2005 6:04 PM
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