Friday, August 9, 2013

Preparing for the Worst, Hoping for the Best

It's been a while now, but a few months back my daughter said something to me that completely caught me off guard and made me extremely angry at NR. To hear the words "daddy hits me" come out of my child's mouth can make for one of the worst possible moments in a parents' life. Upon further investigation of what she said, it was only that her dad would spank her. This alone bothered me because the first couple years of her life he was very strong on his feelings that spanking was bad. I'm not exactly sure why he resorts to it now. The thing about that though, is that it's not all that she had to say. Apparently, she wasn't allowed to tell anyone that he spanked her and if she did, he wouldn't allow her to come see me anymore. I can't say that I agree with any part of this behavior. Since then I've been keeping a close eye on my children to make sure that they aren't being hurt. It's a hard spot to be in because you want to ask questions but at the same time, a court order keeps you from saying anything bad about the other parent. 

It's important that my children have a good relationship with their dad, no matter how much I hate him. My daughter started using that word, 'hate'. I told her that we didn't use that word and that she should describe her feelings with words like dislike, instead. I haven't heard her say it in quite a while now, and I'm glad that maybe it's left her vocabulary. Unfortunately, it hasn't left mine and for the most part, it's exactly how I feel about my ex. There is zero love and zero respect for that man. I loathe him. 

The way that I feel about him doesn't have anything to do with what my children should think of him though. They should be able to love him and to not be afraid of him. My children shouldn't know what happens when their daddy gets mad. It's not right that they would witness him pushing his girlfriend against a door and breaking the wall. My daughters shouldn't be woken up in the middle of the night because they are screaming at each other. These girls shouldn't know what it sounds like when someone hits someone else. In the end, there isn't much that I can do about the situation. It's all second hand information from a five year old. Or is there? 

When my children came to stay with me a couple of weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that NR and KL had gotten into a pretty bad fight the night before. My daughter said that it sounded like she was being hit and that she had said things like "don't hit me." It's hard to live so far away from my children and to not be close for them to call me when things like this happen. Obviously there is something going on in that house that my children should not be witness to. I don't feel that he is hitting our children, but I have this awful feeling in my gut that says he'll go too far someday. That's probably just a crazy mom being over protective, but I'd rather be safe now than sorry later. I ended up calling and speaking with an officer in his county. I knew there wasn't anything that could be done, at that point it had been over a week, but I was worried about my kids being so close to that kind of violence. 

I've spoken with police officers and lawyers about my situation a lot lately and I'm glad that 'most' of them have turned out to be some pretty nice people. The latest ended up giving me some solid advice that I've actually begun to implement. When it comes to domestic violence, there's really not a whole lot that the police can do unless they are notified of it while it is happening. He suggested that I try to talk to KL and see if maybe she'd talk to me about what was going on. She'd need to call the police or someone around them would need to dial 911 in order for the cops to get involved. If I really thought that there might be something going on, he thought it would be a good idea to educate my children on how to use a phone and who to dial when someone is in trouble. The last weekend the girls were here I started talking to them about 911. It was the cutest thing when I asked my daughter if she knew the number she could call if someone was in trouble: "119?" 

There's always that chance that when you start teaching your kids how to call for help that they may feel the need to investigate or experiment. Being as young as she is, her interpretation of "if someone is in trouble or being hurt" may be a lot different than what would be expected for a call to emergency services. 

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