Monday, July 16, 2007

A Fear

We were all enjoying an evening in another town's municipal pool, the guests of beloved friends. I offered to take the oldest kids (my two boys and my friend's eldest) to the bathrooms.

I have struggled with what to do when my nearly 7-year-old boys need to relieve themselves. They are coming to the age where dragging them into the women's room is embarrassing for them. Once we had to use a women's room inside a locker room and, well, the boys got an eyeful much to all of our embarrassment.

But then I live in fear that someone will hurt my children and I won't be there to stop it. I know that children are more likely to be hurt by someone they know then a boogie man lurking in a public bathroom. But I also know they can be hurt by someone their own age.

So when one of my boys ran sobbing out of the bathroom with dirt on his chest, I thought I would vomit. I wrapped him in a towel as he heaved his tears.


When I was 6 or 7 years old I was invited outside to play by a neighborhood girl. A year older than me, my parents had known her parents for years and didn't think anything of her offer to play. She took me to the backyard of a third kid, a boy older than both of us. All I remember is my underwear was off and he is touching me with his dirt covered finger. Nothing else happened. But the only other thing I remember is crying in my family room with my parents.

"What happened?"

"I slipped and hit my head!"

"No one pushed you?"

"No."

"No one scared you?"

"No. I just slipped in a really big puddle on the floor."

The lump started to appear off of his forehead. It was big so now I had other concerns to worry about.

I can deal with those.

***

I can honestly say that the account described above is the only time someone inappropriately touched me as a child. I have dear friends that have dealt with much, much worse. I am also not an expert on these issues so please, if you are dealing with trauma from abuse, or worried about a child you care about, please seek out professional help. If you have concerns for a child's immediate safety, call the police.

For more information about child abuse, visit Prevent Child Abuse America for an organization in your state. Information for adult survivors of childhood abuse can be found at Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.

11 comments:

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

good post.

chelle said...

oh my.
ok ... I never want my kids to grow up ever.
ever.

Alex Elliot said...

I can't even imagine what you must have been feeling. Thank you for sharing this post.

Real Life Drama Queen said...

Great post. I would have been super concerned as well. I was a child of abuse. No one believed me and instead of getting help, I was called a liar.

Keep being the great mom you are and your reward will be and already is, your children.

HUGS

Jenn in Holland said...

When it came time for our oldest to enter the men's room alone I was vigilant and we had multiple rules because like you, I had multiple concerns. Wait till the mens' room is clear, and know that Mom is a single shout away, standing at the door. Maybe I am slightly over the top protective but I make no apologies for it. It's hard to let your little ones grow up and be independent. Unfortunately, in this world more than awareness is called for. Attention, always.

soccer mom in denial said...

Thanks everyone. This probably wasn't the best day to have this up since I won't be by a computer much.

RLDQ - there are too many of you. Why couldn't adults treat children the right way?

JiH - we're developing those rules for "men's rooms" but when it is a bathroom full of boys, well, take a deep breath.

Jodi said...

Oh Allison, I am so, so sorry, about what you went through as a child. That's horrible.

When you have a second, email me, and I'll tell you the funny story and letting my 6 year old nephew go to the bathroom by himself at high school musical, the concert. It's too long to post here.

Goofball said...

hello from a blogger across the world using the same template..hihi for a moment I though I clicked the wrong link and had landed on my own blog.

My comment is not related at all to your post today. I hope you don't mind. I just stopped by because Jenn in Holland is making so much publicity for your blog and saying such nice things about you :). And she also referred me to you because I am planning a vacation tour of 2 weeks across New England and she said that you'd be able to give me some tips on must see's, min/max times to visit a town & distances etc...

If you do, feel free to visit my blog and to comment on my New England post.

Greetings from Belgium!

Jami said...

At 11, my son is now big enough to put up a serious fight if something "bad" happens in a public place, whether an adult or another youngster is the perpetrator. He also knows that we're just a yell away. However, that doesn't mean we've become complacent about his going in by himself. He was a really good-looking kid (no brag, just fact) and as he gets older, he is getting to be downright gorgeous looking (in a manly way, of course) so if nothing else, we tend keep an even closer eye on him.

CableGirl said...

poor guy. how's he doing?

Great post by the way.

Adventures In Waitressing said...

SID.. I wish I had the answer to your question. If we did know, maybe we could make this world a better place easier then one person at a time.