I decided to pick the kids up early from daycare Friday. David had been working non-stop and I didn’t know what time he would be home that night either. I thought it would be a special treat to take them out for dinner. Plus I really didn’t want just the three of us to sit around the dinner table again. Even with the chatter of a three and six year old the table just seemed lonely without him.
As we settled into the colorful booth of our local Mexican restaurant and started gobbling down chips and salsa Baby Girl asked, “Mom, did I remember to tell you about what happened with the boy at school?”
I breathed an internal sigh and thought, “what now?” We’ve had a lot of problems this summer and every day it seemed like it was something. She was getting better at dealing with the conflicts herself, but this must be something new. “No babe. What happened?”
“The other day Jane and Mary and me (all six) were sitting in the back of the room with Bob (12) at quiet time and he asked us if we wanted to kick him in the nuts.”
“… He what?” I calmly asked. Meanwhile inside my heart had stopped beating and tortilla chips started making their way back up.
“He said we could kick him in the nuts if we wanted.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told him no. That it would hurt him and I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
“And what did he say?”
“He said that he didn’t care if we hurt him. That we could do it anyway, but I didn’t want to do that.”
“Did any of the girls do it?”
“No. Mom, I don’t want to talk about this here.”
The conversation had started out very matter of fact, but I could tell she was getting increasingly uncomfortable so I told her that was fine. I’m not sure how I managed to hold on to my composure, but I was able to sit through the remainder of dinner and the, thankfully, more normal chit chat I hear at the end of every day.
As we were getting in the car and I was buckling up her little brother, I asked her the question I had been dreading since she first told me about the incident, “Baby Girl, did Bob touch you in any of your private places?”
“No Mom. I wouldn’t let anyone do that.”
“Good. I’m glad you’re so smart. Did you touch him in any of his private places?”
This question got me one of those incredulous looks that six year old girls have perfected and a “No Mom.”
“Good. That’s good. Did he ask you to touch him in any of his private places?”
“No Mom. Just the kicking.”
Bud was all buckled into his seat at this point so I shut his door and took a deep breath to ready myself for the next questions that I knew I had to ask. I climbed into my seat, cranked the car for the air and turned to look at her, “Baby Girl… did you go with Bob anywhere by yourself?”
I could tell she was getting more nervous and uncomfortable. “No Mom.”
“Did he ask you to?”
“What did he ask you babe?”
“He said that I could go to the bathroom and he would be there in a few minutes, and that when he came in I could close my eyes and pull down my pants and it would be over in a few minutes. But it made me really uncomfortable Mom and I didn’t want to go anywhere with him so I told him no.”
“That’s great babe. You did exactly what you were supposed to do, and I’m so glad you told me about what happened. You know you can always tell me anything, right?”
“Yeah. He told me that he wouldn’t tell anyone if I did it and that we shouldn’t tell anyone that he asked, but I knew I needed to tell you.”
“You were right. And babe? I’ve never been more proud of you than I am at this minute right now.”
“Even when I was born?”
“Even when you were born.”
Unfortunately this story is 100% true. After my daughter told me what happened I contacted the owner of the daycare and the parents of one of the other girls (I couldn’t find contact information for the other mother), and their daughter confirmed what Baby Girl had told me. After discussing the incident with the other parents, David and I decided to file a police report even though technically a crime had not been committed.
We are still in the middle of this situation so unfortunately I don’t have any resolution yet. At this point all I know is that the boy, who is the son of one of the daycare teachers, will not be allowed back at the school. I don’t know if the teacher will be allowed to return to her job after breaking the rules by allowing her son to come to the daycare and allowing the girls to be alone with her son in a part of room that the children are not supposed to be in at quiet time. I also don’t know if I will be taking my children back there if she is still employed there. I don’t want to, but my husband hates to rip them away from the place they’ve been since they were born. My daughter doesn’t want to leave her friends.
I always thought if something like this happened to one of my children I would find and eviscerate the person that did it. Instead all I have felt since my daughter told me what happened is heartbroken, nauseous and shaky. I’ve tried not to let my mind wander to “what if.” What if she had not said no? What if I had not talked to her about private places? What if I had not said something about people that act nice but really want to hurt you? What if she had gone into that bathroom? If I let my mind go there I become a shaking mass of crying goo.
My child was almost molested. Almost. She was almost a statistic. Her life was almost changed forever. Everything sweet and innocent and pure about her was almost stolen from her. Almost.
If this isn’t something you have talked to your children about, please, I beg you, do it today. Don’t wait. Because as horrible as this has been I can’t even begin to imagine how much worse it could be if it weren’t for almost.