I returned to the babysitters, relatives Ivan and Adele, after going to the movies with friends. I learned that Ivan took my daughter Hannah—20-month-old, on an outing. When they returned Hannah acted traumatized and flew into a temper tantrum.
That evening I called my husband. “Something isn’t right. Hannah isn’t acting normal. Adele and Ivan babysat while I spent the afternoon with friends and when I got back Ivan and Hannah were gone. Adele told me Ivan took her on the outing while I was at the movies. Hannah wouldn’t hug me or let me change her diaper. She never does that. And then I found a puncture mark. Jordan said she sat on one of Adele’s sewing pins in the carpet.
I cried in frustration unable to explain why I remained troubled. I thought through the events that day hoping I could shake off being a mom who over reacted to Hannah's behavior. And soon my husband will assure me I overreacted and a temper tantrum is all it is.
My husband responded, “It’s normal. Hannah’s disrupted schedule and being away from home with unfamiliar people caused her to react. Diaper rash is normal. Did you ask Jordan if anything happened?”
"No, I didn't."
That evening when I put the kids to bed I asked Jordan. “Did anything happen to Hannah today while mommy was gone?”
In a quiet voice he looked down and fiddled with his fingers. “No Mommy.” He paused. “But Ivan got me a special toy!”
“Oh? That was nice of Ivan. What did he get you?”
“A big toy dog It's yellow!”
“Where is it?”
“I’ll show you!” He jumped out of bed and ran down the hallway to Ivan and Adele’s bedroom, with me in tow.
“Look!” Jordan opened their closet door and pointed to the top shelf. An oversized stuffed animal laid on the shelf with its nose pointing down at us—a yellow dog.
Discernment is recognition, perception, and knowledge. Use it alongside of reason. I focused on what appeared reasonable and normal and demoted discernment.
“It is our experience that the "grooming" a child is only half the story. Many pedophiles are extremely clever, often charming, patient people, frequently thought of as among the most valued of community members. That's because they spend a lot of time grooming the parents, friends and neighbors of the children around them, just as they groom the kids themselves…” NAASCA Highlights. Read More Here.
Be safe. Be accurate. Be brave.