3 year old harmed by babysitter. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 03-09-2013, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son was violated today by a person I allowed to care for him. She is an acquaintance I have know for a couple of years, she has done day care, is PTA involved, is studying nursing. I trusted her to supervise a play date, this was to be the kickoff of a babysitting exchange.

 

As I always do when someone may change my son's diaper I had the intact convo. He is a young 3 y.o. and still in diapers. I said, ''He is still intact - he has his foreskin - only wipe it like a finger" (as I demonstrated wiping a downward motion on my index finger.) "Do not pull anything back, do not retract."  She said she never would; she know that from her nursing care.

 

When I picked him up she said when she changed a poopy diaper he screamed and cried as she wiped inside the slit of his penis. She thought it had fecal matter inside the slit and she was trying to get it out and then she said he was telling her it hurt so she put cream on it.

 

(now I'm kinda freaking out -  but trying to be calm)  I asked her if she pulled back the skin - she said no, she just wiped a little inside the slit. I confirmed he cried, and she asked if he was always like that for diaper changes.

 

Every penis is different; I think my son has a long foreskin and this kind of gives an appearance of a non-round opening. His opening does kind of look like a slit. However it still should NOT be wiped out. I was anxious to get home and examine.

 

I think the emotional damage is as bad as the physical. When we got in the van I asked him if ''Jenny" had hurt him and his eyes welled up with tears and he said yes. We have had an open dialog from the moment we got to the van thru this evening he has brought it up 2-3 times. I tell him it was wrong how she touched his penis and I'm sorry that happened. He says she hurt him 2 times, I think with the wiping and the cream. I don't know what she used for cream. I worry it was neosporin or something awful.

 

The tip was slightly swollen and inflamed. It was reddish purple. I gave him a bath when we got home. He is now very skittish about even letting me touch his penis. My heart is broken for him.

 

After I had bathed him, I called her. I thanked Jenny for telling me up front something had happened with the diaper change. I wanted to have an open honest convo with her. I told her I know it looks like he has a slit, but that is normal for him, just like all noses and ears are different so are penises. I told her wiping out the tip of his penis was like wiping the inside of a little girls vagina. I told her she had indeed hurt him, and could we talk some more about intact care. She described how she helps men in the nursing home; then I told her the difference is the skin is fused until puberty. She isn't retracting men in the nursing home, but when she wipes down and over the tip, there may be more elasticity there than there is in a small child. I don't believe she had bad intentions. I think she is just uninformed, and working in the allopathic industry she assumes she knows more than she really does. She is receptive to intact info. Would like your suggestions for links. Her son is Circ.

 

I'm angry at myself for - sometimes wanting a little break from my kiddos.  I guess I need to wait till he is toilet savvy before leaving him in others care.  (This brings another conflict up. My homeschooled 6yo son wanted kid interaction so we joined a daycare for the afterschool program. I work at the center, My younger son attends in the 3 yo room I was explicit about intact care and there hasnt been a problem but now, I hardly want to let them out of my sight .) I also think he will be much more leary of anyone in his diapers now.

 

Big knot in my stomach. When and how will the emotional harm of this heal? I am so proud of him for talking openly about this with us, I want to honor him when he says no - for example tonight I would have like to put some coconut oil on his penis but he told me no, he didn't want to be touched. I think he is going to be okay physically it is much less red and swollen, it seems close to normal. So skipping the c.oil will be fine i think. I failed him. He was hurt by someone today. That really hurts.

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#2 of 20 Old 03-10-2013, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need some replies of support and direction!  This happened Saturday between 11am - 2:30pm. He told me about Jenny hurting him with tears in his eyes. Diaper changes he covered his penis with his hands and pleaded for me to please not hurt him. He cried and talked in his sleep saying her name and hurt over and over.

 

I have been validating his pain and telling him what she did was wrong. I have told him I was so sorry. He pitifully but sweetly said "that's okay mama."  And then I said NO it's not all right. This is so hard. It is obvious to me the emotional pain this has caused is very serious as well.

 

Today he has been seeking closeness, a desire to be carried in the Ergo by dad, wanting to be close to me today. My husband and I have agreed we won't touch his penis when he is telling us not to, we will bathe him in clear water for cleaning.

 

There is a pit in my stomach I don't know how to unwind. i feel sick for putting him in a place to be hurt.

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#3 of 20 Old 03-10-2013, 06:39 PM
 
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hug2.gif hug.gif

 

First of all, it's not your fault, mama.  You did everything you were supposed to do, you told her not to retract or otherwise mess with his foreskin.  She disregarded your explicit instructions.  The fault is all hers, not yours. 

 

However, I don't have much advice about what do to about his foreskin now.  As for the lady, I would certainly confront her.  She broke your trust and harmed your child by doing it.  Yeah, she told you about it, but it sounds like she didn't even apologize or admit she did wrong.  That's a big deal for me.

 

Does your son know how to retract his own foreskin?  I would even be tempted to take him to a foreskin-friendly doctor to get it checked out.

 

And, if this helps ease your mind a bit, here's a story about my older brother.  He was born in 1980, so foreskins were rare.  The doctor insisted on fully retracting my brother as a newborn, tearing things and making it bleed.  My parents didn't know any better at the time.  He healed well and as an adult he has no problems.


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#4 of 20 Old 03-10-2013, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Lazurii. Visably he appears normal. He moved it around tonight, pulled it up to show me the underside and pointed down the shaft where the outline of the glans was, and identified that as the spot that hurts right now. My understanding is that we can't really know what is going on inside. When he came home yesterday there was purpleness and swelling - to me that indicates tissue damage. I believe it was an awful experience for him.

 

I am trying to be understanding of the other mom. She works in healthcare apparently when i told her how to do his diaper change and her acknowledgement "yes that is how we are taught to do it, wipe down on the outside only" We had a miscommunication. This lowers my already low opinion of allopathic care. When I arrived she informed me he had a slit in his penis so she wiped that out.

 

She works with geriatic adult males, I have no doubt the condition of their saggy old skin must be different than my sweet boys. Maybe she was trained to have the aggorgance of "I know best." and that kicked in IDK but I kick myself for the fact this happened.

 

i am sorry for your brother, but thank you for the reassurance very glad he has no problems now.

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#5 of 20 Old 03-11-2013, 08:58 AM
 
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I can't speak from experience.. but intact penises seem to be resilient. I would think he'll heal just fine as long as it isn't repeatedly. Maybe she had a confidence slip, and feared he would get an infection if she didn't make extra sure she felt he was really clean?

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#6 of 20 Old 03-11-2013, 09:24 AM
 
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I'm really sorry that happened to you and your baby. My mom let an accident happen to my son, so I know there are many different emotions involved. (I say "let" because it was completely preventable, but still, it was an accident and I know she certainly didn't mean to deliberately hurt him). 

I don't mean to minimize what you're feeling, but for your son's sake, it might be helpful to be strong for him as he might be feeding into your pain as well.  If it were me, I would treat it like a skinned knee (a very sensitive skinned knee) and explain to him that Jenny didn't mean to hurt him, it was just an accident and tell him it's healing nicely. 

As an aside, my son has a "slit" as well. I've never had to clean it, in fact, now that I think about it, I've always only cleaned it with one hand while holding his feet so it's only been wiped from one side to the other. Maybe that might be a suggestion to anyone else that is changing him, if you're only using one hand, you can't do any damage. 

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#7 of 20 Old 03-11-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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I have an intact almost 3-year-old still in diapers too. I agree with EchoSoul and Escaping. I'd also like to add... have you considered that maybe the cream was irritating to your son and that maybe the red/purple appearance and swelling had to do with that? What did she use? My son has a "slit" too, however, I would never consider retracting to clean it out or putting anything in there. Your babysitter made an error there, but I think she was using her best judgment and was trying to keep your son clean. Perhaps she was worried that if she didn't clean him perfectly that he would get an infection, or maybe upset you? I don't get the feeling that she was being malicious in any way. Was it a big blowout? I know with my son, when he has big blowouts, extra effort needs to be made to clean him. I never retract or insert anything into the slit, but I do manipulate the foreskin slightly to make sure I get him clean. Sometimes if the poop is drier and, for lack of a better description, cakier, it requires a little more work to remove. I am very careful. Maybe that was the case? If there is a next time with this babysitter, perhaps you can be more specific... no retraction, do not insert anything into the foreskin to clean it, and also tell her not to apply any cream, oil, ointment whatsoever. If there is any question, tell her to clean him up, leave the penis alone, and then give him a bath yourself when he is back in your care. I specifically agree with Escaping about treating this like a scraped knee with your son. It's a boo-boo and it will get better. Keep an eye on it. Sounds like it is getting better.


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#8 of 20 Old 03-11-2013, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think she did it maliciously at all. In fact she feels really terrible about, so I'm using it as a teaching moment. It is helping me to forgive if I can believe that the info I expose her to will one day help others. In fact if she finds it in her heart to become a knowledgable intactivist nurse then maybe it would help many others. So glad that I kept anger in check and have been thoughtful about how i speak with her about this.

 

My son says it doesn't hurts "no much" now. I rescheduled a family trip to a water park from 2, to now 4 weeks away. I still have a concern that pathogens could be introduced, I hope it is long enough time for it to heal.......  public pool - irritating chlorine.... ugh. IDK. thoughts? The little voice inside says; "you wouldn't go to a pool so soon post partum" but maybe his injury is not comparable to a little tearing after vaginal delivery. Is 4 weeks enough time for his foreskin to be recovered enough for this get away?

 

He is speaking of it less and less - Sat and Sun he would bring it up about 6 times a day. There were no apparent bad dreams last night. I used it as another chance to discuss circumcision with both boys, using it as a chance to explain why not many people know how to care for the foreskin, she didn't mean to hurt him she just didn't know.

 

Last night I tried aromatherapy, using essential oils that help heal sexual / abuse trauma. I didn't like saying this because there could always be cases where it's not true. But I told him mom and dad would protect him and that won't happen again - that seemed to bring him great comfort and peace.

 

I really like the one - handed cleaning pointer, I think that is a helpful one.

 

Thank you so much for your replies. It was very hard for me. Some call me very protective of my kids. I've been very close to them and am not very fond of leaving them in others care. This has shaken my trust in everyone....we've gone 6 years without incident. Part of me wants to keep him with me till he is at least potty learned.  However hubby thinks the healthy approach is to move forward and occasionally take some time to be away from them. He is very confident Jenny will never make the same mistake again. Me too, as my strategy for future visits would probably be to have her phone me if he needs changed. I'm only 10 minutes away.

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#9 of 20 Old 03-11-2013, 11:09 PM
 
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Full disclaimer:  I circed and regret it

 

My honest question is this:  I understand that a 3yo probably has formed stools, but when a baby has liquid stools and some gets into the small opening of the foreskin, how else do you get it out besides wiping?

 

Also, OP, when my son was 2yo, he had a typical terrible 2 moment and got angry with me for reaching to put the seat down after he peed (standing up).  He yelled "I DO IT!!!" and then proceeded to smash his poor little glans to high heaven.  Remember, he unfortunately had no foreskin to protect it.  :(  We ended up going to the ER later that day bc it looked really bad and my MIL kept saying "He might have crushed The Tube"  haha  Anyway, he healed up just fine and now at 11yo has no recollection, although he ha seen pics of the carnage.  Your bub will be fine, I echo the suggestion to treat it like a skinned knee so as not to project your anxiety onto your ds. 

 

Best wishes for a speed recovery!


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#10 of 20 Old 03-12-2013, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Blessed with Boys. i tried to use this space to air my anxieties, as I did try to present a calm, validating presence for him. I only initiated the conversation about his penis, after that I waited for him to bring it up, and to his older brother - i shared that I was glad he was telling us that someone hurt him. It was a chance to reinforce the need to tell when there is a wrong touch.

 

So sorry bout the toilet seat - that sounds so ouchy! Glad he is well again.

 

As for your really messy diaper question - my approach has always been to just pop him in the tub. Sometimes it's a quick rinse or sometimes he'll want to stay and play. Not even considering the penis, I find that cleaning all the squishy folds of scrotum and pudgy baby folds to be 'exhausting.'  For me it always seemed easier and more efficient to pop them in the tub, I'd have a book handy and just take a little mom break while I sat in the bathroom as he soaked.

 

I think an alternative to a full on bath would be a peri bottle filled with warm water. I may toss one of those in our bag for outings now. One could put a prefold diaper under the area you are rinsing and that would contain the water mess.

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#11 of 20 Old 03-12-2013, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh yes also - as to your question Blessed with Boys - if the little guy is whole and intact nothing is going to get in there. The skin is fused to the glans. It's kind of like how your fingernails are, (imagine your nails are trimmed close to the skin - super long nails don't count in this analogy)  Things don't go into the nail bed unless they are forced under there. You could smash blueberries and your hands would be blue but under your finger / nail - nothing.

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#12 of 20 Old 03-12-2013, 08:17 AM
 
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Oh yes also - as to your question Blessed with Boys - if the little guy is whole and intact nothing is going to get in there. The skin is fused to the glans. It's kind of like how your fingernails are, (imagine your nails are trimmed close to the skin - super long nails don't count in this analogy)  Things don't go into the nail bed unless they are forced under there. You could smash blueberries and your hands would be blue but under your finger / nail - nothing.

 

Well, there were times I had to retract my son a bit to clean his foreskin.  But he has a very, very long foreskin, so he would sometimes get feces inside his foreskin up to the glans.  If I left the poop in there it would irritate the foreskin.


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#13 of 20 Old 03-16-2013, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE:  Infection at tip, where the opening was forced open and wiped.

 

Now what?  He remains scared at changes, doesn't want us (his dad or I) to touch his penis. He was injured by a wet wipe, and is very skitish about having anyone down there now. greensad.gif

I think I will get a peri bottle for cleanings and maybe use cloth wipes instead.

 

What to do about the tip of his foreskin? I suspect infection based on redness, smell (yes I put my nose very near his penis, and I have a super sniffer. )  Also it seems to be getting sensitive to be e in the diaper, and he stretches / tugs / pulls  it ALOT now.  Maybe that is a sign of itchiness.

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#14 of 20 Old 03-16-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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I think an herbal salve might be nice.  Comfrey, goldenseal, plantain, and calendula should all be very soothing and healing.  You can make your own by steeping the herbs in coconut oil.

 

 

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#15 of 20 Old 03-16-2013, 01:12 PM
 
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This might be a good time to go diaper-free :-) Give him baths, and let him hang out naked. If you have time, spend the next three days letting him go free-range and, trailing him, and bringing the baby potty along. After that switch to underwear if he's successful. You might bring up the idea that his penis/bottom would feel better if they aren't in wet or poopy diapers, not as a negative, but as an incentive to keep himself clean.

 

If his penis does smell, and is getting worse take him in an get some cream. Otherwise let that penis air out, and see how it goes. You'll be the judge of that, with your Mama nose :-)

 

It is an awkward time to have intact boys in the US, many are still in diapers and yet some are starting to separate. You could have even done this damage, without intending to, just to get him cleaned in a hurry. It could have been the baby-sitter's aggressive cleaning, or it could just be a fluke. Not that I am dismissing the fact that she hurt him, but this could be a separation issue, in addition to  the fact that this was the first time she watched him. I thin he understands that you were stressed, and has picked up on it also.

 

Three is a good age to potty-train, if it comes down to that. I assume he defecates somewhat regularly, if so, wait until after and the the rest of the day be air-out time. It's easier to clean up that way--just in case you can't watch his every moment and do need to urinate yourself at some point.

 

It's not your fault, we all need breaks! For some reason in the US, leaving kids intact is so very foreign.  Soak before scrub for insane blow out, and I do my youngest sons' clean-ups with a shower head!  And in the future, please explain that unless you are going to be gone an entire day just getting most of the poop off is fine and you will clean the rest when you get home. This seems to be a sporadic event, you leaving them, and they can clean the majority and let you deal with the crevices in the future. I bet they'll be glad not to have to make sure all is out.

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#16 of 20 Old 03-21-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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I've been mulling this around in my head for a while and finally figured out what I wanted to say.

 

Please don't feel that because of this incident that you can't leave your won with anyone.  Sometimes bad things happen, and that really sucks.  But if we use these bad things to curl up into ourselves, and take our children with us, then we don't have to grow as parents, and our children aren't able to explore their independence at their timing.

 

Telling yourself that you aren't able to leave your children with anyone because of this can put a lot of strain on your mothering.  I'm afraid you'll feel trapped in the situation and feel there is no escape.  Sometimes mothers need breaks from their kids, and that's okay.

 

My own son had a situation where he was ill-treated at a friend's house.  He never went back to that home, but since he was still ready to socialize in that manner we found other homes for him to visit.  He has never had issues in these new situations.

 

I learned from that experience to be more discerning of my children's playmates, but I also understood that cutting ourselves off from others was unhealthy.

 

I hope that you can find peace.


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#17 of 20 Old 04-02-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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i just wanted to say i am sorry you and your family had and are still dealing with this. thank you for sharing as we all an learn from this. 

thank you and sending healing energy your way!

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#18 of 20 Old 04-02-2013, 10:11 PM
 
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subbing so I can come back and give a proper response later.


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#19 of 20 Old 04-11-2013, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE;  We are almost a month out from the incident. There is no visable problem with his penis, however there are some lingering emotional and  maybe physical signs.

 

We have done much diaper free time at home, and potty learning is coming along. I have resorted to bribing him with treats to use the potty. It's working, kind of rubs my parenting philosophies and ideals the wrong way - but setting those aside, he is making potty progress! That's what matters now. His big brother has leapt on the bandwagon and is a great cheerleader too!

 

Sadly he still feels unsafe at every change - I think he is now aware of the pain that someone handling his penis can cause - innocence lost.

 

Sometimes during nakey time he punches his penis with his fist. I suspect he maybe having new sensations he doesn't like. Maybe it's separation, or maybe a yeast/infection I don't detect, or damage to the nerves?

 

He still is trying to process this through play. He was telling a doll he wanted her to hurt his penis.

 

He told me he doesn't like his penis last night because "it always hurts"  Since he told me that last night, I have been giving him a comfry salve to apply to himself.

 

....................................................................

 

I realize I will need to trust others with his care and that not doing so may also harm. I'm kind of stuck a bit  on the point I told her HOW to clean him and she acknowledged and agreed with what I said and did something else anyway. THAT's what makes it hard to trust now.

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#20 of 20 Old 04-27-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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I think an alternative to a full on bath would be a peri bottle filled with warm water. I may toss one of those in our bag for outings now. One could put a prefold diaper under the area you are rinsing and that would contain the water mess.

 

I was just going to add that's what we did with not only DS, but DD as well, for those messy changes. I figured I'd re-use that bottle they sent me home with. Worked fine with both kids, but then I don't ever recall being concerned that there was trapped EBF fecal matter in there or anything. It seemed to be a non-issue.

 

Moonbeam: I'm glad your DS is healing. I can only imagine the trust issues now stemming from this. Wishing you all the best as you move forward. ((HUGS)) 


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