“Jesus wept.” -John 11:35
In the past when people have said, these kids are driving me crazy, I always laughed it off. I always thought it was a joke. It’s not a joke. I know that now. I know that because my own child literally drove me out of my mind. Going forward, when I refer to “the thing,” I will be referring to the thing that he did which drove me out of my mind. I cannot describe the thing again, or I shall go mad, once again, and I can’t allow that to happen. I still don’t know where he got the idea for the thing, and that is the most maddening of all. What I can say is that right now, he is behaving perfectly normal, as if the thing never happened, and I’m feeling mostly relieved, although somewhat perplexed about that.
To start, my child is different from most. He has special needs, and he was in a special class, with only six other little dull-faced children, who may not even be potty trained, and who talk even less than he does, but he has no diagnosis of anything actually the matter with him. His speech was delayed and he has trouble picking up on social cues. He also gets really wild and aggressive when he’s not getting enough attention or getting his way. The thing is, every single problem he has is something I can trace back to some mistake that I made. I handed him everything too easily without ever making him ask for anything or use his words. I discouraged his babbling because I found it obnoxious and didn’t understand why he insisted on incessantly filling the air with random face hole noises. Seriously that shit was cute for about three seconds. Then not so cute anymore. Then really annoying. I didn’t want him to be one of those people who never shuts up. I have to live with this kid. He’s my only child so he’s used to being doted on and maybe even worshipped a little. He basically immediately became the most dominant member of the family. Then I tried spanking him and that completely backfired and wound up angering him. I roughhoused with him because I figured that’s how a father would play with him, I don’t know, maybe I confused him? Look, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Mistakes were made. These are all mistakes I’ve made. Mistakes I’ve been working to correct over the past year or so, and for the most part, it’s been working. I’m pretty much in charge now, the kid is talking a lot more, he’s being way more respectful and well-mannered, understanding and respecting rules and boundaries, truly thriving.
The reason why the thing drove me out of my mind, is because it’s inconsistent with who he is and the sort of problems he has. My son has problems, but not this kind of problem. My kid can get aggressive and doesn’t follow orders, but he’s not a sexual deviant, and I sure as shit don’t appreciate that getting added to his list of issues. That shit is fucked straight up. Anyone without kids may not know that kids do masturbate and discover themselves, but mine is more along the lines of a public nose picker than a public masturbator. I never shamed him about it when he did do it, but he didn’t do it any more than any other normal kid, and to be honest, he didn’t do it nearly as much as I was expecting. If I discovered that I had a penis one day, I would probably spend a lot more time with mine than my son did with his. It was just, oh neat, this feels nice, whatever, what’s next? Oooh, check out these toes! Basically I think it was around age three that I told him that it was time for him to start doing that privately and, with a few reminders, he got it, no problem. Potty training was also extremely easy for this kid. It took a few tries, but when the time came, it was basically like pointing a kitten in the direction of the litter box. I can count on one hand the number of times this kid has wet his pants. Nothing has changed and the kid still doesn’t wet the bed or anything, I’m just saying it’s usually the bedwetters that are the pervy ones. My son doesn’t have any indicators of any abnormal sexuality. I don’t even think he’s gay, and it’s fine if he is, whatever. I’m just not seeing it yet at all, if he is. Just sayin, that’s the kind of kid I was dealing with.
Then the thing happened.
It wasn’t in any of the parenting books I’ve read. Nothing like it was mentioned in the normal developmental milestones charts. It wasn’t an escalation of any other related behaviour. The thing came from another planet and struck like a damned meteor from outer space. It’s not from my son’s realm of ideas and capabilities. As soon as the doctor told me I was having a boy, I knew I was in for a tough time, but I didn’t know what a run this kid would give me for the money. I want him to socialize and have friends but, at the same time, I want to protect him from the world. I want to protect him from the world but, at the same time, I don’t want him wearing my clothes when I’m dead and making lampshades out of people. I know boys will be boys and they do strange things. I’m finding out that a lot of the things I thought boys learned from their fathers, are actually things they are born instinctively knowing and doing on their own. My son hates shopping, hogs the remote, and watches Netflix with his hand shoved down the front of his pants. He likes farting, video games, and trucks. Some of his ideas seem to come out of nowhere, but this one, it doesn’t add up. I may not fully understand his testosterone infused little mind, but I know when something isn’t rightly making any sense, and this still doesn’t make any logical sense to me whatsoever. Kids don’t just leap from average normal self-discovery straight into… the thing that he did.
What’s most important to remember, during a time like this, is, firstly, that I didn’t kill anyone. Mostly because I didn’t know who to kill, or if I even needed to kill anyone at all. Secondly, no matter how the thing came about, whether someone showed him this, or whether he somehow managed to get this crazy idea all on his own, I still love my son very much, no matter what. But still, where in the hell did he get this idea? The choices are not pretty. Either my kid is a natural born sociopath, or some sort of deviant has messed with him. I’m not even an expert parent, let alone an expert in how to deal with this sort of crap, so I just slowly backed away, and started thinking, while trying not to think, trying to wrap my head around what just happened, while also trying desperately to scrub it from my brain and protect my sanity. I managed to ask a few light questions about where he might have learned this, and then I went to lay down because I was feeling sick in my guts.
The only person I could speak to was my sister, but I couldn’t actually speak aloud to her because I didn’t want to spook my child into shutting down about where his idea came from. As far as he knew, he did the thing, then mommy started feeling sick entirely unrelated to the thing that he did. I needed to keep it that way until I knew what I was dealing with. So we texted, which wasn’t very ideal. As a single mom, even having an open telephone conversation can be tricky. I didn’t send my son back to school, and he’s still never going back there, because that’s the only time in his life that he’s ever been alone with anyone who could have taught him the thing. I’ve been a single mom since day one, and my son has only been left alone with a very select few people. School is the first time he’s ever been entrusted to the care of any man I haven’t personally known for at least a decade. It’s also the first time he’s just randomly come home one day, triggered, traumatized, re-traumatized, and drove me straight out of my damn mind with the thing, the thing that he should not even know, the thing that he should not ever do, the thing that he should definitely not try to involve his own mother in doing with him. Seriously, what in the actual fuck?!? I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but this?!?
So now my son is home, I can’t actually talk about the thing with anyone, even thinking about it makes me feel queasy, and this all culminated to a head on Saturday, when my sister was coming to Toronto to buy a minivan from someone on Kijiji.
I had a plan. I’d done as much sickening online research on how to deal with this sort of thing as I could stomach, and I had a plan to have a nice calm and rational discussion with the good folks down at the sex crimes unit of the police department to see if my fears were justified, and what appropriate steps I might take next. This calm and rational discussion was to take place during the half hour that my sister would have my son at the park.
The plan went off the rails immediately when I called three times and nobody answered the phone. Within minutes after that I was somehow involved in a very frantic and irrational standoff with the police, in which I refused to tell them where my child was until I was promised that nobody would interrogate or frighten him or force him to have a rape kit done. I didn’t want my son to be re-traumatized by the reporting process. I couldn’t protect him from anything that was already done, but I wanted to protect him from things getting any worse. I already checked and there was no sign that anyone had hurt or damaged him, and he seemed to have no idea that anything wrong might have even happened. I needed to protect that innocence, but I couldn’t just leave the other kids in his class potentially exposed to a predator, and unable to even speak up about it. My son might be those kids’ only hope, but he’s still my only child. I had no weapons, no hostages, no plan, no clout, no leverage and I was so ill with dread and panic that I could barely think straight or even stand up, let alone stand up to the police and, to be frank, I’m quite lucky that they didn’t just taze the shit out of me, take my little boy away, and put me in a loony bin. I had about the amount of power that a fly has over a lion, but I was ready to ride or die for my child and king kong didn’t have shit on frail and shaky little me. I even played the race card, which was quite foolish and unnecessary since I’m so light skinned that I literally had to explain my race before I could even play the damned card. Before I go any further, I need to take this opportunity to apologize to the good folks down at the fifty-five division precinct of the Toronto Police Department. I am truly sorry and embarrassed about my erratic and panicked behaviour, and for the race card. Despite all that, I was treated very kindly, with much dignity and respect. My son had a fun and easy experience meeting the police officers and riding in the ambulance, and for that I am super-grateful. They could not have been more professional in handling the situation, although it would be nice if they carried some lorazepam on them for these types of situations, not every problem can be solved using only handcuffs and a gun, just sayin, one little lorazepam certainly would have deescalated the matter pretty much instantaneously. But despite the delay in getting me dosed up with the coping dope, thank you so much. I do owe them my thanks. I basically had a miniature mental breakdown, and those people see people at their very worst all day every single day. For all they knew I was some sort of tweaker meth-head making up a story and using my child in order to somehow get free drugs. They could have shot me in the face and moved on with their day, but they didn’t. I’m so thankful that they didn’t. I was losing my mind and raving like a lunatic, trying desperately to make sense of something that didn’t make any sense. My child was safely at the park, out of earshot, and I could finally speak openly about the thing. I could finally cry, and grieve, and stop trying so hard to pretend everything was fine. I could hear how agitated and mentally unhinged I sounded, but I just couldn’t bring myself to chill the fuck out. Thankfully, one of those officers was a mother, and when I described the thing to her, she understood exactly why I had lost my mind, or at least, she managed to convince me that she understood, while also convincing me to voluntarily go down to the hospital to get some sort of voluntary mental health check. They used the world “voluntary” a lot. Finally someone gave me some lorazepam, after those useless dicks at Med Visit refused to see me the day prior to this whole fiasco, and of course that helped immediately. I have one left, and I’m saving it in case this child does anything else to drive me insane. I always thought that was a joke. Mostly it is. The lorazepam is just in case.
After my son spoke with the proper detective and child protection agent we spent a few days with my sister’s family because I needed to rest for a bit. They were watching him for any odd behaviour, but nothing happened. We’ve since all questioned him, lightly, without any shame or accusations, just asking for information and promising that he won’t be in any trouble if he tells the truth, but so far, he’s saying nothing and acting completely normal. Not a single name, nothing. I’ve left it alone because I don’t want him to just make up a name to get me off of his back about it. His speech problems make it really hard to get the truth out of him, which is why I was so desperate to get him directly to the top professionals trained to speak with children in this sort of situation, so even if he gives me a name, it would have to be looked into before any conclusions could be drawn. If he gives me a name, I have the detective’s number, so I know what to do now. Knowing what to do is the easy part, the tricky part is actually doing it… I just hope he answers the phone… I’ve been known to act a little rashly when things don’t go according to plan.