Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Middle Child, and the Time CPS and the Police Came to My Door

Everyone's heard of the middle child syndrome. The child who is forgotten, neglected, not given much attention because he or she happened to be born in the middle. I was the oldest, so I can't really relate. But now that I have my own kids, I am starting to see how the middle child really can be neglected. Especially in my situation, when my oldest is on the autism spectrum, and my youngest has the cleft palate and sees numerous doctors on a regular basis. So for even more reasons, I feel like Blake, my middle child, can suffer from this middle child syndrome, and I am trying hard not to let that happen.

Blake, as I have shared before, was born with mastocytosis, and had a scary first couple of years. But once we got through that, and he no longer had symptoms, he developed normally and even above average, has succeeded in school, and for the most part, I don't have to worry about him, other than the usual stubborn disobedience that most children display. Not having to worry about him though means I might often forget that he has his own concerns and problems, and I have to make time to listen to him so I can help him with those. However, there is one thing that still sets him apart, and that is his spots, that are starting to fade as the years go by. There is one particular instance where these spots got him into trouble.

Before Blake entered kindergarten, I made sure to note on the health forms that he had mastocytosis, and described the spots as best I could. I didn't want teachers to worry about them, because some actually look like bruises, especially the ones on his arms and legs that are often showing. The last thing I would want is for his teacher to think I am physically abusing him! So his first year in school went just fine, until the very last day, when they were having a party, and some moms were volunteering in the classroom. After school, I got a call from his teacher, and she told me that to be on the lookout, that I might have been reported by one of the parents. I immediately thought they must have called because they thought his spots looked like bruises! My worst fears were coming true! His teacher said she tried to convince the moms otherwise, but they didn't seem to care.

Not even 2 hours after school, I get a knock at my door. It's a police officer, with another man who introduced himself as a Child Protective Services agent. They asked to come inside, and of course I did so. Julianna was upstairs working with her ABA therapist. I suddenly felt very vulnerable, and scared. I had no idea what they were going to ask or accuse me of. Luckily I had cleaned up the house that morning, and gotten dressed! The police officer told me that Blake was reported to having been abused in some way. I went into defense mode, explaining everything about the symptoms of mastocytosis, showed him some spots on Blake's arms and legs and stomach, told him I had all of this documented with the school and his teacher was aware.

After sharing my whole story, he then took out his phone and looked up mastocytosis. He actually wanted to make sure I wasn't lying! Did he really think I could make up a whole medical condition?? Of course he found it to be true. And then he told me why they were really over there: the parent who reporting him said he thought Blake had rope burns on his neck. ROPE BURNS? I then looked at his neck, and realized what they were talking about. Just a few days before this, Blake had fallen down into a rose bush and scraped the side of his neck. It wasn't too bad, but we put some bandaids on it, and it was healed enough to remove the bandaids for the last day of school. Oh how I wish I had not taken off those bandaids. After explaining this to the police officer, he sided with my story, and left the house.

Now it was the CPS officer's turn, and he went through his long list of questions regarding parenting, because he had to make sure I really wasn't abusing my child. And because Julianna was upstairs, he had to go take a look at her as well to make sure she was okay. I told him she was getting therapy, so he asked a little bit more about her diagnosis, and then told me he used to work for the regional center. Long story short, we talked for a good while, and he was able to give me a list of some great resources that usually aren't available to parents. He apologized for having to go to such extreme measures, but they do have to take every call seriously. Because of Blake's health condition, he decided to make a note on his records of the symptoms, just in case anyone ever did call about child abuse in the future. So I guess it was a good thing the police and CPS came, because now all they would do is look at Blake's chart and see that the supposed "abuse" was really from a health condition. And I got some new information to help Julianna.

The funniest part of this whole story is that the entire time I was inside talking to the officers, there were many policemen hiding in the perimeter of our house. My neighbor told me this later that day and were very worried about us. This wasn't the first time the police had come to our home for Blake. When he was 2, he locked himself in my bedroom and I could not get it open. I finally had no choice but to call 911, and they broke down the door to get in.

To say my life is crazy is an understatement. But our crazy has become normal to me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my middle child Blake so much, spots and all. Being a parent is a wonderful thing.

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