Father's Parenting Time Journal
Parenting Time Journal
Parents: DN (the Father), VN (the Mother)
Significant Others: WA (Father’s Mother), Nanny (Father’s Grandmother), Scott (Mother’s live-in lover)
The Father filed for divorce from the Mother in early March 2009. On or about that same time the Mother used a telephone dating service to locate a new lover. She finally settled on one prospect, a currently married man named Scott. She arranged for Scott to “come for a weekend visit” during the last week of March. After Scott arrived at the family home, it was announced that Scott was “moving in” with the family.
On April 2, 2009 the Father came home early from running errands to discover his wife engaged in sexual intercourse with Scott. There was a confrontation, and the police were notified. The Mother stated to the police that her husband had beaten her, attempted to rape her, and had threatened her life and the life of her lover. However, her body displayed no bruises, scratches, or marks of any kind to indicate a struggle or physical violence inflected upon her by anyone. The Father, however, had several rather deep cut marks upon his throat where he had made a botched attempt at suicide.
The Father was arrested for assault and held overnight at the county jail. Upon evaluation of the evidence, the District Attorney dropped all charges and the Father was released the next day. However, the Mother had already been successful in acquiring a restraining order to keep the Father away from his children and his family home.
On April 28, 2009 that restraining order was revoked by the Family Court of Washington County. The Father was granted supervised parenting time with his children until a parenting plan could be devised. The first time he was allowed to see his two sons since April 2, 2009 was May 2, 2009.
It has been unclear if any explanation was ever offered to the children about where their Father was or what happened to him during that time. The children went to school on the morning of April 2, 2009 and all was well in their family. When they returned home that same afternoon, their Father was simply gone and their Mother was insisting that the children obey Scott as if he were their Father. The Mother denies that the children ever displayed any anxiety or concern for the sudden and unexplained absence of their Father. Indeed, if she is to be believed, the children didn’t even notice that he was missing.
5/2/09 - 5/3/09: Mother left the boys (Bubba and PeeWee) with Nanny on Friday 5/1/09 - 5/2/09. The Father and his mother, WA, took the children grocery shopping. PeeWee correctly identified Beer for the first time in his life. This event occurred in the grocery store when PeeWee stated to the Father, “Mom and Scott drink beer all the time.” Scott is the Mother’s current live-in lover, and is married to another woman.
5/8/09 - 5/10/09: Mother left the boys (Bubba and PeeWee) with Nanny on Friday 5/8/09 - 5/9/09 and took Princess to Salem, OR without notification of the trip to the Father. This is another example of impulsive behavior from the Mother, who explained that the trip was an impulsive adventure. PeeWee was confused and complained about not being able to spend Mother’s Day with his Mother. Bubba was withdrawn and displayed a flat, emotionless affect.
5/11/09 - 5/16/09: Bubba displayed a disturbing increase in aggression and acting out. He seems to be targeting his brother PeeWee most often, but is aggressive with Princess, as well. Nanny reports that Bubba was disciplined at the Mother’s home by being separated from the family and confined to his room.
The Mother reported that Princess was scheduled to have her feeding tube removed in July of this year. There was some speculation among the family members about how much longer Princess could collect a government disability check if she no longer had a feeding tube. The Mother also stated that she intends to apply for the same type of disability payment for PeeWee, if she can find a way to have him diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. This would supplement the Mother’s income if Princess should happen to lose her disability eligibility.
5/16/09 - 5/17/09: Mother left the boys with Nanny on Saturday 5/16/09 and took Princess to the beach in Newport, OR without notification of the trip to the Father. This is another example of impulsive behavior from the Mother. Both boys were noticeable upset about being excluded from the family’s activities.
Nanny promised PeeWee that that she would take the boys to the beach at some point over the summer. When PeeWee was returned to the Mother’s home, Nanny reports hearing him say to his Mother, “We are going to go to the beach, too…and YOU aren’t invited!”
5/22/09: The Mother made accusations against Nanny regarding the loss of some of medication used to control the symptoms of ADHD that was prescribed to PeeWee. The accusation was that Nanny had stolen some of the medication to give to the Father. An additional accusation was made that the Father had then sold the medication to an unknown drug pusher for money. Nanny (who has been consistently contributing financial support to the Mother for several years and continues to do so) vehemently denied this accusation. Consequently, the Mother began to create increasingly bizarre scenarios in a desperate attempt to explain the loss of the medication that would not include her current live-in lover. The lover, Scott (who apparently holds a felony conviction for theft) has the motive, the opportunity and the means to commit this type of crime; he is currently unemployed and has been for some time, he lives in the home with PeeWee and the Mother, and since he is a convicted felon, he must certainly know people who would be interested in purchasing prescription quality Ritalin. Scott makes a much more obvious and likely suspect for this crime than the frail and elderly Nanny , who has never been convicted of a crime in her life. The Mother’s insistent denial of the possibility that her lover is stealing from her child calls into question her ability to make good value judgments with regard to protecting her children. Unfortunately, PeeWee will most likely be scolded and/or punished for behavior that he cannot control without his medication.
Throughout the ongoing verbal hostilities, Bubba was withdrawn and displayed a flat, emotionless affect.
5/23/09: Nanny picked up the boys for their weekly Father’s parenting time with her. The Mother continued to accuse the Father of, somehow, being responsible for the missing medication. The boys were very excited and eager to spend time with the Father.
5/24/09: The Father was finally able to visit with his daughter (Princess) for the first time since April 3, 2009. Princess was warm, loving and eager to be with her Father for the Court ordered 2 hour time limit. After Princess returned home the Father, Nanny and the boys went to the beach for the day.
PeeWee reported being disciplined by his Mother’s current live-in lover, Scott. PeeWee also reported feeling very uncomfortable and intimidated by Scott. PeeWee created a story that involved brutal violence being inflicted upon Bubba by Scott. Bubba denied that the event that PeeWee described ever took place, but PeeWee maintained his belief that it could happen that way. PeeWee might be creating stories to help him to verbalize his anxiety and fear of Scott.
After the boys returned home, the Father spoke by telephone to the Mother regarding the children being disciplined by her live-in lover. The Mother maintained that she has every right to have her current lover discipline the children if she wants him to do so. She expressed that she was unconcerned with the report that PeeWee was intimidated by Scott.
The Parents discussed the Parenting Plan. The Mother wrote a letter and gave it to Nanny to deliver to the Father. The letter made it very clear that the version of the Plan that she has created must be accepted, without any changes being made, or else she will refuse to cooperate with any other Plan that is proposed. She insists that her demands be met because she will not negotiate or even consider Mediation from the Family Court. She does not appear to be concerned that the plan that she has submitted is not specific about the dates and/or times for the Father’s parenting time, nor does it provide for the Father’s parenting time after she has made her planned move to Salem, OR. In fact, the Father’s parenting time schedule appears to hinge entirely upon the mood or whim of the Mother and makes it nearly impossible to legally define the boundaries of parental abduction of the children. The Plan also includes punitive consequences if the Father should fail to meet the Mother’s’ expectations regarding Father’s parenting time. These consequences are, apparently, to be executed by the Mother at her own discretion without consultation with or recourse for the Father with the Family Court. The plan that the Mother has created could easily contribute to alienation of the children’s affection for the Father, the Paternal Grandmother, the Paternal Great-Grandmother and the other extended family members, all of whom deeply love and cherish these children. The children’s’ continued absence from the family would create an emotional wound in each family member and very likely in the children as well.
The Mother has resumed her accusations that Nanny is responsible for stealing PeeWee’ medication. First she accused Nanny of stealing the medication so that she could give it to the Father to sell for money. After she was confronted by Nanny about this accusation, she changed her story to say that only the Father had stolen the medication to sell for cash. She maintained this story until she was confronted with the fact that there was no opportunity for the Father to enter the home unnoticed in the days prior to the loss of the medication, and there was not a shred of evidence to suggest that there had been a forced entry into the family home during that time period. Now she is accusing Nanny of stealing the medication because, the Mother has apparently surmised, she (Nanny ) is planning to kidnap the children away from the Parents and the entire family. The Mother maintains her story that Nanny will need that medication for PeeWee. Once again there is not a shred of evidence that any part of this story is an actual fact.
The Mother appears to be sincerely unconcerned that the plausibility of her accusations decreases every time she changes her story. She continues, however, to desperately deny that her live-in lover, Scott, could possibly be responsible for the loss of the medication.
5/ 30/ 2009: The Mother permitted the children to visit Nanny, as is the usual routine for the family. All three children spent the entire day at the home of Nanny. The Mother did not express concern about the children’s safety or welfare while they were in the company of Nanny . The children were able to speak on the telephone with the Father during this visit. Nanny reported that Bubba was aggressive with PeeWee, and she scolded both boys for fighting. Bubba also calls his brother vulgar names, which upsets her very much.
5/ 31/ 2009: Princess was very vocal about wanting to stay for the entire parenting time with the Father, instead of the 2 hours. The Father telephoned the Mother to notify her about the change.
Both PeeWee and Princess bitterly complained about the Mother’s current lover scolding and/or punishing them, as well as yelling at them. Bubba admitted to being punished again this week for being physically aggressive and acting out in his Mother’s home. PeeWee demanded the right to spend Father’s Day with his own Father. He seemed to be upset about something, but was unable to adequately express his anxiety with specific details.
The children spent a pleasant day playing and interacting with the Father. Princess was especially affectionate with the Father, and seemed to be somewhat needy of his affection.
6/ 3/ 2009: The Father telephoned the Mother to request information about the children’s primary physician, their medical cards in case of an emergency, the names of the schools where the children are registered for the Fall 2009 school year, and information about important dates during the academic year. The Mother adamantly refused to cooperate or to surrender any of the requested information.
The Parents discussed the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. The Mother informed the Father that the children would be spending this Father’s Day with her current lover and herself. The Father protested that there was a court order for the children to spend every Sunday with the Father from 9 am to 5 pm. The Father refused to surrender his right to parenting time according to this court order. The Mother’s attitude was flippant, and she asked the Father, “What are you gonna do about it?” She made is clear that her only obligation was to inform the Father of the change, and that she did not feel any obligation to follow the court order if it was inconvenient to her schedule for the children.
6/ 6/ 2009: The children spent the night with Nanny. They spoke to the Father by telephone and otherwise seemed to enjoy their Father’s parenting time with Nanny.
6/ 7/ 2009: The children appeared to be very happy to spend time with their Father. Princess was, again, extremely affectionate with her Father. PeeWee seemed to be somewhat calmer and did not complain about vague feelings of uneasiness. There was no conversation about the impending camping trip over the Father’s Day weekend. The children appeared to be comfortable and happy, relaxing with their extended family members and playing with their toys.
The children made only a few, rather benign, complaints about the Mother’s current lover being loud and the children felt verbally bullied by him. Bubba complained that he was being repeatedly punished and separated from the family at his Mother’s home because of his uncharacteristically aggressive behavior. The Father again instructed Bubba to stop calling his brother bad names and hitting him. He was gentle but firm in his command that Bubba behave himself at the Mother’s home.
6/ 13/ 2009: The children spent the night with Nanny. She took the children to visit the Father at his residence. The children expressed astonishment at the small size of the Father’s’ living quarters. They appeared to be delighted to be reunited with their former pet ferret, Toby. Both PeeWee and Bubba requested to spend the night with their Father at his residence. The Father declined because he simply doesn’t have enough room to accommodate the children comfortably.
PeeWee complained that the Mother’s current lover, Scott, was drinking and driving with the children in the car. He described an event where Scott was driving erratically with the children in the car, and was given a speeding ticket. PeeWee complained that the car that Scott drives does not have three sets of seat belts in the back seat, so he is often in the car with no seat belt. He repeatedly declared that he was “really scared” to be in the car with Scott driving.
The children played with Toby and visited with their Father for about an hour. Later, after the visit was over, Nanny telephoned the Father to admonish him to “do something” about the Father’s Day weekend because both PeeWee and Princess were very upset and tearful about the impending camping trip and not being allowed to visit their Father on the holiday. They were very vocal about not wanting to spend this particular holiday with the Mother’s current lover. The Father reassured his Grandmother that he would do whatever he could to prevent the children from being denied the opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day with him on Sunday, according to the Court order.
6/ 14/ 2009: The Father was unable to visit his Mother’s home for parenting time with his children because he was ill with stomach flu and was concerned about making the children sick as well. However, he spoke to the children on the telephone first at his Grandmother’s (Nanny ) home, then at his Mother’s home when the children went there to visit with her, and again after the children returned to their Mother’s home later in the day. He reassured them that he loved them, and was very proud to be their Father. He told them that he would not be able to celebrate Father’s Day at all if it were not for them. He was careful to make them understand that he would have been with them that day if he had not been feeling so ill, and afraid of being contagious.
6/15/ 2009: The Father appeared at the designated location for the previously scheduled Child Custody Mediation Orientation. He met the Mother, her current lover, and Princess there. He spoke to the Mother about the Parenting Plan that he created, and she agreed to sign it without requesting any modifications to the Plan in exchange for not being prosecuted for contempt of Court for violating the Court ordered parenting time on Sunday, June 21, 2009 (Father’s Day). The Father agreed that he would not notify the Police about the interference with his parental rights and any violation of the Court ordered parenting time for that one day. However, at the last moment, the Mother made a motion to the Court to postpone the new Parenting Plan taking effect until September 1, 2009. The Court agreed to continue the supervised parenting time with the Father and to maintain the current Court order until September 1, 2009, at which time the Father’s Parenting Plan would take effect. It is unclear what motivated the Mother to make such a motion, and she did not choose to explain herself.
6/16/ 2009: The Father spoke on the phone with Bubba and PeeWee about the scheduled camping trip and the need to miss Father’s Day with them this year. PeeWee was very upset and tearful about not seeing his Father on Father’s Day. The Father promised the boys that they would be allowed to spend both Saturday and Sunday with the Father on the weekend after the holiday. PeeWee was more cheerful after that and the phone call ended on a positive note.
6/ 19/ 20009: The Mother telephoned the Father to tell him that the camping trip ended early because their tent was flooded in the rain. She told him that he could have the children for Father’s Day after all. She also informed him that the children would be spending the night with Nanny .
6/ 20/ 2009: Nanny brought the children to visit their Father at his home for a few hours. The children were disappointed that the camping trip was such a disaster because of the heavy rains. However, they were excited to be spending Father’s Day with their own Father instead of with their Mother’s housemate.
Bubba was not aggressive nor was he withdrawn and quiet today. For the first time in many months, he seemed to be more like his old self.
Father’s Day, 2009: The children brought Father’s Day gifts to their Father at his mother’s home. The Father played games with the children and they enjoyed the day together. There was some exuberant rough-housing with their Father and a festive atmosphere all day. No further complaints were made about the camping trip or their housemate’s churlish nature.
Bubba laughed out loud while playing with his father, something that he hasn’t been seen to do for some time now. He seemed to blossom under his Father’s direct attention.
6/ 24/ 2009: The Mother telephoned the Father to inform him that she would be keeping the children for the July 4th holiday through the weekend. They would not be available to have the Court ordered parenting time with the Father on Sunday, July 5th because they would be “at the beach”. The Mother reminded him that the children had been deeply disappointed by the camping trip and he agreed not to disappoint them for this holiday trip by insisting that they follow the Court ordered Parenting Plan.
6/27/2009: Nanny brought the children to visit their Father at his home for a few hours. They played with Toby, their former pet ferret (who was evicted after their housemate, Scott, moved in to their home). There was a squirt-gun shoot out with their Father, and complaints that the Father only won because his squirt-gun was bigger than theirs.
There was more discussion between Bubba and his Father about reports that Bubba was being physically aggressive and acting out at the Mother’s home. Bubba has agreed to obey his Father and leave his brother alone.
Nanny complained about taking wet children back to her home for the night. The children left happy, damp and tired.
6/ 28/2009: The children spent the day with their Father at WA’s (his mother) home. There was another shoot-out with the squirt-guns, and other playful activities. By now it has become expected that Princess will stay for the entire parenting time on Sunday, and this day was no exception to that.
The Father had a discussion with his mother concerning his Grandmother, Nanny. Apparently her heart is causing some concern among the family members. There was discussion about limiting the time that the children spend with her because of her health issues. The Father resolved to speak to the Mother about not permitting the children to spend every single weekend with Nanny so that she could get some rest.
6/ 29/ 2009: The Father telephoned the Mother to discuss limiting the time that the children spend with Nanny in a given month. The Mother complained that she was helpless to stop Nanny from taking the children for her Court ordered Grand- parenting time. She stated that if Nanny was sincerely unwell, then she would not want to take the children for the weekend. The Father attempted to explain that Nanny had a cardiac condition that appears to be growing worse, and this fact must be taken into consideration when planning for the children’s weekend activities. The Mother continued to be resistant to keeping the children at her home at night on the weekends. The telephone conversation ended without anything being completely resolved on this matter.
7/ 10/ 2009: Nanny reported that PeeWee was repeatedly saying “Fuck you” and making vulgar gestures with his hands to herself and various other members of the family. When PeeWee was questioned, he reported that he was permitted to watch a particular show on television at his Mother’s home where that kind of language was often used. Nanny strongly discouraged the use of that type of language, but it had little impact on PeeWee because he insisted that his Mother permitted its use in her home. The Father resolved to speak to both the Mother and to PeeWee about the inappropriate nature of that type of language from such a young child.
7/ 12/2009: The Father spoke to PeeWee about using inappropriate language. When questioned, PeeWee reported that he learned those words and hand gestures from a television show that his housemate, Scott, liked to watch. Nanny complained that she was paying for the cable television in the Mother’s home so that the children could watch programming that was designed for children. She resented that the Mother’s chronically unemployed live-in lover was not permitting the children to watch more wholesome and age appropriate programming.
The Father attempted to emphasize to all of the children that sometimes adults do things that are not appropriate for children to imitate. The children understood the example that it’s not appropriate for Scott to drink and drive, especially with the children in the car. It is not appropriate for Scott to use racially derogatory remarks or expressions such as; “Niggers”. They also understood that some adults watch movies and television programs that are not intended for children to view. The Father instructed PeeWee not to imitate antisocial behavior that he might see from Scott or on television shows that are not intended for children.
Later, the Father spoke to the Mother about the inappropriate viewing content on the television at her home. The Mother expressed equal concern regarding PeeWee’ behavior, but offered no solutions to the problem. When the Father suggested that the children should not be viewing television shows that display antisocial behavior, the Mother’s response was non-committal and no resolution was reached.
7/ 19/ 2009: PeeWee reported that his housemate, Scott, encouraged him to use chewing tobacco. He said that Scott told him that “chewing is better than smoking”. The Father was both shocked and appalled that an adult would encourage a child to use tobacco. He corrected PeeWee and instructed him that chewing tobacco can cause mouth and throat cancer and will erode away the gums. Also, he told PeeWee that girls won’t like him, or want to kiss him if he is using chewing tobacco. Later, the Father spoke to the Mother about not encouraging the children to use tobacco products of any kind before they are 18 years old and able to make those choices for themselves. The Mother was unconcerned and indifferent to the Father’s protests about Scotts’ behavior. She refused to commit to prohibiting such behavior from her lover in the future.
When the children were taken home, the Father observed that the rear window of the car that the Mother uses to transport the children had a bold illustration of a boy urinating on the words “My Ex”. Scott opened the front door after Bubba rang the bell and then displayed a gruff and disapproving attitude with Bubba. Bubba again exhibited a flat affect when he was left at the Mother’s home.
7/ 26/ 2009: PeeWee reported to the Father that Scott told him that the Father was a “bad man” because he had been arrested. The Father corrected PeeWee by explaining that “bad people” are punished by being kept in jail, but sometimes good men are put in jail by mistake and then later released, as he had been. PeeWee expressed understanding that if his Father had truly been a “bad man” then he would not have been released from jail. PeeWee then reported that he had been told that Scott had been arrested many times. PeeWee was dismayed that Scott is “always lying to me”. Bubba listened to the conversation but his affect was flat and emotionless.
The Father was concerned that Scott was diminishing the children’s self esteem by repeatedly belittling their Father. The Father advised the children not to listen to Scott because he was not a member of their family and was only a visitor in their Mother’s home. Bubba reported that the Mother insisted that the children listen to and obey Scott as if he were their Father. The Father repeated to the children that they already had a Father who loves them.
Later, the Father spoke to the Mother on the telephone about the derogatory remarks that her lover was making about him to the children. The Mother became very defensive and accusatory, stating: “PeeWee said that you were going to buy an SUV”, but she never made it clear how that particular and random fact defended her choice to permit her lover to make those remarks. The Father tried to convince the Mother that, according to the court order, she was responsible for prohibiting remarks that would diminish the children’s respect or affection for their Father and otherwise diminish the children’s self esteem. The Mother denied being able to, or being inclined to, control the type or quality of remarks that her live-in lover made to the children regarding their Father. In fact, she adamantly defended her lover’s right to make such remarks.
The Father also spoke to the Mother about PeeWee’ request to return to her home early that day. The Mother refused to permit the children to return early, and insisted that the Father keep the children until the end of the Court ordered parenting time. PeeWee appeared to be offended when he was informed that his Mother would not permit him to return to her home early.
When the children were returned to the Mother’s home the Father spoke to Scott about derogatory remarks and the effect that they have upon the children’s regard for themselves and their family. The Father asked Scott to stop making such remarks about him to, and in front of, his children. Scott passively agreed to stop belittling the Father.
7/ 31/ 2009: In spite of the growing concern among the family members about Nanny ’s cardiac condition, the amount of time that Bubba and PeeWee spend at her home has increased over the past month. Bubba and PeeWee spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the home of Nanny . Princess was discouraged from visiting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and spent those days alone with the Mother and her housemate, Scott. It is unclear who persuaded Princess to avoid going to Nanny ’s home on those days, but she spent the night there on Thursday.
Princess has been repeatedly separated from her siblings and kept alone with Scott and the Mother. Following these periods of isolation, Princess has displayed increasingly aggressive behavior towards members of the family, and an increase in BM’s in her underwear.
The Mother had reported in May of this year that Princess was scheduled to have the feeding tube removed this month by her physician. The tube was not removed, and remains in place. Princess is expected to continue to collect a government disability check to supplement the Mother’s income. There has been no further information reported by the Mother regarding her endeavors to have PeeWee declared disabled for the purpose of collecting a disability check.
The Mother continues to resist the Father’s attempts to gain information regarding the children’s social security numbers, medical insurance information, and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their physicians. She has also refused to give him any information about where and when the children will return to school in the fall.
8/ 1/ 2009: The Mother and her housemate, Scott, took the children to the County Fair. The children later reported to the Father that the weather that particular day was exceptionally hot, but the Mother made few provisions to keep the children hydrated. Again, this is another impulsive choice made by the Mother. Consequently, Bubba was overcome with the heat and fainted. The Police provided support until he was deemed capable of leaving the Fairgrounds.
All three children then spent the night at the home of Nanny , who continued to care for Bubba and to rehydrate him. The Mother showed no interest in caring for her son and did not call later to check on his welfare.
8/ 2/ 2009: Bubba reported to the Father that he was completely recovered from being dehydrated yesterday. Princess seemed to be torn between displays of affection for the Father and uncharacteristic aggression towards him. One moment she was somewhat needy of his attention and the next she was aggressively hitting him with her toys.
The Father attempted to read a book to the children about divorce. He chose the book, “When Mom and Dad Divorce: An Elf-Help Book for Kids” to read to the children. PeeWee became visibly upset after hearing the Father read only a few pages from the book, and then he refused to listen to anymore. Princess became very restless, and engaged in wild and silly antics in an attempt to distract the Father from reading. The Father was not able to finish reading the entire book to the children due to their inability to tolerate discussing the topic of their parents’ divorce.
The Mother demanded that the children be returned to her home early because she wanted to leave for the camping trip to Clear Lake, Or. The Father took a digital photograph of the car that the Mother uses to transport the children, and the Mother reacted aggressively about it. She accused the Father of invading her privacy and demanded to know why he would need to have photographic evidence of her car’s license plate. The Father informed her that he expected the children to return from this camping trip no later than Friday, August 7, 2009 per the Mother’s reported schedule. It is possible that the Mother was so defensive because Scott would be driving the family to Clear Lake, and his driver’s license is currently suspended. The children witnessed the Mother’s outburst, and again Bubba was withdrawn and emotionless.
8/ 9/ 2009: The children spent Friday and Saturday nights at the home of Nanny. Princess was reluctant to leave her Mother and displayed extreme anxiety when Nanny arrived to pick her up. Princess cried, kicked and generally resisted any attempt to be physically removed from the Mother’s home. However, after she arrived at the home of Nanny, Princess settled down and behaved normally again. Princess displayed open affection for the Father, and W.A. She denied being angry at Nanny but displayed confusion about who her family would be after her Mother was remarried.
PeeWee almost immediately reported feeling bored and soon requested to be returned to the Mother’s home. Again this weekend, his request was denied. Bubba reported being punished at the Mother’s home for being aggressive with the younger children. He attempted to blame PeeWee for the increase in aggression between them, but made no excuse for his aggression with Princess.
8/ 16/ 2009: The Father was not able to perform the scheduled parenting time for this weekend because he was out of town. However, the children spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at the home of Nanny. Princess again displayed anxiety and resisted being taken away from the Mother. After she was at the home of Nanny, she settled down and behaved in her normal and affectionate manner.
The children reported to Nanny that they were always hungry at the Mother’s home. They reported that the son of their housemate, Scott, had been making visits to the Mother’s home and consequently there was not enough food left for the children to eat. Nanny reported feelings of annoyance and disgust for the Mother’s chronically unemployed live-in lover.
Later, it was reported to the Father that Nanny’s adult son spoke to the Mother about the amount of time that the children spend at the home of Nanny. Apparently, Fred reminded the Mother that the entire family is concerned about the health of Nanny and too much babysitting is stressful for her. It was reported that Fred requested that the Mother keep the children in her home more often so that Nanny could get some rest. It was not reported how the Mother responded to this request.
8/23/ 2009: The children spent Friday and Saturday nights at the home of Nanny. They again reported being very hungry because there was too little food to eat at the Mother’s home.
Princess again displayed symptoms of Parental Alienation Syndrome when Nanny came to pick her up. When she was questioned by the Father about this behavior she said that after the Mother was remarried she would have a new Father and that the s would no longer be her family. PeeWee also agreed that he would lose his current Father and that Scott would become his Father after the Mother remarried. Both Princess and PeeWee displayed tearful anxiety about losing their Father forever. The Father carefully explained that they could not lose their Father no matter what actions the Parents choose to make. He told them that he will always be their Father, and he will always be involved in their lives. He repeated to them that Scott is not their Father, in spite of what the Mother was telling them at her home.
The Father also spoke to the children about adding a Step-Mother to their family. Bubba and PeeWee were curious and asked questions about the Father’s new wife. Princess insisted on staying later than her brothers to have an extended visit with her Father. She was very clingy and somewhat needy of reassurance that she was still loved by the Father.
When the children were returned to the Mother’s home, the Father spoke to her about taking one of the children at a time for an overnight parenting time at his home starting in September. The Mother agreed to the arrangement.
8/ 30/ 2009: The Father was unable to take the children for this weekend parenting time because he was ill with a virus. The children stayed at the home of Nanny over this weekend, as usual. Nanny reported that Bubba and PeeWee were fighting again. All of this stress is not good for her heart.
9/ 2/ 2009: Nanny informed the Father that 8 year old PeeWee had been injured while riding a motorcycle belonging to the Mother’s live-in lover, Scott. The Father spoke to the Mother by telephone regarding this event and was told that PeeWee had received a burn on his leg from the exhaust pipe of Scotts’ motorcycle. The Mother reported taking PeeWee to the Pediatrician to have the burn treated. She also reported that the Doctor diagnosed the burn as a “2nd degree burn that will leave a scar”. She stated that she was instructed to put Neosporin and aloe ointment on the burn and to keep it covered.
The Mother was unusually vague about the details of the accident, and refused to say exactly when this event occurred. The Mother was careful to point out, however, that the incident occurred while Scott had the motorcycle in the drive-way. The Father expressed doubt that the exhaust pipe of the motorcycle would become that dangerously hot if it were only idling in the drive-way. The Father requested that the Mother inform him immediately if the children should become injured again in the future.
The Mother also reported that Princess’s feeding tube had been removed.
9/ 5/ 2009: PeeWee reported to the Father that he has ridden on his housemates’ (Scott) motorcycle at least 5 different times, and never with a helmet. PeeWee denied that the motorcycle was always in the drive-way while he was riding on it. In fact, PeeWee stated that he was riding “around the block and places” on that motorcycle. The Father understood that, at this time, Scott’s driver’s license is legally suspended. PeeWee stated that he was injured on the motorcycle on Tuesday September 1, 2009. According to PeeWee, on that date Scott believed that the motorcycle was in neutral and released his hold of it. The 300 + pound motorcycle was not in neutral, and it fell over on top of PeeWee, burning his leg. The Father instructed PeeWee that he is too young and too light weight to be riding on such a powerful machine. The Father extracted a promise from PeeWee that he would not sit on a motorcycle again until he was at least 13 years old and wearing a helmet.
The Father took PeeWee to the Emergency Room at Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro, where the burn on his leg was diagnosed as a 2nd degree burn measuring 3 ½ inches by 2 inches. The wound was cleaned, disinfected, and covered with a clean bandage. PeeWee was given ibuprofen for the pain and a prescription for ointment that would prevent any further infection of the wound. The Father requested a social worker to inform Child Protective Services about the accident because this is yet another example of the Mother making reckless choices that endanger the safety of the children. After the social worker spoke briefly with PeeWee, she reported to the Father that the child was extremely guarded, wary and untrusting in his demeanor with her. However, he did tell the social worker that he had been riding the motorcycle without a helmet and that his Mother had not taken him to see a doctor for his wound.
The Father spoke to the Mother and her live-in lover, Scott, about being more responsible with the children’s care and safety. The Mother was defensive and stated that “second degree burns can be treated at home”. It became clear at this point that the Mother had called the Pediatrician, but had not taken PeeWee to be examined at any time after a 300 pound motorcycle fell on top of him. The Father speculated that perhaps Scott had been drinking at the time of the accident, and that this was the reason that she did not seek immediate medical attention for PeeWee. The Mother refused to either confirm or deny that speculation.
9/6/2009: PeeWee reported to the Father that Scott told him that he doesn’t have to listen to the Father, and that it’s okay for PeeWee to ride the motorcycle. Later on the day of 9/5/09, Scott took Bubba for a ride on the motorcycle, without a helmet, and there was another accident. Scott sustained a broken wrist and Bubba received several scrapes and bruises from the accident. This event occurred directly following the parent’s rather heated discussion about not permitting the children to ride motorcycles without a helmet. This is another example of the Mother acting impulsively and in direct defiance of the Father’s concerns for the children’s wellbeing.
The Father asked Bubba why he took the risk of riding the motorcycle after PeeWee had gotten hurt on it. Bubba replied that Scott had offered him a new game for his Nintendo DS if he would ride on the motorcycle again. Bubba also stated that Scott offered him $50.00 in cash if he was hurt on the motorcycle.
The Father notified the Police Department of the incident. The Police took photographs, made a report, indicated that they would speak to the Mother and file a report of child endangerment with DHS. After they spoke to the Mother, the Police returned to the Father and reported that Scott does indeed have a legally suspended driver’s license. The Father then spoke to a social worker at the emergency hotline for child abuse at DHS. The social worker stated that she would speak to her supervisor regarding an emergency intervention with the Mother.
It is interesting to note that, although Scott has apparently owned this motorcycle for some period of time, his own child has never reportedly sustained any kind of injuries from it. However, two of the children have suffered injuries from this motorcycle on different occasions and in rapid succession. Sometimes the instrument of child abuse is not the belt.
9/7/09: After a minimal effort to conduct an investigation, the DHS has shockingly ruled that, in spite of obvious evidence of child endangerment, this episode is nothing more than a “parenting dispute” and have close this case.
The Mother has impulsively refused to use the prescribed medication on PeeWee’ wound. In fact, it is her intention to not treat the infected wound at all, but rather to leave it open and uncovered to the air. The Father spoke to PeeWee’ school to request that the school Nurse change PeeWee’ dressing daily. The school reported that they were not informed by the Mother that PeeWee had been injured, and the school Nurse is not permitted to change bandages. Nanny has volunteered to drive over to the Mother’s home every day to clean and dress PeeWee’ wound before school.
There was also a misunderstanding at PeeWee’ school regarding the legal custody of the children. Apparently the Mother informed the school that she had sole custody of the children and that the Father was somehow restricted from having any contact with the school regarding them. The Father volunteered to supply the school with a copy of the court ordered Parenting Plan that clearly states that the parents share joint custody and that both parents are encouraged to participate in the children’s education.
9/12/09: The Paternal Grandmother, Nanny, and her adult daughter, Rosie, made plans to take the children to the local Zoo today. The Father joined them for this outing. However, the elderly Nanny found the extensive walking that is required at the Zoo to be too strenuous for her, so the activity was cut short and the children returned to her home to spend the night. The Father joined the children at her home, and continued his regularly scheduled parenting time with them there.
9/13/09: It has become very clear that the elderly Nanny can no longer support the children by taking them for overnight visits on the weekends anymore. Her health is too frail to continue the stress of raising three young children alone every weekend. She became very agitated and upset with the constant fighting and aggressive behavior that Bubba directs towards PeeWee and occasionally Princess. She scolded and attempted to spank both of the boys, but the Father interfered. He removed his children from her home and took them to the home of WA (his Mother) to continue his parenting time for the day.
The Father spoke to the Mother and informed her that, according to the court ordered Parenting Plan, she is responsible for dropping off the children at his home every weekend morning by 9 am. The Mother then requested a change in the Parenting Plan to include overnight parenting time with the Father both Friday night and Saturday night because she did not want the responsibility of getting up early enough to have the children at the Father’s home on time. The Father agreed to this change and agreed to take responsibility for petitioning the Family Court for a modification to the judgment.
9/16/09: The Father went to PeeWee’ school to drop off a copy of the court ordered parenting plan. While he was there he discovered that the Mother had listed her live-in companion, Scott, as an emergency contact for the children instead of himself. This is another example of impulsive behavior from the Mother. Scott is currently married to another woman. To list this man as an alternate emergency contact with permission to remove the children from the school presents an unnecessary security risk to the children.
The Father pointed out to the school representatives that the parenting plan has a list of acceptable people to contact for transportation or emergency care of the children. That list does not include the name of the Mother’s current lover. The school administrators immediately removed the Mother’s companion from the emergency list.
The Father also took a moment to visit with PeeWee, who was thrilled to see his Father during the school day. The Father noticed that PeeWee’ wound was not bandaged, but the Teacher seemed not to be surprised or alarmed by this situation. Later in the evening, the Mother called and informed the Father that he was not allowed to visit the children’s school or to have any contact with them. The Father corrected her by pointing out that the parenting plan encourages both parents to actively participate in the children’s education.
The Mother also informed the Father that she intended to ignore the regularly scheduled parenting time for the next weekend because she had made plans to take the children out of town. The Father insisted that his parenting time be respected at all times, and refused to surrender his weekend to the Mother.
When Princess overheard the parents arguing, she loudly announced that she didn’t want to visit the Father at his home. However, the Father was able to tempt her to agree to the visit by reminding her that Toby (her former pet ferret) would be eager to see her.
9/18/09: The Father telephoned the schools for both Bubba and Princess and discovered that, not surprisingly, the Mother’s lover, Scott, was listed as an emergency contact at both of those schools. The administrators of both schools also believed that the Mother had sole custody of the children, consistent with the lies that she had told to PeeWee’ school. The Father corrected the administrators of those schools, who then requested a copy of the court ordered parenting plan. The Father agreed to mail them a copy of the parenting plan for their records. The Father was also added as an email contact for the teachers of those schools. Princess’s school informed the Father that there was a scheduled activity at the school that the Mother had failed to notify the Father about. He informed the school that he would be attending that activity.
Later that day the Mother telephoned the Father and insisted that her lover, Scott, be returned to the schools list of emergency contacts. The Father stated that Scott was not included in their parenting plan so therefore he could not be an emergency contact for the schools. The Mother requested that the proposed weekend modification to the parenting plan include placing Scott as an emergency contact. The Father refused to consider this option. The Mother became angry and spitefully changed the terms of the proposed parenting plan modification to eliminate Friday night sleep over with the Father. The Father then declined to agree to a modification of the judgment in any form, and insisted that the parenting plan remain as they had originally agreed.
9/19/09: The children spent Friday night with Nanny, who brought them to the Father’s home at 9:30 AM. Nanny insisted on staying at the Father’s home during his parenting time. The children were delighted to see their Father and to play with their former pet ferret, Toby.
PeeWee reported that his last name is now the same as Scott’s last name. The Father corrected PeeWee by informing him that his name will always be and encouraged him to be proud of that fact. Both Bubba and Princess reported that their last name is , but PeeWee continued to be confused. Eventually, after persistent persuasion from both the Father and his siblings the child acknowledged that he is a . PeeWee also reported that his Mother does not want the children to ever meet their Father’s new wife. However, both PeeWee and Princess spoke to the Father’s new wife on the telephone.
Princess was wearing underwear that was severely stained with stool. It was unclear if this was a result of improper cleaning after her BM or if her underwear has not been changed for such a long time.
The children stayed at the Father’s home until 2 PM because Nanny refused to permit them to stay any longer. She was tired, over stimulated and she needed to rest. Nanny was entrusted with transporting and returning the children to the Mother’s home by the 5 PM deadline. The children did arrive at the Mother’s home on time, but then the boys (Bubba and PeeWee) returned with Nanny to her home. Princess, again, was separated from her brothers and kept at the Mother’s home overnight.
The Father spoke to the Mother about both Princess’s underwear and about PeeWee’ confusion about his family name. She denied encouraging the children to believe that their name is Scott’s last name. She offered no explanation regarding the stains in Princess’s underwear. She simply stated that she has bought new underwear for the child in the past.
9/20/09: The children arrived at the Father’s home early from the home of Nanny, who also had Princess with her. Nanny did not stay with the children for this particular visit. The children had small plastic baggies that were partially filled with breakfast cereal. They informed the Father that this was their breakfast.
After a trip to the local park, a walk in the neighborhood, and several games on the computer and the Nintendo, the children were settled down to watch a DVD of children’s cartoons. The Father went into his bedroom to rest on his bed. Princess joined him there without invitation from the Father, and in spite of his repeated encouragement to return to watching cartoons with her brothers. Eventually Princess asked the Father, “Are we going to have sex now?” The Father was both shocked and appalled by this question and immediately denied any intention of ever having sex with his daughter. In his alarm, he promptly telephoned another adult and used the speaker phone so that, together, they could carefully and gently interview Princess about her knowledge of sex.
The Father asked Princess what she thought “sex” meant. She said that she sometimes has “sex” with her Mother. The Father asked her what kinds of activities occurred with her Mother that she thought was “sex”, but the child couldn’t answer that question. He then asked her about her sleeping arrangements. Princess indicated that she doesn’t have a bedroom of her own, so she sleeps with her Mother and her Mother’s live-in lover, Scott. Princess stated that “sometimes Mommy and Scott close and lock the bedroom door so they can have sex. Sometimes, when I am in bed with Mommy, she makes noises.” The Father then asked Princess about the noises that Mommy makes. Princess imitated grunting and panting sounds that would be similar to sounds one would expect a woman to make during the act of sexual intercourse. Both adults were shocked and dismayed by how accurately a 5 year old child could imitate those types of noises.
The interview with Princess ended at that point. The Father then telephoned his own Mother, WA, while the other adult was still on the line, and there was a three-way telephone conference about what can or should be done about Princess’s comments. There was some conjecture between the three adults about how far this sexual activity had progressed. The general opinion between them was that there was no real evidence to suggest that Princess has ever engaged in or participated in sexual activity with any of the adults at her Mother’s home. However, it was undeniable that the child had been exposed to sexual information that was far beyond her current developmental stage of understanding. The Father’s Mother held the opinion that the Father should contact Princess’s school the next day (Monday) and request a school counselor to speak to Princess about “Good touch/Bad touch”, in the hope that this type of intervention would protect the child from any future sexual abuse.
After that conversation was over, the Father and the other adult remained on the telephone, and continued to discuss the situation for some time. The Father’s opinion was that the police should at least be notified of this incident, and the other adult agreed. The Father then ended the phone call with the other adult and called the Police. The Police indicated that they wanted to investigate further, and requested that the Father not return the children to the Mother’s home until after they were interviewed by the police.
Later that day the Police arrived at the Father’s home to interview Princess. The child repeated everything that she had told her Father and the other adult on the telephone almost exactly. However, this time Princess added the information that during her Mother’s daytime sexual episodes with Scott the child would be standing outside of her Mother’s bedroom door crying, kicking at the door and begging for her Mother. After some time, Scott would open the door and permit the child to enter the bedroom, but then he would kick her and hurt her as she entered. Princess indicated that this was a common occurrence at her Mother’s home. Since Scott is chronically unemployed, this description of events is plausible.
Princess is now 5 years old. Feelings of abandonment are typical for children in this stage of development who are experiencing their parent’s divorce. The behavior that Princess described (crying and kicking at the bedroom door) would be perfectly normal and expected from a child her age whose parents are divorced.
The Police indicated that DHS would be investigating and interviewing the Mother. There were questions regarding the Father having unsupervised time alone with Princess in the past. The answers to those questions were easily verified with the Father’s Mother, WA, and his Grandmother, Nanny. This is the first and only day that the Father has been alone and unsupervised with his children since April 2009. Therefore there has been no opportunity for the Father to abuse his children in any fashion.
The Police indicated that the Father would be given temporary and emergency custody of the children until the investigation was complete. The Father then made phone calls to arrange for the children to sleep at the home of Nanny because there was not sufficient room for them to sleep at his home. He also made arrangements to sleep there with them because the children were confused and unsettled by the sudden changes in their schedule.
Later that day, the Father and his Mother (WA) went over to the Mother’s home to collect medication for PeeWee and Princess and clothes/supplies for all of the children. The Mother became alarmed when she noticed that the children were not with them. Scott became belligerent and threatening to both the Father and to his Mother (WA). The Father then called the police for assistance. The Police informed the Mother that the children have been taken into protective custody. They also informed the Mother that the children would be staying at the home of Nanny and that she is not to attempt to have any contact with them. The Mother reacted emotionally and was verbally abusive to the Father. The Police instructed the Father not to inform the Mother about the reasons for the protective custody, and the Father obeyed those instructions.
Arrangements were made to send Bubba and PeeWee to school on Monday, but Princess would need to be kept at home until the investigation by DHS was complete.
9/21/09: Princess slept peacefully in her own bed all night. In the morning she told her Father that she wanted to live with him and not her Mother anymore. The child was very clingy, and refused to be parted from her Father. The Father reassured her that everything would work out in the end, and not to worry. He also told her that he loved her, that her Mother loved her, and that everyone in her family loved her because she is a lovable little girl.
The Father and Nanny took both boys to their respective schools. The Father spoke to the administrative staff about the allegations of sexual abuse, and requested that they hold the boys at the school until he picked them up. He also informed them that the Mother was not to have any contact with the children, per the orders of DHS. At Bubba’s school the Father arranged for Bubba to get counseling for his aggression and anger over the divorce.
Later that morning the Mother telephoned Nanny to ask why the children were not in school. The Mother was informed that the children are, indeed, in school but that she is not permitted to have any contact with them. There were harsh words exchanged, and then Nanny hung up on the Mother.
Later in the afternoon, Nanny was late picking up Bubba and PeeWee from school. PeeWee’ school office called the Father’s cell phone, but referred to him as “Scott”. The Father reminded them that Scott is not an emergency contact for them.
Unfortunately, Bubba’s school office had already contacted the Mother and told her that Bubba was waiting at the office to be picked up. Apparently Scott chose to drive with a suspended license and took the Mother to Bubba’s school to pick him up. The Mother had been informed by the Police that she was not to attempt to have any contact with the children, but she chose to ignore that order.
Nanny showed up at Bubba’s school moments before the Mother. The school administrative staff ushered Bubba and Nanny out a rear exit to avoid a confrontation with the Mother, who was walking into the front door of the school. All of this clandestine cloak and dagger behavior from the adults is unhealthy for the children’s self esteem.
The Father took Princess to a case worker at DHS, but not the one that he knows or usually has contact with in these domestic matters. This particular social worker was a man and not one that Princess was familiar with. She was interviewed alone with this stranger, and was quite naturally shy and reticent. The case worker came to the conclusion that the children (all of the children) should be immediately returned to the care of the Mother. The Father was instructed to call the Mother and inform her that the children were coming to her home. Naturally, more harsh words were exchanged between the parents.
This episode illustrates yet another colossal failure on the part of DHS to protect and advocate for these children. The Father’s confidence in the system to help him to keep his children safe and healthy has been diminished to zero.
The Father drafted a letter to send to the Mother regarding their many conversations about violations of the parenting plan.
9/26/09: The children spent Friday night with Nanny and arrived early in the morning to spend the day with their Father. Nanny returned to her own home soon after the drop off.
There was no conversation regarding the previous weekend’s events, and Princess did not appear to be in any emotional or physical distress. However, Bubba was withdrawn and physically aggressive with the younger children. He did not seem to be very interested in participating in family activities and frequently repeated that he was bored. He denied being angry with his Father in spite of displaying hostility and anger towards him.
9/27/09: The children spent the day with the Father. There were various activities at the park and on the computer, as well as DVD’s of children’s movies. Bubba’s attitude with the Father mellowed today, but his aggression with PeeWee continued off and on all day long.
10/2/09: The Father received an email communication from Bubba’s science/health teacher, Ms. Bader. She indicated that Bubba had failed to turn in an assignment that involved a collage and essay describing himself to his classmates. This particular assignment was worth 25 points and Bubba’s current quarter grade is 68% or a “D”. She also requested that the assignment be completed and turned in for a reduced number of points (because it was late). The Father agreed to talk to Bubba about the missed assignment.
10/3/09: The Father attempted to counsel Bubba about his grades, and to help him with his “About Me” assignment. Bubba adamantly refused to complete the assignment, insisting that; he had an agreement with his Mother that he would not be required to complete it, and that he wouldn’t be given any credit for his work even if he did complete it. Bubba became very agitated, aggressive, and eventually broke down into sobs. No amount of reasoning from any adult in the family could persuade the child to complete this rather benign and simple assignment. Eventually, the Father relented and instructed Bubba to speak to his teacher about the points for the assignment. After the argument, Bubba was sullen, resentful and hostile towards his Father for most of the day.
It was very clear that Bubba has a deeply emotional motivation for not wanting to do an assignment that involves identifying himself. Erickson describes the goal of adolescence as Self Identity vs. Role Confusion. It might be that Bubba is so deeply enmeshed in his Mother’s identity that he both fears and resents any attempt to separate his own awareness of self from hers. It is possible that he simply doesn’t know where he begins and his Mother ends. That would make this type of assignment appear to be potentially humiliating in front of his peers, and emotionally disturbing for both himself and his Mother. This theory explains his violently emotional reaction when the assignment was mentioned, and why his Mother gave her permission to ignore the assignment in spite of the effect it had on his grades.
Later in the day, both PeeWee and Princess stated that the Mother instructed them to never speak of their Father or his new wife in her home again. She also instructed them never to speak of her, or her live-in companion, outside of her home. The Father instructed his children that there were different rules in each parent’s home. He also told them that at his house the rule was that they could discuss any subject or topic that they wanted to share with him. He was interested in hearing everything that they wanted to say. When the Father dropped off the children at the Mother’s home, he overheard her scolding PeeWee for talking to her about his day with his Father.
The Father sent a follow-up email to Ms. Bader requesting a syllabus from her class so that he would know in advance when Bubba had assignments due.
Later in the evening the Mother telephoned the Father to complain that PeeWee was vomiting. She demanded to know if the Father had been suffering any signs of a virus before the children spent the day with him. The Father denied being contagious, and the parents agreed that they would wait until morning to see of the child would recover enough to permit the Father’s parenting time with him the next day.
10/4/09: The Father spoke to the Mother by telephone about the children. He was informed by the Mother that Bubba preferred to spend the day with his friend, Ryan. The Father agreed to this arrangement because he was interested in encouraging Bubba to develop age appropriate friendships rather than spending so much of the his time and energy focused upon his Mother and her problems. The Mother explained that PeeWee had been vomiting the night before so the Father decided that he would not take the two younger children for his parenting time today.
Later in the morning, PeeWee called his Father to complain that he was not sick, and had never actually been sick. He insisted that he wanted to visit with his Father as originally scheduled, and to get the mail that his new Step-Mother had sent to him. The Father tried to speak calmly and rationally to the Mother about taking the children for his parenting time if PeeWee was not sincerely ill. The Mother was belligerent, accusing, and eventually cried because she insisted that the mix up in communication was entirely the fault of the Father for not understanding her statement. She had told the Father that PeeWee had “thrown up” but she never mentioned that the child had been crying and throwing a tantrum because he misplaced a part to his computer toy. It is nearly impossible for anyone to make an intelligent decision when critical information is withheld. If the Father had been aware that PeeWee had vomited because he was crying too hard, then he never would have assumed that the child was too ill to visit.
This is an example of the Mother’s all or nothing thinking pattern. Another example occurred over this past summer when the Mother had telephone the father to complain that Bubba was uncooperative and talking back to her when she gave him chores to perform. Bubba was overheard to say, “Why do I have to do it? Why doesn’t Scott do it?” and his mutinous attitude upset the Mother considerably. Again, she was belligerent, accusing and sobbing on the telephone. She accused the Father of creating this problem with Bubba by yelling at him too much. When the Father tried to calm her down by saying that Bubba was really a good boy at heart, she readily agreed. She literally stated to him, “Everything that is good about these kids is because of me; everything that is bad is because of you!”
After all of the arguing this morning, the parents finally agreed to permit the children to visit their Father for the day as originally scheduled. The Father was able to contact Nanny and request transportation for himself and the children to her home for his parenting time today. After he took PeeWee and Princess to Nanny’s home, Bubba arrived from Ryan’s house for lunch with the family.
After lunch, Bubba was invited to a different boy’s home to play and set out to walk there alone. PeeWee was jealous and wanted to join his brother, but the Father would not permit it. PeeWee started to follow his brother anyway, and Bubba physically attacked the child. Bubba was seen to punch PeeWee, and then he pushed the boy down onto the ground. Then the Father saw Bubba deliberately kick PeeWee on the leg at the spot where he had been burned by the motorcycle. PeeWee screamed in pain and cried, but Bubba showed no remorse for his actions. In fact, he insisted that it was all PeeWee’ fault because the little boy had angered and provoked him. The Father punished Bubba by forbidding him to go to play with the other boy, after all. The Father then contacted the Mother to inform her about the fight and that PeeWee had been reinjured. The Mother agreed to continue Bubba’s punishment at home by confining him to his room for the evening. Nanny applied ice to PeeWee’ leg.
10/10/09: The children arrived on time at the Father’s door. There was no communication between the parents.
PeeWee complained that he was being frequently scolded and sent to bed early almost every day last week. PeeWee also complained that the Mother did not attend the open house at his school because she was too upset by the letter that she had received from the Father earlier in the week. It is much more likely that she was avoiding a confrontation with the staff at the school regarding the lies that she had told them about the custody agreement between the parents.
PeeWee also complained that the Mother was trying to tell the children what they think and feel about their Father. PeeWee said, “She tells us that we don’t like to spend time with you, Dad.” Most of the brainwashing attempts that he described appeared to involve similarly negative feelings towards the Father.
Princess complained that whenever Scott’s son, Nate, is visiting the Mother’s home for the weekend (as he is this particular weekend), she must sleep in a chair in the living room because there is no bed for her. It is unclear how many weekends during the month that Nate comes to visit the Mother’s home.
Bubba complained that Nate and Scott were calling him ugly names (for example, using the terms “little bastard” and “shit head” instead of his real name) and that Nate was bullying him. When the Father questioned Bubba about the bullying behavior, Bubba first attempted to cover up the abuse by blaming it all on a friend of Nate’s, a high school boy from the neighborhood named “Cody”. Bubba tried to explain to the Father that it was” Cody” who was bullying and physically abusing him. Eventually, Bubba relaxed enough to tell his Father the truth: Bubba explained that Scott and Nate believed that Bubba needed to “toughen up”. So Scott and Nate were picking on him, calling him names, and Cody was lifting him up off of the ground and sometimes throwing him.
The Father telephoned the Mother to question her about Bubba’s complaints. The Mother supported her lover’s assertion that Bubba was too weak and needed to toughen up. She also stated that because Bubba was bullying and abusing PeeWee that he deserved whatever Scott and Nate could think to do to punish him. The Mother denied reporting to the Father on multiple occasions that Bubba was being bullied at school. In fact, she stated that if Bubba was being bullied at school then he deserved it. The Father was deeply disturbed by her cold and utterly indifferent attitude about the emotional plight of her own child. The Father attempted to make her understand that Bubba was not benefiting from this type of abusive behavior and was likely to become even angrier as a result. The Mother hung up on him.
If the boy is neither safe at school nor at home then he is very likely to run away from home at some point. Another possibility is that he might make an attempt at suicide. Some of the strongest teenage suicide risk factors are aggressive behavior, disruptive behavior, depression and substance abuse. Teenage males are four times more likely to die from suicide than females. There is often little opportunity to get males into treatment since their suicide completion rate is so high.
Both Bubba and his Mother have a history of trichotillomania. Bubba’s Father has a history of a suicide attempt. Anxiety and depression are common in the family genome. Bubba has already displayed a few of the warning signs of suicide, including: emotional withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in schoolwork, frequent complaints of boredom, and failure to respond as before to praise. Of course, none of these signs are a confirmation of suicidal ideation, but Bubba is undeniably grieving after his parents’ divorce. He fluctuates between denial and anger but cannot seem to be able to move beyond those stages to come to a complete resolution of his grief yet. Statistically, it can take between two and five years for a child to completely recover from their parents’ divorce.
At the end of the day, when the Father returned the children to the Mother’s home, he attempted to speak to the Mother about this topic again. She refused to step outside so that the conversation would be kept private between them. She again told the Father that she believed that Bubba deserved whatever he got from Scott and Nate. The Father attempted to point out that bullying Bubba could be considered psychological abuse, but he was interrupted by Nate who was confrontational and antagonistic with the Father. The Father gently tried to tell Nate that this conversation was between the two parents and did not concern him. The boy refused to be brushed aside and continued to be aggressive and confrontational with the Father. The Father left without any firm resolution on this matter.
10/11/09: The Father attempted to talk to Bubba about his feelings and reactions to being called names by Scott and Nate. Bubba at first refused to talk about it, and then he denied that those events ever happened. He made a sincere attempt to pretend that the whole thing was a story that he made up and none of those events ever occurred. Only when he was reminded that Nate attempted to justify his own behavior to the Father did Bubba finally admit that the events did occur… but only once, and they have now stopped happening. There is a very real possibility that Bubba was attempting to be obedient to directions that he might have received from his Mother about not discussing the events with his Father. The Mother has made it very clear to the children - in front of the Father - that the children are forbidden to discuss events at her home with their Father.
After the discussion with Bubba concluded, Princess said to the Father, “I wish I could live with you, Daddy” in a very soft, quiet voice. When the Father asked her why, she did not respond.
This new “Do Not Tell” policy at the Mother’s home is an open invitation for child maltreatment. For example, what happens if Scott or the Mother beats one of the children? Does that become a “family secret”? If the children are programmed not to talk about the way that they are disciplined or their lifestyle at the Mother’s home, how can responsible actions be taken to ensure their safety and wellbeing?
A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend.* Princess has already been exposed to sexual behavior that is far beyond her current developmental ability to understand. Scott’s demands that the Mother engage in sexual acts while Princess witnessed the events could be interpreted as a prelude to indoctrination. What if, at some point in the future, Scott decides to act on that indoctrination and sexually abuses Princess? Does that become another “family secret” too?
10/15/09: The Father went to Bubba’s school to speak to his counselor, Amy McClung. The counselor stated that she found Bubba to be a “wonderful young man”. He then went to PeeWee’ school and met with his teacher. PeeWee’ teacher said that he is doing well in science and math but was still struggling with reading/writing, although improving. The Father also received an email from Keona Rogers, Princess’s teacher. Mrs. Rogers stated that Princess is a role model to her classmates and a pleasure to have in class.
10/17/09: Nanny brought the children from her home to the Father’s home for his regularly scheduled parenting time. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and not suitable for the outing at the local mall that the Father had planned for the children. Consequently, the outing was postponed until tomorrow. The children remained indoors and engaged in games and other quiet activities. Nanny returned to pick up the children and return them to their Mother’s home at around 4 pm. The children were not scheduled to spend the night again with Nanny.
Bubba had 3 A’s on his first quarter progress report, but also one D as well. The Father confirmed with Bubba that each A would be rewarded with $10.00, but each D would subtract $10.00 from the total. Bubba stated that he understood that he would have earned $20.00 if this had been his actual report card instead of a progress report.
10/18/09: The rain stopped and it was mostly dry for the entire day. Nanny again brought the children to the Father’s home for parenting time. The Father took the children to the local mall for a Lego building event that was scheduled there. The children participated in the activities and received an achievement award for their efforts. Princess was very brave and went to the women’s restroom at the mall by herself, while her Father waited outside of the door.
PeeWee reported that the Mother had punished him by removing his Nintendo because he was arguing and fighting with Bubba over it. The Father later confirmed with the Mother by telephone that the boys were quarrelling so loudly that the next door neighbor complained about the noise.
*Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert P. Cardarelli, "Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment", U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
PeeWee also reported that his housemate, Scott, had been making derogatory and racist remarks about people of Mexican descent. PeeWee repeated the remarks and then he agreed with them. The Father pointed out to the children that they had Mexican ancestry, and PeeWee was quite surprised by this information. PeeWee then asked if his Mother knew that he was part Mexican, and the Father confirmed that this was the case. PeeWee then looked down and did not discuss the racist remarks that he learned from Scott anymore. Bubba listened to the conversation then he assumed a flat, emotionless affect once again.
The Father returned the children to the Mother’s home at 4:30 pm.
10/19/09: The Father received the following email from the counselor at Bubba’s school;
I hope you are having a wonderful Monday. It was extremely nice to meet you last Thursday. After thoroughly reading your parenting time journal, discussing your concerns for Bubba, and meeting with Bubba myself I think it would be best for Bubba and your family to receive counseling services outside of the school. I would be more than happy to provide you with a few referrals in order to facilitate that process. In order to provide you with those referrals, I will need to know Bubba’s insurance information. If you can get me that information we can start this process. I will also call Vicki and let her know my recommendation.
A.M. , MA, QMHP
10/20/09: The Father and another adult spoke to A.M. in a three-way conference call about Bubba’s need for counseling and what to expect from a family counselor. Ms. A.M. offered to provide three different choices of counseling agencies for the Father to review.
10/24/09:The children spent Friday night at the home of Nanny. This morning the Father telephoned his Grandmother to request that she bring the children to his home for his parenting time. Nanny said that the children wanted to stay at her home that day, and she refused to bring them over. The Father became very frustrated and upset at yet another interruption of his parenting time.
He went over to the Mother’s home and demanded that she meet her responsibility to drop off the children at his home on Saturday mornings at 9 am. The Mother slammed the door in his face. He then attempted to contact Nanny again, who insisted that she didn’t want to “get involved” between the parents. She stated that PeeWee wanted to stay at her home because she has cable television and PeeWee wanted to watch a NASCAR racing program. The Father does not have cable at his home. The Father went home distraught and frustrated because he apparently has no recourse for enforcing his parenting time.
It is true that the children are deeply loved by their extended family members. However, by insisting on keeping the children at her home Nanny is equally as responsible for disregarding the Father’s Court ordered parenting time as the Mother. By over riding the Father’s right to enforce his parenting time, she is sending the children the message that the Father’s rights are not legitimate, and cannot be trusted to be consistent. Although Nanny is lovingly devoted to these children, this type of behavior is contributing to their emotional alienation from their Father.
10/25/09: Nanny brought the children over to the Father’s home for his parenting time. The children were loving and affectionate with their Father, as usual. There was no indication that they felt any disquiet or anxiety about being in his care. The Father informed the children that his Mother (WA) would help him to get cable in his home so that they could watch television at his house. The children were very pleased with this resolution to the situation.
All of the children were very obedient to their Mother’s demands, and carefully avoided making any comments about daily life in her home.
10/29/09: The Father spoke to the Mother about counseling for Bubba, and the necessity for both parents to participate. The Mother reacted harshly to the prospect of Bubba being evaluated by a counselor. The Mother accused the Father of violating the parenting plan by making an appointment for Bubba’s evaluation for counseling on a weekday, even though there were no weekend appointments available. She demanded that the Father petition the Family Court for a change in the parenting plan before she would permit Bubba to be taken to be evaluated on a weekday. After all of the arguing, nothing was resolved and the telephone conversation ended abruptly.
11/1/09: The children spent Halloween with the Mother, per the schedule in the parenting plan. They arrived this morning with Nanny, after having spent the night at her home. They were very pleased that the Father had acquired cable television for their entertainment needs.
They seemed to be quite relaxed and there was no quarreling or fighting between the children today. Bubba was laughing and playful with his Father, and generally behaved like his old self again. Princess was loving and affectionate with the Father, as usual. There was no conversation about life at the Mother’s home.
When the Father returned the children to the Mother in the evening, she reported that she had a change of heart regarding Bubba’s evaluation for counseling. She has given her permission for Bubba to be taken out of school on the scheduled weekday appointment. She did not bother to explain why she had changed her mind. In spite of repeated pleading from the Father, she has declined to participate in this evaluation or in any family counseling if it is decided that Bubba does, indeed, need it. But for this single evaluation appointment, she has granted her permission to the Father to remove Bubba from school.
11/5/09: The Father and Nanny removed Bubba from school and took him to The (Y. C. Counseling) to be evaluated per the recommendation of Amy McClung. The Mother was aware of this appointment but refused to participate in spite of frequent requests and encouragement from the Father. After his evaluation Bubba was diagnosed with adjustment disorder that is possibly related to his parents’ divorce. Bubba was scheduled to begin therapy twice a month starting next week (11/10/09 and 11/17/09). It was suggested that the Father accompany Bubba one week and the Mother the other week. This way both parents may participate in Bubba’s treatment. The Father readily agreed to that arrangement and accepted responsibility for informing Bubba’s Mother about their son’s diagnosis and the therapy schedule.
While the Father was collecting Bubba from school for this appointment it was discovered that the Mother has replaced the name of Nanny as an emergency contact with the name of her current lover, Scott (again) and another person named Mariah. It was later discovered that she has done the same thing at Princess’s school as well. The administrative staff at PeeWee’ school was able to resist her attempts to mislead them, and refused to make anymore changes to the emergency contact list without a new order from the Family Court. After the Father corrected the school records for both Bubba and Princess there was an alert placed on both of those children’s files to prevent this type of maneuvering from happening again.
The Mother has obviously resumed her manipulations of the administrative staff at the children’s schools in spite of the letter that the Father sent to her (dated 9/21/09) carefully explaining that this type of behavior is prohibited by a Court order. She has consistently demonstrated, and has verbalized on multiple occasions, that she has no respect for the Washington County Family Court and does not anticipate suffering repercussions for her behavior. Indeed, she is so profoundly impressed with the Courts lack of power to enforce its own Court orders that it causes one to pause and consider if she is, in fact, correct.
When the Father returned Bubba to the Mother, she was informed of his diagnosis and the schedule for his therapy. The Mother’s reaction to this information was severely negative. She accused the Father of making this “all one sided”, and announced that she intended to “call that therapist and straighten this out”. The fact that she was repeatedly encouraged to attend and participate is this evaluation for the sake of her son’s welfare was completely ignored. When the Father left it was understood that the Mother would be taking Bubba to his next therapy appointment on 11/10/09.
The Mother also complained to the Father that PeeWee was not obedient to her lover, Scott. She stated that PeeWee was telling Scott, “you are not my Father” and she demanded that the Father punish the little boy for this disobedience. The Father supported his son’s refusal to treat Scott as if he were the child’s Father. The Mother became very tearful in her attempts to make the Father feel guilty, so the Father admonished PeeWee to obey the Mother, instead.
This is another example of the Mother’s low threshold for frustration and stress. She appears to have rather poor and ineffective parenting skills. She is much more interested in blaming the children for disputes and not often focused upon the resolution of problems when she deals with them. In many ways she runs and tattles to the Father as if he were her own Father as well as the Father of her children. On the other hand, when the Father expresses his concern for the children’s safety her behavior becomes belligerent and defiant - often at the expense of the children’s welfare. Overall, she frequently displays the emotional development of a mid-adolescent rather than that of a mature responsible adult.
11/7/09: The children spent Friday night with Nanny. The Father went to his Grandmother’s home to spend his parenting time with them there. Nanny and the Father took the children to do grocery shopping. Then the Father was dropped off at his own home while Nanny kept the children overnight at her home.
The children seemed to be in good spirits. PeeWee did not complain about his Mother’s demands that he treat her lover Scott as if he were the child’s Father. In fact, there was no conversation at all about life at the Mother’s home. Bubba was again quiet and withdrawn today.
There seems to be a competition developing between the Father and his Grandmother for the children’s attention. Nanny has a car and it makes the Father’s grocery shopping much more convenient. However, she has taken up the habit of negotiating with the Father for time alone with the children. In this case, she has traded the use of her car for his shopping in exchange for keeping the children during part of his parenting time today.
It is undeniable that the children are deeply loved and cherished by their extended family. However, it is somewhat difficult to navigate the family politics and achieve what is best for the children at the same time. Ultimately, Nanny is only a Great-Grandmother to these children - a rather distant relative, genetically speaking. She is not an actual parent to them, although she insists on parenting them alone almost every weekend. This type of behavior is not necessarily good for her health and is almost certainly not good for the children’s attachment to their actual parents.
11/8/09: Nanny brought the children to the Father’s home for his parenting time. The children were in good spirits but very hungry. The Father prepared food and the children played with their toys, the computer, and in the park. Altogether the day was rather relaxed and casual. There was very little quarreling between Bubba and PeeWee today.
Later in the day, the Father began to feel unwell. He contacted the Mother to inform her that he might be coming down with a virus. The Mother was driven over to his home by Scott (who apparently still has a suspended drivers’ license) to pick up the children. The Mother was quite hostile with the Father for keeping the children at his home for his parenting time when he suspected that he might be contagious. The fact that the children attend public school and are exposed to a wide variety of illnesses all day long, five days a week, obviously did not impress the Mother. She was very eager to vehemently denounce the Father as a bad parent (in front of the children) for putting the children’s health at risk for catching a cold.
11/12/09: The Father telephoned the Mother to report that he was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in his lungs and that he was not feeling healthy enough to parent the children this weekend. The Mother reported that Princess had been suffering from a fever earlier in the week, but it seems to have resolved itself. The Father requested that the Mother take the children to see the Pediatrician to rule out H1N1 infection. The Mother responded, “I know medical procedure.” There was no discussion regarding the Mother taking Bubba to the (Y. C. Counseling) for counseling as scheduled on 11/10/09.
The Mother’s comment about “medical procedure” is a curiosity. It begs the question; which medical procedure does she consider herself qualified to perform? It is almost a certainty that she has been educated in the procedure for tube feeding since her youngest child suffered from inorganic failure to thrive. However, many parents have been trained in that particular skill. It is not considered to be a medical procedure, anyway. Since PeeWee’ burn wound quickly became infected it is reasonably obvious that the Mother is unskilled in basic wound care and lacks enough common sense to take the child to see the Pediatrician. Although her comment is disturbing it is much more likely that her general education deficit has caused her to use the term “medical procedure” inappropriately.
11/14/09: Nanny reported that Bubba went to the (Y. C. Counseling) on 11/10/09 as scheduled. Nate, Scott’s teenage son, was left to babysit Princess and PeeWee while the Mother and Scott took Bubba to the appointment.
She also reported that the Mother expects to take Princess and PeeWee to see the Pediatrician on Monday (11/16/09) because both children have colds. Princess is expected to receive the H1N1 vaccine on that date but PeeWee will not, for some unknown reason. Apparently no appointment has been made to get a vaccine for Bubba. It was also reported that Bubba spent part of the day today with Nanny’s adult daughter Rosie and her son, Aaron. Nanny will not have any of the children at her home this weekend because they are ill.
11/17/09: The Father picked up Bubba from the Mother’s home and took him to the (Y. C. Counseling) for his scheduled counseling appointment. Afterwards, he took Bubba home again.
When the Father arrived at the Mother’s home PeeWee greeted him and eagerly displayed the new game that the Mother purchased for his game box. “Mortal Kombat” is an extremely violent game with some rather gruesome and graphic depictions of decapitation, mutilation, and destruction.
This is definitely not an age appropriate game for an 8 year old child to be playing. However, the Father has no legal right to dictate what the children watch on television or what games that they are allowed to play when they are at the Mother’s home. This is yet another example of the Mother’s inability to make good value judgments when it comes to her children. A thirteen-year-old boy, Noah Wilson, died when his friend Yancy stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. The mother of Noah, Andrea Wilson, alleges that her son was stabbed to death because of his obsession with the Midway game Mortal Kombat. Of course PeeWee is only an 8 year old boy and he doesn’t know any of that. He is delighted to be playing a video game that has an ESRP rating of M for Mature.
11/20/09: The Father received a report card for Bubba in the mail. There was a considerable decrease in his overall grades. Bubba now has only one “A” in Physical Education. The rest of his grades are all “C’s” and “D’s”. The Father was very upset to see such a dramatically negative change in Bubba’s grades in only a few months. It is important to recall that on his first quarter report card Bubba had three “A’s”. Most of the negative remarks that were made by his teachers on this report card involved homework that was not completed.
The Father telephoned the Mother to ask if Bubba was attending the homework afterschool program that he is signed up for at the school. The Mother stated that he was not attending and currently had no intention of attending that program. At first she demonstrated apathy about Bubba’s grades and when the Father pressed her to take a greater interest in them, she became belligerent and defiant. The Mother reverted to her typical form of verbal defense by blaming all of Bubba’s problems upon the Father and accepting no responsibility for ensuring that her son completes his homework. This is another demonstration of her black or white thinking patterns.
The Father then telephoned his Grandmother, Nanny, to discuss the plans for the Thanksgiving Holiday with the children. During that conversation Bubba’s grades were also discussed. Nanny became agitated and declared that she intended to go to the Family court and request custody of Bubba as a Foster Parent because the Mother was not “taking care of him”. The Father quickly changed the subject to avoid an argument with his Grandmother. It is very clear from this conversation and other behaviors that Nanny is beginning to display early symptoms of dementia.
11/21/09: The children were transported by the Mother and her lover, Scott to the Father’s home for his parenting time today. There was no conversation between the parents.
PeeWee seemed to be upset about something and was not his usual exuberant self today. The Father was concerned by his seemingly lethargic and solemn demeanor and questioned him about it. Unfortunately, although the child was obviously in emotional distress, he was very reluctant to discuss what was bothering him with his Father.
After some comforting words and a few hugs, PeeWee finally explained to his Father that he was upset because he was not permitted to discuss anything about his Father at his Mother’s home. He had missed seeing his Father last weekend (because the Father had been ill with Bronchitis), but he was forbidden to verbalize those sad feelings at his Mother’s home. He also stated that he wanted to play his game box the night before, but Scott had yelled at him severely and forbid the child to play. He could not explain why this event occurred or what could have motivated Scott to be so unkind to the boy.
PeeWee also complained that he was experiencing some difficulty falling asleep several times a week. He reported that his Mother would put him to bed at about 9:30 pm at night and then scold him harshly because he was still awake at midnight. The child denied playing games or engaging in any other activities that would keep him awake for all of that time. He did not seem to have any explanation for this unusual disturbance in his normal sleep pattern. When the Father asked him PeeWee reported feeling very sleepy when he was at school.
When the Father asked the children if Scotts’ son, Nate, was bullying them anymore Bubba again denied that it had ever happened. When he was confronted with the fact that Nate had admitted to the Father that he had been antagonistic, Bubba stated that he was spending most of his time alone in his room whenever Nate was visiting in order to avoid the older boy.
PeeWee complained that Nate was flicking a lighter on him, and Princess reported that Nate was holding the lighter too close to her face. Princess also stated that Scott yelled at Nate, “Stop playing with the lighter!’ whenever he did that to her. It must be noted that this is not the same thing as telling Nate to “Stop tormenting the younger children with the lighter!” The former statement implies; “If you don’t stop playing with the lighter then you will use up all of the lighter fluid and then I must bother myself to get more!” However, the latter statement implies; “Your behavior is sadistic, unacceptable and you are certainly old enough to know better!”
Princess also reported that she has been falling asleep on the sofa at night but then later she goes into the Mother’s room to sleep. PeeWee reported that Brenton, a friend of Nate’s, sometimes stays the weekend at the Mother’s house. Both Bubba and PeeWee indicated that on those occasions Brenton and Nate are sleeping in the living room with Princess.
So Princess is still sleeping in the same room with the Mother and her lover, in spite of the efforts of the social worker at DHS to prevent this type of risky behavior. Nate is still acting out and displaying cruelty towards the children, in spite of Bubba’s diagnosis of adjustment disorder and the younger children’s frequent complaints. Bubba is continuing to be isolated in his room at his Mother’s home. The Mother is still forbidding the children to talk about their Father, their feelings about their Father, or to voluntarily discuss events at the Mother’s home with the Father. These types of anecdotes are exactly why the Mother is so strict about her “don’t tell Daddy” policy.
The Father was 15 minutes late bringing the children to their Mother’s home because he stopped at McDonalds to buy them some dinner.
11/22/09: The Mother called at 9 am to complain bitterly that PeeWee had told her that the Father did not feed him all day long yesterday. She also complained that PeeWee had told her that the Father had slept all day, too. She seemed to be very eager to point out that the Father was irresponsible for not feeding the children and for taking a nap during their time with him. From this conversation it can be assumed that although the children are strictly forbidden to discuss with their Father the quality of their lives at the Mother’s home - that policy must not apply to discussing their time with the Father with her. The Mother also demanded that the Father “stop bugging Bubba about his homework”. The Father did not have an opportunity to defend himself before she left.
The Father resisted the temptation to point out that taking a short nap during the afternoon was not the same thing as locking the bedroom door and engaging in rather loud sexual activities with a married companion while his 5 year old daughter kicked at the door and cried for her parent. As for feeding the children, PeeWee’ mood was very lethargic and somber yesterday. Although both Princess and Bubba ate lunch PeeWee refused to eat food until the evening meal at McDonalds.
The Father ordered pizza for the children and PeeWee was very interested in eating his lunch today. During that meal both Princess and PeeWee recounted an episode that had occurred at the Mother’s home when Scott forcefully poured hot pepper sauce into Princess’s mouth because she had cursed at him. According to Princess, she had been crying and this behavior annoyed Scott so he told her to “shut up”. Princess responded by swearing at him. Scott then forced the 5 year old girl to swallow hot pepper sauce as punishment. Both PeeWee and Princess reported that the Mother was aware of this torture and did nothing to intervene on her daughter’s behalf.
The Father asked them when this event occurred and PeeWee stated that it was a few weeks ago (around the same time that they stopped talking about life at the Mother’s home). When they were asked why they did not mention this event sooner, both children reported that they were afraid that their Mother would find out that they had discussed it. This explanation is plausible because they had evidently received a painful and profoundly impressive lesson about what to expect if any one of them should dare to say something that displeases Mommy.
As alarming as this type of persecution of young children is, it must be recognized as a cultural phenomenon. Many under educated people from a lower socioeconomic status find it acceptable to use foul language in front of their children and then torture them for imitating that behavior. It cannot be described as effective parenting, or anything else except abusive, but it seems to be a widespread practice.
Nonetheless, inflicting physical pain to control children is a barbaric practice. Sometimes parents may resort to it because it's an easier form of discipline and takes less time than other methods. However, “quick and easy” is not an acceptable reason to torture a child and in many states this particular practice is illegal. In the state of Virginia, hot sauce application meets the state's validity requirement for child maltreatment. In Tennessee, Patrick Tripp, 42 year-old, was convicted of rape of a child, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, incest and sexual exploitation of a minor. The five year old male victim was able to help the authorities with the investigation. In 2007, the five year old boy was placed in the care of Tripp by the child’s mother. According to news stories, while the boy was in Tripp’s care, he sustained significant injuries to his “private parts”. The five year-old was also forced to drink hot pepper sauce and was whipped with a metal studded dog collar.
Almost all experts including pediatricians, psychologists and child welfare professionals are opposed to this type of punishment. Carleton Kendrick, a family therapist from Boston, MA, recommends against the use of hot saucing. He said that it can burn the child's esophagus and cause their tongue to swell. This can create a potential choking hazard. He said: "There are many different kinds of hot sauce on the market, and parents who say they know the dilution to use so it won't sting, or say they only use one drop, are wrong. It's done because it hurts. It stings. It burns. It makes you nauseous." Randell Alexander, a child abuse expert with the American Association of Pediatrics, said: "Advocating hot sauce -- that's emotionally and possibly physically abusive." He said that compared to washing a child's mouth out with soap, using hot sauce "takes it up a notch." because it is an effort to intentionally inflict pain.
The Father experienced a similar type of punishment when he was a young child and discussing this subject reopened an old emotional wound in his memory. Nevertheless, to hear about this torment being inflicted upon his little daughter (who suffers from an eating disorder) left him feeling outraged with a deep, burning resentment towards both the Mother and her lover. However, there is nothing that the Father can do to protect his children from this type of abuse. It has already been clearly illustrated by the motorcycle incident (noted on 9/6/09) that to complain to the Mother about her lovers’ callous behavior would only spark her defiance and dramatically increase the risk to the children as a result. However, he did discuss this event with his wife and his Mother, WA.
Nanny invited herself over to visit with the children while they were with their Father. The Father welcomed his Grandmother into his home and she visited until it was time to take the children to their Mothers’ home. Nanny accepted responsibility for returning the children on time. The Father was in no mood to risk a face to face confrontation with the man who is so heartlessly cruel to his children.
11/26/09 Thanksgiving Day: The Father and his children spent this day at the home of Nanny. The children spent the day playing games and watching the parade on television.
PeeWee was unusually whiney and demanding of his Father’s attention. He was not easily consoled and cried often for little or no apparent reason. There was definitely something bothering the child, but he does not have the words to describe what he is feeling or why.
Bubba was verbally aggressive with PeeWee and demonstrated impatience with the little boy on several occasions. The Father scolded Bubba for insulting his brother and calling him vulgar names. Bubba stopped the negative attitude with PeeWee after he was scolded by his Father.
The Father attempted to discuss Bubba’s homework with him, but Nanny interfered and insisted that the Father “stop badgering him so much” about it. It appears that Nanny and the Mother have been discussing this issue together and they have agreed that the Father is being unnecessarily harsh with Bubba for no reason.
11/27/09: The Father’s Birthday: The children spent this day at the home of Nanny again. However, she had to work for part of that time so they were alone there with their Father. The Father took the children to McDonalds after his Birthday celebration of cake and ice cream.
Bubba was again verbally aggressive with PeeWee. The Father had to scold Bubba again to get him to stop calling his little brother ugly names. Bubba did comply with his Father’s demands, but only for a short while. His behavior seems to be almost a compulsive thing that he is not completely aware of unless someone points it out to him.
PeeWee complained that he was not able to watch cartoons on the television that Nanny gave to him last week. He also complained that he was not permitted to play his game box games or watch cartoons on the television in the family living room because Scott was using that television. Scott apparently insists that PeeWee spend large amounts of his time alone in his room, as Bubba does. This is apparently why PeeWee has been throwing tantrums and emotionally regressing lately. He needs social interaction, as all human beings do, but he is being denied the company of his Mother and siblings because Scott cannot tolerate having the little boy downstairs.
11/28/09: PeeWee is still emotionally labile and he appears to be somewhat anxious and needy. He threw another tantrum today because he could not get the computer at his Father’s home to do what he wanted it to do. He seems to have reached the limit of his coping ability and is so badly stressed out that even small amounts of frustration can make him sob. Although PeeWee was offered food, he refused to eat anything until late in the day. Bubba is not helping to reduce the stress in PeeWee by insistently taunting and insulting the boy.
The Father attempted to ease some of PeeWee’ stress by telling him that if Scott is unkind or abusive to him then he does not have to listen to that man. He carefully explained that Scott is not a member of the family; he is not married to their Mother. Scott is only living at the Mother’s home and is not the allowed to give orders to the children. PeeWee listened to his Father carefully, but this information did not seem to comfort him very much.
All of the children, including Princess, were making vulgar hand gestures to each other and other family members today. When they were questioned about where they learned such behavior, all of them reported that Scott had taught them those gestures. The Father had to sit the children down and explain why it is not appropriate for them to imitate antisocial behavior that they see from Scott.
11/29/09: The Mother confronted the Father this morning about stories from PeeWee that indicated that the Father was not feeding the children when they are at his house. When the Father asked PeeWee to recount for his Mother what food he had been offered the day before, PeeWee told his Mother about the he food that he had refused to eat. The Mother seemed to be mollified by that explanation, and left without further remark to the Father.
PeeWee’ mood is still labile and he seems to be almost impossible to comfort. There were more tears and tantrums today for various events of low level frustration. Again today, he is refusing some foods early in the day but then declaring that he is very hungry later in the afternoon.
It might be that PeeWee wants more attention than he is getting at his Mother’s home. And/or PeeWee wants to talk about things that he is afraid to speak of because he knows that he might get the hot sauce from Scott if he dares to mention it. Whatever the source of frustration for PeeWee, he has made it very clear that he has reached the end of his rope and cannot cope with the stress anymore. The little boy needs someone safe that he can talk to about his negative feelings and frustration.
Bubba is still insulting PeeWee, and the Father displayed extreme frustration with both of the boys for arguing and fighting so much. He has made it clear that he is very tired of the name calling and the brutal insults between them and he wants this behavior to stop. Both boys cooperated for a short period of time, but then resumed the negative behavior again before they returned to the Mother’s home.
Princess displayed a slightly black eye that she explained had been the result of an accident. Scott was attempting to use a rubber band to repair a cat toy for the family pet cat. Somehow, the rubber band had become loose and flew across the room to hit Princess in the eye.
After the children were returned to the Mother’s home, the Mother telephoned the Father to make vulgar insults and demand that he stop telling PeeWee that he is not obligated to listen to Scott. Then, the Mother hung up on the Father before he could defend himself.
12/01/09: The Father picked up Bubba from his home and took him to his regularly scheduled counseling appointment. C., the counselor, reported that she has read the Father’s parenting journal and pointed out a communication error between the Father and herself. She requested that all entries that referred to Bubba’s diagnosis as being “depression and anxiety” be changed to “adjustment disorder”. She made it clear that, at this point, she is unwilling to commit to a diagnosis of depression for Bubba. She intends to document Bubba’s past trichotillomania as a symptom of anxiety that is now in remission. She did not clarify the criteria that she used to distinguish her diagnosis of adjustment disorder instead of depression. The changes that she requested be made to the parenting journal were executed immediately.
12/8/09: The Father met with many of Bubba’s school teachers at his school today. The general synopsis of the meeting involved the fact that Bubba is failing in school in almost every subject. Bubba’s teachers discussed his behavior in class and his lack of motivation to participate. They also noted that there is a significant amount of homework that has not been turned in for grading, in spite of the Father signing Bubba up for the Homework Club at the school. The teachers provided the Father with written feedback about Bubba’s behavior and attitude in the classroom, and a large amount of homework that must be completed and turned in for grading.
The Father attempted to make excuses for his son’s lack of academic interest by explaining that the boy is in therapy with a counselor for adjustment difficulties related to his parent’s divorce. The teachers have agreed to give Bubba additional time to complete his homework in the hope that he will not ultimately fail 7th grade. It must be noted that it is not even Christmas yet, and Bubba is already experiencing very serious academic difficulty.
The Father telephoned the Mother to report what transpired at Bubba’s school. The Mother disagreed with the Father and reported; “That can’t be right. Bubba is getting all A’s.” She again insisted that the Father “lay off about the homework”. When the Father insisted that Bubba is in deep trouble at school, the Mother snapped, “I’ll call that school and straighten this out!”
12/11/09: The Parents spoke on the telephone about Bubba’s school work. The Mother reported that she had been in contact with the school and that she was now aware that Bubba is, indeed, failing in school because he is not doing his homework. She also reported that she had made a fuss about Bubba’s IEP not being properly followed by the teachers. She insisted that one of the teacher’s take responsibility for personally escorting Bubba to the Homework Club at the school on Tuesday’s and Thursdays afternoons to be certain that he went there.
The Mother reported that Bubba had already completed some of the overdue homework and that the Father should “lay off” about it over the weekend. The Father insisted that Bubba bring any homework that he had already completed with him on the weekend during the Father’s parenting time. The Father also requested that the Mother and he change Bubba’s counseling appointments from Tuesdays to some other day of the week to accommodate the schedule of the Homework Club. The Mother’s response was non-committal, and nothing was firmly resolved about the schedule.
It is sincerely shocking how little information about Bubba’s mental health that the Mother is capable of understanding. When the Father arranged for Bubba to receive counseling for his emotional problems, the Mother venomously announced that she was going to “straighten that counselor out!” When she is informed that Bubba is failing in nearly every subject in school (yet another indication that the boy is in serious emotional trouble), again she declares that she intends to “straighten this out!” She is resistant, defiant and non-compliant in regard to the physical, emotional, safety and medical needs of her own children. She genuinely doesn’t get it.
12/12/09: After the children were dropped off at the Father’s home by Scott (the Mother was not in attendance), the Father prepared breakfast for them. They reported that there was no breakfast available for them at the Mother’s home.
The Father spoke to Bubba about his teachers and their expectations for his participation in class and for turning in his homework to be graded. He also told Bubba that he expected the child to complete his overdue homework during this weekend and to turn it in on Monday. Bubba attempted to negotiate by stating that he had already done some of the required homework at his Mother’s home and didn’t want to repeat it. The Father insisted that Bubba bring the homework that he has already completed to show it to him on Sunday.
Bubba’s attitude was quite negative and emotional about one particular assignment that required that he write an essay about his “favorite place”. Again, these types of assignments that require Bubba to express traits that are unique to him (that distinguish him from his Mother) are very difficult for him. He was very resistant to even begin the assignment and refused to discuss it with the Father.
PeeWee was ill and reported vomiting several times since last Thursday evening. The Mother did not report any of this to the Father and he was completely surprised to learn that his son had missed a day of school because of it. Although PeeWee had a normal appetite, he reported feeling severally nauseated and that his stomach was hurting soon after a meal. The Father could not detect a fever in the child, and PeeWee denied any diarrhea over the past few days. PeeWee was quite miserable, lethargic and pale. The Father telephoned Nanny to request that she drive PeeWee to his Mother’s home instead of expecting the child to take the bus in the cold weather.
Nanny arrived early (about 2 pm) and was verbally aggressive with the Father when he refused to surrender all of the children to her care. She loudly insisted that she wanted all of them - right now! - to take them back to the Mother’s home about 3 hours early. The Father stood his ground and insisted that only PeeWee needed to return early. Bubba and Princess were well enough to stay for the entire parenting time with their Father.
Bubba attempted to interfere in the argument by demanding that he leave with Nanny so that he would be permitted to spend the night at her house. The Father insisted that Bubba not join in adult conversations and refused to discuss the matter with him. Bubba was sullen and angry with his Father for the rest of the day.
When the Father returned the children to the Mother’s home he discovered that Scott’s son, Nate, had invited several people over for a party. There were several teenagers in the Mother’s home, eating the food that was intended for the children. Since the Mother lives on Welfare, any additional houseguests that eat the family’s food would mean that there will be less for the children to eat after the food stamps are gone.
12/13/09: The Mother telephoned the Father early and reported that there was ice on the roads. She refused to drop off the children because her car had “bald tires”. The Father made arrangements to go to her house to pick up the children and take them to his Mother’s (WA) home.
Before he could arrive at the Mother’s home he was informed that Nanny had called and was coming over to pick up the children herself. When he attempted to contact the Mother and request that she not give up the children to Nanny because he was en route to get them himself, he was informed that it was already too late. Nanny had the children and was, allegedly, en route to W.A.’s house. Then, sometime later, Nanny called the Father to inform him that W.A. was not at home so she was going to take the children to her house instead. The Father then spoke to W.A. and she agreed to stop off at Nanny’s house to pick up the children and bring them to their Father at her house. W.A. expressed disgust with Nanny’s attempts to manipulate the situation to attain more time alone with the children once again.
This is another example of Nanny competing with the Father for his regularly scheduled parenting time. When the Father telephoned the Mother and requested that she not give up the children to Nanny during his parenting time without his express permission she responded “Why should I do that? Granny hasn’t done anything to me” and hung up on him. It appears that, once again, the Mother and Nanny are in complete agreement that every effort should be made to interfere with the Father’s attempts to parent his own children.
When the Father attempted to discover exactly how much of the overdue homework Bubba has accomplished, it was revealed that Bubba had lied to his Father. Bubba has done none of the overdue assignments at his Mother’s home - after the Mother had told the Father that he had done some of it already and to “lay off about it” over the weekend (see entry for 12/11/09).
Apparently Bubba was only attempting to manipulate the Father in an effort to escape responsibility for completing the homework. It is unclear if this behavior was instigated by, or simply tolerated by, the Mother. It is fairly obvious, however, that she was fully involved in the plan to deliberately deceive the Father about the homework. When the Father insisted that Bubba not play on his Nintendo or the computer until the homework was completed, Bubba called his Father a “Jerk. Bubba did complete some of his English homework, however.
Later, W.A. and the Father took the children out to eat and to buy toys. After they returned to W.A.’s house, the Father insisted that Bubba begin his “Favorite Place” assignment. Bubba again became quite emotional about this assignment. He refused to do it and he called his Father a “Bastard”. He did this rather brazenly and without any attempt to disguise his contempt for his Father. W.A. became upset with Bubba’s vulgarity with his Father and attempted to support the Father’s right to parent Bubba. She also encouraged Bubba to be the first person in his nuclear family to complete High School.
12/15/09: The Mother telephoned the Father to complain that Bubba continues to be resistant about completing the “Favorite Place” assignment. She insisted that the Father speak to Bubba about obeying his Mother. The Father attempted to discuss the assignment with Bubba and even gave him a few suggestions about places that he could identify as being pleasant, such as; Nanny’s home, his own bedroom (since he spends so much of his free time there), the park, etc. Bubba was sullen and resistant to his Father’s suggestions but stated that he would complete the assignment.
12/19/09: The Mother and Scott dropped off the children to the Father’s home on time today. The Mother informed the Father that she and her Lover were going to Salem for the day and that she did not want the children to be brought to her home. It was her intention to stop by and pick them up when she was ready to have them back. The Father agreed to this change for her convenience.
The Father celebrated Christmas with his children early this year because they will be spending their Winter Vacation from school with their Mother, according to the Parenting Plan. The Father spent today opening gifts and stockings with the children. Later, they went shopping for batteries for the electronic toys and for gifts for other family members.
When it came time for the Mother to pick up the children, she telephoned the Father to inform him that her car was malfunctioning again and she would not be able to pick them up as originally planned. She informed the Father that she had contacted his Grandmother, Nanny, and requested that the elderly woman pick up the children for her.
About 2 hours later, Nanny eventually found her way to the Father’s home. It is well known in the family that she has great difficulty driving at night and this occasion was no exception. She admitted that she had become seriously disoriented in the dark and had spent almost all of that 2 hours wandering aimlessly up and down the streets in an attempt to locate the Father’s home.
As the children were leaving Nanny became aware that the Father had instructed his children to leave their toys at his home. Nanny began to argue with the Father, in front of the children, stating; “I don’t know why you don’t just let them take their toys home with them!” The Father attempted to correct his Grandmother by informing her that the children have two homes now; one with their Mother and one with their Father. Therefore, the toys are “at home” when they are left at the Father’s house.
Nanny’s attempt to interfere with the Father’s parenting only created more confusion for the children and Princess began to cry. She was very upset that she could not take her new stuffed “Boots” doll (a character from the Dora the Explorer television show) to her Mother’s house. The Father had to explain to her (again) that she will want toys to play with when she comes back to her Father’s house.
This is the first Christmas since the divorce and it is, quite naturally, strange and unsettling for all of the family members to deal with the changes. New traditions must be established to accommodate the new situation. It would have been ideal if Nanny had made even the smallest attempt to be supportive and encouraging during this time of transition. If that would have proved to be an unrealistic expectation, then perhaps it would have been adequate to invoke the old adage; “if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.”
12/20/09: The children spent a quiet day playing with their new toys and enjoying their time with their Father. Since the Father knew that he would not likely be allowed to spend any more free time with his children over this holiday season, he was quite naturally reluctant to end the day. Therefore, by the time he took the children to visit Santa at the Mall, it was already late in the day and the line was too long. There was not enough time left to wait in line to sit on Santa’s lap, so he took them to the Mother’s home. The children were dropped off at the expected time.
12/22/09: The Father arranged for Nanny to join him and Bubba at his scheduled counseling appointment today. The purpose was to include the adults who have a direct impact on Bubba’s behavior and development in the therapy session. The intention was that Nanny, the Father and Bubba would all sit down together and work with the counselor on some of Bubba’s behavior issues. The end result was that Nanny showed up early (before the scheduled meeting time), had a private discussion with the counselor, and then left without ever meeting up with the Father and Bubba. It was not disclosed what Nanny had to say to the counselor and it is unclear if she will ever attend another meeting. As frustrating as this turn of events may be, nobody who knows Nanny was at all surprised by her behavior.
1/2/10: The Father received a telephone call from WA informing him that his Grandmother, Nanny, had just been released from the hospital. Apparently, the children had been staying with Nanny since New Year’s Eve. At some point today she began to experience severe chest pain, so she returned the children to the Mother and took herself to the hospital for emergency treatment. While she was there she was informed that if these types of transient chest pains continue then her physician will need to perform invasive diagnostic procedures to prepare her for open heart surgery.
It has been repeatedly pointed out to the Mother that Nanny is physically frail and unable to continue to support the children for extended visits at her home. On 8/16/09 Nanny’s adult son, Fred, requested that the Mother stop exploiting Nanny for free childcare. It is disheartening to note that the Father had made a request to spend some time with the children during this Winter Break from school and the Mother denied him. She would rather spitefully abuse an elderly woman for free childcare than permit the children to spend extra parenting time with their Father.
1/09/10: The Father picked up the children at their Mother’s home and took them to Target to spend their Christmas gift cards. The children insisted on bringing these gifts to their Mother’s home and the Father indulged them. However, there remains a serious issue of the children being unable to identify their Father’s home as their own home.
Both Bubba and PeeWee reported that the children (including Princess) were playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto” at the Mother’s home. Both boys were using vulgar language and expressions that they report learning from that game. PeeWee identified himself as a “street racer” and made several comments about being afraid of the Police, needing to hide from the Police and wanting to kill Police officers. The Father corrected the boy, and demanded that he not speak that way. Both boys reported that they were permitted to talk that way at the Mother’s home.
PeeWee made a plaintive demand that his Father return to living with the Mother. The Father gently reminded him that this wasn’t possible anymore. He told PeeWee that the parents are divorced now, and the Father is remarried. PeeWee reported that the Mother and her Lover intend to get married in three months. PeeWee demanded more parenting time with his Father, and the Father made an attempt to comfort the child as best as he could. It would be futile to attempt to explain the Parenting Plan to an 8 year old child.
After the shopping trip, the Father took the children out to eat and then returned them to the Mother’s home. It became apparent that the Mother has acquired a different vehicle for transporting the children. It is not clear if this new vehicle also contains the vulgar cartoon of a boy urinating upon the words “My Ex” as the last vehicle did.
1/10/10: PeeWee was exceptionally anxious today. Several times while the family was out walking PeeWee started limping, whining and complaining that his legs and his back was hurting him. He was quite dramatic in his attempts to convince his Father that he was severely disabled and could not walk. However, when he wanted to run to catch up with Bubba, PeeWee demonstrated no difficulty in his mobility at all.
The Father contacted the Mother to request that she take PeeWee to the Pediatrician to check his legs. The Mother refused and stated that PeeWee had a regularly scheduled check-up in a month or so. It occurred to the Father that Nate (the teenage son of Scott ) is physically disabled and has great difficulty walking. When PeeWee was complaining about pain in his legs and back he was demonstrating a walking pattern that was a close imitation of Nate’s walking pattern.
Bubba was quite impatient with PeeWee and the vulgar insults flew fast and frequently between the boys today. The Father was forced to intervene to prevent physical violence between them on several occasions. The Father reminded Bubba that he was expected to attempt to deal with his frustration with PeeWee in a more appropriate manner. He encouraged Bubba to use the coping techniques that he learned in his counseling sessions at (Y. C. Counseling), but Bubba was resistant and uncooperative.
PeeWee made frequent negative comments about the Police and Police officers specifically. He continued to declare himself to be a “street racer” and expressed his desire to kill Police officers. The Father became quite upset with these repeated and inappropriate remarks. He demanded that PeeWee stop talking that way, but the boy seemed to be obsessed with the fantasy that he has created. Both Bubba and PeeWee insisted that these types of comments were not inappropriate when they were with their Mother.
1/11/10: The Father spoke to Bubba’s counselor at (Y. C. Counseling) about PeeWee’ preoccupation with killing Police Officers and the nature of games that the children are playing at the Mother’s home. C. agreed that the children should not be playing games that reward antisocial behavior and violence. She has committed to speaking to the Mother about the impact that these types of games can have on the children’s moods and attitudes. She has also agreed that the time has come for PeeWee to join Bubba in counseling. She will be sending the Father the paperwork to include PeeWee and begin his counseling immediately.
1/13/10: The Father telephoned the Mother to remind her that there will be a holiday from school on Monday 1/18/10 for Martin Luther King Day. According to the Parenting Plan the children will be spending that day with the Father as well as the weekend. The Mother was quite resistant to releasing the children for that day. Her remark about driving the children over to the Father’s home for his parenting time was “… it’s just a waste of gas.” The Father was forced to negotiate with the Mother and agreed to come over to her home and pick the children up as well as drop them off on that day. If he had failed to capitulate to her demands then the Mother would have denied the Father his Court Ordered parenting time with his children on this holiday.
1/14/10: The Father spoke to Rosie (the adult daughter of Nanny) today. Rosie reported that Nanny was scheduled for surgery later today. The procedure that is to be performed will be a cardiac angiogram to diagnose coronary artery disease. The angiographic images that are recorded during this procedure accurately reveal the extent and severity of all coronary artery blockages. This type of surgery is performed during a cardiac catheterization procedure and requires opening an artery in the groin.
Rosie also reported that there was a financial dispute between Nanny and the children’s Mother. As recorded earlier in this journal, Nanny has been financially supporting the children by providing them with cable television. Nanny has made frequent and bitter complaints that the Mother and her Lover do not permit the children to use the cable that she is providing for age appropriate television shows. Apparently, the current dispute involves a Pay-per-View option that had been used to purchase pornography - $145.00 worth of pornography in one month - that Nanny did not want to be responsible for paying. Consequently, the cable company had threatened to disconnect the service to the Mother’s home if the bill was not paid. Nanny ultimately capitulated and paid the $145.00 but also placed a block on all future Pay-per-View options. This action ignited the dispute between the Mother and Nanny.
Aside from the obvious and deeply disturbing financial exploitation of an elderly woman, this event describes a very disturbing trend in the children’s environment at the Mother’s home. The children have described Princess’s sleeping arrangement as being primarily in the living room, where the cable television is connected. This event begs the question; where is Princess while the Mother and her Lover are viewing $145.00 worth of pornography a month?
1/16/10: The Father spoke to the Mother this morning and requested that she keep the children for a few hours while he moved some furniture at the home of Nanny. She initially agreed to this plan. Later, she telephoned the Father and requested that Nanny be permitted to take the children to her home instead. The Father denied this request because Nanny is still recovering from her surgery.
After the Father arrived at the home of Nanny to move the furniture, he was persuaded to have his parenting time with the children while he was there. At first he demanded that the Mother return to collect the children by about 3 pm because he had to return the rented truck by 6 pm. The Mother protested this demand and made a plaintive request to Nanny that the children be permitted to stay there until late in the afternoon. The Father protested that Nanny is still recovering from her surgery and that she is not physically fit to babysit the children alone. Nanny vetoed this protest by stating that Rosie would be at there as well. Consequently, the children were left in the care of Nanny and her adult daughter, Rosie, after 3 pm today.
The Father spent the day playing and talking to his children. He spoke to Bubba about the positive remarks made by some of his school teacher and about the email request from his math teacher. Bubba has agreed to attend a small group with Mrs. Brookhart to improve his test scores. He also told Bubba that he was very proud of the boy’s efforts to bring his grades up from failing to C’s. He also told him that he hoped that Bubba would be able to achieve B’s at some point. Bubba responded positively and appeared to be quite happy with his Father’s praise.
Princess made several pictures for the Father and played with both Bubba and his friend Ryan. PeeWee was much more relaxed and seemed to be in a positive mood today. His physical mobility was unencumbered and he made no complaints about suffering pain. The Father played, tickled, wrestled and completely enjoyed his children.
1/17/10: The children spent the day with their Father. They played with their toys and enjoyed the day. The Father took his children to Burger King for lunch. After lunch, Bubba began to become more aggressive with PeeWee. The vulgar insults and attempts to hit his brother were frequent. The Father had to physical separate the boys more than once.
1/18/10: The Father went over to the Mother’s home to pick up the children and took them to his home. The children spent the day playing, watching T.V. and enjoying their time with their Father.
The Father was again forced to intervene between the boys to prevent violence. The Father resolved to speak to Bubba’s counselor about his increased impatience and intolerance for his little brother.
1/20/10: The Father took both Bubba and PeeWee to (Y. C. Counseling) for counseling today. This is the first time that PeeWee has been included in the counseling session. On the way to (Y. C. Counseling) the Father spoke to PeeWee about joining the Cub Scouts of America. The purpose for mentioning it was to encourage social interaction with other children PeeWee’ age who will share common interests. Perhaps if PeeWee had more friends to occupy him then he might not be constantly interacting with Bubba to the point of violence.
During the Father’s session with the counselor Bubba was left alone with PeeWee in the waiting area. When the Father returned to collect his sons, PeeWee accused Bubba of hitting him. C. informed Bubba that physical violence was unacceptable in her office and that he was forbidden to hurt anyone while he was there.
During a private session with the counselor PeeWee mentioned an incident when he was handcuffed to the stairway railing in his Mother’s home. He told C. (the counselor) that his Mother’s Lover, Scott, had used the handcuffs on him. The Father was unaware of this event until the counselor questioned him about it. Naturally, the Father was outraged that his son had been assaulted by Scott but C. requested that he not react negatively. She is required by law to report assault and abuse of children to DHS. It is her intention to do that, however, she is concerned that the Mother will withdraw from therapy and prevent the children from participating if she discovers that C. reported this event. Therefore, she requested that the Father permit the Mother to believe that it was he, and not C., who informed DHS of the abuse.
The Father agreed to this plan because he is very concerned about his children and their emotional health. He initiated counseling for both of his sons in an attempt to acknowledge their need for emotional support and healing. As he was returning the children to the Mother’s home he cautioned PeeWee not to tell his Mother that he had mentioned the handcuffs to the Father. The Father was concerned that PeeWee would be punished with the hot sauce as Princess had been for saying something that the Mother does not like.
In retrospect, the sudden appearance of handcuffs in the family culture is not very surprising after the revelation that the Mother ordered about $145.00 worth of pay-per-view pornography in one month. Although bondage and sadism are frequent subjects for adult films, the use of sex toys on such a young child could cause permanent emotional trauma. The focus now will be planning interventions that will help PeeWee to regain his ability to trust.
1/21/10: The Father received a telephone call from his Grandmother, Nanny today. She informed him that she was scheduled for open heart surgery on 1/29/10. Her surgery involves repair to one or more of her heart valves. It is not clear how long she will be in the hospital following the surgery.
1/22/10: The Father telephoned the Mother to request that she drop the children off at his Mother’s home (WA) on Sunday for his parenting time. The Mother was extremely negative and accusatory with him. She had been approached by the Police about PeeWee being handcuffed and she was blaming the Father for informing DHS. The Father did not correct her about who reported the abuse. Instead, he attempted to redirect her attention to the fact that her Lover should not be disciplining the children.
The Mother accused the Father of making PeeWee “terrified” of him because he warned PeeWee not to tell his Mother about the handcuff conversation. The Father pointed out that the children were much more likely to be afraid of Scott for forcing them to drink hot sauce when they dared to mention the wrong thing. The argument continued until the Mother began to cry.
Scott got on the phone and attempted to bully and intimidate the Father into not making any more reports to DHS about the children. The Father continued to demand that Scott not punish or abuse his children anymore. He stated that he had no interest in whatever “kinky” behavior they engaged in while in bed but that he expected them to keep that kind of thing away from his children. Scott also challenged the Father about the children reporting that the Father doesn’t like Scott and belittles him. The Father did not deny this behavior and stated that he is firmly convinced that Scott is an “idiot”.
When the Mother returned to the telephone the Father mentioned to her that he had an email from one of Bubba’s teachers. The email reported that Bubba was behind in his journal assignment and the Father wanted Bubba to be prepared to catch up on that homework during this weekend with his Father. The Mother again became very emotional and incredulously demanded to know; “Do you call the teachers every week?!” The Father affirmed that he was in contact with Bubba’s teachers every week because he is very concerned about his son’s ability to pass 7th grade. He also stated that he loves Bubba and will continue to contact the teachers every week if that is what is required to ensure his son’s academic success. The Mother then demanded that he “lighten up” about the homework and leave Bubba alone about it. The conversation ended without anything being resolved.
1/23/10: The Mother telephoned the Father early in the morning to tell him that she has no intention of bringing the children to him for his parenting time and to shout vulgar insults at him. She stated that she was “still pissed off” and accused him of informing DHS about the handcuff incident. She stated that she didn’t want any more visits from the Police so she wasn’t going to permit the children to see their Father anymore. The she hung up on him without permitting him to negotiate with her. Later in the morning she called him back to inform him that she has changed her mind and to demand that he feed the children because there is no food for them at her home.
When the children arrived they were very hungry, so the Father prepared food for them. PeeWee displayed no fear or anxiety about being with his Father. PeeWee reported that after the Police arrived at his Mother’s home to investigate the handcuff incident, both the Mother and Scott were very angry with him. He reported that they both yelled at him for telling his Father about being handcuffed to the stair rail in his Mother’ s home. PeeWee also reported that on a different occasion Scott pointed a Bee Bee gun at him and ordering him to go to bed. The Father asked him “What did your Mother say about that?” and PeeWee replied, “She yelled at me; Just go to bed!” The Father attempted to discover when this event occurred but PeeWee was not able to be specific about the time. He said; “About a month ago.”
While the children were there the Father noticed that PeeWee had shoes that were terribly worn out and had holes in the side of each shoe. Bubba also does not have a warm coat that is suitable for the winter weather.
When the Father returned the children to their Mother PeeWee ran through the front door and loudly announced; “I told Dad that Scott shot me with a Bee Bee gun!” When the Father questioned the Mother about this incident, she denied that any of the children were injured by the Bee Bee gun. She did not deny, however, that Scott threatened them with it. Scott went upstairs to retrieve a Bee Bee gun to prove to the Father that it didn’t work and that it is unable to fire Bee Bee’s at the children. When the Father acknowledged that he was satisfied that his children were not actually shot with the gun, Scott said; “Get off of my property!” The Father left immediately.
It is meaningful to note that although the children were not physically injured by Scott’s Bee Bee gun, this event describes a significant lack of parenting skills. What kind of adult man finds it necessary to threaten to shoot an 8 year old child in order to get him to go to bed?! Why is it that this Mother did not find her Lover’s behavior to be utterly bizarre and alarming? She appears to believe that the simple fact that the gun didn’t work completely justifies her Lover’s right to threaten the children with it. Is it possible that this kind of persistent negativity in the Mother’s home is contributing to Bubba’s increasingly violent behavior and interfering with his academic progress? The fact that the Mother continues to do nothing to protect her children from the threat of being injured by her Lover will, undoubtedly, have a detrimental impact upon their emotional development.
1/24/10: The Mother refused to take the children to their Father for his parenting time today. Nanny stepped in as a mediator and picked up the children herself. She noticed that PeeWee has very dilapidated shoes, so she took them to the mall to buy new shoes with her own money. After that, she took them to the home of her adult daughter, WA. The Father met up with his children there.
PeeWee complained that Scott was punishing him for telling his Father about the handcuffing incident. PeeWee reported that Scott had “grounded” him and forbid him to play on his game box, watch T.V. or socialize with friends. The Father told PeeWee that Scott should not be punishing the children because it is their Mother’s responsibility to discipline them.
1/26/10: The Father spoke to C. at (Y. C. Counseling) today. He reported to her that the Mother was exceptionally hostile towards him because she believed that he reported her to DHS for child abuse. C. responded that she has already corrected the Mother by informing her that she (C.) was the one who reported the handcuffing incident to DHS.
He also reported PeeWee’ complaint that Scott was punishing him for informing his Father about the abuse. C. committed to speaking to the Mother again about not restricting the children’s efforts to communicate their needs and desires to both of their parents.
The Father suggested that it might have been better for the children if the Mother had taken the same parenting class that he was ordered to take by the Family Court to complete the divorce. The Mother did not take that class because she was able to obtain a waiver from the court. Consequently, the children are living with her most of the time and she is unaware of the psycho-emotional impact of the divorce upon them according to their level of development.
The Father called the Mother to find out if Bubba has turned in the overdue homework that they discussed over the weekend. She reported that he did and insisted that he “lay off” about Bubba’s homework.
1/29/10: Nanny was admitted to the hospital for cardiac surgery today. There were unexpected complications with post operative bleeding and she was given a second operation on the same day. Her condition remains critical this evening. Unfortunately, her general health has been so frail for so long that the surgeon is pessimistic about her recovery.
2/2/10: Nanny suffered a cardiac arrest early this morning. She was returned to the operating room for a third cardiac operation today to correct additional bleeding. Her condition is so unstable that the surgeon requested that the family stay in close contact with the hospital. Fred , Nanny’s adult son, has the medical power of attorney and he indicated to the family that he would not authorize any additional surgeries or any further heroic efforts to continue Nanny’s life after this episode.
The Father contacted the Mother to inform her of Nanny’s condition and to request that she prepare the children for Nanny’s death.
2/3/10: The Father took both PeeWee and Bubba to see C. at (Y. C. Counseling) for their regularly scheduled appointment. He discussed the critical condition of his Grandmother, Nanny, with C.. She discussed the possibility that Nanny might not survive her recent hospitalization with the children.
PeeWee informed his Father that he had been taken to the Hospital emergency room by his Mother because his tongue was contorting inside of his mouth. It is unclear what could have caused this phenomenon. The Father complained to C. that the Mother should have informed him immediately when PeeWee was taken to the emergency room. The Parenting Plan indicates that both parents will communicate with each other regarding the children’s health and well being. C. committed to speaking to the Mother (again) about being more open and forthright in communicating with the Father about the children’s health and safety.
C. was able to get both Bubba and PeeWee to identify specific goals that they would like to achieve. One of PeeWee’ goals was to “spend more time with Dad.” The Father provided PeeWee with a calendar that he had made. He had used the Parenting Plan and the school holiday schedule to mark every date that the children would be with him for the rest of this year.
When the Father took the children to their Mother’s home he asked her about PeeWee going to the emergency room. She simply said; “Oh, PeeWee was faking it!” and refused to offer any specific information about the event.
2/4/10: Nanny passed away in the wee hours of this morning. The Father’s Mother, WA, informed him early today. The Father spoke by telephone to the children’s Mother to inform her. He also spoke to C. at (Y. C. Counseling) about grief counseling for all of the children. It was decided that Princess would join her brothers at the next scheduled counseling.
The Father spoke to the administrative staff at each of the children’s schools to inform them that Nanny has passed away. PeeWee’ teacher informed the Father that PeeWee has been acting out very badly in class recently. In fact, his behavior has been so erratic and disruptive to the class that she has planned a meeting with the Behavioral counselor at the school to discuss PeeWee. The Father committed to talking to PeeWee about behaving himself in class and to discussing his medication administration with the Mother.
2/6/10: The children met their Stepmother for the first time today. They seemed to be quite eager and excited about spending time with her. The Father planned an outing to an arcade and a restaurant.
PeeWee was exceptionally hyperactive and suffered terribly by being confined to the back seat of the car for the 20 - 30 minute drive to the arcade. PeeWee complained that he did not get his medication that morning. The Father spoke to the Mother by telephone about PeeWee’ complaint. She denied that PeeWee was un-medicated for this first meeting with the child’s Stepmother. PeeWee’ behavior for the entire day was wildly out of control and often dangerously impulsive and erratic. If this was any example of what the school teacher was complaining about then it is very clear that PeeWee is attending school without appropriate medication. The only remaining question is WHY?
PeeWee’ siblings were exasperated with him and both Bubba and Princess displayed symptoms of burn out. Although Bubba was verbally hostile he was not physically aggressive with PeeWee until late in the day.
Princess, however, displayed some rather disturbing behavior that is highly un-characteristic for a 5 year old child. She was observed slapping PeeWee in the face repeatedly while maintaining an eerily calm, composed demeanor and saying “Stop” between each slap. Her total lack of emotion combined with the intense psycho-emotional trauma she was inflicting on her brother could almost be described as sociopathic in nature. It is unclear who she was imitating but it is fairly obvious that this type of abuse is not something that a very young child would be able to create on her own.
When the Father took the children to the Mother’s home he was able to discuss PeeWee’ behavior with her. She explained that PeeWee was taken off of one of the two medications that he uses to control the behavior associated with ADHD. PeeWee was taken off of this medication because he was found to be suffering minor seizures from it while in the emergency room. So, apparently, PeeWee wasn’t faking it after all.
2/7/10: The children arrived a little late this morning. The Father took Princess and PeeWee to the store to buy potting soil. Bubba and his Stepmother remained at home together, and they got along well. Later, the children played ball outside and took a walk in the neighborhood with their Father and Stepmother.
The children made brownies and homemade pizza for lunch. Princess and her Stepmother had a tea party and engaged in craft activities. Later, the Stepmother read to the children from a book called; “Why do people die?” by Cynthia MacGregor. The Father took the children to the local mall for a short time before they returned to their Mother’s home.
PeeWee was still quite hyperactive today but not nearly as bad as yesterday. He seems to have calmed down a little, and was better able to control his impulses. Bubba was more physically and verbally aggressive with PeeWee today than he was yesterday. Princess, however, was more indulgent and tolerant with her brother today. She did not display the same disturbing behavior that she exhibited yesterday.
2/8/10: Bubba’s math teacher, Amy Haberman, called the Father this morning and requested a meeting between Bubba, the Father, and herself regarding Bubba’s future in her class. The Father agreed and showed up after school to talk to Bubba and Mrs. Haberman.
Bubba was resistant to Mrs. Haberman’s suggestion that he move to a lower level math class. The Father attempted to point out to Bubba that his test scores were not reflecting his statements that he knew and understood the material. Mrs. Haberman asked Bubba why he was so opposed to the tutoring services provided by Mrs. Brookman. Bubba made an excuse that he didn’t need help and that he could do the work without it. However, his overall grade so far remains an “F” in this math class.
Mrs. Haberman attempted to point out to Bubba that he could improve his test score considerably if he would only show his work. He gets points on the test for showing his work even if the answer is wrong. Bubba was obstinate and unwilling to cooperate with this suggestion and kept repeating that it was “stupid”.
Bubba’s Stepmother requested information about online resources provided by Mrs. Haberman to keep up on Bubba’s assignments and test dates. Mrs. Haberman used the computer in her classroom to point out the website that is maintained for her class. This website will provide the Father with adequate information about the activities and expectations for this specific math class. It was made clear to Mrs. Haberman that the Father was limited in his ability to directly impact Bubba’s performance in the class because he was only permitted access to the boy on the weekends and some holidays.
The discussion ended with the decision that Bubba will remain in Mrs. Haberman’s class. At this point, it is assumed that Bubba will very likely fail this class and repeat it again next year. However, Mrs. Haberman seems to think that remaining in the class could be beneficial to Bubba and make it somewhat easier for him the next time he makes the attempt.
The meeting caused Bubba to miss his school bus home so the Father took Bubba home in his car. The Father called the Mother to inform her that Bubba had stayed after school to talk to Mrs. Haberman. She became verbally abusive towards the Father. She insisted that he is forbidden to participate in any discussions at the school regarding the children. She demanded to know why Mrs. Haberman called the Father about Bubba’s potential change of class instead of herself. She was furious that the school permitted the Father to take Bubba home after school. The Father attempted to redirect her attention to the contents and outcome of the meeting, but the Mother was oppositional and hung up on him. The Father took Bubba out to McDonald’s for a snack and to allow the Mother time to calm down before he took the boy home.
The Father continued his attempted to discuss the meeting with the Mother when he dropped Bubba off at her home but she refused to come to the door. Scott came to the door instead and informed the Father that the Mother had no intention of discussing the meeting with him. She was heard to shout from inside of the house that she intended to call Bubba’s school and “straighten them out!” She finally shouted vulgarities at the Father and told him to “Get the F_ away from here!”
2/12/10: The Mother spoke to the Father about Princess’s impending birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010. She requested that the Father surrender his parenting time this weekend (per the Parenting Plan) for her to have a birthday party for Princess. Since this is the year that the Mother gets a weekend for the children’s birthdays, the Father agreed to give up this weekend as opposed to next weekend.
This weekend is the funeral for Nanny. The Mother is planning to take the children to the funeral on Saturday, February 13, 2010. Nanny was both emotionally and financially supportive of the Mother and the children. There is no doubt that the children will miss her as deeply as the other members of the family will. Scheduling a birthday celebration on the same weekend that other family members are mourning the death of Nanny seems to be strangely inappropriate.
2/16/10: The Father took cupcakes to Princess’s classroom today to celebrate her birthday. The Teacher, Mrs. Rogers, was open and welcoming to the Father. Princess seemed to be very happy to have her Father in the class, and her classmates were undeniably excited about the prospect of cupcakes and milk. Princess did not eat her cupcake and this is not surprising given that she has not had very much exposure to a wide variety of foods since her feeding tube was removed. It is her habit to refuse foods that she has not tasted before.
C., the counselor at (Y. C. Counseling), returned the Father’s phone call today and they spoke for almost an hour. They addressed the children’s grief over the death of Nanny and other issues related to the children. C. stated that she was interested in focusing more upon PeeWee than upon Bubba for the next few weeks. She wants PeeWee to learn how to self regulate, calm down, and to trust her enough to open up and talk about things that frighten or disturb him. The Father agreed that PeeWee is very upset and extremely hyperactive lately. He shares her interest in regaining the child’s trust in adults.
C. also addressed the concerns that the Mother brought up at her session from last week. Apparently, the Mother is concerned that the Father believes that her lover, Scott, is a “hideous monster”. Additionally, the Mother believes that the Father does not approve of her choice in a new mate. The Mothers’ position is that, since the parents are now divorced, it is none of the Father’s business whom she chooses to live with. The Father’s rebuttal was that he has long ago moved on with his life, but continues to be concerned about the safety, health and happiness of his children. The Mother’s choice of mate has a significant impact upon the children’s lives. C. made it clear that until there was some kind of reconciliation between the parents the quality of the children’s lives would continue to be diminished regardless of Scott.
In the late afternoon the Father spoke to the Mother about picking up the children for his regularly scheduled counseling appointment with C. at (Y. C. Counseling). The Mother did not remember about the appointment and at first attempted to argue with him. After that discussion was complete she accused the Father of making Princess sick with the cupcakes that he brought to the school. She said that Princess was reportedly “sick on the bus”. When asked, she denied that any of the other children in her home were ill. However, after she was informed that the cupcakes were purchased at the grocery store and not homemade by Princess’s Stepmother, she calmed down and dropped the matter.
The Father telephoned the school to speak to Princess’s teacher, Mrs. Rogers, to discover at what point Princess complained of feeling ill. Mrs. Rogers was not available to talk on the phone so the Father left her a voice mail. Consequently, it is not yet possible to determine the validity of the Mother’s statement regarding Princess being ill.
2/17/10: The Father spoke to Mrs. Rogers, Princess’s teacher, today. Mrs. Rogers confirmed that Princess had not eaten the cupcake at her party but that the other children who had eaten them were not reported to be ill. She said that Princess had been a “little sick” at school and that the bus driver had reported that Princess had vomited on the bus. The driver also said that, after reporting to the Mother that Princess had been ill on the bus, she had told him that both boys (Bubba and PeeWee) were also sick. This statement only confirms that the Mother finds it nearly impossible to resist lying to the Father on almost every topic that concerns the children.
The Father took Bubba and PeeWee to their counseling appointment at (Y. C. Counseling) today. C. met the children’s Stepmother for the first time today. PeeWee was exceptionally quiet, reported a headache and feeling sad. He said; “I miss Nanny” (referring to Nanny). He was not at all hyperactive today but he did seem to need to have his grief addressed immediately with C.. The Father was sympathetic and attempted to comfort his son with a hug. PeeWee was the first to have a private session with C. this time.
Later, C. and the Father spoke about the impending meeting between the parents. The Father gave her a list of topics that he would like to discuss with the Mother in that session with C.. They also discussed how the Father was coping with his own grief over the death of Nanny. C. wanted him to discuss his coping methods with the children so that they wouldn’t be worried about him. The Father resisted this discussion and reported that he “walled off” his grief so that he wouldn’t feel anything. C. wanted him to communicate to the boys that it was acceptable for them to feel sad, or to mourn the loss of Nanny.
After the session, the Father took his sons out to McDonalds for a snack. PeeWee reported that he was given a new medication for the symptoms of ADHD to replace the one that was discontinued due to seizure activity. PeeWee also reported that he had been taken home from school early yesterday and had missed school entirely today because he was vomiting. Bubba said that he also felt ill, but was not vomiting yesterday or today. PeeWee also confirmed that Princess is still sleeping in the same bed with the Mother and her Lover - in spite of the intervention by DHS to prevent that situation.
2/20/10: The Father’s telephone rang very early this morning. PeeWee was sobbing and could not be clearly understood. The Mother eventually came on the line and explained that the children were very hungry and that she believed that it was the Father’s responsibility to feed them breakfast. PeeWee was calling because he was very upset that he had to wait until after 9 am to get food. The Father requested that the Mother feed them, but she refused.
When the children arrived at the Father’s home they were definitely very hungry. PeeWee was extremely hyperactive and obviously unmedicated. PeeWee ate: 5 Gorton’s fish fillets (not fish sticks), 7 small pancakes, 2 jello puddings cups, 6 large chocolate chip cookies, 2 large glasses of chocolate milk, ½ a box of macaroni and cheese, 3 garlic bread sticks with cheese, ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese - all in the span of 3 hours. He was also emotionally labile and plaintively denied that the Mother had food for the children at home as he continued to beg for even more food. The Father was finally able to appease the child with a large bag of Chex Party Mix that PeeWee was not required to share.
PeeWee was obviously not medicated appropriately today. His behavior was dangerously impulsive (running into on-coming traffic, etc.) and not easily controlled. The Father spent most of the day attempting to keep PeeWee safe and preventing him from antagonizing his siblings. Both Father and son were exhausted by the end of the day.
PeeWee displayed a sore on his foot that he wanted his Stepmother to examine. The Father also examined it and then telephoned the Mother to ask her about it. The Mother became very defensive and declared that it was “just a wart!” Because the Mother has lied so many times to the Father about the children he eventually decided to take PeeWee to the Doctor to be examined.
Bubba was particularly snide about PeeWee’ sore and insisted that it was “nothing but a wart.” The Doctor declared that it was a planter’s wart and that there was nothing that could be done about it under the child’s current health plan. Bubba was smug and loudly declared that he and his Mother were right that it nothing to worry about.
Bubba was severely unkind and caustic to everyone today. He was especially unkind to the younger children (including Princess). He was cruel in his insults and frequently violent with PeeWee. The Father was eventually forced to intervene. Bubba was also unkind to his Stepmother for the first time. He was argumentative, easily irritated by her, and openly mocked her several times. The Father was finally forced to take him aside and verbally reprimand him and remind him that “you don’t treat your family this way!”
Bubba has displayed this quality of negativity before when the Father has missed his weekend parenting time. In this case, the Father was not able to take the children last weekend because the parents had agreed that the Mother would celebrate Princess’s birthday during that time.
2/21/10: The children were dropped off at the home of WA for a separate birthday celebration for Princess. The Father arrived there at around 10 am with gifts for Princess. WA had already purchased cupcakes for the party and was promising the children pizza for lunch.
PeeWee was very subdued today compared to yesterday. He was obviously medicated today and had complete control over himself. However, just as he did on Wednesday 2/17/10 at the meeting with his counselor at (Y. C. Counseling), PeeWee complained that he had a headache. No doubt, this headache is a side effect of the new medication that he is taking. It is unclear if this side effect is expected to diminish as the child becomes acclimated to the new medication. PeeWee was not as hungry today as he was yesterday and explained that his head hurt too much to eat.
Bubba was less aggressive today but still quite impatient and easily disgusted with his siblings and his Stepmother. However, while he was in the home of WA he was reasonably well behaved and rarely insulted his brother.
After the cake and presents PeeWee complained that his headache was so bad that he needed to go to his Mother’s home. The Father telephoned the Mother to request permitting the children to return to her home early, but she denied that request. She stated that she was not at home and didn’t expect to be there before the regularly scheduled drop off time. PeeWee was very disappointed and discouraged with this information. Bubba was even more disgusted after that and eventually attacked Princess in the Father’s car. When he was questioned about his behavior he kept repeating; “Just shut up! She started it! I don’t care - just shut up! She started it!”
When the time finally arrived to return the children to the Mother’s home, Bubba accidently dropped the left-over pizza on the ground. The Mother was upset and declared; “There goes our dinner!”
2/26/10: The parents spoke by telephone this evening. The Mother demanded that the Father pick up and drop off the children this weekend. She explained that her van was “in the shop” and she had no transportation for the children. The Father suggested that she use the bus as he had done for most of the time last year. After some negotiating, it was decided that he would pick up the children in the morning but she would to come to his house to get them in the evening.
It was also discovered that the Mother failed to take Bubba and PeeWee to their regularly scheduled counseling appointment with C. at (Y. C. Counseling) last Wednesday evening. The Mother explained that she “had something else to do” and would not elaborate further.
The Stepmother had an opportunity to speak to Princess during this conversation. Princess was delighted to talk to her Stepmother and they chatted briefly about making pictures and working on the Reader Rabbit software that the Stepmother had purchased for the child.
2/27/10: The Father picked up the children at the Mother’s home this morning. PeeWee was quite calm and obviously medicated appropriately. The Stepmother did not join them on this trip so Bubba was able to sit in the front seat next to his Father. This arrangement prevented any unnecessary physical confrontations between the boys.
The Father noticed that the Mother’s van was parked in the farthest part of their back yard. When he asked the Mother why her van was not in the shop as she had told him it would be, she explained that the van had been returned late last night. When the children arrived at their Father’s home, PeeWee gleefully announced that “Mom tricked you! They were lying about the van - it wasn’t broken at all! They just didn’t want to get up early in the morning. Ha - Ha Dad!”
PeeWee complained that Scott deliberately broke an expensive toy that was given to him by his Grandmother (WA) for Christmas. The boys confirmed Princess’s complaint that Scott had spanked her last week. She also complained that her Mother had spanked her on a different occasion. Princess explained that Scott hit her because she was playing with a light switch. She also explained that the Mother had hit her because she had been crying and begging for food. She continued by stating that her Mother and Scott were going out today to buy more food because there was nothing left in the house to eat. Overall, it appears that there has been a dramatic increase in the level of violence and aggression in the Mother’s home over the past week. The reason for this increase remains unclear.
During the afternoon the Father went to his bedroom to have a nap while the Stepmother attended to the children. During this time Bubba became irrationally outraged at PeeWee over a game on the Nintendo. Bubba pulled PeeWee down onto the ground and began to punch and kick the boy viciously. During the attack, PeeWee rolled up into a defensive ball on the ground while the Stepmother attempted to attract Bubba’s attention away from him. In spite of the Stepmother shouting at Bubba to stop, he continued to kick and punch the little boy. It appeared as if Bubba was unable to hear her shouting his name. The Stepmother was afraid that if she stepped between the boys to protect PeeWee then Bubba would begin to punch and kick her instead. Bubba was clearly out of control and operating in a blind rage. There was a brief lull (approximately 1 minute) where Bubba turned away from PeeWee and the Stepmother attempted to step between them. However, Bubba moved around her and began to kick his brother viciously again.
Finally the attack ended and Bubba announced with satisfaction that PeeWee was “acting like a douche and got what he deserved”. The Stepmother ordered Bubba to leave the small apartment and then locked the door behind him. She did not physically touch Bubba at any time during this event.
The Stepmother did what she could to calm PeeWee and Princess after the attack. The Father had been awakened by the noise and came out of the bedroom to confront the Stepmother. He was furious with her for “throwing my son out of my house!” She insisted that he had two sons and that his energy would be better served to care for the injured one more than the one who was outside. Nevertheless, the Father went outside to find Bubba and to shout at him to leave his brother alone. The Stepmother continued to attempt to calm the younger children in the apartment.
The Father returned to the apartment to confront the Stepmother. He insisted that he alone has the right to punish the children and that she had no right to make Bubba leave the apartment. The Stepmother insisted that it was obviously a safety issue and that Bubba was out of control of himself. He had to be removed to protect the children and herself from his rage. The two adults continued to argue briefly and then the Stepmother left the apartment. She stayed away until after the children had been picked up by the Mother.
Bubba’s violent outburst is another example of his emotional vulnerability to hostility in the Mother’s home. All of the children described episodes of violence that occurred this last week; Scott deliberately threw PeeWee’ toy with the intention of breaking it, Scott hit Princess for playing with a light switch and the Mother hit Princess for begging for food. When Bubba is exposed to demonstrations of uncontrolled anger in his Mother’s home then he often finds it difficult to maintain his composure when he is released from that oppressive enmity at his Father’s home.
When the children were picked up in the evening, the Father confirmed with the Mother that: Scott did deliberately break PeeWee’ toy and he did hit Princess, Princess was spanked by her as well, and that she had lied about the van being in the shop.
As a result of being confronted by the Father, the Mother threatened to go to court to change the Parenting Plan. She accused the Father of “forcing” her to sign it and that would make the Plan void. Of course, she signed the Parenting Plan inside of the Courthouse and she was capable of articulating to the Judge her request to postpone the enactment of the Plan until September 1, 2009 - in spite of the Father’s protest. Nothing in that scenario would suggest that she was a helpless victim of the Father’s will.
2/28/10: The Mother dropped off the children at the Father’s home on time today. PeeWee greeted his Father with a request to “go to Salem with Mom and Scott”. The Father denied this request.
PeeWee was extremely hyperactive and it was very difficult for him to control his own behavior today. He was obviously not medicated appropriately and this is not surprising since the Mother was angry with the Father for confronting her about her lies. It has become the Mother’s habit to spitefully punish PeeWee by withholding his medication when she is angry with the Father. Consequently, PeeWee has a very unhappy day because the Father is forced to constantly correct the child’s wildly erratic and impulsive behavior.
The Father sat the children down today and spoke to them about household rules. He requested that they participate in making rules for the family that they could all live with. Princess was eager to offer a rule of “sharing the toys” and “not interrupting when others are speaking”. Bubba sullenly refused to participate at all and offered no suggestions. PeeWee was not medicated so he was unable to separate the concept of “rules” from “privileges” and offered only suggestions for privileges. The Stepmother only took notes and made no suggestions to the list of rules at all. These are the rules that were finally decided upon and posted in the hallway:
DAD’S HOUSE RULES
1. SHARE: every member of the family is expected to share all toys and food.
2. ZERO TOLERANCE FOR VIOLENCE: there will be NO fighting or insulting others
3. DAD IS THE PARENT: Only Dad may punish the children • all children must obey Dad
4. RESPECT THE PROPERTY OF OTHERS: DO NOT touch items that do not belong to you without permission
5. RESPECT OTHERS: NO interrupting others when they are speaking NO insulting others NO rude or hateful comments to others
Violation of the rules will result in the following consequence:
1. First offense: 10 minutes without screen time
2. Second offense: 20 minutes without screen time
3. Third offense: 30 minutes without screen time
4. ANY VIOLENT OUTBURST THAT ENDANGERS THE SAFETY OF OTHERS WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF THE OFFENDER
After the rules were agreed upon and posted, Bubba immediately tested his Father’s resolve. The Father gave Bubba 10 minutes of time out in the bedroom alone. While he was in there the Father spent some time talking privately and quietly to Bubba about his behavior. After that conversation Bubba seemed to be much calmer, less hostile, and less likely to explode into a hailstorm of violence.
Later in the afternoon PeeWee said; “Fuck you!” to Princess and the Father punished him with 10 minutes in the bedroom alone. PeeWee repeatedly tested his Father’s patience and resolve by attempting to come out of the room every few minutes. Eventually, the Father was able to get PeeWee to complete his 10 consecutive minutes alone in the bedroom.
After that test, Bubba grabbed Princess by the upper arm and twisted it. The Stepmother immediately demanded the Father’s attention to this matter. When the Father called Bubba to come to him, Bubba said “Fuck you!” to Princess. The Father informed him that he was now going to be punished for that remark and Bubba replied; “Fuck you! I was going to be punished anyway!” Bubba was given another 10 minutes alone in the bedroom as a consequence for his behavior.
There were no further testing of the rules after that. Eventually, the children were calmer and more secure with the rules openly posted and agreed upon. The day ended on a positive note.
3/3/10: The Father and the Stepmother picked up Bubba and PeeWee from the Mother’s home and took them to their regularly scheduled counseling appointment with C. at (Y. C. Counseling). The Father immediately opened the meeting with a request that Bubba relate to C. the events of this last weekend.
At first, Bubba was genuinely confused by the Father’s request. His demonstration of uncontrolled rage that occurred on Saturday had not registered in his mind as being an event worthy of mentioning. In his version of events Bubba blamed PeeWee for provoking him and for deserving what Bubba did to him. Therefore, he concluded, the matter was closed.
When the Father attempted to point out that the Stepmother’s report of the events did not implicate PeeWee as being responsible for Bubba’s behavior, Bubba replied; “That’s a lie.” When PeeWee attempted to corroborate the Stepmother’s report and complained that Bubba was “kicking me in the head!” Bubba retaliated by showing PeeWee his middle finger. C. objected to the vulgarity and attempted to coax Bubba into accepting more responsibility for his own behavior. Bubba flatly refused to cooperate and the Father lost his patience with the boy. The Father stood over Bubba and looked him the eye when he informed him that “nobody is responsible for your behavior except you”.
C. regained control of the situation by calmly pointing out to Bubba that, regardless of his opinion on the matter, he would be held accountable for abusing PeeWee. She also explained that he could be placed in Foster care if the abuse continued and DHS determined that Bubba was unsafe to live with PeeWee anymore. She continued by stating that none of the adults in his life wanted to see him taken out of his home because he couldn’t control his anger.
The boys demonstrated for C. how Scott deliberately slammed PeeWee’ toy into the ground with the obvious intention of destroying it. PeeWee was tearful when he described the event but Bubba had a flat affect and maintained a defensive posture.
The Father raised the issue of Scott hitting Princess last week. C. asked the boys “Did Princess get into trouble?” Both Bubba and PeeWee confirmed that Scott and the Mother hit Princess. However, when C. asked the children to explain what happened, Bubba stated “I am not going to talk to you about that” with a flat affect. PeeWee attempted to use a toy shark to communicate some type of silent message to C. C. finally stated that she didn’t understand what the shark was trying to say and that PeeWee had to talk for the shark. PeeWee simply said “He says we can’t talk about that here”. The Father became quite agitated at this point and attempted to tell C. that the Mother has programmed the children to not talk about abuse in her home. C. would not permit the Father to complete this statement in front of the children and asked him to save it for their private session.
C. then sent the Stepmother and the boys out of the room so that she could have a private session with the Father. Later, she had private sessions with each boy and the Stepmother in turn. During his session the Father complained about Scott’s continued physical punishment of the children. C. agreed to discuss the matter with the Mother at their next meeting.
During the Stepmother’s session there was a brief discussion about Bubba’s unremitting hatred for PeeWee. C. observed that Bubba seemed to believe that abusing PeeWee was perfectly acceptable - indeed, desirable - behavior. It seems to be undeniable that the week before Bubba’s explosion of blind rage had been quite violent and hostile in the Mother’s home. Scotts abuse of Princess and destroying PeeWee’ toy in addition to the Mother hitting Princess must have made that home feel like a war zone to Bubba. When the weekend came around and Bubba was safe at his Father’s house, the boy simply lost control of his pent up anxiety and anger.
The Stepmother also pointed out that there did not seem to be any remedy for the Mother’s inappropriate parenting. For example, both Princess and PeeWee (on different occasions) have reported that Princess continues to sleep in the same bed with the Mother and Scott. This practice continues in spite of direct intervention from DHS on this matter. Another example is Scott’s abuse of Princess. First, the Mother tells C. that she agrees to not permit Scott to punish the children. Then, very soon after, there is another report of Scott abusing Princess in some manner. In spite of the efforts of the Father, DHS and C. the quality of the children’s lives in the Mother’s home is not improving.
C. emphasized that only the Father had the right and the responsibility to correct the children’s behavior. She cautioned both the Father and the Stepmother that the children should never be left alone with either one of them for any period of time. It was made clear that, given the opportunity, the Mother was very likely to make accusations of child abuse that might be difficult to disprove without an adult witness. Both the Father and the Stepmother agreed to her recommendation.
C. also suggested to the Father that while he was in the process of quitting smoking, and consequently short-tempered, he should avoid parenting the children. She suggested a short moratorium in his parenting time until the worst of his cravings and irritability has passed. The Father agreed to discuss the matter with the Mother, but made no firm commitment to avoid his regularly scheduled parenting time per the Parenting Plan.
Later in the evening, after the children were returned to the Mother’s home, the Father telephoned the Mother to discuss C.’s suggestion to postpone any further parenting time with the Father until his smoking cessation plan was more stable. The Mother did not permit the Father to introduce the topic, however. She exploded into a rage on the telephone because PeeWee had reported to her that the Father had been angry that Scott had punished Princess. She made several threats to “take these kids away and you will never see them again!” if the Father dared to report Scott for child abuse. The parents argued viciously on the telephone and nothing was resolved.
3/5/10: The Father again telephoned the Mother to discuss C.’s suggestion regarding his parenting time. This time the Mother was less volatile in her emotions and was able to agree with the Father to relinquish his parenting time for this weekend. Next weekend is Bubba’s birthday, so the Mother will have the children all weekend according to the Parenting Plan. Therefore, the Father will not parent his children again until the weekend of March 20, 2010. By then the worst of the symptoms of smoking cessation should be under his firm control.
3/8/10: The Father telephoned the Mother to request copies of the children’s social security cards for tax purposes. The Mother agreed to make the copies and provide them to him later today.
She also stated that Princess was now in her own bedroom and was sleeping through the night alone. The Father observed that Princess has been perfectly capable of sleeping peacefully alone long before now and has demonstrated that ability several times at the home of the late Nanny. The Mother concluded with the statement that the boys were now fighting much more often because they were sharing a room again.
The parents also agreed to meet in C.’s office at (Y. C. Counseling) on March 17, 2010 for joint counseling.