Monday, April 06, 2009

I just don't get it

I wouldn't normally do this, but I need to vent and I can't do it here. I am in such an emotional turmoil right now, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. As you all know, I work at an Aboriginal Headstart preschool here in town. You see a lot of things when you work in a preschool, and unfortunately not a lot of them good. It's very easy to tell when a child is having issues at home by the way they act with us and the other kids. There is one little kid in particular this morning that just broke me. He's normally a very easy going kid, but lately he has really been acting out. I know his family story, and like a lot of kids up here it's not a good one. I have seen him first hand with his step-mother, and he cringes everytime she raises her voice (which is a lot). He really is a little boy just starved for love, and it's becoming more and more obvious watching him at work. This morning he was just miserable, he refused to play or participate in anything we were doing. So, me being me, I went and sat down with him and tried to coax him into playing. He was just so sad, and there's nothing worse than a little boy with big brown eyes crying big fat tears. I tried everything I could think of, and I couldn't even get a response. He was just so sad, and wouldn't even look up to make eye contact. So, I said to him

"I just remembered something. I didn't get a chance to give my little boy a hug today so I have an extra one here. Can I give it to you?"

Next thing I know, he smiled for the first time, nodded and gave me a HUGE hug. It was all I could do not to cry. He sat in my lap for the longest time, and kept saying "Can I give you another one?". I think by the end of the morning I had at least 10 hugs, and he spent a good bit of time either holding my hand or in my lap. As the morning was ending and we were getting them ready to go home, he got upset again and didn't want to go. I told him that it was time to go, but he could come back tomorrow and I would have more hugs for him.

Seriously, I don't get it. As horrible as it is, I think it would be almost better if she beat him, because at least then we would have proof and could have him removed. But as it is, he's clean, he's fed and he has a place to sleep. Unfortunately that's the story of a lot of kids, and not just here either. But it's still hard for me not to tuck him in my pocket and take him home. My hats off to all you who do this for a living. I just don't know if I could and not punch parents as soon as I see them.


OHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OHN said...

Oh Tina..sadly these situations happen all over the place. Many years ago when BigD and I were trying hopelessly to start our family, he would get calls to homes where mom was threatening dad, dad was threatening mom, everyone was drunk and inevitably there would be little ones around. It took all of his strength to not pick one or two of them up and just bring them home.

It makes no sense to me that people that don't want children, have them anyway. In the case of a step-parent, they know going in there is a kid or kids involved.

Some things in life just make me shake my head.

Can you at least alert the proper authorities that there is suspected neglect and/or verbal abuse going on? It might at least get the family on the CFS radar.

When S2 was in kindergarten a little boy in his class started touching S2 inappropriately. Fortunately S2 knew it wasn't right and he told me. I told his teacher and she went off on me.

I was floored. She said by law she was required to report it, blah blah..I countered with "Yes, that is exactly what you need to do..this kid OBVIOUSLY has learned this behavior somewhere" . Once all was said and done, it came out that in fact this child was being abused at home. It broke my heart...having a child the same age really brought it all home to me and I wanted to swoop in and take home this little boy. Sadly he went into the foster care system and I have no idea whatever became of him.

Sorry for the long comment. Kids stories just grab my heart and turn my thoughts and mouth on :) was me that deleted the comment a minute ago...I posted before I proofed and left out some words...duh

Allmycke said...

Before I had children myself, I was involved in Big Sisters and also did some tutoring at a halfway house. This came about as I lived in a neighbourhood where I saw all too many children who were neglected one way or the other. One of the worst was a toddler I found in a back alley, dressed in nothing but a sokaing wet diaper in -10C weather. He had let himself out from a tenement and taken the backstairs... I brought him back to what I guessed to be his "home" - a hovel where the filth was piled from the door and into the apartment.
When I called CFS they told me they could do nothing unless the child was being abused! Their definition and mine were miles apart, it seems.

MOM said...

Tina it's so sad and of course Mom cried.I am so proud of you.You made that little boy happy today.You are an amazing daughter and I love you for just taking the time to let that beautiful little boy give you a hug.I wonder when was the last time someone offered him one. I love you my beautiful daughter.You made my day.

Way Way Up said...

Wow. I've actually been sitting here a few minutes trying to think of something to say. This little guy is likely not much older than my girlfriend's son and I can't fathom someone yelling and screaming at a little boy. I really hope CFS or some such agency can get involved. It's a sad comment on society indeed when its youngest and most vulnerable members are treated in such a shameful way. You did the right thing by spending time with the boy and I whole-heartedly commend you for it.

jen said...

Your boys are so lucky to have a mom like you! There needs to be more Tinas in the world!

Rob said...

There are some of us that don't want to share her and think that ONE TINA is enough, however, I am taking offers! :)

Kidding of course, my wife has a big heart at home and at work. I see it everyday she comes in the store. The kids eyes light up when they see her. "Teacher!!""

3carnations said...

It's nice that the boy has you, anyway. I'm so sorry for any child who isn't happy at home, though. :(

jods said...

Tina, altough
the situation is heartbreaking, and should NEVER be allowed to happen to any child, at least the kids are lucky enough, as are the adult teachers, to be allowed to HUG each other. Over here, you are not even supposed to lay your hand on a child's shoulder. To me, the world has changed too much in the extreme opposite. I used to love a cuddle off my teacher even though I had plenty at home, and whilst working in the nursey with mom it would have killed me to not be able to get a hug off the kids - its the greatest feeling in the world :)

Just keep on doing what you are doing - at least you are making a difference.

Kel P said...

It's hard sometimes to see a kid in emotional straits and not be able to over them physical comfort. I see it with high school kids everyday, and often can't give them the support they need for fear of crossing that all too tenuous line between safe and unsafe. It's hard, too, when some students will give you spontaneous hugs and you're not sure whether it's ok to hug back.

I'm really glad that you were able (and allowed) to give the little boy what he needed from you that day. Here's hoping he grows up knowing that some people care, even if it's not always the ones who should care the most.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a RCMP officer and I am a school teacher so I know what you are going through :( I have had many dealings with child protection services, which unfortunately bring the children back before the week is done. You are doing everything you can right now and the child is lucky to have a teacher like you in his life.
We are moving to Ile a la Crosse soon, so we'll have to meet up and vent!

Tina said...

Anonymous: Cool beans! You'll have to drop me an email (rob tina schwartz at hotmail dot com) and let me know when you're coming up. I'll put the coffee on!

Valentina said...

Gosh, Tina... That is awful. Of course, I have tears in my eyes and I am SO proud of you. You are making a big difference in that little boy's life. He will remember you forever, truly.

Keep doing what you are and next time give him a big hug from Lilyan and me as well.

Anonymous said...

I am worried that you have given some very clear indicators of who the child might (name of community, age of child, step-mother status, etc.,) be and that could potentially be a hardship for you and/or a breach of confidentiality. Do local folks read your blog?

Tina said...

Actually none of the details are true. I changed them all for that specific reason. The story is true, the specifics are not.