This is a follow-up to my Revoking Her Dr. License post. Go read that first, if you haven't, or else this won't make any sense.
I had to sneak out of the house while Jane was watching TV in order to talk to Q's mom. I didn't want to betray Jane's confidence in telling me about the situation. Like I said before, I know Q's mom fairly well and I felt comfortable letting her know what Jane had told me. Right away she said she believed Jane and was not really surprised about Q's behavior. You see, she thinks Q is quite a handful herself and often is exasperated by both her and her older sister. Of course she was also embarrassed and felt badly that Jane was upset. She said she would talk with Q about being a good friend and also about private parts being private. She understood the significance of the situation but also didn't overact.
I want to be clear that I do not think there is any kind of sexual molestation going on next door.
However, there are some issues, primarily with Q's older sister that could be part of the problem. Without going into great detail, because they are my next door neighbors, people I see daily, where our children run between our houses, I have had concerns about Q's sister for a long time. The bottom line is that she is a huge sensory seeker, extremely volatile, emotional, basically difficult. She doesn't have any friends. She talks at you and doesn't maintain proper personal space. She becomes disengaged with other kids and will get fixated on a toy or the tv to the point where you cannot get her to respond to anyone.
Q's mom and I have discussed the issues she has with Q's sister many times over the years. Although she is aware of Scott's SPD diagnosis and really gets him, she doesn't exactly buy into the "disorder" part. I think she feels her daughter is quirky and perhaps not the most popular, but unfortunately, hasn't ever considered that she might need outside help.
There are some other things going on too, like a history of mental illness in the family, but it is not my place to draw conclusions about another person's situation (although, obviously I have). So, I can provide my perspective, really, and nothing more. After that, it is up to me to worry about my own family.
We both think that the reason Q used the words "you have to promise" is because her older sister says it. Scott says this too, as in "You promised me you'd read a story" or "You have to promise that I can play my Wii tomorrow." It is their way of coercing someone into something and making them accountable.
I've been mulling over the word "promise" ever since this happened. Children use this word a lot and feel it is the law. As adults, we know that promises are broken all the time. But we do try to teach our children to be true to their word and by example, we should also only promise what we can truly deliver.
I feel that this incident has been a wake up call for me to pay closer attention. Because Scott didn't play well with other children, he wasn't really ever out of my direct supervision. I realize now that I never had to worry about the same things I do with Jane. As the second child she is, naturally, not watched as closely. But she is also so much easier that I don't have to be as vigilant. At least I didn't think so.
When I first found out that I was having a girl I had a bit of a panic attack. There are a ton of things to be worried about as far as having a daughter is concerned. I still don't feel like I am as good of a girl mom as I am a boy mom. But I am getting better. I can see how my relationship with Jane is evolving. And I know how I want it to be as a mother-daughter ideal.
So I've decided to make a few promises to my dear, sweet, daughter in light of this recent event:
I promise to pay more attention. To listen more closely. To spend more time with you.
I promise to answer any questions you have about being a girl, even if it means I have to tell you things I wish I didn't know.
I promise to never be angry or punish you for telling me the truth.
I promise to teach you, as best I can, how to keep yourself safe, how to avoid trouble, how to get out of a bad situation.
I promise to respect your decisions even if I don't agree with them.
I promise to be honest with you about the challenges you will face simply because you are a girl.
I promise not to perpetuate the myth that a man will make you happy, solve your problems and take care of you; instead, I will teach you that you can and will do all those things for yourself.
I promise to pick you up, no questions asked, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need me.
I promise to be sensitive to your feelings, to encourage your dreams, to do my best to like your boyfriends.
I promise to always be there for you, no matter what.
And of course, above all else, I promise to love you, more than my heart can hold.