Monday, June 01, 2009

I Don't Know What to Do

We have these friends - family friends. A, the mom, and I are good friends. We walk together regularly. J, the dad, is a pal, too. P, their younger son, is M's best friend. A is also M and P's Cub Scout leader. D is their other son, a little older. He's a grade behind C. C and D are buds when their are together, but not friends on their own. D and P are like S's other brothers. She loves them like brothers. She loves A. We've all be pretty friendly for years now. A is an emergency pick up name for my kids for school, and I for her kids. Our cats are related - and we care for one another's animals during vacations and such.

Yesterday, my hubby spent most of the day in a boom lift taking out dead trees and branches in the yard. Our neighbors, the SPs were a great help. At one point, M called P to see if he wanted to come see the equipment. A brought P and D over and they spent the afternoon here hanging out. We arranged for A, J, D, & P to have dinner with us and for the SPs to join all of us for an end of the day drink.

So all the grown ups are in the porch chatting when M realizes one of our cats is nowhere to be found. The kids all start looking for him, thinking he got out, though we searched indoors, too. After about 1/2 an hour, M is distraught. I'm trying to console him, as is P and C. I look around for D and S. Does P know where they are? He thinks the front yard.

Nope, not the front yard. Not the study. Huh.

I go upstairs and S's door is closed. I open it. S is startled, but she and D are in there.

S is not wearing pants. I ask S why she doesn't have her pants on, and she say, "D told me to take them off."


I walk in further and D leaves. I ask again what happened, and S says, "I wanted to play with D and he told me to take off my pants.

I verify that S still has underwear on. I tell her quickly that the only people who can tell her to take off her pants are Mommy, Daddy, her doctor, and sometimes a babysitter. I ask her to put her pants back on and she can't play up her anymore tonight.

I go downstairs. D is sitting in the family room (his parent still on the porch), rigid, eyes like saucers. I motion for him to please come talk to me. In the living room, I ask him what happened, and he doesn't say a word. I ask if he told S to take off her pants. He shakes his head "No," eyes still wide. I reiterate strongly, quietly and quickly that it is never okay to go into a young girl's room and close the door and that it is never okay to ask a girl to take off any of her clothing. Ever. He walks away.

I was shaking. We have a house full of people and I don't want this to explode inappropriately in front of the neighbors, C, M, and P, who were not a part of it, and J has a little bit of a temper, etc.

A few moments later, I get A's attention. I pull her into the dining room to tell her what happened. I play it down a bit. Everything is fine, S is okay, I say. She is obviously upset. I tell her I spoke briefly to D. I tell her I wanted to say something now because I didn't want to blindside her in the morning. I tell her we'll get through it. I reassure her. I pour us both more wine and we go back to the party, with a close eye on D and S's proximity to one another.

I get a chance a little later to tell my husband. He says he heard D ask S to go up to her room while he was helping M look for the kitty.

We continue with our evening and have a mostly fun time. I don't think we let onto J that there was something else going on. When they leave, I say goodbye to them all - even managed to high-five D. A and I said we'd walk on Wednesday as usual.

We get M and S to bed. The kitty is found. My husband and I talk. What bullet did we just dodge? Holy shit. I have more wine. I go to sleep.

I was up early this morning. Distressed.

This morning on the way to school, I try, in a light voice, to ask S what happened with D again. She tells me that D asked to go up to her room, that D said they needed alone time, and that after playing a few minutes D asked her to take off her pants.

She suddenly seemed shy and embarrassed about it. I reassure her that she did nothing wrong. Nothing at all. Lots of hugs.

I tried calling A this morning on the pretense that we wanted to let them know the kitty was found. She hasn't called back.

I feel sick to my stomach. I feel like I failed my daughter by not teaching her specifics like "don't take off your pants for anyone!" yet so relieved that I got there when I did.

D is old enough to know better. It was a classic power play. S sees D like a brother, essentially a trusted grownup.

I have a call into one of the school psychologists I know for advice and possibly a referral.

I don't know what to do from here, if anything. I want to address it appropriately, but not make it more than it is or has to be for S's sake. I feel at such a loss.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. I am sitting here speechless and without advice. I would be seriously freaked out too, for all the reasons you've stated. For all you know, NOTHING happened, and the way you've described it, my gut tells me nothing did happen. But that story literally makes me feel sick because that situation was not right. Not possibly off but REALLY OFF. I think you're right to talk to someone about this, and your friend needs to do something too. It sounds like D is aware that what he did was wrong. He's old enough to know that. If he was 7...but he's not. This makes the hairs on my neck stand up.

Pantheist Mom said...

Oh crap. This boy is 12, right?

After reading this, I dealt with the pounding in my ears and then had to leave for a while. I can only imagine the gyrations your insides were going through.

IMO, you acted *perfectly*. S knows it's a big deal but that her mom is in control and that she didn't do anything wrong. It sounds like you got there before anything happened (if it was going to). You did good, and I'm glad you immediately talked to D, too. The rest of that night must have been pretty hard for you.

As far as A not calling you back, I probably wouldn't either if I were in her place - not for a while at least. She's got to figure out why this happened and what to do next. She's probably as worried as all get-out and embarrassed as well as being totally horrified. She doesn't sound like the kind of person who would ignore this. She probably needs some time to get her own head in the right place and decide the appropriate action. I feel for her very much too. I've no idea what I would do in her place.

They sound like a very nice family. I hope this is a weird blip. Whatever the case, you're not ever going to be able to trust D again. :-(

Ruthie said...

Catching up.... wow. I am so sorry.

I wish I had something useful to say here. I can't imagine handling it any better than you did. And it does sound like you got there before anything happened, thankfully. I hope S is okay. That's so creepy and awful.