Post # 1
Hi Bees. I typically o not use Weddingbee for parenting concerns, but I really need some advice/opinions. I’m not sure if I went too far. I’ll explain:
On July 3rd I picked my DD up from her ad’s house. She is 5 years old. She told me she and Dad had a secret and he made her promise not to tell me. Eventually she told me that he had brought her to his mother’s inground pool to swim with his girlfriend. My DD was walking in the pool by herself with no floaties or a grown up in the pool. SHe slipped under water in the deep end and said she opened her eyes underwater and saw the edge. She pulled her face out of the water and he ran over to her. He then gave her his leg so she could climb out of the pool. SHe said he was on his phone near the porch (which is 15-20 feet from the pool) and his girlfriend was sitting on a chair playing games or texting on her phone. After my DD was pulled out she said she told her Dad her brain hurt and she was coughing. He brought her inside to eat cherries. I was not notified of this incident.
When I called him about it he initially told me the secret was she was blowing bubbles in the water, leaning forward and accidentally sucked some water in. Well, that is a completely different story. Finally a week later I called him and asked him to tell me the truth. He then admitted she was in the pool with no floaties or adults in with her. He said he was standing right next to the pool and his girlfriend was sitting on the edge with her feet in the pool.
This morning I went to our family counsellor (I have been taking DD since Septenber due to behavior issues after visiting with her Dad). The counsellor told me that this incident on top of others foeces her to report with the Department of Child and Families if I did not do something. So I called them as soon as I got home and filed a report. I wish I had done it sooner but my ex and I have a history of violence (I have had two restraining orders on him), and he knows how to manipulate me. I know that is no excuse but I really needed my counsellor there to support me and validate my concerns (after friends and family have been telling me I’m paranoid).
After that I called my lawyer and he is meeting me Monday to file for an emergency order to stop visitation until DCF has done their investigation.
I really hate this has to happen and I am scared as hell. The first time he threatened me it was becasue I was taking my DD on vacation without him (he said he would “Punch me in the f***ing face right in front ouf our daughter). He has also threatened to make me disappear if I ever “took” her from him again (in regrds to the 72 days it took to go for visitation after I filed the first restraining order). He has not threatened me yet (just want to make that clear), but I am scared he will retaliate. Or worse, lie in court or twist things and fight for custody.
I don’t even know what I would do if he fought for custody and won. I feel sick to my stomach as I write this now.
As I said before, my family and some freinds think I am paranoid and that I overreacted because “It’s not like she drowned” but she COULD HAVE and it makes me sick thinking about. If she had not pulled her head up and coughed, he probably never would have noticed until it was too late.
So Bees, do you think I overreacted or did the right thing? I feel in my heart I did what is best for my daughter, I am just scared of the long term consequences. Thanks for reading.
Post # 3
That must have been terrifying! The adult thing for him to do was to tell you what happened–NOT to swear your kid to secrecy!
I hope everything works out well for you!
Post # 4
This pulls at my heart strings. You are an amazing mother, you have done the right thing by reporting him. Don’t listen to what anyone says, your daughter comes first. She could have drowned, but thank God she didn’t. I’m glad that you’re taking the steps to get her away from him.
Post # 5
I think by the leter of the law, you did the right thing.
Do I think it was necessary to report him for this incident? In isolation of any other information? No. If he had a history of neglecting her, it would be a more clear cut decision for me.
Would you have reported him if he did the same thing and you were happily married ? I don’t see that many women would report their husbands for doing the same. Unfortunately, many of us will have similar incidents even as the most loving parents. Many parents have lost sight of their children for a moment or two at the beach, the park, the mall etc. Luckily most of the children were just fine.
I’m not excusing his lack of attentiveness to her around the pool, nor am I excusing him for failing to tell you the truth before you even had to ask.
I don’t think you have anything to worry about as far as custody is concerned. The mere fact that he neglected to tell you of this incident, then lied about works against him on that accord. Add in his history of abuse directed towards you, and he has pretty much screwed himself on that count.
Post # 6
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@LovelyLaura: I work for child services and you absolutely did the right thing. If you didn’t report it before the counselor did, then child services could decide to remove your daughter from your care for not protecting her from her dad. You’re lucky you still have a daughter to come home to, that incident could have easily ended in her death. Dad needs to acknowledge his error, take some parenting classes, and learn how to be more responsible (p.s. his GF is pretty awful for allowing a small child that isn’t a strng swimmer to swim in her pool unsupervised.)
I highly recommend that you also sign your daughter up for swimming lessons ASAP so that if she ever ends up in a similar situation, she will be less likely to drown.
Post # 7
The long term consequences (possible custody battle and etc) could be messy, but ultimately your daughter will be safe and that’s always the right thing.
As a stand-alone incident it might be forgiven if he took the situation as an eye-opener that he needs to be more attentive and expressed that to you, however asking your daughter to keep it a secret and lying to you about it doesn’t really sound like it was an eye opening experience for him that he needs to be a better parent for her safety.
As another incident in a long line of problematic situations, I wouldn’t be able to forgive it. I’m especially paranoid about water/swimming safety – if he and/or his girlfriend can’t devote their full attention to your daughter in the pool (especially if she’s not wearing floaties), they need to keep her out of the pool. Responsible Parenting 101.
Post # 8
@julies1949: OP said in her post, “The counsellor told me that this incident on top of others foeces her to report with the Department of Child and Families if I did not do something.”
ETA: Sorry– I posted before I was done typing!
Anyway, I think this situation in isolation wouldn’t necessarily warrant reporting, but it seems like there is more history here, so she probably did make the right decision. Especially because of the history of violence.
When DCS does their investigation, wouldn’t it be difficult for them to discover anything? Your daughter’s dad’s gf will likely lie for him, so it’ll be their words against yours and your daughter’s. Hopefully this all works out and he doesn’t do anything crazy! I hope DCS does a thorough investigation and doesn’t just make things worse without making anything better!
Post # 9
@LovelyLaura: You cannot allow fear to make your decisions here. We have an inground pool and 3 and 4 year old daughters. They are not allowed anywhere NEAR the pool without an adult and certainly not in it without their special suits (the suits with the floaties in them) AND an adult.
You need to document everything he says and does. Record calls, keep emails and texts, etc. You need to have all ammunition.
Do not be scared of him or he’s going to use that to get his way.
Post # 10
@JenniMichele: OP you need to be especially careful of this copied and pasted part.
Do you want to be held responsible for allowing her to be in dangerous situations with the other parent when you could have stopped it?
Post # 11
@JenniMichele: I know. What I said was In isolation of any other information? No. If he had a history of neglecting her, it would be a more clear cut decision for me.The OP didn’t give us any history of previous incidents.
Professionals involved in caring for children in any capacity , are held to a higher standard for reporting than anyone else. I spent years as an ER nurse.
My point was that people who are divorced or who are getting divorced often hold their exes to much higher standards than they would if they were still happily married.
Post # 12
@julies1949: I totally understood what you were saying. I was agreeing with you regarding that in insolation this situation wouldn’t necessarily have warranted reporting. I agree that it’s common that parents occasionally become distracted and scary things can happen, but it doesn’t always warrant reporting.
I was just pointing out that although she did not fully explain the history, she did imply there was one. I didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t read her post fully or anything.
Post # 13
@LovelyLaura: You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing! I cannot believe your family are not thinking the same thing!
Post # 14
@LovelyLaura: FILE FILE FILE! Report! MAKE a paper trail. If ANYTHING happens, you have it in there.
Post # 15
Thank you all so much for your replies. As for the history of neglect some instances are: he left her alone in his 2nd floor apartment to talk to his friend who lives on the 1st floor (for an unknown amount of time), he has left her alone in his backyard (she says it was a long time, he says he ran in to get a drink for her), he has had her in a moving vehicle riding in his lap in the front passenger seat (she doesn’t know how long,, he said it was just down the street. Either way I was very upset), and during counseling she has role played with dolls and put Daddy in the corner for hitting. These incidents on top of him leaving her with whoever he is currently dating during visits and being irresponsible when it comes to proper care (brushing teeth, combing hair, giving her a bath or changing clothes) has really pushed me to believe that he is neglectful and needs to take parenting classes at the very least to have her for long visits.
As for documentation, my daughter does not offer info when I pick her up typically. She will come out with something out of the blue and tell me so it is hard for me to pinpoint when events have occured.
I am currently working on an affidavit for Monday and I am beyond nervous. I would like to thank you all for your kind words and for taking the time to read my incredibly long post. This is going to be a long a difficult road and I am ever so grateful to have you Bees for support!
Post # 16
You didn’t overreact. I would have flipped shit, my sister works for child services & would have absolutely told me to report it. Yes adults get distracted but as a parent you should know better to leave a 5yr old with no floaties alone in a pool. My mom hates getting in the pool, she likes to tan. But when she takes dd to the pool she puts a life jacket on her & gets in.