Okay, I know we've only had these two girls for about two weeks, but I think that's a fairly decent amount of time to ascertain that, somewhere along the line, something horrible was done to one of the girls. During the day, everything's fine. Mommy and daddy are equals in the butt wiping and toilet helping. Bath time is a joy. Daddy helps with bath while mommy gets stuff done around the house, or vice versa. Bed time . . . not so equal. In fact, bed time is a rotten, horrible, gut-wrenching time for girl 1 if daddy comes anywhere near her or her bed.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to add up simple math. I can't sit next to her bed, put her on her bed, read her book to her, put her blanket on her . . . can't help her brush her teeth, put her jammies on . . . there's nothing I can do except sing "I Am a Child of God" 15 times (after which I lost count, so hey . . . who knows how many times we actually sang it). It's come down to wife helps with girl 1 and daddy helps with girl 2. Once we think both girls are out, we walk out of the room. Tonight, though, I guess we left too early. A few minutes later, girl 1 started bawling. I had already made it downstairs. All of the sudden, there were too many foot stomps to be just the dogs and Lori, so I went up there to see what happen. Both were out of bed, so I grabbed girl 2 and put her on her bed. She began to bawl (which we've determined is okay because it helps get them to sleep faster), but she stayed on her bed. Meanwhile, girl 1 is bawling for mommy, who is sitting literally inches from her. Not good enough. "MOMMY! I HAVE TO GO POTTY!"
"Well, daddy will take you potty, okay?"
So I took her anyway. Picked her up, carried her to the bathroom, set her down, and said, "Okay, go potty. Daddy will just stand right here."
"NO!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
"Honey, please just go potty."
At this point, she huddled in what little space there is between the tub and the toilet, sobbing, screaming, and very, very upset.
"DADDY, LEAVE ME ALONE!!!"
I won't lie. It hurt. I just want to help and make her feel safe. But her eyes said it all; there was stark terror like I've never seen in any human before. Tears flowing from red-rimmed eyes that were bulging out of their sockets, throat raw from screaming, face flushed red from the pressure of screaming so violently . . . it broke my heart and pissed me off in a way I wasn't aware was even possible. I took her back to mommy, who then picked her up and took her to the bathroom, where she calmed down only a smidgen. She sat on the toilet, did her business, wiped, washed her hands (no, she didn't flush the toilet; daddy did AFTER he asked her if he could help her by flushing for her) , then clung to mommy for dear life, deathly afraid that daddy would touch her somehow. I cleared a path for her and mommy to go back to the bedroom, and I sat down next to girl 2, who was semi-wide awake. I stroked her hair and just stared at her in awe. Then I looked over at mommy and girl 1, who were sitting on the edge of girl 1's bed--mommy on the bed, girl 1 in "the safe lap".
I just looked at her, and I felt a dam burst inside. I sobbed like I haven't sobbed in decades. Even as I type this, I'm misting up from the frustration and pain of wondering what could have been done to her to fear daddy-bed-time help so vehemently. All I could do is tell her that I love her, and that as long as she is with us, she will *always* be safe; mommy and daddy would always take care of her. Wife suggested giving her a blessing. Never in my life have I felt so desperately grateful for the priesthood "gift" (as we told girl 1; "Daddy has a special gift from Heavenly Father . . . it'll make you feel all better! Do want daddy to share his gift with you?"). Of course, she was in no mood to have daddy near her, so I told her, "That's okay, sweetie. Daddy still loves you. Maybe we can talk about it tomorrow, okay?" She just said "MMMMMmmmm . . ." which typically means, "Go away." So I just kneeled in front of both of them and sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed. Hard, too.
I don't think I'm quite doing the level of fright enough justice; I wish I could demonstrate or describe it. Those of you who are parents, you'll know what I mean. This . . . this put all other frustration I've ever felt to shame. I've been frustrated with co-workers, family, wife, friends . . . none of them equal the level of frustration of not knowing what to do to help this little girl feel safe. In fact, I don't think the frustration I've ever felt at the rest of the world combined could compare to this. It's such a helpless feeling. All I want for her is to feel loved, safe and comfortable. From the time she bounces out of bed until about an hour before bedtime, she's fine. She comes to me for hugs, play time, flips, help with her car seat, help with her booster seat, seconds at dinner . . . during the day, I'm right there in terms of being able to help her. Bed time . . . it's like she has a different set of eyes and sees some horrific monster that scares her to death. I know I'm not the "monster," per se, but someone at some point was. And I have to believe it was some male because she clings to mommy like gorilla glue.
I detailed in an IM to a friend earlier this evening what I would do if I ever found the person who did this to her. It's . . . . well, let's just say it's not pretty. It actually borders on disturbing. Of course, I wouldn't actually do any of those things. Ever. To anyone, for any reason. But this little girl deserves peace. She's the sweetest thing, and it makes me violently ill to think that someone could ever do something so atrocious to someone so small and vulnerable that would cause such unnatural amounts of fear.
I just want them to feel loved and safe. Right now, I think she's coming around, but she's a long ways off from feeling safe.