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Question
Posted by: marna | 2010-04-29

at wits end

Doctor,
My son is now 16 months old and so cute. Unfortunately we have a huge problem. From age 8-12 months he stayed with a nanny that looked after him in my home. In December 2009 she stayed away from work and i found oud that she was psychotic. Suddenly things made sense. My child was underweight 8kg at 12 months, the burnwound on his hand, he didnt want me to bathe him and I couldn''t lie him down to change his nappy or to dress him. I also found an empty bottle of Stopayne syrup (the bottle was sealed). I also found toothpicks everywhere so we assume she used it to pinch him with when he didn''t listened.
In January he went to a good day mother that is good for him. He gained weight and is like a normal kid. However, he still don''t want to bath alone (only stands in the bathtub) and every nappy change is a screaming session. Putting on clean clothes also turns into a screaming fighting match. I usually take a bath with him and that helps. For the nappy change I try to stay calm, but it is working on my nerves and it feels that I can''t cope with it anymore.

And before anybody want to stone me to death for placing him in daycare I do not have a choice. I am a single mom doing the best I can. And yes I do think i am a good mom.

Please help. What should I do? Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Firstly, you are, indeed, a good mother, and your concerns illustrate that. You and your child had the misfortune to fall into the orbit of a vicious and dangerous abuser, and it is fortunate that your child has escaped without more serious harm. But from the sound of it he has probably been traumatized and may need some attention for this. See whether you can arange for him to see a child psychologist, and if you can't afford to do this privately, explore wether he can be seen and assessed by such a shrink at the Psych dept of your nearest medical school or large state hospital.
Woman also raises the issue of reporting this to the child welfare authorities and police, so that the abuser is identified and charged, to prevent her from doing this to any other children.
Woman, and father, are right that the indications are that in some way she hurt and frightened him in conection with bath and dressing times, and to build nicer associations with those necessary events may be useful.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: father | 2010-04-30

You not a bad mother and you doing the best you can, it''s hard being a single parent. My son didn''t enjoy the nappie changes for a while as well, so I just use to try and get him to laugh and smile before doing the change and while changing just play around by tickling him and talking to him, it worked for me most of the time and eventually he just got used to it, I would also take his favourite toy for him to focus on while changing him.
Hope it helps

Reply to father
Posted by: Woman | 2010-04-30

Oh my word! Every mother''s worst nightmare! Shame man, the poor baba! I hope you had this psycho arrested for child abuse!

My last baby was born prem. He spent some time in neonatal icu. They can''t use anasthetic on prems as it could kill them. So every procedure, every blood work, everything they feel. Pain and not taking away the pain buggers up a baby. She probably hurt him very much during bath and dress time. So you need to " reprogramme"  him. Make bath time fun with bubbles, soap crayons, bath musical instruments. Get in the bath with him a play with the bubbles. Soon he''ll come to realise that bath time is fun! And when you dress him, surround him with toys and books. Say funny words and sentences to make him laugh. Blow bubbles on his tummy. Stop halfway and let him run around the room. Give him tons of cuddles and tell him what a good boy he is. Sing him songs. And when he''s all dressed without crying for the first time, praise him, and then give him a little chocolate as a reward.

It just takes time. Be patient with him , it''s so worth it when he responds. You''ll see.

*hugs* to you.

Reply to Woman
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-04-30

Firstly, you are, indeed, a good mother, and your concerns illustrate that. You and your child had the misfortune to fall into the orbit of a vicious and dangerous abuser, and it is fortunate that your child has escaped without more serious harm. But from the sound of it he has probably been traumatized and may need some attention for this. See whether you can arange for him to see a child psychologist, and if you can't afford to do this privately, explore wether he can be seen and assessed by such a shrink at the Psych dept of your nearest medical school or large state hospital.
Woman also raises the issue of reporting this to the child welfare authorities and police, so that the abuser is identified and charged, to prevent her from doing this to any other children.
Woman, and father, are right that the indications are that in some way she hurt and frightened him in conection with bath and dressing times, and to build nicer associations with those necessary events may be useful.

Reply to cybershrink

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