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I used to have my always, last minute prepared, gem of a baby sitter watch my children. Our regular sitter was sick so my sister Denise helped me out again because I had to go to work. Denise called me at work to tell me that my son would not quiet down and wanted some suggestions on how to calm him down. That was a first. Denise dealt with screaming kids all day at her in home daycare. I asked to speak with my son C.J. He was only 3 years-old and not too happy about leaving me or my husband Jim’s side anyway. Denise put my son on the phone and he did quiet down enough for me tell him I would take him for ice cream if he was a good boy. It did not work. C.J. started crying again as soon as my sister took back the phone. Feeling a little anxious about my baby, I decided to leave work early.
I got to my sister’s house, C.J. ran up to meet me with his arms held out, and I extended my arms out to pick him up. I got all my children in the car and strapped C.J. in his car seat. My son was so happy to see me that nothing else really mattered. I really needed to get C.J. and the girls home. Denise came out to meet me and reported that C.J. did eventually calm down and spent the rest of the afternoon in her arms. I thought that was strange and later found out why.
On the drive home, I was pondering what I would make for dinner. As soon as I got in the door, I handed the baby off to Jim who made it home before I did. He went to change C.J.’s diaper. I put on my flats and went to the kitchen. I had barely started retrieving food from the refrigerator when I heard my husband shouting my name, “Trudy!” I ran to the baby’s room and was horrified at the sight. The tears just streamed as I saw my son’s thighs red, black and blue. He had obviously been spanked. But this was not a regular spanking. C.J. had been beaten. My husband demanded an explanation that I couldn’t give.
(Continue reading in the book When Family Does You Wrong).