I have to get the truth out or I may explode. I do not want you to hear the church gossip and be left with more questions than answers. Yes, I have caught them gossiping. I'm not the type of person that walks in and can silence a room of women. Normally they ignore me, actually. Their story is full of holes where they have filled in the details of their own makings.
This is what happened. Austin and Emilio had been fighting over toys most of the day. Emilio is a "one upper." He's not content to take his toy and run. He wants to fight- not about the toy but to establish dominance. While Austin and Emilio were stupidly fighting over one toy in a room of toys, Emilio punched Austin in the mouth and busted his lip. Now my kid is bleeding and a little confused. I cleaned him up and said nothing. That was my first mistake. I should have left right then. Crying over a toy and saying "no it's mine" is one thing. Punching a kid in the face is taking up to the next level and that's wrong. Emilio should have been corrected but Ally said nothing.
The second incident that happened was this. Austin came up to me crying saying that Emilio bit him. I asked Kilani and Selina's little girl if that was what really happened. They said yes. Austin didn't have any marks so I didn't say anything. This was my second mistake. I should have left at this point too.
The third and final straw was this. Austin comes to me screaming and crying. He can barely talk. I see that Emilio has bitten Austin on Austin's Left butt cheek. This mark is already bruising and swollen and a blood blister is forming. I promise you that if Austin had bitten Emilio like that, even after all the BS he had taken that day, I would have back handed Austin across the room. Now, I yell at Emilio to come out of the room and tell his mom what he did. (I don't know if he actually has the words to talk that well but I was going to make him try.) Ally comes up and says, "Oh, Amanda," like "oh calm down Silly." I show her what Emilio did. It's obvious that he is not going to admit it. Ally says, "Yeah he does it me too, " in that same indifferent tone. I snatch up Austin, gather his things, and we leave. (Thank you Tavonya for allowing me to make a graceful exit as she helped me find all of Austin's things.) On my way out the door I said, "And you [to Ally] can talk to Pastor about your kid biting." She says, "Okay, " like someone would say, "yeah right, I'm not scared."
Oh it's not over. There's more. I am a angry person naturally. I can get violent when pushed. (Ask my ex-husband David.) So at this point, I am BEYOND LIVID. I just want to go. My mind is running through several million thoughts a minute. So I am walking down her driveway to my car when her husband, Armando, pulls up. (He had been at work up to this point.) He sees Austin STILL crying and asks, "Why you crying?"
While continuing to walk toward my car, I said, "Because your kid bit him."
He says, "My kid bit him?"
I am still walking to the car. I haven't bothered to stop and look at him at all. I said, "Yes, you're kid is a biter."
He feels the need to get defensive!? He said, "You're kid is a fighter. What about when he scratched my kid?" I just ignored him. He wanted a fight. I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of goading me into a fight that he wanted. I was not afraid of him. I was in control of the situation. I wanted to leave and I wasn't stopping what I was doing to have a pointless argument.
However, this whole exchange pissed me off even more. So Ally doesn't feel the need to correct Emilio. Armando thinks that Emilio's behavior is justified... because of something Austin did weeks or even months ago!? Austin has been getting 95% good reports from nursery workers recently. Yes, Austin went through a violent period but we have moved past that. I worked with him and prayed over him and have put some stability in his daily life. That is what he needed.
I am doing the work that I need to as a parent of Austin. If Emilio is aggressive against Austin, he can UNDO all the work that I have done. Emilio has taught Austin some bad habits too. Now I have to continue with Austin's training for his own personal issues AND I am working on breaking the bad behavior that Emilio is teaching him as well! Double Duty! That's totally not fair.
The story just keeps going. I sit down with Pastor and Colleen and things get weird. Austin did not want to sit down in the small room. He did everything he could to distract me from talking. That looked bad. Of course Pastor commented on it saying that Austin doesn't take me seriously and doesn't respect me. Austin was committing attention-seeking behavior like he does whenever I am distracted. Paying attention to him, whether I'm talking to him or spanking him, is my giving him what he wants. Therefore, his distracting behavior continued (because he got my attention a few times), at the criticism of Pastor.
Moving on from that, I did give Ally props. I recognized, out loud, that she tries to discipline Emilio sometimes. I acknowledged that Armando doesn't let her discipline Emilio, which is a fact. (Armando threatens Ally with violence if she disciplines Emilio. We will get back to that in a minute.) So I said that I am not a perfect parent but I try to time my correction of Austin better than Ally does with Emilio. I told him that on Sunday Emilio's behavior was met with indifference and justification. I explained that Austin hitting Emilio or any kid is NOT okay. I said that, "As soon as I knew Austin was starting to bite people, like he did in nursery, I got on top it." (Prior to Austin biting Megan in nursery, he had only bitten me once and for no reason. I didn't know if he would do it again so I didn't freak out about it.) So Austin hitting is NOT okay. Emilio hitting his mom or any other kid is NOT okay either.
I continued to explained that if Austin gets picked on anymore, he will get defensive. When Austin goes on the defense, he WILL beat up EVERYONE in the nursery. I told Pastor about how these older kids were picking on Austin at an FCC home when Austin was one year old. Austin went on the defense and started fighting back, against everyone, especially me. He didn't want to go to the place where the older kids beat up on him everyday. He was angry at me for taking him there. He was angry at the 4 month old baby who didn't do anything but she was there all the same. Austin got kicked out of daycare, for defending himself. I told Pastor that I didn't want to repeat that time of Austin's life again. This experience was very traumatic for him and is burned into his memory. Now, this defensive response comes out automatically when even one kid picks on Austin. So what do we do now?
Pastor tells me about how Ally tries to discipline Emilio but Armando fights her every step of the way. He explains that Armando is violent and makes threats and is unsaved. I relay the exchange between Armando and me to Pastor. Pastor says, "Yeah and you shouldn't have involved him. He won't come to church now because of... this. Now we can't get him saved." The ellipsis marks [...] here do NOT indicate words left out of his quote. Here, I want to amplify the PAUSE that Pastor made. He paused to choose his words, although it was obvious to everyone in the room that "this" was not what he wanted to say. He wanted to say, "You." -This is ridiculous. I didn't directly involve Armando, first of all. Armando spoke to me first. I didn't argue, even though Armando tried to argue with me. I didn't name call. I stated the facts and walked away. Everything in me was screaming to punch Armando in the face. I didn't do it though.
Pastor also told me to "make things right with Ally." I asked, "And what do I say? She doesn't care and her husband thinks it's okay. I didn't do anything wrong this time." I don't mean to sound like I'm claiming to be always innocent. I'm not. However, in this instance, I don't see where I wrong toward Ally. If I should apologize to anyone, it's Austin. He was tortured and I let it happen. If Emilio was set to have an attitude that day, my best option would have been to leave before anything happened. I was wrong to stay.
Armando IS the problem here. He IS involved by his own implication. He and Ally cannot parent together. Armando doesn't want to discipline his kid. He is teaching Emilio that it is okay to dominate his mother. Ally, poor thing, is fighting a losing a battle on all fronts. She can't convince her husband to get saved. She can't convince her husband to correct Emilio's behavior. She can't seem to correct his behavior because she can't do it consistently. She can only do it when Armando isn't looking. Emilio is confused, looks to dad as an example, and isn't able to speak as much as he wants to. Emilio has got to be so frustrated right now. I feel bad for him.
That being said- I am NOT the reason Armando won't come to church. Coming to church, submitting his will to Christ- those are not decisions I can make for him. Austin and I are not the reasons Emilio has to be the "one upper" and has to dominate every situation. I did not involve Armando. His toxic parenting and marital relationship skills are poisoning the church. His problems are affecting me, at the moment. It is only a matter of time before Emilio implicates another kid and that kid's family in this mess. If Pastor wants to blame me, then I will take it. However, I am leaving the church. When I am gone, I want Pastor to see that Armando is not going to get saved any more than a rock holding open the glass door at church would be saved. Ally is trying to do right by Emilio but I don't think she can fight against Armando's influence.