Knowing How To Spot Munchausen Syndrome

Many of you have probably seen the show on Hulu called The Act. As an ex child abuse investigator, I have been pretty vocal on knowing what and when to report child abuse. This morning we are going to talk about learning how to report abuse and when normal isn’t normal.

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One of my most emotional cases dealt with a young mother who nearly mastered the art of deception. The case was centered around a toddler who was subject to multiple surgeries and needless test. By the time I entered the picture the mother had started keeping a visual log of photos detailing her abuse. I still remember seeing the enormous stack of photos and having a chill of sudden fear run down my spine.

I’ll never know why she kept so many photos of her son detailing every sick moment. My gut tells me that she was going to use those photos as a reason to assign death at a later date. We are talking about hundreds of photos with nothing but sickness and a detailed walk down torture lane. She knew the right words, she knew the right people, but she got a little too overconfident in the end.

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In the end I got my butt chewed off by our lawyers and the judge because I did something most investigators would never do, I went against the hospital by forcing their hand in learning the truth. When I got the case this child was slowly dying, he wasn’t gaining weight, and he was on a pure liquid diet. I had to threaten hospital social workers in order to keep him safe, but by the end of three weeks, I had all medical proof I needed.

His vitals rebounded, he gained well into the 50th percentile and he was now starting to eat by mouth. The child I saw weeks ago couldn’t sit up and he couldn’t wave at me. Now he was now able to walk around the hospital room and give me his toy trucks. We were awarded custody of him, but we couldn’t get the DA to sign off on charges of child abuse due to them not knowing much about the Munchausen Syndrome.

Two things could have saved this kid a lot of pain and heartache. The first thing is having a medical professional call in a case prior to him being nearly 4 or 5. By the time I stepped in, he had already been to quite a few hospitals. All of the doctors said they suspected something was off. They were taking notes, but the mother moved from place to place.

Correspondence is key when you are dealing with someone who suffers from this syndrome. If these hospitals would have linked up a year ago, this child would have been removed a lot sooner. Another provider stated that she felt like they were being forced into performing surgeries by the parent. The parent knew just enough medical terminology to fake symptoms and syndromes.

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This child was surrounded by medical personnel but it took years for someone to call in the abuse. Remember you work for the child. If you are an investigator , be diligent. I know the department presses you to close cases due to numbers, but life surpasses any number system. If you feel like something feels wrong, investigate it. Do not close that case until YOU are sure that child is safe.

Lastly, never assume that certain people can’t be abusers. If you saw little Todd walking and eating three months ago and now every time you see him he has a sippy cup in hand, ask why. If you babysit this child and he eats for you, but the mother swears that he can’t eat, ask why. If you still feel like something is off, call CPS. You just might be saving a life.

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Summer School My Way

My children can’t go to summer school, so I will bring it to them this year. It appears that both of my children have inherited my husband’s disdain for history. I happen to love history, life science, social science, and even managed to take extra classes in those areas in college. So, it is safe to say we will start today with a lesson on how it all started.

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This morning we will start off talking about Pangaea, Continental Drift theory, Southern/Northern Hemisphere and how we all started. If you are wondering how and why we decided that our children needed this lesson, it is because one of our lovely children thought California was in Texas. It really was a wtf moment. We have helped with history homework in the past, but for some reason that lack of knowledge never came to surface.

After we made it to the store, my husband politely asked me if I would teach our children this summer exclusively over the subjects they seem to be low in, and of course, I was delighted. This morning I will work on my lesson plan, and try to help the girls better understand the world as we know it. I knew those classes would matter one day!

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I have science and history covered. However, I need help with drama. Both girls are in theater and both are on the fence about their drama classes. I would like to do something for them to help them gain more confidence in reading plays and memorizing them. Does anyone know of a good method for studying drama?

Using Disability As Cash Cow

Fair warning*** Some of you might not like the article of the day. However, it’s Friday, so you will get over it. When I first starting working in the social work field I was introduced to the disability cash cow.

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Before you get irate, I’m not talking about people needing help because they honestly need help. My mother worked most of her life, she got sick in her 50’s which resulted in her having to get disability. A few years after she got her disability, she died. I’m talking about people placing their children on disability as a means of income. There are some issues that will automatically give birth to the need of disability, however today we are talking about the ones that do not.

My first encounter with this situation started around 2012. I was at work and a lady entered my office with her three children. All of her children were under 7 and two of the three were diagnosed with disorders. In most cases, I haven’t heard of people giving children under five schizophrenia diagnosis. Yet, I am not a doctor, so maybe it happens. However, when I questioned the mom about letting her children attend school red flags started to show up.

She went on to talk about how she didn’t want them in a school and how the school wouldn’t be able to take care of them like she did. She was in a shelter and from what I could tell she had other people looking after her children most of the day. She then told me that she was getting around 1500 a month in disability and she was in the process of getting the youngest child placed on disability for their ADHD.

My daughter as many of you know suffers from ADHD/ADD and ODD. She was briefly diagnosed with having an intellectual disability until she was retested a couple of years ago. Around the time she received the intellectual disability diagnoses someone tried to talk me into putting my child on disability. I was told she would be able to get money because of that and her ADHD. I smiled and politely informed the person that I wasn’t placing my child on anything because I was going to help her learn how to control it.

Here’s the point, there are times when someone might need to get disability, but I would think long and hard about it before I sign any papers. Maybe talk to someone in legal. My daughter works and she plans on going to college to get a career. While her struggles have been real, our encouragement has been never ending. I always think back to the 19 yr I met years ago. She was bright, funny, and such a pleasure to be around. I would often make her read aloud in group when we went over coping skills. At first she was scared, but later she started to really shine.

I asked her why didn’t she think about going to college one afternoon. She then informed me that she had a low IQ which prevented her from being able to go to college. Apparently, her mother told her she was too slow and put her on disability with the help of professionals. Her mother was using her disability as a cash cow until she moved out of the house and then issues started because she wanted to work. We must always think about what’s good for our children and not what’s easiest for us.

How Are You Rating Your Quality Time

Families are made up of so many different things. With each family comes a set of unique illustrations that paint that family’s life from within. Trauma seems to add new details and sections to the dynamics which can ultimately alter how families are able to coexist among each other. It is at the end of the school year, and we have come to the conclusion that we are still dealing with the tremors of trauma from five years ago.

If the event would have been an earthquake, you would have expected to see small tremors that popped up some years ago. However, it seems as though the tremors are harmonic in nature and ever reaching. We were finally able to have a real heart to heart with our 13 year old. Yes, I said the 13 year old. She was 8 when her sister was attacked and my oldest was 16. In many ways we focused so much and so hard on the recovery process for one child that we nearly lost the other two.

My eldest has been living in Florida for nearly six months now. It makes me sad to write this because I don’t know how much I missed when it comes to being there for the 13 year old. For the past five years while I was trying to save one daughter, I was slowly letting the other two drift away. After having a real heart to heart, my baby finally opened up and told me how she felt.

She informed me that there were nights that she would just lay in her room crying because she felt like we didn’t see her. No parent ever wants to hear that, you do not want to hear that you were a shit parent. I think I did what my parents did in many ways. I tried to bring in things to make up for not being there. We had the season tickets to Six Flags, great hiking adventures, and even trips to craters. We were really trying to meet that quality time quota that so many of us play towards.

Now, we are looking at quality time in a much different way. It’s about those trips to markets that result in instant bright face appreciation as well as those moments of tenderness because some boy has broken her heart. It’s about telling her how much we love her each and every night and telling her no matter the outcome, she will overcome. In my mind, I still see her as

this little one. This picture was taken on some random day at the park. We decided to ditch the normal routine after school and have a play date. Don’t make the mistake that we made and think that quality time has to be something like below.

Hiking in the mountains.

Going to ballet.

Mining in dormant volcanoes.

It can be anything as simple as just watching your kids walk ahead of you at the park. If you are anything like my family, you are still trying to work out the kinks. We are moving in a better direction, but that direction now comes with open eyes. It’s not always easy after you take off the rose colored glasses, but it’s something that you can’t ignore. Don’t miss those moments.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask About Sexual Issues.

We all have our shy moments. In the beginning of my marriage I couldn’t bring myself to say penis around my husband because it made be blush like crazy. So, I would say “woo woo” or something else just because I was so uncomfortable with saying the word!! After the birth of my second child things started to change. I went from having to take Motrin after sex pre second child to not really knowing how to feel about the sexual encounter post second child.

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I would ask my husband if he was satisfied and of course he would say yes. Then he would ask me and I would lie and give the same response. After a few weeks I started to get concerned. I went for a check up one afternoon and confessed my issues to my doctor. I was like I have a problem. She turned around and asked me what was going on. I informed her that I could no longer feel my husband. It was an awkward thing to say, but I wasn’t ready to give up my sex life at 24 or 25 years old.

She performed some test with her fingers and I found out why I couldn’t enjoy sex. My muscles were shot after giving birth to my daughter. I had an episiotomy with my second child which from my understanding wasn’t all that great for my muscles. Nobody informed me how important the kegels would be after the episiotomy, so the appointment was a must. She then informed me that I needed to do like 200 kegels a day to get my muscles back to semi normal. So, me being the overachiever I am, I decided to do like 500 a day until things got back to normal.

The point is, do not be afraid to ask your doctor about things that you might be too embarrassed to bring up in the bedroom. Sex is a beautiful thing, but it’s not so beautiful if only one person enjoys it. A few years ago a woman saw a passion mark on my neck and was like do you and your husband still have sex!! I started laughing and blurted out about four times a week like normal people! Then she looked concerned, she told me she was newly married and that she and her husband only had sex once every three months. One controlling factor in her bedroom was pain. That is something a doctor would be able to help her with. So, do not be afraid to talk to your OBGYN and tell them about pain, lack of feeling or anything that you think sounds strange for your body. Enjoy life!!

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Momville: Stories For Moms Who THOUGHT They Knew It All, Just Like I Did!!!!


“I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see -”
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm

For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –


I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –



With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

Emily Dickinson

I decided to start Momville after looking at all the stories I had posted in relation to my children. It’s not a self help series, it’s more of a series that shows, we aren’t perfect. Momville includes questions that come with parenting and issues with learning how to let go. I’m a mother of three girls and one of them is about to be married in six months. My youngest is 13 and many of my postings in Momville will be about raising that 13 year old and the 17 year old with their unique way of seeing life.

My youngest is a YouTube personality, she is also in tennis, theater, and choir. This is the first time we’ve had a child on a sport’s teem. My oldest daughter is pretty much a computer geek, and the middle one, wants to be a chef or an actress. She is in theater, culinary arts and her normal high school schedule. I spend a lot of time talking about mental health issues because I have that in my family. I don’t like to hide it because I know I’m not alone. Plus, I think it helps to know that others are going through some of the same situations that you might be going through. My nightly conversations all tend to be geared towards pushing down walls and letting people in.

The thing about Momville is that it’s here to remind people that we are human. I went from thinking I knew everything about being a GOOD mom to understanding that I wasn’t the best mom in the world. As a matter of fact, I was letting my job get in the way of being a mom. It took me seeing a family grieve over the death of their daughter to make me see mine in a totally unrelenting view. I knew from that moment on, there was no job greater than being the mother to my girls and being there in their times of need. So, enjoy the stories found in Momville and think of how you can make your own. Above all else, just know, we are all in this together.

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How My Children View Black History Month

I try to be as encouraging as I can when it comes to things I talk to my children about. This is Black History Month so I thought it would be a good idea to watch some black historical shows with the girls. I found this one series on HULU called “The Book Of Negroes” I thought it sounded like a good show. After minutes went by, the girls started to get up and walk out of the room. I looked around and noticed they had an uncomfortable twitch going, so, I paused the movie.

That’s when it happened. I was bombarded with questions as to why was I watching this type of show? It’s Black History Month so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about our roots, but I should have known better. Every Black History Month we run into this same issue. I find a good movie or show to view and the children protest. So this time around they asked me something that I haven’t heard before. They insisted that watching the show made them feel sad and then they asked me, why didn’t it make me sad? I told them that it reminded me that we are here for a reason and that our people made big sacrifices so that we would be able to live in the house we live in, eat the foods we eat, walk down the streets we walk down, and sleep in late on Saturdays, if we wanted to.

They countered with, doesn’t it make you dislike white people? I answered no more than I would dislike the ones who sold our ancestors into slavery. They nodded and continued out of the room. I don’t know if they will ever be ready to learn about our history, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying to give little history lessons when I can. However, I can’t lie, there’s part of me starting to wonder if we maybe focus a little too much on the history and not enough on the future.