(a) Realistically evaluate the child’s injuries.
(b) Be thankful the other parent thoroughly checked out the child’s injuries, kept her calm, and doctored the scratches so well that the child was laughing and playing not long after the bike accident.
(c) Keep the focus on the child, for the child’s sake.
Did you think for one moment that any of the above responses are correct? If so…then you grossly overestimate some individual’s parenting skills.
Naturally the correct response is to whip up drama, convince the child (who was playing, running, and laughing while with the other parent) that she suddenly cannot walk, that her skinned knee means her leg has been crushed and she may never walk again, that her head is splitting with excruciating headaches, that her final moments are rapidly approaching, that her hand (which sustained scraped knuckles) is swollen as a melon and surely broken in multiple places, that her vision has failed due to her obvious concussion, and ultimately that death is imminent and a priest should be beckoned for last rites.
The sensible thing to do, of course, is to dash off a holier-than-thou email about the other parent’s glaring neglect of gaping wounds and crushed bones, issue a dramatic announcement of an early-morning emergency room visit as you step valiantly into the self-appointed role of savior, and make sure that your geriatric daddy accompanies you, since even your best lying performances can’t be trotted out without someone to cower behind.
Only one pesky problem here. Sometimes the other parent is well aware of the bullshit games and pyschologically-disturbed plots. Sometimes the other parent arrives to meet the doctor in person. Sometimes the other parent is present to hear first-hand how nothing is wrong with that young child, nothing is broken, nothing is fractured, nothing but the scratches that were already treated. Sometimes the Best Performance by a Lying Drama Queen falls flat because, apparently, the doctor wasn’t prepped well enough ahead of time to play along, and the damn fool *gasp* didn’t lie for you.
I’m sure that means you will never take one of the children back to a health care professional who so grotesquely broke the rules by finding out the truth and caring for the child instead of swallowing your lies like a pelican gulping fish.
Munchausen by Proxy is a form of child abuse in which a caregiver, most often the mother, deliberately “misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by lying and reporting fictitious episodes. He or she may exaggerate, fabricate, or induce symptoms” (source: KidsHealth.org). The abusive parent is “willing to have the child…undergo painful or risky tests and operations in order to get…sympathy and special attention” (source: ClevelandClinic.org).
What kind of parent would use an innocent child in this fashion to please him or herself?
Unfortunately, exactly the same kind of parent who uses the children in any other fashion in order to please herself: a bad one. A sick one. A selfish one. A liar. One worth nothing but the contempt, disgust, and revulsion I have already felt for a long, long time.