Her daughter was three years old when we started dating. I’m not good with kids but I tried my best to be a friend to the girl. She’s one smart lovely girl. She called me by name and I felt it was cute though everyone around was pushing her to call me uncle. I said, “No, it’s alright. I love how my name sounds in her mouth. Just allow her.” When we were dating, I visited Alberta once and the father of her daughter passed by so she showed me, “You see that useless guy going? Yeah, he’s Annette’s father.” I knew their story. She had told me long ago. I knew how they broke up and I knew how bitter it was so I understood it when she called him useless.
They both lived in the same vicinity. The guy’s house is only five minutes walk from Alberta’s house. She said when he proposed to her she wanted to study him so she said no at first. One day she visited him and he forced his way through her. “It should have been the end of the relationship but I thought I would lose if just walk away since he had had his way with me. So I stayed with him,” she said. That very week they did it again. This time it was consensual. Weeks later she was pregnant. She told me, “I knew it’s the first one that got me pregnant because I wasn’t in a good place.”
When she announced the pregnancy to him, the guy denied it and because of that, he traveled without telling her. She had completed school and waiting to get a job so she wasn’t scared about not being able to take care of the child. Her parents were also very receptive to the news so she didn’t worry about whether or not the guy would take care of the child. When she gave birth, the guy’s family came to claim the child and named her. It was the guy who named her Annette.
While dating I realized something about Alberta and her daughter. She didn’t want the girl closer to her. Anytime I was around and her daughter came around, she tried to push her away. She would scream at her, “Leave here. Don’t you know where kids play? Look for your friends. Join them and play together.” She’ll do everything to push the child away. I liked the girl. She resembles her mom and is very smart too so I entertained her every time I was around. I sent her gifts each time I visited. When her mom screamed at her and she was crying, I picked her up and calmed her down.
We dated for two years before we got married. When we were out there looking for a place to rent, I had in mind that we have a child so I was looking out for a child-friendly apartment. We would visit one and I will tell her, “Not this one. Annette won’t have enough space for herself.” She would scold, “Stop thinking about that girl. She’s not part of the scope of things. She has a father. I will send her to her father so we can have a fresh beginning.” We got a very spacious single room self-contained to rent. I ensured that. When she was moving in, she left her daughter to her parents. I didn’t ask why. It’s her daughter, she has every right to decide how to treat her.
A few months later, my wife’s parents called. They told me, “The girl misses her mother. She feels rejected most of the time. We want her to come to her mother but Alberta thinks we have to speak to you first. Is there a space for the girl in your home? Please say yes because she wants her mother.” I felt embarrassed. It sounded like I was the reason the girl couldn’t be with us. I responded, “Dad, that was the plan right from the beginning. It was Alberta who suggested otherwise. She can come. She’s my daughter too.”
Annette lives with us but she’s suffering every imaginable abuse at the hands of her own mother. If I try to list everything this little girl has gone through since she came here, it would break you apart if you’re a parent. She won’t give her food to eat from morning to late afternoon. When she eats at that time, she won’t eat again. Anytime I’m in the house, she would complain of hunger and I will give her food to eat. Alberta would be angry. “Why do you overfeed her? You need to raise a child as a slave so she can grow up to become a royal. Don’t overfeed her.”
“Alberta, giving a child the right amount of food isn’t overfeeding. Feeding a child thrice a day isn’t overfeeding. She came here looking full but now look at her, her collar bones are now showing. Why would you treat a girl like that?”
It will turn into a huge argument where she would suggest that I’m a man so I shouldn’t interfere in the matters of how a child ought to be raised. She beats her when she misplaces the remote. She beats her when she forgets to do her homework. She will wake her up immediately when she wakes up. The child would have nothing to do at that time. She could stay in bed until 6am but my wife would wake this girl up around 4:30 just to destroy her sleep. “A girl can’t have a full night’s sleep, else she would grow up to be a lazy girl.”
“Alberta, she’s only six. A girl this age needs her sleep to grow well to become that girl you want her to be.”
It will turn into an argument. I never win such arguments because I’m a man. I’m not supposed to know what it takes to raise a girl to become a better child. One day she lashed her with a cane. I came to see the cane marks on her skin.
“What did she do?”
“She stole meat from the stew. A girl her age has started stealing, can you imagine?”
“Yes, I can imagine. When you take little things from a child, she tries to find them in her own ways. She’s smart that’s why she’s stealing. If she had enough meat, she won’t have the need to steal. You’re making her a thief.”
Another argument where I was reminded of my deficiency in raising kids.
So I went to her parents and reported the issue to them. I was tired. It was breaking my heart the way she kept maltreating her. I needed her parents to talk to her and they did. Nothing changed. I reported again. They called her to order but nothing changed. Later her parents told me, “It’s her own daughter. If she doesn’t want to treat her well, it’s up to her.” They gave up while she continued abusing the girl.
I know the girl’s father. I know their house so I went to meet him. I spoke to him man to man and even invoked the bro code. “I love your daughter. She’s smart and all. If you give her a better foundation, she’ll grow up to become someone great but where she’s now she won’t have that foundation. Her mother maltreats her. It looks like she’s angry about something I don’t know. Something about the girl gets her angry. Come for her. You’re better off with her than her mother. If you love your child that much come for her.”
He looked at me and said, “It looks like you know what she needs better than I do, so why don’t you give it to her. If your wife beats her and you don’t like it, be a man and stop her.”
I said in my head, “No wonder Alberta calls you useless. You deserve your name.” Obviously, he is a fool. I hate talking to fools so I left him there.
Ann is still with us. She’s still suffering. She has realized things are better in my presence so she clings to me. I warned my wife, “The next time you touch this girl, I will report you to the police.
If you don’t take care, I will send you and her father to DOVVSU because of how you’re destroying this girl’s life.” I’ve thought of threatening her with divorce but I learned it’s the worse form of threat that can happen in marriage so I’ve held on to that.
The women here please tell me. What’s wrong with my wife? It’s her own daughter oo. What can I do to make her stop maltreating the girl? I love her and I let it show. I let her know that I have nothing against the presence of her daughter in our marriage. I’ve said it and I’ve acted it out but she still treats this girl like a wicked stepmom would do.