"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Crappy Parenting Gets Pushed to the Wayside

I sat in Princess's therapists' office, depressed, exhausted, numb, defeated. She explains to me something to try against a reoccurring behavior that sets me off like a grease fire at a shrimp boil. I listen. Then I startle. Because what she is saying? I am a pro at. Or I was. A year ago, I would have done exactly what she was describing without even blinking an eye. I was great.


"I used to do that," I sobbed. "I wish you had known me before I was all burnt out. I was fabulous at this!"
"I have no doubt you still are," she said.

The girls were playing in our ugly blue pool, and it was clear Princess wasn't going to last long. She had thrown a blueberry at me (although not in malice- I've long accepted her motives are going to be mysterious), and was feeling ashamed, I suppose. I couldn't pin her ragged behavior on anything else, anyway. Sure enough, the complaints came closer and closer together, each time with swift denial and blame from Princess. The highly suspect kind. I gently reminded Princess that if she wanted to stay in the pool, she was required to find a way to get along with her sisters and follow the safety rules. Then warning one. Then two. Then three.

I gave Princess her new choices: the other part of the yard (which includes the swing set, trampoline, fish pond, sand and water tables, wading pool, deck, and me), or sit with me.

Guess which one she chose? By default, naturally.

And she actually voiced that the problem was that I didn't give her enough chances. That she would have made a different choice if I had given her a fourth chance.

I've been defaulting to the exact wrong thing: the time out. But even before the talk with the OT, I realized that no matter how Princess was behaving, three-quarters of the day in time-out probably meant it wasn't working all that well. For anyone. That, and the memory of her last time-out. The ten-minute one that took three hours (yes, THREE HOURS) because she kept trying to amuse herself by bizarre antics such as parading around (outside her room) with all her pairs of p@nties tucked into her waistband.  Not. Working.

This time, I slowly and cheerfully chased Princess around the backyard, because I know she has almost no endurance and the last thing she really wants to do is run fast for an extended period of time. Then I led her to my lounge chair, sat in a way that made it difficult to get hit or kicked, and picked up my book.

Screaming ensued.
I asked her to please pinch me hard enough to make the bruise show up on the camera.
Which really, really freaked her out, enough that she stopped pinching.

And I held her. Swimsuit skin against shorts and tank top skin.
And held her.
And held her.
And held her.

She calmed.
She asked me to get her a bunch of stuff.
I reminded her she made a choice.
She said she didn't want this.
I said bummer.

And eventually she started talking to the ants.
And I feel much better.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In Retrospect

I've lost my ability to see ahead for Princess.

I used to be so in tune with her. I could see a trigger a mile away. But it got to the point where everything was a trigger; it was too overwhelming, and I started trying not to see them, just so it wasn't constant. And the past six months have been so filled with hurt. Princess's new-ish doctor evened out her meds, which is an amazing thing, but what's left in the wake is Princess, fully aware of the pain and fear she feels. And since she can't process it yet, guess where it goes? All over the rest of us.

It's been a hard, hard six months. And it's harder now that it has ever been. Her doctor says he's seen a lot of families give up at this point, saying that they preferred the miserable they were before to the miserable they are now. I know in my heart (and her doctor agrees), that if we can just get though it alive, it will be better, livable on the other side.

But right now. It's just hard.

We had a family wedding to travel to this past weekend. One of us thought Princess should go, and the other thought she should stay with a sitter. Both of us were experiencing, er, "feelings" from our vacation traveling. The one who thought she should stay caved, and the trip to the wedding was without incident. The wedding activities were without incident.

We let down our guard.

Sunday was Father's Day, but it wasn't really on our minds. Buddy and Peanut had left Saturday night to spend the week with Gramma and Grampa, so we gave Daddy his five-pound gummy bear and his turkey made from compost pile gleanings (complements of the Cuddle Bear) Saturday morning. We were two hours into to four hour drive when we decided against fried chicken in the park and for Joe's Crab Shack.

What Were We Thinking #1.

The first thing I didn't see was that the restaurant was (duh!) full of men. At least half looked like the type of man Princess is frightened of. The wait was about 30 minutes, and about 20 minutes in, Princess insisted she saw a boy who frightened her two years ago by lifting her skirt while the class was in line for the computer lab, resulting in the first total meltdown the school had seen from her. It was obviously not the same boy, but she staunchly and unreasonably insisted it was.

Right then is when we should have gotten out of there like bats out of the seventh circle of hell.

But I've lost my ability to see ahead.

We sat down, and Josh and I consulted the menu to see what would be the best way to order. Princess promptly chose the most expensive dinner of the children's menu consisting of fried food with a side of fried food with some fat as a garnish, and began telling us emphatically and repeatedly what she wanted. Thinking about her food issues and not seeing what was really going on, we showed her the (gigantic, delicious) meal we were going to order and share.

Princess began to throw a tantrum that looked exactly like a three-year-old who is not getting her way.

Which really torked me off.

Even though I knew somewhere in my head that that wasn't really what it was.

While we waited for the food, she kept looking over her shoulder. It's "normal" for Princess to be hypervigilant, especially about food, but this was more like a tic. I actually started to worry she was going to hurt her neck. And usually the presence of food of any type would have snapped her out of a food-related funk, but when the meal came, even though it was all things she likes, even though I went without some things so that she would feel like she had more, she threw her food around complaining about how disgusting it was.

And she just kept escalating. She hid under the table. She flung herself into the seat behind her. She whacked the poor man whose back was to the other side a few times. And she kept insisting, loudly, that she wasn't.

And still I didn't see it for what it really was.

Eventually there was no choice but to remove her from the restaurant. I dragged her out of the booth while she ramped up the volume and walked her outside, where she slapped me and complained loudly about having done nothing wrong and how mean and selfish Daddy is.

Happy Father's Day.

I sat in her seat with her while Josh tried to concentrate on driving safely while she screamed, kicked, pinched, and bit. I am now the proud owner of an incredibly ugly bruise on my behind and a spasm in my back so painful I have to have Josh slide me out of bed this morning.

She just couldn't do it. And I should have seen it.

When she finally got tired enough to cooperate with some breathing exercises and a drink of water, she began to sob about how sorry she was. And I believe her. But now I am physically and emotionally sore, and Josh is really pretty depressed, and neither of us have the reserves to meet her.

And we just have to push through.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Which Kerrie Congratulates Herself

You know that feeling when suddenly you turn around one day and realize: your baby has a "schedule?" Not one you made up for her, but her own. You've got a good idea of what she's going to do when, and you know what everything she does probably means even though she can't tell you with words.

Ok, so maybe it's not quite so exciting when your baby is nine. Or maybe it is. And that it's only Day Four of summer vacation and I figured it out makes me think I'm pretty awesome.

So here it is:

1:00- Rage
6:00- Rage
Bedtime- Rage

The thing about this schedule that makes me all tingly is that I CAN DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE IT!!!!!

Ideally, this is what would happen:

12:30- Nap
6:00 On! The! Dot!- vegetables or dinner stuck in mouth
Bedtime- Tucked in before Imminent Rage signs start to show

Realistically, this is more what it looks like:

12:30- Nap, but I let Princess take a book because usually she doesn't like to read but she likes to pretend she likes to read so she falls asleep right away only this time it turned out she was m$*#&@&^^g interested in the book so she didn't sleep leading to new factor
4:00- Rage
5:00- Kerrie realizes that, despite the unscheduled rage that actually enjoying a book is new and therefore a very, very good thing
6:00- Dinner is not ready yet, so Kerrie sticks carrots in Princess's mouth and offers them to everyone else because it is 6:00 and Kerrie can't take one more "no fair" without Josh home
Bedtime- Crapshoot
9:30- Congratulate self with glass of wine

Next up: what on earth to do about that 4:00 rage.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mani-Pedi Fail

Hmm. I wonder what that is?

There are those things that I can't really put two and two together on, and I know asking questions will not get me anything useful. Or even close to true. So I file the information away for later. Cachink!

I cleaned the kids' bathroom last week (have I ever mentioned how estatic I am that this house has a master bathroom that no one! can enter! without permission!? Because, eeeeeew), and noticed these weird pink smudges here and there on the counter- but mostly in front of Princess's space- that didn't come off when I rubbed them with the cleaner. It didn't look like anything I could place. Cachink!

Thursday, Peanut asked Princess why Princess's fingernails were red. Princess said, "marker!!!" and stuck her hands behind her back. I looked, and she had kind of a reddish stain around the edges of her fingernails. Suspicious, yes. But Princess has been admonished before for drawing on herself (mostly by Josh, because me, meh. I have bigger fish to fry most of the time), so I didn't think much more of it. Chachink!

Yesterday, I removed Princess's laundry from the dryer. And there were two socks covered in the same color as the counter and the fingernails. A color that did not come out in the wash. Chachink clunk!

Please go get me whatever it is that you have that made marks on the bathroom counter and is covering these socks.

She brought me a marker. A washable marker. From the main floor of the house.
Try again, babe. The thing I'm expecting is from upstairs. Probably hidden in your room.

She brought me a bottle of nail polish. Which no one is allowed to have because they always spill it. Yeeeeeeeah.

Ok! Let's go get the rest of my stuff out of your room, then.

I started to toss her room, and she sat next to me. I was about half-way through when I said, "you know, you'd have a lot less to clean up if you got out what you have hiding in here and give it to me BEFORE I tear up everything."

She swooped in and immediately pulled out a bottle of nail polish remover. The brand new one. That was now empty.

I said, "what else have you got?"
I'm pretty sure that's not the same color as what's on your socks.
It is! See!

And she stuck out her fingers and toes. Which I hadn't noticed. Which were pink. And also pretty much the entire length of her legs. And her carpet. And her closet door.

Evidently she had been repeatedly painting her entire self, and everything around her, with my nail polish, and then taking it all off with my nail polish remover, for a week. At least.

I immediately went bat-poo nutso. It was the stealing. The stuff that I'm supposed to remember isn't a moral issue but actually a response to extreme stress and a cry for help always trips me up. I have not exactly been "slow to anger," as of late. It got a little surreal, because AS I was freaking out on her, I could still hear the Still Small Voice in my ear- I was just apparently to scalp-prickled triggered to acknowlege it. It went kind of like this:

She only steals your stuff.
Shut up.
Because it's you she wants to be close to.
No, it's because she has no respect for me whatsoever.
It's because it's you she wants to be close to.
Shut up.
She tried to clean it up. Usually she just leaves her illicit messes for you to find. Or step in.
Shut up.
She wanted you to catch her so she could stop feeling bad. That's why they're still painted. She doesn't know how to fix it with you.
No, she just ran out of remover.
She feels bad and she doesn't know how to fix it.
Shut up!

And it did.

I made a conscious choice to stay angry. You can imagine how the rest of the day went. I stomped around yelling. Princess had such a huge meltdown she got a hanger stuck in her hair from tearing up her closet from the inside

(because she's been painting her nails and removing the polish during the time she was supposed to be brushing her hair and teeth for the past week. The rat's nest look was starting to go on)

my anger upset the other children and flowed over onto Josh, making him feel depressed and helpless. It was not good. Not good at all. Very sub-par. Fail.

Thankfully, every day I'm given is a day to try again. And the Still Small Voice is louder after a two-mile run with really loud music.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Running Away from Big Girl Panties

I signed Princess up for Girls on the Run this year. Other activities I've tried with her have come to bad ends. With sports, she wants to do certain parts (being goalie, throwing in the ball, batting), but not the rest. She simply won't participate in 90% of said sport. She took tap. She was good. I mean good. But there was one girl who was better. So Princess quit. And by "quit," what I mean is, "started raging on the way home from school so she couldn't physically be forced into a leotard and transported to class."

But I saw her face when well-meaning people would ask all the kids what kinds of things they do and everyone would answer and Princess would say, "nothing."

This year she was old enough for Girls on the Run. It's a perfect program for her. It's as non-competitive as humanly possible with actual humans participating. It has all the girlie-girl stuff Princess loves. It would provide some level of physical activity for her. I would run the 5k with her: something we'd both enjoy! She would get a t-shirt and a medal. And, best if all, she wouldn't be able to use the same method of quitting, because she's bussed directly from one school to another.

Backing up to running the 5k.

I started noticing that whatever time I came to pick up Princess, she was standing around while other girls were running or walking the track. She wasn't the only girl standing around, but it was always. I spoke to her coach, and she said that Princess has very little endurance, but she's participating and doing fine. Ok.

This morning. This morning Josh discovered last minute that Princess had not done something she really, truly needed to do before leaving for school. Not a negotiable in any sense of the word. This event came on the tail of Princess being reminded to do several things she always needs to do, and having to stop something she wanted to do more to go fix it. Things were not pleasant as they were.

The other children and I had to leave to walk to the bus stop, so I asked Josh to make sure Princess ran to catch up with us. She ran until she was far enough from the house that she could pretend she didn't hear Josh anymore, and then she walked. She was closer to me than Josh by then, so I reminded her she needed to run, and if I got to her first, things weren't going to be pretty.

I got to her first.

It wasn't pretty.

I put my hand around her shoulders, grabbed a fistfull of sweatshirt, and started to jog. Slower than I actually run, which is very, extremely slow. Slower than I walk, in fact. We "ran" for 200 feet. The entire 200 feet, Princess screamed and wailed and gasped about how she couldn't breathe and how I was killing her.

Two hundred feet.

Divorce rates for regular people are through the roof. Divorce rates for parents of special needs kids, well, it could be interpreted as "why-even-bother percent." I read somewhere (to be honest, probably Reader's Digest- the foremost leader in bathroom information and bizarre jokes about dogs) that the best predictor of special-needs-parent-marriage-success is a very, very dark sense of humor.

Enter: why I think there's a darn good chance we'll beat the odds.

I came home from the bus stop, like I often do, disgusted and demoralized. I told Josh I was calling Princess's coach and pulling her from the 5k. That there was no point if she couldn't jog 200 feet without dying. He had a look.

What? You don't agree with me.
Maybe you should run it by her coach.
Why? She clearly can't do it. She hasn't even been training.
It can be walked.
Oh sure! Yeah. Three hours with Princess either moaning and complaining, yelling at me, or trying to get away from me. Yeah. That'll be fun.
It's three hours you'd be with her.
Put on your Big Girl Panties.
No! They're ugly!
I think they're beautiful.
Well you're wrong. They're hideous. They're the granny kind. The go up past my belly button, and they billow, and the elastic is overworn, and they're yellowed with weird stains.

That's only because you have to carry so much sh!t around in them.

Yeah. I think we might make it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another Installment of "Things You Probably Haven't Said"

Brought to you by Kerrie. Be jealous.

You know, I think it's really great you're excited about your new deodorant. It's ok to be excited about it: it's new, it smells good, and it's a clue that your body's changing into a grown-up's, which is pretty cool. The thing is...well, the thing is that it's not the kind of thing other people are going to get excited about. They'll get excited about their own deodorant, maybe, when it's time for them to use it, but they aren't likely to get excited about anyone else's deodorant. So if you want to tell people about your deodorant, that fine. Just be prepared that they're going to say, "oh," or something like that. Not do a dance of joy.

But the main thing to remember is, if you want to share the smell of your deodorant with someone, like maybe a sister, for instance, you really should ASK before you shove it under their nose. Because if you don't ask, it's fairly likely they'll snatch it out of your hands and throw it in the wastebasket. You know. Like just now. So it's ok to be excited about it.

Just ask first.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Long Walk

There's a quarter mile between my kids and their bus stop. Much to their chagrin, we walk. Anyone who wants to complain about it gets treated to my lecture series: "Why This Is Good For Your Brain."

It also gives us time to work things out.

The day didn't start so well. It was one of those mornings where Princess took all my suggestions and ground them up in the garbage disposal. It was not one of those days where I could say, "oh well. Let's hug." It took one-eighth mile for me to be the one to say, ok, that's enough. Sniping at each other is not working.

While waiting for the bus, I hung out with her and cuddled her and told her how much I loved her and gave her really obnoxious smoochies, all of which she forcefully rejected. Mostly by stomping on my foot and trying to trip me. And then something new happened.

A spider ran up my arm. Not an actual arachnid, one that would cause me to do a weird arm-shaky dance, but Princess's hand. And she said, "look Mom, there's a spider running up your arm."

Honestly, it took me a minute to catch on. My initial internal response was that she was trying to annoy me. And then I thought,

wait. Is she being silly?

She was.

I am still struggling to be silly with her, but I did keep holding her in a casual hug, and we were both smiling when we hugged good-bye at the bus's arrival.

And then I had a quarter-mile to smile to myself.

Monday, April 30, 2012

And Yes I'm Whining About Homework Again

because I realize this blog might as well have the catchy name: "A Whole Bunch of Homework Interactions." But you know what? I embrace that. I accept that I bore random people to death with How Homework Went Tonight, by Kerrie. It's ok with me.

The real reason is that I don't think anything that happens with Princess harrows my soul more than working on homework. Not the pee. Not the rages. Not the police being called to our RV while on vacation.* It's the homework. I used to start shaking at 3:00 every day. I thought it had gotten better over the past three months, but it turned out that was just that Princess wasn't actually bringing home any of her homework. I hope I never, ever have to be exposed to her locker. Anyway. The homework. After two years of enduring horror that no psychopathic thriller movie has ever explored, I trigger as soon as her voice starts getting the "things aren't going well" tone.

Can I hear an "amen" from those of you whom have endured third-grade multiplication? It is not what it used to be. Now there's a grid, and all this weird multiplication facts and adding stuff you're supposed to do in certain places designated by a variety of textures of line. Buddy made up some worksheets for me so I could learn how to do it. Once you figure it out, it totally makes sense and is tons easier than the "that's just the way it is so memorize it and deal with it" school of thought that taught us. But I groaned when I pulled it out of Princess's folder. There are a LOT of steps. And steps are not Princess's cup of tea. I worked her through the first three problems, and it wasn't that bad. But the fourth problem did not have the numbers written on top of and on the side of the grid. You had to write them there YOURSELF. And this made it just go all to crap.

As soon as the whine started, my stomach churned and my hair stood on end (does anyone else's do that? Seriously. I like being reassured that I am not an entirely different species), and I suddenly had to fight myself to not raise my voice. Mostly, I did ok. I said a lot of things like, "really?" and, "well that stinks," and, "boy I'd be super mad too if one minute 7x9 was 48 and the next it was 72." And then I cracked.

By this point her paper was ripped to shreds. Mostly because whenever she asks me to explain something, she thinks she knows the answer after I've said three words and starts writing. Then, of course, since I WASN'T DONE, what she wrote is wrong and has to be erased. Do that eight times in the same spot and, well, paper just wasn't made to put up with that. She kept harping at the paper about how stupid it was, which, bullet point #1, SHE WAS NOT BLAMING ME!!!!! HAPPY DANCE!!!! But since I wasn't mentally equipt at that moment to recognize this monumental achievement, I instead slammed my can of coconut milk on the counter and said in a low growl, "it is NOT the paper." Then I caught myself and softened my voice, "it is not the paper. It is that you are frustrated. It's ok to feel frustrated. I feel frustrated too. She put her hands over her eyes, and, bullet point #2, CRIED. Then she bullet point #3 TOOK DEEP BREATHS.

That would be without prompting. Oh yes it would.

And if that were not shocking enough, she then finished the problem. With help from me. On another piece of paper.

Last semester, never. Never never never ever never. No way that wouldn't have ended with her screaming in her room and me crying over my stir-fry. Uh uh.

So yes, I am a hot mess. Yes, my healthy children are fried out. Yes, the third-grade teacher has been driven to drink. But good things are on the move.

*Josh keeps bugging me. When are you going to write about our vacation? You should write about our vacation. Haven't you written about our vacation yet? Why don't you write about our vacation. I probably will. But I only accept suggestions from Josh if they backed by at least three other people (sometimes just one, if said person has a PhD). So for now I think I'll just mention random bizarre parts here and there, and then eventually compile them. When I feel good and ready.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Not Faster That Way

Josh wants Princess to clean her room every morning before school. I'm kind of meh on it, so I let him follow up and all that fun stuff. However, the other day I realized that she has been folding her sheet and placing it at the end of her bed. When I inquired, I received this response:

I don't know. It's just faster that way.

Except it's not. It's not faster to take your sheet off your bed and fold it up than it is to straighten it out and put your comforter on top. It just isn't. Plus, I'm not that hot on the idea of washing Princess's already too-worn-for-it's-time-on-this-earth comforter weekly, so I told her that the sheet is part of making her bed and does not involve it folded and placed at the end of her bed.

Although I thought the folding was a nice touch; I told her so.

Today. Sheet folded on the end of her bed. My instinct was to go all Walking Dead on her. But sometimes a mom just cannot follow her instincts. This was one of those times. So.

"Princess? I really appreciate that after breakfast you're going to make your bed with your sheet. Thanks so much! Hey! We haven't hugged today." *

I ran up before school to get something from her room. Yep. Sheet folded and placed on the end of the bed.

I took the earphones out of Princess's ears.
"Hey! Thanks a bunch for going upstairs right now and making your bed with the sheet."

Now, if I were really mature, I would have just let the whole sheet thing go. Cause she folded it and all. But I'm not really all that mature. I have a stash of marshmellow eggs, and sometimes I play W*bkins when the kids aren't around. So I didn't let it go.

"And hey! I haven't hugged you for like, five minutes. Come here!"

On the walk to the bus stop, Princess reached for my hand.
I think the changes are going to have to come from me first.

*Yes. Totally stolen from Christine Moers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Thought Remorse Was a Rumor

"When Princess comes here, we're all about her. She gets all our attention, and she hasn't hurt any of us. So we end up seeing some different things than you're going to see at home. And one thing I'm seeing is a very, very, VERY remorseful girl. If she's done something big to you, she walks right in and tells me, 'I beed really mean to my Mom." After your vacation, she made a b-line to the crafts. I had other things planned, but she would have nothing to do with them. She couldn't think about anything else until she had made you something. You know. Like a three-year-old. They think if they give you a dandelion, it's going to be all better. She is all about YOU. And she knows she's hurting you and she doesn't know how to stop or make it better."

"But how can that be? How is it I never EVER see that? At home, everything's about how everything is everyone else's fault. She NEVER seems sorry. And all those things she makes me? She shoves them at me with a "here" like she's done with it now and doesn't know what else to do with it."

"Have YOU ever had to apologize to someone? You know how much anxiety that makes."

Oh no. Oh no oh no. Ohnohnohnohnohno. She can't be right. Because that changes everything. As Princess's medication balanced, she got meaner. It wasn't like it didn't know what was happening. I knew she was suddenly feeling everything without knowing how to deal with it. I knew it. But I got scared. She was never sorry; she never felt bad; she always acted the next day (or the next hour) like nothing had happened. She didn't care. Why should I? The implications were horrifying. It was easier to pull away. I told myself it was ok. I was giving myself space. I was taking care of myself. Right? Right?

Except that's not really what it was.

And then a little grain of anger formed. And that was ok, too. Wasn't I entitled to feel angry? I mean, who wouldn't? It was all so unfair and all. So I periodically took it out and stroked it and polished it, and pretty soon it was bigger and hard and shiny and I could carry it everywhere. And so the wall went up. Which was great, because things didn't hurt so much then. Because what did I care?

Only this. This changed everything. I knew what she said was true because I felt my insides whump as soon as she said it. Because if she cares, then all I'm doing is reinforcing her shame, reinforcing her perceived worthlessness, her unloveablity.

And that's not why I'm here. That is not what I set out to do.

The same day (of course, because that's how things work), Christine said something about being brave enough to trade anger for silliness. It was just enough to kick my butt back on the wagon.

"I know you're not listening. That's cool. Thanks for picking that up anyway."

Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last night, Josh walk in from the kitchen with a piece of paper.

You got another check. For your blog.
 Mmmm? Oh. Yeah.
You're still making money? You're not even writing.
The check's still made out to our street. Maybe our whole street can take it to the bank and cash it.
Mmm. Yeah. I should really change that.
You should really write again.
No. You really should write again.

I know. I want to. But I can't even figure out what's going on for myself. How will I tell about it? And I'm afraid it will all up sounding the same. Like the same whiny baby. I'm afraid of being boring.

Maybe that's ok. "Same" is ok. Haven't you noticed for weeks we've been watching a bunch of guys pretend to be bikers, and they keep doing the same stupid crap every episode? And we're entertained! And now we're going to watch some zombies. I'm going to guess there will be some faces falling off. And a lot of growling and oozing. And maybe some sexual tension. So you should write.

And really, he had a point. Because if you have the kind of family where your husband can pull off supporting and encouraging you by comparing your work to that of zombies, then really, you should write.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Know Where You're Going With This, So Don't Think You're Fooling Me For One Second, Young Lady

Princess? Come here please.
Have you looked at this reading bench mark test?
(blank stare)
Come look. 68%. Did not follow directions. 52%. Did not follow directions. 55%. Did not follow directions. This is a test that's supposed to show the state what you know, and you did not even read the directions.
Do not ask me if you can play Wii.
Uggggggggh....I wasn't going to.
Uhhhhhhh. Ummmmmm. How was your day?
Fine. Thank you for asking.
What did you do?
I helped in the Cuddle Bear's Class.
Was it fun?
Yes. I really enjoy helping in each of your classes.
Do not ask me if you can play Wii.

That is the first time Princess has ever asked me so much about myself. Which is good, right? Even though it was entirely motivated by want of stuff? This is how I'm trying to look at it, anyway. It grates my every nerve when she attempts to manipulate me by treating me like she recognizes I am a person, so I guess my choice is to get irritated, or to notice that she (sort of) practiced interpersonal contact instead of screaming and jumping up and down.

I'm sure there will be another chance for me to choose the low road.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Wednesday Josh and I went into school. Josh wore his sport coat. Just to be extra scary. We retrieved Princess from her room and went to wait outside the conference room for Mr. Principal and the laptop. We did not tell Princess why we were there. She did not ask. I imagine because she did not want to know. She looked like she was going to jump out of her skin (a good sign) when Mr. Principal and the laptop appeared, showing no surprise whatsoever at our presence in his hallway. We went in, sat down, and while Mr. Principal hooked up everything and projected a life-sized film of the notorious bus ride on the wall, I pulled out the "confession" Princess had written and went though it point by point (Buddy was mean to me. Peanut was mean to me. I sat in my seat and talked. You are stupid. I hate you. Go away from here. I didn't do anything. This is all true) and went over it with her. Then Mr. Principal called her out on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g she had said to him.

To Princess's credit, she did not continue to defend her lie in the face of hard-core evidence to the contrary. I really thought she would. Not that she broke down weeping in  remorseful confession, mind you. She still insisted that Buddy and Peanut were "mean" to her. When I made her define "mean," she said, "bossy." When I had her break down "bossy," what it boiled down to is that "being mean" apparently means, "warning me to put my butt back down in my assigned seat and shut my trap before I get in big trouble ie suspended." But she didn't accuse the bus driver of faking the tape or Mr. Principal of "just wanting her to be in trouble."

So that's good.

Then she promptly stole pudding from the lunch line.


While all this was going on, here was Peanut:

Teacher's comment- Peanut has really turned the corner. When had a sore spot when we had to deal with some cheating on her math facts, but since then she has taken responsibility for her actions and made great strides toward being a superior student. She comes to school with a great attitude every day and wants to please others. She has started to take on a leadership role and others look to her as a student who knows what to do.

And when second semester started, so did the Writer's Spotlight. Each second-grade teacher selects one student's writing each week. Those four children get to read their piece over the loud speaker and sit together for lunch at a special table that week. Peanut was the first child selected. Here is her piece:

I mean, how sweet (and smart) is that? I get chills every time I read it. The good kind.

But how is this? Biological sisters. Similar experiences. One taking one path; the other- the opposite. Does this give hope? Or show destruction?

Beats the heck out of me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Bus Ride of Doom

So it finally happened. I'm impressed she made it two quarters- I had given her a month.
Princess is suspended from the bus Monday and Tuesday.

I'm not even remotely disturbed about the suspension, considering how she's been rolling lately. What I'm upset about is how it went down.

Ok. The part about being not disturbed was a lie.

Anyway. Her medications have been considered "balanced" since the end of December. What that seems to mean for Princess is that the noise has cleared away and she's left staring in the face of unimaginable fear about everything and horrifying shame.

I can feel it radiating from her whenever she's near. Which is a lot. Because bad things tend to happen when she is not in the same room as me. Things that are not her fault and she did nothing to trigger and she doesn't know why they happened.

Can you see the sarcasm font? I'm trying it out. No? Oh, well.

It's a step in her healing. I know it is. But it's so scary. 

So. Thursday the bus pulled up and it was driven by a different driver. Princess squealed, "yay! I LOVE this bus driver!" I squealed, "CRAP!!!!"

Thursday afternoon, Princess burst in the door (she always sprints the last bit of the walk. I imagine it's so she gets here before anyone can report on her) full of cheer and bubbles. The others followed. Buddy was last, purple with fury. There is nothing, NOTHING, I say, Buddy detests more than a rule-breaker. He loves social order. And Princess, well, she doesn't value it so much. She apparently did not value it at all Thursday afternoon.

The next two days passes, remarkably, with very little incident.

Friday the phone rang. Mr. Principal was on the other end. He said, "so, did Princess happen to mention anything about the bus ride Thursday."
No, but aaaaaaaaall my other children did.
Did anyone say anything about Princess being threatened?
I don't think so. Mostly that she seems to have broken every rule in the rule book, in order.
Hmm. I was just wondering what she'd say to you. Thursday she came in my office sort of crying, although they didn't seem like real tears. She told me that (we'll call her Sheila) was yelling at her and hit her and told her she was going to kill Princess.
Ok. Here's what I do know. I do know that Princess has an assigned seat and she knows she is to keep her bottom in it. I do know that Princess and Sheila are not to be near each other and that Princess know she is not to GO near Sheila. And I know that Princess was not in her seat, but was moving and jumping all over the bus. So my *guess* is that Princess went up to Sheila and began teasing or irritating her.
Well, you obviously know your daughter well.
Yeah. Great.

Then Mr. Principal told me that he has suspended Sheila from the bus for three days, but after hearing Sheila's side, he decided to dig up the tape from that day's bus ride.

That's right. The buses have a video feed. It was installed this year and all the children know about it. Princess, however, has never really believed it because there's not a big giant movie camera nailed to the top of the bus.

He said, "and I was horrified at the behavior I saw Princess display."

Yep. Horrified.

Princess had done just what I guessed. Princess sought out Sheila, stuck her face in the middle of Sheila's interactions with the people around her, sassed her, laughed obnoxiously in her face, then turned and talked to students near her. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Then walked into school, turned on the tears, and told Mr. Principal a death threat story.

Devious. Completely devious.

I have a plan and all. I warned her long ago that if she was not allowed to ride the bus she's be paying me for my time and gas or working off the dept, all privileges suspended. She knows that the principal called, and I imagine she knows it was about her, but since I said nothing she's not acting like she's waiting for the other shoe to drop. She doesn't know she's suspended and she doesn't know that irrefutable proof is available. She doesn't know that I'm going to have her tell me what "happened" then write it down and sign it. She doesn't know that I'm going into school Tuesday morning and will have her called to the office to watch the video feed with me. She doesn't know that I'm going to have her admit her wrongdoing to both Mr. Principal and Sheila. It's all set up nicely, and highly supported by Mr. Principal. I can deal with that part of it.

But the way she went about it. I don't know what to do with that. There is fear growing inside me that she is not only going to crash and burn, but she's going to take everyone she can with her.