Noodles is a reluctant reader, but he does enjoy those superhero comic books. Hey, whatever gets him to open up something with pages and read print. So off we went this afternoon to the local comics store, to replenish his supply. In addition to comics and books, the store carries a wide variety of hero/wrestler/fantasy action figures, over which he was drooling.
Me: "Noodles, we'll pay for reading material for you, but we're not buying any toys today."
…is a good phrase to describe our present relationship with Toots.
Weekend before last, we drove up for the day.Not just to see her, but also take her out to buy a new winter coat.It is COLD where she is, and her little bomber jacket from last winter (which no longer fits and was too light to begin with) does not suffice.
The visit started out well.We picked her up and drove to the area’s largest mall.Glory be, at only the third store we visited, we found a coat she liked and we okayed.And it was on clearance, 50% off.Happy, happy!Then, we found a nice little Italian restaurant tucked away in a corner of the mall, and had a pleasant lunch.
Since we were not staying overnight, it came time to head back to WP.On the way, things started to go downhill.Earlier in the day, Toots had mentioned that she and several other girls had been taken to see an R-rated vampire movie.This is not OK with Mom and Dad.Toots is thirteen, an emotionally disturbed, immature thirteen.If she was living at home, we would not be permitting her to go to R movies.So, when we arrived back at WP and were hanging out in the visiting room, Lew and I wrote and signed a note to the staff explaining that we do not want her to attend such movies, and asking for their cooperation.Toots took exception to this.“I NEVER SHOULD HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT THE MOVIE!!YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN SEE, I’M A TEENAGER!!I’M GOING TO TEAR THAT NOTE UP!!”Etc. etc. ad infinitum.Lew and I looked at each other and agreed not to engage in discussion with her.Which enraged her still more.“SEE, YOU’RE DOING WHAT YOU ALWAYS DO!!! YOU JUST RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS, YOU WON’T TALK ABOUT THEM!!!!!” With which illogical statement, she stomped out of the building and headed back to her cottage, with the administrator on duty running after her.
And thus we headed for home.
Since then, Lew and I have had a very intense phone session with Toots and her treatment specialist.Yes, we love her.Yes, we would prefer that she live with us rather than at WP.BUT she has to be able to accept our authority as the parents.She is not the person in charge, and she cannot dictate our behavior toward her.As I said to her: “Toots, today I had to write a report for my supervisor.She gave it back to me with five things she wanted me to change.Now, I didn’t agree with her on all of those changes, but she is my boss and has the right to tell me what to do.So I went to my computer and made the changes.” (Later, the treatment specialist told us we struck the right note of love and firmness.)
As we have told her over and over, we will never ask her to do something harmful or wrong, but she has to be willing to do what we say. (And it’s not like we, and she, aren’t familiar with every points-and-consequences behavioral program known to humanity.) Not at 13 with us, not at 17 on her first job, not at 21 working as a nurse’s aide, can she screech “OH MY GOD!!!” and run out of the room when asked to do something she doesn’t like.Or threaten to throw the asker down the stairs.Or attempt to eat drain cleaner.Or whatever.
So we will continue talking, and listening, and trying to stay objective, and helping her develop trust in us.For as long as it takes.But for now, with the way she escalates a situation from 0 to 60 in no time flat, it’s not safe for her to live at home, for her or for us.
It may be easier having her living away.But it’s not comfortable.
I have been having a lot more breathing difficulty this past week, the three asthma meds I have been on notwithstanding. On Friday, the dr. put me on five days of prednisone. I didn't sleep at all Friday night (caught a couple hours at 6 am), slept some (but not much) last night, and tonight, Sunday, it's almost 11:30 and I'm not the least bit sleepy.
For someone who has NEVER, EVER smoked a tobacco cigarette, and whose experience with the other kind was VERY VERY limited, I have an awful lot of respiratory and cardiac problems.
I think the prenisone is also affecting my mood. I have been very irritable and angry today. And I'm ranting in a way I almost never do.