Thursday, March 22, 2007

Declining the invitation

Now that Miss E is speaking to me again I get to practice some other skills. Most particularly there is the one I think of as "declining the invitation." It might be a sort of selected hearing. Or maybe it is a ducking and weaving. In any case, this is one of the mornings in which Miss E really, really seemed to want to argue, and I kept refusing to play.

So, in just the 10 minute ride this morning we had the following:

Me: "Jackie is coming over this weekend."
E: "I wouldn't spend the weekend with her for a million dollars. She is a backstabbing ho."
Me: "Oh."
E: "There isn't a better word for her. I wish there was, but that is what she is."

-- I think about what a great kid Jackie is, how much easier she is to love and just be with than E. I consider the possibility of asking E why she dislikes Jackie so much. I say...

"Is that sibling group of three still living with you?"
"They move tomorrow."
"Oh, is that a good thing for you?"

She does not respond as she fiddles with her phone. "Everything okay, E?"
E: "I have a missed call and this thing is buzzing at me."
Me: "That's probably me. I called you when I got in the car this morning and it went to voice mail."
E: "Well you the one who made such a big deal out of it, complaining to my social worker about calling me!"
Me: "Wow. I'm sorry to hear that message got garbled. I just emailed your social worker to let her know you had been late to school."
E: "That's not what I heard."
Me: "Well, I am sorry about that. If I didn't want to call, I wouldn't call. I promise."

Having side-stepped the issue about complaining about her to her social worker, I attempt to change the subject.

Me: "But it looks like we are going to be on time today."
E: "I would be on time every morning if it weren't for the traffic and the trains!"

Okay...that's just wrong. She's got this tone though -- like surely I will fight with her about THIS, won't I?

Me: "That was one advantage of Annabelle's. It was more convenient for the drive to school."
E: "It might have been more convenient for you, but it wasn't for me."
Me: "Well, it was five minutes closer and we never had traffic issues."
E: "Annabelle is a psychotic bitch."
Me: "I'm glad you get along with Marsha better."
E: "Yeah, Marsha's all right."

Sigh...I won. She has accepted that I am not going to fight with her.

Me: "So how's everything else going?"
E: "Did you hear what the school is going to do to our schedules next year? It is SO stupid."

The rest of the ride is filled with outrage over the idiocy of the school.

And my husband asks, "And you prefer this to silence?"

Yeah, oddly, I do.


  1. And that is what makes you a foster parent :-)

  2. Wow, you are so skilled! This is really hard to do, even for people who are trained and know how to do it. Some kids who are used to gaining power and control through manipulation become very angry when responded to this way, though, sometimes escalating to physical aggression. Glad E isn't like that.

  3. I'm still around. Hi Yondalla.


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