Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm too tired to deal with this

The girls are making me crazy.

I think part of it is increased expectations, combined with the very high level of restriction that the girls are on. Mandy went on and on about how nice these girls were, suggesting that they are the very best behaved girls she had ever sent me.

They go to summer school and then fall asleep afterwards. I have not been getting them up, which I probably should. Sleeping half the day means of course that they are awake when I am asleep. I don't think there are doing anything worse that talking, laughing and eating, but who knows. Evan is up those hours, which is somehow comforting.

I took them shopping a couple of times but whenever I did they ask...wait, it is not "they"... it is always Rhonda. Only fourteen, taller than Quiana, and very wide-eyed and innocent, she is always the one to ask, "Yondalla, can we..." Quiana, sixteen, stays in the background, out of my peripheral vision even. we are in the big box store and the Rhonda says, her arms crossed around herself, almost shivering, "Yondalla, I'm so cold. Can we wait for you outside the door where it is warm?" Sure I say. I don't think it is cold, certainly whatever temperature it is inside has to be better than the 100 degrees it is outside, but sure, let them stand in the heat. They agree to stay outside the glass where I can see them. After a minute I go to the door and look out. They are going through the large stand-up ashtray looking for cigarette butts.

Okay, gross. On the up-side if they are digging for used butts they probably don't have their own cigarettes. It is annoying that I apparently can't let them out of my sight without them being gross, but at this point I have a sense of humor about it. I was told to keep them where I could see them. I'm annoyed that apparently I am to take that quite literally. We go to the next store and divide up. I rush around to buy the groceries and Hubby takes the kids to get a cold drink and makes them stay with him.

Last evening they pleaded to be allowed to go for a run. They were so restless; they haven't been able to get any exercise. Both are fairly fit young women; it is plausible that they do normally exercise. I first remind them that Mandy specifically said they could not go off on walks. "We will just run back and forth between here and the corner two blocks down" says Rhonda with wide-eyes. "So anytime I look out the window I will see you between here and there?" "Yes." "Okay, if I look and you are not there something very bad will happen."

You guessed it. I look out after a couple of minutes and they are not there. I am not pleased. I pace a while. I wait a while. After about ten minutes, I finally got into the van to drive around and look for them. Two blocks away, right next to their running route there is a Walgr*en's. I went there first. Just as I got out of the van they came around the corner. Immediately the deep, "we've just been running really hard" breathing started.

I have always found that the tone in, "Go ahead. Make my day." is much more intimidating than screaming. So I say, "Get in the van" using my best scary, quiet, calm, "you are in danger of dying" voice.

Rhonda gives me the wide eyes and says, "We just wanted to get a drink of water."

"You were supposed to stay on that two blocks of sidewalk."

"We didn't think we couldn't get a drink of water!" This is a innocent, hurt tone. How can a fourteen-year-old make her eyes that big and wounded-looking?

"I was very clear about what you could do, and you did not do it. Get in the van."

"We're sorry" says Rhonda, again innocent and hurt.

I drive us back to the house, when they get out of the van I tell them to stand still a minute. "Do either of you have pockets or anywhere else that you could be hiding things?" (Their clothes are pretty skin tight. If they are hiding anything it is someplace I'm not searching.) "No."

"Okay. Go inside."

"We are sorry" says Rhonda again.

"Okay. Just don't even ask to leave the property again."

I have a feeling I am over-reacting, but I am having trouble dialing it down. I'm used to kids who don't abuse the first bit of freedom I give them. They are supposed to appear responsible and lull me into trusting them, and then start sneaking off. There is a certain order to the universe. Don't they know that in the long run they will get away with so much more if they act trustworthy in the beginning?

So they spent the evening in their room -- fine with me. Rhonda came out to ask for help getting her laundry done. Fortunately laundry is Hubby's area so he showed her how to use the machines.

This morning I drove them to school. I got in the van deciding to be nice. I would engage them like nothing had happened. Last night was behind us (emotionally, not in terms of consequences). I said, "Huh, I wonder who did that?" pointing to something that seems odd though not important to me. Rhonda says, "What?" "There is a barrier over there that's new, I was just wondering..." "Can I have one of those?" "What?" "Can I have one of those?" Rhonda is pointing at TicTacs.

All the anger at her just came flooding back.

I turned on NPR thinking, "I just dare you to ask for a different radio station." Now I drove safely and slowly, but I confess my starts and stops did somewhat reflect my frustration. We went to school in silence.

I drove back thinking, "I said they weren't leaving the property, and by G-d I mean it. I'm not taking them shopping. I'm not taking them anywhere. They can spend the next four days sitting in the house or the back yard."

Now I am blogging in order to vent some of this emotion so that I can figure out how to deal with this rationally.

Quiana's social worker was the one to call me about the huffing and said that he did not think that Quiana was huffing, or that if she was that she would report herself. He did say, "I know she smokes though." She is two years older and has a harder quality about her. I would not be surprised if she is the disobedient force pushing the relatively innocent Rhonda out in front to get permission to do things.

Or maybe Rhonda has just used this "I'm sweet and innocent and I can't imagine why you are upset. I didn't do anything" routine for a long time.

Of course partly I am tired. I shouldn't be doing three weeks of respite. Faye for two weeks, along with her current issues which I got emotionally involved with, now two little girls who want to find ways to get around the rules. I really shouldn't have.

But it is not just that I am tired. The girls have demonstrated that as sweet and innocent and giggly as they may appear, they are not to be trusted.

And Gawdess will understand's the sweet, innocent, wide-eyed thing that takes me from irritated to angry. Mandy assures me that Rhonda is a "really good girl, one of my best, you'll love her" and I wonder, has she fallen for this routine?

Four more days.


  1. Oh.

    You are living with an older version of my daughter Monkey.

    You really are.

    How do their eyes even stay in their heads? What is holding them in?

    The thing in the car about trying to chat and being brushed off for the candy? That is my life, all day long sometimes.

    Not all the time but some of the time.

    I HEAR you.
    It is honestly one of the hardest things for me to cope with...

    Monkey really is a good person under that stuff...but that stuff is crazy making, none the less.

    Take care and know that I have your back as much as possible.

  2. Throw in being super-sensitive, hypervigilant, and downright lippy, and you have our respite girl. The back-talk is tedious and the manipulation attempts are astonishing. It's worked on every placement she's been in ... except here. She finally met her match, although I'm really tired of the duel. When her respite time is done, I'm definitely taking a break.

  3. May those four days go quickly!! I will be thinking about you:-)


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