Monday, July 02, 2007

I scared the princess

I frightened Rhonda last night. She has been asking if I am angry at her, and I don't know how to have a conversation about what she is doing that bothers me. The truth is that I just really don't like her, and I don't want tell that to the poor child.

On one hand she is off the charts on the princess scale. I have met wide-eyed, innocent, pouty manipulators before but I have never met anyone who lives at the furthest extreme of the spectrum. On the other hand, I can only believe that doing this has been essential to her survival. I am sure that underneath this princess behavior there is a girl who is afraid and behaving in the only way that has worked for her.

If she were mine I might be able to form an attachment or bond to her that would make me want to try to reach inside the princess and love the girl. I certainly would try.

As it is, well, she is leaving tomorrow. I don't have such an attachment to her, and I don't like her. I confess that I like her less than any foster child I have had to deal with. And that is remarkable considering that I have had kids who actually frightened me.

I behaved badly last night. I frightened the poor thing as badly as FosterAbba had frightened my dog.

Just as I was getting ready to go to bed they were loud and I knocked on the door and told them calmly and appropriately that they needed to be quiet so that I could sleep. Quiana who had spent the afternoon visiting with her mother, not napping as usual, was in bed looking quite exhausted. Quiana, by the way, spent more time primping for that visit than she had had for her boyfriend. I don't think her mother gets passes very often and I suspect that Quiana was emotionally exhausted as well. Rhonda simply nodded.

Five minutes later I heard Rhonda's pleading tones and I knocked and openned the door again. I said, "Rhonda, I am exhausted. You have to be quiet."

Rhonda, "Do you know how to play chess?"
Me: "Not well."
Rhonda, "Me either! Will you play with me?"
Me: "Rhonda, I am exhausted. I have to sleep."
Rhonda: "Pleeeeease?"

I'm afraid I just looked at her like she was a giant bug and shut the door.

Five minutes later I walked by the room and heard, "Pleeease?" It wasn't too loud, but I was furious. I, without cause, anticipated that it was going to get louder. I want to tell you that I was also acting out of concern for Quiana's tiredness, but I'm not sure that that wasn't just an excuse.

I really was exhausted to the point of tears. There has been no one thing that I have done that I did not want to do. Some things I have recently done, like have visitors, I really wanted to do. But still it was true that I had had respite kids and/or company in the house for three weeks. I had not got enough sleep and I wanted to have a good cry and run away.

So when I heard that "Pleeeease?" coming from the room I transformed into the evil-monster-mommy. I threw open the door and said, not loudly but with venom, "What are you demanding from Quiana now?"

Quiana said, "She wants to play chess."

Rhonda said something, but I honestly don't know what it was. I said, "Okay. I will take away the chess set." I picked it up and walked out.

It doesn't sound that bad does it? Trust me, you had to be there. It was all in the 'tude. That and startling the crap out of her by throwing open her door.

Hubby, uncharacteristically, suggested that I apologize for at least opening her door without knocking. I told him that I was psychologically incapable of apologizing to Rhonda for being insensitive to her needs. I did tell her this morning that I should not have frightened her so much and that I had been exhausted. She just nodded, looking at me a little fearfully and went on.

We are at a point where she knows, or suspects, that I do not like her or am mad at her and she honestly doesn't know why.

I want to sit down with her and say, "Rhonda. There's been tension between us and maybe we should talk about it." But I'm pretty sure she will respond with wide-eyed sweetness and say, "Will you take me to the store and buy me Star Crunchies?"

I need a nap. I need more than a nap. I need a vacation from children and animals. I need to have a grown-up day somewhere and have a massage.


  1. {hugs}

    We just got back from a respite weekend to a message on the machine from Evil Caseworker that makes me want to say "to hell with this!" I also feel like I need a break, and I just had one!

    Hopefully you will make time for yourself the way that you make time for other people's kids. You need to take yourself to a store (preferably in another state!) and buy the adult equivalent of Star Crunchies (although I have no idea what that might be!).

  2. Sweetie, you need what I am going to do soon. Run away for DAYS to spend time with my friends and away from all needy kids, grandkids and spouses. I can't wait. I might get a massage out of it, if I look all big eyed at my girlfriend the massage therapist and say "please" in a pitiful voice. hee hee

  3. You know what? I may get flamed for this but perhaps that was exactly what she needed.

    Even if it wasn't, please don't beat up on yourself. It was a totally human thing to do.

  4. I'm with Granny. She had it coming (and it wasn't much of an "it"). Plus, I think the "I'm so scared" act is just another part of the "I'm so cute" act. My youth group princess does it all the time too. If I ignore it, it stops.


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