Thursday, June 17, 2010

Natural consequences or a subsitute for cutting?

Today was blissful. It almost makes up for tonight. I took the teenagers to the beach, and as much as they are capable, they behaved. We saw dolphins and pelicans, a cute baby in a shark suit, and floated in the light waves chit-chattin about not much of anything. Danae held her sharp tongue in check most of the afternoon, and Leigh worked at being appropriate. Except where sunscreen is concerned. It was 96 degrees today. In the shade of my carport, with a light breeze. You can imagine what the temp was in the unrelenting sunniness of the beach. It was hot. I, being of Italian and Cherokee descent, could feel my skin baking through my SPF 60. Danae, who is 25% black, 50% Hispanic and 25% other, just got browner. Leigh, who's dark side only accounts for 25% of her genetic background, is not so lucky as to turn brown right away. She turns magenta. Painfully, painfully deep pink. Then peels. Then turns brown. I used my suncreen. Danae doesn't ever need it, and Leigh, who knows she needs it, refused it... despite the motherly warnings and reminders about the last time she didn't use it. And when one refuses to wear sunscreen, one must pay the inevitable consequence: Painful sunburn all over her chest, arms and face. Then tonight, as I was doing my chores and nagging at the whiningly red Leigh to do hers, these thoughts crossed my mind:
  1. Leigh is on probation.
  2. Leigh's probation is through juvenile mental health court.
  3. Mental health court has ruled that self-harm is not allowed.
  4. Leigh hasn't cut since being on probation, but she has done other things that "hurt," but that don't constitute cutting.
  5. Could this be one of them?
Let's look at the evidence. In the past six months, since the entrance of the court in our lives, Leigh (who tests borderline gifted) has:
  1. Cut off all her hair and some of her eyebrows (and "accidentally" some skin) with an eyebrow shaper razer stolen from my room
  2. Pierced her lip, nose and both ears--with pins and earrings she had in her bedroom
  3. When those piercings got infected after we made her take them out, she had lots to pick at.
  4. Purposely worn too small shoes to the point of blisters.
Hmmmm.... I guess I'll add this to the ever expanding list of behaviors to discuss with the therapist, and practice my aim with the spray sunscreen. Because let's face it, finding a babysitter for a 15 year old RAD kid is impossible on the very best of days.


  1. Danae DOES need people get skin cancer, too.

    (Enjoy your blog!)

  2. The only fostering/adopting I intend to do is of kitties, but I keep being drawn to blogs like yours; I'm starting to think I might want to look into providing respite care someday. Some RAD kids can be trusted around cats, right?

    ...I'm a writer, I figure I could use a little insanity too. ;-)

  3. Anonymous... I do know that, I'm just unwilling to fight the sunscreen vs. sunburn battle if they aren't willing to use common sense.

    Corinn, I have four outdoor kitties that need homes you can take, and doing respite is a good start to see if you'd like to foster long term... GO FOR IT!!

  4. Complicated life...just when you think a trip to the beach will be a vacation. ha.


If you are an adoptive parent or have one in your family somewhere, talk to me. I could use some insanity that does NOT call me mom!!