Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tonight's Crazy Train, Part 1

WARNING: This post will not be lovey-dovey. Nor will it contain language you’d be comfortable saying around a pastor or your great aunt Tillie. Unless she hangs around angry, drunk sailors. I’m not drunk, but I wish I was. And I am very, very angry.

Tonight, Hubby and I were supposed to go to a concert together. I won the tickets, Dawn was supposed to babysit, and Leigh and Danae were supposed to help with the babies, so Hubby and I could have a date.


Clearly, if I’m blogging, it didn’t happen. Fuck. I wish I had a time machine.

It started at about 3 PM with Dawn trying to bail so she could go to the movies with Marie. I complained, she realized that you don’t bail on parents when they’re asking for your help to go to a free concert of a top 40 band without their kids.

Then, as we’re leaving, Leigh asks us to unlock the TV. Unlocking the TV means giving them complete access to cable TV and all its variegated glory. No.

We’re pulling out of the driveway, and Danae comes sprinting out of the house, complaining that Leigh called her a fucking bitch and won’t give her the remote so they can turn the TV off. I told her that Leigh had every right to watch TV and to leave her alone.

We’re driving down the street, as I call the house phone. Leigh answers. “What?” Loudly and rudely.
“Since I pay for that phone, you will follow my phone rules. I’m hanging up now, and when I call back, follow them.”

I counted to 20. Dialed. Better answer.

As I’m talking to Leigh about what lead to her sister being a fucking bitch, I hear Danae yelling, “You’re the fucking bitch! Give me the goddamn remote!”

Leigh’s response, “No! Quit being so bossy!” I hear muffled scrapes and grunts, and then Leigh wailing, Dawn trying to separate them. I tell Hubby to turn around. We go home to find Leigh in her room sobbing, Danae cranking up the stereo and Dawn straightening the furniture.

Danae and Leigh had gotten into a fucking FISTFIGHT over the remote. I told Danae to go to her room. She then had the complete lack of sense to argue with me and tell me that it was no wonder Leigh had such fucking problems.

Really? Because for the last nine years, I didn’t know why Leigh was so fucking crazy, because it’s been just SO MUCH fun living with her. Leigh has nothing to take away, so her being in her room is her punishment. I go to Danae’s room and tell her to give me her phone. She told me no, that it’s hers. Okay fine. You paid for half. I’m not going to wrestle. I’ll just turn the damn thing off. If I don’t get to have fun tonight, no one does. I said that out loud as I was walking away. “That’s part of Leigh’s problem, you’re so fucking selfish!”

I go to the living room, call the phone company, shut her phone off, and start cleaning. It was either clean or hurt someone, and I try at all costs to avoid violence. (Keep reading. There’s more of that.)

While I’m on the phone with the phone company, Danae comes out and asks if she can talk to me outside. I said, “I need some time to calm down. Give me a little longer.” She stomps off, “Well at least I can say I tried.”

In my “not my proudest mommy moment”, I called after her, “I didn’t tell you to fuck off! I told you to give me a little bit of time!” As I was saying this, the operator came back on, and we had a very awkward parting conversation.

Two minutes later, Danae storms into the living room. “DID YOU REALLY SHUT OFF MY PHONE?” yes. OHMYGOD THAT’S THE ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT SO YOU TAKE IT AWAY NO MATTER NO ONE WANTS TO LIVE HERE.She stomps to her room. I follow. i’m sorry you feel that way. Is there somewhere else you’d like to be? ANYWHERE BUT HERE! fine. I’ll help you pack.

She spins around and finds me in the doorway, and tries to move me using the door. I told her that it would be a very good idea for her to take two steps backward because going toe to toe with me was not a smart choice. She leaned in and started yelling in my face that we were stupid, that we never punish leigh, that we can’t control her, and generally going over all of our parenting failures. I turned around and walked away.

Why did I walk away?

It was either that, or I was going to hit her. Not just push her backward. I wanted to punch. Fingers curled in, nails digging into my palms, thumbs crossed over my fingers, pointer and middle fingers held as a flat surface… I wanted to punch. I know how to. I've taken karate, but I wasn't passionate about it enough to stick with it.

I joke about wanting to punch people a lot. But I have never actually done it. In my head, though, I could see my fist connecting with her face, and knew I had to turn away.

She slammed and locked her door. I went to clean some more. As I cleaned, I came to this conclusion: As parents, we cannot control our children. All we can do is distract them if they’re young, and guide them as they grow.

And in Danae’s case, she LOVES control. She wants to be the boss. Always. And if she’s not, she gets mean about it.

I went to her room, tried the handle, knocked. When she opened it, I told her that there was no reason to lock her door. I asked her if she was ready to talk, and she rolled over on her bed. Okay, fine, I said. But here’s something you need to think about: ….. then I told her what my conclusion was.

She lit into me. She’s tired of Leigh always getting to do what she wants. She’s tired of never getting to do what she wants. She hates that her stress caused her to fail her classes and lose the one thing she’s always loved: school. She’s tired of me and Hubby not doing anything with Leigh and her behavior.

And I lost it. Nine years of frustrated parenting came spilling out. Among other things I told her are the following (and we were standing outside Leigh’s door, and since I was yelling at the top of my lungs I’m sure the people on the next block heard everything):

I tried this in all caps to emphasize that it was all at the top of my lungs, but it was too hard to read. So I put in reminders....

1. We have tried everything we know to do. Therapy, counseling, meds, absolute control, spankings, more therapy, threats of jail. Everything.

2. And when those didn’t work, we called caseworkers and experts and we were told to hospitalize her. We can’t because she’s not homicidal or suicidal.

3. And when we asked caseworkers for help, we were told to give her back, that we’d done all we could, that they’d put her in a group home and we could get on with our lives.

4. And when we asked the probation officers and the court to lock her up, we were told THAT her crimes (a broken razor blade used for cutting at school and one pot-smoking incident) weren’t enough to lock her up.

5. (and I’m still yelling) And when we adopted Dawn, and then again you(Danae), people told us we were stupid, fucking crazy, out of our minds and out right dumb. And those same people, when they have seen the issues you guys have, they have told us to take your asses back to social services and give you back.

6. (still yelling) but we didn’t. Because real families don’t ever give up on their kids. No matter how crazy, no matter how fucked up, no matter how mean, controlling, bitchy, scary, or just plain bad.

7. And you know why i walked away from you earlier? It’s because I wanted to hit you, but I walked away because I’m not that kind of person. I’ve never hit Leigh or Dawn in anger, and I’ve only actually “hit” dawn in self-defense. Do you have any idea what kind of self control it has taken for nine years not to beat the living shit out of you guys? You drive me batshit crazy and I swallow it and hold it back because I know it won’t do any good.

8. And I’m 38 years old and all I’ve ever really wanted to be was a mom and I fucking suck at it, which is one of the reasons we don’t think we want to keep the babies because if you look at our track record we fucking suck at being parents and we don’t want to set these babies up for failure because they deserve better than this. (Still yelling, now gesticulating like the crazed ranting Italian mama I am.)

9. So Danae, if you think you’re frustrated at being in this family, imagine how it feels to be us, knowing there’s not a fucking thing we can do to make it better. (Done yelling.)

At that point I turned around, and went in my room, and put my head into my pillow and cried. I didn’t lock my door, but I did slam the hell out of it.

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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!!