Sunday we were supposed to eat lunch at the park with both my parents and their spouses, my sister and her kids and of course my kids. Hubby was teaching scuba.
Saturday night after dropping off the kids at Grandma's to spend the night (I love this!), I got a call from Poppy (step-dad) saying that plans had changed. My sister decided to have lunch with ex-husband while our dad was in town to "supervise."
Alcoholic ex-husband just got out of jail and hopefully hasn't had time to completely fall off the wagon, as usual. Whenever Daddy is in jail (often), my sister tells her kids that their dad is very sick (which he is) and in the hospital (which he wasn't, although he has been - alcohol-induced hepatitis, bulemia, facial reconstruction after a bar fight, and of course, rehab...). She never takes them to jail/prison(s) to visit. So they are excited about seeing him. They are 6 and 9.
I worry that she is keeping this from them. They don't know better then to get in a car with him or let him take them somewhere. They probably feel abandoned by him. I guess it's better than constantly running him down (verbally - although the other has possibilities too!).
So anyway, I got to sleep in! Yea! Right up until 8am when my step-mom called to make sure I knew about the plan changes. *sigh* She thought I'd be awake getting ready for church, but Hubby had the car so I couldn't go. Of course I couldn't fall back asleep so I got up and puttered around. Even worked out a little!! Of course I pinched a nerve in my leg that has left my right thigh tingly and kind of numb and my neck totally out of alignment (saw our cousin the chiropractor this morning).
The kids were all upset that we weren't going to the park after all so my sweet parents (Grandma and Poppy), bought us lunch at Subway and took us after all.
Bob had other plans.
(Side Note: Bob apparently had pancakes for breakfast, 3 frosted sugar cookies, one bag of jelly beans, and "some candy" all before lunch. Don't know if that had anything to do with what happened, I'm just sayin'.)
Bob didn't want to go to the park. Bob wanted to stay home and veg in front of the TV. Bob wanted me to know that if I didn't let her go home, she was never going to eat again. Bob wanted a foot long instead of a 6 inch. Bob wanted to get her drink before her siblings. Bob wanted to tie her uninflated skinny balloon to her fingers and use it like a slingshot to torture her little brother. Bob wanted to keep her balloon even though I told her to give it to me. Bob wanted to start cussing and screaming and refusing to give me the balloon. Bob wanted to run away or die (not sure which). Bob wanted her stuff back. Bob wanted me to leave her alone. Bob wanted me to die. Bob wanted her necklace to not be broken.
I continued to calmly ask for the balloon. I gave her a choice between giving me the balloon now and getting it back in the future, or losing the balloon. Bob chose to keep yelling at me. I repeated her options and informed her that her choice in the matter would be made for her if she didn't choose. Bob chose to keep yelling and shove the balloon in her pocket so I couldn't get it.
I calmly opened the side door of the van and again asked for the balloon. Bob chose to keep yelling and cursing. I took away Bob's purse and pillow. Bob informed me that there was nothing I could do or take to make her give me the balloon. I reached out and held onto her necklace that she had on and informed her that she needed to give me the balloon because there WAS something I could take if I needed to. This is not her necklace by the way, just one I found a picture of that looks similar.
After screaming and cursing some more, Bob chose to gouge her nails into my forearm and that's why I went ahead and broke her necklace. At which point she hit me with a right hook to my cheek and then burst into angry tears. I managed to restrain myself from hitting her back. Poppy pulled up and Ponito and Kitty (gratefully I'm sure!) climbed into his car and went on to the park.
Bob was furious that I broke her necklace. I informed her that her necklace was not important, relationships were. Her necklace could be easily fixed, her relationship with me was not as easy. I asked Bob AGAIN what she was upset about. After raging some more about the necklace she told me she was miserable and I just didn't care. I knew that a lot of this had to do with her not being able to go to the private school because we didn't have the money. I sympathized a little with her, but now that she was rational I was also able to enlighten her to some reality.
Fact is she is beautiful, smart, healthy and friendly. (Just use your imagination to intersperse her denials and crying throughout this conversation). She has friends at school. She is making decent grades. She has her own room, nice clothes and plenty of food. She is allowed to attend school, there's not a war going on, she has a GOOD life.
By then I was pretty upset too. This has been a long week (ok, year) for me too. I challenged her to prove that she had more to be miserable about then me. She mentioned the private school of course, and her difficulty with some of her subjects, hating having to run in PE...
Then I probably made a bad choice and decided to list MY reasons for being miserable (owing back salary to our employees; hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to everyone; no income for over a year; no mortgage, credit card or bank loan payments in 4 months or more; knowing I need a biopsy for the possibly cancerous growths on my thyroid, but not being able to afford the deductible; knowing that my daughter wants to go to private school, but not being able to afford it; knowing all the children want extra-curricular activities like sports, but not being able to afford it; dealing every day with children with severe emotional problems; dealing with children who think it's OK to hurt me by biting me, hitting me and clawing me...
So we both stood there and bawled for awhile. Poor Grandma was stuck listening to it all (I know it's hard for her to hear what's going on with us and know that she can't help - financially anyway, emotionally and with the kids she's a huge support). Finally I reminded Bob that she'd had a lot of sugar and her blood sugar had probably dropped and was making her feel worse. I encouraged her to drink some of her soda and asked if she was ready to go to the park for lunch. She was.
At the park she had stomach cramps as we got out of the car (I reassured her that they were probably from the upset and hunger). She allowed me to put my arm around her and support a little of her weight (now that she's 5'9" and 160lbs there is no way I can support more than a little of her weight anymore!). As we ate our lunch she sat next to me and leaned on me. Yet another crisis over, and we're good again.
Of course now I have brusing and a bite mark on my right arm, gouges all over my left arm, and a nasty sunburn on the back of my neck from standing in the sun while Bob and I had our "discussion." I look like I was attacked by dogs. Both girls are acting as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened and it's all forgotten.
Bob is my biodaughter. I know for a fact she didn't grow up with the same trauma that Kitty and Bear did. I also know for a fact that she has a strong genetic predisposition for bipolar disorder (I have it, my mom has it, my maternal grandfather and all 6 of his siblings had it - all the males in his family committed suicide). Hubby's family has no documented cases of depression, but I can tell you that Hubby has probably been clinically depressed for most of the years I've known him.
Bob has always been "spirited." The book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka was the only reason we survived her terrible twos! (which started at 17 mos and ended at age 4!). Hubby thinks the reason we clash so much is because she's a lot like me and was genetically programmed to be able to push my buttons. He's probably right. The other children really can't get me riled up at all, and sometimes all it takes is a stubborn glare from Bob.
A few years ago, when we started having issues with Bob again (long before we started the adoption process again by the way!) we just decided it was hormones from early puberty (the doctor told us when she was 8 that she would most likely be starting within 6 months). Now she's 12, still hasn't started her menses, and is just as full of attitude as most of the special needs teens that I hear about on adoption blogs and forums. Some of it is probably that I have high expectations for her, and I know that. She's so big for her age it's easy to forget that she's younger. She's VERY smart too. And she can be kind, responsible, helpful and generous when she wants to be.
So my dilemna is:
is this (finally) hormones; is this learned behavior from Kitty and Bear (after all they "get away with it" all the time); is this PTSD from the stress of the last 2 years; is this just her personality; is this bipolar disorder (I started showing signs of depression at about her age)
... and what do I do about it?!!
Our insurance doesn't cover psychological testing. We've put Bob in therapy before (most recently when the kids first got here) and it turned out she only wanted to go to spend more time with me (and get treats like Kitty - I used to bribe Kitty so she would talk in therapy - hey, it worked!!). We can't really afford the co-pays for the current therapy sessions, let alone more.
What we're doing now though is not working and I just can't take any more stress.