Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rage Central

Well, more like mini tantrum central, actually. This morning, everything was off to a great start. I was straightening Hannah's hair and Mike was chilling in the family room with us, while he waited for Jack to get home from work with his car, so Mike could drive up to DC for work. We were having fun and joking around. Mike eventually left and Hannah went out to the car with him to bring in the coffee grounds that he had brought home from work on Thursday. They are for my compost pile. When Hannah carried the cans in, she held them against her chest and got a coffee ground stain on her shirt. Not good at all! It takes Hannah between a half an hour and two hours to pick out clothes for the day. She always does it the night before and wears them to bed, but don't get me started, I let the little things go. If you have a typical kid, you might not consider that a little thing, but for Hannah it really is. Now she had to leave for the bus in the next 2 minutes. Of course, she insists on going to the bus stop way too early, but she thinks she is late if she doesn't get out of the house at least 15 minutes before the bus comes. The stop is right in front of our house, so it isn't like she has a long walk.

Anyway, when she saw the stain, she freaked out! She started screaming that she would never be able to pick something else out before the bus came, etc. I tried to tell her we could spray a little Awesome spray on it and wipe it with a damp washcloth and it would probably come out. She was having none of it. She started screaming, well, not really screaming, but it is hard to describe. It was more like a long, deep rumbling grunt of total frustration. I know the sound well because I have made it myself in regards to some of her antics! She ran to the wall and started to kick it, then she ran to the french doors that lead to the living room and kicked those a bunch of times (they have glass in them, luckily, she only kicked the wood on the bottom), then she started kicking the bottom of the front door sidelight window. The whole time, she was emitting the uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound! No damage was done, other than some of the color from the sole of her shoe making a mark on the french door. At this point, I was trying to figure out just how she figured that taking the time to kick three different spots in the house would help her find a new shirt and get to the bus stop on time! She then ran upstairs, grabbed a different shirt and left.

She wants me to buy her a large punching bag to hang in her room. She thinks this would help her let out her rage in an acceptable manner. I think it would, if she is be able to keep it together long enough to actually go to the room to punch it. I have been looking for a cheap one on Craig's List and have even tried to ask for one on Freecycle, but no luck as of yet. I don't think one of those little balloon type ones would be effective. I think she needs the big, heavy kind and I know they are pretty expensive. We'll see what happens with that.

That was the mini tantrum. A few hours later, Steven woke up and the real fireworks began! Last week, when he got paid, he had cashed his check, kept out $30 for his weekly spending money, and given me the envelope with the rest of the money. Out of that, I was supposed to keep $25 for myself, since I had loaned him $25 and pay his bills with the rest. On Saturday, Mike had taken the money, to pay the bills and anything left into Steven's bank account. We have an account that is in his name and Mike's and Steven isn't authorized to withdraw from it. Since he isn't great about saving, this is the only way for him to save to get his car fixed. Mike forgot to leave Steven's weekly $30 spending money. So, following in his sister's footsteps, Steven decided to freak out, also. He didn't kick anything. He just yelled and said all kinds of mean, untrue and irrational things to me. Let's highlight a few of the really lovely ones. "I want to see a deposit slip because I make all kinds of money and it all disappears once Dad gets it." "This is bull sh*t." "I work all week and have all my money taken away." I could go on for a while, but you get the picture.

This happened twice. After I accused him of being rude, disrespectful and ungrateful, which I'm sure he wasn't listening to, as he was still screaming, I told him to get out of the house. I really don't have to listen to that crap in my own home. He went outside for about 10 minutes and I saw one of his friends come over. Then he came back in and started up again with the exact same drivel. I said the exact same thing I said the first time and then just refused to engage. He went back out in front with his friend. I emailed Mike and he called me and helped me calm down because although I handle things like this all the time and don't usually get that upset, this time I did. I think that it has to do with the fact that I took such good care of this kid when he got his dog bite and surgery. While I feel that it is my job and privilege to do so, as his mother, and I am really happy to do it and don't expect any thank you or reward for doing it, I also don't feel I deserve to be treated like that!

I think Mike called Steven's cell phone and talked to him because after about 20 more minutes, he came in and apologized (not sure how sincere it was, but it wasn't nasty) and asked if I could get the money from the ATM and then take it out of his bank account. Funny thing is, that is what I was first trying to tell him I would do when he started screaming at me!

Okay, just to get this straight. We have never stolen money from him, even though he is convinced that we have. We have taken small amounts at times (about $20-30 a month, with his knowledge) to help pay for the large balance we still owe from his 2 1/2 years of substance abuse treatment. As a matter of fact, we have supported him since April 10th, when he had his surgery. This support included changing bandages, keeping medication records and making sure he actually took them on time, driving back and forth to various hospitals, 4 specialists, physical therapy and administering IV's 24 hours a day. Not to mention the monetary help and food we provided when he couldn't work for several weeks in February and March, after the dog bite. We have paid almost all of his medical copays, for 2 ER treatments, surgery, and therapy. We haven't asked for one red cent in rent. We paid 3 months of his car payment when he was out of work for 7 weeks, even though paying it caused us to have to put groceries on a credit card which will probably never be paid off in our lifetime. And WE are stealing from HIM? Are you kidding me???????

Okay, I'm done, but that felt really good! Not sure how much sense it all makes and I don't have the energy right now to proof read, so it is going to get posted, as is. Steven behaved the rest of the day, so did Hannah. All in all Steven has been WAY better than he used to be. If I compare the way he was one year ago and the way he is today, I can't believe the difference. That makes it a lot easier to stomach what happened today. A year ago, I would think he really meant all those mean things, but now I know that he is as grateful as he can be and controls his temper as well as he is capable of doing. At times, it is obvious that he has to work very hard to do that, but he is doing it consistently. Shauna now likes him again, most times anyway. A year ago, she would cry every day and ask me when he was moving out. He is a lot of fun to be around 80-90% of the time now, as opposed to 10% or less one year ago. I call that real progress!

1 comment:

Miz Kizzle said...

How about showing Steven a printout of how much money you've spent on him for various treatments and car stuff?
Sometimes seeing things in black and white helps put them in perspective. He's not thinking of the thousands of dollars you've spent oh him, he just sees you asking for $20 or $30 of HIS money. Kids have built-in forgetters and sitting down with him and showing him what really happened might be helpful.
It would probably be best to do it at a time when he's not raging.