After the growth of the last two days, we've had a bit of regression. Me too!
It actually started last night when I wouldn't let Ms. D bring a neighbor cat in for the night. Too many of us have allergies to cats to have one of our own. It was raining, and Ms. D thought it was so cruel to leave it outside. She has been giving it a lot of attention lately, giving it snacks and sneaking it into her room. But it's our neighbor's cat, not ours. The cat is well fed, friendly, and though it spends a lot of time outside, it is well cared for. If the cat went home, I'm sure it would be brought inside. But in her mind they aren't doing a good enough job and the cat likes her, so she should be able to have it.
And I am sure paying for it today. Ms. D has been disrespectful, moody, and has refused to do her schoolwork. I am fighting a cold, so I didn't handle her behaviors very well this morning. The combination of Ms. D's behaviors and my grumpiness rubbed off on Mr. I. The worst part for me was when they played the God card and said they don't believe in God or the Bible. Mr. I quickly retracted the statement, but Ms. D knew that her unbelief would cut me deeper than just about anything else. She knows what hurts and is not afraid to use it to get what she wants, which is a cat or dog.
I read a blog today from another adoptive mom of kids with FASD. She wrote about the toddler rules of possession that people with FASD struggle with here and here. I think part of the problem is that both kids struggle with impulse control and ownership issues (others would call it stealing), probably caused by FASD. My kids have grown considerably in this area, but it still pops up from time to time, usually within the family. Ms. D wants the cat, so she feels like she should have it. It doesn't matter that we can't have a cat because of allergies or that the cat has an owner that is taking reasonable care of it. She wants it, so she should have it, and I'm being terribly mean to not let her have it or bring it inside.
As I'm writing this, I am realizing that there also might be something deeper. I don't know if she can verbalize it, but I'm wondering if there might be some adoption issues going on here too. Just like we got the kids after they were neglected, maybe she feels she should be able to take in a cat that she feels is neglected. She might also be wondering why would I make her stop taking care of the cat at our house because it has another family. Is she thinking I might do the same with her, now that she found her birth family? Or is she resentful that she can't go back to her first family where she feels she belongs?
So I need a lot of wisdom here. I talked to the kids about showing respect, even if they don't agree with someone in authority, but I wonder how I can talk to Ms. D about some of these other things, like faith, responsibility, and adoption. It's hard enough with teenagers, but it's even harder with a girl with FASD, MR, and a bit of RAD.
Sometimes parenting is pretty hard and scary.