“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”...“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered. He gazed at her a moment and then passed his hand quickly over his eyes...“A bit of earth,” he said to himself, and Mary thought that somehow she must have reminded him of something. When he stopped and spoke to her his dark eyes looked almost soft and kind. “You can have as much earth as you want,” he said. “You remind me of some one else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want," with something like a smile, “take it, child, and make it come alive.” “May I take it from anywhere–if it’s not wanted?”
Friday, July 6, 2012
The end is in sight...
We have had a rough several weeks here. Lil' Man's behavior has been off.the.wall. It was like when he first came to me, but worse. Aggression has again reared its ugly head...indiscriminate aggression: kicking, hitting, scratching, pinching, biting, screaming. Anyone in his way suffered his wrath. The scariest part was his running away. Last Sunday evening around 10 PM he refused to get in the car at a friend's house. He insisted on walking home...in the dark. This is a child who typically fears the dark and refuses to be out of my sight if he can help it. It was tempting to let him go ahead and walk home, but it would require him crossing a highway several times and he simply was not being rational enough at the time to do so safely. So, I tried following him in the car, hoping he would calm down. He didn't by the time it was all over I had called some friends to help me chase him down and get him in the car, complete with child locks. They then followed me home with blinkers on to make sure we got there safely. Meanwhile, he was in the back seat in fetal position screaming and wailing.
But that was just the beginning. We got to the house where he continued to rage and damage people and things...for 2 more hours. The scary part of it was, he would calm down for 5 minutes and then come back out of his room and try starting a new fight by demanding something he knew he was not going to get or even attacking one of the adults in the house again. By the end of the night when he finally calmed down and stayed in his room (thanks to a phone call to his Uncle Gus) I was the one crying and wailing in fetal position.
My friend kept telling me to call 911 and get him to a hospital. I knew that was what he needed, but here is the sticky part to that. The very sticky stuff that I have been whining about here for several weeks. You see, I am a foster parent through a treatment agency. Basically, this agency does more "hard to place" children. By "hard to place" they can be any of the following: part of a sibling group, failed placements in regular foster care, special needs, minority. We also have an in home counselor whom we see twice a week. Both agaency have an on-call number. During an emergency such as the evening in question, I new I wold be required to call both on-call numbers and keep them updated throughout the night. Not to mention deal with the police officers at the house, a likely ambulance transport to the hospital and then HOURS at the ER waiting to be evaluated by whatever Community Service Board psychiatrist got there to handle our case. In addition, during that long wait, Lil' Man would turn on his charm and glean snacks and treats from the nurses and anybody else who comes through. By the time of his evaluation, he would seem completely sweet and lucid and would be sent home hyped up on gingerale and honey grahams while I would continue to be distraught and exhausted. This completely beat mother would then be faced with vistis and constant phone calls and emails throughout the next day with all of the above mentioned people, but add to that the psychiatrist's office and pediatrician's office and be on call to drive an hour to the psychiatrist's office in the even they are able to make an appointment.
Was my discision not to call 911 selfish on my part? Absolutely. And I am okay with that. I have learned that sometimes my own self-preservation is the only thing that will keep us both surviving. I knew that I could not possibly keep track of all those phone calls and hours at the ER in my state of mind that night. So we slept it off.
On Monday, he tried running away again. I was specifically told by the in home counselor that if he tried it again, I needed to immediately call 911. This time I caught him in his room trying to figure out how to get out his window. When he saw me reach for the phone, he took off out the front door. By the time the police officer got here, he was wielding a baseball bat. A scrawny 10-year-old weilding a bat at two officers, yeah, like THAT doesn't look crazy. He calmed down when he saw that the vehicle said K-9 on it. This was the best display of RAD behavior I have ever seen in my life. He told the officers of how horrible I am to him (for instance I banged his head off the ground and threw him in the car the night before and wouldn't let him go outside today so he had to run away), then he started telling them how much he knew about K-9's and how he was going to be a police officer one day. He also wanted to know if the officers were going to "set loose the dog" on him. Anyway, of course, once he calmed down they had no reason to send him to the ER in an ambulance or even a squad car (he was quite proud of his last squad car ride). I was devasted, in all honesty. I had lost my confidence that I could keep him safe. So I called the psychiatrist's office for the 4th time that day and asked them what to do. They told me to drive him to the nearest ER. So I did. Eight hours later,at midnight, the on-call psychiatrist sent him home.
SO, I had to make it through another night of his sleeplessness, door alarms turned on, and frustration until the next day when I would have to awake early, clean up the house and prepare for visits from the in-home counselor and later the caseworker and adoption worker. Needless to say I was in no mood to deal with any of them. We made it through that day with the only major issue being a fit of rage that resulted in two full glass water pitchers broken and spilled on the kitchen floor. Funny. It happened just an hour before the caseworker and adoption worker arrived. Naturally, I had enough. I made him clean up his mess. And, believe it or not, the two individuals on earth who think I am WAY too hard on the sweet, cute, charming, little boy they couldn't find any other home for (aside from a residential treatment facility) when they placed him with me...those two...the two who think I am harsh and punitive and not aware of ALL HE's BEEN THROUGH...yup...they actually agreed with my decision to make him clean up the mess he's created, AND gave me permission to have him pay for the window blind, curtain rod, and pitchers that he broke in his fit of rage.
So, today, my child spent $30 at Walmart fixing his mess-ups. Pity. There was not enough left for a new Lego set. And you know what? He ended the shopping trip by saying, "Boy, THAT fit sure wasn't worth it!" Hmm...that's a first. maybe they should have let me do it my way a long time ago. Snarky and smug today? Guilty as charged.