Saturday morning I came downstairs to the smell of smoke. I found my daughter sitting at the kitchen table with two lighters and what was left of her birthday candles and the shabbat candles. There was wax all over the table and she had put a dishcloth down under the candles in a misguided attempt protect the table. I am not sure that she understood why I was angry and these situations become really difficult for me. She knows the rule and can recite it: We do not play with matches or fire. I think she knows what it means but I am not sure that she can connect the rule to what she was doing.
Yelena has a hard time with boundaries. Many different kinds of boundaries. What hers is hers and what belongs to anyone and everyone else is hers as well. Her old therapist used to call it "Sticky Fingers." I think that she just sees something she likes and it ends up in her pocket and she has no Jiminy Cricket to help her figure out what the right choice would be and ask: "Should I be doing this? Is this OK?" In fact, I am not sure that she has what other people would consider to be a conscience.
A few weeks ago I put a padlock on the door to the boys room and also one on the kitchen pantry. So I can lock the lighters and the candles in the pantry now. I thought she would be angry when I put the padlocks on but but I think she actually felt relieved. I have tried to ask her what goes through her mind when she is about to do something wrong but I she can't articulate it. With the padlocks, the choice is taken away from her and she doesn't have to think about it at all.
Today when I picked her up from school, she told me that she had missed drama (her favorite) and her appointment with the school adjustment counselor because her teacher made her stay in the room and finish a science assignment that she had for homework last night.