Wednesday Night

After Yelena and I finished dinner she went to play on her Wii for a few minutes while I did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen.  I went into her backpack to get her lunch box to empty it out and clean it and I took a casual look through while I was there. I found two dollar bills. Our deal is if Yelena is on time for school she can buy lunch but if she is late she has to take lunch from home then next day. She loves buying lunch at school. It costs $2.00. The other day she told me that she could have lunch for free. I don't really think that's possible or maybe it is possible for children who need financial assistance but I explained that we can afford to pay for her lunch and we needed to do so. She had the money left over so I told her she could use it the next day and didn't give her any money. Obviously she didn't pay the next day either. Today she told me that she could get drinks for free in the lunchroom if she brought her own lunch. Something is going on here and I need to ask her teacher.

In the pocket of her backpack I also found a ring which belongs to one of her brothers. When he was in high school, his football team won the "super bowl" of their league and he got one of those huge clunky  championship rings with his name on it. It cost several hundred dollars as I remember. This is after I put a padlock on door to the boys room to keep her out of their stuff. I took a deep breath and finished cleaning the kitchen. I poured Yelena a glass of seltzer and got her pills out and put it all on the kitchen table and called for her to turn off the TV and come into the kitchen.

We have been trying to reward her for doing things that we ask her to do by giving her a quarter if she (for example) turns off the TV the first time we ask her too. The last few days it hasn't been working at all and I have had to say ten or fifteen times: "Please turn off the TV NOW." When she finally turned off the TV and came into the kitchen she asked if she was in trouble and I said: yes. I asked her what was on the table and she looked at the ring and said she found it in her toy bin (not true). I asked if she knew who it belonged to and she said yes. I asked if she knew that it was important to him and valuable and she said yes. I said (in my very calmest Love and Logic voice) "OK, Yelena, there is going to be a consequence. I don't know what it is going to be yet but try not to worry."

And then, of course, all hell broke loose. She had been drinking out of her silver baby cup that a friend had given her when she first came home and she took the mug and threw it in the trash screaming "I don't care. I don't care." I said (very calmly) "That's OK" and went upstairs. I turned on the bathtub for her and asked her to get undressed and went into my bedroom. She followed me, I sat down at the computer on my desk and Yelena started punching me in the arm over and over again. I asked her if she liked to hurt me. I asked her   if by hurting me she wanted me to hurt her back. No answer (too sophisticated a question). I said "Alright, that's enough please get undressed and get into the tub. If you don't want to take a bath you can just go into your room and go to bed if you prefer." I googled something on the computer and it came back "Your search did not match any documents. Suggestions: Make sure all words are spelled correctly." She started to laugh at me and tell me that I couldn't even spell and that I was so stupid. I turned off the computer and stood up to leave. She grabbed my sweater by the neck and I could hear the stitches rip. She twisted the neck until I couldn't breathe. She twists my necklace until it is choking me as well. I said "Enough. Let go of me." She twisted harder. I said "Yelena I will call the police if you continue."  She said "Send me to a CBAT. I want to go to a CBAT." She sat down at the computer and googled  "seebat" got nothing and then googled "seabat" and still got nothing that made sense. I turned the computer off. She took a magazine off my shelf and tore it up. She took the laundry basket and dumped it on the floor. She took a chain that she wears around her neck with keys on it and started slamming it repeatedly on the wall and then on the chair.

It all gets confused in my mind. How did I get here?  I am scared. I am frightened emotionally and physically. She is very strong and she does hurt me. I try to remain calm and centered. I want to cry. I want to hit her but I don't. I take my cell phone and go downstairs. I have been well trained at this point: don't yell back at her, protect myself, walk away, stay calm, don't say anything I might regret, think before I speak, stay calm, walk away... I go downstairs and use the bathroom. Yelena comes down and knocks on the door. When I open the door, she dissolves in my arms:  "I'm so sorry Mommy. I won't do it again. I'm so sorry." I don't believe it of course. I have heard that so many times before. It's hard not to be angry and something in me doesn't want to soothe her.  I cannot say: "Oh, sweetheart, it's alright. Every thing's okay. I know you didn't mean it" because that's not true. She can't promise me that she will never assault me again because she has promised me that a hundred times...

She says, "I am so stupid. I am so stupid. Aren't I?. Over and over again. I say "No, sweetie, you are not stupid." Over and over again. She says, "You hate me. You hate me. Don't you hate me?" I say, "No, sweetheart I don't hate you. I love you. I will always love you. I don't care for your behavior sometimes but I don't hate you."

Finally she gets in the bath. She is at the point where she is taking forever in the bathroom. I go in over and over again to check on her progress. Taking a bath and drying off and putting her pajamas on can take hours. She asked me the other day if she could shave her legs. I was shocked at the question but I think that I was probably 12 when I first shaved my legs. I tell her to wait for the summer. She cut her pubic hair off with a pair of scissors a few weeks ago. She told me she shaved her legs. Or the part of her legs she could reach and she shaved parts of her arm. I noticed last night when she was in the bath that she had totally shaved her pubic hair. I wishes she had let me help her. I worry that she will cut herself. Maybe we have to lock up the razors?

My husband came home and she was in her pajamas playing with the cat. He asked her how her day was, what happened, did anything upset her? (I had talked to him on the phone while she was in the bath.) I hold up the ring and ask her if she can tell Daddy what happened. We have a very calm but slightly befuddled conversation about it. We try to get the basic points across: You may not hurt us, you may not steal things. She is calm now so she says she understands but I don't know if she really does understand.