Camp/Vacation/Respite/Time Out/Relief

     Tomorrow we will drive Yelena to Maine for 3-1/2 weeks at camp. This is a milestone that I wasn't sure was going to happen this year. It was touch and go for awhile but then my husband and I sat down and decided that no matter what was happening with her, we would do everything we could to try to get her to camp. We are almost there...

     Looking back on the past few months: there were 6 days in the ER over Memorial Day weekend, then two weeks at a very mediocre in-patient hospital program, two weeks of a partial hospital program, graduation from 8th grade and then a total of 3 days that she went to school for the past month or so. She has been spending her days from 9 am to 9 pm at the public library.

     I happen to love libraries. I spent a large part of my childhood at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library looking at books. Yelena spends her days there on the computer going back and forth between a mind boggling mixture of Disney, anime, music videos and pornography. I went to check on her the other day and I asked the reference librarian what he would do if he saw a child in the library watching pornography. He said that he would do nothing. I asked if that was the official policy and he said that he didn't know what the policy was.  I asked to speak to his supervisor. I ended up speaking to a lovely woman who used to be a librarian in the children's room and has known Yelena for years. She said that the policy of the library was not to turn a blind eye to children doing potentially dangerous things on a computer and she would definitely go up to Yelena if she saw her watching something inappropriate and tell her that it was inappropriate. She said that she would find the exact wording of their policy and send an email out to all employees.

     Part of the reason that Yelena has refused to go back to school is because she said that it wasn't any fun. Did someone say high school was supposed to be fun??? Also, the therapist that she has had at school for the past three years and who she has been very close to, has decided to retire and told Yelena that her second day there. When I suggested that she might want to go to school to see Dr. M., Yelena said that she never wanted to see her again for the rest of her life and then proceeded to get very close to a tantrum on the subject. I think the strength of her reaction only belies exactly how hurt she is about losing Dr. M. This loss and the transition from middle school to high school has just about done us all in. Had I known that she would not be going to school, I would have sent her to camp for the entire summer. Hindsight is 20/20.

   I am thinking however, about planning a pleasant day with my husband after we drop Yelena at camp. I would like to explore an area we have never been before: find a new beach, lie on the sand for a few hours, a lobster roll, a beer, a swim in the ocean. Relax. Together. Just two of us.


This was the email I sent to her teacher this morning:

Yelena had a rough day yesterday. She was ready to go to school and then because the van was late, she said,  “I am not going to school if the bus is going to make me be late again” and went upstairs again. She came back down because I needed her to unlock the phone before I sent it to school (and remove the pornography). She got angry and started walking down the street. She spent the whole day at the library on the computer. 

When I went to get her at 6 pm, I decided to take a different tactic with her than "You need to come home now" because I knew that would not work. I pulled a chair up next to her and she shoved me and told me to go away. I said  "I need a hug." No response. I said it again and she said "Well, you don't deserve one." I did not say anything and I got up and walked away feeling really hurt. I realized a little later that she probably meant that SHE didn't deserve it.

She came home at 9 pm (when the library closes) and was very pleasant. (That was 12 hours on the computer in the library). She ate dinner and then lay with her head in my lap for about 1/2 and hour before she went to bed. I said that I knew this was a rough transition and I asked her how it was going at school and she said, “so-so.”

I had asked her if she wanted to go to camp and told her that she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to (inspire of the fact that I have already paid several thousand dollars for it). She responded emphatically that she did want to go. She had said the other day after she stole the phone at home (very sadly),  “I guess this means I won't be going to camp.” So I was thinking that either she was expecting that as a consequence or that she really didn’t want to go and was stealing so that we would tell her she could not go to camp. I am still not sure. She repeated yesterday how much she wanted to go to camp and I responded by saying that her actions were not indicating that. I asked if she wanted to go to a CBAT or to the hospital and she said she didn’t want to be away from her family again like that again for so long. Personally, I do want her to go to camp this summer because (aside from the money I already spent), my husband and I can really use a 3-1/2 week vacation.

Yelena told me last night that she didn’t want to go to school today because she was scared. I think she is worried about whatever consequence there might be at school for taking H’s iPhone (she told me that he had loaned it to her.) I said she had to go to school anyway and she said that yes, she knew that. I think she might be embarrassed about facing H and nervous because she doesn’t know how much the other students know about what happened.

She had trouble getting up this morning and has not had a shower since Monday night. I heard the cab honk their horn a few minutes ago and ran downstairs. (She had also forgotten her meds which I took down to her and she said: “Oh, I thought I had taken them." I leave them on the bathroom sink - it’s obvious.) I looked outside and realized the cab was stopped 1/2 way down the street with cars piling up behind him so I ran down the street in my nightgown and asked him to please turn around and come into our driveway. He said he didn’t know where the house was. Anyway, he did turn around and come back and honked and Yelena was sitting there eating pizza with a knife and fork and I said, “It’s 10 after 8 and they are waiting for you,” (the bus is supposed to come at 7:45 and she said, “I have not finished eating my breakfast.” I said put in on a paper plate and go.”  She kept eating. I think if I hadn’t gone downstairs when I did, she might not have gotten on the bus…

Stealing three phones and an iPod within the space of two weeks is a lot of theft even for Yelena. It could be the transition to high school, anxiety about the summer or something else. I know that she has got to be pretty upset about her therapist at school leaving because she hasn’t said one word to me about it and I haven’t asked her.

Anyway, I hope today goes well. I know that usually once she is there, she does fine. Let me know how it goes.