Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ups and Downs

The party was a huge success! Alyssa was a wonderful hostess. She welcomed each of her guests and made sure that she introduced everyone to each other. Most of the kids were school friends, but a couple were kids of family friends. And they didn't know anyone else. Alyssa made sure she spent time with each of her guests and encouraged everyone to hang together.

I was very proud of Alyssa and told her many times throughout the night. She received some really nice gifts, and did a good job of making each girl feel good about the gift they chose. She had one small snafu when she opened a gift and it was a shirt that she already had. She let it slip that she already had it but when I glared daggers at her, she quickly covered with "But now I have 2 and won't wait for Mom to wash it before I can wear it again - I Love that shirt!" The little girl went from frowning to smiling, so I guess Alyssa said the right thing! Other than that one slip, the night was awesome!

We let Alyssa invite one friend to sleep over after the party and of course she chose K. Those 2 kids decided to build a fort. They had every blanket in the house piled in the living room, and stuff scattered as far as the eye could see! I gave up the fight at 1:00am and went to bed. I was told in the morning that the girls finally went to sleep at 3:00! They did a good job of cleaning up their mess in the morning and then K had to go home.

Alyssa was sad, but appropriate in her emotions. We ran some errands and decided to have a movie night because it was raining and icky outside. We watched two movies and then I shipped Alyssa off to bed. I FINALLY got to see 27 Dresses! I say finally because I have rented this movie 3 times already and never had a chance to actually watch it! It was definitely worth the wait.

Sunday was a pretty normal day for us. Sunday school, church, and the Packer game. Packers won - YEAH!!!

Monday morning, all hell broke loose in our house.Alyssa was bound and determined to self sabotage her day.My concern is this. While trying to use the tools that Paulette has given us, (I was using the 1, 2, 3 warning, basically counting to three and if her attitude didn't stop, she would have a predetermined consequence) and Alyssa actually threatened to call the police and tell them that I threatened her and I'm mean! I got angry! As it was, I told her to go ahead and explained what would happen if they thought she was telling the truth! I actually asked her if she wanted to go back to a foster home. I know, me bad! I then handed her the phone and asked her if she still wanted to call. I guess she changed her mind. Her attitude or should I say outright defiance, was off the charts! I also got an email from her teacher saying she disrupted Math testing and needed to stay in at recess! I was concerned at the level of defiance and also her threat to call the police so I emailed Paulette for advice. This was her response:

Wow--what a morning! How interesting that it comes after such a good weekend. It sounds like you
handled it as best you could. Do you think Mondays and the transition from the weekend is generally
a difficult thing for Alyssa? Also, remember that kids who have the history that Alyssa has can unconsciously
undermine positive experiences--like they don't deserve them--or that they won't happen again anyway--so they
do things to control when they go bad!
In terms of what to do: first off, just breathe and stay regulated yourself for
starts. When the time is right for you and her emotionally this afternoon or evening I think I would try
to gently explore what she thinks made today so difficult for her after such a good weekend.
What got her so off track? She might have some thoughts to offer on this, or not. You might pose some
of your own thoughts to her if you have some about what might have triggered such a reaction. (Was she
worrying about the math testing? or some other worry related to school?)
You might then try what I call some collaborative problem solving together. Acknowledge both hers and
your own concerns (hers may just be "I want to stay in bed" but it's still her concern)
about the morning time and how things go, then ask her if she has any ideas to
take care of the problem, then you can offer some of your own ideas and see if the two of you
can come up with a solution together that can work for both of you to make your mornings go better.
Try to move forward from this morning. I wouldn't focus on trying to come up with consequences for her
behavior this morning, but would focus more on coming up with a solution to work together better in the future.
Offer confidence and encouragement that you have solved other problems together and that there are no problems
too big for all of you to figure out together.

Paulette's response allowed me to put Alyssa's behavior into perspective. I couldn't get past Alyssa saying she was going to call the police. I called Jeff and told him what Paulette's response was and he said he would talk to her after school.They had their talk, and Alyssa admitted that she was thinking about her old family and missing them. Jeff and Alyssa made a pact that Alyssa would talk about her feelings before her attitude took over. She apologized profusely when I got home from work and Jeff said she was crying real tears, so I think it was sincere. She attacked her chores (consequences) with gusto, and even did extra stuff just to help out the family.

This morning was much better. Not perfect, but we left the house on time and no tears were shed!Tonight we have a meeting for Alyssa's choir and then she will be finishing up her chores. My windows are really dirty, so I think I'll let her clean them!


Unspeakable Joy said...

we do get that super confusing crazy bad after a good time. drives me nuts, but i do think they just don't feel right when they feel good!