Or should I say Teens, Teens, Teens . . .
Lily is accustomed to getting her own way in almost everything. That dynamic has been in flux since starting with the new therapist during the summer, and of course Lily is pushing limits to hold onto control. I don't blame her, but it sure makes life interesting in some challenging ways.
She's in school (YAY!!!) and achieving good grades - fantastic! She's so smart, so capable. But it is hard for her. Socially, she really struggles, so being around hundreds of other teenagers is uncomfortable. We're just beginning to work on socialization issues, and I believe we'll make good progress.
But she's becoming more resistant to attending school. She's getting up in the morning and complaining about being confused. I don't think I really buy that anymore. She knows me well and plays on my sympathy. I love her, I want things to be comfortable for her. But that's not the best thing for her. Life can be hard, and she needs to be able to cope. I can't, don't want to, always pave the way for her. She'll never become more confident if I'm stepping in so she doesn't have to handle things.
So I'm getting better at holding a hard line. Last week she missed a day of school after a morning full of drama. Crying, refusal, pleading that she was incapable of going to school. I was rushed, trying to get her brother to school on time, not wanting to facilitate Lily's behavior. I ended up leaving her home alone, her choice, while I drove her brother to school. I told her to get her things ready and I'd take her to school after I dropped her brother off.
She phoned her grandma to complain that I left her home alone and didn't care that she didn't feel good. She wanted Grandma to rescue her. To my mom's credit, she talked with Lily, reminded her that she's a strong, capable girl and that she'd be OK. She also told Lily she could stay with her while I attended my classes. I wanted to get to my classes, and I gave in and took Lily to my mom's.
Today was different. I got Lily's things together, insisted she get her shoes on and insisted she get into the car. She cried and yelled all the way across town. I kept telling her she'd manage, that she could get through school even if she didn't feel well. I told her she didn't have to be perfect, she just had to be present. She yelled some more.
We dropped my son off first and drove on to the high school. Lily spent her time trying to provoke me. Tapping on my face, blowing snot indiscriminately, kicking the dash.
Worst mommy moment? When I told her if she didn't leave my face alone I was going to smack her. I wouldn't, but I can't say I didn't want to. I've already called her therapist to ask for better ways to handle this one.
Best mommy moment? When I told Lily that even though it had been a fucking hard year, I was still her mom and would tell her what she needed to do, where she needed to be, that she would attend school. Yeah. I said that.
I parked across the street from the school and got out to walk Lily in. I pulled out her backpack and waited for her to climb out. Yes, I was that angry mom standing on the sidewalk shooting her dear daughter mean looks while angrily exhorting her to get out of the car and get into school. When I finally threatened to take away her computer privileges for a week she got out of the car. Then she wiped snot on me and I took computer privileges away for a week anyway.
Lily still wasn't ready to go to class, so we went right in to see the vice principal and Lily's resource teacher. Can I just say that this is an amazing team? Amazing. They were calm, respectful, and firm. They backed me up and efficiently confirmed that yes, Lily needed to be in school if she had no fever and wasn't throwing up. I clarified that spitting on the floor didn't count as vomit. Was that petty?
Lily was sent off to class with a tardy pass, and I left, tired but victorious. Not elated, not celebrating, but having won an important battle for Lily.
She will attend school.