Back to school

imamommyAugust 24, 2011

I used to look forward to it.. the sales, shopping, etc. I loved it when my kids were in school & tried to have the same enthusiasm when SD came to live with us. (and I did for the first couple of years) Each year, it's gets worse with SD... now I dread the words because it means she is coming back here for 9 months. I hate feeling this way but I dread it. I have marked my calendar for when next summer vacation starts & she can go back to her mom's.

She's been back since August 7th. School started on the 10th. Her grades are the same... she has 60% on most of her assignments. She got a 28% on her "diagnostic" test for math. (I'm assuming that's like a placement test to see what she knows) So, I give up & see no point in saying anything about her grades... she wants to fail. If she were my kid, I would hold her feet to the coals & go sit with her in class until she starts doing her work & make sure she pays attention. But, she's NOT my kid.

I'm even going to counseling now because of this. It kinda pisses me off that she's the one that NEEDS counseling & I'm the one that has done so much for her... yet I am the one that ends up in the counseling to figure out how to live with this kid... and not go crazy. Last weekend, she went to her mom's house on Friday & called DH that night to tell on me. DH & I were cuddling by each other when she called. She asked him if he was where he can talk. He said yes. (I guess she meant, if he was away from me but he had no idea she was going to tell him "secrets" behind my back) So, I heard her say my name & tell him that I told her not to call my dad "grandpa". (which is NOT true) We had a conversation where she said DH's mom is not grandma to my kids & I asked her what makes my dad her grandpa then? (everyone is her grandparent... BM's parents, DH's parents, my parents & BM's BF's parents...) so I guess she interpreted my question as a request to stop calling my dad grandpa. The Monday after she came back... she wanted DH to confirm he hadn't told me of her call. He assured her he didn't. Of course, he also didn't tell her I was sitting right there & heard it myself. So, on our way to school Monday, I asked her "what did your dad tell you when you called him?" and she got a look on her face that said it all... "uh oh, she knows" and mumbled nothing. I asked her "did it work?" She said "what?" and I said, "trying to break us up by calling your dad to get me in trouble & make him mad at me?" She said, "I don't know, I guess not" I was shocked just a little that she didn't even deny that was what she was trying to do. I guess I expected her to deny it but she's been trying to break us up since we got together... when I think back to things she's done over the years. I guess the answer is to not talk to her AT ALL. It seems she will twist whatever is said. The counselor did say that DH should not have even listened to her. He should be able to see when she tries to make it a secret, how horrible I am to her. Of course, when I told DH this, he said she's his daughter... he HAS to listen to her or she will feel he doesn't care about her. I disagree but maybe we can address it in counseling together. He finally agreed to go with me.

The other things SD has done that DH brought up to me (because she never talks at all when I'm around).. I guess picture day is this week so she asked him, "would you get mad if my mom buys a picture package?" Of course he said no... but he thought it was strange for her to ask in that way, as if he gets mad over what her mom does... especially when it would be a nice thing for her mom to buy pictures or show ANY concern for her daughter.

The other thing that I heard.. only because she knocked on our door & I was in the room with DH... I bought snacks for SD to make her lunch. She has chips, cookies, some cake things & fruit. Last year, I didn't buy any sweets at all. I gave her cheese crackers, raisins, fresh fruit, carrot sticks, etc. But she complained. She likes twinkies. So, this year I give up & buy her a little of everything. The first week of school, the fruit went bad because she didn't take it so I tossed it. The second week, I hadn't been to the store so she knocks on our door in the morning & asks DH, "what am I gonna take for fruit?" in a tone like we are depriving her of her basic needs! I'm just so sick of it and I told my husband that for the last five years, if I told her to ride her bike, why can't I ride my scooter. I tell her to play in her room, why can't I play outside. If I tell her to play outside, Ima makes me go outside & won't let me in the house. I give her peanut butter & jelly sandwich, it's abuse. I do the shopping & thought it would be fine since I bought some of everything... but, she finds a way to be a victim no matter what it is.

I'm just beyond frustrated. I am praying. I am taking stress management classes. I am going to counseling. I am not yet ready to leave my marriage but it has become a strong consideration. (and DH's family is still upset with me... over things SD says to them, but also because the job I gave his brother didn't work out. They've said things on Facebook that were not nice, but I've ignored it. Still, it isn't going to be pleasant when we are supposed to get together around the holidays.) I don't drink but thinking I might... just kidding of course, my mom is an alcoholic so I relax with a drink about once every two years if that. (hence the stress management classes) Anyway, just wanted to vent & welcome any advice or opinions. (If you don't know my background... read the thread "those damn pants"

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I am confused. To me, if a child gets 60% on assignments, and 28% on diagnostic, that to me usually means the child is hard working, but either not very intelligent, missing basic skills etc.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:45PM
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I'm so sorry, Ima. The situation just gets worse and worse and DH really needs to open his eyes.

I'm glad he agreed to go to counseling with you---that's a start. And no matter what, it's great that YOU are going for yourself. That's really all you CAN do at this point. Disengage (which you have/are) as much as possible and let DH parent (or not) his own daughter.

Focus on yourself, as you are, and trying to keep your marriage going. If it gets to the point that you NEED to leave for the sake of your sanity, I don't think anyone would fault you for that.

Does DH know just how much of an emotional toll this situation has taken on you and your relationship with him?

I feel for SD but at the same time, she's had sooo much help and caring and love extended to her---the majority from you---and yet all she does is spit in your face. She is old enough to know what's an acceptable way to treat someone and what's not. At some point, the sympathy ends. I still have *empathy* for her but my sympathy has dwindled.

Hang in there!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 10:40PM
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KKNY, I think the 28% on the diagnostic is either she knows very little at the 7th grade level or she wrote down anything to get the test done because she didn't feel like thinking of the answers. I don't know. She has turned in all math assignments so far & has gotten a few 100% but just as many 60%, which is a D. So, is she an A student? (as evidenced by her ability to get 100%) or is she a D/F student? I think she has the ability, I've said that for years. That is one of my frustration with her. She can do well when she wants but claims to not know anything or just take the bad grade when she doesn't feel like trying.

Tonight she started crying because she has a project due Sept. 9 & wants DH to work on it. He did her last project last year because she waited until it was due & didn't have time to do it, he felt bad & did the whole thing. Then realized after that it was wrong so this year she is to do it all herself.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:05AM
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You've tried so hard with this kid, Ima...yet the harder you tried to help this kid, the more she resents you and kicks you. Pretty sad, considering you've been the one of true best intentions with the kid.

Crying two weeks prior to project due date is nothing but pure manipulation. She's banking on Daddy's heartstrings to pull her buns outta having to do what all the other kids are expected to do.

The 28% would be below standard basic grade level which appears to be about right in line with her daily performance of d/fs. A couple decent scores on math in the first couple weeks would be considered no big accomplishment as the first couple weeks is basically review and not new lessons. It really does beg the question is she really struggling or does she just not care. She seems to be able to learn and retain pretty selectively.

The 'fruit' incident is almost comical. A perfect response from Dh should have been 'well, what fruit did you take last week?'. She's playing games and it's on a very immature vindictive level. Ima the Evil One seems to be the newest target and as Dh's family is bent outta shape over the BIL thing she sees herself having her best chance of getting rid of the lady who poops on her party. JMO.

The counselor is correct. DH should not be playing to the attempt. Refusing to play her game does not mean Dh does not care about the child...but she sure does know how to work him. Rather like the last party food incident. Daughter with others as her pawns turns Ima into the bad guy picking on the poor innocent 'victim'. I really hope with Dh going to counseling with you that the counselor can help Dh see this.

I'd be tempted to let the grandparent take SD to school and worry about picking her up. I realize it'd give them all one more thing to say 'Bad Ima' over, but I think it'd be one less stress factor for you in that currently it must be awful to haul around the kid bent and determined to push you under the bus. Until this kid learns to show a bit of respect, you don't 'owe' her anything and you need to focus on avoiding all the stress factors that you can. Couped up in a car with a kid that is either turning everything you say around and/or scrowling at you is just something you don't need to start your day with.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:16AM
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IMA ... I can relate to you more than anyone else on here but mine is triple fold (3sks) ...I have to go food shopping today and will not be buying anything fun .... dinner stuff nothing fun for dinner basic one pot meals .... school starts tues ... the kids haven't asked for anything... I refuse to go shopping with out them but will not take them alone either so they will be wearing old raggety clothes and using old backpacks and binders

I hate that hubby and mom acknowledge SD's whatever and listen to her complaints as if they were valid. I know the feeling like you are the crazyone because everyone validates that the victim is not you its the poor child. When you break it down to the highlights really really are we the only ones who see what these little girls are doing.

SD does the same thing basically she won't talk to me if daddy's home but when daddy is home she hides in her room as soon as she knows he is gone she will come out of her room and sit in the living room and will instigate with the boys and myself.... and then play victim when they/we retaliate against her ...

they are supposed to be coming here today ... I will do my best to avoid them all for the next 4 days...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 12:08PM
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This morning, I'm talking to DH & ask why he thinks SD was crying last night? (I was talking about the tears over the project due in September) He says that when he went to put her in bed, she was crying about not being allowed to come out of her room after school. I had no idea she had told him that. He did tell me that he cut her off & didn't want to hear it... he knows it's not true because for years that's been an issue... we have both told her that she doesn't have to sit in her room all day. I used to get upset because she refused to join the family in anything. She has always relegated herself to her room, she would even peek out & if I was around, close the door & stay in there. The difference now is that I don't go out of my way to invite her out or say anything because she's in there. If she wants to sit in there until her dad gets home, fine. Even when he's home, she stays in there & for YEARS I have said how terribly sad it is and what a miserable life she is creating for herself because she closes herself up in the room all the time. So, this morning on the way to school, I ask her who told her she can't come out of her room. She says nobody, but she feels she can't. I told her she can do whatever she wants... go outside, sit in the livingroom, go in the kitchen & make a snack, whatever she wants... I don't care!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:06PM
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SD talks to DH behind your back. You talk to DH about her. You talk to her alone in the car without DH...Why dont the 3 of you get together and talk fruit/grandpa/Staying in room together so there is no miscommunication? More communication and expectations, less who s on third????

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 1:33PM
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I don't know if this would work for you Ima or you psuedo... but the other day I was having issues with my ds8. He never listens to me well... he does my dh though. So I quietly called me dh and put him on speaker and continued to try to get ds8 to listen and do as I asked. He continued to back talk and be a brat. I then said allowed to my dh to let them know he heard it all. He did and told ds8 that he would deal with him when they got home. SS.... who gives me somewhat of a hard time at times instantly thought I was brilliant. LOL! I told him that he should mind his p's and q's cause he'll never know when I might just pull that trick on him. He said he would, lol! We shall see.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 2:31PM
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dotz~ I can't tell you how many "family meetings" we've had. She sits & nods, makes promises, blah blah blah... a lot of lip service. Then takes dad aside later & complains how he doesn't stand up for her, he takes my side... poor poor SD. Of course, we've also had meetings that included BM, DH, SD, Me & BM's BF.... a lot of lip service! No change.

Here's another example from just yesterday. She got out of school early, right after lunch. I was leaving to run errands when she got off the bus. She went into my office while I was gone... my dad offered her a soda... she had a snack in her backpack because she packs her own after school snack. We hadn't eaten lunch yet at work so I was going to pick up something on the way back from my errands. My daughter, who works for me, asked for Taco Bell so when I got there, I thought of what torment SD would say it was that we all ate Taco Bell in front of her... so I bought her a burrito too.

Flash forward to dinner a few hours later. As I was cooking dinner, my daughter went to give DGS2 his bath so I could finish dinner. DH calls SD in to serve her plate & she piles more food on her plate than both me & DH. There was cheesy bread still in the oven & when it was done, she wanted to go get some too. I said that she needs to wait until everyone else eats. (because I didn't think it would be fair to my daughter if she came back from giving the baby a bath & find crumbs) Well, she pouted & had an attitude. Fortunately, DH did not say a word. (well, he started to but after I told him she had taco bell after school, he didn't)

I know a big part of the problem is DH & his responsiveness to her. He doesn't see it for what it is and she has been doing this for so long that it's just an old habit.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 4:04PM
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Is she a big girl? The way you say she eats it seems like she should be huge. My ds11 doesn't eat this much... cause I don't let him... and he's 132 about 5'1"... he's chunky but not fat. What does bm's bf say? Anything? Does she give him all this grief? I don't know if it's because I have boys or what... and they've been giving me a lot of crap since school started (just them arguing mainly) but I feel really lucky!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 4:32PM
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She is big, I wouldn't say huge. She has gotten tall so she carries it ok. When she was younger, her cheeks would get really round & she got chubby all over, now it's just in her tummy. She is about 5'3" and I'd guess she weighs about 150. She was 140 during summer but the clothes DH got her for school are fitting tight & it's only the third week.

We didn't let her eat this much either but she would sneak food, she had her mom/grandma pay for school lunches while I packed her a lunch a couple of years ago so food has been an issue with her for a long time. If we limit or say no, she feels deprived. I was heavy as a kid & I was teased. It broke my heart when she was 6 years old, at least 20 pounds overweight & crying at the dinner table about the kids teasing her at school. If I could go back in time, I might not do what I did... I talked to DH about changing to healthier food & portion control. She lost weight but we got raving phone calls from BM... why can't she have dessert night? Why can't she have soda pop with dinner? Why can't she eat what she wants? She's hungry & you don't feed her enough! Then came pissing matches over peanut butter sandwiches & oatmeal. I gave her chicken soup when she was sick & that translates to being mean? It has been brought up in court papers & her mom calls it abuse. I give up. I was WRONG!!! I should never have said a word. Eat what you want.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 5:10PM
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Ima, I'm sorry that I don't have any advice. I do have an opinion - you've done much, much more than any reasonable person could have been expected to. You've been trying to help this child get her life together for years, and your efforts are being thwarted and undermined at every turn by both BM and your DH, and of course your SD.

I don't know what to say. Honestly I agree with LoveHadley; my sympathy for your SD is rapidly diminishing. People, even children, who are struggling must choose to either accept that helping hand or refuse to do so - your SD keeps slapping yours away. I don't know what else you can be expected to do.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2011 at 6:52PM
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"your SD keeps slapping yours away"

That's what makes it so hard... she isn't always slapping my hand away, only when I reach out to help. She seems to want my help or want things from me... says to her dad/grandma/etc. how she wants us to be friends & get along.. that she loves me.. then I do something for her & the knife goes in my back.

One of the big turning points was on DGS's first birthday. I had planned his party & it was a weekend SD was supposed to be at her mom's. She hinted that she want to go but DH was going to stick to the schedule & send her to BM's. I felt bad that she was going to miss the party so I talked DH into working with BM so she can stay for the party. BM was fine with it. The party went well but at the end of the party, she took MIL aside & cried on her shoulder about how I won't let her play with the baby at home. I don't mean light tears... she was sobbing. MIL confronted me over it... several times in fact. Every time I have seen her since, she's mentioned it, as if SD has some sort of "right" to play with the baby... even after MIL was told that there was more to it than that... SD was failing in school & had asked to play with the baby. I asked is her homework done? You're getting D's & F's, you need to do your work & study before worrying about playing with the baby.

Then the Fourth of July this year... DH should have made her go with her mom the day before my party but I pushed him to let her choose where she wanted to be & she chose to get picked up in the middle of the party & get her other grandma involved.

I could go on & on. I'm the only one that has planned her birthday parties for the last six years. (& pay for them) Her mom has promised parties, then let her down by making other plans. This year, I made sure I was out of state with the baby, visiting my son on the other side of the Country for her birthday. I was planning a trip so decided to make sure it was during that week. How sad is that?

It would be SO much easier if she were rebellious & spit in my face & told me she wants nothing from me. My sister was that way with my stepmom... couldn't stand her. BUT my SD tells everyone how much she loves me & wants to get along with me... I guess it just makes me look even more evil when I refuse to do things for her. It gives her an opportunity to say "I don't know why Ima doesn't like me" and get grandma's all worked up because poor granddaughter has such an evil stepmom... and DH gets heat too. How can he let his wife treat his baby like that? Doesn't he know what kind of woman he's married to?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 1:35AM
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