Just keeps getting better!

imamommyOctober 28, 2010

Several weeks ago, SD asked to call me mom. At first, I thought it was just a manipulation tactic because we have NOT been getting along well. She is doing horrible in school, she lies about everything, & does not do what she is supposed to and then just kinda shrug when you call her on it. Since she is with me more, I have been the disciplinarian more. DH backs me & that really helps. I fully expected her to start calling me by my first name again when she gets in trouble & is mad at me. Nope. She got upset when I grounded her... she protested & cried. The next day, she apologized to me for overreacting. I've had lots of talks with her about doing what she needs to do & all the stuff she's missing out on because she chooses to ignore the rules, ignore homework, & lie about everything. Besides not getting to do extra curricular activities, we have lost being able to trust her & she is going to have to earn the trust back.

So, almost 3 weeks ago she went to BM's for a weekend. She left one of her school books there, she says by accident. She called BM on Monday to see if she left it there and BM said yes, that she would mail it to her. Then BM sent DH a text, asking for our address. (We've lived in the same place for 6 years & she KNOWS our address.. it's on the bill we send her every month for her half of SD's medical bills!) So, Wednesday SD anxiously waits for the mail. No book. She calls BM & BM tells her it will be there the next day. She tells SD that overnight mail was $30 so she sent it regular mail. (A regular letter will get here in one day... that's what the post office told me & I have tracked the bills sent to BM.) So, Thursday... same scene. No book. Friday ~ No book. Saturday ~ No book. SD tells me she is getting irritated at her mom because she isn't telling her the truth. I took that opportunity to tell SD... "that's pretty much how daddy & I feel when you don't tell US the truth." So, here we are on Wednesday of the second week & still no book.

But then it gets better ~ Several weeks ago, SD asked DH if she can go to BM's on Halloween weekend. It's DH's weekend but BM is having a huge Halloween party. SD was told that if she got her grades up, she can go. She has all F's in every class. That was one of the reasons SD was so anxious to get the book from BM... she had work in it that needed to be done & turned in so she can get her grade up. She even told BM that if she wants SD to come to the party, she NEEDS her book! Well, even though her grades are still all F's, I can say that I have been seeing her really try & last weekend, I wrote a fairly easy open book science test for SD to do. She got most of them wrong & she genuinely could not 'get it'. She has even admitted to me that she isn't really sure she's ready to be in 6th grade. So, considering her efforts I talked to DH & said that it might be unfair to punish her if she's failing because she doesn't really get it & should be back in 5th grade. (See, one of our conflicts is wondering if SD really doesn't get it or if it's another manipulation... she lies so much, but I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt here) So, we agree to let her go to BM's for the weekend on the condition that BM transport her BOTH ways since it's our weekend & Sunday is Halloween. We don't want to spend our evening driving 3 hours each way to pick her up... we're taking DGS trick or treating. So, SD gets on the phone with BM & tells her she can go but they have to bring her back. BM says she will call right back... ~my educated guess is that she had to call her mom (grandma) to see if grandma is willing to go get her & take her back. So, BM calls back & says grandma can't bring her back because she has plans so BM would have to drive her back & she is willing to meet us halfway... that she can't bring her all the way because it's too expensive! SD is crying her eyes out & begging BM. Nope, she will only bring her back halfway. I guess it doesn't occur to BM that SD might figure out that this Halloween party is costing BM a lot of money... and she already knows mom is full of it because of the lies about the book. Personally, I think SD has figured out (or thinks) BM really doesn't want her to come at all & that's why she didn't send the book. In the end, my dad agreed to go pick up SD from the halfway point so now she can go. (Besides all the money BM has spent on the party ~ SD told me she's been buying stuff for weeks & telling me all the neat things they got... BM hasn't paid a dime in support since May!)

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Poor girl. It must be awful for her knowing that her mother doesn't really want her there for the party. And it must be so frustrating for you, trying to teach her to be responsible and honest - but what she sees is that dishonesty tends to get BM what she wants, and that behaving responsibly does not really seem to reward SD with what she wants - her mother's love.

I hope your dad is prepared to drive the full distance when BM suddenly has "car trouble" on Sunday night. Of course, that's if BM doesn't have "car trouble" that prevents her from picking up SD in the first place. I don't understand why people do this to their own children; how can anyone live with themselves knowing that they repeatedly disappoint a child?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 10:29AM
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"I don't understand why people do this to their own children; how can anyone live with themselves knowing that they repeatedly disappoint a child?"

They can live with themselves, Mattie, because they don't have to live with the fallout. They don't have to see the hurt and disappointment they cause. They leave that up to the parent on the front-line -- the custodial father and stepmother -- and we do it because these kids need to have someone in their life they can trust and rely on no matter what. I hate the way BM is forever putting herself before her son, but I don't regret using those disappointments to build a loving relationship with him. Maybe that's selfish too, but we both come out winners in the end... as she continues to prove over and over again what a loser she is.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 4:22PM
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Lady Q, you are right. Thank you for reminding me that if BM were a semi-adequate parent, it would be she that SS would go to when he was excited, happy or proud about something - instead of me (and DH, of course), the ones who are always here if things are not so good. Sometimes I do feel discouraged, and like you said, it's just that SS deserves to have some adults who are always there for him, even if it's sometimes hard on us too.

But then SS just came home and jumped on me; he had a triumph at school. His paper on donating to charity was chosen as the best, and so he gets to read it to the entire school. I'm so happy and proud of him, and excited for him. It's always when I'm so discouraged that something like this seems to happen and I feel rewarded!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 5:37PM
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"His paper on donating to charity was chosen as the best, and so he gets to read it to the entire school. I'm so happy and proud of him, and excited for him."

That is SO COOL! What could possibly demonstrate the wonderful impact you have on this boy better than this?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 6:11PM
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Thank you sweeby! He's so proud of himself too (as he should be, and rarely is).

I'm sorry Ima. I did not mean to hijack your thread. Has SD's book ever shown up? I wonder what will happen if SD goes to the party and her book is still sitting at BM's.

I know you have been talking with her school. Do they have any kind of placement tests that they can give her to determine what grade she should be in? That's really tough; you don't want her to be in a grade if she really cannot handle the work yet, but at the same time if she just doesn't feel like doing it then you don't want to encourage not working to her potential.

Are fifth and sixth grades in the same school building for you? Where I live sometimes sixth grade is where they change to a new building. Might that be a factor?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 7:09AM
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When the mail came yesterday, she said "it isn't there, is it?" and nope, it wasn't. She said, "I'll bet when I go there for the party, it will still be on top of my bed."

We had her tested for learning disabilities last year & they said she was "above average". We discussed holding her back in 5th grade but the school was not supportive. I think partly because SD was 10 but could easily pass for 12 or 13. She looks much older than she is. My opinion of the schools around here is they don't want to be involved in holding a kid back. At her conference last month, she was sitting there with straight F's and they wanted to bring up all of her positive qualities & while I think it's great to look at the positive side, it was not productive. They did not want to dig for the reason she is doing poorly. They asked her what she is supposed to be doing, she gave all the right answers. She knows what she is doing wrong, she knows what she needs to do to correct it, yet it continues. I think she is very immature for her age & that may be part of the problem.

This school is a different district from last year. I was able to get her an inter-district transfer so her school is near my office. It is 6-8 and all grades are segregated from each other, so going back to 5th grade would be going back to a different school. That would help as far as the embarrassment factor because she could go to a different 6th grade where nobody will know she was held back. Of course, like I said she is big for her age.

At the conference, I mentioned IEP because she was diagnosed ADHD. They said, because she was tested & did not qualify for an IEP in 5th grade, they will only evaluate them every three years. They simply wrote a "plan" that, in my opinion, was ridiculous. They wrote "student agrees to study for 2 1/2 hours every night" (she rushes through & says she's done with homework in 10-15 min. She isn't going to sit for 2.5 hours & STUDY. I have her read the chapter at least once or twice BEFORE the class gets to it, hoping she will read it & retain something that will click when the class gets to it. I think she looks at the pages like she's reading but not actually reading it. I can't MAKE her read it), "student agrees to turn in all homework" (again, she usually does her homework but doesn't turn it in, which boggles my mind why a kid would spend the time to do the work but not turn it in), "student will come to her teachers when she needs help" (I've been telling her to do that since the first week of school. She has an hour study hall & I told her that she needs to ask that teacher for help when she's there so she can understand her work. DH & I are relatively intelligent I think, but we don't sit in class as the instruction is given & explained so we aren't going to pick up her assignment & 'help' her with it when she is claiming she has no idea how to do it. She was in class & should have an idea on what needs to be done & not expect us to be able to tell her what to do.. unless we read the whole chapter, but we still weren't in class to know exactly what the teacher wants). They asked SD what she thinks would help her succeed in school. She said DH works too much & doesn't spend time with her. That kinda ticked me off because she is trying to blame DH for her situation. I was floored when the teachers suggested to DH that he spend more time with her as part of their "plan". DH is home every night, he checks to see if she's done her homework (though he doesn't always check to see if it's correct), & when she's done with her homework, he watches TV with her, and runs her through her nightly routine & tucks her into bed. EVERY NIGHT! So for her to say he doesn't spend time... BULL. But, she wants him to do something with JUST HER. Watching TV is not spending time (in her mind) if I or anyone else is sitting in the living room too. Which, I have no problem watching TV in my room so they can watch a movie occasionally, but he told her that will only happen if she is doing well. and we consider doing well as TRYING, Turning in her work, Not lying about her work (saying she has none or saying it was already turned in), and if she did what she is supposed to & still getting C's and D's, we could live with that. If she is doing her best and getting all F's... that's a HUGE problem. So, in a way I have been hoping she is just screwing around & not trying. After last week where I wrote a fairly easy test and watched her struggle to get the answers (it was open book & the questions were from the book, word for word), now I wonder if she really can't do 6th grade work.

Yesterday, I looked up her grades & see that now her grade in PE is dropping. Every Wednesday, they run the mile & if she participates, she gets 100%. A few times, she has gotten a 104% and she has perfect attendance, always has her PE clothes so, in my opinion, she should have an easy A in PE. Well, it's a B- because for the last few weeks, she has gotten a 50% on her mile run. I asked her why. She said she is supposed to put her hair in a ponytail at PE but she doesn't. She told me she knows she is supposed to wear her hair up but just doesn't. I'm starting to wonder if it's some kind of defiance problem, but she hasn't really had any attitude, other than a nonchalant attitude.

My dad told me that he sees her as not taking anything seriously, like it's all a joke & he pointed out that is how her mom is too. DH took BM to court for support. She showed up & thought she could get the Judge to 'take her word'. The first hearing, she phoned in & told the Judge what her income was. When he asked for proof & scheduled another hearing, she showed up & claimed she 'forgot' it but swore it was what she was saying it was. That didn't fly & he asked her to bring proof of her spousal support & proof she had applied for unemployment & scheduled another hearing. She simply didn't go to that hearing so the court gave DH an order based on the proof WE provided. That is kinda how SD approaches everything too. She tells us what we want to hear (homework done, turned in, etc) very convincingly. we ask for proof (bring us the graded paper or we look at online grades), we see it not turned in or she got a low score & ask to see it. She tells us it's at school or she lost it. and then kinda avoids the subject hoping it just goes away. If it's modeled behavior from BM or in any way genetic, then I wonder if there is anything we can ever do to help her do more with her life than BM has. I want to believe SD has more potential, but it does get discouraging to see the similarity in how she does the same thing BM does, especially when it's unintentional.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 9:36AM
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I don't know about your state, but in mine students can have an IEP for having ADD or ADHD if it is affecting their learning. Which if your sd has F's it certainly sounds like it is. ADD and ADHD fall under OHI (Other Health Impairments) on the IEP form.

My ds had issue after issue in school. He is a very bright boy but he was doing poorly in school. Poor organization, not staying focused, getting in trouble, etc. The school tried not even evaluating him. Turned me down twice and told me that dh couldnt't do his homework because he wanted my attention! LMFAO! I told them he gets my attention and we play games or do something together almost every night after his homework done. I didn't think he was pretending not to understand his homework because he would rather spend 2 hours on it instead of spending those two hours playing games together!

His classroom teacher kept telling me how bright he was but in the next sentence would talk about his F's and how he "couldn't do this" and "wouldn't do that". She could not understand why she could hand him a social studies study guide and a text book and he wouldn't just do it on his own. She actually sent him down to the principals office because he "refused" to do it. Really, what happened was he could not locate the answers in the text and she just kept telling him the answers were all right there so he needed to just find them! He then sat at the principals office and answered almost all the questions wrong because they refused to help him. The teacher saw he wrote down answers and told me that "see he can do his work if he wants to...he did it all by himself and they were all correct". I then circled most of them and asked her to tell me how they were correct and I pulled out the social studies text. Her face was red, the principal was mad, and I got apologies. I pointed out that he was not being insubordinate in her class....when he could not do work and she would not give him extra help he sat there in frustration. When he got in trouble for writing nothing he just wrote anything! It did not change the fact he could not do the work!

I went and got an advocate, had meetings with the principal and then the superintendant, and all of a sudden they evaluated him and wouldn't you know they determined that his ADHD was affecting his learning! He now has an IEP and the special ed resource teachers are in almost all of his classes and also work on his homework during resource period every day. Now when he gets home he actually understands his homework! We all work together to keep him organized. He has a set of textbooks at home and one left in his classes. He carries around two expandable portfolios...one holds workbooks,spirals and pens/pencils. The other holds papers from each class and extra notebook paper. He still has his disorganized moments but from last year I see such an improvement! I also requested them to put in the IEP that he had time with the school social worker each week. He had such a negative attitude towards school and his teachers so I wanted him to be able to meet with the social worker. I have not seen huge gains in that area, but the school year is still early.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, schools want to sit on their lazy bums and blame the parents for the kids doing badly in school! They forget that they have our children all day and that our evenings should not be filled with 7 more hours of school work! I am all for helping my children succeed in school, but the school has the resources and needs to help as well instead of doing the minimum to get by. I have learned the squeaky wheel gets things done in schools.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 10:25AM
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They wrote "student agrees to study for 2 1/2 hours every night"

What?! They expect a sixth grader to study for 2 1/2 hours every night?! I barely studied that much in college! That's not a "plan", that's just throwing everything onto you, DH and SD and hoping that somehow it's going to magically fix itself.

I think she looks at the pages like she's reading but not actually reading it....

After last week where I wrote a fairly easy test and watched her struggle to get the answers (it was open book & the questions were from the book, word for word)

Are you sure that your SD can read? If she is really struggling with her reading there is no way that she can keep up, and a bright child can cover reading difficulties incredibly well for a great length of time. Also her vision has been tested, right? It really sounds like something is going on - she should have been able to pass an open book test even if she'd never even opened the book before!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 11:32AM
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She can read. I have her read to me so I know she struggles with a word here or there, but she can read the words. I'm not sure she comprehends but her score in comprehension was high when they tested her. She had her eyes checked & got glasses last year. I agree that she should be able to pass an open book test, but she has failed all the open book tests at school before the one I wrote (I was thinking maybe they were hard tests, so I made one easy that would show me that she at least read key parts & understood. I really don't think she understands.

What incognitomom says really rings a bell "When he got in trouble for writing nothing he just wrote anything! It did not change the fact he could not do the work!" I think that's part of it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 1:01PM
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UGH!!! I just got a call from her PE teacher. Her PE grade has been dropping since the beginning of October. She has perfect attendance so all she has to do is show up, dress down & participate. I asked her why she's getting 50% on her mile runs when she was getting 100% before. She said it was because she was supposed to wear a ponytail & keeps forgetting to take one to school so the teacher is marking her down.

The truth: She was doing well but has become more & more social. She is making friends (mainly with boys) and instead of running the mile, she is hanging back, walking & talking. She goofs off/flirts with the boys & one boy has already had to be moved because HIS grade was suffering because of it.

Another lie... and she was SOOOO convincing.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 5:03PM
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she sounds like a lot of work, you have hands full with her, and BM is certainly crazy unfit mother.

is SD on medications? To be honest with you it does wonders to some children, maybe it is worth trying.

also what does above average mean...It does not even sound like legitimate qualification. Is her IQ above average or her achievement?

Even if her IQ is above average she might have LD because her achievement is lower.

So is her IQ above 100? You described her having some low comprehension..Children with above average IQ would not have such struggles with material unless they have LD or something else preventing them from succeeding. ADD would certainly be one of the reasons.

Did they test her working memory, her auditory processing? There has to be something...What is she going to do in high school?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 7:05PM
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Ugh, Ima. What a mess. It's so tough because you have put yourself out there for SD over and over and over again--and everytime you get burned.

It always seems like things might change, like SD is turning the corner, but the problem is, the common denominator is BM--and SHE is not going to change. And as long as SD's relationship with her mother is so sick (NOT SD's fault, of course) then it makes it very hard for SD to change. I think she genuinely does want to please you and do the right thing, but she desperately wants her mother's love and will do anything for it.

Is SD still in counseling?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 5:36PM
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She stopped going to counseling when we lost our insurance last year. I paid cash several times but when she decided to continue to lie to the counselor, we decided we cannot afford to pay full therapy bills for her to pretend everything is all wonderful (in our house & with BM) so we stopped taking her. The last visit was the day I told her I knew her mom's secret (pregnancy) and that if that was the reason she was having trouble concentrating, then she didn't need to worry about it because we only cared about what SD is doing, not what BM does. The counselor asked her how she felt about sharing her mom with a new baby & she said she wasn't worried at all, which considering how hard she's tried to get mom to spend time with her, we kinda figured she was at least a little worried that mom would have less time for her. But, the next day SD went to BM & told her that I knew about the pregnancy & what the counselor had said... BM went ballistic, called the counselor & told him off, tried to get me to physically fight her, etc. So, we decided counseling is only going to work on someone that WANTS help. SD is in denial that there's any problem, kinda like BM. However, we still talk to her and her recent negative statements about her mom may be the tide turning toward getting back into counseling. She has to want to work through things. It won't work to take her there to be fixed.... not if she's going to lie & make believe mom is terrific & nothing bothers her.

However, we have also decided to talk to her & let her know that if she wants to stay home on weekends to study harder & work on her grades, we are okay with that... but she will also have to get her mom's okay. We think BM will be okay with it since SD is starting to act rebellious & resentful toward her & boyfriend. Our attorney had suggested it would be best for SD to have only supervised time with BM because of how BM tells SD adult things & keeps lying to her which is harmful to SD. DH didn't want to go back to court for supervised, he didn't want to waste money on it when he thinks he won't get it. and he didn't want SD to get mad at him... after all, she defends & stands up for her mom. If SD chooses to stay home & work on getting her grades up so she can pass 6th grade, then I believe she will also benefit from not being exposed to BM very often too. Without BM's constant influence, lies & manipulation, I think SD can do better in all areas of her life. (and I think it's quite sad that has to be true)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 6:08PM
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How did the weekend go with SD at BM's and the Halloween party?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 3:56PM
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SD has not said a word about it. She has asked a lot of questions about what we did & what DGS got to do, but not a word about her mom's party, her costume or trick or treating. We don't ask anything for fear of being accused of prying. From what BM & SD's sister posted on FB, BM didn't invite some friends and a few people that were invited couldn't make it. But, no indication of how the party went, etc.

She did mention the book was on the floor. She asked her mom why she said she sent it & BM told her that she did send it to the wrong address but it came back. SD told me she knew her mom is lying... but that still doesn't help SD figure out how to stop lying herself.

SD came home with a referral marked 2ND REFERRAL THIS WEEK & had last week's date on it. She got in trouble Thursday & didn't tell us until Monday. I guess she figured she might not get to go to her mom's if we knew she got in trouble? The first referral was for using foul language & the second one was for throwing a pencil at another student. So, the detention was for today but I spoke to the Principal & changed it to Friday so BM's mom can get her after the detention. In a way, I feel bad that it will affect BM's mom, not BM. A lot of the blame for SD's behavioral problems stem from BM & her mom caters to BM, so I am letting them deal with part of it... I did not want to leave work early to go pick her up.

On an unrelated side note ~ According to the court website, BM is being taken back into court at the beginning of December to deal with the restitution she was ordered to pay. She has a hearing a few days later to deal with DCSS making her do job search & a few days later, she has a hearing with DH for contempt on the past due medical bills.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 5:30PM
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I can't believe this woman! how much she lies! I wish your DH goes for supervised visits to limit her influence on SD.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:07PM
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