I tell you, when I started having children, and even when I adopted, never did I think that my conversations in my own home would involve police officers. Unless of course, one of my darling seven dwarfs grew up and became one, or married one.
I have had the sheriff at my house a bit more than I would like to recount, as well as children and youth and a visit from the agency that protects special needs adults. Why you ask? Because I am raising RAD kids. Kids that as they "matured" into adults, figured out that they had this amazing "power" to report the abuse that they endure in our home to the authorities.
So for this particular visit yesterday, I am sure that the dwarf who made the phone call thought that I would be satisfyingly hauled off in the paddy wagon to the jailhouse to pay for the great travesty of asking him to stop doing his chores halfway.
On a personal note, I find that it is very hard to live in a home, and parent a dwarf, where you never know what phrase, word or situation is going to set them off. In particular, this dwarf has a very bad habit (especially when the Prince is out of town) of refusing to do that things that he knows he ought to do (like chores and taking his meds or cleaning up after himself)
I have not blogged much recently because, life is a series of situations like this. Until yesterday I felt like no one would "get it" or that no one would want to hear the serious side of the not so cute anymore, adult-ish people that reside in my home. Perhaps, however that when I have time, and there is a situation like this one I that I can retell with humor, it would be beneficial for another to read, if for no other reason than to know that they are not alone. Raising mental health special needs kids is hard, and it has that ability to isolate you from "normal people" with normal kid and family issues. So if you are reading this, and understand, because you live it first hand. You are not alone!
This story actually starts on Monday. I had to work outside the kingdom, a longer shift than normal. Dopey picked up Bashful from school, and brought him home for me. I had no contact with the dwarfs while I was at work, but it was apparent when I got home that night that one of the dwarf's did not do anything at all. Meaning his things from school were dropped on the table and floor of the kitchen, and his chores not done.
He woke up Tuesday morning edgy, because he knew he had been a slacker the day before for no good reason, so while he was searching for his shoes (insert eye roll here, if you took them off and put them away they would be where they are supposed to be.) I said, "they are in the upstairs bathroom, and while you are up there, since you did not clean it last night, please bring the towels down to the laundry room. Instead of a "hey thanks mom", his head swiveled as if he were possessed and he growled out, " I am not going to f-ing clean the bathroom because Happy doesn't. Those towels are not mine I wasn't even home all weekend. Happy was supposed to clean it Friday, and did not, so I am not!"
What?! Wait a minute. I offhandedly replied (sort of like a mumble to myself) "If you boys do not clean the newly and (a bit expensively) remodeled bathroom, then you can shower outside."
Bashful, who never hears me when I speak clearly and directly to him, manages to hear me mumble and then began a tirade of curse words and rants explaining to me that I can't make him do that and that the Prince wouldn't make him do that. Finishing out the tirade about how he is not bringing the towels down, and that if the Prince was home, he would not have asked him to do anything this morning.
Of which, I told Bashful, he was absolutely right! If the Prince was home, this would not be a conversation that they would be having in the morning because the Prince would have made Bashful not only bring the towels down, but start the laundry, scrub the toilet, clean the sink and mirror, remove the trash and sweep the floor; last night!! The day that it was Bashful's day to clean the bathroom!!
This is the greatest way to start the morning, says no one ever. I finally, loosing what bit of half a cup of coffee, tolerance for nonsense I have, and tell him to shut his mouth and get in the truck. By the time I refill my coffee cup and get to the truck, like a switch, now he wants to be my BFF. Can you say personality disorder...yikes.
The day proceeds (and no I did not get the towels and bring them to the laundry, because my towels in my bathroom are clean and fresh!) eventually I have to return to the school to pick Bashful up at the end of the day. The dwarf jumps in, and picks up where we left off with conversation and tales of the day.
Because he is still aware that Monday he did nothing; and that I am on to him, and because he was a jerk in the morning, (of which he will never apologize for because in his mind he is right) after he enters that house and has a snack, he sets about doing his chores for the day.
Now you would think, oh never mind, that is why I have these situations, he doesn't and never will think like me! He pulls out the vacuum for his "vacuum the steps and upstairs landing" chore.
I am working in the room adjacent to the staircase so I am very aware of what and how long it takes him to vacuum. He plugs the vacuum in beside me, runs it across the first step and then walks the vacuum to the landing and makes a few passes around that area. He then turns off the vacuum, comes downstairs and unplugs the vacuum from the plug beside me.
I turn from what I am doing and say, leave the vacuum, I will sweep the stairs since you did not. My voice is level, no anger, no frustration, just simply state, " leave the vacuum, I will do the stairs". After stating that he was not done with the chore, (then why were you unplugging the vacuum) he proceeds to loose his mind. His words follow in no kind of order, escalating and of course where appropriate if you are a cursing person, (insert any curse words you would like into the dialogue), says the following sorts of things.
"If you want me to leave, then I will". (Not what I said, I said, "leave the vacuum.") " I don't know why you never get on anyone else about their chores." (Sure, let me yell at Happy since Monday while I was at work he did his chores and mine, and because he knew I was sick, came and picked me up at work on his scooter so I did not have to walk home. ) "It would be better for everyone if I left." (Says who? While I won't lie, I think that, in times like this, I do not ever say it to his face.)
I then text the Prince and say "CALL HOME NOW!" thinking that he can be the voice of reason in this situation because I am about to loose my marbles. At one point I even said, "look Bashful, go to your room. I will leave. I seem to be the trigger for you, so give me a minute and I will go."
To which his response was (keep the cursing coming) "that is stupid. That because I live here and pay the bills and he does not pay for anything he should be the one to pack his stuff and leave. "
Let me say at this point I am like, "no please let me help you pack", but again that is just my inner dialogue. (Gosh how do you get credit for all the stuff that goes through your mind that you do not say...please someone tell me how!)
The Prince calls at that moment, so I hand the phone over to Bashful, which just proceeds to make him angrier. Hard for me to imagine, but I saw it with my own eyes. I am still working and Bashful abruptly stops talking and hands me the phone. The Prince says, "Hang up and call 911."
So I hang up and Bashful asks what his dad had said to me. I tell him, and he again starts verbally attacking (insert your curse words here) peppered into phrases like this: " I'm leaving, you can't stop me." You are such a puss because you actually listen to what he says." What are you waiting for, are you afraid to call the police because they might arrest you?"
Now, I have reached about the end of my self, and I am not proud of it, but reached out and punched him. (in the arm; and again I'd like credit for not dropping him to the ground and pummeling him) I was hopeful that a change in the situation (a physical sting to the arm) vs this word battle we were in would cause him to pause and think, "wait a minute this is going a bit far". Again, who am I kidding. Instead he is now claiming abuse and he wants to call 911.
So I did what any parent would do in this situation. I dial 911 for him and hand him the phone. While he is on the phone with the dispatcher, I am still working, and listening to his conversation. He gives his address, my phone number, and my description (age, hair color and clothing that I am wearing) When he gets to the abuse part, I interject from my workstation, "Make sure you tell them what you did that lead up to the point where I punched you." So he tells the dispatcher that he didn't want to do his chore and was yelling and cursing at me. She must have asked then if he felt like he was in harms way, to which he answered no, because I was working. He then tries to bring up years of the past with the dispatcher of all the ways he has been abused over the years. I say, "hey Bashful, can you ask how soon the sheriff will be here?" He does, and the dispatcher indicates that there is an officer on our street. He is super excited about that and tells the dispatcher that he will go get him "so my a$$ can go to jail".
He throws the phone at me without hanging up as soon as he spies the officer, I greet the dispatcher, she asks who I am, I say Bashful's mother, and thank her for her time and tell her the officer is at the end of the drive.
Bashful literally skip runs to the end of the drive to meet this officer, because in his mind (even though they have been here before) since he called them, surely they will be on his side!
The officer and Bashful talk and then come inside the house. When the officer asks for my version of the story, I start to tell him, and then just stop. I look at him and say, "Look, really, can you please take me? Really... I am tired of living this way. You can handcuff me, but I think that is extreme, because I will go willingly." I think he thought I was joking.
Bashful, who thinks I deserve to be hauled off, is now encouraging the officer to do it, cursing about me and using the F word. At that point the officer draws himself to full height and leans towards Bashful and says, " DO NOT, use that word in your mother's presence again. I will not tolerate that disrespect, or we will throw down, do YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" Bashful has enough sense to respond with a "yes sir".
Another officer is now knocking at the door. Bashful looks at me as if I should answer the door. I say "go let the officer in, you invited him." When Bashful walks away to let him in, Officer 1 asks me what the situation is. I say in what felt like was a defeated, and exhausted voice, he is the youngest of 7. The youngest sibling of a set of four we adopted. The highlight reel is he has, RAD/FAS/and is on the spectrum. Officer 1, says "I'm sorry." I feel like saying, "not as sorry as I am."
So by now the situation is mostly defused. Officer 1 tells Bashful, that if any time I hit him or other wise physically disciplined him, I have the right to do so because he is a minor living in my home. He continues to elaborate on what abuse looks like. Marks have to remain 8 days. He also explains that if I had been abusing Bashful, he would not be standing there in front of us whole and unmarred. That his experience is that if Bashful was being abused he would have marks all over him where I punched him and would be bleeding and swollen. That if anytime, either of his parents physically discipline him, and they leave a scratch mark with a fingernail or even a hand print from a slap, that is considered an unintentional mark. Not an intentional sign of abuse.
Then Officer 1 asks Bashful how old he is again, and reaffirms that it seems to him that Bashful does not have a very good exit strategy for life on the streets when he turns 18. He indicates he should work hard at school, get a job, and graduate and not screw up what seems to be a pretty good situation that he currently has.
To make this officer, maybe my favorite of all that we have met under these type of circumstances, he also elaborated and said, "You son have to live here until you are 18. I suggest that when your parents ask you to do anything, you do it. Furthermore, if either of them say that the task is not done to their liking, guess what? They can ask you to do it again. You should do it again until it meets their standards, not yours. So I suggest you just do it right the first time. Grow up and start acting like the adult you think you are!"
You can't make this stuff up, and even if you could, who would want to live this way on purpose?