Wednesday: a mixed bag

Wednesdays are my day off and our neighbor usually gives the girls a ride in. The older 2 were barely ready on time and Charlotte was still in bed. A bit later she came down the stairs and announced that she has decided not to go to school. (I’m saying/doing nothing now, but what do I do if she does this next week?!)

So she stayed home all day and learned very quickly that I was not going to be available to help her put on a movie or play games or make her any food all day long. She tried to get her TV show on and then tried the computer and said, “Argh, I can’t watch TV or do computer!” I don’t know what she ate. At one point I went upstairs and found my husband’s bowl of spare change dumped out and spread all over our bedroom floor.

I’m leaving kid mess untouched as much as possible–besides making sure the workmen have a clear path and the painter can use the sink without a pile of dishes in the way. Otherwise, I’m not touching anything. And since no one is asking me to do anything, suddenly I have time. I cleaned out my bathroom shelves and my bedside table and my dresser top. And I filed the 2 huge piles of paper in my office. And I did my and Jerry’s laundry, but no one else’s. Now they won’t have to wonder what it’s like to not have a mom picking up after them, and they’ll understand why we all have to work together to keep the house running. It’s just too much for one person.

Fenner and Ellen came home on the bus as usual. Usually on Wednesdays, Charlotte and Fenner have back-to-back gymnastics class. Charlotte’s class time came and went without us. Thirty minutes before Fenner’s class, Fenner came to me and said, “Mom, do you think I should get ready now?” I said, “What do you think?” She said, “Yeah, I think I should … but what am I going to do about Charlotte? She’s not going to want to get in the car. …” I listened and waited. “Hmm, maybe if I let her play my Nintendo DS, she’ll do it. …” And she went away.

A bit later I heard a loud bang upstairs. Charlotte had knocked over an empty bookcase and got some minor boo-boos on her hand and her foot. But this sent her over the edge. She wailed, and Fenner begged, “Charlotte, will you please get in the car?!” Charlotte shouted back, “NO! My foot hurts and I don’t want to go! I don’t care about you, I only care about me!” Then Fenner yelled, “I HATE YOU! You’re so selfish!!!”

Fenner came to me, sobbing, and I gave her a good long (silent) hug.

Watching all this made crystal clear the thing I had suspected for a long time: Fenner and Charlotte are not in relationship with each other at all. They have no empathy for each other.

Vicki promised her program would bring change in this area. I have such a mix of emotions, but overall I’m relieved. We were so stuck with Charlotte adopting the role of “family pesterer.” And the more we all pleaded with her to stop, the more she self-identified with that role. And Fenner became the “mean big sister” and Ellen was just flip flopping between the other two. We were at a loss, so this is the road to change. Bring it on!

Charlotte has just started Karate lessons, and she’s excited about it. That night I said to her, “Tomorrow is Thursday. Karate is at 5:15. If you choose to go to school, then you will go to aunt Sloane’s house after school. If you go to Sloane’s then you’ll know it’s time for Karate when you see me arrive there. When you tell me you’re ready, we’ll go. If you choose not to go to school, I will not tell you when it’s time for Karate.”

The $6 million questions is, what will it take for Charlotte to choose to go to school?

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 1: Do nothing. Say nothing

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