Our conversation just last night at bedtime:
"Mom! Hooray! Sissy has respite, *whispered* no screaming for two whole days!" She was very giddy and high-fiving because seriously, no screaming for two whole days is big stuff around these here parts. Then wistfully, "wouldn't it be awesome if we had no screaming for a whole week ... or a month... or a YEAR!"
"yeah, that would be ... amazing."
"yeah, so her respite provider can hear it. Only, they'll get tired of it too and send her to another family. And she'll scream for them and that family will send her to respite and she'll scream and respite and scream and respite until eventually the WHOLE world will have had Sissy and heard her screaming and finally, after everyone has had to deal, they'll send her back to us and we'll start it all over again."
and the light in WG's eyes was gone when we both looked at each other and acknowledged that this is the very sad, honest truth about Sissy. So I played it off with a "heh! Yeah, that would be weird! But guess what? Saturday night it's just you and me at home and we can snuggle in my bed and watch net.flix movies ..."
"...yeah! And stay up all the way until nine o'clock!!!!"
rofl. She IS only six. Nine o'clock would be pretty late for her. I was thinking along the lines of 11 or 12 ... but ok, let's go with 9!
She's only six. Six and had to deal with a world of pain, trauma, fear, anxiety, depression, psychoses and still, STILL she is so clever, so articulate (she gets it from me *wink*), so wonderful. If she was the only child I adopted, my tale to tell really would be one of those nauseating hallmark movie specials about making a beautiful family and having a wonderful life through adoption.
I remember bawling for days and days when we found out BM was expecting another girl. I was certain I'd be raising another Sissy. But God is merciful sometimes (ok, ALL the time but when you're living this daily hell, it's hard to remember the always part about God's mercy) and he knew that Sissy and AB was all this gal could manage. He also knew that WG would be as equal to the task as I am. Because WG? She looks out for those two, more often than I give her credit for.
But WG has her own issues to contend with. Like these lions. It started out with a love of lions and has morphed into a fetish of all big cats. She decides the night before what big cat she is going to pretend to be the next day. Sometimes she writes it on sticky notes and affixes them to her bed so she "won't forget what she wants to be". On panther days, she insists - has-a-royal-fit-if-the-laundry-isn't-done - that she wears her black pants, black turtleneck, black socks and black boots. Because that's what panthers are, black.
Lately, there have been a lot of black panther days.
She'll say, "mom, what animal do you think I should be tomorrow?" and I'll play devil's advocate and say something like a giraffe or a hippo. which makes her laugh at first but then irritates her because she wants me to say something fierce and ferocious with nasty, horrible teeth and claws. Every now and then I'll say, "i don't know WG. Once it would be nice if you woke up in the morning and you were just plain, old WG, the beautiful six year old daughter I love so much." She doesn't like that response either.
No, I've accepted it even if she hasn't been honest with herself about it. WG feels safe and protected from her life and this world if she can be some fierce creature all day. Because who hurts a lion? No one, that's who. Lions hurt YOU, not the other way around. It's her six year old defense mechanism.
WG is selfless. I don't know if that is typical of six year old girls. She's my only NT. So when it comes to gifting, she's tough to shop for. Last year the only gift she asked for was a gun. Oh, you should have seen the mall santa's face when she climbed in his lap, all 40 lbs. of her five year old self and loudly announced with confidence that she "wants a gun!" I nodded my head to the Santa, letting him know such gift would be supplied and he gave me a raised eyebrow.
This year she only wanted a new stick horse. That's it. Just a stick horse. Specifically, the $5 brown one from the dollar store. But since that's all she asked for, I bought a $5 red cowgirl hat and the best damn stick horse I could find from the most expensive toy store in town. This kid deserves a real pony, dammit.
She's incredibly smart, holy crap, she's smart. They'll be testing her in February for the advanced education program our county offers. Eh, if she chokes on the test and doesn't make it into the program, whatever. It'll just mean she needs to keep working on being a "normal" kid because there's nothing normal about her life.
There's no support for the NT kids of challenged siblings. Not even recovery groups for the ones that are abused or suffering PTSD because of the challenged siblings. And WG doesn't even have any NT siblings to commiserate with. She has me and The Dad. And many times it's me tucking her in, teary-eyed again because of Sissy and WG rubbing MY back and kissing ME on the head and saying it will be O.K.
God, she's an amazing kid. Inspires me, amazing. Deserves the world on a friggin' silver platter, amazing. Makes me cry just thinking about how amazing she is, amazing.
So we have conversations, my make-it-up-as-we-go-along conversations about how to deal with challenged siblings. She knows she can say anything to me about them and I won't get mad. She also knows that our conversations must be private between her, me and The Dad. She is learning that most kids don't have to deal with this and that this isn't the norm. She is learning that just because they're challenged, she doesn't have to be; that she is free to soar to all the amazing heights she can achieve regardless of what happens in their lives.
She is learning that just because she can answer AB's math questions in her head faster than he can blink it doesn't mean she should call the answer out loud and aggravate him (she IS allowed to come whisper the answer in my ear to see if she's right - which she usually is). She is also learning our "games" and "secrets" and "white lies" that The Dad and I do to get correct behaviors and truth from Sissy or to help AB understand. She knows the cue from me is a sideways wink and a slight nod of my head and she returns it with a wink and an OK sign letting me know she's in on the "game".
She is learning things no parent should have to teach their six year old. Including the "WG, sorry. Mom's brain is all crazy-fried today. I just need ten minutes before I can spend time with you."
I hate it when I have to put her off like that but when Sissy has screamed for another 2 hours and monopolized yet one more after school afternoon, I just can't think. I have no mental energy for a bubbly, vivacious, energetic, bright six year old. And it's really hard not to hate Sissy for stealing that too.
When I'm far, far away in my mind, she grabs my face in her two little hands and brings me back. "Mom. Mom are you listening to me? Look at me mom." And I do. I look into her hazel eyes and I smile ... and I come back to her, every time. "Sissy is driving me crazy too, mom."
"I know honey, I know. I'm sorry."
"it's OK mom. I get it. It's just freakin' KAH-RAY-ZEE around here sometimes!"
"Yes it is, WG, yes it is. Go get your AR book, let's read."
WG is every bit her pseudonym
I wonder how I was lucky enough to get this girl