Another fit last night from Mark, but at least it made sense. After wetting himself twice after school, he pooped in his pants right before bath time.  I told him to go in the bathroom and clean himself up.  Thus, he threw another hour-long fit.

Okay, so I guess there is more to it than that.

He was already slightly upset because I let the girls (23 months apart in age) bathe together while I wouldn’t let him and Junior (37 months apart in age).  I floundered a bit in my explanation; after all, I couldn’t just say “No, because of problems in your past and therefore we can’t trust you won’t sexually act out here.”  So instead I ended up arguing with him on the details of the age and gender differences before I finally realized, duh, just to not let anyone bathe together.  I know it’s what we really should be doing anyway, just to be safe, but darn it.  That adds another 20 minutes to bath time.  That wasn’t the answer he was looking for though, so he got annoyed at me.

Then he pooped himself.  I didn’t pamper him, coddle him, or give him sympathy.  I said “Clean your bottom and then get in your bath.”  He spent the next 40 minutes crying and screaming that he couldn’t do it.  At various intervals, I went back in the bathroom and asked him why he couldn’t, but he didn’t really have an answer.  So finally, I made a choice that turned out to be a bad one.  I told him if he didn’t clean himself in 5 minutes, he couldn’t have the friend over on Saturday that he had invited.  That got him crying even harder, and in retrospect, I realize he was too emotional to react logically to that motivation/threat.  But you know, once ya say it, ya gotta follow through.

So after 5 minutes, I walked in, put him in the tub, screaming and kicking, and showered off his butt.  (The worst thing is that the drain is slow, so the poopy water started backing up, and boy, Mark didn’t like standing in that.)  After getting most of it off, I got him out, told him to clean up the rest with toilet paper, and he did, albeit crying and slobbering.  Then straight to bed.

And just as he got into bed, Husband came whistling in the door, fresh out of a class on positive communication with foster children.  He uttered a few magical words imbued with love and care, and Mark calmed down immediately.  I sat downstairs in the kitchen, trying to will my blood pressure lower.

So the interesting things here are two:

  • I’m not doing anything differently than I was the first week he was here, but I’m framing it differently.  The first week, if he had an accident, I spoke soothingly, told him it was okay, got him wipes, got him his new clothes, and generally stayed positive.  Now, I act unsympathetically, and have him do all the work.
  • This particular tantrum, I found myself getting fed up.  The zen patience was gone, and the cold, steely exterior kicked in.  I was sick of his behavior, and while I wasn’t going to yell and scream back, I was going to get hard.  It might’ve actually been better;  I’ve noticed when I’m too glib or calm while he’s upset he thinks I’m making fun of him or belittling him.  So it might have helped him to see I do have reactions, but he was too hysterical to notice.

Anyway, it was draining.  I hate to think of him this upset, because I doubt he was like this a year ago.  When I spoke with Mom about the first rage he had, she was shocked.  I don’t know how I’ll tell her about this.  Being away from his mom is screwing him up, and it makes me start to question his need to be here.  At this point, he’s safer in the state’s custody,  but…what? What am I trying to say?  I’m not really sure.  There are a LOT of facts unknown to me, and I try hard to trust the judges and case workers.  I guess entering foster care is just not fair, right?

And then the kicker on all that, this morning he woke up dry!  The first time in two weeks!