I had a birthday on Sunday. I went with The Girl and The Boy’s two siblings to the riverbank and they played in the water. The Boy himself would not come. When he did come home at 7:30 or so, he brought his younger brother with him.
The Boy likes to do this. If he is gone for any length of time, he will do it in such a way that will, he hopes, force me to accept more children in my house. He will come home late, after dark, so that it might seem impossible for me to send them home.
I think he is frightened to approach me, so he brings the other child for support. I don’t think he understands the sense of entitlement and disrespect it communicates to me. I don’t think he can grasp that I may have thoughts and feelings he didn’t intend me to have.
I reminded him that he needed to ask permission to bring someone home. He said sorry. He forgot. He then asked if he could bring his sister instead the following night. I said no.
He then went and tore up the shirt he had been wearing, one of 3 decent shirts he owns. When I asked him why it wasn’t hanging on the line after being washed, he feigned surprise.
I looked around for a bit, and finally told him that if he was going to throw away his clothes and then lie about it, he needed to go home. He began to cry and broke down with the truth.
He has since gone home.
There is more to say about this, but since it was my birthday, I wanted to talk to C. I finally sent her a text that it was my birthday and I missed her. I got a call right away. She was more talkative than I think she has ever been and in the course of our talk, she said a few things that struck me as being unexpected.
One of them was that The Boy was very concerning to her. She had some idea his parents would hurt me somehow. She told me to send him home. When I explained I thought this would actually be damaging to him, she said wait until she and the fourth child come, and we will decide.
She had slipped into a parent mode. It felt very odd. I am not sure how to explain the depth of that strangeness. It might be only somewhat endearing, but it’s much more than that.
The other thing she talked about was a new boyfriend. She said he cares about her, but less than I do. She said no one cares about her like I do. This felt odd too. It may be I have different categories of care in my own mind, and I expect her to have the same ones when she doesn’t. But it felt strange to be a yardstick–and yet I know young people do that. The parent becomes the yardstick for measuring other people. I am not sure why it felt strange to me. One piece of it, I know, is that I have spent three years trying to convince her that I do care, and have felt all along that whatever I do, she does not really receive that sense of care.