After a play date at the park, we headed over to the pharmacy. Sloane*, normally a bundle of energy, wanted to go in her sister Elise*’s stroller. Instead
of asking she just shouts in a menacing way, “MY LEGS ARE TIRED!” Sloane says this several times before I can jump in with, “There’s a proper way to ask for things. Screaming at me does not get you what you want.” My words fall on deaf ears. Sloane has her own way of doing things. She continues screaming with a frightening amount of rage, “MY LEGS ARE TIRED!” Respectable retirees are out tending their gardens. I’m sure none of their children ever behaved this way. With Sloane’s voice reverberating through the quiet neighbourhood, I struggle to keep my composure. Finally, I bend down to face her and say, “That is enough. If you want to go in the stroller stop screaming and say, ‘mom, could I please go in the stroller.’” She doesn’t. The screaming continues. Tears stream down her face. A friend calls to see if we’re still going out for lunch. I stop walking and encourage Sloane to sit down on the sidewalk to rest her legs. She won’t. The screaming gets louder now that my attention is divided. Off the phone, after declining lunch, I give her a stern talking to. The point being we’re far from home and need to get her medication from the pharmacy. The behaviour meds (see Happy Birthday to Me) help her focus but her rage and frustration have been strong lately. It could be the medication or just Sloane processing more of her struggle. Recently we had a small adoption party and private dedication ceremony. Her birth grandparents came to bless the girls and got to meet my parents. It was challenging for Sloane to have her two worlds collide. So the recent rage could be about that or it could be depression caused by the medication. I don’t know.
Nearing the pharmacy, I tell Sloane she can sit down while I’m getting the medication. This doesn’t appease her. I’m ready to forgo the request that she ask properly to sit in the stroller. “If you’re quiet in the pharmacy you can have a turn in the stroller when we leave.” I’d like to promise her the whole way home, but I know Elise’s little legs won’t make it that far. She lacks Sloane’s stamina.
The screaming doesn’t diminish in the pharmacy. “MY LEGS ARE TIRED!” she shouts as I grab a few things we need before heading back to the
prescription pick up area. “You should sit down and rest your legs,” I say, indicating the row of chairs. An elderly woman occupies one. “My legs are tired so I’m sitting down,” she says kindly. Sloane growls at her then me because that’s what she does. She has a habit of growling – not in a cute cuddly way but barring her teeth and releasing an absolutely frightening sound. “No,” I say, picking her up and putting her on a chair. She immediately slides off still screaming, “MY LEGS ARE TIRED!” I try the chair again with the same result. I pick her up. But need to put her down a few minutes later to steer the stroller out of the store. The screaming continues.
Next to the pharmacy is a local bakery which Elise loves. I’d promised she could get a cookie when we first left the park. I’d like to skip it and hurry home, but then she’s missing out because of Sloane’s behaviour. Before going in I make the same offer, “If you’re quiet in the bakery you can have a turn in the stroller when we leave.” This time it works. Elise has discovered they give out free cookies at the bakery so she asks the lady working there for one. The only sound out of Sloane’s mouth is her asking me if she can have a cookie as well. I say yes. I buy buns, two cream horns, and a small rhubarb pie for myself. This is why I’ve gained so much weight since I started fostering, after being assaulted by screaming I encourage myself with the likes of pie. Out of the bakery, I tell Elise to get out of the stroller. Sloane gets in. To entice her to walk, Elise gets a cream horn. Sloane is furious that she doesn’t get one. I try to explain screaming doesn’t warrant special treats but she can’t hear me because she’s screaming again.
My message that screaming doesn’t get you what you want isn’t being absorbed. Sloane still prefers to employ this approach. What she doesn’t get is that I’m just as determined as she is. It may take me a cream horn and some pie to get through, but I’m not going to give into these tactics. You’d think this lesson would have been learned after 2yrs together. I fairness to her, she does get it most of the time. But there are times Sloane’s emotions overwhelm her. Once she starts the screaming it’s hard for her to stop. Praying for a deeper level of healing and a complete harvest of self-control in my little girl (and myself!)