That was the cryptic message that landed in my phone this morning as I was heaving my suitcase toward the open airport shuttle van door.
The message came from my husband and, as the story unfolded, I decided he was right--I did not even want to know.
My husband's mom had been at our home this week to help while I was gone. With his work schedule being split, he is gone from 3 a.m. until nearly 10 a.m. Someone needed to be here not only as adult supervision during sleeping time, but also to do the morning routine and make sure the kids arrive at school on time. Then he goes back to work around dinnertime and is there until well after bedtime--not ideal for kiddos.
This morning, his poor mother found herself in the middle of an M3 created shitstorm.
When she opened M3's door, which is a considerable distance from her sleeping area, she smelled a horrendous stench. To make a disgustingly stinky and long story shorter, M3 had neglected to go to the bathroom (probably all day) or to head to the bathroom during the night. She had drenched the cushions in urine and covered them in feces. She, herself, was covered in urine and feces. And, she was still lying in the midst of it, all covered up in a blanket--waiting to be discovered.
My poor mother-in-law likely had 20 minutes tops to shower M3 and begin the cleaning process of the furniture before needing to dash out the door to take M1 and 2 to school. M3 told my mother-in-law she did it because she "needed to go to the bathroom." My mother-in-law pointed out that she was not IN the bathroom when she did it. The girls had to stand outside the house because they were gagging so badly; my mother-in-law had to go outside a few times herself to catch a breath of fresh air.
The house reeked of the smell all day. My poor mother-in-law and husband scrubbed and scoured and laundered and disinfected the entire day.
For my money, I would not have sent her to school. SHE would have spent the day at home cleaning her own mess. But, I don't blame my mother-in-law for putting her on the bus. She went to school and came home with a green behavior card--she could do something so horrendous, show absolutely no remorse or concern and go to school and have a model behavior day. Scary.
She also arrived home, completely unaware that my husband would know what she had done. Fast forward several hours to when I arrived home from my trip and she, again, was surprised and mad that I knew what she had done. As if someone had tattled on her and she couldn't understand how or why. More likely, she still thinks she is magical and that the world in which she inhabits in her head cannot be penetrated by the reality of her negative behaviors in the real world.
This is not rare for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder. To be sure, I've seen such shenanigans documented on any number of blogs, websites and articles on the topics. I also could recite for you, chapter and verse, why I truly believe M3 did what she did based on my understanding of how she ticks and all the reading/research I have done.
It makes no difference.
This is a bridge I'd hoped we would not cross before we found her a new family. This is a major escalation in her already intense behavior.
And, we are left without a lot of options on how to handle this. I'm home alone this weekend as my husband is at drill so I have no one on my tag team. Ugh.
We had alarmed M3's door so we could sleep peacefully and know when she was up and about--now that she's ruined her sleeping area, she can't sleep in that room anymore. And, she can't return to M2's room and her bunk bed because even if M2 is sleeping in M1's bed with her, I'm not putting M3 on a brand new mattress to have her ruin it like she did the cushions downstairs. Nope. Not going to do it.
I'm keeping my eye on her tonight. I'm tired, but when I think about going to bed and sleeping, I just don't see it happening.
I put her in a Pull-Up tonight. What else could I do? I also told her that should she choose to put pee and poop anywhere but in the toilet again, she will be cleaning it up--trust me, she will. I will NOT send her on her merry way and be left with a reeking, craptastic mess.
I know the proper RAD parent response is: "Pee wherever you'd like. Poop all around so no room feels left out...go on. I think it's great that you're giving the toilet a break! Thank you so much. I love you no matter what and you're safe no matter what you choose to do."
I'm not in that mode or mood anymore or at the moment.
I'm tired. I'm aggravated. And, I'm resigned to the fact that I will not be able to leave this house or experience any measure of enjoyment without being made to pay for it as long as M3 is here feeling so badly about herself and refusing the help offered--she needs a new start.
Admittedly, I am more of a "mountains" girl. Truthfully, the ocean can be unsettling to me at times. So much churning and vastness and unpredictability. If I had the choice to live along a coastline or on the side of a mountain, I'd pick mountain without hesitation.
There is something very therapeutic about sunshine, a nice breeze, pillowy sand and crystal blue water.
There is something sort of marvelous about opening a sliding glass door in the living room, taking two steps onto a balcony and seeing this.
There is something pretty spectacular about knowing one of those blue chairs on the beach is specially reserved for you during your stay.
That pretty much rocks and there is no maneuvering around that.
These few days in Florida with a handful of my favorite people on this planet have been 100% wonderful. We have had so much rain at home that the daily mood starts depressing and rolls downhill from there.
I took a barefoot run on the beach today and truly enjoyed it. My breathing is deep and relaxed. My head is pretty clear. The only discomfort is from having two too many bites of dessert at dinner tonight. This trip, much like the jaunt to Hawaii, could not have come at a better time.
I spent a couple hours total on the beach today. The first portion running and walking. The second portion with my rear end planted in one of the reserved blue beach chairs.
Listening to the ocean relaxes me...it's white noise, but distinctly its own tune.
I called my husband while I stood at the water's edge so he could hear it too. I've decided we will close out the M3 saga as it began--on a beach. Right before he deployed, we were in Mississippi during his free pass time. So full of hope and promise and excitement about the adoption and dreading his absence. We will bookend this journey by planting our toes in some sand and water once things are finally resolved. He deserves the break too and after all this hard work, we should be able to take such a break together for once.
I also had the foresight to use my phone to record a minute & a half of the ocean rolling in over my toes. I wonder how many times I will need to watch that over the next few months to relax myself? Maybe I should check ebay for a white noise machine in which "the ocean" is a choice of sounds?
Tomorrow, I will leave the condo in the morning and spend pretty much the entire day at the airport. I don't mind. I actually like airports. No one knows me; I can people watch; I can work on things; I can watch people come and go and then go myself.
I'll arrive home after the kids are in bed. M1 will be at her dad's, so I will need to call and chat with her. M2 will try to stay awake until I arrive & then beg to sleep in my bed (and probably be allowed) because her dad has drill this weekend. M3 will have long been in bed, so I can save that little reunion until Saturday.
For all the stress, anxiety and BS the military has put in my path over the last 9 years, I have to hand it to Uncle Sam--I sure would not trade my military spouse friends that I've met because of marrying my husband. Deployments are for the birds, but SpouseBuzz and the ladies (and gents) I've met through it are priceless. With them in my corner, I can do what needs to be done and know that I will still be upright (even if I'm on my knees) when it's complete.
My resolve to return to myself and to provide that for my girls and my marriage grows with each passing moment. It would be terrific if the coming weeks could remain un-ugly. I can roll with the punches (obviously), but I'm kind of over that. Maybe finally having agreed to follow the plan those in the know have suggested to us for months will make this feel less like a rollercoaster? I hope so.
Why even point out that it has been ages since the last post? If you're still here reading, you know that already.
April flew in many ways and dragged in others. We took our older girls to Georgia over their spring break and had an amazing time with them.
We laughed, hardly heard any bickering, and enjoyed each others' company for the entire week. The road trip was not hateful, the weather was relatively decent and we enjoyed great food at the ranch.
The girls have not had the opportunity to spend a lot of time around horses or barns, for that matter. They loved the busy-ness but relaxed atmosphere that permeated the property. Cats and dogs vying for attention. Horses to ride and groom and visit after dinner. They did very well and even enjoyed our trip into the historic town near the ranch. We went into town a couple times--for ice cream, old-fashioned candy, a self-directed walking tour and a drive through the historic cemetery.
We took tons of pictures and made lots of memories.