Yesterday afternoon I was supposed to help Corazon put the finishing touches on a school project. She had completed the various elements over the past two weeks and was doing some final drawings and had asked if she could word-process one of the written pieces for her poster. I reminded her to double check that she had all of the elements. She said she did. Then I reminded her by calling out each one and asking her to find it in her folder or notebook. She again assured me she had all the components except the one she needed to work on which was to be 1 sentence long and the drawing she wanted to add. Tortuga was doing his reading, Pollito was taking an afterschool nap because he had been seriously cranky since pick up time. Milagro was my little cling-on and didn't want to be more than 2 feet away from me but her favorite place was on my chest. So I was content to play with her while Corazon completed her drawing and the last little bit of writing. After 25 minutes I suggested she stop the drawing and work on the 1 sentence so she could type whatever pieces she wanted to type. 45 minutes later she still didn't have the 1 sentence done (not sure what she was doing.) I tried to encourage her but all I got was a pouty face and grouchiness. I reminded her I would need to get dinner together soon and then she was stuck waiting for my help until close to bedtime if she didn't hurry up and finish. Big mistake. It was like I asked her, no, dared her, to go as slow as possible. She was slower than molasses taken out of the refrigerator! I didn't say anything just continued what I was doing and eventually went to fix dinner. After dinner, bedtime for Pollito, and big meltdown for Tortuga I was once again ready to help her. As we were working together I asked her to show me the other elements in her notebook and lo and behold, she had a couple that she hadn't done but had sworn for days that they were finished. I looked her right in the eye and asked her, "Corazon, why do you do it? The lying?" My lovely child looked directly at me, a look of distress came over her face and she said "I don't know mom, I don't really like doing it anymore. (pause) I am trying to stop mom! Really, I am!" Then she broke down in tears. (Real ones.)
For Corazon, this is BIG! She didn't deny lying, make up another lie, change the subject, create an elaborate explanation, blame it on me or my having misunderstood, and she didn't promise to stop. This is how much progress she has made. Of course, when I pushed it and asked her about the slowness in doing the necessary tasks (big problem these days) she acted like I had four heads and was speaking gibberish! Oh well. Can't win them all in one day but I will keep trying!
Then there is Tortuga. What do I do with this boy? It was another night of anger, tantrums, "I hate you" and "you are mean." He got to join the family for dinner for the first time in a week since his grounding. It started out fine but then he verbally attacked Corazon and when I calmly tried to redirect him he lost his temper. He couldn't regroup and he tried to disrupt dinner for everyone so I sent him to his room to get it together so he could finish his dinner when we were done. He just couldn't calm down. He screamed, yelled, jumped on his bed, ran to the top of the stairs to shout at us. According to him we are "awful." We don't treat him right. We are "stupid idiots." No matter what we do to show him how much we love him and want to help him we are wrong, mean, etc. etc. I finally went upstairs, turned off his light, closed his door, said goodnight, told him we loved him, set his alarm and reminded him that this too would pass. Lord, I hope so!