By P. Berman, K. Hecht, & A. Hosack
I am so tired of him saying no to me. I am his mom. He should do what I say. What is wrong with him?
I could just scream!
Claire doesn’t scream. She has been with the Carsons for almost two years and she knows they will come running if they hear she is in trouble. She trusts them more than she has ever trusted anyone else but…Nancy lost her baby when Ms. Alexandra did a home visit and found her high on heroin. This was not going to happen to her, Ms. Alexandra would never find out any of the bad thoughts she had sometimes about Davy. If the Carsons knew about them, they might tell Ms. Alexandra; they seemed to talk to her all the time.
I am on my own with this. I can do it. He must learn to listen!
Claire has been living with the Carsons for two years now. She understands all their home rules now and they have begun to feel “right” to her. She is supposed to be completely dressed and ready for school and bring Davy down to the table, also fully dressed and ready to start the day. Then, everyone sits down together for breakfast. It is nice not to eat alone and share ideas for what they will do during the day. It is really nice to have hot food for breakfast. Claire wants to keep doing this stuff even when she and Davy live alone.
Mr. And Mrs. Carson take care of Davy while she goes to school and will help at night when she is doing homework. Davy is 2-years-old, walking around, and nothing she learned about babies seems to help now that Davy is older! Davy is giving her a lot of trouble this morning.
What is wrong with him now!
Claire keeps putting him on the bed so she can pull up his pants, but he keeps wiggling out of his pants and jumping on the mattress or slipping off the bed and hiding under it. He is under the bed again! She tells him to come out right now using this serious voice that Mrs. Carson told her to use. It works for Mrs. Carson but it isn’t working for her. Davy just keeps giggling and staying put.
It is getting late, if Claire doesn’t get down to breakfast in a minute, she is going to miss the bus to school. Davy must do what she says. What is she going to do? She makes a grab to pull him out from under the bed and loses her balance. She hits her head on the metal frame of the bed. At the same moment Davy giggles again. Claire loses it. She pulls Davy out by his ankle and slaps his face.
Davy is so shocked he freezes. While he just stares at her she pulls up his pants and puts on his shoes. Finally, he is ready. When she grabs his hand, he walks with her without a fuss. It worked. Davy is cooperating. But she slapped Davy just like her mom used to slap her.
Is Claire going to turn into her mom?
The Carsons don’t have any idea that Claire slapped Davy. They feel she is making progress learning how to manage Davy but a two-year-old is tough to handle. The Carsons remember their kids went through this same thing with their grand kids.
The Carsons are excited that Claire is graduating this year and are planning a surprise party for her. But they are also very worried because her 18th birthday is coming up in June. Ms. Alexandra told them that foster services typically end when children turn 18. The Carsons don’t think Claire is ready to be on her own- she is still a kid herself. However, how can they keep this new family together if the stipend from Ms. Alexandra ends?
In Pennsylvania, Claire could qualify to stay in foster care if she was in a secondary education program or working at least part-time. Ms. Alexandra has promised to come over and talk to Claire about this.
Do you think 18-year-olds are ready to make all their own life decisions?
Did you have parents or other adults helping you after you were 18?