I discovered something today, though every time I make a discovery like this, it fails to work again. (Like getting Sabrina to talk about holding her breath while taking her inhalers. It worked yesterday, didn't work today, and with my luck she'll have a horrible asthma attack. Said as she coughs in the other room.) Today I discovered that if I "accuse" her of hitting me (in quotes because she really did hit me), perhaps just before she completely loses it, she then spends so much energy denying it that she doesn't actually hit me again. It's hard to maintain your fierce denial if you then do what you're denying doing.
I was a bad foster ima today and gave in to demands to watch Diego. But even while I'm a little ashamed of myself for doing so, I think it might have been the right thing to do. I told her that watching TV is a treat that she has to earn, and she got off on the wrong foot with me pretty early on in the afternoon. That story is this: I got a prepaid cell phone to use just for calling family members. I handed it to Sabrina to call her mommy when we got in the car after school. She talked for a while until the connection was dropped. Then she wouldn't give the phone back. I asked her politely, repeatedly, firmly, but she wouldn't give it back. A small thing, but also last night she hid the phone from me. (That was funny. She told me she put it in my room, and went in my room to muck around a bit, but actually put the phone in her coat pocket. After she was asleep I called the phone in order to find it.) When I took the phone out in the car, she said "hey, that was in my coat pocket!" Haha, caught you lying sweetheart! Anyway, there was one other small thing that made me think that Sabrina shouldn't watch Diego first thing when we got home, and I told her that because she wasn't giving me the phone back, no Diego. She then proceeded to put the phone back in her coat pocket, tell me she'd lost it, etc etc, and then cry to call her mommy. "Sorry, we can't call your mommy if you lost the phone."
Well, when we got home I gave her a lot of options of things to do, and she took the crayons I handed her and threw them on the floor, and tore the coloring book apart. I made her clean up the crayons and then she refused to clean up the coloring book. (Success there, though, that she cleaned up the crayons!)
Then we were back on the phone topic. She wanted to call her mommy and her auntie and her daddy. I explained again that we couldn't call if she didn't give the phone to me. I went to look in her coat pockets and she wigged out. I got her to agree to go look in the car, which she did halfheartedly and wouldn't let me look. Which of course was because it wasn't in the car and she knew it! She waffled a bit a few more times on "let me just check this pocket again" and then, still wearing her coat, went into the kitchen and knocked some dishes around. She then came out of the kitchen with the phone in her hand and told me that I had left it there this morning. Cute story, but she seemed to have forgotten the detail of her having used the phone in the car on the way home from school!
Wow, long diversion from the point of the story (giving in to Diego, in case you'd forgotten). So then after she gave the phone back she thought that was enough to get to watch Diego, though in the meantime she'd hit me a few times (see: what I learned today) and been obnoxious about the phone and refused to clean up the coloring book. So I told her that if she cleaned up the coloring book and played quietly for 10 minutes, she could watch Diego. She agreed and then proceeded to turn the timer off so she had to play quietly for just about 20 minutes instead.
After Diego (she's getting good at accepting the limit of one episode) we read eight thousand Curious George stories--lesson there? Don't buy books that have more than one story in them. She is very very very picky about where I put my hands when I'm reading, and I can't read with any facial expressions or voices or meaningful tones, but we successfully read the six stories with the only problem being her sticking her finger in my eye when she didn't like that I had raised my eyebrows at one point.
She didn't eat dinner; she seems to have decided that she will only eat food that came from her auntie or her daddy. But I checked with her teacher and she ate lunch, so I'm not TOO worried that she is going to starve. She's been sleeping a lot, my non-professional but somewhat educated guess being that 1. she's depressed, 2. she's wearing herself out yelling at me, and 3. she's sleeping because she wants it to be tomorrow (specifically because tomorrow she is seeing her mommy, but generally because she is always excited for Friday when her daddy picks her up at school). But I can't worry too much about her being asleep by 7:15 because I am worn out as well!
Today's tally: hits = 2 (after school. I think this morning was worse), bites = 0, shut up = only 4 or 5, no breaking lamps, no use of the F word, and only one mild poke in the eye. All in all, a much better day.