I

I woke up this morning and the temperature was higher inside my house than it was outside. It stirred up memories of the apartment Sarah and I lived in when I was in grad school. We couldn’t afford an air conditioner at the time and when we went to bed the thermometer would read ninety-five inside our bedroom. I remember it being so hot that we’d scooch as far as we could from each other on the bed, as to not accidentally touch each other and somehow absorb their heat.

It’s not that bad in our apartment right now. We technically do have air conditioning, but it clearly can’t keep up with this ridiculous summer heat. I mean, I did have three fans pointed on me last night. The heat index was well over one-hundred degrees two days in a row. Today isn’t going to be much better. We live on a third floor of a building built in the 1920s that’s been retrofitted for different purposes a handful of times. So I’m not surprised that it can’t keep up. But that doesn’t make it any less miserable.

II

There’s a scheduled power outage this evening. I’m sure that’s not going to help the heat situation in the apartment. We’ll have to figure out what to do as a family tonight. It’s going to be hot and we’ll have no power. Time to find a cool place to eat.

III

I think right now though, it’s time to go get some iced coffee before my morning routine begins.

IV

I took a pause from writing to go get iced coffee for Sarah and myself. Then I began the morning routine at 8:15 with the girls before school. I expected a typical morning routine, but things quickly changed.

V

With fresh iced cold brew in hand, I walked into the kitchen ready to start the morning routine with the girls as usual. One of them came out with a dress on, which is not the expected clothing choice for their summer school and summer enrichment program.

“What’s up with the dress?”
“Oh, I have court today.”
“Oh seriously?! When?”
“I think at like 9:15. Can I call my PO to make sure?”

VI

With as many moving parts as we have going, sometimes details like this slip between the cracks. I personally find it extremely frustrating when these moments arise. Thankfully that’s not very often, but it’s not like we can just skip out on court. Sarah was able to throw on a dress, get our girl in the van, and zoom on down to the county courthouse in time for it to start.

VII

With Sarah at court, I managed both the boys and the rest of the girls on my own this morning. I made breakfast for the boys, gave the girls their meds, checked over chores, and taught to all of their various behaviors. In the midst of this I had to make one of my girls aware that she was going to put on what we call a subsystem when she came home from school. It’s basically like being grounded.

She did not accept the news well.

Sometimes the inappropriate behaviors we see from these girls are not typical teenage behaviors; they are often ramped up and disproportionate. But sometimes they are typical teenage behaviors – a raised voice, an attempt to argue, a stomping of a foot, a slamming of a door, a storming off to the bedroom. These aren’t fun, but they are what I consider pretty standard behaviors for a teenage temper tantrum.

That’s what I experienced this morning. And usually, if a girl is exhibiting these sorts of behaviors they are more reasonable to work with.

“Hey, it’s just me and the boys right now. Sarah is at court, and I have to attend to the other girls’ needs, too. I know you’re upset, but you’re being selfish right now with how you’re responding. You stormed off to bed. You started to argue with me. But what I need you to do is follow some instructions, accept some decisions, and get yourself in a place where you can go to school and be appropriate.”

She responded to that by coming out of her room and sitting at the table quietly, though with a huge scowl on her face. But she followed my instructions, accepted a decision I gave her, and then went to school.

VIII

I am very thankful that I got that iced coffee this morning.

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