Last night Jess and I got to talking. It started with a talk about A, my cousin who is only 2 yrs older than Jess, and K, A's older bro who is 6 mos older than Wiz. Apparently K got dumped by a girl he had a crush on for years and finally started dating a few weeks ago. A was sympathetic to K but felt he deserved it. The girl dumped him because his mother kept telling her how lucky she was to be dating K and how perfect K was, and K was behaving like he believed his mom's hype. K beat A up a lot until she was about 5 when she taught him that if he touched her again he would regret it. A's mother punished her hugely because she left scratches on almost every inch of K, but the rest of us felt she deserved it. The favoritism of K over A was a major reason we stopped spending any time with them, also because if we were there K would do things and blame it on Wiz and Jess or wait until we ewre gone and lie about things they didn't do to him to get his mom to call me and tell me what horrible kids I had. J and A have been very close in spite of not spending as much time together as they would have liked when they were little and not living near each other for the last 9 years. A surprised me by telling me that J encouraged her to stand up for herself against K. Why did this surprise me? Jess NEVER hit Wiz back. NEVER. No matter what he did, she refused to hit him or hurt him. Until now she would just look at me like I was an idiot and not answer the question. Remember, Wiz was in therapy before J turned 2 and he was on medications by the time she was 4. She told me that no matter what he did, she knew it was because he was sick, that something was really WRONG. She could see that we were doing all we could to protect her and to get him help to handle/fix whatever was wrong with Wiz. Often when Wiz was really violent, angry or irrational I could see a change, sort of like a dark cloud or dark persona come over him. I had no clue that Jess had seen it by the time she was 2 and knew it was NOT him. LOTS of people told me I was wrong, imagining it, making things up, etc... if I tried to describe it. One priest that we knew used it to try to justify an exorcism, but THAT was not happening. Apparently after Wiz got home from the 4 month psychiatric hospital stay he had nightmares first that he was attacking Jess in her sleep. He would go into her room in the middle of the night and just sit and cry. If she woke up she held him and told him it was okay. He didn't go in to hurt her, he went in to make sure it was just a dream because he didn't want to hurt her. In the psychiatric hospital he heard another boy talk about how awful his sister was because she wouldn't obey him and she would hit him if he hurt her and how she had no right to do that. Wiz realized that Jess probably could have really hurt him badly (she is far more coordinated than he is) but she CHOSE not to. I had no idea about these nightmares. Later he got violent again and went for me because he knew I would stop him from hurting her. he didn't really want to hurt either of us but he didn't know how to not act on the urges. So he knew he was big enough to kill her (and he easily could have) so he came at me. He knew I wouldn't attack him but would stop him from hurting her no matter what. I am just so incredibly amazed to think that from the age of 2 or 3, possibly younger, she could recognize that he was truly ill and not retaliate, not even if it would have stopped him from hurting her. I had no clue she had ever encouraged A to fight K or that she saw a difference between K's bullying and Wiz' violence. But she did. She also saw how hard we were working to help Wiz and how my aunt was doing NOTHING to stop K and everything to make it okay for him to do that. WHen she was in 2nd grade she even got my mother to see it - my mother had for years insisted that the favoritism that the rest of us saw wasn't there, that we were imagining it. Then Jess got onto her after my aunt called because she read a letter J wrote to A where J said that A's mom was wrong in how she was handling K's violence, or rather not handling it. I knew that Jess refused to talk to my mother until my mother had "thought about it" and this went on for a week. Jess was doing to my mother what my mother did to her - tell her to think about things that were wrong and how they happened and why, and then until Jess had done that my mother wouldn't talk to her. That got my mother to truly LISTEN to my aunt when they spoke on the phone. I remember talking with my mom because she had just realized that the entire conversation was about how wonderful K was and how he did so many things so perfectly and the things that were not perfect were not because of his actions, but because someone wouldn't let him succeed because they were jealous. Mention of A was always dismissive and about how flawed she was compared to K. My mom started telling my aunt that it was not healthy to see her kids this way, esp as A was an amazing ballerina who was already taking classes and performing in small ways with the ballet company in the large city they lived in. At this time A was one of 10 students chosen to perform with them out of over 200 who auditioned. It wasn't that jess was totally against fighting back or standing up for yourself. She was routinely doing this for herself and even for her friends at school. She became pretty well known for kicking soccer balls that hit boys where it hurts most if they tried to bully her or one of the kids in the class who couldn't stand up for themselves.But she still NEVER hit wiz or hurt him in any way. I have a feeling that Jess is either going to be the teacher or therapist who tells people to skip the behavior charts and not go to the 20th round of parenting classes, but will try to figure out something that will be actually effective to help parents with difficult children. The one who stands up to the idiots who say that a behavior chart or contract or change in parenting will "fix" everything. Not sure what she will come up with, but she is going to do something amazing. It just stuns me to realize how completely she grasped that Wiz was truly sick and not doing the difficult child things just because he could. And that she had some understanding of how hard we were trying to help him and protect her. She is an amazing young lady with a great brain and a heart of gold. I am lucky to be her mom. Just thought I had to share this. I have thought about it off and on today and each time the thought that comes to mind is "wow".