It’s Thursday, and I’m not sure if this is a confession…but we shall see how it plays out, Dear Readers.
I took Little B for a follow up appointment with his psychologist on Tuesday morning. Usually, he is totally stoked about a trip to the doctor, especially one that he is well aware couldn’t possibly culminate in his receiving a shot. I felt it best not to notify him of this upcoming appointment on Monday night, because his excitement inevitably results in gloating, to Little A specifically, which infuriates her and results in a total disintegration of any attempts at bedtime. So, I withheld this information.
Tuesday morning, he was watching tv and I was getting ready. At the appropriate time, I told him that we were going to the doctor, and he needed to take a bath. He refused. He wanted to watch tv. I told him that we had to go and he needed to do what I said. This sent him into a fit and I literally had to put him in the tub, and fight my way through a bath, then getting out of the bath, and then getting dressed. He argued with me all the way to the office. He kicked the back of my chair the whole way there. Just before we got out of the car, he spotted a happy face pin in the cup holder.
“What is that?” he asked.
“A happy face pin.”
“Give it to me,” he said in a flat tone.
“I’ll tell you what,” I winged it, “if you are good in the doctor’s office, I’ll give it to you when we leave.”
He was an angel from the time we walked in to the office, until…well, you will see.
I really thought that the doctor’s appointment would be a waste of time. At our last visit, he recommended that I purchase a book called “Social Stories” by Carol Gray. I was overwhelmed after that visit, and dealt with that in my usual fashion, firstly by engaging in the activity of denial and evasion, and then shortly thereafter delving deep into the abyss of information overload and obsessive research. I considered the “Social Stories” book, and then decided that it seemed to be a very passive approach for dealing with such an “aggressive” problem.
Several weeks later, last week to be exact, I finally decided that this book might be exactly what Little B and I need, so I ordered it.
I reported to the doctor everything that had transpired since our appointment last month: the successful two-family vacay (in large part to Just Aimee’s research, patience and ability to gain Little B’s trust) and then the chaos that ensued upon our return home. I cried and told him that I was sad about it all, that I was resentful that we could no longer go to church as a family, that I did blame the sunday school teachers for a while for not wanting to deal with him, that I worried about school starting and dealing with their rejection again as well.
And then the doctor told me something that hit the nail on the head. It was the best advice I think I’ve ever been given by anyone at any point in my life, and came at the exact right moment. He said, “You have got to stop taking this so personally. Your son has a legitimate problem, and it must be handled correctly for it to improve. Think of it this way, if he had diabetes, then you’d be in a similar situation. You couldn’t just leave him with anyone. You would have to make sure that whoever’s care he was in was educated on how to manage his condition. If his blood sugar dropped, and they called you in to take over, then you wouldn’t get your feelings hurt about it, you would do it without thinking. If the church staff wants to get educated on how to manage his condition, then that’s great. If they aren’t willing to do that, then you simply can’t take him. Luckily, the school is required to do this, so hopefully once that process is started, you won’t face the same kinds of problems that you did last year and the year before. But for now, you have to learn to manage him yourself, and then we will work toward the extra stuff.”
I felt empowered immediately.
During the visit, Little B nonchalantly began digging in my purse, and found a dollar. “Mom, can I have this dollar?” “B, if you continue to be good until we get home, then I will give you that dollar and the happy face pin you found earlier.” “Okay!”
When we were leaving, I put a $20 bill on the counter to pay my $15 co-pay. B picked it up and asked if that was his dollar. “No, B, that’s $20, and you have to give it to that lady to pay for your visit today.” “Okay.” And he did. She pulled out a $5 bill, and before I could stop her, she handed to it Little B. My heart sank. This was going to be a problem. I asked him to give it to me, and he said no. He said that it was his. I told him that it wasn’t his, took it from him, and put it in my purse. In retrospect, this might have been the wrong thing to do, at least at that moment, but it is what it is. From that point forward, he was impossible. He laid on the floor, kicked the wall, demanded his $20, his $5, his $1, and his happy face pin. I had to force him to the car, into the car, and into a seat belt. The entire way home, he yelled and screamed and kicked the seat and hit the window. He screamed until his voice began to give way. I can only imagine what the people in the cars alongside us must have thought. But for the first time, I didn’t care. I didn’t speak a word to him. I drove home, my hands gently on the wheel as opposed to white knuckled, and thought over and over and over in my head, “DIABETES….DIABETES….DIABETES….DIABETES….”
I guess my confession today is this: There is something wrong with my son. And it’s not my fault. And it’s not his fault. And we are going to learn how to manage it. Him and I, together. Those who choose to join us are welcome to do so.