I will not be the least bit upset when you choose to skip this post. Do not feel bad! Come back for sewing or crafting or my usual blah blah tomorrow. I have to post this for myself, to get on with life.
Well, things have been quiet around here lately, eh? It isn't because there is nothing going on, that's for sure. There has been swimming and peach picking and movies and trips to the zoo and a computer infected with some sort of virus and plenty of summer fun.
But also trips to the doctor and plenty of tears and internal turmoil.
It's really a long bloody story, and I think it has taken me almost an entire month of tears and sleepless nights to get over it, but here we are, and I think I am over it.
You see about a month ago we took Jack to the ped because his tantrums were becoming increasingly horrific, he was not listening to a single thing anymore, he was cursing constantly and I started to have serious concerns about his social, emotional and behavioral development.
Our ped said, and I quote, "while this is not abnormal, it is definitely extreme." He suggested we take Jack to a psychologist who does play therapy with small children and reassured me that this was only going to offer us ways to cope with this behavior and that he was sure that she would find that "Jack is just a strong willed kid."
So, off we trot to the first appointment with this counselor, who immediately starts throwing about a million scary words about my kid: aspergers, PDD-NOS, bipolar, etc.
Now, I am a biologist and a mother of a child in 2008, when autism is rampant. The doctor and I have had the autism talk more than once. I have read all the checklists, I know the signs. I have been afraid of it. (I am not sure why it seems scary, but it does.) Hyper aware of it.
And even scarier, my mother is bipolar. My totally useless, completely dysfunctional mother.
As you can imagine, I leave there beyond upset. Hysterical is probably more accurate.
I call our ped again, who again reassures me that this is not an autistic child, and he tells me she will make a "differential diagnosis" and that she is just throwing out all the possibilities right now.
In the meantime I go to Jack's school and talk to every teacher and the director, who all reassure me that there is nothing wrong with Jack. (And our ped has said several times that there has never been an autistic child in his office who didn't have a school report some sort of difficulty.)
So, two weeks later I go back to her office with Jack.
And she spends 30 minutes alone with Jack, while he plays trains and I read a book.
And she comes out and declares that he is most definitely PDD-NOS or bipolar.
Why? Because he lined up the trains when he was playing. (Except that he does not line up toys at home unless he is SORTING. And they were new trains to him, and he was seeing which trains were there. If you had a big pile of embroidery floss that was new to you, wouldn't you line it up somehow to sort it out?)
And because he didn't invite her to play with him. A grown woman who he does not know. And furthermore, she told us on the first visit that Jack needed to be forced into playing by himself. She told me I do way too much for him and that he does not need constant guidance. (And I am pretty damn sure that most 3 year olds, if left to their own devices, will get in a shitload of trouble.)
Anyway. Then she starts in on me about the bill. Even though she has not even bothered to bill my insurance company. And I start to freak out again. In fact, I am pretty sure that if I had had the chance I might have thrown something at her.
So. I come home and read more and more and more about PDD-NOS and bipolar children and I am telling you HE IS NOT EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.
I am not just sticking my head in the sand here.
Life keeps rolling on as I fret more and more and more about all of this. And one day I happen to catch an episode of Nanny 911.
And there, on the damn television, is my child. Rolling on the floor screaming, refusing to dress himself, refusing to clean up his toys, refusing to ride in the car seat, throwing things, cursing you name it.
I watch at least another 20 episodes and I can see Jack on every single one.
So I actually take notes while watching television. We get together, we make a plan and we start it.
It isn't perfect. Jack is still Jack. But he is sitting in time out. The tantrums are down to 5 minutes or less. He is dressing himself.
And I can breathe. A little.
In the midst of all this my nephew arrives in town for a week. We have not seen him in more than 2 years, and he and Jack are strangers to each other. They are only about 10 weeks apart in age, and we get them together to go swimming.
They are instant friends. Holding amazing conversations. Holding hands. Playing TOGETHER. Asking to see each other again.
We went to the zoo together yesterday.
And really it was a blessing. Because every last bit of worry I had about Jack's social development was gone in about 10 minutes.
Is every single one of my problems solved? Nope. Is there still a chance that down the road something will be wrong? Yeaup.
But for now, I am trusting my gut.
And those British nannies.
(The first photo is where Jack wrote his name on the couch cushion last week. It was hard to be mad when a 3 year old managed to so perfectly write his name on a squishy cushion.)
(And we will not even discuss what I want to do to that so called therapist. She told me that she knew her techniques "would work on my child because they work on dogs." Uh huh. Dogs. She compared my child, who I grew from a tiny little egg, to a dog.)
P.S. I take full responsibility for the crap parenting that got us here. Well, Dave and I both do. The harder it got, the more we gave in. The more we gave in, the more we taught Jack that acting like a wildebeast would get him his way. He even told that woman that he cried to get his way. He had absolutely mastered the game we were playing.