Monday, February 04, 2008

What are YOU lookin at?

I am feeling a teensy bit defensive these days.

I mean, it's one thing to feel questioned by others - parents and not, friends and not, or just people who cannot mask their judgment in conversation - but, on top of this, it's another thing to be judged most harshly, most relentlessly, most irrationally, most fucking myself. Not like most parents are unfamiliar with this technique, which involves many sleepless nights, migraines, and countless hours of guilt, which just pile up. I have certainly been practicing for years, so I know I am very good at it.
It's one thing to write a post that introduces our latest (quiet) endeavors into the world of speech therapy, into the world of ABA, and be all 'I defend my attention to modifying my child's behavior'.
And it's another to come home (dammit too, if I could have just stayed away 10 minutes longer...I am new at this timing and have a few things to learn) to my two year old screaming his bloody head off, having been screaming more or less the entire 50 minutes I was away. With his most favorite teacher.


Seriously, the boy had lost his shit when I drove away the second time. Which was my huge mistake. I intended to be way gone before his teacher showed up...hoping that he will not associate me with leaving after the teacher comes, which I think is worse. I had to teach music at the preschool 2 minutes away. But I was slightly late getting socks on him for the fourth time, and instead of just letting it go and letting those tiny toes freeze, I was slightly late leaving the driveway. After I drove away the first time, dh had him calmed down within moments and told him his teacher was coming. He was fine with that. But at the top of the driveway, I ran into (not literally) the teacher, about to pull in from our one lane road. Instead of asking her to back out, I backed back into the driveway so she could pull in, which Bubbles could see from the house. I know, I know. I'm with stupid. So, the second and real time I left, he was a basket case. Not very helpful for his teacher. Or him. For apparently, the next 40 minutes.
Watching a portion of the video that she had so kindly taped for me was seriously painful. I wanted to sob, much like my son on the screen in front of me (in real time at this point he was fine, now that I was present). But I didn't.
Beyond the initial pure mama-gut reaction seeing Bubbles so completely inconsolable, it broke my heart to see him trying (and succeeding for a few minutes) to fall asleep during his session. Fall asleep. One of our little pet names for Bubbles is 'Enemy of Sleep'. Get the irony?
It was sad.
Also sad? Seeing the unfazable teacher (a woman who holds at least as much of my respect as supernanny) looking stressed when I did walk in (early, remember? because he had just calmed down 10 minutes prior to my return), and watch her genius wheels turning as she - once again - re-assessed this child of mine and started -once again- to revise his program.
"That Damn Child!", I thought. (Just kidding.) (Sort of.) Fist shaking!, I visualized.
"Don't cry while his teacher is here!!!", I begged my eyes.

She asked how he was when we left him with other people.

I'm sorry, what did you say?

"How is he when you leave him with other people?"


Leave him?
With other?

Oh. I think I see part of the problem here.

'We' don't leave him.

I have a whole load of reasons why, but none of them really matter now, do they?
What seems to matter, is that, not only have I managed to somehow foster these challenging behaviors (although the stubbornness? he comes by that genetically, I am sure), but I have also managed to throw yet another obstacle in his path to language...because I have never left him with a sitter?

I never knew that I could ruin my kid's life by hanging out with them too much.
I am not being facetious here; I am absolutely confronting one of my many parenting flaws.
Okay, maybe 'ruin' is too strong a word. But still?


And I am still - just - flabbergasted.

Enough to use the word 'flabbergasted'.


Tracey said...

Sigh... it's never easy when someone, no matter how nicely and with the best of intentions, questions your parenting choices. And when something is a challenge for your child and it seems that something you, as a parent, have aided in? Oy... Been there, hon. You are NOT the first mommy to have never left your 2 year old. You won't be the last. He will adjust, but it will take time. And more tears. So you're gonna have to give yourself a break. You can't take on all of your child's problems or you'll end up in a straight jacket in the corner. (Ahhh... doesn't that sound peaceful and relaxing?)


nailgirl said...

I agree with what Tracey said. I have never leadt Cameron with anyone except my mom, and that was only twice! Geesh if we all did things the same way.....
Oh nd thanx for the words of support of my blog :)

mamadaisy said...

i tell my husband all the time, the kids are going to be in therapy no matter what we do... just do the best you can and don't worry about it (like i don't obsess over it constantly myself).

and yes, the straight jacket in the corner does sound peaceful and relaxing. will there be wine?

gwendomama said...


Anonymous said...

Why don't you get him a private Neuropsych. eval. and speech eval. instead of depending on the Regional Center's evaluations. I advocate for children on the autism spectrum and I wouldn't advise you to trust some state E/I team to give you an accurate diagnosis. Six words at two years old? Severe tantrums? Remember, autsim is a spectrum disorder. Some children are much higher functioning than others. I wouldn't take their word for it---get him some good private evals. and make sure a very competent BCBA is working with him.

gwendomama said...

yes! good point! the regional center should definitely not be presumed to offer the best services!
if i did not have the utmost confidence in the skills and assessment done by the current BCBA working with him, i would certainly take another route.
i encourage you to read my previous post which includes links to the incredibly well qualified team working with him now.
when i initially referred, my concerns were regarding the possibility of autism.

interestingly enough, the director of the program has spent years working with children on the spectrum; that is her specialty. so i have much more confidence in her ability to assess than i would just the regional center.

harvestmoon said...

If it helps to hear some years of experience, I have a 13yo, 11yo, 8yo and 6yo. The 8yo and 6yo have never been left with anyone but their aunt (when we visited), their grandparents (visiting again) and their older brothers. The 13yo and 11yo were left with grandparents and a babysitter I had known since she was a 2yo for ocassional date nights.

Nothing wrong with your choices (or mine) and the kids will all now go with someone they feel comfortable with, but will also voice any objections to our leaving (which, to be honest, is still pretty rare).

Scribbit said...

Everyone's got an opinion don't they? I watch my sister go through this with her mother in law and I wince, it would drive me crazy to have someone, however subtlety, criticizing.

Anonymous said...

Aw, don't beat yourself up. DS was having speech delay issues, we had him evaluated, etc. For various reasons, we pulled DD from the daycare they shared so she could go to preschool and WHAM! Suddenly DS was chatting up a storm. Apparently, his sister speaks for him and he never felt he had to speak. *smacks forehead*

Mrs. Who said...

Ah, yes, the mom guilt. I am very familiar with it. And my "children" are 28 and 25. I still have guilt about things even today. You just do the best you can. One step at a time. One day at a time. It sounds like you are doing the best you can for your child. My grandson (2) has never been left with anyone but me. He seems fine. My children would only left with their grandparents. They turned out fine as well.

cardiogirl said...

Ugh, that totally sucks it. Big time. It's so easy to be someone outside the parent whose heart is not entwined deeply within the child. Keep on, keepin' on.

mommiesrus said...

I am going through the same thing right now. My problem, I just can't find a fitting or good sitter. :( But, I've gotten those very same comments about how we've created 'the beast' on our own by never getting out. SIGH!