Kids and Therapy – An Adventure in Itself

So part of our adventures, is finding the fun in the bad.

It would be a disservice if I were to share all the good without the bad and the ugly that is our life.

Because real life, is not always rainbows and butterflies, blue skies and smiles.

Real life is chaotic and messy, stormy and grumpy too.

I have my own mental health demons I battle daily. And I gave birth to two kiddos that have their own demons they must battle.

Parenting these 2, is the farthest thing from easy. I never learned how to properly handle my mental health demons. B is 10, so I have struggled, oh for the last 10 years, to be the best parent I can be for my kiddos.

Understanding how their brain works, has been my #1 goal since I was pregnant with Thing 1 nearly 11 years ago. And I would give myself a C-.

Remind me again why you dont give birth to a manual for your kid too?

That’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer. But still! It would be uber helpful for most days that end in “y”.

I have spent many, many, did I say many? nights unable to fall asleep because I felt like a horrible mother.

My entire life, my mom and I never got along. She escalates, I escalate, she escalates. Sometimes we dont talk or interact for months. You get the point.

The point is, I have never learned the best ways to have a disagreement, or a fight, or argue without screaming and holding grudge matches.

But the end of last year, something needed to change. And I was willing to do anything to make sure my kids do not remember their childhood as one big screaming match.

I made a promise to them that I would learn how to be the best mother I could be and break the cycle that raised me.

I went to therapists pretty much from childhood until I was 16ish. I remember talking. Alot. But I dont remember if any of it worked. Or if any of it stuck.

But I knew the process of seeing a therapist as a child.

Or so I thought.

B has seen 1.5 therapists. And her and I both gained a lot of knowledge about how her mind works. Unfortunately I could not afford $70 every single week (even with insurance).

Thankfully – she is the one kid I am not too stressed out about needing a therapist. I am able to apply alot of what I learned from my undergraduate degree in psychology, along with the hours of research I do, as well as the valuable info I get from the appointments of the kid that absolutely needs therapy, regardless of cost.

Side note: we need universal healthcare

E has gone to 3 therapists. The first, was to help me work thru the feelings about L transitioning to E at 5yrs and 9 months of age. As well as help me negotiate the fallout and chaos of this period in our lives.

The 2nd therapist, well that was an epic fail. She was required to go in to the room alone. We tried. Many, many times. But it always ended with her in tears and extremely unhappy.

So we took a break for 6ish months.

I just couldnt put her thru that again.

Now we are on to her 3rd one. This one revolves around play therapy. And I can be in the room with her (which E loves….me mot so much BUT I am learning valuable info I wouldn’t get if I wasnt in the room).

Today was our 7th session. I have been very hesitant this entire time. Because E doesnt open up and talk. She is reserved. And quiet. As she would say, she is shy.

Thankfully, no tears or begging to not go, or storms because of it.

But I was worried. The therapist would interact and E would seem to withdraw more, not speaking a single word.

At the end of every meeting, as we leave, the therapist asks if she would like a fist bump or a high five. E couldnt escape fast enough. Completely avoiding eye contact.

For the 6 sessions prior to today, as I followed her out the door, I would take a deep breath, and immediately start doubting myself and questioning if what we are doing, by seeing a therapist, is helpful.

But today, was different. E sort of kind of interacted with her therapist. At least she said more than 0 words. And she even asked politely for help.

I have been noticing some amazing changes over the past few weeks. To most, these changes are considered tiny and inconsequential. To us, those changes are momentous and priceless.

And at the end of today’s session, session #7, I realized that we are doing exactly what we need to be doing. And exactly where we need to be.

Because at the end of today’s session, she went to the door, pushed it opened, turned around to look at her therapist.

Why? I wondered. She normally opens the door and cant escape fast enough.

“Thank you for playing today friend. Would you like a fist bump or a high five?” Her therapist asks confidently. As she does every. Single. Week.

I look at E. She hasnt bolted out the door yet. And she isnt hiding behind me or holding my hand so tight it turns white.

I look at the therapist, who seems to know something I dont know.

I look back at E and watch as her fist raises.

I quickly glance at the therapist.

Back at E.

“Ahhhhhh, fist bump it is friend. See you next time” said the therapist.

I silently gasped. I looked at the therapist. My jaw must have dropped on the floor. The therapist knew this was going to happen. Maybe she did not know it was going to happen today, but she always gave E the chance.

By the time I could pick my jaw up off the floor, E was already out the door, eagerly waiting for me to catch up.

E is fighting multiple inner dragons daily. And she has to work harder than anyone I know to overcome alot. But she constantly persists.

And today was a reminder that progress and baby steps will be made on HER timeline. Not mine. Not her therapists. Not anyones. Hers.

We just have to be WITH her, alongside her. Our worries are not hers. Because she will know when she is ready. And not a minute before.

Thankfully, we get to take part in those momentous, priceless moments. No matter how tiny and invaluable they may seem.

Be with your kids. Love them. Support them. Wait for them. And they will never let you down.

So…I was totally going to talk about something else (similar to this story, but something else) in this post. Clearly my soul needed to tell you all this specific story.

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