On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Suit Up!

What do you call it when you drive 140 miles one way to be judged, scrutinized and held at figurative gun-point?

You call it a Family Team Meeting (FTM) at a pediatric psychiatric residential facility.

Prosecutor: Therapist(s)
Defendant: Parent(s)

Therapist speaking to CBAY team leader while I sit in the room: "Sissy has been approved for another 30 days, we just found out last night"

Therapist to me when she realizes she gave information I needed to know before speaking to me first: "oh, yeah. I guess that's news to you as well."

Me: "yeah. thanks."

It comes full circle, again and again. When the hospital or therapist or doctor can't figure out why Sissy is just so plucky, chipper and delightful in the PRTF but a raving lunatic at home, it MUST be the fault of the parents. So I got grilled ... again.

Maybe they're trying to make me into a grilled cheese sandwich, which ironically, they served us for lunch directly after the meeting? I declined of course, on the grounds that I can't eat gluten and not because I couldn't stomach the double entendre.

I've decided from now on that I'll be attending all therapy appointments with a bullet proof vest and combat helmet. Perhaps the visual will remind therapists to tone it down a bit? We all know that's wishful thinking, but until I can learn how to mentally and emotionally not feel the pressure of a gun pointed at my head every time I talk to my daughter's therapy team, I'll be more comfortable donning body armor. Call it my "security blanket".

Leveled, I spent the rest of the day trying to keep myself together. No panic attacks this time, thank goodness. I took WG to dance and sat in the van in the parking lot, the dutiful mother, waiting for her lesson to be over. I over heard one of the other mothers shouting a string of expletives at the younger children waiting in the vehicle while she walked her daughter into the dance studio.  Sure.  I'M the bad parent.  If the therapists compared me to her, I'd be Mother Theresa.

The parking lot cleared out, leaving me as the only parent hanging around until the end of class. The silence and solitude was killing me so I started singing "Henry the VIII". Then I decided, to hell with it, these therapists think it's my parenting skills but Sissy and I both know it wouldn't matter how I say it or when. She's not going to behave. So I called the unit and asked to speak to her.

"Hey Sissy," I started. "I was just wondering something. The staff is always thinking that I'm talking to you in a way that makes you angry. That when I ask you to shower or wash your hands or use a coping skill that I'm saying it the wrong way. They're pretty much saying it's my fault you behave badly at home because you behave good at the hospital. What do YOU think?"

"No. They're wrong. I'm bad here. I've been on red for like four shifts now. It's not you, you're not a bad mom. I just don't want you to know I've been bad or to tell me I've done something bad."

"What about when I ask you to shower or wash your hands or do your homework? You always rage then too."

"I do that because I just don't want to do those things. I love you. You're a good mom."

"Will you do me a favor then?"


"Tell your therapists that, because otherwise they're going to keep telling me it's my fault."

"It's not your fault. I just don't want to."

I hung up the phone and laughed until my sides hurt. The firing squad can point their guns at me all they want, my own child knows the truth - she just doesn't want to do what I ask. Period.

Suit Up! I'm going in and I'm planning on coming out alive and victorious.


Miz Kizzle said...

Good for Sissy for being truthful. You're not a bad parent. None of us are stellar parents all the time but we do our best and that's what counts.

Jennifer said...

I know this might sound nuts, but have you ever thought of putting nanny cams in your house to record your parenting and Sissy's behaviors? So the therapists can see for themselves your family dynamics?

Just a thought.

Hang in there.

Singinpraises said...

Any chance a staff member was listening in?

GB's Mom said...

You go get them, Friend! You have truth on your side!

Acceptance with Joy said...

Brought tears to my eyes! The child told you that you are a good mom and that she loves you. After all that you have gone through and the way she treats you and behaves - she told you you are a good mom! Believe it. The rest of her troubles are her troubles and not your fault. Treasure the diamond in the pile of rubble.

Cyndi said...

Maybe I should ask my kid what the heck is up. I think I will do it in front of her worker, just to see if some light bulb might switch on in there. It is so great when these kids are actually honest.

Kerrie said...

I cannot wrap my mind around our children's thought patterns. Since Princess has language processing problems, I have to guess at what she's thinking. But that Sissy can say, no, it's not you. I love you and you're a good mom. I just don't want to do stuff so I'll ruin my life and break your heart, well, it just blows my mind.

kisekileia said...

I agree about the nanny cams.

Kristine said...

Are you allowed to take anyone with you to those meetings? It sounds to me like you need an advocate with you. You are practically fighting for you and your families life in these meetings, you really should have someone on your side there with you.

I really think you should wear some type of body armor for your next meeting. It sounds like they need an "in your face" statement.

We live in hell with our kids, then the people that are supposed to be helping us are blaming us? That is so messed up.