So, we’ve established that I am slightly paranoid and fearful of asking for help outside my tightly woven circle of friends/family. We’ve also established that the time has come where I just have to get over it, already, and get some help. At this point, you might be thinking I’m either A) beating my children on a regular basis or B) a drunk/drug addict/both. It’s actually much more boring than that. 🙂
I’m not sure how to explain it in a way that seems true to the experience but also respects my child’s self-esteem and privacy. There’s probably some correct terminology to use that covers this ground but I don’t know what it is yet. Basically, what it boils down to is processing. The way my child processes information seems to be completely different from the way the rest of the family processes information. For a long time, I thought various things were phases that would be outgrown…and some of them were. Unfortunately, though, many of them were not and several have only gotten worse.
As a mother, it can sometimes be difficult to see the shortcomings of our children. I have always prided myself on being a “realistic” parent who sees both the good and the bad of my kids. They’re not perfect little angels, and that’s okay. But I didn’t want to see this. Even now, I don’t want to. I keep thinking maybe it’s just a phase. Maybe I’m too close and too tainted to see what’s really going on anymore. Maybe it’s just us. Maybe we’re not hearing or listening hard enough or doing enough. But the truth is, whatever the issue may be…I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know how to communicate with my child. I don’t understand the thought process and I don’t know how to help. I am lost and we are lost.
I made the actual call a while back. It took me several months (years?) to get up the courage to pick up the phone and dial. The first place I called wasn’t the right fit so I called the next place. It took several days of phone tag before the intake lady and I were able to connect. When we did, she had to go through a litany of questions before sending out the mountain of paperwork I’m currently filling out. I knew there would be paperwork, but I didn’t know she would need to ask me so many questions over the phone.
When she asked about why I thought my child needed an evaluation, I fumbled. Why do I think that? Are these outbursts really what I think they are? Isn’t this just a way of letting me know that I need to give more attention, change schedules, give better food, read more books, work within the limitations…and on and on my brain spun with all the reasons why this was dumb and I should just hang up the phone now. But I kept going. And I kept giving the dumb reasons why I think something is wrong (?!) with my child.
When she asked why this was coming up now, I heard, “Why did you wait so long? If you thought something was wrong, why didn’t you call sooner? What is wrong with you?” The tears came then. Why did I wait so long? What mother sees her child fumbling, struggling and does nothing? Did I not see it, or did I not want to see it? What mother gets so frustrated when she knows her child can’t help it? What if I’m wrong???
I didn’t think this was going to be easy, but I expected to … what? … feel relief? Feel like we were going to find answers to these questions? I don’t know what I expected.
Sometimes, I look at my child and I wonder what is going on in that head. I wish I could understand. I want to understand. Will they be able to help us? I hope so.