Friday, April 4, 2014

The Other Side Of The Coin

As posts like yesterday's would suggest, Thing Two's social and language deficiencies are definitely improving.  One very good thing about the fact that he has had the same case manager/social worker, speech therapists and neurodevelopmental pediatrician since he was four is that everyone involved has been with him long enough to remember what he was like back in the 'bad old days,' so all can take joy in his progress since then.  He's really doing remarkably well overall, except in one glaring area: his behavior toward me.  He can be the most stubborn, argumentative, contrary little pain in the ass in the universe when he feels like it, but he rarely directs this charming behavior toward anyone other than good ol' Mom.  Even my husband is largely exempt, which really pisses me off although I do understand it: I'm the primary caregiver, therefore I am the target.

He can clearly control the behavior: the school folks don't see it.  I know that it means that he's comfortable in the fact that I love him no matter what.  I know that he hates the fact that he needs help, and I know that he really is a my-way-or-the-highway kind of kid by nature and hates being told what to do (or made to do things that he really doesn't want to do) just on general principles.  I know that after holding it all together during the day, at home is where he's going to vent.  I KNOW all this.  But sometimes the knowing doesn't make it better, and I just get so frustrated.

Dammit, I was the one who started asking doctors if there was something wrong with him starting at his 18-month well visit.  I was the one who took him for his first formal evaluation at three and sobbed through the explanation of the results.  I was (and AM) the one who has taken him to every therapist's appointment he's ever had.  I was the one who worked with him at home for hours on end, every day of the week, while he was in preschool, with worksheets and special-ed video games and special-ed toys and anything his therapists thought might help him progress.  I'm the one who works on his homework with him, helps him study, and the one the teachers and therapists call with suggestions for things to be done at home (which I then do.)  I know that there are no medals that come with parenting--I am just doing my job the best I can and I'm not looking for any back-pats from anybody, believe me.  But to have spent the last six-plus years of my life focused so entirely on getting him out of the massive hole that the genepool dug for him and to then be the one that he turns hurts a lot.  I won't lie.  It would be entirely irrational of me to expect him to be grateful, but the fact that I seem to be the villain in this show is getting really old.

His favorite words for me right now are "I don't want to."  Getting him to do anything requires an argument, no matter how politely I ask or how many times I warn him that a transition is coming.  When he's upset with me, he'll deliberately avoid giving me a kiss goodbye at the bus stop in the morning, just because he knows that it makes me sad.  If I were guessing, he's just trying to have some control in a universe that frustrates him mightily and in which he feels powerless, but I'm hoping that one of these days he will figure out that I am actually on his team and not the enemy!



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