June 4, 2011

Update on ODDness

After writing about James and his alleged ODD, I have received so many emails and comments from all of you with encouragement, ideas and questions.  And the occasional: "yeah, I know a kid with ODD and he's ruined everyone's lives. Good luck with that." I really liked that one.  Helpful stuff.

And...don't you like how I call it 'alleged' ODD... have to keep the record clean in the event of a misdiagnosis....

Anyway.  Life is so good. I now work a hop-skip from the house...no more hideous commute. I like my new job. The Expert is happy.  The triathlon training is back on track.  But most importantly... my boy is happy and healthy and improving (and so are we, as parents).  We took a trip down to Savannah over Memorial Day (which normally would have caused me to gauge out my eyes from the road trip with a defiant child), and it was mostly uneventful in terms of whining, ODD behaviors and general disobedience.  It was the nicest trip we've ever had with James.

Yesterday, we had an appointment scheduled for James' therapy.  The long story of it:  the Expert couldn't get James to the appointment on time (I was meeting them there), so the Expert took James back home.  I was sitting alone in the waiting room of a child psychologist's office, not really sure what to do.  Hurmph.

The doctor came out.  I said, " I'm without kid and husband, so I guess I'll just pay you for the session and be on my way."

"Well," she said, "Why not make the best use of our time?"

So we did. I chatted with her for the session time about things that were working with James and things that were not. But I was mostly stunned with the fact:  most things are working.  James is doing wonderfully. 

The best part of the therapy was discussing discipline and techniques with our girl Stella.  She is two, and not nearly as terrible as some (ah-hem) two year olds I knew... but she's posing her own set of defiance and difficulties.

The magic about the Parent Child Interaction Therapy is that it can be easily applied to kids without any issues... I consider it almost a parenting philosophy that is coupled with a set of principles that are consistently applied, and that's that.  You always hear things like "kids need boundaries, and they love having boundaries."  Cliche.  But accurate.

I never had trouble declaring my boundaries (you will not do this and you will not do that!)....  But now I am learning how to enforce the properly-defined boundaries, while lifting up the spirits of my children (not setting them up to fail or be labeled disappointing).

I am so blessed.  James goes swimming now.  He plays in the sprinkler.  He gets dirty.  He says "please."  He says "sorry" (and means it). He fears timeout for the first time ever.  And I no longer have to throw toys outside.  We went to Mexican last night, and he ate and clapped to the music, and danced.  He is a totally different boy.   And I am a totally different mother.

I have always loved my children.  But for the first time in a very long time, I can say that I love being a mom... and mean it.

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