Of course, Mr. Wonky had to come and visit first. There was some whining and complaining and a whole lot of:
Mom...when is she going to be here?
Why do I have to do this?
I want to play with my friends!
How many times is she going to come?
It was mild. But frustrating.
And of course, despite multiple times of being told he was NOT to go inside any friend's houses, just minutes before Ms. Fowler arrived, TT disappeared into a neighbor's home.
He did OK though. Ms. Fowler is incredibly calm and patient. She immediately engaged TT in helping her unload her car with the toys she had brought. He didn't seem too threatened and he warmed up quickly.
I contained all the rest of the children to the first floor of the home. TT and Ms. Fowler had their session upstairs in our playroom.
I don't know all that they talked about. At least not specifically I don't. When the hour was up I joined them upstairs for just a bit. Ms. Fowler explained that TT set his own goals. He's going to try and focus on his perfectionism and patience issues.
Ms. Fowler and I had done a little bit of "intake" over the phone. I'm not sure I had mentioned the perfectionism problem or not. But, when I filled out the paperwork she gave me yesterday, I boiled TT's "issues" down to four key problems: anxiety, perfectionism, lying and stealing. (The stealing isn't chronic, but I do want it addressed in therapy.) I thought it was pretty cool that she keyed into his perfectionism problem right away and that he set it as a goal to work on as well.
We agreed to meet again in two weeks. Ms. Fowler said we would readdress the effectiveness of therapy in about two months. TT shot off like a bolt of lightening as soon as he was given the chance. He didn't even stop for a (much needed) snack. I should have kept him home to eat something first. When TT's blood sugars dip at all, he gets incredibly dysregulated. It's not that we try to throw food at the problem. But he can't stay regulated on his own when he's hungry at all! TT assured me that he was fine though and he took off to go play with his friends.
I regretted the lack of snack when it was time to call him in for dinner. It was at that time that we had the beginnings of meltdown.
First, both he and Bart had gotten out their bikes. They had been specifically instructed not to get out their bikes because it had rained all morning. Mud puddles call loudly to Bart and I didn't want to deal with that mess. So, come dinnertime I look out to see both boys on their bikes. I holler for them to put the bikes away and come inside for dinner.
Bart obeyed. (shock!) TT acted like he did. It was obvious TT was dysregulated though. He was visibly agitated. I didn't do a full inventory of the contents of the garage. I just assumed all the bikes were back like they were supposed to be. I shut the door and got everyone situated at the table.
TT raced through dinner and asked immediately to be excused so he could go outside. I let him get down from the table but I said he was NOT to go outside. I was going to have all the kids help with a few simple chores before releasing them to free play again.
TT flipped out!!!! Then, he went outside anyway.
Marching after him, I went outside and ordered him back in. He started spinning some story about needing to go outside to get his toys back. He said his friends were riding his bike and that they had taken our basketball. I was ticked that he had gone outside deliberately after being told not to. We started to butt heads.
TT was making it sound like his friends had stolen his bike out of our garage. Initially I believed him. His bike was out in the street and his friends were retreating from our yard. I believed him until I turned the corner and saw the garage door was shut. (I had forgotten that I shut it before dinner.) No one had stolen his bike! He had never put it away!!!
The meltdown went from bad to worse. I brought TT inside. Herman volunteered to go outside to put away the bike and the basketball. I took TT into the guest room and put him up on the queen-sized bed that is now in there. TT completely lost control. He flopped and rolled and acted like he was being pushed off the bed. He ended up (all on his own) on the other side of the bed flailing for me to "help" him. Then he slid off on to the floor.
Once there he insisted that he was trapped. He screamed at me to help him. I knew perfectly well that he was in no way trapped. At first I said I wasn't going to help him. But then, as he started morphing my resistance into melodramatic crapola (like...I NEVER help him...and I don't care about him) I decided to hold my hand out. Again, he insisted he was trapped and couldn't lift his hand towards mine. It was so obvious that he was full of it! Trying to think outside the box, I went to go get my phone. I told TT that this display was so over the top I wanted to video it so he could watch it later. While I was out of the room TT managed to roll all the way under the bed. As I came in to video him he crawled out from under the bed and almost seemed a little embarrassed by his behavior. He wasn't regulated yet, but he had turned a corner.
Honestly, I don't remember how he got fully regulated. I think Satan himself decided to pay a visit to our home. Over the next two hours every.single.one. of my children ticked me off. And not just a little bit! There was screaming. Yelling. Defiance. Hitting. Whining. And more and more Defiance. Every single child pushed every single button of mine. It was exhausting!
At 8:00PM though, after Cherub 1 left to go watch the MMA fights with Mr. Amazing, and all other cherubs were in bed asleep, I got the most interesting phone call.
Ms. Fowler rang me. I think the purpose of the phone call was to simply let me know that she misplaced my check and wanted me to look for it around the house and where she parked her car. But we ended up talking on the phone for nearly an hour!
In her one short appointment with Cherub 2, she made a pretty accurate assessment. I was amazed!
First and foremost, she went on and on about how gifted he is. This is paramount in my opinion because it is the huge difference between how his mind works and how he responds to his body that causes so many of our difficulties. She worded it better than that but it was her assessment too. She asked a lot of questions but really seemed to understand my TT pretty well.
I'm going to keep a record of his moods. Originally we talked that he would do this assessment himself. I think I'm going to have him make a chart that he fills out daily so he can self-assess. But, I think I'm going to keep my own chart as well.
I'm also going to "nurture" him a little less when he's flipping out. I have a hard time telling when his trigger is real and when he's being manipulative. I think I'm going to try the video response again. That idea didn't come from Ms. Fowler but I'm pretty sure she would approve. I'm not trying to demean my little guy. I just want him to be aware of what he's doing. And since he does seem to be able to turn it on and off (sometimes anyway), I need him to turn it off a little faster!
After she's met with him for awhile we may move forward with sending TT to a psychiatrist. She's definitely not rushing with anything yet. She made this very, very clear to me!! But she does personally work with a couple child psychiatrists that she trusts. She's going to bring a book for me to read about bipolar as well. She's NOT diagnosing TT with bipolar (one visit does not a diagnosis make...plus, she's a counselor, not a psychiatrist). She just wants me to read the book and determine if I see any of TT in the descriptions in the book. It will help her know how best to proceed.
I feel really good about it all. For a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, I had a licensed professional drive over an hour to my home, have a therapy session with my son and then call me later for almost an hour long consultation with me. I don't expect miracles but I do think we will make some progress.