This afternoon I took Jesse in for her weekly meeting with her psychologist, Dr. Abrams. In the past few sessions she’s crossed over to a new level of engagement with him. When I leave her alone with him in the office she doesn’t have a fit anymore, and it seems like they’re able to have more constructive conversations about things that are going on.
Dr. Abrams seems to have embraced a sort of uber-positive approach with Jesse. Recognizing how critical she is of herself, he finds every opportunity to highlight and praise encounters and behaviors she can feel good about, no matter how small. He says things like, “I’m proud of you but I’m not surprised, because I know you can do it.” I think he’s also modeling for me, to gently remind me to keep my eye on the up side of things. Jesse usually leaves his office acting and apparently feeling a lot better. This evening as we walked out to the car, she announced, “I think I’m a caring person, aren’t I.” She was very matter-of-fact, but this is no small statement for her. Most days she tells me the very opposite about herself at least a couple times, like a litany, “I’m a horrible bad person and I do everything wrong and I ruin everything and you hate me.” I’ve heard it so much that I don’t even feel all that bad anymore; it’s just how Jesse is. Hearing her acknowledge the alternative truth? That’s a rare something.
I can see why today’s meeting helped her feel better. At the end of a session, Dr. Abrams fills me in on anything he thinks is important for me to know, usually no more than brushstrokes about topics that were on Jesse’s mind. Today Dr. Abrams let me know that Jesse told him Anthony has very smelly gas. I readily acknowledged this fact of life. Dr. Abrams looked a little skeptical or worried as he added, “she says sometimes daddy farts ON her?”
My mouth opened before I could stop it. Oh yeah we do! In my world, if you’ve got one loaded at the right moment, you weaponize that fart. It’s a very effective way to get even and to get some alone time. I even demonstrated my delivery method (though no ammo was available) on Nick, who was peacefully playing with an electronic device. Nick took no notice, but Dr. Abrams’ facial expression had me mildly concerned, so I asked him, don’t you fart on your kids? “Actually, no. I don’t.”
Mmmm. I anticipate that this will at least help Dr. Abrams have a better sense of the conditions in which Jesse is growing up. Maybe just being able to tell someone that her daddy farts on her is enough to improve Jesse’s outlook. I know that venting always makes me feel better, regardless of which end it’s from.