Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The day she became real

Years and years ago, when the book first came out, everybody recommended that I read "The Explosive Child" by Dr Ross Greene. Every therapist, every teacher, every friend, literally everyone that we knew that knew the issues I was having with the Boy and his explosive, but yet undiagnosed behavior was pushing that book. So I bought it when we were still living in CA, and I read it. I tried and tried to follow Dr Greene's recommendations, but honestly, the freaking baskets killed me. You have to read it to know what I'm talking about, but his basic theory is that parents have to choose how to react to every explosion or issue and toss them into one of three baskets, ignore, come back to later, respond to now. That's not really accurate, but for the purposes of this post, work with me.

When things got bad in CA and we decided to move back to Boston, one of the great deciding factors was that Dr Greene was located in my very city. How convenient, I thought. As soon as we came back, I called his office and to my absolute disgust I found that he didn't take any insurance. The guy charges and arm and a leg, and his office help, who are one step away from total bitches, said that we had to pay them in full, and then submit the bill to our insurance company who may or may not pay the bill. I checked with our state medicaid insurance and guess what? They didn't cover Dr Greene due to cost factors.

That didn't stop me from reading the book a second and third time, hoping that I would find the secret to dealing with explosions, but of course I never did. I did, however, find a great psychopharm at Children's that finally diagnosed the Boy and the rest is history. I still own the book, although I haven't looked at it in a few years. I know a second edition has come out and I've not seen that at all, but I still recommend this book as a starting point for families in crisis with explosive kids.

Today, in my parents group, we were discussing this and that, and one of the parents was talking about her daughter and related a story that was in the Ross Greene book. This mom told me that she took her daughter to Dr Greene when he was first starting out, and that yes, it was indeed her daughter's story that was in the book. Small freaking world, eh?

The thing is, her daughter, who is now married and a mom herself, is JUST LIKE the Girl. I mean they could be clones, not in looks, but in how they view the world. They both have the same NVLD diagnosis, and we can finish each other's sentences with the exact reactions that both our girls would have. She is the ONLY parent that get it for me. I know many parents of special needs kids, but their kids are all different. Even the kids diagnosed with Aspergers, who are supposed to be interchangable with NVLD kids, are totally different. We get each other because our daughters have the exact same symptoms and issues and this has got to be the most comforting thing in my life right now. She gets it. She totally gets it. And I get her daughter's stuff, too. Stuff that is still going on even though she's an adult woman now. Because NVLD is a lifelong disability that doesn't change or disappear or is even helped with medication.

Joining this parenting group has been the biggest Godsend in my life. I love the other parents, they all have kids just like mine and we GET what each other are going through. The kids have a range of issues, but the actuality is that they are all explosive, and when you know other normal regular families, good families, that have kids like this, it's just the most amazing feeling of finally belonging to a club that gets it. I know most of the people that read my blog must think I'm the worst parent in the world, that my kids are terminally fucked up, that I sit on my ass and bitch about them all day long, and that I don't love them. I've seen enough negativity about my children elsewhere to know how judgemental some people, especially those without teens, never mind teens with mental and neurological issues, can be. All I can say is, judge all you want. I know a bunch of parents who are the nicest, kindest, most supportive people ever, and they all have kids just like mine!

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Blogger tbirdonawire said...

I get it. My kids have mental health issues and we seem tough on them to many in the outside world, but if only they could walk a mile in our shoes. I know what's involved in raising special needs kids. I admire your honesty and tenacity. You don't get to be the worst parent in the world. According to my kids, that would be me. :)


19/11/08 12:56 PM  
Blogger bethany actually said...

First of all, anyone who thinks a blog, even a blog as honest as yours, tells the whole story is an idiot. A blog tells as much of the story as a reality show, which is to say not much. They are both edited with a HEAVY hand because they have to be.

Second, I don't know how anyone could read the way you write about your kids and not know how fiercely you love them and how hard you work to help them become the best people they can be!

I am so glad you've found a group of people who get you, where you can relax and support each other without fear of judgement and confident you'll be understood.

19/11/08 1:38 PM  
Blogger Picara said...

I'm happy for you that you have a group that gets it. I'm still trying to find friends who understand my kiddo's "quirks" and don't think it's just that she is stubborn.

19/11/08 3:28 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Picara, the way I found this parenting support group was through our regional mental health organization. People in the group come from all over eastern MA, but we meet right up the street from my house. I'm so lucky!

I know that the Dept of Mental Health also has parenting support groups here, so you might check out those types of resources. When I joined this group, I had no clue of how much these people would become a part of my life. I didn't know that I'd make good friends.

I'm NOT a joiner, I've got serious social anxiety, and it was hard for me to join, but I have to say that this particular group is so funny, so fabulous, so supportive, and so totally delightful that it's totally helped my parenting. You know the old saying "When Mommy's not happy, nobody's happy"? Well, that's REALLY true in our house.

19/11/08 3:49 PM  
Blogger Blog Antagonist said...

I would love to find a group like that. Unfortunately around here, most such groups are religously oriented.

I don't think you're an awful parent. I know what that daily battle is like.

20/11/08 8:18 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

BA, check with your regional mental health center. www.namiga.org would be helpful.

20/11/08 2:19 PM  
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21/11/08 3:09 AM  

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