Monday, August 23, 2010

The Shrinking Heads - Part Three

Whew! I got my last post in on time by the skin of my teeth. The ending point on part teo was an odd place to break, but I was dealing with the clock. I'll attempt to make more sense on future breaks. Also, that post wasn't even quick-edited. To do a decent job of editing, I really need to print a hard copy to proofread. If I attempt to proof it from the computer screen, which I usually do, it takes several tries, and sometimes I still miss errors. For that post, however, no form of editing was even a possibility. I hope no unfortunate soul comes across it before I have a chance to do at least a cursory edit of the most obvious typos. As I've stated earlier, I am a fast, furious, and wildly inaccurate typist. In the old days of typewriters, I would have been up a creek. During the time I was not allowed to touch a computer because of issues involving a child predator who contacted me online (I wasn't stupid enough to take his bait, if that is any consolation), I did have to use a typewriter to complete major written assignments. I put so much liquid paper on most of my compositions that they felt like stone tablets by the time they were completed and edited. I'll get back to the topic at hand now, and I hope my instructor notices that I have continued blogging past the required number of bloggings. I don't expect extra credit for any such thing, of course. I just want the instructor to know that she has inspired me to write even when I'm not required to do so. Of course I am sucking up at this point, as you, I, and the instructor know, but to fail to do so would be foolish.

So the therapist brought out copies of a blog I authored on the topic of favorite children within a family, and how my parents had one, but it most definitely was not I. My parents have all my passwords, so they responded on my blog, which I felt was a little bold of them. Still, it would be hardly fair to talk about someone without giving that person or persons the same forum on which you initially wrote about them to respond. I always thought that's what the "Response" section of "Blogspot" was for, but I suppose my parents felt they needed more space than the "Response"
section allowed. Wven if you are defying the odds of blogdom and readership by reading this blog, chances are that you did not get a chance to read either my original post entitled "The Favorite Child" (it's been so long and so much has happened since then that at least I think that was the title but I'm not sure; I'm too lazy to look it up. If it was not that, it was something very similar) and my parents' responses to my post.
To give proper credit where it is due, my parents' reponses were kind, thoughful, and heartfelt. I appreciated them so much that I printed copies so that I will always have them even if computer systems all over the world crash and burn.

Anyway, the shrink had made enough copies of my blog so that each of us could look at it as it was discusssed. I was mildly impressed, as I'd never known a shrink to do so much prep work. The shrink commented that, while the early paragraphs were interesting historical context for sibling rivalry, what we really needed to look at were the more personal paragraphs located nearer the end of the blog. He started by discussing the section where I complained of routinely being blamed for things my brother had done and that my parents yelled at me more. He said he sympathized, but that almost every child probably feels that way at least from time to time if not all the time. He was more concerned about a few specific instances I had cited.

At this point I began to grow very uncomfortable. I believe I may even have stated in the blog that i was writing the things I wrote because they were things I could never say out loud to my parents. I don't remember if I started to shake or perspire, or grow red or pale, but my discomfort was obvious to my mother.

"Alexis, would you like to sit with us on the couch?" she asked.

"I don't think that's a good idea," the therapist argued. "For one thing, you can't see each others' faces as you speak."

"She can't see our faces anyway if she's staring at the floor," my mother told him.

"I think Alexis needs to sit on the couch with us" my father concluded. He stood and helped me to my feet, then put one arm around me and under my arm, carrying most of my weight to the couch as I hopped on my good foot.
He put me between my mom and him. I hid my face against my mom's shoulder.

My mom stroked my hair for a moment, then said, "Sweetheart, you can't hide your face right now. We're going to talk about your blog, and that seems to be awkward for you, but no one will be mean to you."

"Thank you," the therapist said to my mother. Then, turning to me, he said, "Now, Alexis, you wrote about a time when you were just barely two, when your mother wouldn't stop reading when you told her you were awake from your nap. Then when your brother woke up, she put her book down and picked him up."

I nodded.

The therapist continued, "How can you possibly remember anything from
when you were so young?"

I shrugged. My dad chimed in. "Alexis has an unusual memory. She probably remembers what she had for lunch hat day."

"Tomato soup," I filled in. "With oyster crackers. We had orange slices.
Mom wouldn't put chocolate in my milk because I wouldn't eat my tomato soup."

The therapist stared at me, then at my mother.

"Yes, I believe she's right," my mom said. "I remember thinking she needed a bib, because I didn't want her to drip tomato soup on her brand new Rudolph overalls, but I was really tired and didn't want to get up from the table, and I thought to myself that she probably wouldn't eat the soup anyway, so it really didn't matter if she had a bib or not."

"So she really does have memories from when she was two?" the therapist asked.

"Yes," my parents answered in unison.

"So what happened after that?" the therapistt asked me.

"I didn't know what I was supposed to do," I told him, "so I went to my room and got back into my crib. Later my dad came in and got me up."

"Is that what happened?" the therapist asked my parents.

"Yes," my mom answered.

"When I got home from work that day," my dad said, "I saw Erin holding Matthew. I asked her where Alexis was. She said she didn't know. I asked her if she didn't think it was a problem not to know where her two-year-old was. She told me that Alexis had been up, but had left the room. I checked her crib and found her there. I got her up and sat with her on my lap in a rocking chair. Later that night, Erin and I argued, but she agreed that she was paying too much attendtion to Matthew and not enough to Alexis, and she took care of the problem."

"I notice that Alexis donated bone marrow to her mother." the shrink commented.

My mother put her hand on her forehead and looked down, then looked up and put her arm around me. She looked at my dad, communicationg to him, I assume, that she wanted him to talk.

"We couldn't find a donor anywhere in the family, and no outside donors were coming up as matches, " my dad explained. "Erin didn't want the children tested. She did not want them to go through any procedures for her benefit. I had them tested without her knowledge. Alexis was a perfect match. Alexis donated, and Erin thought it was from a private donor. Alexis knew everything that was going to happen, and was totally willing to do anything to save her mother. We didn't tell Erin before that Alexis was the donor because we thought she might fight it. Afterwards, we were worried that if Erin were terribly upset, she might get sicker, so we didn't tell. Alexis told when she was upset because she didn't get much appreciation for her Christmas gift."

"So you sent her to her room?" the shrink asked. My dad nodded. The shrink continued. "What happened when Alexis came out of her room. I mean after she tried to throw her ornament in the fireplace?"

"Her mother pulled her into her lap," my dad answered, "and Alexis clung to her mom and wouldn't let go. She sat on her mother's lap all through dinner. I think she even slept in our bed that night. She was clingy to her mom for days."

"How were things after that?" the doctor asked.

"As normal as things could be under the circumstances," my mom answered. "It took that for me to see how second-place she felt. Attention or anything else can never be strictly fifty-fifty between kids no matter how hard parents try, but we've made it as close as we could."

"Alexis, do you agree?" the shrink asked.

"Mostly," I answered. My mom turned to look at me. "I still think they both yell at me more and i get in more trouble."

"Babe, you're a lot more difficult than your brother is," my dad answered.

"That's because he lets me have all the arguments, and then he benefits from them," I defended myself. "I fight his battles and mine."

"There may be some truth to that," my mom said, "but it doesn't account for everything.

"This is something you don't want to hear, Mom and Dad," I told them, "or else you'll want me to provide specific information, which I will not do, but Matthew is not the angel you think he is. You can ask him, and he's not going to tell you, but if you pay a little more attention to certain things, you'll know what I'm talking about." I decided I could go just a bit further. "Do you remember that old show "Leave it to Beaver" that's on TV Land? Matthew is Eddie Haskell. Mom, I suspect your friends have some idea of what I'm talking about. But that's all I'm saying."

"I thinnk it would be good if Matthew came for the next session," the shrink said.

"Good luck getting him here," I said to my parents.

"Don't worry. He'll come, " my dad said.

The next appointment is Saturday. Thing could get interesting.



  1. Is there anything you consider too personal to share?

  2. Anonymous, if Alexis told us that, then she'd be sharing it, wouldn't she? ;o))