While I'm driving yesterday-
Child:"I don't really want to go and see the therapist tomorrow."
Me: Um. Why not honey?
Child: "I don't know! She kind of treats me like I'm a little kid."
Me: Oh. Well, could you give me an example?
Child: "She says things like -We don't have to talk right now if you don't want to, you can have time at the sand table- "
Me: But...you like the sand table a lot, don't you?
Child: SIGHING "I guess so."
Me: Okay...so how about if we talk it out more later and then we can figure out what to do next?
In the living room around 9pm-
Me: Come sit beside me.
Child: "No, no, I'm just getting my dog and then going to bed."
Me: Please? (PATS COUCH) Come sit and we will talk for a bit about the therapist stuff.
Child: (Reluctantly sitting next to me.)
Me: I'm worried about how sad you are and I think that it might be possible to use this counsellor as a tool to help with that...what do you think?
Me: So we could ask for ideas on things that might help us figure out what is going on, why you're so sad....
Child: "I don't know! I'm so sad all the time, nothing makes me happy, or if it does it is for barely anytime at all! (Crying) I don't even care about eating - I try to avoid it and that scares me!!!!!!"
Me: (Freaking completely internally but outwardly remaining calm and reassuring) I think this is definitely something to talk about with the therapist tomorrow. Do you mind if I come into the appointment with you? Maybe if we are both there we can figure out what to do next to help you to feel happier some of the time.
Child: (Crying) "I was happy today for a little while. When you played that game with me, I was so happy to spend some time with you. (Crying harder) "Being with YOU makes me happy!"
There was more of course.
About how she feels guilty and selfish for wanting time with me, when her younger brother and sister actually really deserve my attention and need it far more than she does.
As hard as it was to hear, I am hoping that making some changes and booking time with just her - is going to help.
There is a whole lot more I could write about feeling guilty and inadequate but um, that seems kind of pointless and a bit like wallowing, so I won't and will actually try and move past that stage into the actually doing useful things one.
Edited to add: Oh, but I am so sad that my kid is so sad and that I just haven't been there for her like I should have been.