Growing Pains: Our Very Own Sitcom

2014-07-23 16.49.15

My obsession with 80’s comedies lives on. I admit to watching a lot of television growing up and as an adult I appreciate the value of ‘wrapping up’ life’s problems in thirty minutes with commercials. Growing Pains was a fan favorite and I freely admit to wishing our parenting problems could be so easily resolved with canned laughter.

As our daughter grows up and reaches new developmental milestones, we often take a step or two back. In the past month, we have made some major decisions about her behavioral health and there are noticeable changes in how she relates to the world. She has been able to have whole conversations with back and forth exchanges of information, opinion, and humor. Our longest conversation lasted over a half an hour, long enough to forget the novelty of communicating with our youngest child.

Our son has had a more consistent playmate and seems to be enjoying the novelty as well. After a long day he asked to play hide-and-seek, the very last thing I wanted to do before the Thanksgiving holiday. “Sage, would you like to play a game of hide-and-seek with Noah?” Hey, there’s no shame in trying! A half hour later, my wife came downstairs to a rather goofy and fun game that I ‘coached’ from the sidelines.

School, family, and friends have noticed a change and not always for the better. Sage’s ability to negotiate the world is more challenging as we place more expectations on her in life. Social stories are a new tool we use to help her navigate the world. Her frustrations have been challenging and meltdowns have become more physical. As I packed up to leave work, I started receiving the first of several text messages with pictures of our wrecked living room. I realized I missed a call from the school and the voice message was not promising. As I drove to my next meeting, I received another message and a phone call from home.

After a nail-biting drive home, I walked into a clean house, an easy night of homework, and happy children. After bedtime, my wife and I talked about our daughter’s growing pains and the next set of challenges. We wrapped it up in less than a half hour (with no commercials) and a little bit a canned laughter (our attempt to mask our discomfort). Either way this episode has been resolved and we’ll see what the next one brings!

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