On the way to school one morning my daughter was close to tears. “What’s wrong?” I asked. Turns out her oh-so-sensitive brother had made an appointment for them to visit the school counselor.
“We fight all the time,” he explained. “It’s a problem and we need to solve it.”
“But I didn’t DO anything,” my daughter whined.
“Don’t worry, Sweetie,” I said. “You’re not in trouble.”
“But I didn’t do ANYTHING!” Teardrops pooled in her eyes.
It occurred to me that if my son insisted on psychological intervention, I could give it to him. I’ve watched Dr. Phil. How hard could it be? Besides, I wanted the juicy details that were driving him to seek professional help.
At breakfast the next day I played counselor.
“So what would you like to talk about?” I asked.
My son answered while my daughter averted her eyes.
“Well, we fight,” he said. “Real bad.”
My daughter folded her arms and clenched her jaw.
“Mm-hmm. And how does that make you feel?” I asked.
“Bad,” said the boy.
“Bad,” said the girl.
“Okay. So, you fight and that makes you both feel bad. Is that right?”
They both nodded.
“What do you fight about?” They were both quiet for a minute, then looked at each other.
My daughter spoke up. “Sometimes we play games and he always makes up the powers and he gives himself all the good powers.”
I shook my head. It always comes down to power.
“Is this true?” I turned to my son. “Do you repeatedly endow yourself with the superior superpowers?”
“Yes,” he said, hanging his head.
“How does that make you feel?” I asked my daughter.
“It sort of makes me feel not listened to.”
“Okay.” Trying to keep a straight face, I turned to my son. “Did you know you taking all the good powers made your sister feel not listened to?”
“And how does that make you feel?”
By this time I was starting to feel my own superpowers. I’m more of a figure-it-out-yourself kind of mom, but this babble seemed to be working.
“So what do you think you guys could do so that you don’t fight so much?”
“Maybe we could make up the games together?” said the girl.
“That might work,” said the boy.
“How would that make you feel if you two didn’t fight anymore?”
“That would feel good,” they said together with great exhalations of relief.
“Not too shabby Dr. Davidson,” I thought to myself, and smiled, triumphant. “Now you don’t need to go see the counselor,” I said.
My son’s eyes popped open wide, then narrowed.
“Yes we do.” His brows knotted.
“Why? We already solved the problem.”
“Because, Mom, you’re not the real counselor.”
At least I got my daughter off the hook. When he finally visited the counselor at school, he went alone.
“So what did she say?” I was dying to know.
“She thought you had some pretty good ideas.”
Ha! Once again, I missed my calling. “So I’m not a total loser?”
“No, Mom,” he said. “You’re the Best Mom Ever.”
He didn’t roll his eyes, but there was a trace of a sigh. “Sure, Mom. You’re the Best Mom Ever.”
And that’s how I learned that sarcasm is genetic.