4/10/08

Therapy Hour

My three year old takes a dance class once a week. After my first visit to the studio, I discovered a whole other world of parenting I never knew existed. The Observation Room Therapy Hour. Apparently, during the hour that their kids slave away at their newest hobby, parents gather behind the one-way glass to discuss their latest marriage problems, discipline concerns, and personal problems. It's bizarre and yet, deliciously entertaining. Last week it was "My Husband Doesn't Listen To Me". This week it's "How to Discuss Inappropriate Touching With Your Children". I've learned a lot! I sat quietly beside a particularly talkative mother who refers to herself as "Just A Scary Housewife" as she informed us of her recent trip to the Emergency Room with her toddler son where she encountered a creepy, but equally suave doctor. She said she took her son there because he needed medicine for what she recognized to be another ear infection. The doctor took his oral temperature and then implored to check the little boy's pants. She resisted feeling it was not only unnecessary, but inappropriate. You should have seen the shock, the scoffing, the reactions from the circle of mothers listening to "Scary Housewife's" tale. All of a sudden the silence was broken by a staunch Latin woman with smart gold reading glasses and long, kinky bronze hair. "I work with all those crazies at the State Hospital," she began, followed by a dramatic pause. I sized her up to be a psychiatrist and immediately pictured her in a scene from Silence of The Lambs, a Spanish version of Jodi Foster in stilettos and a white lab coat. She continued to reflect on the damage incurred by sexual predators and emphasized the stigma associated with boys when they are the victims. The conversation bobbed and weaved through a variety of confessions about acquaintances or family members who were victims of sexual abuse. The young pregnant girl seated across from me chimed in about an article she read about Megan's Law. I came away from this first session feeling empowered by new knowledge, interested in these other parents I'd talked with, and suddenly looking forward to next week's dance class. Let the therapy continue, Dance, Shelby, Dance!

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