Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Diagnosing a Toddler

There are things that children do that, if done by adults, would get them a serious psychiatric diagnosis. I know because I used to be a therapist (counselor, psychotherapist, clinician, whatever title floats your boat) with all the diagnosing power that this implies. That’s right, I could see someone for a 50-minute hour and then write “psycho, no they’re really REALLY psycho” on their chart.

Actually, I have a great deal of respect for the field. I just wasn’t a good “fit”, as they say. I found that while I like people in general, theoretically, if you will, I don’t so much care for them one-on-one. Of course this is not completely true, either. I worked with amazing clients, but I got burned out, so I don’t do it anymore.

Back to the whole serious psychiatric diagnosis for kid’s behavior. Zane has engaged in several behaviors recently, that, had he been 20 years old would have led to any clinician worth their weight in cow pies to label him as having antisocial personality disorder - a sociopath, one without a conscience.

I give three examples to support my theory:

Example 1

Me: I love you, Zane.

Zane: I love you.

Me: Really? Oh, sweety, you love your mama?

Zane: No.

Disregard for others feelings or indifferent to their hurt

Example 2

Zane has recently started crashing “Big Henry Train” off the overpass of his train set. It goes something like this,

Zane: Chug, Chug. Chug, Chug. Uh-oh, Big Henry (loud crash as Henry careens off the overpass). This is repeated at least 30x, and every time is accompanied by an evil giggle.

This is a two part example, because Thomas Train also occasionally rolls by the Sodor Post Office which crashes down upon Thomas’s head repeatedly and vehemently. I don’t think it’s unfair to label the laugh that accompanies this particular action as maniacal.

Multiple victims, sense of enjoyment from their pain

Example 3

Zane was recently given a garbage truck by a friend of ours. It has provided hours of enjoyment. Green Garbage Truck, Mama! Mama, Green Garbage Truck! Yes, Zane, Green Garbage Truck.

Tonight he was playing with green garbage truck when the stuffed toy engineer that he got for Easter, which we have named “Thomas” of course, apparently got in green garbage truck’s way. There was no mercy for this Thomas either.

Zane’s speech isn’t completely clear, but this is what I heard:

Zane: Green garbage truck. Kill. Kill green garbage truck. (as he rolled the wheels of the garbage truck over the engineer’s chest, back and forth)

Or it could have been:

Zane: Green garbage truck. Help. Help green garbage truck. (Maybe he was pretending that the engineer was calling for help? The more I think about it, the more I’m sure this is what he was saying. However, Zane did not give the engineer any help. He just kept on rolling over him with green garbage truck.)

Either way, this qualifies as acts of aggression as indicated by repeated physical assaults.

Since we don’t allow him to watch anything violent on television, and neither SRH nor I are violent folks, I think he’s just corrupt from the inside. You know, a bad seed.

Or it’s just weird two-year-old behavior. He has weird parents. He’s a weird kid. Makes sense to me. I’m going to go with this explanation.


Aimee said...

Ah, toddlers. Our terrible two, "Oz", is equally insane. He also subscribes to the toddler credo:

What's mine is mine.
What's yours is mine.
If it looks like it's mine, it's mine.
If I want it to be mine, it's mine.
If it's yours, but it's cooler than what I have, it's mine. mine.

One exception: If it's a vegetable, it's yours.

Zany Mama said...

aimee -
Oh my gosh, there IS a toddler credo. Why didn't I know about that? Zane, apparently, has known about it for the better part of the last year.