A Catch -22

Catch-22 (logic) catch22 is a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules. Catch-22s often result from rules, regulations, or procedures that an individual is subject to but has no control over because to fight the rule is to accept it.

A few of you have asked me how services are going with my little guy. And a few of you have asked me how I am doing with home services for my little guy. I usually tell people that it’s a “Catch-22,” because with Willy, you never know what you’re going to get. Kinda like a box of chocolates. 😉

I mostly feel like my son is the exception, not the rule in this situation. It’s on Willy’s terms (like everything else in his life), but when it all boils down to it, the moment Willy learns to trust his therapist and BCBA, I can guarantee you that things will start to look up for him. He is a Catch-22. 

I remember the day clearly when Willys new therapist and his BCBA came to our house for the first time. While my son busily played on the floor, I told them that this would not be an easy relationship for them at first. I told them that they’re going to have to learn to earn his trust; not the other way around. “You see, my son has a gift” I told them. “Willys “nonsense” meter is top notch, and he can tell right away if you’re worth his time or not. He can tell if your fake, pulling the wool over his eyes, or trying to pull a fast one on him.” I said. In a nutshell, Willy can sense bullshit from a mile away. He is better at this than most adults are, because most adults tend to give people chance after chance in order to earn their trust. Willy can tell within minutes if you’re worth his time or not, and I envy him for that. 

I really do. 

So, of course (at first) my son tries everything in the book to deter his therapists. He’s tried tantruming, being overly sweet, being overly silly, and being aggressive. But these fine ladies, are a no-go! They know better, and Willy, in this case, has lost the battle.

 The woman that comes to our home five days a week is like a rock! She comes armed with materials, prizes, apps for her iPad, etc. and can challenge Willy’s “gift!” I’ve never seen anything like it before. 

It’s breathtaking. 

I said to her on Friday, “I wish I knew you three years ago, because I can guarantee you that life would be much different now, then it was three years ago. And I mean that in a good way.” Willy’s speech has picked up, he’s becoming more self-sufficient, and is taking responsibility for his actions! I repeat:


And it’s glorious to watch. I am basking in this! Willy still tries to put up a fight every now and then, but it’s a losing battle each and every time. 

If you wanted to know how I am doing with all of this, I have to admit that this is a mixed bag of emotions for me. As a behavioral therapist, myself, I realized early on that I cannot be both a mom and a therapist to my little boy. Why? Because it blows up in my face each and every time. For example: if Willy was running and I told him to slow down because he might get hurt, and inevitably he did fall down, as a mom I would want to scoop him up and kiss his boo-boo to make it better. From a therapist’s point of view, I would show no reaction, give him an “I told you so speech,” and send him on his way, showing no affect in the process. Yes it’s cold to show no affect and be neutral, but no mother likes to see their child hurt in anyway, shape, or form. So,when trying to help my son behaviorally it just wasn’t working, and after years of trying, I had to relinquish my control to someone else… which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. To watch someone else do the same things that I do, but have more of an effect on him… well… It kills me. 

Willy’s therapist told me that I am the ultimate reinforcement for him. “The Grand Poobah” in Willys world. So of course when he does something that he is incredibly proud of, who does he want to tell or show first? Me! And you would think that that would make me feel like a million bucks, but it doesn’t. It only makes me feel like more of a failure because this person is making progress with my son, and I couldn’t. Like I said, it’s all about control and letting go. This is my Catch-22, and it’s something that I’m going to have to work on if I want my child to be successful. 

In summation, things seem to be going well. Willy is getting over himself, and I, over myself. I can only imagine where we will be six months from now, and I will of course keep you posted, because a lot of us have similar journeys and we are all in this together. Have a great Monday everyone.  


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