As JD's description ended, he looked up at Lowery.
"It kept bein' like that all week. Since Chris is home, him and Vin spend
a lot of time together."
"Do you feel like they leave you out of things?"
" the little brunet admitted. "They
us'lly aks me to play games and stuff 'til Da comes home. When Vin's doing
his homework and I don't got any, Chris lets me play 'puter games."
"How do you feel about the fact that Chris is
home, but Buck has to be gone more than usual?"
"Well, I wish he was home like Chris, but I don't
want him to have a broked leg. An' he gets home soon as he can. Then we get
to play. At least sometimes."
With a sigh, he said, "Well, sometimes he has
to do a lot of boring stuff when he gets home."
"Is it stuff that you could help him with? Are
there things you could do so the boring stuff would be done quicker?"
"I don't like doin' most a that stuff."
"I see. Then Buck has to do all that boring stuff
by himself then?"
lots a times Vin helps him."
"So they sort of leave you all by yourself? What
do you do then?"
With a shrug the five-year-old said, "I have
to find something to do and lots of times I can't and then I get bored."
"Is there something you could do with Chris?"
"No. Da us'lly brings stuff home from the office
that Chris has to do. So he us'lly looks through it. Or if he don't, he'll
do some of the stuff with Da. He's gettin' better on th' crunches so he does
more stuff 'round the house."
"Ah. Do they ask you to help?"
"They aks me if I wanna help, but if I say no,
they say okay. Chris and Da say that we have our chores to do and anything
else we do is
'bove and yawned."
"Above and beyond?"
"Yeah, that's it, 'bove and be-ond. So we can
d'cide if we wanna do it or not."
"I see. So Vin usually helps then?"
Nodding, the little boy said, "Most a the time,
'less he wants to play. Most a' the time though, he says sure if Da says
will someone help me with this."
"Well, let me see if I have this right then.
Your sad-bad-mad, feelings are coming from the fact that Chris is home more
than Buck. And Vin is spending more time with them because he gets his chores
done quicker and he volunteers to help when one of your dads ask him to."
"Yep," JD replied, happy to see that someone
"And you're feeling left out because you don't
have anything to do?"
"So, what do you think needs to happen?"
Frowning, the little boy said, "Well, maybe they
could not do so much chores all the time? Or maybe Da could do them after
after me and Vin have to go to bed."
"Would that be fair to Buck? After all, he's
worked all day, and then he has things to do at home. I'll bet he's pretty
tired and would like to relax in the evenings."
JD took a deep breath, blowing it out so hard
that his bangs fluttered. Reluctantly he admitted, "I guess not. I know sometimes
he looks awful tired, and then Chris tries to do stuff he can't do too well
'cause of his broked leg. Then Da and him have a loud 'scussion 'bout it.
Da tells him to stop feelin'
feelin' bad and it ain't his fault his
leg is broked. And Chris says he'll be glad when he don't have a broked leg
"It sounds like everyone is having some tough
times right now."
JD frowned, then his eyes widened and he nodded.
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Do Vin, Buck and Chris like doing all those
chores, do you think?"
Shaking his head, the little boy said, "No. Da
says nobody really likes to do chores. He says they're a 'have to' thing."
"Well I have to agree with Buck, they're a 'have
"Do you gots chores, Dr. Will?"
Smiling, the therapist said, "Yes, I have chores,
too, Buddy. I don't know of anyone who doesn't."
"Okay, so let me go back over this again, because
sometimes I forget things. You've been having these mad-bad-sad feelings
lately. You're feeling like Vin is spending more time with Chris and Buck
and you're sort of feeling left out. And
tell me again, why is Vin
spending more time with Chris and Buck?"
"Well, 'cause he helps out with the chores, and
he gets his chores done real fast, and 'cause Chris gots a broked leg and
he's home more, and 'cause Chris helps him out with his homework."
"So, how could you spend more time with Chris
JD studied the question for a few moments. Then
he frowned, and ruffled his bangs with a breath again. "I guess I could say
okay when Buck aks for someone to help him with a chore."
Hesitantly he said, "And I could get my chores
done quicker, 'stead of doin' other stuff. But I don't like doin' chores."
"But you said that Buck and Chris and Vin don't
like doing chores, right?"
"Right, Da says they don't."
"Well, gee, then how come they do them?"
Another sigh. "Cause they gots to be done."
"But if everyone pitches in and helps out
"The chores get done quicker?" JD frowned at
the answer. He didn't like where this conversation was going.
"I think so. Now, you want to have more time
with Buck and Chris and you want to have time to do fun things. What might
help make that happen?"
Yeah, he definitely didn't like where this was
going. "Well, I guess I could say okay when Buck needs someone to help."
"And if you did that?"
"The chores'd get done quicker?"
"Makes sense to me. And if the chores are done,
"Buck'd have more time to play?"
"Does that make sense?"
"Yeah," JD heaved yet another sigh. He wished
that there was a way to figure this out without it meaning he had to do more
"You don't look very happy with that solution."
The little boy shrugged. "I just don't like doin'
all them chores."
"Let me ask you something. How are you feeling
right now? Is this the same kind of feeling you had when Chris and Buck were
playing the game with Vin?"
The little boy cocked his head then finally said,
"Yeah, it is."
"Is it the same feeling you were having the other
"Do you have a name for that feeling yet?" When
JD shook his head, the therapist said, "Could I suggest a name for it?"
"How does frustrated sound?"
The little boy tried the name out in his mind,
then his expression brightened once more, "Yeah, that sounds like a good
name for it."
"All right. So you're frustrated because there
aren't any solutions that make you happy. Is that what I'm hearing from you?"
Another sigh, and then the child said, "Yeah.
I want to think of a way that Da don't have to do a lot of chores and I don't
have to do a lot of chores, and we gots more time to play."
"Do you think you can find a way that would work?"
Shoulders slumping, the boy said, "I don't think
"And you're pretty frustrated about that, huh?"
"Unfortunately, Buddy, that's a part of life.
We all have to do things we don't particularly enjoy. I'll bet that if you
ask Chris and Buck and Vin they'd tell you that they don't enjoy doing chores
as much as they enjoy playing games and things like that."
"So they just do 'em anyway, even if it ain't
"Yes," Lowery said gently.
"And if I want Da to have more time to play then
I've gotta help do chores?"
"That's up to you. See, the thing about being
frustrated is this. If you want to stop being frustrated about something
you have to find a way to change things. In your case you have to decide
whether you want to give up a little of your time to help out, or if you
want to feel frustrated because Buck's busy. And you have to decide whether
to get your chores done on time, or give up some of your fun time, while
Vin has fun playing. Make sense?"
Again the thick bangs fluttered as the child
expressed his frustration eloquently. "Yeah
but, do I have to be happy
Barely suppressing a chuckle, the therapist said,
"No, JD, you don't have to be happy about it. Okay, so shall we talk about
your homework now?"
"'Kay. What'cha want me to talk 'bout first?"
"How about the game? Did you make up a game?"
"Yeah. I made up a game 'bout buildin' with the
Legos. We had to build a tower an' a bridge an' a house. An' the fastest
"And how did it go?"
"Okay," once more he sighed. "Only I got
"Yeah, side tracked, an' didn't finish first."
"So Vin won?"
"How'd that make you feel?"
"Frustrated," JD huffed.
"Well, did you have fun?"
"Yeah, most of the time."
"Well, that's the best thing about games
"Oh, okay." That was what Chris had told him
when Vin won the game, but he thought the best thing was supposed to be winning.
Lowery continued. "How about your other homework?"
"Playin' by myself?"
"I did, but I don't like it as much as playin'
with Vin an' Da an' Chris."
"But you can do it, right?"
"Yeah. I'm gettin' good at some of the 'puter
"Well, that's great."
"Do I gotta do it more?"
"Play by myself every day?"
"Well, how about you just do it sometimes?"
"Okay, I can do that."
"All right. So do we have anything else to talk
about, or would you like to go back with Buck?"
"I'm ready to go see Da."