You Might Be Raising a School Counselor

There are clues, you know. Certain phrases she uses. The way she listens to people
without over-identifying. The way she makes mediation look like slicing through
soft butter.

I’ve come to terms with it: Paul and I are raising a mini school counselor. I mean, I’m
totally cool with it. She’s like Paul in a tutu with a ‘fro. Not like I wanted her to be a
writer. And with Tophs going off to join Cirque Du Soleil in a few years, she’ll need a
side hustle to keep her busy.

A few weeks ago, Tophs was crying during naptime. He either wanted a different
book or more  beer in his water bottle, but I played it cool, like the football coach up in the
box. I took a step back, surveyed the small child whining in his trundle bed, and
called out a play: “Tophs, go to sleep!”

Eliot totally trumped me with the compassion of Jesus. She slid off her bed, and sat
on the edge of his. I waited for her to multiply fish.

“Tophs, I know you’re frustrated,” she said. She rubbed his left shoulder. “Wanna sit
on my lap? Let’s have a talk.”

Someone get this girl a corner office and a Keurig.

She also presents Tophs with options instead of giving him the right answer. Like
the day he was forcing her to open and shut the gate at their bedroom door by
walking in and out repeatedly.

“Do you want in or out, Tophs? In or out?” He walked in. “Good choice, buddy,” she
said.

She doles out agency like day-old pastries.

Just like a good school counselor, she’s big into the tactile. If you can squeeze the ball
or rake the pebbles, you can heal the pain. Carefully guiding Tophs at their sensory
table, she pours colored sand through his fingers.

“That feels good, doesn’t it?” She asks. “It feels really good.” All Tophs’ frustrations
about being too short for a balance bike melt into the dollar-store play tray.

And I can’t pretend that Tophs is the only one who benefits from her interpretation
of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Several days ago, I got a piece of Tophs’ finger
caught in his coat zipper. He screamed. I apologized my cellulite off.

“What happened? What happened?” Elie asked.

“I think I got Tophs’ finger caught in his zipper,” I said.

“It’s okay, Mommy,” she assured me. “Sometimes my kids get cuts in their zippers.”

I quit.

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