When we told Cher that we were thinking about getting another therapist, she got really excited. "Oh thank you, Mom! Mr. Smith [her public school therapist] makes me really uncomfortable."
"What do you mean, "uncomfortable?" I asked? Cher immediatly turned her head and said softly,
"Oh nothing. Forget about it."
My mommy-radar went bezerk. "Cher. Tell me what he does that makes you uncomfortable. I need to know.
"It's not a big deal, I don't want you to get mad at him!" Her eyes started filling with tears and she shrank into the big armchair with fear on her face.
I keep telling myself to stop, but I do indulge in local news on occasion and am far too aware of some of the the sickos that have infested our schools. You hear about them all the time. There was one teacher in particular that sticks out from a radio story I heard a few years ago. An elementary school teacher in California who would duct tape his students mouths closed, blindfold them, then place live, gigantic cockroaches on their faces and photograph them. I wish that was all he did, but there's even more horrific details you don't even want to know about but I've been unable to purge from my brain. So I was NOT going to let this go.
"Cher. I know you're scared, and I promise everything is going to be all right." I went and sat next to her in the arm chair and held her hand. "Honey, I need to know what Mr. Smith is doing that makes you uncomfortable. It can be very dangerous when kids keep secrets about adults. Please tell me."
She stared into my eyes and then cracked. "Well, it's just that I really think he hates me. Every time he comes to the class to pick me up, he gives me a look like this:" She suddently screwed up her face and made the most terrifying expression of insanity I'd ever seen. I can only equate it to that moment in the movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" when truck driver Large Marge goes nuts in the cab. It was impossible to stifle my shriek.
Cher hung her head and waited to see how I would respond. "Don't worry, hon. You don't have to go back," I said softly. She gave a huge sigh of relief, gushed her thanks and skipped off to play piano. As relieved as I am to know that Mr. Smith wasn't doing anything truly awful, it really was just the push I needed to get Cher that extra help. Later that day as I was setting up an appointment with the private therapist, she asked me if I had a referral. I was tempted to tell her that Large Marge sent me.
(Haven't seen this classic movie? First, hang your head in shame. Then watch the "Large Marge" clip here!