by LaraMee

Little Britches ATF AU

March 17, 2004

	      Date: March 17, 2004
	      Session Notes: Both boys continue to work hard during their sessions. I am
	      concerned at the level of denial that JD expressed during this session. He
	      appears to have a lot of anxiety concerning not only Vin's admission of being
	      afraid, but of the changes that are occurring. He seems to want to cling
	      to the way things were as a means of security. Vin continues to be reticent
	      to speak of anything to do with their time on the streets. This is an area
	      where I feel we need to continue to tread lightly in order to avoid irreparable
	      damage. He is dealing with things in the present quite well, however.
	      Homework Assignments: There will be a single homework assignment for the
	      entire family this week. I have asked that, during their nightly talks (they
	      have dubbed these talks, 'pow-wows') they all discuss how their lives have
	      changed since becoming a family. We'll see what this brings out next week.
	      William Lowery, PhD

[tape recording]

Well good afternoon gentlemen. I thought for a moment that I'd walked in on a meeting of leprechauns.

[laughter] Hi, Dr. Will!

Hi, Dr. Will.

Hi, Doc.

We had to wear green today on account of it's St. Patrick's Day, Dr. Will.

Yeah, do you gots any green on?

JD! You can't pinch growed ups!

But we made a hamhock for Da and Chris.

[sigh] It ain't a hamhock, it's a Sam's rock.

It's a shamrock, guys, and adults don't necessarily have to wear green today. Mostly it's adults who have kids that wear green.

Oh. And you don't have no kids, Dr. Will?"

No, I don't. So, Buck, I wondered where you got that very sharp pin you're wearing.

Yeah, pretty cool, huh? JD made it for me and gave it to me last night so I could wear it allllllllllllllllllllllll day.

Well, that was very thoughtful of you, JD.

Thanks, Dr. Will. Vin made one for Chris, too.

Yeah. [sigh] Except he didn't go no place today.

Well, he'll have it to wear next year, won't he?


I'll be sure and let Chris know you suggested that.

[laughter] That's fine. Okay, shall we all have a seat?

[sounds of movement]

So how was the week? Chris only called once.

[Laughter] Yeah, guess that is a good indicator, isn't it? Well, the week went pretty well, I think.

What about you boys? How do you think the week went?

It was better than last week. Me and Vin only had a couple of fights the whole week.

Yeah, we talked every night like you said and if we had a problem we talked 'bout it.

I'm glad to hear it's working out.

Yeah, and even though you just told us we had to do it for a week, Chris said we're going to do it every night 'til me and JD get growed up.

Even longer if we still live together, and we might even do a… a concert call.

Concert call?

Conference call. Chris was joking Little Bit… I think.

Oh, okay. Did any of you learn anything from these talks that you'd like to share?

Well, I learned that it bugs Vin when I say Viiiiiiiiii-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.

Oh? And you found this out during a talk?


I told him 'cause he hollered like that one night when he wanted me to help him with somethin' and I was doin' somethin' for Dad. He hollered like a million times in two minutes and then he hollered like… well, like that. Chris saw me make a mad face so he told me I should bring it up at the pow-wow.

The pow-wow?

Yeah, that's what we call it when we all get together and talk.

Oh, well that's a neat name. So, Vin, how did things go when you brought this up to JD at the pow-wow?

Well… it went pretty well. It was kind of weird at first. I wasn't mad about it any more but Dad said we needed to 'scuss it.

But since you weren't angry about it, you didn't want to talk about it any more?

Yeah, 'cause he wasn't doin' it no more.

Has he done it before?

Before the other night?


Yeah, lots of times.

Nu-uh, not lots of times!

How many times do you think you've said it, JD?

Just some times, not lots of times.

All right, but you agree that you've said it before?


Okay. Vin, if you hadn't said anything to JD the other night do you think he would have said it again?

Well, he did say it once since then. But he apologized and said he forgot.

Do you think he would have apologized if you hadn't told him that it bothered you?

Probably not. He wouldn't have known that it bugged me.

If you hadn't said anything, do you think he would have said it more than once?

Um… I don't know.

Yeah, I would have.

You would have, JD?

Yeah, 'cause there was some times when I started to say it, but I 'membered that Vin doesn't like it when I say it, so I stopped.



Wow. I guess Chris was right.

What do you mean, Vin?

Well, when I told him I didn't want to talk about it Dad said that JD wouldn't know that it bugged me. He said that I couldn't be mad at him for it if he didn't know.

So, do you think it was a good thing to tell him, or a bad thing?

A good thing.

A real good thing!

You sound like you're feeling pretty relieved that Vin told you that, JD.

Yeah, I am, 'cause I don't always want to do things that makes Vin mad.

Not always?


Spoken like a true little brother.

Why'd you say that, Da?

I think that what Buck means is, it sounds as if you and Vin are learning to deal with one another in a way that a lot of brothers do.

Does… does that mean that when we're done with seein' you that me and JD will be brothers?

Is that what you'd like?


Sounds as if you like the idea, JD.

Yeah, that would be real cool.

Well, let me ask you this. Would it change anything if you two were to become brothers?

Yeah, it would.


Vin, can you tell me what you think would change if you and JD were to become brothers?

Well… uh… it just would.

Junior, I see that look. I'm not going to be upset if you tell the doctor what's bothering you about this.

Well, it's just… if me and JD was brothers, we'd have to have the same dad. I don't wanna have no other dad but Chris, and JD's got Buck. I don't want things to change!

Hey, Junior, slow down there.

That seems to be a pretty scary thought for you, Vin.

I don't wanna hurt Buck's feelings, but… I don't want that to change. If it's gonna change if we keep talking to you, Dr. Will then… well, then I don't wanna talk to you no more.

[crying] I don't want Da to not be my Da! You can't make him, Dr. Will! I won't let you!

Hey! Hey guys! Listen… listen to me. You need to understand something right now. JD, I won't stop being your Da… not ever. And Vin, Chris will be your Dad forever. The Doc ain't tryin' to change that.


Promise, Little Bit. Now, why don't you dry those tears, and take your thumb out of your mouth? Junior, are you okay?

We don't gotta change who… who belongs to who?

Well, I kind of thought we all belonged to each other, but no, that doesn't have to change.

Vin, you smiled just now when Buck said you all belonged to each other.

Yeah, I like that. I mean I don't wanna change Chris bein' my Dad, but I like Buck and JD being around, too.

Sounds like a family to me.

Yeah, 'course we're a family, Dr. Will.

So… maybe, Vin, JD is already your brother?

[pause] Hey, you're right.

[laughter] So, Vin's my brother?

Why not? There are lots of different ways to make a family. Sometimes a family is made by marriage and birth. Sometimes a family is made from adoptions. And then, sometimes, a family comes together by friendship. After all, Buck, you and Chris have been friends for a long time. And Vin, JD, you boys were friends before Chris and Buck came along.

So, me and JD are already sort of like brothers, and that's okay.

If that's how you'd like to see yourselves, there's nothing wrong with it.


Yeah, cool.

Okay, so who's going first this week?

I want… I mean, can I go first this time, Dr. Will?

I think that would be fine, JD. Vin, I'll see you in a little bit.

Okay. Buck, can we build with the blocks?

Sure can, Junior.

Bye, Da! Bye, brother!

[laughter] Bye, brother!

Dr. Lowery ushered the five-year-old into his office. JD climbed into the chair and settled cross-legged on the seat. As Will sat down he saw the wide hazel eyes watching him expectantly. "So, tell me, how was your week?"

The light faded slightly in those big eyes. "It was… okay."

"You don't seem very sure of that."

The little boy shrugged, the light fading even more.

Lowery leaned forward and caught the child's full attention. "JD, you know that we need to discuss it if you're having bad feelings about something."

"They ain't really bad feelings," the tiny brunet said after some thought.

"Hmm, okay, is it a sad feeling then?"

Shaking his head, JD said, "No, I don't think so."

"Okay. It sounds as if it's a pretty hard feeling to figure out."

"Yeah," the child said with a sigh.

"Have you been having this feeling all week?"

"No, just sometimes."

"Well, how about you look through the pictures and see if you can find one that makes you think of this feeling."

"'Kay, but don't forget, we're s'posed to talk 'bout my 'signments, too."

"I won't forget," Will said with a gentle smile. Then he retrieved the folder and handed it over to the boy. He waited while JD went through the folder. It took him some time, as he studied several of the pictures intently. This was unusual, and he realized the significance of the action. This was something very important to the child.

Finally the five-year-old held out a picture and said, "I think this one, Dr. Will."

Lowery looked at the picture; it was a dinosaur that looked decidedly upset. "So, can you tell me about this picture? What about it reminds you of how you've been feeling?"

"Well, it looks kind 'a mad and sad and…" He sighed. "I don't know how to 'splain it better than that, Dr. Will."

"What if you give me an example?" When the little boy gave him a puzzled look, he said, "Can you tell me about a time this week when you had this feeling?"

"Oh! Okay." The little boy considered for a minute and then began to speak.

It was mid-morning on Saturday. JD was just finishing with his chore when he heard his friend giggling in the dining room. Vin had already finished his chore and was playing a game with Chris and Buck while they waited for him to finish. He had intended to get it done quicker, but had gotten side-tracked several times.

Entering the room, the little boy found the other three members of his family playing Uno at the table. He trotted up to where his Da was sitting and announced, "I finished my chore. We can go now."

"That's good, Little Bit. We'll head out as soon as we're finished with this game," Buck said, somewhat distractedly. Then, turning his attention back to the cards he said, "Oh, man! Vin Tanner did you just lay that down?"

Giggling, the little blond said, "Yeah. And y' gotta draw four. And I'm changin' th' color t' blue." He giggled again, doing a little dance where he sat on his knees on a chair, and smiled at the men.

Groaning, Chris said, "You little skunk, I don't have any blue cards!"

"Yeah, well I've got lots and lots of blue cards if you want some of mine," the big brunet groused, holding up what looked like half the deck.

Their comments caused the little boy to erupt in gales of laughter. He nearly fell off his chair as he giggled harder and harder.

JD watched as their fathers joined in the laughter. He wasn't sure why it was so funny.

"Well, looks like he's gonna beat us, pard," Buck said in a forlorn tone as Vin slapped another 'draw four' card onto the pile and changed the color to yellow.

It was almost fifteen minutes later before the game was over. Then the two adults laughed as Vin did a little victory dance around the table, having won the game.

JD had finally been sent to wait in the den, and he was bored, bored, bored. He thought they were going to leave as soon as he finished his chore. Instead, he was sitting around, waiting, while Chris and his Da played a game with Vin.

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?"

"No…" 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?"

"Maybe, but…"


"I don't like doin' most a that stuff."

"I see. Then Buck has to do all that boring stuff by himself then?"

"Well… 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… um… '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 understood him.

"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 we played… 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 no more."

"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 to' thing."

"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 and Buck?"

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, then what?"

"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 chores.

"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 times?"


"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 so."

"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 fun?"

"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 'bout it?"

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 builder winned."

"And how did it go?"

"Okay," once more he sighed. "Only I got … um… side-acked?"

"Side tracked?"

"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… having fun."

"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 games."

"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."