This morning, Carson, 6, didn’t want to go to his babysitters. He said he was sick and even my promise of ginger ale for breakfast didn’t perk him up. A little bit of digging revealed he’s been having some personality conflicts at the sitters. Another little boy said “you’re not my friend” and poor little Carson can’t get it out of his head.
We’ve seen this before with him. He’s worried about things we’ve said or done for months, until he can’t sleep at night and finally, with much coaxing, tells us about them. To this day he obsess about the notion of “household stealers” who will come into our house at night and rob us, possibly hurting us in the process; he’s been worrying about these bad guys for a couple of years now. Poor kid.
Charlotte, 8, had a similar problem during the school year. A little girl said something mean to her and Charlotte couldn’t shake them — for months. They just played over and over in her head every morning. She was an anxious little mess, she complained of a tummy ache every day and would explode in anger if I said she had to go anyway (so, just about every morning started with a gigantic fight!)
What a shitty thing for them to live through at such a young age. I know it’s shitty because I lived through it too. I’m 36 and dealing with my anxiety can sometimes be an awful burden. I avoid certain situations, such as commuting to a day job, because I know I can’t handle it — I know it will leave me a into a tightly-wound ball o’ stress at the end of the week. Unfortunately for my kids, they’re just little — they don’t have years of experience dealing with it. They don’t have the meds either!
On mornings like this one, I feel guilty. I internalize their struggles and tell myself that it’s my fault they’re like this. It’s my genes surfacing in them and giving them a tummy ache. I remember walking to the bus stop with a stomach ache every day. It sucked. Once I got on the bus and got to school I was usually fine, but getting there was a daily battle.
And that’s why I’ve decided it’s time to seek out some expert help for my progeny. I’m an expert through experience, the dealing with it is a new thing for me, and I don’t really know how to help them.
To my husband I say, whoops — sorry! I ruined our kids. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t even consider it a possibility. But it would seem this anxiety of mine is here for keeps, in more ways than one.
My goal: to fix them.
Will it work?
Watch this space to find out!