The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Kindergarten starts in a few days and I am trying my best to be positive and excited instead of sad, nostalgic and full of dread as my baby girl goes off into the big world, out of my control. This week has been filled with preparations for the coming week and tying up loose ends with doctor’s appointments and errands. My daughter had to have routine blood work done this week that I procrastinated since her 5 year well check over 6 months ago. Then, she and her brother had to go to the dentist and we had school orientation. It has been a busy week filled with anticipation and a bit of worry for my daughter and me.

The lil miss will occasionally lie awake in bed and play or talk to her stuffies. Sometimes she will call to me and ask some random question about a past or future event, which seems normal to me, and I have always considered her pretty well-adjusted. I still think she is centered although I had a couple of concerns thrown at me this week. I had thought it would be good to prepare her for the blood work so we started talking about it a couple weeks before our vacation. She was okay with it because her friend did it and was brave and I promised her a treat of going to a movie afterward. Then, she brought it up while in Montana and again on the plane ride home. She was worrying about it.

We got the blood drawn and she was brave once it started though freaked out moments before as the anticipation reached a precipice. I could see the weight dissipate from her shoulders instantly when it was finished. Then, we had her dentist appointment and I told the dentist that she had another canker sore and had her first one a couple months ago. He asked me if she stresses about things or if she worries. Apparently, they are “worry ulcers.” My mind then began racing with my own string of concerns about my daughter and what could be worrying her. Worrying is not uncommon for me and I often fill myself with anxiety, sometimes for reasons I can’t even determine. We talked about starting school on the way home from the dentist and she unloaded some of her fears that I did not know she had because she had not brought them up. Later, at bedtime, we discussed those fears again. Her trust, innocence and willingness to “let go” made her feel better and those worries turned to excitement as she happily drifted to sleep.

Anticipation of good or bad things will get my heart pumping and my thoughts in an endless swirl, yet once the event happens I am usually just fine. I prepare for things often too far in advance in an attempt to alleviate my stress but am wondering if thinking about something so far in advance actually makes the anxiety worse. Maybe I did my daughter a disservice by preparing her for lab work so far in advance. Am I unknowingly training her to be a worrier? That is the absolute last thing I want for either of my kids. I am sure there is a genetic component there too but most bothersome to me is if I am creating an environment that is nurturing anxiety.

Since our trip, I have made a concerted effort to relax and let things roll. Vacation gave me the ability to do this because it pressed my reset button and I had a good starting point back at home. Creeping back into my normal life are stressors and “to dos” but I feel more aware of my tension and have a plan to combat it in part by watching and learning from my daughter’s ability to trust and let go.

The day we saw the dentist my eyes opened a bit wider to my behavior as a mother in many aspects. I have always thought I communicated openly with her until he said, “make sure to create an environment where she feels comfortable talking about things.” Then I wondered if maybe I am not. Since that day, I have tried to truly listen to my daughter, to read between the lines of her 5 (and ½…must not forget the ½ when you ask her about her age!) year old words and help her to express herself. I know that I am guilty of being too busy at times and not allowing her to fully express her thoughts, or rather I don’t always recognize when something is truly bothering her because she gets distracted and moves on. The ulcer went away pretty quickly and I wonder if the lab work being done and talking about school fears helped ease her mind. I can only hope.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and as my children grow, the more that proverb resonates within me, for better or for worse.

18 thoughts on “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

  1. I don’t know that we ever get it absolutely right. Too far in advance? Not saying anything at all? Tendency to worry may have some genetic predisposition attached but I don’t know.
    What I do know is you’re thinking about your children and reflecting on your decisions and being prepared to change if necessary. Parenting is an evolving process and what works with one may not work with another, both for parents and for children.
    I remember thinking that I knew best and made decisions for my eldest based on my ‘wisdom’. When she started to question it and could give reasonable and justifiable explanations for doing so, I had to reflect that maybe I did not know best. Being able to compromise was a learning curve for me with my eldest and I’ve had to add to that as the years have gone on. It’s not always been for the good but how are we to know that?
    Hindsight is a wonderful tool. Unfortunately, it’s backward looking. Reflection is so much better and you’re doing that.
    By the way, you’re worrying again! 🙂 x

  2. Great post. As a teacher, I say that “apple” saying all the time! But I also see it in my own family, and I too worry that my son will suffer with anxiety the way I have. Some of it is genetic and therefore out of my control. But it occurred to me that I actually might be very good at dealing with his anxieties because I’m a worrier myself. So, just the flip side there.

  3. Ok, the WP update on my phone just deleted the most awesome reply I typed in! So, lets try again! I say the apple expression frequently; however. It’s usually when Mr. T does something totally inappropriate and I can’t get onto him because I know where he got it from! I do agree with above, we learn everyday and you will always be learning and adjusting to what works best for you and your child! Every day is an adventure! 🙂

    • that’s funny about your first reply…don’t you hate that?! Yes, you are certainly right, it is all an adventure and filled with learning! I should be a genius in about 30 years 🙂 haha

  4. I have NO advise for you I am going to have to have my husband take my son to school for the first week because I am afraid I will not man up and NOT cry! SO I’m pulling my self out of the situation and will be at home in the fetal position sucking my thumb. A squad is down call for BACK UP!!!! RED LEADER DOWN!!! BLUE LEADER GO!

  5. Anxiety is very much genetic and environmental. As a child I used to confide in my toys, my single mom thought I was just playing, she now feels awful for not seeing the worry for what it was. But you are very astute and are doing all the right things by your little girl – you’re paying attention, you’re choosing to create a relaxed and safe environment for her – keep up the amazing work!!

  6. I spent a lot of time worrying about our children when they were younger. I saw “normal” behaviors and wondered if they were normal and if they would continue them when they were older. I wondered if I was doing this parenting thing right at ALL!! While I definitely made mistakes along the way (and I am not done yet!) I have realized that the one sure way to know you are getting a lot of it right is the fact that you spend a heck of a lot of time worrying that you’re not. 😉 XOXO

  7. It’s funny, I was only thinking about this concept of “preparing for them worst” the other day. As you know from my posts, I too have issues with anxiety. My psych was really insistent that I didn’t spend time worrying about things I couldn’t change or extrapolate outcomes when I couldn’t know how things would go but it felt like changing a habit of a lifetime. Why do we do this? Well in my work life I was trained to do it! In my last job in particular I was often sitting in a room full of exec and managers extrapolating potential outcomes. So now, I’ve had to unlearn that skill when it comes to life sometimes. Or at least learn to identify when it isn’t useful. I don’t know if that’s helpful to you but it just really helped me to understand why I might have that tendancy. If you are honestly worried about your daughter having those same tendancies then look into kiddie yoga or meditation. I’ll be doing it with my son. They say there are great results for learning as well as it improves focus. 🙂

    • Thanks sharing your thoughts! Yes, in many ways I think anxiety is a result of Type A or overachieving behaviors too because like you said, we have to use that “skill” of preparing and planning and thinking for “when it is useful” which at so many times has been useful and helped me to be successful. She has done yoga before and loved it. I will be starting this week for myself and will look into a class for her again. The breathing ball technique they taught her the first time around was invaluable and we still take deep breaths together when we need to regroup. xo

  8. It’s all to easy to focus on the ‘to do’ list – letting go and remaining in the present moment is awesome when possible. Lessons can be learned from young children 😉

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