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.