Friday, April 23, 2010
Baking Makes It All Better... well except for Mother Guilt
Have been in the kitchen this morning. Its been a rather tough day in the children department and though I had grand plans for cleaning the bathrooms and washing beds, instead I've just pottered in the kitchen, mulling things over and keeping my hands busy.
Miss 5 is an anxious child, and since her school had its practice "Stranger alarm" - where the kids practice what to do if there is a 'stranger' on campus - her anxiety has exploded into a full blown phobia centring on the school bell (she tries to hide each time it rings). It also includes a terror of our back garden (after the black snake incident) and bugs/spiders of any kind. These days she refuses to go outside at all.
I spoke to Miss 5's teacher about the bell thing on Tuesday, after she came home and told me that she'd been so scared by the school bell ringing for a little longer than usual that she'd hidden. Her teacher was aware of the problem and we chatted about a few strategies to deal with it. Then this morning there was a car alarm going off in the car-park and Miss 5 fell apart, convinced that it meant there was a stranger, coming to get her.
I marched her up to school, being all no-nonsense about it, but when we got there she was white faced, shaky and crying. So I stayed to calm her down and talk to her teacher again. As we were waiting outside the classroom the first bell rang and in a state of overwhelming panic Miss 5 sprinted off across the playground looking for somewhere to hide. Not even the fact that her mother was standing right there was enough to stop her.
I rang the school counsellor the moment I got home and the upshot is that Miss 5 is, at this very moment, starting on their program for kids with anxiety issues. She'll get ongoing support, activities to do at home and a chance to talk things through with someone trained to be no-nonsense or sympathetic at the right times - which will be something of a change from her mother who, it appears, is gifted in getting it wrong every single time.
Holy Crap this parenting business is hard work. I know kids are born the way they're born (hell, look at Miss 4, who invented a new game last night where you hide under the table and then try to poke your opponent in the eye with a pen - mummy didn't handle that well either). I know that I'm rattled because even though I've loved and protected Katie all her life, she ran away from me in panic and not to me. I know, as well, that she is in the grip of a phobia, and an unreasonable level of anxiety, and that she's not thinking straight, or even thinking at all.
But, I do still wonder, as I'm baking away in my kitchen, if I have failed somewhere. If I could've done it all a bit differently. Yes. Mother Guilt. I has it badly.