Piecing it together

Half way through the week already?  I need time to slow down a bit!  I am fully recovered from the virus I had on the weekend – it seemed to be a 24 hour thing, thank goodness, but it did make a dent in my plans!

To make up the lost time I baked for the children’s morning tea for the week at 6am on Monday, managed to get the grocery shopping done with two children in tow that afternoon after work, while the eldest chick had a playdate (what did we call these when we were young – I am sure they weren’t ‘playdates’ then!), and then picked her up and shopped for the few bits we needed before she left on camp.  Phew!  So the chores of Sunday were recovered, but the crafting time was lost.

I have managed to make a library bag that my sister-in-law requested for my niece, and was quite delighted to use a scrap of fabric from the boy’s cot quilt (made by his Nana) and that I am incorporating into his ‘big’ quilt, into the ladybugs’ heads and bottoms – the family connection for his cousin will probably be lost on a 5 year old, but it gave me a nice sense of symmetry.  I also found this lovely piece of fairytale fabric in the stash that my mother sent me recently, which I used for the monogram – I think it adds a magical touch to the bag!

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ImageThe eldest chick has gone on her school camp for two nights.  She has been so excited.  She has memorised the packing list and, it turns out, has been grilling all the teachers while they have been on playground duty, to get all the details she possibly can about the venue, the activities, the food, and the rules.  She decided not to take her new birthday Dr Who bag as it is ‘too special’ and I must say I was relieved with her decision when we woke this morning to rain and the associated mud.  I did make her a toothbrush roll (that I forgot to photograph for posterity) from a face washer and a scrap of the fabric from her pyjamas and pillow case, so she will be the most coordinated child at night!

Her persistent gathering of information, coupled with some recent incidents with the other two children, and my own history, have had me thinking about anxiety and the different forms that it takes.  My artist-in-residence middle chick has high levels of anxiety that manifest themselves in different ways.  Working with a counsellor when some specific manifestations were affecting her quality of life saw that situation improve and her overall anxiety improved dramatically after her diagnosis of coeliac disease.  (And on this, and the association of depression with coeliac I commend the post by Shauna Ahern on her blog Gluten Free Girl to you – it is raw but so, so, important to read.)  However I always knew that I had to manage her emotional needs slightly differently to the other two, and was very clear that this was something that had been evident since birth.

The boy was and is a sunny and very energetic child most of the time.  He is confident in most social situations – sometimes too confident, but when he is angry and frustrated or feels vulnerable we can have some significant behavioural problems.  I have always thought of these issues as related to anger or frustration.  Recently I was told that the diagnosis is actually anxiety.  Huh.  That made me stop and think.

Today, after school, I had the middle chick curled up in a ball, terrified and shaking and in complete meltdown because she had done something wrong at school, and by her putting her own black lens over the incident had magnified the consequences and the incident completely out of proportion.  An emotional phone call from her mother to the teacher shed light on where the message had been misinterpreted and she has calmed down and is happy to accept the consequences (which are mild compared to what she had interpreted them to be) and has written a note of apology to the teacher un-prompted.

Where is this all leading you ask?  Well, it got me to thinking that perhaps my eldest chick, who I rely on to be sunny, transparent and reasonable, is also experiencing her own anxiety, but that she manages it by collecting as much information as possible, so that there are no surprises, and she can cope with new situations.  And then it occurred to me that she is well and truly her mother’s daughter.  Because that is exactly what I do.   I know understand that I ‘suffer’ from anxiety sometimes, and that I manage it the rest of the time, blithely unaware that it is still affecting many of my decisions and actions.

The thought processes then lead me to wonder about the old ‘nature vs nurture’ argument and wonder how much of my eldest chick’s methods of coping are genetic and how much are environmental (i.e. ‘caught’ from her mother), and, more importantly, what skills can I give her so that she doesn’t have to wait until she is in her 40’s to recognise what she is doing and to learn to manage her own levels of anxiety so that they don’t affect her quality of life.

Food for thought for this little bird, trying to manage a nest of little chicks and keep them safe and on the right path for a healthy and happy life.   I don’t have any answers but in identifying what is going on in my nest I am hopeful that I can support them to be strong and confident when they need to be. (A bit heavier than my usual posts, but hey – that is what blogs are for – to keep you on your toes!!  Or something like that!!)

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5 thoughts on “Piecing it together

  1. claxy66

    You’re doing a great job, T. Your kids will know how much you care about them, and that’s the main thing.

    Reply
  2. cupandpenny

    There’s a great book called “Raising Your Spirited Child,” which a parent in my class recommended I read, to give me some ideas for working with their daughter. After reading it, I realized there were actually quite a few kids in my class who would benefit from the strategies I learned about. Your description of your middle child reminded me, the book talks about how you do the same things with your spirited child that you do with the other children, but they turn out different–super intense emotions, high anxiety,very perceptive, etc. Check out the book! It’s a good one.

    Reply
    1. a little bird made me Post author

      Thanks for the suggestion! I am aware of the book, having had friends who have referred to it over the years, and had considered it as a resource for my boy, but I think you are right – my middle girl would benefit from the strategies too. So I am ordering it today. Thank you for the reminder!

      Reply

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