Tag Archives: worries

Put on my worried shoes

We all worry don’t we? From the little things like whether you remembered to put toothpaste on the shopping list to the vast array of troubling issues in the big wide world around us.

Children are no different. The title of this post comes from a song on the soundtrack of the fabulous film adaptation of ‘Where the wild things are.’ : a perfect study of what it is like to be a child burdened with worries.

For me, the surprise has been the sheer range of things that trouble my children and cause them to lie awake at night.  Here are just some of the examples of the things that currently worry them:

1.  War

This worry has emerged on many occasions, triggered, in the main, by studying History at school. Now I am not a Historian so correct me if I’m wrong, but a great deal of the subject seems to be concerned with violence and bloodshed.  Whilst this is clearly very interesting and important to learn about, it does also appear to have given my children a disproportionate fear that they may imminently find themselves living in a war zone.

Studying WW2 left Ana with weeks of sleepless nights and tears over the fact that we may be on the cusp of WW3.  I often find it challenging to walk the line between being truthful about the state of the world and trying to ease her concerns, hence my responses – in summary – were something like this:

‘Yes Ana, there are lots of countries at war and lots of people fighting.’

‘No I don’t think WW3 is about to breakout.’

‘No, I can’t guarantee that it won’t either.’

‘Yes, the world is a worrying place’

‘Sigh’  ‘Why don’t we watch ‘Come dine with me?’

Worse was to come when Ana began to teach Faith what she had learnt and we then ended up with weeks of Faith watching the skies for bombs and suggesting we go to the cellar as our bomb shelter. I am never letting these two watch Saving Private Ryan, let alone any Oliver Stone Vietnam classics – they would never recover!

2. The news. 

Faith has a significant issue with the news at the moment. She can’t watch it and interrupts anyone discussing it to tell them to stop talking about it.  Even starting a sentence with ‘I heard on the news…’ is enough to get her covering her ears and begging you to change the subject.

Solution: ‘Why don’t we all watch ‘Come dine with me?’

3. Agatha Christie TV adaptations 

 Now this one is probably my fault.  When I was off with a poorly Faith before Christmas, I mistakenly assumed that it was like when they were little and you could basically have any grown up TV on in the background and they would take no notice.  Unfortunately, my happy afternoon of ironing and watching Miss Marple whilst Faith dozed on the sofa resulted in a flurry of questions and, ultimately, panicked tears as Faith tried to estimate her chances of being murdered in any number of inventive ways made to look like an accident.  Ohps! Best cross Miss Marple off my list of appropriate family viewing…..’How about instead (you’ve guessed it!) we watch ‘Come dine with me?’

4. Being a good person 

Ana (my clone child) has an excessive dose of guilt.  She feels bad when she might have upset someone; she feels guilty when she spills or breaks thing (and no amount of immediate reassurance that it doesn’t matter will alter that); and she is particularly concerned with ‘doing the right thing’.  Now this is all very admirable, clearly and – truth be known – being the shoddy parent that I am, I often manipulate it to my advantage to ‘encourage’ good behaviour, but even I recognise that her worries are slightly over-the-top.  When she came downstairs late one evening before Christmas to tell me, through the sobs, that she couldn’t sleep as she kept think about ‘all the bad things I have done’, I realised I had met my match.  This girl can worry for England!   ‘Nevermind.  Why don’t we watch ‘Come dine with me?’

5. Plans for the future.

 Both girls are very keen on discussing their future career choices.  Ana oscillates between a career as a teacher; an animal rescuer and a horse rider (I have been talking her out of this one as there is no way the budget is stretching to riding lessons!).  Faith, on the other hand, is firmly on the path to veterinary school brushing off Ana’s cries that ‘It takes 7 years to learn to be a vet!’ with the admirable comment that ‘It will give me lots of time to practise being a good vet.’ Given that she has a tendency to manhandle our cats and that her recent encounter with our grumpy cat Honey left her scarred and bleeding, I’d suggest it will give her time to realise what my repeated pleas have failed to teach her – animals are not toys!

A further concern surrounds the idea of who they will live with.  Neither are currently keen on the prospect of marriage or children (our ‘where do babies come from?’  talk is still a vivid memory for both of them (http://motherinferiorblog.com/2014/09/13/where-do-babies-come-from/) and they want no part of it!). Instead, they have both, very sensibly, opted to live with friends, although in coming to this conclusion Faith considered living with Grandma (ruled out on the basis that ‘she is old and might die so I would be left on my own.’) and staying with me (although that possibility was soon replaced by a better option when she realised she might be able to get my house instead).  Currently, Ana is planning on a flat share with her closest pals, but Faith has bigger plans and has begun designing her future home – ‘a blueberry you can live in’.

So there you have it – the whole gamut of worries experienced by the under 10s.  No wonder they sometimes want to run away to an island full of ‘wild things’!

Luckily, I have the ultimate solution:  we’ll get a nice glass of milk and cuddle up to watch the telly together.  To mis-quote Pooh Bear ‘No-one can be uncheered with ‘Come dine with me.’

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Keep that nurse away from me!

My youngest daughter has developed a phobia of medical professionals. It doesn’t matter how many in depth conversations we have with her about the fact that they are they to help people, her mind has been made up: they are out to hurt her.

I know exactly where this stems from. I remember the moment well: her preschool jabs. Much as we all hate the idea of taking our tiny babies to have their injections at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, in our case at least, this ultimately proved to be a reasonably painless affair. A brief temperature spike maybe, but nothing that a bit of Calpol wouldn’t solve. Crucially, babies at this age (again, maybe just mine) have the memory of a goldfish and are rarely emotionally scarred by the experience. Not so for 3 year olds.

3 year olds are move savvy. In Faith’s case, her preschool jabs went like this:

Go to doctors.

Wait to see the nurse.

Listen to her comforting chatter and her reassurance that it won’t hurt because it’s ‘just a scratch’.

Be jolted into righteous indignation on being injected and discovering that yes, it did hurt (albeit momentarily) and therefore, this nurse just conned you.

Never forget and never forgive.

I am not sure when and how Faith came to put such importance on other people’s honesty (it certainly it doesn’t appear to go the other way and she is more than happy to con, manipulate and tell little white lies herself), but she does not take kindly to feeling like she has been misled. If you tell her, for example, that it is supposed to be sunny in the morning and she probably can wear the summer dress she has picked out, then woe betide you if the rain falls the next day. This change of circumstance will be a source of considerable irritation to Faith, leading to aggrieved complaints that you have ‘tricked’ her followed by a sulky silence in protest at your dishonesty.

If we now re-visit the preschool jabs incident, it may be a little clearer why this event proved such a game changer in Faith’s mind. From her perspective, the nurse had intentionally lulled her into a false sense of security before callously stabbing her in the arm. No amount of friendly chatter after the event, or even compensatory chocolate buttons provided by yours truly was going to make up for this blatant deception. The medical profession had duped her once, but Faith would not let them do so again.

And so began years of ‘doctor phobia’ where the merest hint of injury would instigate panicked cries of “Don’t take me to the doctors!”

When Faith started school and began attending her new child-minder, I could only be grateful that she was not the first of my children to be in her care given that Faith’s frantic cries of “don’t tell Mummy!” when she fell, bumped into things, or hurt herself in some way would otherwise have surely led to a quick referral to Social Services!

Aware that this situation would cause considerable problems if Faith ever had real need of medical attention, I decided to implement a plan of action to convince her that doctors and nurses are actually very nice people. One week, as I pondered how best to do this, I had a light bulb moment. My brilliant plan, based on 11 years of Psychology teaching, was to take Faith to watch me give blood, thereby curing her of her phobia of doctors (particularly those wielding needles that they might stab in her arm). Genius!

It wasn’t long into our 40 minute wait at 7.30pm in a busy church hall that I started to wonder if this really had been my best idea yet. Faith was tired after a day at school and tiredness, in this particular child, seems to induce mania. She bounced around, asking odd, incoherent questions of anyone who would listen and when we finally made it to the blood donation beds, produced her pièce de résistance. As the nurse instructed me to lay down on the bed, Faith piped up and declared ‘Don’t worry, Mummy. You just have to close your eyes and think about Jesus’ at which the lady putting the needle in my arm collapsed in giggles and I tried to look as far from being a Christian fundamentalist as possible!

After this adventure, things did appear calmer, but when doctors are mentioned, Faith’s old mistrust still surfaces even now 3 years on from ‘jab-gate’. I can only hope that, with time, this resentment will slip from her memory and the medical profession will attain their proper place in the mind of my youngest daughter as a group of people who are there to help in times of need.

If not, well, she can always close her eyes and call on higher powers….she’s not called Faith for nothing you know!

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