The rain is pouring down right now. It makes for a cozy and quiet feeling. The kiddos are all watching movies, DH is working (from home YAY!) and I am looking for things to fill the hours today. I am still trying to recuperate from the trip to the museum day before yesterday. I really wanted to get to the library today but, alas, it wasn't in the cards. We still have a few hours left until dinner and the library happens to be open late tonight, so maybe we will have an evening field trip. Who knows?
I do know that I need to make sure the girls get out of the house as much as they can. Since I have been having a high pain/low energy week, the girls have had to be extra patient and understanding about finding things to keep themselves occupied. This has led to the typical problems you'd expect from a group of girls like them. When you are dealing with a case of Cabin Fever, all the little aspects of each others personalities are amplified - especially the ones that get on your nerves. LH is more antsy, impatient, and possessive of her personal items ("GET OUT OF MY ROOM AND STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF!) TD is full of energy that doesn't have an outlet so she seems to be a bundle of waving arms and legs - even when she is sitting "still." (MOOOOOOOM! She kicked me! No I didn't! I was just stretching!) EG has been keeping things (especially her bedroom) as clean as possible, even checking on her room several times a day to be sure nothing is out of place. Believe me, I am not complaining. It's just that it can be hard to referee an argument when one girl wants to clean the room while the other wants to play with the toys she just pulled out. She also has more time to think and for her, that means more time to worry. She is at the "What If?" stage and she is having a hard time handling the way she imagines the outcome of things.
Last night was a perfect example. DH and I were getting them into bed and kissing them all goodnight when he asked them please to be careful of the left side of his face. He has an abscessed tooth that is causing quite a lot of pain, not just in his mouth but all the way into his ear and all across the side of his head. When he explained this to the girls (in an effort to request more quiet and less arguing at bedtime) EG burst into tears. She was so overcome with worry for her Daddy that she couldn't keep it in. What DH said was, "My tooth hurts a lot and it is causing the rest of the side of my head to hurt too. I have been to the dentist and it will be better soon, but I will have to have the tooth removed and I won't be able to chew for awhile."
What EG HEARD was that he would not be able to EAT so he would not have any energy and he might die. No sooner had I calmed her down about that when TD (trying to help) mentioned that when the dentist removed Daddy's tooth, they would put him to sleep so he wouldn't feel it. That started a whole new spout of waterworks. Apparently, she had heard a bad association with the term "put to sleep" and while I don't know if she really knew why, she was even more fearful. "No, no, " I told her. "They will probably just give him a few shots that won't hurt much at all and then they will take out his tooth when he is numb."
Now she was choked up because Daddy would be losing a GROWN-UP tooth, and don't you know, Mommy, you only get one set and he won't grow a new tooth! Amazingly enough, she didn't really calm down until I described, in detail, exactly what would happen during the tooth extraction, recovery, and after he gets a replacement for his tooth. She wanted to be sure that no one would hurt Daddy and that he would be able to act normal after everything was done. How do you look into those gigantic blue eyes overflowing with tears and say, "Just go to bed already! I'm tired!"
Now, I understand the melt down was due at least as much to fatigue and too much time on her hands as it was real concern for her father, but it is still so moving to know how much she worries. It isn't just about her father, either. Last year, her class was talking about feelings and how they affect us. They talked about happy and sad, and they also talked about concern, worry, and fear. Every child wrote a sentence and drew a picture of something they were worried about. It was the most revealing assignment any of my kids has ever been given. EG's sentence was simply, "I worry that my big sister will die." and she drew a picture of LH in a hospital bed with a bandage on her chest. Whew! Talk about a tear jerker!
Of all the emotions my kids show to me, Worry is perhaps the hardest to deal with. Fear is usually about the Fantastical, so it is easy to dismiss or explain it away. (The monster under the bed will not be there if you clean your room because they like to eat dust bunnies. No dust bunnies = no monster.) Worry is about the Unknown Future - What If? It is much bigger and harder to manage. My kids (because of their scary analytical brains) started the worry stage of the What If's a lot earlier than they should. LH has a hard time trying new things - What if I don't like it? TD is more of a specific worry wart - What if BBD gets lost when he runs out the door and can't find his way home? EG has the most broad What If skill of all of them - What if something happens to my family?
One one hand, I really wish they would stop being such worry warts. Did they learn it from me? Do I worry too much and that habit rubbed off on them? Is it just because they are as scary smart as they are? Should I be concerned about it? What if it is a sign that they have some sort of OCD problem? Will this get worse and prevent them from living a normal life?
Ok, fine. You got me. I guess I know where they get it from after all. I guess I need to lighten up a bit?
Debbie "Worry Wart" Lollar