Around New Years, my 8 year old Violet developed a phobia of vomiting at school, resulting in one rough school morning after another ever since. It made no sense because she only threw up once at school a couple years ago, but thanks to google and real professional advice, I now understand she's been displacing her worries.
During the worst of it, Violet was having panic attacks at all times of the day and night, melting down, belligerent, fighting to not go out the door, whether it was to see family or drive to school. One morning, I was so overwhelmed by the battle, I asked her dad to come over and pick her up. He might have dropped her off at the side of the road on the way to school, but I'm told for only a very short period of time.
Any well functioning sibling knows the squeaky wheel kid sucks up your parents' attention. But Daisy will not go down without a fight. My valiant 11 year old has a new level of I DON'T HAVE TO FOLLOW YOUR RULES message. Actually, I enjoy spending time with her more than I ever have, but when she's in a rebel mood, I'm in a new phase of parenting.
What I know for sure is Daisy does not want to show me her homework, clean her room, or take the dogs out. The only thing she seems to really want to do is gaze at her phone and say weird things as I walk by like, "How's your face?" before correcting herself, "Oh, you have no idea what I'm talking about because you've never watched my friend's YouTube." Right. "Pineapple." OK.
As I was telling on Daisy to her dad when he stopped by recently, she yelled, "WHAT THE FUCK?!" before stomping off to her room. I'm getting tired of the little girl drama . . . except that didn't sound like my little girl. I sat on the couch lost in thought until her dad asked me if I was going to do anything about that or did I expect him to. I can't remember who followed up that time but what scares me most is Daisy will be graduating from high school in six years. I don't have much time left to help her get the good sense to take care of herself in the world.
In the midst of my kids freaking out and all of us getting really sick in January, I didn't put as much time as I normally could toward a contracting opportunity I was totally excited about. And then the rad opp went away. Was my work not good or was I just not fast enough? This is the kind of stuff I can sit and stew over.
But I have to let it go, like so many other things. There's never been a time when I need to be more sharply focused on the future with its looming financial changes. I think I might be getting really mature or something because life has recently presented a series of hard lessons in things like patience, rejection, acceptance, and forgiveness. Though there are painful moments, I'm getting better at the not stewing.
Seeing my kids in the early stages of learning how to deal with anxiety and emotions brings out strong protective feelings in me. Last night I dreamt my kids joined a bunch of other kids to play on a balcony of a house filled with our friends and extended family. I opened the sliding glass door to get to the kids and noticed part of the balcony was open. Walking to the edge to look down, fearing that I would see a child sprawled far below on the pavement, I was relieved it was only a poor little kitty that had fallen. I got the kids back in the house and tried to alert my kids' dad, but he didn't seem to understand the danger and let them go back on the balcony again. That dream represents my current parenting challenge, except emotional stuff cannot be solved with safety gates.