Being born 2 minutes after her sister and 3 3/4 years before her other sister, Kate is our family’s “middle” child.
Kate is by and large my hardest child to parent. She very sensitive; she thinks about things and worries; she needs more “Mama-time”; she struggles with anxiety, especially when it comes to separating from me.
And lately, her strong dislike of barfing (either for herself OR others) has ratcheted itself into a full-fledged phobia.
About a month ago, she had- literally- a panic attack when her tummy hurt a little and she thought she was going to throw up. It was intense and scary to see, not to mention disturbing and heartbreaking. I was suuuuuuper calm while it was happening and was able to get her to breath more slowly. I taught her to “breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth” and we talked about thinking good things when we breath in and breathing out the bad thoughts.
The whole thing lasted about 1/2 hour, at which point it was bedtime. Kate had calmed down and was breathing normally, but was still upset and clingy. David took over putting her to bed, as I needed to debrief from the whole thing.
At that time I decided not to seek professional help for her- for an isolated incident- as I didn’t want to slap a mental health label on my 7 year old child.
But on Monday, a child threw up in Kate’s classroom. Kate came home and cheerfully told me about it: how she heard the girl coughing and turned herself face the wall because she just knew the girl was going to throw up, how then she “can’t remember what happened next” but the next thing she knew she had peed her pants.
That’s right, my girl became so frightened that she can’t remember what happened AND she wet herself.
Though she was cheerful and matter-of-fact about it that afternoon, by the next morning she was a mess. She didn’t want to go to school (for fear of that child being there and puking again), she wouldn’t eat anything, and she cried through the entire morning routine.
For some reason, this time I’m very bothered by it all… more so than even the panic attack. I feel heartbroken for my girl, that she had to experience that away from home. I feel stupid- and like a novice mother- for not telling her teacher about her fear, for not having an adult in that school building that had any idea that she might need some help.
I feel like maybe we do need to look into some help for her.
Or maybe we don’t? Am I making a big deal out of something? Starting my girl down a path of drugs and shrinks and lobotomies and that she doesn’t need to be going down?
I’m too deep into this to have any kind perspective. I did talk to her teacher this morning, and that helped me feel much better. Her teacher is going to ask the school counselor what his advice is.
And this is why parenting doesn’t get any easier. Sure, there is less physical demands of a 7 year old- by god, I think she’s even wiping her own butt 100% of the time now- but these mental gymnastics and the worrying… The constantly having to watch what I say and how I react and how my attitude is effecting her….
Oh, you guys… I’m worried about my girl.