No You Won't Have Surgery: Dealing with Your Preschooler's Irrational Fear and Anxiety

 If your child is afraid and anxious about thunderstorms and tornadoes, here is what you DO NOT DO:  Do not tell her if a tornado is coming it can sound like a train engine. This will not be soothing to a preschooler when you live half a block from  busy train tracks.  #momfail  If your preschooler talks about fears and anxiety a bit too much around the four year old mark, you are not alone.  Apparently it is normal.  Not fun, but normal.

Is Your Toddler Going to Get Gallbladder Open Heart Surgery Loose Tooth Pinkeye?   My sweet and thoughtful four year old might.  Or so she fears.  Libby has always been a deep thinker.  I still chuckle over a scene in a movie where the female is scantily clad and making unwanted advances.  The man tries to cover her saying, "You're going to catch cold!"  
An hour later Libby thoughtfully asks, "Was that lady really cold Mama?" She knew there was some kind of funny business going on , she just needed to think it over awhile.

She has been thinking a lot over lately.  She is like a 63 year old hypochondriac.  A neighbors' babysitting charge has pinkeye, Libby fears she may get it and wants to know about it.  She begins washing her hands often.  Not compulsively but...often.  Her older sister is eager for her first loose tooth to show up, so Libby is brought to tears feeling her teeth will fall out.  We met a 6 month old baby girl at Panera yesterday and the mother proudly declared "She had open heart surgery a month ago!"  Guess who fears surgery herself now.

My husband and I got so tired of her reporting every little bump and ding he joked about starting a journal and entering the date and time of each malady she expressed:

8/10/15 10:15am bumped elbow
8/10/15 10:20am worried about earrings infected
8/10/15 11:00am bumped knee on stuffed animal
8/10/15 11:03am worries she has pinkeye
8/10/15 12:45  smells Ebola virus 

As a somewhat impatient mama, my first reaction is to dismiss Libby's irrational fears. In a moment of heroic and unprecedented parental awesomeness, I do not do this.  I validate how she is feeling and try to talk openly about whatever the fearsome topic is that day.  I reassure her without putting too much emphasis on the topic of fear that moment.

We found a great book a few years ago for our other daughter Portia called "Wince the Monster of Worry" and talking about the Worry Bug and Wince By Andi Green Green has given her a tangible reference and way to reduce her worries.   ( I guess we are going to have to dig the stuffed Wince out of the DONATE bag one more time.)

I found this post on BabyCenter with great tips on how to handle anxiety in preschoolers.  It tells me I am doing it right, validating, honestly explaining, and listening to my daughter's thoughts.  I disagree with their suggestion of a "Lovey", however.  Physical dependance on an item could wreak havoc later (I'm looking at you, coffeechocolatredlipstick) For us we rely on a combination of faith and knowledge to help us with our preschooler's fear and anxiety! I've watched too many parents buy sixteen of the same toy and cycle them in and out to create equal wear/smell/appearance so they are not stuck with the one "Lovey" getting lost at a crucial time.  Just my thoughts,but I am certainly not Mother of the Year.  

Libby's father is also a deep thinker and worrier, so I know this might not be the last time she expresses fears that worry her sweet small heart.   We just handle each instance as best we can, with love and wine. (For us, not for her.)

Has your child had any issues with fear and anxiety?  What did you do that worked well?

Sweatshirts are for Slobs and Other Snobbishness on Activewear

Dear Friends, Mamas and Readers,  It has been awhile.  Again.  But as I sit here at 9:08am with a freshly frosted cookie facedown on my NON sweatshirt sweatshirt, I felt the itch to write all about my snobbishness. (After I scrape the frosting up with my finger and do what anyone would do when no one is watching.) 

Allow it as a confession, if you will, and forgive me in advance.  After all, one kid has a fever and tho' she be an early riser, is still raspily snoring.  My 80+year old sweet neighbor Linda sat in the house to save me from being a neglectful parent as I walked my healthy daughter to school.  And along the way I picked up a pal's healthy daughter that he could linger at home with his illin' kiddo.  I'm trapped home from work and so what if I frosted a cookie (or two) and dropped part of it frosting side down.  It's a slobbish kind of day.  I'm EVEN wearing a hat my hair is so bad.  (Although Libby just said she likes my hat.  She likes the way my hair sticks out.  *sigh*)

Every time I wear this outfit, this non sweatpants sweatpants outfit(what do they call them, lounge pants?  Lounge wear?) Are they really Yoga pants or is that now a lie since we do not really do yoga in our yoga themed sweatpants?  Or anything active in our activewear.  Which reminds me of this HILARIOUS video my friend Thais sent to me after we had a version of this conversation.

I do not like sweatshirts.  I never have.  Even in college I wore them rarely.  I felt sloppy and unlovely in them.  Which I think is the point.  I was never into sports or that sporty looks many of my friends pull off and look cute in.  Now that I am a mom, there are lots of opportunities to wear casual comfy clothes but there I am in jeans and a cardigan.  Maybe a necklace.  I've written about Shiny Moms before, and I'm not a shiny I am stuck in between Non-Active Activewear, Sporty and the Shiny Moms.  What am I then?  Possibly snobby?  

Today I am wearing a Vera Wang yoga pants and zip up kind of sweatshirt outfit, but it feels elegant and flattering and OH MY WORD IT IS COMFY.  I bought it so I would have something post surgery...and I like it and keep wearing it.  And no I do not look like that in it. And I almost do not feel like a slob. I want like six of these outfits.   

I'm a motherless daughter.  Help me out here sweet friends and coach me.  Why on Earth do I feel so icky in a sweatshirt?  Why does everyone wear activewear everywhere?  Why do I have the energy to worry about this instead of doing one million other things that would make better use of my time?  What are your sweatshirt and yoga pants thoughts?

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