I am so proud of myself
Nothing..absolutely nothing can replace the sheer look of pride when your anxious child runs toward you in the school yard and says, “I had such a good day today”. Then when you ask about the subject that earlier that morning brought her to tears and she replies, “It was amazing!” how can one even have words for that. I mean really! How can you capture that moment and share it with others because no words that I have could ever describe that very moment, but let me at least try.
Earlier this morning we started our day with our usual routine. I sang the kids my very own unique version of, “Wake up ..it’s time to wake up. Good morning to you..good morning to you..good morning my monkeys.. good morning to you.” We tend to sing a lot at our house – we find it quite therapeutic, although to be honest most days we don’t notice it because it’s just second nature. Anyway, we began the day the usual way – picking out clothes, getting hair brushed and packing bags.
It’s Friday! Oh boy. I knew that today would be a challenge because we’ve hit our latest bump in the road. Ever since the beginning of January our daughters class has started playing the recorder and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in a room with an upcoming recorder player you’ll know how wonderfully piercing a sound it can be. So of course for our anxious child this environment is right up there with the chaos and over-stimulation she feels with gym class. To make matters worse sometimes they practice in the portable instead of in the classroom which again leads to a very negative experience.
So this week she has been progressively weepy at the prospect of music class and there have been a couple mornings that have begun in tears over her morning yogurt and protein bar. Time to use our tools and strategies because we can’t get out the door.
Step by step we teach the anxiety whose boss.
Step 1 – We determined what was upsetting and worrying her.
Turns out the sound of the recorders are overwhelming and gives her a headache when she’s in the environment for too long. When she begins to feel unwell she panics and she begins to loose control.
Step 2 – We wrote a letter to the teacher.
I advocate to both of my children that they always should express themselves to those people who are there for them. If a teacher has told them they are safe to confide their feelings then when something is wrong or feels unsafe it’s time to relay the message to the teacher.
We were having a struggle getting out of the house the other morning but she really felt like she needed to convey her worry to her teacher. So in the essence of time and to make sure that she felt support I scribed a letter for her. It was short and simple but to the point. The one condition was that I wrote it and she would have to sign it. That she did!
Step 3 – The lines of communication buzzed
The teacher got the message and I had a chance to quickly convey her morning experience. “Ten steps forward and two steps back.” Nothing to worry about because there is always a solution to every problem.
Step 4 – Accommodation
The shining moment and the opportunity for her to take control over the situation on her own terms. She and two classmates went into the private music room with their recorders and they were asked to practice the piece. The session was recorded so that the teacher later could listen to it. So here’s what happened in her own words:
“So we went into the private room and we all started to play. I actually played the notes and I made it sound good. I actually played the recorder! It was so much fun. I am so proud of myself because I just decided that I could do it and that there were people around to help me and it was such an amazing thing. I can’t …no wait I can believe I did it and it felt so good.”
Now how amazing is that!
You know there really are only small problems in the world because each thing we are challenged with has a solution. The ability to solve those problems occur when we think outside the box and allow for different strategies and look at the results!
No one could ever teach my daughter that feeling of overcoming her anxiety it is something that has to be experienced. Even hours later while watching T.V. she piped up with a very sweet, “I am so proud of myself.” We are too my sweet girl, we are too! You can imagine that in our house this evening there were a lot of hugs and high fives! What a great way to start a weekend.
Originally posted at the “Raising Socially Anxious Children Blog”.