Friday, September 14, 2007


You never stop worrying about your children. That is what I've heard from countless parents. Parents who are grandparents, or great-grandparents now. Your children are always your children, no matter how old they get.

And there is always something to worry about it seems.

Our latest worry with Ariana was how she'd adjust to school. She had been talking about going to "big school" all summer and couldn't wait. She typically has no issues meeting new friends and only once in a while is shy. Well, her first week was full of shyness. She'd jabber about school all morning and even walking the hallway to the classroom. The minute we'd get to the door, she'd turn shy. I was exasperated. Each day she cling to me and tell me she was scared. The teacher would have to take her by the hand and lead her away. It broke my heart, but also made me worry about why she was doing this. I would watch her through the window after we'd separate and she'd be fine. After class, she's burst from the room and tell me all about the fun things she did that day. Well, this week is going much better. The last three days, I've had to ask for a kiss or hug before I left. She was much too excited to leave me for her friends on the playground and that wonderful slide. As I'd walk away, she'd yell "Bye, mom!" I knew it was nothing to worry about, but I still worried anyway.

The other recent thing with her was this awful hitting spell we went through over summer. In late June, she started hitting herself when she was upset with herself or mad that she was being disciplined. It was awful to watch, and I tried so many different things. July it worsened. I talked with Ariana about how it scared mommy when she did this, how she could hurt herself, we created an "angry" pillow, etc. I made an appointment with the pediatrician who basically told us we had tried everything she would have suggested, so she referred us to a behavioral therapist. Great, just what every parent wants to do, right?

We saw the therapist who suggested Ariana has issues with low self esteem. My kid? The one who tells the grocery store clerk about her day? The one who rarely shies away from others? On one hand I was confounded by this, but then after I thought about it I could see it. When it comes to her own self, she is becoming a perfectionist. If the line isn't straight on the drawing, she gets very upset and rips up the paper. I have tried so hard not to let my perfectionist tendencies (I'm much more relaxed in the last 10-15 years) pass along to her. But this is who she is. And we just want her to be the best person she can be. In the long run, the therapist (and us) thinks she was acting out due to the stress levels in the home. You see, after we paid $150 for 45 minutes with the therapist the first time, Ariana only hit herself once. And she's only done it maybe 2-3 more times since. July was an awful month for us and Jason & I were so stressed. Major things were happening that this little 4 year old couldn't understand. All she knew was that mommy & daddy were acting different than normal. There were (and are) issues with discipline between Jason & I that are being resolved. Mainly, one of us is the disciplinarian and the other lets things slide. The consistency between the two of us was pretty nil. That had to change.

So, long story short. We were worried, and rightly so. There was a problem and we needed to work to resolve it. As parents, I figure it's our job to continually grow and learn how to help our kids be the best people they can be. And how to best work with their quirks and temperaments. Since we've had her, I've learned how not to worry about some things. I try not to worry about major things until someone tells me to worry. But it's a daily battle. And one I think most parents can understand.

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