Our tiniest human (age 3.5 yrs) struggles some days, and struggles during many moments most days. Transitions suck. Anything after 4pm is useless. She hates food. She barely sleeps. And needs a lot of reassurance throughout most days.
Other days she rocks this world, and lives her best life. She loves her friends. She loves walks. She loves the library. She loves movies, and she needs snuggles. She sleeps and she eats.
As a life long student at the school of anxious wreck, I know these symptoms. I know what causes most of them, and I’m pretty good at redirecting, providing snuggle, encouagring her to “reach for the sun”, which is our version of a sun salutation to calm our inner selves. We also do a lot of Child’s pose to remember to breath big. Oo often asks for help with deep breaths.
Today after a pretty epic meltdown (and the root cause is still pretty unclear as I replay our day) we talked. Oo said “I just didn’t know how to stop screaming.”
And then my heart hurt. It ached. I squeezed her so hard, and said I was so sorry. And maybe I cried.
I was helpless. All of our deep breathing, and all of my patient and present parenting couldn’t help her anxiety. (I really have to work super hard to be both present and patient and not lose my shit during these moments.)
The most challenging part of this whole reality is that if I just gave it all up, Oo could stay home indefinitely …. but I can’t. That’s not our reality. We are a family, and we make decisions based on everyone’s needs. (Different families make different choices.) I’m also not sure that actually serves her well…. but then again, what do I know? I mostly make it up as I go along.
What I do know is that I watched a tiny human have a full blown anxiety attack, and it took me thirty minutes to realize it was more than a tantrum. And another hour to talk us both of our ledges. And an evening to feel all the feels.
No one prepares you for the moments when your tiny humans have real struggles.