Lately Michael has started talking about sickness and hospitals again. I’m not sure if it’s due to overlying anxiety at this time of the summer, or because his grandparents have various health issues, but there you have it. We are reading books about characters going to the hospital, talking about brain injuries (probably due to his father and I telling him not to hit his head or he will hurt himself), all the way to Michael talking about how one day he is going to be a doctor. It has ranged from a heart doctor to a brain doctor to an eye doctor. He is also asking questions about mortality. This is all very normal. I was a nervous kid, and though neuro-typical, asked my mother questions about my death, her death, everyone’s death. I have noticed too that on some of our outings, Barney the Dinosaur, yes that Barney, and even his sidekicks BJ and Baby Bop, come with us. As Michael himself reiterates. “They help me to stay calm Mommy.”
He often puts them away when he is settled in the new place, or even leaves them in the car when we arrive on other occasions. I am beginning to see how insecurity plays into all his fears, and am able to help Michael see different ways he can cope with his emotions. Mind you, most of the time he is telling me what he needs, I need two massages, I need a stronger chewie to bite on, I need to walk, jump, I need heavy blankets.
This summer has been an interesting mix of emotions for Michael and I. There is so much more awareness of his feelings, our feelings, and even when he is making excuses for why he is misbehaving or doesn’t want to listen, I can’t help but be impressed with his knowledge of consequences and actions. My little boy is growing up and coming into his own. It doesn’t mean there are easy moments. There are times I can’t reach him, like the other night when he couldn’t tell me why he wasn’t falling asleep, and I was tired and frustrated with it and we had a fight and I made him cry. The other day he had five meltdowns, but not the ones where he hits and screams, but cries mournfully and has a hard time stopping. I felt horrible to be part of the cause, but he let me hug him, and afterwards we talked and worked it out.
Do you find your Exceptional Children ask more or less questions when they are feeling anxious or insecure? How do you handle it, Exceptional Moms? How do they deal with it? I’ve found that it could be hit and miss with how parents and children communicate, but if you as the parent remain calm, speak slowly, and then listen with openness remembering your child’s ultimate trust in you, that goes a long way to helping them cope with insecurity and anxiety. Until next time.