Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Let's talk about viruses, my need for control, anxiety, and having a kid. Yes, they are all related. In my world.

First, anxiety.
I am an anxious, somewhat neurotic person, in general. Not all of the time, not even everyday, but just in general. I have been my whole life. I can remember being in third grade suffering from horrible separation anxiety. I would fake sick often and sit in the clinic crying to go home. Magically, when my mom appeared, everything was fine and we would be on our way to Taco Bell for a Taco Bell Grande with sour cream. I loved one on one attention from my parents and didn't adjust well to group situations with other children. I remember needing to be picked up from a couple of sleep overs. It just wasn't my thing. I liked adults, my own space, and quiet (not much has changed at the age of 35, now that I think of it).
Did my mom enable my neurosis by conceding to picking me up from school and sleepovers? Possibly, but I would, and will, probably do the same thing with Lily.  We all fuck up our kids somehow. It's a fact. And it's ok.

Anyway, I grew out of this phase and middle school and high school were relatively anxiety free for me. I was social, had a ton of friends my own age, and was pretty well balanced.

I started having panic attacks right before I left for Florida State, after finishing community college. I had no idea they were panic attacks at the time. All I knew is that I felt terribly on edge and nauseated for about 10-15 minutes at a time and it would come and go. I was anxious. I don't know why or what it was truly about, but it was there.
Throughout my 20's and 30's, this pattern continued. I will be fine for a couple/few years and then my anxiety will surface again, usually surrounding a major change in my life...or an illness, even a simple virus, like the stomach flu. Weird? Yes, I know.

An interesting side note here is that pregnancy and the first year of Lily's life were completely anxiety free for me. This is the opposite for many women who suffer with anxiety but I truly felt emotionally fantastic during those times. Perhaps it was just having another focus, aside from living in my own head? Probably.
I digress.

Enter viruses and need for control, or hating having a lack of control.
I am a control freak. I like to know what's going to happen and when, as unrealistic as that is. I like to have a plan, in most situations, and stick to it. I hate the anticipation of the unknown. This is why I have suffered with anxiety. Control is a very difficult thing to give up for me, even in the example of driving: I need to drive whenever I go somewhere with a group, or drinking alcohol: I hate it because I feel out of control when I'm "buzzed" and God forbid, drunk.

When a virus of any kind interrupts my life, I sometimes freak out. I can deal with an every day cold, or even a minor flu with a fever, as long as I can function...but vomiting?? Nope. Cannot deal.

Because I am so analytical and tend to over think, I have figured out why I have an irrational fear and loathing for vomiting illnesses: because you can't control it. On top of being a horrible feeling and disgusting to boot, it's unstoppable, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and has the potential to be embarrassing. (I realize how crazy this sounds and I swear I'm getting to a point of some sort).

Now, knowing this about me, imagine my dismay when my kid started getting sick once a month, with a variety of viruses, resulting from being in daycare. Daycare is nothing more than a petri dish full of germs waiting to pounce. Kids are gross and there is very little anyone can do about it. Roseola, bronchitis, pneumonia, stomach flu...you name it. This is a whole different level of anxiety for me. When it's a virus in my body, it's me. I know about my body and how to manage it. When it's Lily, this little love bug who I cannot stand to be in any kind of discomfort, it's so, so different.

I used to think, pre-Lily, "Hey, kids get sick and then they get better. It's life!". That was very naive. The statement in it of itself is very true but it was naive of me to think that it's that simple. The amount of worry and anxiety I feel when Lily is sick is like nothing I've ever experienced. I fear the next virus and what the severity of it is going to be. I hate looking into her big green eyes, see that familiar sickly glassiness and not be able to anticipate when or how she is going to feel better.

I'm getting better with all of this, though. Colds and bronchial viruses are getting a little better for me to handle and I've learned quickly how to soothe this for her. She's on her billionth virus right now, as I type, and I have managed to remain calm.
I still hate vomiting, whether it's her or me. It makes me crazy. I'm hoping I get over this one day.

So, getting to my point?
If you're reading this and you're at all like me, only without a child....somehow, learn how to let go. Go with the flow. Your kid will get sick, but they will get better. Accept this somehow and find a zen. Your workplace will understand. You will not get fired. Your child will be ok in a couple of days. Life will be back to normal in a couple of days.
I will, someday, learn how to take my own advice.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I am absolutely loving having conversations with my daughter.

From today:
(She was napping for 3.5 hours, which she has never done in her little life. She started getting some cold symptoms yesterday so I figured it was draining her energy. At almost 5pm, I went in her room and touched her head)
Lily: Mommy? Time to get up??
Me: Well, baby, you don't have to but you've been sleeping a long time.
Lily: Mommy, I sleep long time 'cuz I don't feel good. ::She stands up::: I feel better now!!!
Me: That's good baby. Sleep is good.
Lily: Sleep make me better, mommy. I don't feel good but then I feel better.

This might read as absolutely trivial but I'm telling you these were the days I was waiting for as a mom: communication. I love it. Sometimes she still doesn't make a ton of sense and she gets so many words mixed up but at the end of the day, it's all perfect to me.

Just like the other night, I decided to take a bath with her in my big bathtub. I hadn't done that in awhile and I thought it would be fun since she's into mimicking everything I do. I took the opportunity to try to teach her how to wash her hair, etc.
The whole time we were in there she just chatted up a storm, asking to "use mommy's soap", "wash mommy's hair" and just talking mini paragraphs at a time. This is so fun for me. (She also though it was hilarious that my boobs floated. That's a whole other story though.)

Tantrums aside, I love this age.