Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Seeking Therapy

I know that I probably need therapy for many reasons, but for now, I'm just thinking about it for my kids.

Today, just as I was about to get in the shower, I suddenly heard screaming from outside. In a second, I recognized it as coming from Ewelina. I quickly threw on my clothes, assuming the whole time that the screaming would abate, but it did not. I ran outside.

David was running from the kids' "baza" or "base"--their hideout in the field across the street from our house. I kept running and David showed me how to get in through the tall grass to get to Evie, who was still screaming. I'm thinking "broken bone, dog attack, torture by monsters"- something terrible. I came through the weeds and saw that she was sitting on one of the little green plastic chairs that they'd taken there, holding on to her foot. She told me that she thought a bee had stung her. I looked at her foot and saw that, indeed, there was a tiny little stinger that looked more like an itsy bitsy sliver stuck in the arch of her left foot. I carried her wailing and sobbing, on my back, back to our house. (To find that we were locked out, but that part of the story doesn't really go with the rest of this post, so I'm leaving it out--er, I meant to).

For those of you who have spent any extended amount of time with my children, you already know how they can freak out at times. Like when a fly buzzes anywhere near them. Or when a puppy, not to mention a full grown chihuahua glances in their direction (these are David's). Or maybe it's the anticipation of a visit to the dentists office, or getting a sliver--or (and this causes 20 times the level of out-freaking) the thought of having that sliver removed!

Any of these things will cause my children to cry. Possibly to scream, and just generally wig out. When they were smaller, we thought it was just the normal childhood phobias. We tried being very understanding and supportive. We held them and soothed them. Then we tried being practical and instructive, showing by our own calm manner and explanations why everything was okay, and how best to deal with the situation. We tried various combinations of these two techniques. Sometimes we have resorted to a third: threatening and shouting. Admittedly, the threatening and shouting were not used so much as a "technique" but rather came out of our frustration and sense of helplessness, and search for any way to get them to calm down. (All good parents know that threats DO sometimes work.)

It's entirely possible some of you are thinking "Yelling at a kid who is afraid of something?" But that would only be because you haven't been around during some of these fits. They are entirely out of control. They care not for empathy. They care not for guidance. They care not for threatenings. Left to themselves the hysteria continues indefinitely. They are in their own little world of terror, and we don't know how to bring them out of it. That's why I think I need to take them to a counselor.

Evie sobbed and cried for about 20 minutes until Greg came and opened the door for us, and then kicked it back up to hysteria for the 10 minutes before she would let me remove it, when we actually had to force her down so I could do it, or we would have waited endlessly until she felt "ready". It took a quarter of a second and she didn't feel a thing. I know a bee sting is a scary thing (though I've never had one), but this just reminded me of the other panic attacks and made me wonder what kind of a doctor we need to take our kids to.


gramalee said...

Hey Lu, does Aaron exhibit that "terror syndrome" also? Please show a clip of the shake-a-bummer dance please. Sorry but the BYU servers will not let us open uTube. :(

Carlynn said...

Poor Evie and poor Mom!

Therapy? Definitely not.

From my point of view you are doing it right. When my kids freak out I sooth them and talk them through it with understanding.

My husband is the exact opposite and “speaks sternly” to them and it just makes it worse (for me and them). I usually send him away and take care of the situation on my own.

I have considered the “old” method of smacking them across the face. This is what my Mom did to me whenever I would freak out, like in the middle of the E.T. movie (don’t ask) and every time my sister would pass out in front of me. Hurt like heck but I guess it must have worked, right?

I think I will stick with the soothing method.

It’s also good to see I am not the only person to have locked themselves out of the house accidently. Doh!

Lisa said...

Mom-Aaron hasn't shown any symptoms yet, but he's too young, I think. He's only just starting to get his feelings hurt/show empathy to others, and want to be near me when there's a loud, unfamiliar noise and things like that, which I think are indicative of other upcoming changes. We need to get some video of the bum-shakage for our family history, so we'll post some when we do. He's getting into shoulder shrugging, now, too.

Carlynn-HA! I had written about giving a "spank" once before when the hysteria went on for like an hour, but I thought I wouldn't start any controversy and edited it out! Like in the old movies when they smack a lady to "knock some sense into her". Not the best method, but maybe it does work sometimes? During E.T.? How sad is that?!

And our door locks automatically, so if you step outside to get a breath of fresh air (or race out to rescue your daughter from a pack of ravenous wolves)and the door closes behind you, you have to have a key to get back in. This is proof that I'm not at all scatterbrained or anything like that. Not me.

Liz said...


Is it bad that I was giggling a little bit reading this? That stinks about locking yourself out - good think Greg wasn't too far away. Were you wet yet from your shower?

Lisa said...

Liz- I think I'll have a new little theme on my blog "giggling welcome". Of course it IS a little funny (when you're not right there in the stress of it, of course). And I am nothing if not literal--I really was just about to get in the shower. If the water had been on I probably wouldn't have heard her, so good thing.

Heather said...

This post was so right on for how my oldest daughter freaks out about the same kinds of things, and I react the same way. You are a good writer, I could not have explained it as well as you did.