I had an “a-ha” moment at Grace’s counseling session the other night. Well, more accurately, it was an, “A-ha! Oh wait, duh” moment.
Grace doesn’t like unknowns. I took her into school the week before it started so she could meet her teacher (cross off fears Is my teacher nice? and Will my teacher like me?). She got to explore the classroom and take a look at the class roster (cross off fear Will I have any friends in my class?). By the end of our time there, her mood had changed from dread to anticipation. She can’t handle blanks.
At home, she asks questions c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y. What’s for dinner? Are we having dessert? What are we doing after supper? What are we doing this weekend? Answers: Something you probably won’t like, No,Going to bed, and Nothing that will meet your expectations. She’s a planner (read: controller) and that’s all I thought was going on. If I didn’t have a dinner plan, she’d be happy to suggest one. If we weren’t having dessert, she could fix that. We don’t have plans?? Well why not go get ice cream? Two birds with one stone!
Then in counseling I was talking about visiting her teacher, and it hit me in slow motion. My duh moment. Those weren’t just annoying questions, they were blanks for her. She needs to know what is going on in order to feel secure. Is there an emoticon for hitting yourself in the head?
Eli can ask endless questions, but it’s because he likes to understand how things work. Ada can ask endless questions, but it’s because she’s always learning, and almost never has to ask the same question twice. But Grace. Grace’s world needs to be wrapped in a momma hug, and right now that looks like knowing what is happening at all times. Things may change in the schedule, but for the most part I know the plans. I am a planner, after all (that is not read as controller). So I can do my part by keeping the kitchen calendar up to date. I can tell her what’s for supper without expecting her to be annoyed by the answer. I can teach her that she is safe with us. More than anything I want her to be a happy, care-free little girl. I will do my part to provide that experience for her for as long as I can.
1 thought on “Fear of the unknown”
Sounds like our Grace’s are very much alike! I’ve always thought, that if Grace could read, she’d really benefit from a printed-off itinerary for the following day. We have the same questions – dinner, daily plans, what I’m doing while she’s at school, what day of the week it is, where we’re going after school, what’s for breakfast, weekend plans… who, what, when, where… it’s constant.
But your point is very good – why not relieve those anxieties but offering to fill-in the blanks? I can get annoyed by the repeat questions, but I’m like her and I know I like those blanks filled, too.
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