Saturday, 14 July 2012

Thunder Only Happens When Its Raining

This photo was taken the day I was able to finally take Narina home from the hospital after she was born.  I was exhausted and in love.  I thought having a newborn was hard.  Well, it was hard because everything was new.  In retrospect it was easy compared to now and I am sure right now will seem easy compared to something in the future.  I wish I could hold her like this and make it all okay for her little heart. 

We are in the process of moving house to be closer to the Steiner community in Forest Row.  Narina is starting kindergarten in the fall.  I know that moving is a huge stress on everyone.  I have moved so many times in my life that it is strange for it to be *this* stressful.  However Dan has been away, Esben is teething non-stop and Narina has discovered fear.

A couple of days ago a fighter jet flew very low and close to our house while Narina was playing by herself outside.  She came into the house screaming and hysterical.  It frightened her beyond words.  The next day or so we had a hail storm with loud thunder.  Again, hysterical.  I am not used to seeing her so upset and of course neither is Esben who would promptly start screaming as a reaction to hers.  Now Narina won't leave my side.  Not to get her shoes from the front hall, not when I leave the room to go to the toilet.  Every little sound she asks if it is thunder.  Tonight, while putting the kids to bed she was beside herself.  I tried putting Esben to sleep first while she cried in her room screaming my name. I couldn't get one to sleep with the other crying.  Finally I calmed Narina down enough to feed Esben and by the time I was done she was asleep as well.

I came downstairs to our half empty house and had a good cry on my own.  How does a parent ease the fear of something like thunder or loud noises?  I have told her fun stories about thunder and hail. I have explained how cool those jets are because of all the fancy tricks they can do. It doesn't matter. She asks repeatedly if today it is going to have a jet or thunder.  By repeatedly I mean I answered it at least 200 times today. I feel like her reaction is heightened from the massive amounts of transition and disruption going on here.  I have been trying so hard to keep life as normal as possible but how can it be? I am packing up a house on my own as her father comes home for a couple days a week over the past month.  It is breaking my heart to see her afraid.  Dan suggested Rescue Remedy which I will try in the night when she wakes up.  If anyone has gone through something similar, please share ideas on ways to create peace for a child during a time of high transition.

14 comments:

  1. Aw, what a little sweet heart! We had a jet that went by and broke the sound barrier. SO LOUD! We live an hour or so from an air force base. It terrified my two year old at the time as well. During thunder storms he would hide completely under bed pillows.

    What are your spiritual beliefs? In these cases I talk to my littles about God's protection and love. That God (or insert your word for the divine here) is always caring for us. Or what about the idea of Guardian angels? Can you make her one? Tell her stories of protection? I think it's so important to make our kids feel safe but in a way that's not completely attached to ourselves. Are we protectors as Mama's? absolutely! But care & protection has to be more then us so that they can be anywhere (as they get older) and still feel safe. Songs are helpful too. Is there a song you can teach her that would be comforting? In our case it just took time, lots of cuddles, love & prayer.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts. That is a good idea, taking the safety out of my hands and into the divine. I will have to think on how that could work in our family. Thank you again!

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  2. Hi Rachel -
    It's been a lot of years since we went through similar problems. I'm trying to remember what we did. The child feels helpless, she has no control over the situation. "It cannot hurt you, it is just noise", and then explain about different kinds of noises - loud ones, soft ones..
    But I think that explanations perhaps are not going to do the trick. Does she have a blankie, doll, or lovey? My kids got a lot of comfort from their blankies. She also will often do as you do. Smile and laugh, and try to turn her fear around that way.
    Just wait until shes a teenager and has driven 4 hours away for the weekend and then doesn't call you to say hi, I'm alive. (my weekend currently).

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    1. Oh I know! That is exactly what I mean, each stage is such a new learning experience. She has her dolls and right now she has three of them over her head as she sleeps. Thank you for your thoughts. It feels good to hear that the things I am doing are all one can do... and time. I can feel this is going to take time.

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  3. Hi Rachel,
    Have you read 'Thunder Cake' to her? It's such a sweet story of a little girl who is afraid of thunder. A storm is coming and the little girls granny set's out to make Thunder Cake with her. They have so much fun collecting all the ingredients they need that the little girl forgets to be afraid of thunder. There is the Thunder Cake recipe in the back (very yummy) and my children look forward to big storms as we make Thunder Cake together. Perhaps a tradition like this might help?
    Blessings and magic,
    Donni

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    1. No, I haven't read it before. I haven't heard of it but I just bought it. Thank you. That is just the sort of thing that would work for her. She loves ritual, reading and baking. If we could do this during a storm it would be perfect. Thank you Donni!

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  4. In times like these as parents our first reaction is sometimes to explain it away, what ever the big bad thing is! We also tend to give comfort but feel frustrated inside and the children pick up on these emotions and it makes them cling more because they don't understand.

    For you the explanation is real, you can picture in your head where hail/thunder comes from and what the jet looks like. For children who don't have those images already in their mind's data base words give very little comfort. What she needs is to be showered with love and protection. For the next week you must over indulge her fear of everything. Ask to hold her hand even just to leave the room. Tell her "I want to hold your hand so you feel safe". Lots of hugs and invitations to be with you everywhere you go. Even if she is playing say " mommy is going to the kitchen do you need to be with me or are you okay to stay here?"

    Give her a plan on how to handle big sounds and practice what to do. Give her tools like, cover your ears and sing a load happy song. Play a game and practice the new ways of handling this situation. Help her know that it is okay to be scared, that you will be there for her, and you will help her find a solution. Soon you will find she will rather want to stay and play then to follow you.

    You will get though this and soon be in your new home!
    Beccijo of The Encahanted Cupboard

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    1. What I am liking about the replies, Beccijo, is the ways they reflect what you know in your heart to be true. I talked to a dear friend tonight about this situation and how yesterday I needed a sounding board to process the vulnerability I felt as a parent towards her fear. Thank you for reflecting the best treatment you can have for any pain- love.

      Much love for your thoughts.

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  5. These are all great ideas. I haven't had to deal with this yet but I suspect I will someday and will try to remember them.

    Fionnuala did go through a phase earlier this year where she pooped in the bathtub and Moira became hysterical and the result was that Fionnuala refused to have a bath for a couple weeks after. Then recently she pooped in the shower with her Dad and now she won't shower with him but she does walk around the house saying "i pooped shower with daddy" at totally random times (it's been weeks). She's obviously processing that still poor kid. Although to be honest, we are kind of laughing about it now - Mister caught Moira trying to 'plug up" Fionnuala so she couldn't poop in the bath tub and now we have a strict "no fingers up other people's bums" rule which is ridiculous and I'm only telling you this to make you laugh. :) You just can't make this stuff up!

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    1. This made me smile in the middle of the night breastfeeding session I had last night. Yes... no fingers up people's bums. HA!
      I love it. Thank you.

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  6. Wow you have been submerge with great idea :) !! I guess there is stage in children that are similar and we all go throught it. I would cuddle a lot...that was what I was doing with my daugther. She was particularly affraid when going to sleep, so just before I walk out of the room I was creating for her a ''protection of light'' that is how we called it. With my hands I was making movement (around her) imagining her in a light bubble of light filled with love, protection and comfort...I believe that I was leaving her with some kind of my ''mother'' energy for her to feel safe. We could say it was like a ritual. I did that many many years...and at some point she forgot to ask me to...she was ok :) I think you are going to come out with your own idea, and it's going to be perfect because it's going to be created from your heart. Mother finds the way...we love them so much, have faith and courage.

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    1. Thank you for this. I love the bubble of light and love. It is what I do in my own head as we enter the night time routine in our house. It is fun to think of that being extended visually to my daughter. It was this line: "I think you are going to come out with your own idea, and it's going to be perfect because it's going to be created from your heart. Mother finds the way...we love them so much, have faith and courage." that I am going to hold close to my heart. It is true. Thank you for reminding me.

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  7. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who wrote a comment last night. I needed the sisterhood of love and support that you all gave. Big love to you all.

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  8. Hi Rachel -- Where have I been? Reading this weeks after you posted it. I hope things have calmed down a bit since then. Don't have much to add to the excellent comments above except to say "this too shall pass". We went through over a year of night terror with J, and eventually after much improvisation and tears and hugs, he found a way to get over it all on his own. I think the main thing is for this and most other challenges in being a mum is to ensure the kids are given an abundance of three things: love, caring attention and patience (I don't always do so well on the third item, to be honest!).

    xoxo Lana

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Play nice kids or no wooden toys and millet for you!