Friday, May 22, 2009

Mother, daughter, and fear

Yesterday I had some routine bloodwork, to check my cholesterol and such. Both kids came with me. As my blood was drawn, I narrated to Chickie,

"See, Chickie? She's going to poke that needle into my skin. There we go! It barely even hurt, just a pinch. Now see? The blood is going into this little thing. Now they can test it like the doctor wants them to do! Isn't that cool?" The wonderful lady taking my blood explained what the bright red bandage was for, and even cut off a piece for Chickie, making it into a bracelet for her.

Now, I think Chickie was somewhat weirded out, understandably, as she watched my blood go into a plastic vial. She had a lot of questions, during and after the blood draw. But she seemed fairly comfortable and unafraid as she observed it.

I compare that to how she reacts to spiders. I see a spider near her and say, "Oh, no, Chickie! Get away! Don't touch the spider! I don't want it to bite you!" It's been my goal to instill a healthy fear in her, but I think I've gone overboard. Now she's definitely afraid of spiders, and of some other bugs (like houseflies.) While I'd prefer that she not play with spiders, I regret that I've given her more fear than she really needs to have.

These situations show me just how much my daughter takes cues from me, as she decides what is or isn't scary. I hope that I can encourage her to be cautious when necessary (crossing the street, deciding which bugs to play with, touching hot things, etc.) But I also hope that I can more often handle potentially scary situations in the way I handled my blood draw yesterday. Little eyes are watching closely!


Anonymous said...

Beth -- What a great lesson that hopefully Chickie will remember when SHE has to have blood drawn sometime. I know so many adults who are squimish about having blood taken. Good work.

silver star said...

Maybe the next time she needs shots, she won't get freaked out.

Tiffany said...

Don't worry it doesn't always depend on the parents reactions. My mom is deathly afraid of snakes, i mean she can't even watch them on tv, and yet I'm not afraid of them. I mean I don't playing with them but they don't bother me at all -unless they rattle LOL- so don't worry too much about it. She'll even out and TONS of people freak out over spiders so she'll still be normal either way!

Good job with the blood draw - that is an irrational fear that people have so it's good to negate that now.

Lyndsay said...

The last time Kate saw a spider, she screamed bloody murder so loudly, I seriously thought she'd been bit/stung by something. Now the fear has spilled over into bugs, catapillars, ants, and the like. What fun!

Crazy Mo said...

What you did with Chickie was wonderful. You're such a good mom. But I wouldn't worry about instilling too much fear in her. I don't think that's the way it works. I'm deathly afraid of spiders and terrified of the dark. I know. I'm 43 years old and scared of the dark. Long story. Hmmm ... blog post.

Call Me Cate said...

I'm glad to see this post. My mother instilled such fear in me over so many things, it's really played into my anxiety issues as an adult. Everything was a big scary deal growing up and it's hard to break that once it's deeply ingrained in your psyche.

Handling a situation like you did would've made such a difference for me. I can only imagine that approach will serve Chickie (and Zoodle) well.

Writer Dad said...

You are a wonderful mother. Chickie is fortunate.

Becky said...

Like Call Me Cate, I had a mother who instilled a lot of fears in me too, so my reactions are something I also try to be very conscious of hiding from my kids!

But it's interesting, there are still things that my kids are frightened of for no apparent reason - like earthworms. I'm working on that by picking up and handling earthworms in front of them but they still won't have any part of it.

Cathy said...

Hope your cholesterol comes out good. Is this the first time you've had it checked. Hope you take after your dad and not me!

Barga said...

wow, that is not bad
I pass out when i see needles (due to things from my past) and so it is hard to give blood.

Great story, they told my mom (we have different last names, they didn't know we were related) that "last saturday we had this huge 220, 6-1, muscluar guy pass out from a little needle. That is why we have new lay-down rules"

TesoriTrovati said...

As a child I had a bedroom in the basement with no windows (I know...not to code). I was probably about 7...and I didn't like spiders either and you know they live in the basement. One morning there was a spider on the wall and I started screaming "Spider! Spider!" and my mother came flying down stairs and into my room...she thought I was yelling "Fire! Fire!" She was so very upset with me for causing her to worry about Fire over a dinky spider. Needless to say, I never overreacted to a little spider again.
Thanks for helping me remember that! Enjoy the day!

2cats said...

You did a great job during the blood work. When my son needed a blood draw, it took 2 nurses, an aid, and the doctor to hold him down. He was 3 at the time.

As for spiders, I think a healthy fear is fine. I scream when I see them. If I am in a room alone with them, I leave the room and shut the door. I have had one out stare me and make me stay outside until someone came to let me in.

Is this a healthy fear?

Unknown said...

Yeah, I'm trying to undo some of what I have done to my children now and it's soooo hard...I have in some ways turned them into worrywarts...and that's not a good thing. I'm trying now to teach them to trust in God and have faith!!

C. Beth said...

Sandra--Thank you! You are very encouraging!

Silver Star--I hope so. Shots are scary for kids but I hope she can learn they don't have to be.

Tiffany--That's a good point--kids can have phobias for so many reasons, and I may not be able to prevent that.

Lyndsay--Ha! Poor Kate. :)

Crazy Mo--Thank you! I agree there are definitely other factors to fear besides Mom's reaction.

Writer Dad--What a wonderful thing to say; thank you!

Becky--I have to admit, I'm afraid of holding earthworms.

Mom--I had it checked a couple of years back. It was pretty good.

Barga--Definitely a funny thought, a big guy like you passing out from a needle! Love what the nurse said.

Erin--Ha! I would have been upset if I thought my daughter was yelling "Fire!" too!

2cats--Hmm--I do think that it would be good if you were able to be in the same room as a spider! :) Not necessarily touching it or anything. I hope Chickie doesn't have to have blood drawn any time soon. They drew some when she turned 1 and it was pretty traumatic for her.

Kris--It is hard to undo the things we mess up on-and we ALL mess up!! But God is gracious!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

Isn't that the truth! You're doing a great job at being a role model :)

Lara said...

I wonder about that too. I've known for a while that something you say to a child in the spur of the moment, can be remembered for the rest of their lives.

Now I have developed a couple of phobias since I started having night terrors, when I dream of bugs crawling over me and wake up screaming. Yes... it's not the best.

When I have kids, I hope to be able to overcome these "irrational fears" of spiders, chickens, murky water and fish; and try to show my children that, in a small dose, these things can be good for them.

We've also discussed treating healthy food as a treat; i.e. giving them diced up cucumber when they're watching TV etc. But I suppose it also means I'm going to have to stop drinking Coke and start pretending to like tomatoes. Hmmm...