July 1, 2010

The rain rain rain came down down down

Dear Bloggy friends, I know it's not really the bloggy thing to say (this is supposed to be about remembering and communicating good/fun parts of life) but things have been really rough here. Rough, relatively speaking, of course. Margaret's going through a period of seemingly unwarranted anxiety that is resulting is some untowards and slightly repulsive behavior.
Anyway, I had to get that off of my chest. Things are not always roses around here.

We still have lots of good times. But there is this dormant monster that is threatening to waken at any minute.
My darling sister-in-law Jenni gave me a fantastic parenting book on the eve of Margaret's birth. I found a section in there about toddler anxiety and I'd like to quote it here.

If your toddler is feeling rather anxious about life, a little pressured, perhaps, to grow up faster than she feels she easily can, you may see some of the following signs:

  • She will probably be more clingy than usual, choosing to go with you rather than to stay in the room alone, choosing to hold your hand rather than running ahead, choosing to sit on your lap or your hip rather than on a chair or the floor.
  • Anxiety will probably show clearly when she is in strange places and with people she does not know very well. If her own teacher is on vacation she may not want to stay at day care. If you take her out to lunch, she may turn shy and spend all afternoon with her head in your lap. Even a new park doesn't make her want to explore because she's too busy keeping close to you so as not to get lost.
If you pick up this kind of cue from your toddler, try to arrange for all the adults who are important to her to offer large extra rations of affection, attention, and protection for a few days or weeks. If you catch it in time, the see-saw may swing back to the level again. If it carries on tipping further into anxiety, you will probably begin to see more definite signs:
  • She may have new or extra difficulty going to sleep. She may build up her bedtime rituals, add new members to the family of comfort creatures in her crib, cry piteously to have the light left on and call you, endlessly, after you have left her.
  • She may enter a phase of nightmares
  • She may seem to lose enthusiasm for food, preferring the more babyish items in her diet and refusing to feed herself as independently as before.
Once a toddler's general anxiety is at a high enough level for it to affect sleeping and eating, she is very likely to produce sudden fears for specific things. It is as if all that general anxiety bottled up inside is looking for a means of expressing itself.
-Quoted from Penelope Leach,
Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five

I think she wants to be the baby of the family. Poor dear.


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