Honestly, there are days when I feel incredibly ill equipped to be mother to the nearly ten year old child that is mine. She can wear on my nerves and my mind like no other child before her.
Today, for instance. Olivia has never learned to ride a bike. Not for lack of trying on my part, but a lack of effort and interest on hers. I told her that it was basically a requirement of life to learn to ride a bike, and that I was going to make sure she learned this summer. Complete meltdown mode followed. She cried and cried about how much she hated to ride a bike, and then went into full on anxiety attack about all the reasons she could never learn: she might fall and hit her head, she might fall and skin her knee, bikes are boring, she can't steer, she can't stop, she can't balance, she looks stupid in a helmet, she can't play outside because of the mosquitoes. I try so hard to be calm and rational and help her work through her many fears, but by the end of the night, I was at my rope's end. I decided I was going to call her doctor and demand that she be put on something for anxiety. I searched my memory, trying to figure out what had happened that had traumatized her so. And then, suddenly, she goes out, climbs on her bike without protest, and spent a good, happy productive hour, making fantastic progress in learning to ride. If she keeps up this way, she will be riding with the best of them in another week. After she was through, she said, "Bikes look boring, but they really are fun." And then all was well. I can't decide if she just really talented at pushing my buttons, if she just needs to get her anxiety out vocally before she can function, or if she is seriously disturbed.
And since we are talking openly about anxiety on here, I finally worked up the gumption to drag myself to the dentist today. I have canceled my appointment the last two times because I just did not want to go. It was only for a cleaning, and I'm not usually a wuss about the dentist, but I just couldn't do it. Today, I forced myself to actually show up for my appointment, and guess what? No cavities! And a "good job" from the hygienist. I'm free for six months!