I suppose I should be happy. The nightmare that has been the process of finding child care for Eleanor is over (more on this in another post). We found a place we like, they have an opening and we’re good to go.
We’re good to go, right? Right?
So why do I find myself thinking about the next step, and the one after that? I spent about 24 hours in my happy, peaceful place last week before I began to obsess over Eleanor’s preschool and elementary school options. And then I began obsessing about whether or not we need to move to a new neighborhood, sooner rather than later. And then I began obsessing about everything, from whether people like me to what I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow morning. Did I mention I’ve been having trouble sleeping again?
Eleanor is starting daycare in a month, and I am starting a brand new job in two months.
***On Sunday afternoon, as our church small group was meeting (as we do every Sunday), I spotted Eleanor across the room. She was running out of milk in her cup, still thirsty. Suddenly, she became terrified that someone was going to offer her water (no one had, by the way). She began to repeat, “No Water!” over and over. This is a (somewhat) typical behavior for her. The phrase repeated phrase gets louder and louder, and it always ends on a panicked rising note. She sounds like a Dalek from Doctor Who:
Every time she gets like this, it’s like she realizes for the first time how little control over her life she has. She clings desperately to this obsessive idea, this panicked tone. And she’ll keep spiraling, ever upward in tone and volume until she’s out of any control she might have had in the first place.
And all this happens in the time it takes me to cross to the other side of a room.
Her panic makes sense to me, even though I find it hard to deal with sometimes. I have a really independent toddler, one who demands to put on her own shoes several times a day. But we’ve got a perfect storm of a situation in which she is preternaturally self-aware but not particularly coordinated. She gets stuck trying to do tasks on her own while being saddled with a realization that there is very little she can do by herself. Man, that must be frustrating.
You know, the good thing about being in therapy for the better part of a year is that you start noticing your spirals before you get too out of control. You remember the tools you’ve learned and you consider returning to therapy, if for nothing else than to just clear your head. I consider the fact that I can consider all this a good thing.
I cross the room, pick my daughter up, and I talk to her. I tell her that I’m going to get her some milk but that she needs to take a deep breath and calm down a little bit. I take a dramatic, exaggerated deep breath and blow it out, modeling for her. She does it, too, and she smiles.
As we walk to the kitchen, she says, “Calm down a little bit.”
I think she’s talking to both of us.