Fear–such an obvious topic for a special needs mom to talk about, right? I mean, I should be filled with The Fear–will my child walk? Will he hold a job? What will happen to him when I die? But here’s a confession: I cope with all of these things using the Scarlett O’hara method–I just don’t think about it. Maybe not the best solution, but I’ve never actually solved a problem by worrying about it in advance and I spent a lot of Charlie’s infant days worrying abut things that never happened or if they did happen, it was as big a deal as I thought.
So basically it’s taken me a paragraph to tell you that it’s Charlie’s fears that I’m thinking about today.
Charlie’s a tough little kid. I doesn’t cry at blood draws. He handled a bunch of Botox shots in a way that I don’t think I could have. He’s very tough, but lately I’ve noticed that he’s gotten extremely fearful.
He used to love the water, but now he’s not capable of enjoying the pool at all, which makes me very sad. He will sit in the bathtub, but if I lie him down in the water, he is frozen with fear and claws at the sides of the tub.
The other day I sat him on the bottom step of our porch and he twisted awkwardly to grip the step behind him. He’s really good at sitting on a bench with feet flat, but when put in a new situation, he freaked out.
I’m glad he has awareness. We spent years dealing with medication fog, and it’s positive that he’s taking things in and processing them. I don’t want him to be scared of the world, though. Right now the twins are in a pulling up phase and about a million times a day I say, “It’s OK! People fall. Just get back up.” How can I teach Charlie that same thing?
Caution is good, but a four-year-old shouldn’t be fearful. I know he’s working with a body that doesn’t always do what he wants it to, but I want him to try. I want him to push. If he doesn’t, I can’t imagine he’ll go very far. I don’t know if this is some sort of stage, or if there are deeper things going on that need to be addressed.
So often I find myself sitting around wondering what the next step is–trying to find the path when it’s not clear. It’s one part intuition, two parts Google search, three parts the wisdom of others, and praying like hell I don’t screw it up too badly.