Sittin’ with Anxiety


sniff. the last picture of my baby with his teeth not jacked up.

sniff. the last picture of my baby with his teeth not jacked up.

Years of lifeguard training has taught me how to ACT in emergencies. I’ve been there to save drowning children (while on duty), rescue stranded children in a rubber boat (off duty), stop for several motorcycle accidents, coordinate calling 911 and directing firefighters when MIL dislocates her hip, and even staying calm and directing medics to attend to ME in my several car accidents. I feel the best when I can channel my anxiety adrenaline into ACTION, staying calm, collected, and gettin’ stuff done.

So, the experience of having to sit with the anxiety, the adrenaline, the I-wish-I-could-do-something-feeling, is foreign, unsettling and is teaching me about myself. It makes me think that, in a lot of ways, I run from anxiety and turn it into action, rather than just settling for it and experiencing it, which is what I had to do, last night…

Potamus and I were solo last night, and we had an eventful evening splashing in the toy pool (aka, storage bin) outside. He was happily squirting the squirt guns and dunking the toy dinosaurs I had bought at Target earlier in the day. It started to get chilly, and his little naked bum was covered in goosebumps, so we headed inside to continue the water fun in the shower, where it’s warm! Potamus has been having mixed emotions about the shower, since he slipped and bumped his head a few weeks ago. And he was seemingly excited, so I was happy and feeling relaxed and just trying to enjoy his sweet disposition.

When it came to drying off, I got out, grabbed the towel and he started to cry. I couldn’t tell if he wanted to get out or stay in longer! He stood up, took a step toward me holding the towel, and then BAM! Face first slipped onto the edge of the shower and burst into tears. All that adrenaline was coursing through me. I was trying to remember to say “you fell in the shower and hit your face” rather than “oh I’m so sorry that probably hurts so much” (I might have a perfectionist streak, and want to try new parenting things right NOW). He calmed down after 10ish minutes, and I was able to call Boof while he was at the Mariner’s game to see what we should do. My gut said the Emergency room was going to be a waste of time and $, and so, I had to wait…sit in the anxiety and guilt of being there with him, in pain, and not being able to do anything.

The anxiety was worth it, because the dentist was FANTASTIC! I loved the office so much that we’re going to go there as a whole family. Potamus is fine, healed up nicely (never any blood), and overall I am glad I sat with the anxiety and didn’t try to do anything too soon. I had been meaning to get a dentist appointment anyway…

Any experience of sitting in anxiety through emergencies like this? How do you handle it when your kid bumps/bruises/scraped knees/broken arms?

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1 Comment

  1. Poor baby! Hope he’s feeling better now. My son’s had a few freak accidents in the bathtub as well. Fortunately, none have required a trip to the E.R.

    As for remaining calm during high stress situations–forget about it! I can NEVER keep my cool. I panic big time!

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