I read a wide variety of topics, some pretty esoteric stuff. And it’s tricky sometimes because I want to talk about what I’m processing (and Natasha in particular wants to do grown-up talk) but there’s always the question about how much is appropriate for the kids, and how much they would even understand.
Currently I am reading three books:
- The Midnight Disease by Alice Flaherty (a book about the way the human brain works related to the various aspects of application and frustration reflected in writing and not-writing)
- Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan (a book– so far– about epigenetics and how food functions very like programming code being written for the DNA/genes to run.)
- You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth (a book with a very ‘girlfriend’ tone that urges the reader to look very closely at herself and at life in the light of scripture).
Can I just say right here how much I love synergy?
I might (I doubt it) have finished one of these books already if it was the only one I was working on, but then I would have missed all sorts of interconnected gems.
Tonight I used something from the Midnight book with Natasha.
There are times she gets really *tight* about something and she can’t let it go. Just tonight for example.
“It’s happening again Mommy!” (I can guess she’s a bit regressed when I hear Mommy. My least-favorite title.)
“I’m scared KNIDS are going to come and eat Elisha!”
And I have to try not to roll my eyes if the lights are on.
I really wonder if this started out as a game, or sleep-delay tactic, but whatever the origin these fears are now full-on terrifying to her, and just plain irritate me.
As anyone with fearful children will tell you, reassurances and discussions (or lectures) of reality are no use in these situations.
So I did an extemporaneous mini-lecture about perseveration.
I explained how a person whose brain has been damaged in a particular way will perceive something accurately, but then see only that. You show him a fork, ask him to name it, and he’ll say fork.
But then you show him a spoon, a knife, a toy truck, and each of those will also be called a fork.
The way to break this cycle is to draw his attention away from the idea for a moment:
A loud noise outside, or a family member walking into the room, will let the fork leave the center of his focus long enough for him to correctly name the new object.
But this merely shifts the problem, as everything now is identified as a stapler.
The point is, I told Natasha, You can use the same idea to shift your thoughts. If you let them go.
*Too* many times, she has come out to us in the living room sweating with anxiety. I’m convinced she rehearses the fear all her steps out to where we are, so whatever it is is only amplified, not relieved, by travel.
“Imagine your thoughts are a bouncy ball,” I suggested. “Right now, your ball is on the purple elephants step [She laughs]. If you want to quit thinking about purple elephants, you should try a shift of some kind. Go get a drink. Use the bathroom. Climbing down the ladder will give your brain a chance to bump the ball off the purple elephants step. AS LONG AS you don’t keep it there.”
I made a cage with the fingers of one hand over the palm of my other hand.
“If you don’t let it move, it won’t. Give it a chance.”
All these words were delivered with my end-of-the-day, how-much-of-this-is-useful-and-how-much-is-just-delay-? pseudo-conviction.
Jay took the kid-calls that came in the next half-hour, till Natasha bright-eyed and grinning tumbled into the living room.
“It worked! See, I was smoothing my hair, then thought, I bet I could make a pony tail–“
“This is a morning-story,” I interrupted. “You belong in bed.”
She backed away, grinning. “And it worked, Mama,” she finished. “Your idea of getting down worked!”
And she took herself back off to bed, tear-free.