Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moira helped draw the noses.

Moira has always had a basically negative outlook on life. One we've tried to be accepting of, but not draw her attention to. I've heard of kids who were happier in the car as soon as they could have a conversation with their parents in car, for instance, but for Moira, that just increased the things to complain about. If I point out a fire truck, for instance, the response is almost always crying and asking for "more firetrucks!"
She is also still struggling with sleep. We have convinced her that if she wakes up at night, she can come into our room and go back to sleep with us, but she is usually waking up at 6am and not able to go back to sleep. The rule is that if you can't be still and quiet in Mommy & Daddy's room, she can play in her room until the light turns green at 7, which hasn't been a problem for a long time.
It's obvious to us that there is something bothering her. She's been much more clingy to both of us, and less inclined to let me out of her sight, or let go of my hand in public. She can't tell us what's wrong, so we are trying to meet her increased need for us. I have a really hard time being patient and happy during the day if the first hour of it is her kicking me in bed though.
This morning, rather then go play in her room, she decided to just cry, first on the floor of our bedroom, then in the hallway between our rooms so she could check every minute to see if the light turned green. I told her that as soon as the light was green we could have wiggly snuggles in our bed for as long as she wanted. This was all about 8 minutes of waiting, and by the time she crawled into bed with us she was pretty upset. So we snuggled and tried to talk. But this lead to the another thing that happens a lot when she's upset where she starts thinking of more and more things to be upset about. We kept talking and snuggling, and she eventually asked if we could have a lesson about emotions.
Emotions lesson
This is what I managed to come up with in the hour she was having breakfast and watching TV. Please excuse my odd phrasing, I'm really not my best in the AM right now. Oddly, the internet was not so helpful with ideas for this. Apparently preschoolers are still learning to identify emotions, but that's really not something she has trouble with. What she needs help with is realizing that when you are sad it's not forever. (Did I mention that if one thing she doesn't like happens at an otherwise pleasant experience, then she had a horrible time the whole time? She didn't want to look in the microscope at the vet's yesterday, so she told Walker she didn't like any of it, which isn't actually true if I ask about the individual activities.)
She was in a good mood when we did this, but I was still pleasantly surprised that her happy list is so much longer then her sad list. I also like that her list of things that make the baby happy (her idea) is pretty good, although I mentioned the milk. Everything on the Stewie list is actually something that makes him nervous (that would be everything) and makes Moira happy, but whatever. My biggest hope is that we can refer back to the list of things to do when she is sad the next time she is upset and give her a little more agency in feeling better.
I have so many conflicting emotions about how to help her with this. On the one hand, I don't want her to feel like she's bad because she has a negative outlook on life (or because she's wiggly), but on the other, I don't her to be struggling to think positive about anything into her late 20's like I was. I have been trying to validate her happy feelings, but it is somehow so much easier to say "Moira is feeling very sad," while she's crying then it is to point out how happy she is. I feel like I will jinx it and she will be pulled out of her happiness because I've drawn attention to it.
I would love suggestions on helping her with this. Leave her alone? Continue to draw attention to the things she enjoyed when she says she didn't have fun somewhere? Something genius I haven't though of?

Yet another aside, I tried to use photos of her for the happy and sad faces, but she was very upset at the idea of taking pictures out of the photo album we never look at and not putting them back. Sigh.

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