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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stress From Lunch Ladyland

We all know that moving is stressful.  It's well documented and researched and stress is what Xanax was created for.  Too bad I don't take drugs and neither do my children.  So this means we're dealing with a big, steaming pile of stress and have had to come up with ways to de-stress the stressor.

My husband and I have it easy as we are adults.  We can verbalize what's bothering us.  We can hike or go for a run.  We can have a cocktail once in awhile, though I'm liking that less and less.  We can climb into bed and... okay enough of that.  What I'm saying is that we have enough experience to de-stress the stressors.  Yesterday's hike felt great and I'm ready for more, as the house has already been inspected and we await the next step in the process of buying and selling homes.  Bring on the fun already!

As for my kids, they have less experience.  They have trouble even verbalizing what they want for breakfast.  My youngest has been showing signs of stress at school.  She's broken her leg, so the stress of moving is compounded by the fact that she actually can't move.  I've noted her resilience, but the tears have flowed because she's completely terrified of the lunch lady. 

In my attempts to raise a non-whiner (I can't stand whining), I now have to build her up so that the lunch lady is no longer the raging fire beast that my girl pictures in her head.  I actually had her draw a picture of this unpleasant person, so that she could see that it is all in her head.  In reality this woman looks like Chris Farley's character in Adam Sandler's Lunch Ladyland.  We're having her sing the song if she gets scared, so that maybe she'll chuckle instead of cowering under the lunch table.

She cried over something else too, so I devised a plan to build this kid's confidence.  She loves Katy Perry.  What little girl doesn't?  I put an image of Katy Perry crying on a calendar and I put one of her being strong and "roaring" on another.  If she cries she gets a frowny face on the "Today I did not roar and cried instead" calendar and loses dessert for the evening.  If she is tough and doesn't whine and cry like a baby (see I can't stand whining), she gets a smiley face on the "Today I roared" calendar.  She is excited to see the movie Maleficent coming out on May 30th.  If my little marshmallow can toughen up and roar more days than she cries; I will take her to see this new Disney fun. 

I'm hoping to devise some sort of positive reinforcement for myself, but haven't decided my goal yet.  Maybe an industrial size bottle of baby powder to combat the upcoming swamp ass we're sure to encounter?  Maybe a shiny purse pistol to practice shooting Louisiana creatures?  Maybe a plane ticket out of New Orleans to someplace I can hike without needing the baby powder save?  Who knows I'm working on it.

My kids have always responded better to positive reinforcement than to me dropping the hammer on them and shaming them.  Confidence building is a tricky task in adults and it's even trickier in children.  It takes time and even with time, they'll get knocked down and need help getting back up again.  Parents are the soft place kids can land when they get knocked down, but I feel that it is our responsibility to teach them how to face their fears and overcome them.  What a thrill it will be when Chris Farley is a distant memory.  Someday we will laugh at her fear with my girl and I can hardly wait.  Let's hope she roars again today.

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