A simple case of tummy ache

This beautiful image is from www.bittbox.com.

I have a couple of kids with some issues, both of whom have made great strides. My little Luka, seven years old, has had me going between the extremes of thinking

  1. he is a sponge and has soaked up all this unrest and stress and is hiding it very successfully;
  2. same as, except he’ll blow any time now; and
  3. I am raising a resilient child.

I’m thinking it’s closer to number 3. A case in point is a Hallowe’en party Luka was invited to that was taking place at his best friend’snew house 45 minutes away. We have visited the house once. This party was all Luka talked about for 10 days. “When is the party again? Do I get to wear my costume? Do we take a present? I want to take a present. I’m going to go as Darth Maul, yeah! Why don’t we wear costumes? Can’t you carve my pumpkin for me? Maybe I would stab somebody if I had a knife. So can I wear my Darth Vader instead? You are making cookies right? Oh, I hope so. Where is my cape?”

On the day of the party, I decorated cookies while Luka and the neighbourhood kids swung on the tire swing and played with puppy Clover. The party started at 5, so 4:15 was our ETD. At 4:00 Luka was in the house, brushing teeth and hair, getting clean clothes, and working on an outfit. I explained that he didn’t need to wear a costume, that it wasn’t a costume-wearing party.

He showed up around the corner of the kitchen in a camouflage from head to toe, with a pair of adult snowboarding goggles covering his entire face.

“Wow,” I said. “That sure looks like a costume.”

“No, no, Mum, really. I wear this stuff everyday. Really.”

Every day??”

“Yeah, every day!”

“Everyday as you fight the forces of evil?”

His chin popped out from the top of the jacket and he broke into a grin—”Yeah! How did you know?” He was so excited he could barely stay in his skin.

I was just finishing packing up the cookies when Luka appeared at the corner of the kitchen door. “I don’t feel well.”

Luka is a child that never cries wolf when it comes to body aches. And when it’s his stomach, if he says he feels like throwing up, we scatter, because he is 100% accurate. He is also accurate in his delivery, be it in to a plastic tub, a bowl or even a coffee cup. (Eegad, it is true. This is the subject matter when you have children!).

But he didn’t think it was food-sick or play-sick, or even hunger-sick. He did suggest appendicitis, since you get pampered in the hospital after having that one out (he has been told that at school). After lying down for 15 minutes and having my hand hovering over his belly and all the normal Dr. Mom questions, I asked him if he had any questions for me.

“Do you ever, Mum, after you’ve been to a place only once but you really want to go back again, do you forget what that place looks like? I mean, totally forget? When you were little did you know how to play with girls at a party? Or like would Uncle Ed know how to play with girls at a party? When your best friend moved away and you went to visit did she ever forget you?”

I put down my stethoscope and thought, “Hmmm, Dr. Waller, I think this is anxiety, not appendicitis.”

So I answered the questions, jogged his memory a tad about the house’s layout, told him girls at this age will hive off themselves and play their own games, so never mind, and no, my best friend never forgot me and neither would or could his best friend ever forget him.

“Now, think about your tummy. Do you want to try and go to the party?”

“I think I should try. Yes way! Where are those goggles? Are the cookies packed? Are we taking the puppy? They have guinea pigs. Do you think Clover will like guinea pigs like he likes our bunnies? Hey, can Clover wear a doggie cape?”

Looking back, that was plain old nerves before a party. My kids and so many other kids have such huge ongoing issues with anxiety that I almost missed a seven year old with one of the oldest conditions in the book: butterflies. Now, knock wood!


2 Responses

  1. […] out the Mom Blog on the Canadian Living website to find out how Ehren’s friend worked through the anxiety. You’ll be happy to […]

  2. Reach around and pat yourself on the back for that one. Well done.

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