Friday, April 13, 2012

Conversations in the Car with my Two Year Old

Claire (All concerned-like): "I don't like that noise."
Lindsay: "What is the noise?"
Claire: "It's windy."
Lindsay: "Oh, you don't like the wind? Does it scare you?"
Claire: "Yeah... it's scary."
Lindsay: "Do you remember when it was really windy outside? We're all better now, though."
Claire: "Yeah."
Lindsay: "What did we do when it was windy?"
Claire: "We runned away."
Lindsay: "Yes, we ran away, and now we're safe. Where did we run to?"
Claire: "Runned to the floor."
Claire (Slight pause in conversation): "Mama? Can I see my oatmeal?"
And just like that, the conversation was over. I don't know what the experts say about talking to your kids about scary or stressful or near-death experiences. I was just winging it and prompting her with questions I thought were safe and not probing to ask her anything she wasn't already remembering in her tiny, 767-day-old brain. (That's 2 years, 1 month, and 5 days for those busting out the abacus.)
She is clearly weary of the wind. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's scared of it, or even terrified, just cautious. When she hears it, it's like her ears perk up like a dogs and she looks toward the window. Bless her poor little heart. She shouldn't be stressed over this, even if just slightly. At one point during the tornado's brief visit on/near/beside our house, while we were cowering on the floor in the corner of the basement, I lifted my head up and looked over my shoulder. It was probably during those few seconds while I watched the actual tornado that she, too, watched the actual tornado. It wasn't just "strong winds due to the tornado", it was "that is a tornado right there". At the time, obviously, I wasn't thinking "don't let her see this for it will scare/scar/traumatize her". I was thinking "this sucks so badly that we're going to die right now." So I can't really reprimand myself for allowing her to see it, but I feel really sorry that she is on alert when she hears even the slightest howl of the wind.
But still, I don't think I'm giving her enough credit here. Right after we were done with our ten-second tornado talk, she asked to see her oatmeal. Which I had just microwaved about two minutes before and put into a disposable bowl and had set it on the front seat of the car for the drive to daycare. Because she was so excited to eat the oatmeal and wanted to see it to make sure I hadn't lost it and that it was still waiting for her to eat after our fifteen minute car ride. And then after I showed it to her, she was on to her next task, which is requesting to listen to "Adeley I Heard". Which is, of course, Adele's Someone Like You.
Bless her heart indeed.

1 comment:

Meg said...

It sounds like you're doing the right thing by just giving her an outlet to talk about it as it comes up for her, and not overlaying your own feelings or perception of the situation over it. I bet with time her memory of it may even fade since she was (is) so young when it happened.