Posted in Fear

Mommy, are you scared? My Listen to Your Mother experience

Listen to your motherSaturday was a whirlwind that began with a handful of questions from Katie as I was applying my makeup…

Where are you going, Mommy?

I’m meeting up with Sherri* and going to the city, Katie.

What are you going you do there?

Well, I’m going to read some of my work to two nice ladies who are putting on a show called Listen to Your Mother.

Why, Mommy?

Because they are giving mommies like me a chance to read their stories today and perhaps again in a few months in front of a big group of people.

Like Disney on Ice?

Well kind of, but not quite, Katie.

But why are you doing it?

(Long pause.)

Well, for many reasons. I wrote a piece that I want to share with them, I want to try something that will help me to be a better person, and I want to know that I challenged myself.

What did you write about? Is it about me?

I wrote about a time when you were very little, before Matthew came along, when you saved Mommy and Daddy during a sad time. I wrote about how grateful I am for you.

Do you have to go?

No. I suppose I don’t. But in a way, I kind of do. If I don’t try it, I will never know what could have happened. Sometimes the biggest joys come from doing things you didn’t think you could do, Katie.

Mommy, are you scared?

Yes, Katie. Very.

You can do it, Mommy. Just do your best job.

And I did.

With her words in my head, I did.

I entered the small, comfortable room and was greeted my two women whose kind faces told me that my words were in good hands.

I sat and quietly read my words and shared my pain.

And some part of me healed.

I will be there for the show in May, whether it’s on stage or in the audience.

Because there are so many beautiful, sad, funny, and breathtaking stories to be shared.

What a remarkable thing to have been a part of.

And I hope that one day, when Katie is scared to do something, she remembers that day when I tried something that terrified me, and it brings her courage.

*Thank you, Sherri, for the extra push I needed to audition. Without your encouragement and ability to talk me off the ledge, I likely wouldn’t have auditioned. Thank you for helping me to look brave for Katie. You are such a lovely friend.

BlogHer ’11 and Latent Insecurities

I have a secret.

Lean in real close.

In social settings, I sometimes have a bit of trouble.

And why is this relevant right now?

Well, I’m headed off to BlogHer ’11 in a couple of days and my palms are sweaty just thinking all of the evening events that I’ll be attending.

Events that will have alcohol.

Basically, I shouldn’t drink and meet.

If I have had zero drinks, I am friendly, but appropriate. I will listen to you and try to learn as much about you as possible.

If I have had one or two glasses of wine, I become funny. I will laugh, you will likely laugh, and fun will be had by all. This is my happy place. Yours too, I’m afraid.

If I have overindulged and had three glasses of wine, I basically lose my mind. All of those latent insecurities come to the surface and I become a one-woman Nichole marketing team.

I will want so badly for you to like me that I will. Not. Shut. Up.

Here’s a sample conversation. See if you can spot the trouble…

New friend: Hi, nice to meet you.

Me: Nice to meet you too. I love your shirt.

New friend: Thank you so much.

Me: I have shirts, too. I have lots of shirts. I have blue shirts, yellow shirts, white shirts, black shirts. I love shirts. Shirts are so awesome.

New friend: Um…

Me: Some of my shirts are cotton, some are linen, some are sleeveless, some are not. We both love shirts! We have so much in common!

New friend: Okay, well…um…nice meeting you. Buh bye.

So, if you meet me at BlogHer ’11 and I’m rambling, please know that it’s just because I like you and want you to like me too.

Though I like to think of myself as a confident woman, there’s something about large groups of women that reduce me to a version of my 22-year-old self.

And that’s my biggest fear.

Are you going to BlogHer ‘11?

And if you are, what’s your greatest fear?

Maybe we can talk about it at length after a few glasses of wine. ;)

Fear and Brownies

Fear is such a complex emotion. What may seem trivial and inconsequential for one person, can be positively horrifying and inexplicable for another.

If adult fears are difficult to rationalize, then childhood fears are seemingly impossible, as a child’s ability to distinguish between real and perceived threats is isn’t yet fully developed.

Katie is brave about so many things–she has no fear of monsters or darkness (yet)–but garbage trucks simply terrify her. The truck passes by our house no fewer than four times each Monday, beginning around 9 o’clock and wrapping up around noon. Over time, she has become increasingly concerned about the truck’s whereabouts. It has now reached a point where she trembles as it approaches and begins to tear up, begging to be held.

We’ve tried rationalizing with her, offering up the following standard, predictable reassurances:
The garbage truck won’t hurt you.
The garbage truck can’t fit in our house–you’re safe in here.
The gentleman who drives the truck is going home now to see his kids.
Mommy and Daddy wouldn’t let anything bad happen to you.

None of these have worked.

BabyCenter has a helpful article on preschoolers and fear, with tips including acknowledging your child’s fear, working with her to problem solve, and using pretend play to work through the fear.  We’ve tried several of their suggestions, with little success.  Today we employed the article’s suggestion to “explain, expose, and explore.”

Since we’ve done about as much explaining as I think we can do, we moved right into exposing and exploring.

I wondered if we put a face to the driver and she could speak to him for a few moments, if she might be less afraid. So yesterday we got serious and made him some brownies. She was so excited that it was nearly all she talked about all day.  She stirred and chatted with me about how much he was going to love her “yummy brownies.”

This morning was spent listening and waiting, pacing and anticipating.  We heard the truck rumbling down the street and Katie was equal parts excited and petrified.  She waited, in my arms, as he approached, brownies in hand and the sweetest, most timid smile I’ve ever seen.  We waved him to a stop, they exchanged names, and we gave him her brownies.  As he drove away, she was smiling and appeared less afraid, but I don’t think she is over her fear by any means.

Does anyone have any tips or stories they’d be willing to share, just in case the brownie trick didn’t work?

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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