Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Daughter's Nose

One of the twins is beset by fears and anxiety lately.  Every morning, she chooses a new unalterable fact to get extremely upset about.  It makes getting to summer camp (and work) challenging as she will get so worked up, she stalls on regular things like tying her shoes and brushing her teeth. 

This week she has been upset about 1) a bad dream 2) fear of the ghost from "Fiddler on the Roof" 3) anger at herself for smearing toothpaste on her book chart from the library for the summer reading program the day before.  And today she woke up angry that her nose sticks out and why does it have to do this Every. Single. Day?

I don't know the best strategy yet for dealing with her anxiety.  But I have noticed that stories soothe both her and her sister.  So I told them about the Gogol story "The Nose" in which a man wakes up one morning to find his nose gone.  He looks in the mirror and  face looks just terrible without it and he grabs a handkerchief to place over that part of his face (as if he were suffering from allergies) and runs out of the house looking for it.  When he is outside, he sees his nose ride by in a horse-drawn carriage.  (I think he notices here that the horse team and carriage are quite smart and he wonders how his nose has come to a higher station in life without him).  He somehow follows his nose into a church where the nose is appalled to be bothered while praying and lighting candles before an icon.  I don't remember the story exactly but I know the nose first refuses to return to him and he goes to the police.  The officer keeps commenting that a face really does need something there - that having nothing there just looks . . .wrong.

I can't remember how it ends but we have the story in a book of Russian short stories and the girls can't wait to read it with me at bedtime.  In the mean time, I really don't know what to do about all of the morning anxiety.  It seems to happen before transitions - going to camp, school or even a play date.  I listen, stick to the routine, say calming things, use reminders but I've noticed that when she is really having a hard time, stories seem to calm her and help break the anxiety cycle.

I am the same way - I even forgot what I was worried about myself and started wondering how the guy ever got reunited with his nose in the end.  It's been years since I've read it.

1 comment:

  1. Aaaawwwwww Kids with really vivid imaginations often have a lot of anxiety. I'm glad you could find a story that would ease her irritation at her nose!