Today, my son heard Rock A Bye Baby and paid attention to the lyrics for the first time. At the end, he interrupted and said,
"The ima and abba catch the baby, right?"
He is just like me. Just like my husband. A first child (im yirtza hashem there will be others) who has the complete attention of every single adult in his life. Totally anxious.
He isn't tentative physically, like me and my husband. We were both raised to be couch potatoes, and neither of us excelled in anything physical. So we turned it around and tried hard to encourage him to take appropriate risks and to try new things. That's worked. But he is a worrier. He had a tough time separating in nursery school, and after one full year he still hides behind me when we go to kids' shul, music class or camp. He watches everything, and at only 3.5, has questions about the tiniest details.
How do we change our own patterns of worrisome behavior in our children? I don't want him to be just like me, but yet I want him to be just like me. I can't stop looking at the sprinkling of freckles on his nose, like the ones I had at the same age. I can't stop marveling at how he loves the books I loved as a kid, smiles just like me and has the same silly streak. And I can't stop worrying that he worries just like me.
I can make myself crazy with anxiety...not even the kind that is medicateable, just a general low grade anxiety that I'm going to break my foot in a pothole, miss the subway and be late for work, that I'm going to say the wrong thing or introduce someone with the wrong name. I worry what my mother will think even though I really don't care, I worry what my mother in law will think, even though I know full well she could care less. I worry what someone will think if they find my apartment messy when they drop by, or I worry that I won't be able to find a gift that makes the recipient happy. I got upset on the 4th of July when I thought about how much money was being spent on this ostentatious display of fireworks when it could go to feed starving children in Africa. I worried that he wasn't going to get into the right nursery school or the right on going school and now I'm worried that I made the right choice.
It's not like I worry about global stuff. OK, I do, but not more than anything else. But most of all i am worrying that I worry too much and that my worry will turn my little boy into a wired, high strung ball of anxiety. Something I clearly need to work out....or is it work on? I think it is "work on." Don't judge me. Did I get it right? Oh no...