“Mom, wanna know what I worry about?” Says my 5yo son as he eats dry frosted flakes, crunching.
“Of course! Maybe I can help!” Is my reply…thinking he is about to tell me something silly.
“I worry that our house will burn down. That is why every morning I bring my stuffy in the car with me to school. I am afraid the house will have a fire and he will burn.”
Omg. Not at all what I expected.
So, I thanked him for finally telling me this was bothering him. I finally understood why he would suddenly burst into tears if he walked out the door without his favorite stuffed toy, begging to get it before we drive to school.
I had no idea he was worried about this.
So, I won’t be irritated by the last minute request to get the stuffy. Now I understand his anxiety about leaving him behind.
I calmly started a chat with my cereal crunching boy, explaining we have dogs that would alert us to any danger, including fire. We also have smoke detectors. And, we reviewed the fire safety plan. I had him demonstrate how to open is bedroom window so he felt more comfortable. He remembered our designated meeting place. We discussed safety is more important than our things…even things that we might love. We talked about our pets, and how we try to leave them an escape, but that we can’t go back in the house if there is a fire.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be able to follow that rule.
His birthmom was burned pretty badly in a cooking fire. Her apartment had significant damage, and she had some 3rd degree burns and spent about a month in the hospital. She had to wear compression bandages for 2 yrs following the incident.
I don’t know if this is where his fear originates.
I do know I have the same fear. I always have. I grew up in an old house, and always feared fires.
Even now, I am a bit OCD about checking the stove before bedtime (even though it is electric and not gas).
I don’t think I passed me worries on to him…but I suppose it is possible.
I worry about his anxiety level at his young age. This worry, escalates MY anxiety level, and we are in a vicious cycle.