I admit that I am not the most patient person in the world.
There, I said it. Now the internet knows.
Look, I get it that when a kid is sick and misses a week of school, the prospect of going back is a little overwhelming. My younger one has a bit of performance anxiety under normal circumstances, never mind after a week of absence. I get it.
But here’s the thing.
How much help is required to get her back on track? Because sometimes, I find myself getting short with her. I get impatient when she cries that she can’t do x or y because it’s too much, too hard, too stupid…
I wonder then, didn’t we go through this already last week? Last month? Last semester?
It’s the refrain I’m getting impatient with.
“You know what to do when you feel anxious, right honey? You prepare by reviewing your work.” I say this to her as if it’s completely obvious. Even I know that anxiety does not do obvious, especially not with children …
She cries. Wants to quit school. I try another way:
“You can tackle memory work by copying with your coloured markers. Or go get your easel, and conjugate your French verbs on that…”
It doesn’t sink in. She won’t let it. Anxiety is a tricky thing to deal with in children.
In the end, I once again put my own to-do list aside and simply sit with her. We tackle some of the work together, take our time, have sips of water to break up the monotony.
After a while she gets on a roll, and I get up under the ruse of making tea, getting a snack, checking an email. She continues her work but sees me nearby and manages to finish the back half of her assignment on her own.
“Do you feel better now that it’s done?” I asked her and she nodded.
“But I need help reviewing my fractions now”, she said next. She finally reached the point of understanding that going back prepared will help overcome anxiety or overwhelm.
“Ok”, I said. “Wait till daddy gets home. He loves to help you with math.”