Now she is 8, she has thankfully mostly outgrown this fear. That was until Christmas last year, when a succession of storm fronts hit our suburb. On this night the rain and hail was so heavy the house flooded. Water seemed to build up along the side of the house from neighbours and poured into the house through the ventilation holes, under the doors and through the roof.
As this was happening the whole family frantically began moving items and using towels to try and stem the relentless flow of water into the main bedroom, the girls bedroom and the toy room. The carpets were ruined and needed to be replaced. The girls lost books and some toys. These were all covered by insurance and although inconvenient (and took a extremely long time to fix….) the damage has only been minor. Although none of us will ever forget the smell of wet and mouldy carpet, and the constant noise and humidity of the drying fans!
Through this process, I hadn’t stopped to think about the emotional consequences this was having on the kids (Flash in particular). GrumpyDaddy, who doesn’t normally handle stress well was mostly calm and rational through the event and I thought that it was all over. That is until the next storm….
In a instance of poor timing, Christmas was spent on the NSW far
Flood waters rising in my home town
Now, when the clouds cover the sun and the wind begins to blow, you will most certainly find Flash in front of the computer screen staring at the bureau of meteorology web site rain radar (http://www.bom.gov.au/). Even if it is 4am! When the rain starts she is visibly terrified. It is a visceral fear. She shakes uncontrollably, her heat rate is rapid, her voice is shaky high-pitched and panicky and she cries. The poor thing almost always ends up back on the toilet. Because she is so upset the children seemed to have learnt to be scared of the storms as well. I also dread storms now, and can’t wait for them to be over because I hate seeing her so upset and I just can’t seem to comfort her.
All the strategies I have used so far have had no effect. She tries to get me to promise that it will never happen again, but I’m not sure I can do this. What if it does? She will never believe me again. I try and remind her that we are all OK and the house is back to normal. However, she knows full well that others were not so lucky and she is terrified it could happen to us. GrumpyDaddy thinks she is just carrying on…a storm in a teacup…. but I know that it is a real fear for her.
When GrunpyDaddy was recently away on a work
I’d love to know if anyone as any suggestions about how I could help the kids, particularly Flash, try and manage or overcome these fears.
Indecently, When GrumpyDaddy arrived home the next night, I told him about the storms. He could see that we were all tired and exhausted. He then announced “…I’ts time for bed now. I know that mummy likes to keep you awake all night….” This statement defiantly did cause a storm in a teacup!!