It occurs to me that if you grow up watching your mother break up a whole package of graham crackers into a bowl and pour milk over them as a reaction to stress, it’s no surprise that your own comfort measures involve sweet, milky food.
I’ve wondered sometimes if I might have been fed too much as a baby, chubby babies being an okay thing, or if one overlong wait for the satisfaction of a bottle might have set a vicious circle in motion.
One thing I know without a doubt is that bowls of sweet cereal with milk have been a self-comforter in my life since I was a child. Loneliness or a fear of abandonment or a general feeling of not being nurtured seem to be the key emotions raising this desire in me. I could tell stories of a refrigerator that had only skim milk, and a bowl of cereal that didn’t seem "rich" enough and the addition of a splash of half-and-half to make it satisfying, but would the story come from 2007 or 1987? Either, or any year in between.
There have to be other ways to self-soothe, but I don’t know what they are just yet. This means I am in an uncomfortable zone, experiencing the feelings but not using cereal or whatever else as anesthesia.
Have I mentioned that my 16-year-old is leaving soon for boarding school?
So there have been some late evening or middle of the night moments of dread (vague anxiety or specific morbid fears), and I have been struggling through them, which means feeling miserable until I finally am so tired I go back to sleep. That does not happen quickly.
I will say that Pure Luck gives a good snuggle to a person who is feeling unsettled, but it doesn’t seem fair to wake him every time this happens. And his work will take him to the same faraway mitten-shaped state that is home to Land O’Lakes Academy, so this is something I have to learn to cope with myself.
Do you have self-soothing strategies that are healthy? I would love to hear about them.