Shake It Off
By Cheryl Hansen
It’s back-to-school time, which at my house means digging out those summer packets their teachers sent home back in May and actually finishing them. While we didn’t leave it all for the last minute, there was enough to do that my 7-year-old daughter pretty much lost her mind. There was crying and a lot of “I can’t do its” and futile efforts on my part to tame the teary-eyed beast and convince her that a page of math problems was not, in fact, the end of the world. So, I tried something new—an impromptu dance party.
Considering my audience and the fact that said audience was treading water in her own tears, I turned to Taylor Swift and “Shake It Off” (thank you, Alexa). I pulled out my fiercest dance moves—the Pony, the Shopping Cart, the Typewriter. It only took a few seconds for my daughter to come to the crazy side. I twirled her, I dipped her, I jumped up and down like I was at a heavy metal concert. We shook every IT off we could—and then some.
It should come as no surprise that it worked (because why else would I write about it?) She was laughing, I was laughing (and sweating and panting). Sure, it seems like something a mom from a bad sitcom might do, but if Peg Bundy’s game, so am I. And as my daughter returned to her labor-intensive, four-sentence, “What did you do this summer?” essay, I realized that it never even occurred to me to treat her anxiety with candy, cookies or ice cream. Yet, sugar is often my first thought when it comes to my own anxiety… even though it NEVER MAKES ME FEEL BETTER.
In the end, we spent 3 minutes and 39 seconds dancing like no one was watching. It would take longer to sniff out a stale cookie in my newly purged pantry—so maybe I’m on to something.