• Wendy Barron

“POP!” go the ugly thought bubbles

I had just returned from a five-day training when I heard the shrill, the scream from Sage’s room.

She had found her partly decomposed dead fish. My heart broke and I knew instantly, an epic mom fail needed to be salvaged.

My fail?

Yup. While I was away, my husband texted about the fish. I checked my phone during breaks, meals and bedtime and this one came in on an intense day and slipped my mind.  I figured he was on it, and then it also slipped his mind as he prepared to take our son on his first overnight Scout camp. So maybe  a parent fail,

but either way, I now needed to fix it.

Back to the screaming and crying child,

I simply hugged and consoled her until I felt her release in my arms.

Sage said, “I just can’t stop thinking about what he looked like.”

“OK, then let’s take this image and surround it with a dark bubble,” I said in a soft & soothing voice.

“Do you see the image and is it surrounded in darkness?” I waited as her face scrunched tightly.

She nodded timidly.

“Now, let’s pop it and let it blow away.”   I waited patiently, feeling my own breath flow.  “How do you feel? ”


“Is the scary  image gone?”  I touched her shoulder.


“Let’s take  few deep breaths together with letting out really long exhales.”  As we breathe, I watch her scrunched up face relax and feel her energy shift.

“Now,  imagine a happy image of your fish.”  I let this simmer a bit, watching her face closely to see if she was relaxing into mindfulness.

“Can you describe to me what you now see?”  She talks about his long flowing tail and how pretty he was.

“How do you feel?”

“Not as sad.”

” Now, let’s take this image of the fish and surround it with a glowing pretty bubble.  Letting the bubble grow and grow.”

Crisis averted. For now.

Shortly afterward, Sage was asking for a new pet.  She immediately started researching and actually wrote up a report about leopard geckos and why they are such great pets and how to care for them.  Oh boy!  I told her she needed to research others and a in a few weeks we could talk about it.

Of course, hoping she would forget and knowing she will not.

Note:  This event happened when my daughter was 8 years old and this technique worked very well.  I asked to proofread this story & she agreed this technique did work her when she was younger. Now that she is 13, this would likely not be age appropriate or as effective.  I have suggested and showed her how to use Guatemalan worry dolls and worry and positive thinking stones.  She is 13. Need I say more? At the moment, she’s not receptive to using them.


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