It's Okay, Honey
Between heaving sobs, Erik seemed to attempt to reassure himself. Strangely, he seemed to be using words I might have said to him in the past during an upsetting situation.
"It's okay, honey. It's okay, honey. It's okay, honey."
It was strange to hear him chanting this phrase over and over. I felt horrible. Finally, I gave up on the whole thing, walked around the vehicle, and opened his door. He looked up at me. Tears continued to roll down his face. He asked to go to school. I said that I would try my best to get us there but asked if he wanted to run around outside for a bit. He seemed relieved. After I extracted him from his car seat, he ran off into the front yard while I called everybody I could think of who could transport us across town in time.
I heard Erik's voice again from the yard as he sprinted around on his long, clumsy legs. His toes caught on rocks and cracks in the sidewalk, threatening to topple him over, but he defied gravity and righted himself repeatedly as I winced each time. I yelled at him to watch where he was going. I listened more intently with the ear that wasn't pressed to my phone and heard him continue to reassure himself. He seemed to be chanting once again.
"I'm so happy today. I'm so happy today. I'm so happy today."
The agitation lasted for a couple of days before it began to fade. He asked me hundreds of times if the Jeep was broken. Finally, the questions ceased and morphed into repetitive statements. He still insists on knowing which car we will be driving when we leave the house, with or without him.
As time goes on, I seem to be witnessing the birth of little obsessions fueled by his blooming anxiety.