It's 3a and I can't sleep anymore. Part of it, I think, is I'm in a hotel with my family and the mind/body doesn't like the unfamiliar. However, for the time I did sleep I didn't use a pillow in between my legs for the first time in months and kept the neuropathy in my calves from occurring so, yay, another conditional response being broken. Anyway back on topic, and the real reason I can't sleep... My daughter (she'll be 9yrs old next month). So tonight when we arrived at the hotel she begged not to take the elevator to the room because she said she was scared. I thought it was silly of course and didn't think much of it at the time but I did relent and took the stairs with her to the room. Later both kids wanted to go swimming however I wasn't in the mood so my wife took them. Unfortunately she coerced my daughter into taking the elevator 1 floor down with her and my son. After about 30mins of gathering myself I decided to go down to the pool. I was there for about 5mins when my daughter suddenly said she felt sick and wanted to leave so we came back to the room; we took the stairs. For the next 15mins I watched her have an anxiety attack and said she felt like she was going to vomit (she never did thankfully). I realize now that she was having a very strong physical reaction to having been on the elevator. Sadly, and why I fully awoke, it hit me where her fear likely stems from. When she was very young about 8-9 months old she developed a form of asthma (more on where I think this came from later). Her pediatrician gave us a breathing machine and we were told to hold a tiny mask up to her face while she inhaled the vapor mist. We were specifically told, don't let her resist because she needs it. Of course my infant daughter hated it and continuously tried to push the mask away. However, believing we were doing the right thing, we would only hold her tighter & sometimes pin her arms to our body while one of us held the mask. It was a horrible experience for us and our baby daughter. In hindsight all she probably really needed was for us just to hold her more. The asthma was likely her body's call for attention and affection; in fact I now believe it was. Later, as my daughter got older she developed numerous ear infections and eventually had to have tubes in both ears. Prior to that can you guess what the treatment involved... Ears drops, twice daily in both ears. Of course my daughter was terrified to have them put in, she was "conditioned" from the experience of the asthma treatments. We further perpetuated her fear and anxiety by having to physically restrain her to insert the ear drops. Again, it was terrible for her and us but we thought we were doing the right thing so we did it anyway. Earlier I had said more on where the asthma stemmed from. Prior to this my daughter had "acid reflux" for the first 8 months of her life. It wasn't until month 6 that we had even heard of such a thing. Her pediatrician must have been able to tell we had very little sleep because at her 6mo check up she asked how we were all sleeping. When we explained our baby was making a gurgling sound at night she immediately said something along the lines of, "oh yes, acid reflux is quite common in babies. Their muscle at the top of their stomach doesn't fully develop until later so they have difficulty holding food down." This sounds absolutely ridiculous in hindsight of course. No, it wasn't that at all, our daughter was having a conditioned response because she knew we would quickly come to check on her in the crib. Now why though would she have developed this response... Back to the beginning and "abandonment". When my wife was in labor with our daughter we were told that she had an in-utero bowel movement. We were told in advance to be prepared because they could not allow her to take her first breathe as soon as she was born because they needed to clean her first so she wouldn't inhale any of her waste which could be very dangerous. So she was immediately whisked to a side table where it seemed like an eternity before we heard the first cry. The nurses held her up momentarily so my exhausted wife could have visual confirmation that she was ok and then nurses whisked her away yet again to be bathed. It would be probably another hour before my wife and I would get to hold our daughter for the first time; I can only now imagine the anxiety and fear she must have felt during that time. Unfortunately we've made other tragic missteps along the way that have only fueled that anxiety and fear. For example, during a game of tickle gone too far I forcibly held my daughter down while I kept assuring everything was OK thinking that I was helping her conquer her fear (that's quite possibly the worst and dumbest thing I could have done in hindsight). There's also the time when my daughter was about 10mos old and we were so exhausted of getting of up in the night that we finally decided to try the "cry it out" method which we had read was supposed to teach the baby how to self-soothe. I'll never forget the night we committed to it... My poor wife cried in agony but I made her resist (NEVER EVER force a mother to abandon her instinct like I stupidly did), and then finally after hours our baby daughter subdued (abandonment episode #2). We thought we had finally made a breakthrough and triumphed but oh how naive & stupid we were just in order to get more sleep for ourselves. Anyway, fast forward back to the present and I can totally understand now my daughter's behavior. I'll never force her on another elevator. She's also quite restless when she sleeps, probably yet another side effect of having been restrained previously. Fortunately when she went to get a spacer in her mouth not long ago the Orthodontist did not restrain her to finish putting on all the brackets, he said just bring her back another time and we'll try again... Yes indeed, no more forcing of anything, ever. Now to see if I can find sleep again.