Today I'm home playing Dr. Mom to Maddox. The poor little guy has an ear infection, a bunch of new teeth coming in, and a 103* fever. He didn't get much sleep last night, and by extension neither did we. He gave us a little scare in fact. He was screaming and inconsolable last night for about an hour, wheezing with congestion while we scrambled around trying to figure out what was wrong. We knew we were in trouble when the kid wouldn't take a bottle. Since when does food not solve all his problems? After a 2 AM steam shower and some ibuprofen kicked in, he was breathing well enough to fall back asleep. Poor guy's had it tough the past couple of months. He's had a couple of back-to-back colds that turned into sinus infections. He had 3 whole healthy days after his last round of antibiotics before this latest fever showed up. I'm not one to go rushing for the antibiotics but I'm not sure what we'd do without them.
So before Maddox's episode last night, we had a little drama with Roan. Her school called yesterday around lunchtime to ask us to pick her up, saying she took a fall on the playground and needed stitches in her chin. I was home with a napping Maddox at the time. Arwen was about to step into an eye appointment. Her doctor's office was on their lunch hour. It was a comical game of phone tag trying to figure out what to do. Daddy to the rescue! He picked her up, wiped her tears and cheered her up with a pink donut with rainbow sprinkles. She was remarkably brave. (The doctor commented to that effect today when I returned with a sick Maddox.) They gave her some topical anesthetic and put in 7 stitches. Arwen said she sat their, stoic, with that needle and thread going in and out of her face. Amazing.
I should probably be napping right now to catch up on sleep after all of this excitement. And to prepare for what will likely be a wakeful night. But I've really been missing the blog. It's been so hard to carve out the time to myself.
I've been noticing something lately. You know that little voice in your head that talks to you all the time? Hopefully you do know what I'm talking about, otherwise I have bigger problems than I thought. Well I noticed that little voice is a whiner. It complains so much all the time, and I'm not sure how long it's been doing that. I remember about a year after Roan was born I noticed that little voice used to say extremely critical things making judgements about every little decision regarding being a mom. When I became aware of it, I made an ironclad pact with myself to completely ban any negative self talk. The job is hard enough without a constant stream of criticism, even if that criticism is coming from between your own two ears. And I've done a pretty great job of sticking to my guns. When the occasional criticism comes up I immediately answer it with statements like "Well I guess that will have to be good enough," or "I'm not going to worry about what other people think." It's really helped me get off the train to Crazy Town.
So now it's time to silence my inner whiner. Now that I've become aware of it I'm dismayed by its seemingly endless ability to find the negative in every situation. To complain about nearly everything under the sun. I've decided that every time I catch it whining about something - that I have to get out of bed and go to work, or go grocery shopping when I'd rather eat out, or put my kids to bed instead of crawling into bed myself - that I'm going to turn it around and find something to be grateful for. Like that I have a job I enjoy to go to, or that I can afford to buy all the things on my grocery list. I can't help but think that it could be a very powerful thing to view every adversity as something to be grateful for. It seemed to work for me last night. I was worried about Maddox, but I wasn't whining about being up in the night. Instead I was thinking how lucky we are that what's wrong with him is temporary and curable. There are lots of parents facing permanent disability or terminal illness in their children. When Josefa was here visiting at Christmas Arwen and I were droning on about the multitude of challenges being a parent. Then Josefa put a question to me that I've been thinking about ever since. "What if you had all of those challenges and also lived in a dangerous neighborhood? Or had violence in your home? Or had to leave the kids with drug addicts so you could go to work?" Those are the kinds of families she works with in her nonprofit ArtSeed.
And then I realized I have completely lost my mind. I have so totally lost perspective that I have become oblivious to how privileged we are. Just to have what The Whiner would consider the basics - good health, enough food to eat, clean water to drink, good schools for the kids, good friends, a safe neighborhood. There are a helluva lot of people in this world that are missing one or more of those things. And what's the point of being in fortunate circumstances if you don't stop to appreciate it? If you just always find one more thing to grumble about. Eventually a real challenge will present itself, and what kind of sorry state will you find yourself in then?
And maybe, just maybe, if I can silence my inner whiner, then I can help my toddlers move beyond whining as well.