Thursday, April 14, 2011

Transitions, Patience, and Listening

Two and a half weeks have passed since the beautiful birth of our third child and first daughter. Needless to say, we have all been adjusting to the big change in our own ways. This week is the first week that I am home alone with the kids and trying to make dinner each night like I used to. Noah picked up a sickness last Friday and Micah got it by Sunday. This sickness started with a fever for both of them and then developed into lots and lots of mucus in the chest and head. Fun!

The boys seemed to be handling the cold okay. Noah stayed home from school last Friday since he had a fever, but then he was going to school again this week and doing his homework.

Micah has been a little more anxious since the baby was born. Sometimes he will grab something that is breakable or a special toy of Noah's and run away as we are asking/hollering for him to put it back.

Since this is the first week that I've been getting up at 6:30 to get Noah off to school I've been getting progressively tired-er and tired-er each day. Yesterday my dad offered to take the boys to the park. They seemed stable in their sickness. That is to say, they were still congested but not getting worse and the weather has been in the high 70s and low 80s. They were gone for a couple hours. When they returned Micah went in his room and lied down on his bed, but didn't sleep. After a couple of hours he started moaning and that progressively lead into wailing. His ear was aching. He also had a fever so I suspected an ear infection. I called Erik and had him pick up some colloidal silver and some treats for Micah to entice him to let us put the drops in his ear.

It was close to 6pm by the time Erik got home and we immediately started treating Micah. Since Micah was sick we let him watch the TV just to keep his mind off the pain and relax. Noah was watching it too and began to wonder when we were going to have dinner. I had had to stop making dinner just to comfort Micah so finally I threw together some grilled cheese and sliced apples for the kids.

By this time Micah has calmed down on the couch and Noah started getting real whiny. He starts saying that his ear is tickling him. Then when it's time to go to bed he starts wailing that his ear hurts too. I try putting drops in it, which calms him for a while but then more wailing. When Micah was going through the fever and normally when Noah is sick they will take vitamins and let us take their temperatures in order to get better. But Noah refused to take any vitamins, he just kept screaming. Also his energy was "up." Normally when they are sick they just kind of moan and we take care of them. But Noah just kept demanding me to help him but wouldn't take anything and was acting totally helpless. Like when I put a hot rice pack on his ear and it fell off he just screamed and said he needed me to put it back on.

After a couple of hours of this I needed a break. Ana had been in the sling the whole time and she wanted some time out of the sling, plus I had a few cleaning up chores I wanted to get done before bed. Micah was quietly resting on the couch. Noah kept yelling, "Mo-o-o-o-o-mmmmm!!!" But I just kept saying, "Hold on, Daddy's coming."

Erik was trying to help Noah but he was all screamy and whiny. He tried to take his temperature but Noah freaked out about that too which was really weird. We started to feel like there was something really strange about his symptoms. He had no fever and seemed to only talk about his ear hurting after Micah had his earache. We started to wonder if it was psychological. We felt helpless and held captive by our 6yo. Finally I told Erik, "Just go get some Motrin. I don't know what else to do!" Which is really weird for me to say because I *never* give them pain relievers because I think it goes against the body's natural healing system.

At 10pm Erik went out to Walgreens to get Motrin. By the time he got home Noah had finally fallen asleep. Which is also weird that he fell asleep so late because on school days he usually falls asleep by 9 since he gets up so early.

We decided last night to keep Noah home from school today no matter what. Whether it was physical or psychological he was obviously stressed.

I got up around 7am with the baby and sat on the couch, exhausted. She started falling asleep and I figured that the boys would sleep in since they stayed up so late and had been battling the sickness. So baby and I snuggled back into bed and as soon as I started drifting off to sleep I hear Micah crying for me and wanting to snuggle up next to my face, with all his snot and drool dripping. Such is parenting!

I beg for him to let me rest just a little longer and somehow he turns on the TV, or maybe Noah turned it on for him because around this time Noah comes in and lays on the bed with me, very grumpy. Finally I muster up some energy to get up and that's when Noah starts complaining about his ear again.

Now Micah is demanding food so I just leave Noah wailing and go take care of Micah. Ana, as always, kindly obliges by sleeping in the sling. For about an hour, as I tend to Micah and prepare food for myself, Noah is in the bedroom yelling, "MOM!" It felt really weird, but there was something about his tone that didn't say "sick." It just sounded demanding and mad. Every now and then I would go in there and he would tell me, "You don't care about anyone but *yourself*!"

Finally he demanded that I put more drops in his ear, so I agreed and started preparing to warm up the drops. When I finally brought them in he was quiet and said his ear had popped. Could he please watch a movie on his portable DVD player?

My body breathed a sigh of relief. Once again I was humbled that some "problem" that seemed extraordinary turned out to be temporary and I could have been more patient.

I had thought all kinds of things about Noah that weren't true, namely that he was so stressed out by a combination of factors, that in my mind were a cocktail of "the new baby", "Micah getting treats and attention", "me not having given Noah enough love and attention" that his mind just got so stressed out that he was manifesting depression and pseudo-sickness. None of that was true! His ear was stuffed up and needed to pop. That's why there was no fever.

What can I take away from this? That yes, life transitions do require extra patience and endurance and listening. Mostly to be kinder to myself and not blame myself when my kids feel sick.Transitions in life, like transition in birth require lots of breathing and no judgment, just presence.