Sigh. Sometimes it’s easier to mother when your child is really in a rough state.
My son has been mildly sick for over a week, just sick enough that he’s been unable to go to school. And I’ve been unable to work. It’s been a delight to see him fully immersed in play by himself, to have three meals a day with him, and to see him grow developmentally — like actually being interested in creating representational art instead of scribbles. And, at the same time, it’s also been incredibly frustrating to not have any time to focus on anything either in my head (writing, volunteer work for Holistic Moms) or in my body (meditating, doing yoga, focusing on the baby in my belly). I have really been impatient for him to hurry up and get well!
The weekend offered some respite, but it was not as restful as the boy needed. Though I do appreciate his dad taking him out to Home Depot to buy garden supplies and then involving the boy while he worked, clearly the activity (and the insane wind!) tired both of them out such that sick one needed another day home on Monday to recoup. I was not pleased and felt sorry for myself.
He declared himself “still sick” and not well enough to go to school, and I decided not to push it. He’s never had Tylenol or any other drug, and I’m not one to just push him through because I don’t think that is going to do him any favors in the long run. But this letting the body heal approach sure takes time! It seemed like he needed a transition day to warm to the idea of getting back out in the world. He’s a very social kid and is always saying he wants to see friends, but I think he got pretty used to being home all day when he could rub his face on his mama’s growing belly at his leisure (well, not really, but it sure was more accessible than when we’re apart!)
After a very low-key morning, we had an afternoon visit from a friend who was dropping off some pregnancy and baby items now that she’s had her son. All day, E was asking, “When is Liz coming over?” He hasn’t even played with her daughters in months, but he really wanted company.
And yet, while we were at the park, he started to melt. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He was hungry but wouldn’t eat the apple I cut up when we got back. I ended up having to kick out my friends because he was just crying like a baby. Reminder: he’s four. I couldn’t believe what I had on my hands.
Fortunately, the dinner was mostly made, so we ate just after 5:00. “I want to go to bed,” he whined, and I complied as soon as I felt his belly was full enough. “I guess Daddy’s going to have to celebrate his birthday by himself,” he sighed, then offering with a little glint of possibility, “Or maybe we can celebrate in the morning.”
Although he was more stable by the time we got upstairs, I had seen him really hit bottom, and out came my fierce unconditional love tools. I wanted only for him to feel better in his body, mind, and spirit and to know that everything was going to be okay by seeing me not lose it (and nourish myself — I was not going up there on an empty stomach, either!)
So I held him like a baby while looking through my homeopathy books to see if Pulsatilla was the best choice. I chose four Bach flower remedies I thought might help: Mimulus, Aspen, Larch, and Gentian. At dinner, I made sure he finished his broth from a gelatin-rich batch of stock I made and added apple juice to water with a little electrolyte powder so he’d be sure to hydrate. Once upstairs, I wiped his face and feet with a wet washcloth with lavender oil and then gave him a foot massage before we put on clean socks.
After reading two stories, I felt compelled to sing to him — to make him some kind of offering–, but he declined the offer of a serenade. So I told him how, when he was in my belly, I sang to him every morning and that after he was born, his dad and I sang to him while he held one of each of our fingers. With the storytelling preamble, he let me sing “You Are My Sunshine,” somehow ignoring how my voice broke and noticing (or saying) only after I was done, “You’re crying!” I smiled and told him it was because I loved him so much.
He climbed into bed and fell asleep while I closed rocked in the chair. I left at 6 p.m.
But then he woke three more times in the next few hours. I took one of these shifts and just laid next to him and let him feel as close to me as he needed to. His dad handled the other two wakings, and when the boy came into our bed after going potty sometime in the night, he slept soundly and woke at 6:15 a.m. talking about how he remembered one time Caillou got sick and had to stay home. Before I knew it, he was jumping on the bed, and two hours later, I was handing him over to his teacher, who seemed very happy to have him back!
It will take a while to crawl out from under all the backlog I have to get to the place I expected to be mid-week last week: shifting my focus to my baby and my body. But I’m confident that some of these steps along the way — the bonding with my son, the benefits I got when I found a craniosacral therapist who would work on both of us, the memory of how powerful it is to nourish and nurture another being who is seemingly helpless– were all important in their own way.