30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

So, I skipped day 13. Not due to superstition, like how hotels don’t call their 13th floors 13th floors (or stranger still, keep a small, unusable space to occupy the space between the 12th & 14th floors) although that’s the feel this is just going to have to keep. I spent hours last night consoling my poor, sweet baby. I’m not sure even still exactly what his malaise was (beyond “teething”, anyhow)- only that he cried in my arms, vacillating  between settling down and wanting to sleep and thrusting his chest into the air, arching his back and starting the cycle all over again.Dealing with a constantly crying child can grate on anyone’s patience. Luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo; I can handle almost any crying baby anywhere —and his or her parents– with compassion. This is my fourth baby. No matter the situation; grocery store, airplane, shopping mall, walking down the street, stuck in traffic- I’ve been there  with a screaming baby. It’s heartbreaking and it’s hell. Although my patience has been compared to Mother Theresa’s on numerous occasions, it gets to me, too.

Aside from feeling helpless to “fix it”, I haven’t had time to do anything around the house- the dishes and laundry keep coming… the baby keeps crying. So- I have piles of crap everywhere I have to deal with, which I am not looking forward to- but I also know that I won’t look back and regret not doing the stupid dishes. Dishes are stuff. Patrick is my son. I left the cluttered sink and got us some fresh air. I may even remember the walk we took with him in the Moby, quietly snuggled against my chest. But if not, still, I will know that I was there for him, even when I didn’t know what else to do- and I always will be.

I’ve been really overwhelmed lately. I haven’t been my best self and I know it. I’ve been struggling with PPD/PND and grief, due to losing my father suddenly to Melanoma in 2010. I’ve been lagging in my writing as well, and so have decided to challenge both my grinchiness and my writing by coming up with five things each day that I am grateful for in my 30 Days of Gratitude this November. (or Movember!) in order to reconnect with myself, my purpose, my family- and you!

Today, I am grateful for:

  • This photo reminder. I share it on Facebook when I need a reminder- or just to remind everyone else, because I love it so much. ♥  It’s easy to get caught up in how I feel as a parent, listening to crying all the time- which is forgetting the reason –and the little human– behind the crying in the first place.
  • This post on what not to say to crying children by Evolutionary Parenting. It dissects common phrases and why they are detrimental, as well as educates people that are used to vehemently not crying as to what is actually healthy behavior when it comes to shedding tears, from babies to adults alike.

Crying is normal. Crying is a part of life. No matter what age you are, no matter what sex you are, no matter how insignificant the event may be in hindsight. While mastery of emotions is something that can be good, it’s only good if we still allow ourselves to acknowledge, accept, and process these emotions. In fact, I would argue we don’t master the emotions, but rather the expression of them. When we tell children to not cry when they’re upset, we aren’t teaching them how to master the expression of emotion, but rather to ignore or suppress it. And it doesn’t help them in the moment and it certainly doesn’t help them long-term. So please, when you’re child’s upset, take a moment and comfort them. It doesn’t matter why they’re sad, but that they need you to be there for them. If their expression seems too extreme or inappropriate, you can always work on ways to express emotions after they’ve calmed down which is when that type of intervention is most effective. At the end of the day, you are a parent and none of these sayings are actually parenting. So please don’t use them.”

  • This post on why we get so heated and how to regain our cool again by The Peaceful Parent, who says,

“When our child’s behaviour triggers a highly emotional response, by increasing our mindfulness of our reactions, we gain an opportunity to bring compassion to some sore feelings that need and deserve attention.”

and

“Once we return to a calm state, many options open up. We again remember our child’s goodness and can reconnect and repair after conflicts. Our child feels and experiences our emotional storms and instinctively protects themselves by muffling the communication. Yet when a parent restores calm inviting communication, their child’s usually right there waiting for them, power struggles dissipate and warmth, connection, cooperation and humour return to the scene.”

among many, many other insightful things.

  • My Moby. I am a huge fan of babywearing, in general, but the Moby is what Patrick has been wanting to be in lately. It’s super secure and snugly- exactly what he wants. I love and wear many different wraps and contraptions, but right now- the Moby is saving me!
  • I made vegan lentil & rice curry and it was edible! If you know me, you realize that this is a rare, miraculous occasion when I cook and it’s like… good-ish. I super duper love my slow cooker- most of my “cooking” comes in the fall, when it takes five or ten minutes during naptime in the afternoon to throw some things together, then Viola! slowly, my house begins to smell good and magically, around 6 when the troops come marching in, dinner is already made- even if I’ve been attending to a teething baby for hours on end.
Thanks for checking in and see you tomorrow!
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