Most of the time, I adore my children.
Sometimes, I do not.
Don’t get me wrong. I always love them. But sometimes, tangled up in that love, is a frustration so deep, I could flood that parted Red Sea and wipe out a nation.
My children tend to the dramatic. I can’t imagine (cough, cough) where they get those tendencies from. (There are no dramatic tendencies in the Ramsay lineage!) In some ways, this serves them extraordinarily well – they are outstanding in the performing arts, excelling in dance, drama and music.
However, my living room is not my favourite place to see the drama unfold.
We have all been sick this fall. Kid #3 had what may have been strep at the end of August, I had what was definitely strep at the beginning of September, Kid #2 has missed a week and a half of school so far with strep / some virus that she can’t kick, and Kid #1 has been warding off a sore throat-y virus with massive amounts of Oregano Oil. Welcome to the school year. That’s how we roll around here.
Ok, that kinda sucks, but I’ve heard it’s been a lame fall all around and there have been some wicked viruses making the rounds.
The problem is, Kid #2 has this thing that won’t go away. It’s sitting in her throat, causing her to make the most obnoxious throat clearing sound I’ve ever heard, on a regular 2 minute cycle. It also makes her nauseous. Low grade fever. All that, combined with the change of a new school year, teacher, class, etc., and I have a super clingy, semi-sick kid on my hands. Poor kid.
But I was ready to throttle her tonight.
I had gone to bed before the kids, because my body wasn’t cooperating, and required many painkillers to not split in half. Said painkillers do not help me stay wide awake. Plus, sleeping is sometimes the best way to pass painful time anyway.
In crashes Kid #2 about 2 hours later, crying and yelling at me to “DO SOMETHING!” This was followed with many declarations of, “I can’t take it anymore,” and “I hate my life,” along with my all time favourite, “Why does this have to happen to me?” as she stomped and spewed around my bedroom.
At this point, it’s probably worth backtracking and telling you that I took her to the doctor today for the third time in as many weeks. And we were told for the second time that this is post-nasal drip.
That’s right folks, post-nasal drip.
Would you like to take a minute and re-read the paragraph in which I described her histrionics? Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Right. Now. Do those things seem congruent with post-nasal drip?
So I do what I can. I give her extra nose spray. And beyond that, I’ve really got nothing. But things are escalating. And she’s screaming at me, “MUMMY, DO SOMETHING! I can’t take this anymore!”
No matter what comes out of my mouth, it’s wrong. Explaining that I’ve done all I can do? Not good enough. Explaining that I can’t fix this? Unacceptable. Asking what she would like me to do? Answered only with wails of “Fix it!” Trying to get anything at all across to her? Impossible. She just keeps screaming at me and is now starting to hit herself in the head to punctuate her thoughts. And I’m lying in bed, in massive amounts of pain myself, trying to think through the fog and come up with some brainwave to solve this problem.
The brainwave that won? Me crawling out of bed (literally crawling across the floor on hands and knees), throwing her water glass down on the floor (which I may or may not have regretted later), and screaming back in her face, “I CAN’T FUCKING DO ANYTHING MORE. YOU HAVE TO GO TO BED!”
She got very quiet as I loomed over her, nose to nose, and then ran to her room.
And…I felt like shit. The only thing I could do was scare my kid into being quiet.
Stellar parenting moment #1036.
I cleaned up the spilled water. Kid #1 came into my room and gave me a big hug, and I could hear Kid #3 trying to console Kid #2 in their shared room.
Parent of The Year. That’s me.
I took a few minutes to calm down, and then I went to apologize to her. I apologized for yelling and for scaring her. I also explained that it’s really hard when she keeps screaming at me and there’s nothing I can do. She started to escalate again, and I kept telling her she needed to lie down and try to go sleep.
That’s when she told me she wanted me to stay in her room all night. I explained, although she already knew, that I was in massive amounts of pain and couldn’t stand in her room all night because I could actually barely stand.
“Why does this have to happen to me?” She accompanies this with a punch or two to her own head, making her twin sister cry and plead with her to stop.
And that’s when it hit me. Although, in all fairness, I couldn’t really have this conversation with my ten year old, I realized that what made me so frustrated was that she was going bug-fuck-crazy over post-nasal drip, while I live with excruciating pain in some form, most days of my life.
Now, that’s not really a fair comparison to trot out on a ten year old, so I didn’t go deep with that one.
But half an hour of wake-up-the-neighbours, scream-like-you’re-being-slaughtered, round-the-bend antics over post-nasal drip? It’s really, really hard for me, even as a mother, to invest fully enough in that to go where she needs me to go, when…it’s fucking post-nasal drip. Or at least that’s what we keep being told. And this is not our first trip to the circus, either. We do this for 10 minutes to 1/2 an hour a day, every day.
I know I have a sensitive kid. No two ways about it. So I’m usually pretty understanding, and I can go a lot of emotional places with her.
But, “Why does this have to happen to me?” about post-nasal drip? And not just for a day, you understand. We’re almost three weeks into this now, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I have trouble with that.
I haven’t eaten a full meal in 4 days. I haven’t eaten more than 1 meal a day in weeks. All because of migraines. I have wicked back pain. Foot pain. Head pain. Joint pain. Trigger point pain all over the place. Skin pain. Scalp pain. I could write a book with the kinds of pain I feel. I am we’ll aware that I’m being petty and its not really appropriate to compare my chronic pain to my 10-year old’s post-nasal drip pain.
DOESN’T SHE GET HOW RIDICULOUS IT IS?!?
But hour after hour, day after day, what seems to me to be so insignificant, to her is the world.
I need to be more compassionate about post-nasal drip, clearly. And she needs to dial it down a notch or ten.
It’s times like these, I look forward to the days she’s at her dad’s. Not because I want to inflict the same joys and delights of post-nasal drip on him, but because I need a break from the snot insanity. Is that so wrong?
Maybe we all just need to go to Hawaii. They don’t have post-nasal drip there, do they?