“Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers ‘grow, grow’”
I was in a yoga class Sunday when the teacher (who also happens to be part of the Village) cited this proverb. It really resonated with me.
Baby O has been sick. I don’t think it’s the flu, but she’s pretty darn sick. She started to come down with a cold on Christmas Eve day. By that evening, she was whiny and a little clingy. My parents and nephew came over for dinner and to spend the night so we could have Christmas morning together. No doubt the “routine” of the house was a little off, so when we went to put her down that night it didn’t surprise me that she struggled. This is not typical for Baby O. She’s normally a go-down-without-a-hitch baby. But seeing that it was Christmas Eve, I didn’t hesitate to bring her into bed with Missus Scooter and me. We don’t co-sleep. In fact, we never had. But it seemed like a treat and the baby slept hard. It was nice.
We woke up on Christmas Day and she definitely had a cold. It was the kind that brought copious amounts of snot. Like more snot than I’d ever seen. But aside from the snot situation, overall Baby O did not seem to be feeling poor. Her demeanor was good and her activity level was fine. But the cold hung around and just wouldn’t go away. Since we traveled to Missus Scooter’s for the holiday, we co-slept there too. That was less than ideal since we were all crammed in a queen bed. Then about 2 weeks later, she got another cold before the first had cleared up.
This cold is a doozy. Fever, achy, snot. I can tell she is uncomfortable and in pain. She developed a cough that makes her cry after every bout. She is very clingy and inconsolable. My sensitive skinned baby sprouted a horrible diaper rash and very angry blotchy cheeks. She refuses the nosefrida so we were doing a lot of wiping, making her nose a little raw. Her sleeping has tanked. She wants to sleep so badly, but can only stay down 45 minutes or less for naps because she can’t breathe and the coughing wakes her. She is uncomfortable and seems sad. At night she is in our bed, waking every hour to two hours. I guess what I’m trying to say is she is a mess.
And in this, I’ve had my hardest moments as a <new> mom. Baby O is approaching the 9 month mark and I can objectively say we’ve had it easy so far. She’s a happy girl, sleeps like a champ, responds well to a schedule, is very easy going and overall is a total joy. To have this turned upside down overnight and to last for so long has been very trying. I am powerless to make my daughter feel better, I am powerless to communicate with her to let her know it will pass. I can’t fix this. Further, I am exhausted. I feel guilty even writing that (like I have no right), but it’s true. We haven’t been sleep deprived since Baby O has been born. And now… oh.
So when my teacher spoke this proverb, I realized the reason why it touched me was because through this trying period, I am growing. I like to picture my own angel bending over me whispering, ‘grow, grow.’ Maybe that angel is Baby O. So grow I will. Some things came to the forefront that I knew about myself already, and some things that I didn’t know. I do not do well with powerless. I do not do well with impatient. I do not do well with lack of sleep. But I’ve chosen to grow and embrace these things and look at them as a opportunity. I have realized I am incredibly nurturing and can spend an insane amount of time just holding my baby through her lowest moments. I have realized that it is not a failure to not be able to fix it and that there is value in just holding the space for her. I have realized I can actually sleep in one hour increments and still be compassionate. I also discovered I am more open to feedback than I have ever been. From the time I got pregnant, helpful people have wanted to give advice and input. My receptivity to this has never been very high, but when my baby was sick, I found myself polling everyone I knew for guidance! I would take any tidbit that might help me help Baby O.
For all of you moms who have been through this before, I am sure I sound a bit naïve, this being my first encounter with a sick child. And for all you moms/moms-to-be who haven’t been through this before, I am sure you can’t quite relate, because I know I couldn’t until I went through it. But what I do know is we all have the opportunity in these moments to grow and we all have this in common. Put this way, I feel less like a blade of grass and more like part of a very big meadow, surrounded by so many beautiful blades of grass. Did I take the analogy too far?
I don’t know when this will pass but I know it will.
Do you remember the first time your baby was sick and how did you deal with it? How did you grow?