Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over ... could I get a new drink?

The kids are on day 6 of fevers.

Lindsay declined to stay up to celebrate the New Year saying, "I'm sick. I need my rest!" They do need their rest. Hell, we all need our rest. We have had very little sleep since Monday. Not cancer-parent sleep-deprivation, but we're so out of practice!

Lindsay has managed to sleep well despite her low grade fevers and annoying cough. She's remained pleasant, even helpful spirits. Michael ... not so much.

His fever has been in the 101-103 range for much of the week. He and Lindsay both slept well Monday night and Matt and I made the mistake of saying, "Wow. They slept really well! It could've been way worse." Yep. Jinx.

Michael hasn't slept well since Monday. He wakes up when Lindsay coughs, covers his ears and yells, "Her coughing is (cough cough) too (cough cough) loud!" Yes. That is Michael coughing while he complains! He cries out "I scared! I need to snuggle!" And when I bring him to bed he sees dad and screams, "I don't like dad! I don't want to be near dad!" When Lindsay tries to get in the bed and snuggle he screams, "I don't like Lindsay! I don't want to touch Lindsay!" When we try to give him medication - for fever, for cough, regardless of flavor, he clasps his hands tightly over his mouth. We count patiently to 3 ... 1 -- 2 -- 3. Nothing. "Michael, you need this medicine to help you rest. What can we do to help you take it?" Nothing. "Michael, would you like to rinse it down with juice?" Hands still clasped tightly, eyes bugging out of head.

So I raise the stakes.

"Michael, we can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way..." ... This is a line I stole from Ashton and Big Guns. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Ashton and "Big Guns" are cancer-fighting super-hero parents. Big Guns apparently uses this line for oral meds with their little cancer-fighter. Umm... Lily ... did you talk to Michael? Did you share your book, "101 Ways to Avoid Taking Medications?" Because "we can do this the hard way" resulted in sticky cherry syrup flying across the room leaving what can best be described as a blood spatter stain on my 400 thread count sheets. 4 letter words were muttered (by Matt, for once ... not me!). Attempts to medicate were aborted.

After the fact, we giggled. We reminisced about Lindsay's behavior in the hospital. Screaming. Kicking. Crying. Refusing meds, procedures, etc. And we said to ourselves, "Oh, poor baby. She has cancer. She's so scared!" And we were ENDLESSLY patient with her.

Fast forward two years. And 3 year old Michael (same age as Lindsay when she was being treated) is now behaving the EXACT same way! No cancer. No hospital. No scary procedures. And we are not even close to being as patient. I should be saying "Poor Michael. Second children are so neglected. Especially when first children dealt with cancer!"

In all seriousness, I sometimes wonder if parents have a limited amount of patience. Like a cup that gets filled when you decide to have kids. And you can dole out little bits here and there but it doesn't get replenished so choose your moments of patience wisely. I doubt this is the case, but ... Matt and I were SO incredibly patient with Lindsay as a baby. She was "colicky" for lack of a better word. We walked her, bounced her, used the sling, the baby carrier, white noise. We did not let her cry it out. We did not force her to go to relatives or friends who wanted to hold her but didn't know how to soothe her. We did not sleep much that first year. Then Michael came along, the easy baby. The sleeper. The smiler. The "put me down I need a nap, please" baby. And life was great. Then cancer. WAY more patience being poured from the cup.

And now Michael is three. And though he is still my sweet little fella, he is 3. Terrible threes, anyone? And Matt and I are WAY less patient than we ever were with Lindsay. And if you put their behavior side-by-side, played a video, I'm guessing we'd see that Michael's "3 year old behavior" is way tamer than Lindsay's. Where did all the patience go?

So while I usually avoid New Year's Resolutions, this year's will be:

1. Be more patient.
2. Find ways to replenish the Cup of Patience.
3. As much as possible, draw from the children ... let them refill the Cup of Patience.
4. Get a pedicure. This has nothing to do with the Cup of Patience. My feet are really crusty and need some attention. I figure if it's a New Year's Resolution, it'll happen ... right?

So, how do you refill your cup?