Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From the Sick House


One thing I find a bit heart-tugging , is when my runny, goopy, sneezing
toddlers want to love on our baby.
I can almost see the germs as they spew and ooze from one to the other and still
I can't bring myself to shoo the doting masses away.

At the expense of my fresh new baby's dry nose, I let his siblings cuddle up close and enjoy him.

From the time I had two children under 2 and one of them was a new big brother,
I determined to let the big one have access to the little.
18 month-old big brothers aren't especially soft or gentle in their movements.
Strokes and caresses are more like accidental socks and conks.  Sweet innocent infants
are loved to squished in my home as I monitor carefully within close proximity.

This decision made about 10 years ago has been harder at times than a quarantine
as I watch my sweet innocent infants be loved to smothers.
With breath sucked in I gently instruct the big brother or sister in their new roll,
and have seen over and over again that newly initiated "Big" take ownership.

Of all the parenting experiments I have tried, this one has yielded some of the most
 precious fruit over and over again.

Confidence to approach this wiggly new bundle without fear of reproach
has resulted in a desire to be near, to be helpful, and to engage in play and in conversation.
It has resulted in camaraderie.
As I show the Big how to hug, and kiss, and pat, and wipe spits from the face of his baby,
there are a certain amount of bumps that happen as well (and for the sake of this post,
germs and illness too).

But babies are resilient.

It's much harder to promote that sibling bond
after months of telling his hopeful new protector to back off.

And so our baby has the sickness too.  It' frustrating, but it's what is.

I try to mitigate the damage with encouragement to wash hands before touching,
and to not sneeze in his face, and to scoot back a little so to not share germs...
but I am more interested in the long-term relationship between brothers
than the short-term discomfort and inconvenience of dealing with more flu.

I'm certainly no expert in parenting, but I do know it's no fun nursing a house-full of sickies.
More than the usual share of energy-taxing, sleep-depriving duties multiply when germs
 invade 10 otherwise healthy bodies.
However that's nothing to the job of parenting with wisdom in the midst of brain fog;
and when wisdom says to take the harder path (which may even mean less than the little
sleep you're already getting), well...
it's hard.

But if the Holy Spirit leads your heart in the direction of the difficult, 

The rewards are greater than can be imagined.

Brothers:  Bryce 3 and a Half.  Miles 6 weeks old.


Kendra Zickafoose said...

Oh goodness. I find myself, admittedly out of exhaustion, often taking the easier route rather than thinking of the future. I want my daughters to be efficient in the kitchen, but I shoo them out because I don't want a mess. I want my son potty trained, but then I don't want to make the treck all the way back across the grocery store to the restroom. Again. I want to go home. And I want the sibling bond that you speak of, but do not always do my best to foster those relationships. Thank you for the reminder that the future things we desire are worth the effort now!

Momma Bug said...

Haha! Well Kendra, you mentioned my two kryptonites: Potty training and sharing the kitchen with littles.

There it is. There are SO many ways to actually train our children and there are probably only 2 that are not painful for the process. I find training to be a painful process for me mostly, and anything that infringes on my time and exhausts my reserves are the hardest of all.
It's a good reminder for me too, friend.

amy said...

So good! I am always letting my kids love on the new babes because I want to encourage not discourage their relationships. Good job mama! Sorry about the sick, we have some right now too. Oh, and your family is lovely! I wish we could have a huge family play date :)