Pain MismanagementOctober 21, 2010 at 10:00 am | Posted in Giggles, Lollipop | 14 Comments
Tags: Boo-Boos, Empathy, Kids, Language, Life, Motherhood, Pain, Relationships
As I tucked Lollipop in over the weekend, her pitiful eyes locked on mine. She’d been to the doctor earlier in the day. Three shots. One flu mist. Lots of tears.
I brushed wet strands of hair from her freshly scrubbed cheeks and noticed her forehead was a little warm. She jumped at my offer for some children’s Tylenol, so we finished our lullaby and went to get some.
I stood up. She sat up. Her head connected with my chin. I bit my tongue (and bit back a thousand expletives). I closed my eyes and grunted. Lollipop looked at me and said in a mildly chipper voice, “Just say ‘Ouch!’ Mom. You’ll be fine.”
I was not comforted. It hurt. I wanted to curse or shriek or bang my fist on her carpet till the cartoon stars above my head settled. I wanted to cry a little bit. I wanted some sympathy, dammit.
Instead, I said: “Ouch.”
As I was settling Giggles into his new big-boy bed last night and reminding him for the 237th time to “stay in your bed, Buddy, stay in your bed,” I beaned my head on his top bunk. Again, I squelched the words that wanted to come out of my mouth and settled for a loud “Unnnnnnhhhhhhh!” (or something like that).
Giggles sat up and patted my shoulder. “I’ll kiss your boo-boo, Mommy,” he said. “Mwaaah! All better!”
It was endearing. It made me smile. But my head still felt like I’d had 14 beers, and the noise from the ceiling fan all of a sudden sounded like a volcano exploding.
I wanted to react. To overreact. And I wanted someone to pay attention to my theatrics. To say, “Man, I know that hurt.” To squeeze me in such a tight bear hug that I forgot the pain, or most of it.
Instead, I said: “Thanks, Buddy. I do feel better.”
Two injuries in as many days left me with two conclusions. One, I gotta keep my guard up when I’m putting my kids to bed. It’s clearly a dangerous job, especially for über-klutzy, over-caffeinated me.
And two, I just might need to rethink how I respond to my own children’s injuries. Because in their words, I heard my own voice. How many times have I said, “You’re okay. Just say ‘Ouch!'” And, “There, I kissed it. All better!” And did it comfort them? Did it make their pain any less real to them?
I doubt it. It sure didn’t work for me.
I wanted sympathy. Empathy. Hugs. If nothing else, a zerbert to take my mind off the hurt.
Maybe they do, too.
How do you respond to your child’s boo-boos? Ever had your own words played back for you? Did they sound hollow to you, too?