Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking for the Lesson

Two random things from my week so far:

I clipped the skin on The Kid's finger while I was trimming his nails and I fell down yesterday.

When things blow me off course (and both of these things did) I've been trying to find the lesson, figure out what I might learn from the situation. Clipping The Kid's finger was traumatic. There was blood and howling. I felt like the worst mother in the world. My clumsiness had inflicted pain on my child. There were tears. Did I mention there was blood? At one point The Kid wailed, "This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me!"

Then yesterday, as I set off for my morning walk, not fifty yards from my front door, I tripped on an uneven chunk of sidewalk and fell down. I was going at a pretty good clip and it happened so fast, I wasn't able to catch myself as I went down. I bumped my head, scraped my knee and elbow, and twisted my wrist. I was painful and a little humiliating. (Isn't falling down always a tad humiliating?)

Here's what these two things have in common: they both felt like catastrophes to me. Look at The Kid's "worst thing" comment above – it felt like a catastrophe to him too. Now, where do you suppose he learned that? Catastrophizing things, blowing them all out of proportion, is one of the things I've been trying to weed out of my garden ever since The Kid was born. I obviously have some more work to do.

Of course, The Kid's finger stopped bleeding and he was fine but I beat myself up about it for hours afterwards. I limped home and put ice on my knee and besides being a little sore today I am fine, but I berated myself for my klutziness for a good chunk of the day.

I want to have more RESILIENCE. I want to be able to ride over these bumps in the road without so much doom and gloom. I don't want to feel shame about a little clumsiness when dealing with a wiggly child or an accident on the sidewalk. I want to TRANSCEND.

That's one of things I want to learn to do this year. There's my lesson.


  1. As someone who falls unexpectedly at least twice a year, I'm just glad you didn't do more damage. I understand the humiliation. I pick myself up so fast to avoid it that I often don't know I'm injured until later.

    I suspect the kid will probably want to trim his own nails now. I wasn't injured an ear during a haircut. My never let me do it again. No biggie.

  2. Ooh, poor you and The Kid. You each had a "minor mishap". :D

    When Mer was little, I read Whole Child Whole Parent, and the author wrote about how, when an accident happens, parents can make it worse or make it better. She contrasted the mom who rushes to her child when he/she falls, exclaiming, "Are you all right?? Are you hurt??!" with the mother who calmy says, "Oops! You had a minor mishap!" and how the child's reaction mirored the parent's.

    I tried it, and it worked wonders. Then I had two more kids and everybody seemed to be having minor mishaps all. the. time. And I was not so calm. :/

    Be well, you two.

  3. Thanks you guys. I do feel better about it. I want to be calmer about these things and I'm working on it.

    My knee's still sore today but I'm walking tomorrow - sore knee be damned!

  4. Whenever I fall, the first thing I do (even before registering the pain), is look around and see if anyone saw me!

    Have you looked at it this way--the worst thing that has ever happened to The Kid is that you accidentally snipped his finger? That's the WORST thing?! My god, what a wonderful mother you are! The worst thing that's ever happened to your child is that you accidentally clipped his finger! That's fantastic!

    Actually, though, I do understand--I do get it. I'm working on this, too. (I'll let you know if I solve it.) So much of our energy is wasted when we constantly berate ourselves. We need to learn to simply let go...

  5. I used to call mishaps sports injuries when my 2 were younger.
    We always knew that summer had arrived when they had summer knees.
    And I will never forget cutting my newborns nails---and drawing blood.
    Guilt is the gift that keeps giving :-)
    So glad you're ok.

  6. This year I fell in the parking lot at A&M while carrying a load of clothes in my arms. Talk about humiliating. Also? The bloody knees made me look extra lame.

  7. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who takes something as simple as falling down personally. Me and my skinned knee are in very good company.


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