Waiting. And Waiting. And Waiting. And Yelling?

307 days without yelling, 58 days of loving more to go!

Dear Clock,

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Is it time yet? Are we there yet? Has the line moved yet? I spend too much time looking at you, wondering if it is time yet. Perhaps I should care less and enjoy the time that is now? Perhaps that would make waiting easier for both me and my kiddos?

Yeah, I know. Easier said than done.

The Orange Rhino

*

How much of our lives are spent waiting? Waiting for an answer. Waiting for someone. Waiting for something. A lot. More minutes than I can count. In fact you’d be waiting an awful long time for me to finish this post if I actually tried to count or even guesstimate how much time I have spent waiting in my life. And even then it would most certainly be a guess.

But there would be one certainty. I HATE waiting. It drives me nuts. Not just because I am a punctual person who doesn’t like to waste time, and an organized person who likes to maximize time, and a control-freak type person who doesn’t like to wait but likes to know now, but because well, it’s hard to be patient.

It was hard to be patient when I was in jr. high school and waiting for my first “real kiss.”

It was hard to be patient in high school and waiting to learn where I got accepted to college.

It was hard to be patient in college waiting to hear if I got my first job.

It was hard after college waiting and waiting for an engagement ring.

It was hard after the ring waiting and waiting and waiting two weeks past due date for labor to start.

Those are obviously big milestones, and the waiting was obviously hard. Even though I was waiting for great moments, the nervous anticipation of these great moments was a real pain in the tuckus as it brought me way up in excitement and then way down with disappointment.

But even for the little milestones, even the little non-milestones, waiting is hard. Waiting for gas when two kids are screaming in back seats is hard. Waiting for said kids to stop screaming so you can talk to the other kids who are crying and can’t hear you over the screaming is hard. Waiting in line at Starbucks for the lady on her phone not paying attention is hard. Waiting for night time to come so I can have some peace and quiet is hard. Yes, waiting for big and little things is hard!

Little man had his MRI today and I have to wait three to four days for answers. I want answers NOW. As in thirty seconds ago. I don’t want to wait to find out if my baby has something wrong with his brain because every minute that passes I am going to be anxious and scared and sad and hopeful for good news but still scared and still wicked impatient. It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster these next few days.

But I can handle it, the wait. Kind of. I’m 35 I have had the luxury of teaching myself patience over the years. Yet still, I will struggle. I will get angry every day that I have to wait. I will snap at my kids every day that I have to wait. I will feel nervous every day.

And again, I am 35.

But what if I were 3 or 5 and not 35? If I struggle with waiting and I understand time and life (or at least kind of do) as an adult, imagine how kids feel trying to be patient? Imagine how kids feel waiting?

Since they don’t quite understand time?
Since they don’t quite get why things can’t happen now?
Since they don’t quite embrace the whole patience is a virtue thing?

It must be hard as h*ll for them. I know how much I struggle with waiting. This week proved it to me as I waited for doctors appointments and wait again for results. Waiting makes me antsy, it makes me b*tchy sometimes, it makes me frustrated, it makes me snappy.

So is it any wonder that kids struggle with waiting too? How often have I snapped at them for getting itchy in line at the grocery store, Target, Dunkin’ Donuts? How often have I yelled at them in the past for complaining about waiting for me while I ran around the house getting jackets and snacks and shoes for everyone? Sure, they need to learn patience but don’t we all? Aren’t I still learning it? Don’t perhaps my boys deserve a bit more of my patience with them as they learn patience and the art of waiting?

Waiting is hard. Again I’ve learned to manage it. But for kids, well in my experience it just makes them ask more questions, be more hyper, listen less, sleep less.

And as a parent all those feelings kids express around waiting can let’s face it…get EXHAUSTING. Especially now with Christmas 15 days away. The questions of when is Christmas and the extra hyper around because my boys can’t wait, literally and figuratively, well, it has me ready to snap!

I want to yell: “Look at the calendar! We have 15 days to wait!!!”
I want to yell: “No it isn’t Christmas. Go back to bed!”
I want to yell: “Don’t you know how to patiently be patient?!”

But instead of yelling I am going to choose empathy.
I am going to remember just how much I HATE waiting. 

And as for me and how I am going to handle waiting these few days. I’m just going to wake up each day and “practice patience” by enjoying the moment. I am going to focus on the moment as best as I can. I am going to hug lots. Laugh lots. Pay attention lots. I am going to play lots and stay distracted so I don’t watch the clock or the phone. I’m going to enjoy the wait. I am going to dance in the rain.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It will be hard. But I won’t let it make me waste the time that I do have. Right now. And I certainly won’t let it make me yell at my kids because I’m in a bad mood or yell at them because they are tired of waiting for Christmas. I’ll embrace the wait, the good and the bad of it. Because I get it.

Waiting is hard.

Prioritizing my Husband

306 days without yelling, 59 days of loving more to go!

Dear Green Turtle,

People are going to wonder what this post has to do with not yelling. Here’s the thing: when I feel disconnected to you, when I feel like we are two ships passing in the night because of the stress of raising young kids, I get more snippy and much more likely to yell. When you and I are in a good place, it is easier to not yell. Today, super easy to not yell because I remembered that you count too!

The Orange Rhino

*

It was the Summer of 2010. My oldest was almost four and our third son was almost one. My husband and I were debating whether or not we would or should go for a fourth. We did a lot of soul searching that summer, both together and separate. My husband did his soul searching, pondering if he could handle four kids, while playing video games. I did mine, I know I want four kids but can our marriage handle four kids, everywhere and anywhere.I spent countless hours thinking: when I woke up, in the shower, driving here and there, when the kids were bathing, before I went to sleep and any second there was quiet in the house.

Why so much thinking? Truthfully? Because we were in what I thought was maybe? more than a marriage rut and I was worried. I was worried about where we were headed and that naturally made questioning a fourth child, well, kind of silly, no? But through my soul searching and talking with different people I realized that my concerns about my marriage weren’t abnormal and that they were in fact what a lot of couples experienced when children came along.

Disconnected. Tired. Out of sync. Unenthusiastic. Why? Because so much of their free time was spent not necessarily with each other as a couple, but either as a family or focusing on just the kids. And let me tell you, with three kids in 3 years, and my husband’s work schedule, this was most definitely our situation. We hadn’t fallen out of love as I often worried, we had just fallen off each other’s radar because every spare moment was about “survival.” It was about keeping diapers changed, mouths fed, hearts comforted, tears dried, fights avoided.  We let our couple-dom get lost, we let it become de-prioritized. It wasn’t intentional. It truly wasn’t. It just happened. We stopped focusing on us and only focused on the kids. Are they happy? What do they need? We stopped asked are we happy? What do we need (besides sleep and peace and quiet)?  I stopped making him a priority. All my free time was for the kids, then myself, and then sleep. (This is perhaps over the top, but you get the idea). Oh Orange Rhino, not good!

As I slowly started to realize this I had a huge epiphany. I love birthdays, always have, always will. My mom made my birthday’s incredibly special and as such I have dreamed to do the same for my boys. So for each birthday I spend HOURS and I mean hours planning. I find hours that I don’t even know exist. I go out of my way to find time creating the perfect birthday invitations, by scratch. 10 hours, easy. Finding the perfect plates, napkins, decorations, 2 hours. Searching for the perfect favors and party games, 2 hours. Baking and decorate the perfect cake, 10 hours. That is 24 hours. 24 hours per child.

And then comes my Husband’s Birthday. Before kids I would spend a couple hours thinking about what to do, where to go, what to buy him and then spend 2 to 3 hours making one creative thing to keep as a memory over the years. Maybe 4 to 5 hours total.

And now? The big aha? I spent max 45 minutes. For my kids I jumped through hoops to show them my love on their special day. For my husband? Not so much anymore. Awful. Just awful. The summer of 2010 I realized that I was marginalizing my husband. He deserved more than 45 minutes of preparation for his birthday. He deserved to know that I would go out of my way to make time and effort to make his day special, just as I would my sons. He deserved to know that they weren’t more important than him; but that all my boys are important to me. And always will be.

From that summer on, I have started making sure my husband’s birthday gets as much love, energy, and creativity as I would give to my sons. No, I don’t spend hours on invitations, but now instead of buying a cake at the grocery store last minute, I make him a cake just as I would my sons. And this year, my sons joined in the creativity and helped planned all the details of the day. It. Was. Awesome. The theme? Green Turtle, green everything. Daddy got balloons just like them, a green tablecloth, kazoos for party favors, polka dotted birthday plates, and got to enter a kitchen this morning “decorated” with green streamers. Everywhere.

Cake designed by the boys. #1 suggested we needed a beach so we smashed Graham Crackers. #2 said I needed to write Green Turtle instead of daddy. #3 said the turtle needed eyes and #4 just kept eating the frosting.

It was a fantastic day, despite the headaches from the kazoo chorus. It was fantastic to feel so connected to my boys and my husband. It was fantastic to see him light up at the sight of his personalized cake. It was fantastic to see the boys take joy in celebrating their daddy.

It was fantastic to have realized three summers ago that I had started prioritizing my kids over my husband and that I could change that at any minute and that that change could bring much greater joy to my life.

“I’m not afraid”

304 days without yelling, 61 days of loving more to go!
Favorite Song Friday #6 

Dear Eminen,

I can NOT believe I am quoting you on my blog. I do not consider myself one who likes rap. At all. In fact, I strongly dislike most of it (and most of your lyrics in this song for that matter!) But back in January when I just started this Challenge, I heard this song on the radio and it has stuck with me since. So much of it resonated with where I was at before, where I was then, and where I have been since. I received a lot of doubt when I shared this idea of mine (understandably) and have since received a fair amount of criticism: you’re a lazy parent for not yelling, your kids are not doubt spoiled by your “softness.” This song reminds me to disregard the doubt and the criticism. To stand strong. To not be afraid. To shoot for the moon.

Word?
The Orange Rhino

*

Eminen, “I’m Not Afraid” <no video as it was um, too, um, colorful?! But hopefully you know the tune and can hum along.>

Lyrics first, followed by my “interpretation”

I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid.
To take a stand, to take a stand…
Yeah, it’s been a ride
Everybody, everybody, I guess I had to,
Come take my hand, come take my hand,Go to that place to get to this one.
We’ll walk this world together through the storm. Now some of you.
Whatever weather, cold or warm. Might still be in that place.
Just lettin’ you know that you’re not alone. If you’re tryin’ to get out.
Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road.
Just follow me, I’ll get you there.


‘Cause ain’t no way I’ma let you stop me from causing mayhem
When I say I’ma do something, I do it, I don’t give a damn what you think
I’m doin’ this for me… I’ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt, undoubtably
And all those who look down on me, I’m tearing down your balcony
No if, ands, or buts, don’t try to ask him why or how can …
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraidTo take a stand, to take a standEverybody, everybodyCome take my hand, come take my hand…
And to the fans, I’ll never let you down again, I’m back…
All I’m tryin’ to say is get back, click clack, pow’ Cause I ain’t playin’ around, it’s the game called circlin’ I don’t know how, I’m way too rough to back down…
And I just can’t keep living this way
So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage
I’m standing up, I’ma face my demons I’m manning up, I’ma hold my ground
I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up
Tryin’ to put my life back together right now
It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly, I probably did it subliminally for you…you helped see me through
And don’t even realize what you did, believe me you
…’Cause the way I feel, I’m strong enough to go to the club Or the corner pub and lift the whole liquour counter up’ Cause I’m raisin’ the bar, I shoot for the moon But I’m too busy gazin’ at stars I feel amazin’ 

*

I’m not afraid … to stand up and say that I think we can parent and discipline without yelling. I’m not afraid to try and change. Perhaps afraid it will be hard and I’ll “fail” but that ain’t gonna stop me.

Come take my hand … we will learn to change together. Sincerely. Together. This isn’t my challenge, my blog, it is all ours.

Holla if you feel like you’ve been down the same road … PLEASE HOLLA LOUDLY! We all feel better when we know we aren’t the only ones struggling. Holla loudly and find comfort!

When I say I’m gonna do something … please just believe in me, don’t belittle me and P.S. if you do belittle me, it just fires me up to do even better.

I just can’t keep living this way … feeling awful that I scream so, hiding my shame and struggles. I want to be free.

I’m breaking out of this cage, starting today … And taking on The Challenge!

You helped see me through … all 630 of you! and gratitude ain’t even the word.

I’m shooting for the moon…and I feel amazin’ … because taking a stand, trying to change, pushing through, seeing the stars, feels beyond amazin’!

Code Orange Rhino.

Ahhhhhh. That was a deep breath. Like a really, big, super-ginormous  ridiculously huge deep breath. What a 10 days.  First “seizure week” then “stomach bug week.” What a doozer. I feel absolutely wiped. But feel awake again after getting this novel, this pain, off my chest. Now, I can move on. Until Monday.

*

We entered the hospital last Thursday morning and all was going well.

Little man wasn’t thrilled to have 25+ wires attached to his head to measure for seizure activity, but he, we were managing. We had dance parties, read books, played with blocks and threw hospital food (can you blame him?) Friday morning came fast even after a rather crappy night of hospital sleep (he didn’t want to sleep, I couldn’t sleep) and I geared up for the harder day – a day of not eating so that little man could have an MRI at 3:30. An MRI to rule out brain tumor, brain damage, or a brain abnormality. While the previous tests were important, this was the test most important to me. This was the test that SCARED me. This was the test that I wanted done and over with. Not just because it meant sedating my sweet, young son, but because the unknown results were keeping me from feeling calm.

Party at my crib! 9:00, 2+ hours past bedtime!

Somehow the day turned out to be very easy. After a few attempts by little man to find food in my bag, he settled down and actually was rather quiet all day, even laying down on the floor numerous times to rest. I just assumed he was lethargic from no food and drink. I kept mentioning it to the nurses because I thought it was odd but no one thought it mattered. Let’s just say that mother’s instinct that he was OFF was RIGHT.

3:00 came and little man ever so gracefully let the nurse insert his IV. Not. One. Tear. That of course made me tear up like mad as I was so proud of him for being such a trooper. The wheelchair rolled in and I hopped in with little man in my lap (held perhaps more tightly than ever before), and we began our trek to the dreaded MRI. Even though blood tests and the EEG (test for seizure activity) were good to date and I should be relieved I still feared the MRI.

A rather unpleasant nurse greeted us and felt it necessary to keep trying to make little man smile. Instead, she just made him cry every time she talked and put her face in his, practicallytouching it. And she DIDN’T. GET. THE. HINT.

Just leave him alone, please!!  Let him be in peace.  Leave us in peace. We are nervous and tired, let us be.

The more pleasant anesthesiologist entered and peppered me with questions.

“When is the last time he ate?”

“9:00” I answered.

“What! He shouldn’t have eaten past 7!” barked the nurse.

“It’s okay. It will be okay.” replied the anesthesiologist politely.

He then proceeded to have me sign my name on a form stating that x,y,z, and vomit are risks of anesthesia. And then just as I got up to place little man on the stretcher for sedation he VOMITED all over me, all over himself, all over the nasty nurse.

“Oh my god. What a mess!“  the nurse, who works in a hospital, a place where people go when they are SICK, said in my direction.

“I just followed my doctor’s instructions. Please get me a towel.” I replied quietly, shocked by what she had said, sad for my little man, discouraged that the test would be delayed, that we would have to repeat the nerves, again.

The anesthesiologist returned and I looked at him and immediately the stress hit me. I burst into tears and mumbled “please, please just tell me that he didn’t throw up because of a brain tumor or something in his brain. Please. I beg you.”

“I can’t answer that. We’ll get answers soon though. Let’s clean you guys up.”

We then had the pleasure of the nasty nurse pushing us back upstairs, had the pleasure of listening to her continue to talk about how little man shouldn’t have eaten all morning. Really. Really??? Was she blaming me? Didn’t she know that babies sometimes get sick? That perhaps the stress of the situation got to him? Who did she think she was? She was luckily then interrupted by the booming voice on the intercom.

“CODE WHITE. CODE WHITE. CODE WHITE Room 621.”

I had heard a lot of Code Reds and Code Blues the last 24 hours. Being in a hospital is as unnerving as it is, then hearing code colors called out left and right is just enough to put you over the edge. I nervously asked the nurse what a code white was. Get this.

“It’s code that a parent is losing control. That they are yelling, throwing things, hitting doctors. When you hear code white you just get out of the way immediately.”

I then had a nice conversation, with me, myself, and I.

“You mean, a parent is feeling what I am starting to feel inside because of you? Oh I feel for them. It’s a good thing you are pushing faster to get us out of the way as I might be the next Code White.”

We arrived at the Pediatrics floor and the nurse laid into my doctor about how this was everyone’s fault. After she left I tried desperately to find out if the test would be re-scheduled and for when? Could I finally feed my baby? Give him fluids?

SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER ME!

It took an hour. An hour before I was given the green light to give him food as we were re-scheduled for 8:00 the next morning.  One sip of water, thrown up, 5 cheerios thrown up, I discovered the reason for the delay.

The nurse REFUSED to answer the phone to re-schedule him since it was “our fault.”

WAIT. It gets better.

As little man hadn’t eaten all day and couldn’t keep anything down we hooked him up to IV fluids. My sweet boy fell asleep in my arms immediately; only to toss and turn and be up ALL night as every time he moved he set off the IV machine alarm.

We didn’t sleep a wink Friday night. Not. A. Wink. Which made me a really cheery site Saturday morning.

The wheelchair came again, and again the fear of putting my young baby under anesthesia gripped my body. I stayed as calm as I could, even sang a few lullabyes as we were rolled down the long, cold, start hallways to calm us both. Little man snuggled tight, gripping me. He knew what was up.

We were greeted by HER. The nurse who really, well, perhaps shouldn’t be a nurse.

A new young anesthesiologist came out and began questioning me, again. His conclusion?

“It is too risky to put him under anesthesia. Should he throw up while in the MRI there is no way to tell until a few minutes too late. The vomit might go in his lungs and he could choke and well, it wouldn’t be good. The other hospital has better equipment for sedating young kids.”

“Okay” I said. “I trust your judgment and certainly don’t want to take that risk. What a shame though. It means going home and then waiting weeks for an appointment and then having to experience this stress all over again and pricking my son with another needle. I get it. Just disappointed.”

No tears fell. But my heart fell. Way down deep and discouragement stepped up. When will I get answers I thought? What if he has another seizure? When will I stop worrying? My deep thoughts were interrupted by the nurse.

She wanted to be empathetic. I know she did. I could tell by the fact that she sat down next to me and started with “I know you are disappointed.” She should have stopped there. IMMEDIATELY. What she said next still haunts me. And will probably bring me to tears for years.

“You know, I was up at 5 am this morning booking this. I am as annoyed as you are.” (Yeah? I was up at 5 too. Because my BABY who is in the hospital couldn’t  sleep and PS that’s your job.)

“And well, I have been picking pieces of vomit out of my clothes and shoes and even in my lab jacket since yesterday.” (Yeah? This is a hospital. People throw up. You went home to a shower and clean clothes. I went to a sink and scrubs.)

And then the kicker. Which maybe to most people is fine, but to me, a mom, under major stress and fear and all sorts of emotions, it didn’t sit well at all.

“You know, they called to re-schedule yesterday but I was too angry to answer. I refused to for an hour. And now, well, now I just keep saying how lucky we were that he threw up when he did. You know 30 seconds later and he would have been sedated and he would have choked on his vomited and wouldn’t have been able to breathe and we wouldn’t have known and it would have been minutes if not longer before we knew and just WOW it would have been beyond awful. Your guy could have been so unsafe. We were 30 seconds from being in a really dangerous situation, a grave situation.”

Thank you nurse. Thank you for telling me, what I knew. I knew it was a miracle. I knew how lucky we were, how dangerous it could have been. But guess what? I didn’t need to relive it step by step. I don’t need to know that my son was 30 seconds away from well, something I can’t write. I am stressed enough and sick to my stomach with fear that he has something in his brain. Because even though 2 tests were fine, my mommy gut isn’t. So no, no I don’t want to hear about how close we were to what, potentially causing brain damage or harming him. So thank you, please, BE QUIET.  I thank exhaustion and shock and disappointment for keeping these thoughts IN my head.

“Well, yes, it was a miracle and I am glad it worked out” I said softly and started singing to little man who was falling asleep hoping that maybe, maybe she would leave me alone. She got the hint. Another miracle.

We arrived back at our floor and the nurses looked at me with shock, question, confusion.

“Denied.” I said. Denied an MRI. Denied respect. Denied support. Denied empathy. Denied. Denied. Denied. Granted FEAR. Lots of it. Tears rolled down my cheeks as we were rolled back into our room.

I settled little man into his crib (which by the way, looks more like a cage) and I lost it. I started texting a friend about my fury then stopped.

No. It wasn’t right. I wasn’t going to stay silent. She shouldn’t have told me all she did. She shouldn’t have complained about the vomit, or the job, the situation, her anger and she certainly crossed the line telling me not once, not twice, but three times that my son was so close to being harmed.

I went straight out to the hallway and asked the staff who I share a complaint with, immediately.

I told my story and the tears fell. And fell and fell. They fell from relief that he was safe. They fell from deep sadness that he might not have been. They fell from stress that I would be back. The fell from physical and emotional exhaustion. They fell from anger.

Code “ORANGE RHINO”.

No code white, but code “Orange Rhino.” I didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t yell. I didn’t scream. I even went so far as to say that I know the nurse meant well but that perhaps communicating wasn’t her strength and that perhaps she didn’t need reprimand, just teaching. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t hit Code White. And I am so grateful. Because code ORANGE RHINO – handling anger with warmth, feels so much better and actually made people want to help me.

The nurses kept checking on me the rest of the day and bringing me tissues. They offered support and true empathy. They said thank you for staying calm. You see, using kind words when angry, it has a much better chance of helping you. Yelling, mean words, it does you no good. Sure it might get your point made, but does it inspire positive action? Does it inspire people to WANT to help you? No. Nice words though, or words delivered with respect, they at least stand a chance. Sure, they might not get you an immediate response, but over time, there is much greater upside.

I got a call today from the manager of the Children’s Hospital. Apparently my kind words had made quite an impact. The manager called to hear my story of what happened and ultimately apologized profusely saying that there is no way she would accept or tolerate one her staff treating her patients that way. I again said that I know that nurse meant well but that well, it SCARED ME. It scared the sh*t out of me to hear someone verbally talk about what bad could have been. And with all the stress, I just didn’t need it. I went on to say on top of it all, now I have to wait one month, ONE MONTH, to get an MRI. One month to know that my son is okay. Because he will be okay. That is the only answer.

“Oh that is frustrating. I am going to call right now and see if we can’t change that. You’ve been through enough. You don’t need to be waiting a month” she said sweetly. I liked her. She was sincere, empathetic, calm, and caring. She made me feel okay to be anger and scared. She made it safe.

I got a call at 2:43 today. Little Man’s MRI has been moved up to Monday.  Monday folks. This is GREAT news. It is 24 days earlier. It means no waiting until January 3rd. It means by the middle of next week I will have the answers I need to sleep a little better. It means we can move on sooner than later.

I TRULY owe this to my code Orange Rhino, to the Orange Rhino Challenge. If I had lost it and yelled, do you think the nurses would have been inclined to share my story? If I had lost it and been rude with the Manager, do you think she would have been moved to make the calls on my behalf? Maybe, maybe not. But I am going to say, YES.

Kind words matter. Nasty ones, they just do no good. They don’t get you anywhere. Well, they do. They get you nowhere, fast. So choose kind words. I can’t imagine you will ever regret it.  I know I don’t.

* I don’t hold anyone responsible for what happened except maybe the Stomach Bug. While this experience was frustrating and disheartening, all the other care I received was great and again, the nurse had good intentions just perhaps needs some teaching. You know. Kind of like my boys who I often get frustrated with :) And while the situation isn’t what I would have chose, I am grateful for yet another opportunity to put The Orange Rhino Challenge benefits to the test. 

YLLM1* * * Discover all the ways taking The Orange Rhino Challenge has changed my life beyond how I handled this situation in my just released book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at her Kids–and How You Can Too!” available at many bookstores and online stores like Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Qbookshop, IndieBound, Indigo Canada, Bookish

I want to scream at my kids (but really, I just want to cry)

295 days of not yelling, 70 days of loving more to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

Monday night I took #4, now 16 months old, to the hospital via ambulance as he had another seizure. This one was worse than the one three weeks ago, and that one was worse than the one three months ago. I was hesitant to go but the Pediatrician insisted I call 911. 5 minutes later 4 EMT’s stormed my house. Two minutes later as the ambulance tore towards the hospital we were cut off by the paramedics who jumped in the ambulance, kicked the EMT’s out and started attaching little man to machines and oxygen. Soon after we had arrived at the hospital and I shared all that I had just witnessed (excessive drooling, a twitching left hand, a vacant stare that can only be described as, it looked like my son had no soul behind his eyes for 10 minutes) the two pediatric doctors on call agreed that a trip to the Neurologist was now necessary. As in, the next day, pronto.

I asked the doctors all sorts of questions: would he be safe at home? Should I sleep in his room? What happens if he seizes again? Will he be okay? They answered my questions calmly and thoughtfully and I bundled up my love and walked out of the hospital in a complete and utter daze. I remember getting in my neighbors car to go home. That is the extent of “feeling” I remember from that part of the evening.

The minute we got home I settled sweet #4 into his crib and then settled myself into my porch chair, big glass of wine in one hand, baby monitor in the other, and a heavy down comforter on top of me. It was 37 degrees out but I didn’t care. The cold air and the twinkling of the Christmas lights brought me the calm and peace I so desperately needed at that point.

Because you see, there are three words I don’t like together: Baby, Neurologist and Pronto. The combination successfully freaked me out and while my son’s nervous system had gone under attack earlier, now mine was. My brain was firing off all sorts of thoughts. I was simply scared shi*tless. But not much I could do at that point. So I slowly sipped my wine and breathed in whatever fresh fair I could knowing that tomorrow could very well be a hard, long day.

Last drop gone I then settled myself into my make shift bed – an air mattress outside #4’s door so that I could hear if he started seizing again (he moans and groans in a way that is unsettling beyond words.) I woke up the next morning to the sound of #1 and #2 asking each other “do you think mommy is back from the hospital? She’s not in her bed. Do you think baby is okay?” Reality hit. I needed to get up and face the day. I needed to be as strong as I could muster for all my boys that day. I needed to fight my desire to cry and stay cuddled up in bed. My boys needed me.

My boys were awesome yesterday morning. No fights over getting dressed, who got what cereal bowl, who gets to sit in the back car seat, etc….It was just the peace I needed to start the day, the peace I needed to stay calm for all of them and myself. Well, as to be expected, the peace was somewhat short lived as when it was time to go to school no one wanted to because they all knew mommy couldn’t pick them up because #4 had his big appointment. Tears fell. And fell. And fell. Legs kicked and kicked and kicked. Screams yelled and yelled and yelled. “I want mommy!”

Oh yes, the house was filled with chaos, and noise, fear and sadness. And I just wanted to scream. Scream out my worry, scream out my frustration. I wanted to scream at no one, yet I also wanted to scream at them, for no reason.

But I knew that would do nothing. So I did what I have taught myself to do.

I talked. I listened. I empathized. I treated my boys with respect and told them all they deserved to hear.

“I know you are angry. I know you are scared. I am too. I wish I could take you to school. I wish I didn’t have to take baby to the doctor. I wish I didn’t have to go to the hospital yesterday.”

“But it is not fair. You’re spending all your time with him.”

“You’re right. It doesn’t seem fair. It is all kind of sucky. But I love you. And as soon as I can get home I will. And I will hug you and love you. It will be okay. It will be okay.”

And then I cried with them. I just couldn’t help it. And you know what? I was okay with that. Because through this all (this Challenge) I have learned that of the many things I am learning to do, I am learning to teach my boys how to handle emotions. And that means feeling them. All of them.  Even the ugly ones. It means showing them that yelling at people isn’t okay, but that it is okay to cry, to be angry, to be sad and to SAY SO. Nicely. And it means learning to handle those emotions so they don’t bring you down. It means talking about them.

And that is what I did all day, and that is what I have done for the last 290+ days (albeit with a slight filter to keep my boys anxiety down and a simplified manner, but still.)

When I came home from the neurologist yesterday I was a mess. I pretty much still am but I am not talking about that. Yet. I’ll talk about it when I have something concrete to share. The appointment wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either so when I walked in that door I didn’t feel like being a parent. I didn’t feel like being responsible. I just wanted to curl up on my porch and feel the fresh air and pray that it brought me peace again. And cry. And cry. And cry. I wanted to feel scared and sad. I didn’t feel like dealing with all the energy that my boys had at that moment – all the excitement they had to see me after a long day. And yet, I wanted to be there for them at the same time. I wanted to hug them and love them and feel the goodness that was real in front of me at that moment. I was so conflicted with emotions. Wanting to hide but wanting to be present. And that overwhelming confusion actually made me want to scream at them to stop running around and to stop jumping on me.

So I did what I did earlier. I talked and I told them where mommy was at.

“Hi guys. I am excited to see you too. I love you so much. Listen. Here’s the thing. Mommy has had a long day with the baby. I’ve missed you tons but mommy is tired and feeling a little stressed. So I need you to help me. I need you to play loudly in the basement or quietly up here. I get cranky when I am stressed and I don’t want to get cranky with you. I want to love you lots. Can you help me?”

It worked. It works. It makes me feel better and my boys got it. It being openly sharing my feelings instead of keeping them inside until I scream.

I openly share my emotions with you, my boys, my friends and my husband. With everyone including the wall. Some people think it’s too much. But I’ll tell you what? It works. It keeps communication lines open, it helps people know where I am at, and I truly believe it prevents big blow up fights and screaming. And you know what else?

It is teaching my sons empathy and the more proper way of how to deal with emotions than yelling.

So, so be it if it is too much. To me, there has been nothing but upside. It has kept me “calmer” and closer to all my sons during a very trying week. And it turns out that is what I needed more than a glass of wine and a trip to the porch. I didn’t need stress from yelling and feeling crappy about yelling. I didn’t I feel crappy enough as is. I needed to love and be loved by all my boys. And I got it.

So yeah, this week has been tough. And tomorrow and Friday will be equally tough as I sit in the hospital for 48 straight hours watching my baby go through seizure tests galore to rule out all the bad stuff. And yeah, I wanted to go out to my porch tonight and cry instead of packing for the hospital. But I needed to get this out. I needed to set my feelings free. I needed to admit I was having a hard time.

It works wonders you know, sharing  your feelings with adults AND kids alike.

(Now let’s hope our Neurologist can work some wonders too and give me good news.)

Fingers crossed,
The Orange Rhino 

The Orange Rhino Emergency…Basket!

294 days without yelling, 71 days of loving more to go!

Dear Fruit Cake,

Move over. This holiday season, you are no longer the #1 gift. The Orange Rhino Emergency Basket is. Filled with 10 of the Orange Rhino’s favorite things to use when she wants to yell, the Orange Rhino Emergency Basket is the perfect gift for any mother or father. In fact, you can give it to employers, friends, grandmas, Starbucks baristas, crappy drivers on the highway yelling at you to move when traffic is full on stopped. Yes, you can give this basket to anyone this season. Because face it…come the holiday season, everyone yells more than they like. And what everyone wants is to not yell, not Fruit Cake.

Best of luck to you,
The Orange Rhino

*

Feeling like you are going to yell? Need a quick fix to snap you out of it? Grab one of these 10 items and remember your promise to yourself and to your kids, to not yell at them. Grab one of these items to feel better, to find empathy, to make your kids laugh, to relax. Grab one of these items and feel the desire to yell slowly fade away.

And yes. Yes I do have this basket in my house. And yes. Yes I do use these items. What was that? Has this challenge made me a little silly and over the top? Why, yes, yes it has!

  1. Start blowing bubbles (Helps me take deep breaths but more so, reminds me of childhood and that I should just chill out sometimes!)
  2. Put hand in front of mouth and pretend to “toot” a horn or grab this horn and blow  (Great attention getter making it easier to deliver my message without yelling. Focused kids equal kids that can listen better.)
  3. Put funny glasses on and “look” through their eyes  (Makes kids laugh diverting them from bad behavior and helps  me to force myself to see kids in an orange way, a more loving, understanding way. )
  4. Spray silly string (Fun diversions help everyone relax and refocus.)
  5. Pop some orange M&M’s into mouth, a.k.a. Orange Rhino Pills! (Chocolate is a great mood changer! I stash these everywhere I need them – purse, car, diaper bag, desk drawer. Need a laugh? Read this blog post Parental Laryngitis about the pills!)

6. Paint toe nails orange (Reminds me every morning to be warm and composed. Added benefit? My boys ask why my toes are not pink like other moms. Ha! Their interest really reminds me of my promise to them!)

7. Buy orange napkins and keep in the kitchen (Meal times are hard – I make them more fun and more peaceful with this good reminder. And on nights I know are going to be beyond difficult I whip out the orange plates!)

8. Put orange post it notes all over the house ESPECIALLY where I am apt to yell (It’s like having a built in alarm system for yelling. When I am feeling really corny or goofy or stressed I even write notes to myself. You can do it! Don’t yell, laugh. Don’t yell, smile. Tell your kids you love them.)

Orange post-it note warning! Dear Orange Rhino – don’t yell at the kids for not getting ready for school on time. Help them if need be! Barking orders gets you nowhere fast!

9. Make Orange Rhino sign, attach popsicle sticks and have Kids hold it up when crankiness starts (They love it and having a team to support you in house is huge!)

10. Serve Orange Foods/Drinks  (oranges, peaches, cheese, Cheez its, carrots)

 

The beauty of this basket? It is not only easy to put together thanks to Party City and their new color coordinated section but it is easy to move around to different rooms depending on where you are. Having a really bad day? Bring it with you everywhere! The basement, the garage, outside, the kitchen, the bathroom (you know because what parent EVER goes to the bathroom alone?!) Having an easy day? Leave it in plain sight in the kitchen.

Want to personalize the basket?

Try adding an orange sweater for someone who loves clothes. My favorite is this one from Old Navy – I have it, super soft and super obnoxiously bright orange! I wear it on days that I know are going to be rough, you know, days that start before 5:30! http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=60790&vid=1&pid=262546072

Or how about for someone who loves to cook? This is a MUST. It’s orange and it says Love. What is not to Love? Purchase at www.brownlowgiftcom. I know I fell in love when I found it and by the way, it actually is a phenomenal spatula. Works beautifully and I love that it “belongs” in the kitchen because that is where most of my stress is.

Okay, and who doesn’t love a candle? Yankee Candle’s Spiced Pumpkin is great. Any orange candle is for that matter because the scent is relaxing and the color is a great reminder.

So what are you waiting for? Throw out the fruit cake and make an Orange Rhino Emergency basket for your friend, a neighbor OR better yet YOURSELF.

Why does The Orange Rhino Emergency Basket work? Because most of the items create distractions. They stop “bad” behavior, both MINE and my boys. These items help both my boys and I stop and re-focus so I can deliver my message calmly and they can hear my message easily (or easier). Go ahead, give it a try! Or at least add it to your holiday list!

 

 

My Mother-in-law was right.

291 days of not yelling, 74 days of loving more to go!

Dear Mother-in-Law-dearest,

Not gonna lie. I am thrilled that you hardly, if ever, are on the internet. As such, I can “safely” share this blog post without you saying “I told you so!”

Fondly,
Your daughter-in-law

*
(Disclaimer: As far as mother-in-law’s go, I am pretty gosh darn lucky. I am actually grateful that mine is mine. Even if she annoys me sometimes, read on!)

It’s that time of year. A time to give thanks, a time to count or bountiful blessings, a time to eat up all the beautiful moments that family can bring. But for my ever-optimistic mother-in-law, it isn’t a time of year, it’s a way of living. She still writes hand written thank you cards even for simple thinks like having us for Thanksgiving Dinner, taking the time to call, sharing a story about the boys. She says thank you to anyone and everyone who she shares an exchange with during the day and she finds a way to be grateful and say something positive even when times are really bad, like right now when the love her life is failing way too quickly to Alzheimers.

And as much as admire her positive outlook, I must admit, sometimes it does feel a bit much. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed (jealous?) by her ability to not just find gratitude, but to feel it and share it with everyone. Okay and well sometimes, sometimes I feel just really annoyed by it.

To be clear, it’s not that I am anti-gratitude or an outright unthankful b*tch, I just am not over-the-top-lets-be-grateful-every-second-of-the-day like my mother-in-law. I most definitely say thank you when appropriate, expected, needed or truly heart felt (like whenever you comment and I say thank you for reading!) And while I most definitely think grateful thoughts, like wow, I’m grateful the boys aren’t pummeling each other right now, or wow, I’m grateful my husband helps around the house, I don’t actively share those thoughts. Yes, I do embrace the importance of gratitude but sometimes I just want to say to my mother-in-law, “enough already with the gratitude! Can’t you say something that bothers you?”

I think I actually said that to her once. Or twice. And every time my ever so chipper, perfectly perfect and proper mother-in-law, said to me,

“Now Orange Rhino, you do know that practicing gratitude is one of the many keys to happiness don’t you? That otherwise you focus on the negatives and that just brings you down?”

“Yes.”

“Well good. Have you been writing in your Gratitude Journal? You know, you really should give it a try.”

And by that she means  the one she gave me within weeks of meeting for the first time, the one she gave me each Christmas, each Birthday, each opportunity. Yes, my darling mother-in-law has been pushing Gratitude journals on me since the first moment she could. At first I was touched. How sweet, she likes me enough to give me a gift. And then how sweet, she wants to share with me something personal in her life that works. Then it was, enough already do I seem THAT unhappy? And recently, when she finally stopped giving them to me it was DARNIT, where is the Gratitude Journal when I need one?

Because guess what. MY MOTHER-IN-LAW was right. Practicing gratitude and sharing those thoughts whether via a journal a blog or out loud does make me happier which in turn get this, KEEPS me from yelling. The whole practicing gratitude isn’t just the corny hogwash that I thought it was! When I talk about the positives in my life it keeps me focused on the good things, the happy moments which helps me feel lighter and obviously, happier. And a happy mommy = a less apt to yell mommy.

This became evidently clear during the great power outage of 2012, also known as Hurricane Sandy. Every moment I felt stressed or angry or annoyed I found myself saying “wow, it could be WORSE. I could have lost more than power, I could have lost my home. I am so lucky. I am so grateful our house is unharmed.” And that sense of gratitude helped me stay calm and get through the day. And then when I saw power trucks coming to New Jersey from all over, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Indiana, Mississippi – my eyes filled with tears from gratitude and that kept me grounded and focusing on hope and that it would get better. And that got me through the day without being crotchety, without yelling.

I had always heard that gratitude was a powerful emotion from sources beyond my mother-in-law. I think I even recently read somewhere that it is scientifically proven to make people happier. I guess I didn’t realize just HOW powerful an emotion and a “non-yelling tool” it was until now. And hey, while I wish I had listened to my mother-in-law earlier, I am grateful that I at least learned the lesson now. Now is way better than never. I don’t expect to practice gratitude on the level of my mother-in-law, I just hope to practice it more. I just hope to share my thankful thoughts out loud more. And right now is as good as any time to practice

I am grateful for all 600 of you who read this blog and follow my challenge on Facebook. Your support keeps me going. Honestly. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving! And to my non U.S. followers, Happy giving-me-reason-to-say-thanks!

 

 

Don’t ASSume…

287 days without yelling, 78 days of loving more to go!

Consider this blog post a PSA. Not a Public Service Announcement. Not a Politics Service Announcement but a Parents Service Announcement, about what I will not say, you’ll have to read to find out!  I hope you enjoy and learn something from my story, which warning is both gross and funny

*

My darling second son has always been fond of touching everything. And I mean everything. And that includes his bottom. Yes, his bottom, the inside of his bottom to be precise. This has been a problem since the moment he discovered that he could indeed, explore that part of his body. Now, I have heard that this is normal. So every night at bath time when he goes exploring I would gently remind him that it isn’t safe and he could hurt himself.

I always got the same answer. “Okay mommy. Sorry.”

But then there was one night back in October when the answer was different.

“But MOMMY. I simply HAVE TO put my finger up my butt.” (Really?!)

He was rather insistent so I clearly had to understand why it was so necessary.

“Something is stuck up there! I need to get it out.”

“Okay sweetie. Do you need to go the bathroom?”

“No. I need to put my finger up my butt.”

Lovely.

“Well no more sweetie. It’s not safe. Come on, time to brush your teeth.”

That conversation just did NOT settle with me that night. It just didn’t seem normal. So I called the pediatrician the next morning. With four young boys I call A LOT so let’s just say they know me pretty darn well!

“Hi Theresa (the nurse). It’s Mrs. Orange Rhino. Again. So here’s the thing. #2 (ha!) normally puts his finger in his bottom. Sorry, I don’t know how else to say it. Anyway, last night he insisted he had to get something out. Is this really normal?”

I heard my pediatrician chuckle in the back, clearly sharing my feelings of “wow, what will happen in this family next?!” and then clearly state to the nurse:

“No, this is not normal. Have him brought in immediately.”

I panicked. Really? What could it be? A tumor? Hemorrhoids?

We rushed in and my pediatrician took a swab of the area and left the room with a small smile on his face.

He returned with a large smile. Like I said, we know each other. He knows I have a sense of humor and can take the punches!

“So Mrs. Orange Rhino, the good news is that he has RECTAL STREP.”

“Huh! What? How does one…”

I couldn’t finish my sentence as #1 started chanting LOUDLY “Rectal strep. Rectal strep. You have rectal strep!” Can you blame him? It does kind of have a ring to it.

I was flabbergasted. I had never heard of it and had no idea how one would contract such a thing at this age. My pediatrician interjected my thoughts:

“The other good news is that it isn’t Worms. That would be really gross. No, this is only kind of gross, right? Just what you needed, right? More good news: antibiotics will get rid of it. He most likely had strep undetected and passed it below when wiping.”

“Okay. How long did he have it?”

“Well he had a pretty big colony in there. I’d say a few weeks. Maybe a month? You are actually REALLY lucky you caught it. Undetected strep can be dangerous to the body, including kidney problems.”

Well, well, well. I assumed my son was just being gross and difficult and stubborn about his butt exploration but no, he indeed had a problem. Good thing I called and then did further research that night. You know, search the web and pretend I am a doctor, type research. I discovered that it is actually contagious. And a light bulb went off.

#3 started potty trained in August. The last few weeks prior to his brother’s diagnosis he was having bowel accidents daily. I ASSUMED he was just regressing and not trying hard enough. When he said it hurt and he needed help I was frustrated. When he had an accident I got frustrated. When I realized SH*T he probably has rectal strep too because a symptom is hurtful bowel movements, I got frustrated.

I called the pediatrician.

“Hey, it’s me again! So #3 has the following symptoms…and #2 bathes with #3 and #4, should I bring them in?”

“Oh yes. Most definitely.”

And GUESS WHAT? We had a winner folks. #3 AND #4 also had rectal strep. As the doctor chuckled at my predicament (I now had three bottoms to lotion up twice a day and three kids to wrestle meds down, twice a day for 10 days) and wrote more prescriptions he said:

“Yeah, so probably a good idea to bring #1 in tomorrow.” (Ya think?!)

And GUESS WHAT?! Another winner. 4/4. The best part? #1 normally bathes separate but that week. THAT ONE WEEK he bathed with them once. Just once and voila. Rectal strep.

Only thing missing? The 4th bottle. Comical. Absolutely hilarious to me. I have a hard time remembering to give medicine to one child. Let alone 4. Of the same kind. How the heck would I keep it straight?!

 

 

As we were leaving the office, my 4 rectal strep boys and myself, I overheard an intern say to a doctor:

“Wow. You learn something new every day. I had NO IDEA rectal strep even existed.”

 

 

Hmm. That makes two of us sweetheart! But now we both know. And now I know, or rather have been forced to REMEMBER to never assume that my kids are wrong, or what they have to say doesn’t matter simply because they are kids or because they are frustrating me. I must give them the benefit of the doubt. They may just be RIGHT.

This was not the first time I made a bad assumption about my kids or dismissed what they said. It’s easy to dismiss their actions, to assume because they are younger and “just kids” that I am right and they are wrong. Oh so unfair (how would I feel if someone dismissed my feelings? Um. AWFUL.) I used to constantly jump to conclusions that they were up to no good and yell at them only to have them turn around and hand me a beautiful picture, or show me how they were cleaning up. Yup, I’ve yelled unnecessarily before and made an a*s out of myself but more so, hurt my kids feelings. Have you ever made an assumption about your children and yelled at them only to make an a*s out of yourself?

 

 

Marshmallow Mayhem

286 days without yelling, 79 days of loving more to go! 

Dear #2 and #3,

You continue to give my great photo opps. Thank you. But next time could you please stay OFF the high chairs and ask me for help?!

much love,
The Orange Rhino Mommy

*

Oh boys. Oh my dear, dear boys. I love the teamwork. I love the independence. I love the confidence. I don’t however love the unhealthy snack or the dangerous approach. All that said, I do love you for giving me a great idea for a new alternative to yelling, like stopping and taking a picture. See?

Remember this picture?

“You block mom, I’ll get the pickles. In the glass jar…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well those two were at it again yesterday. Same idea, new location, and a new alternative created and I just realized, clearly the same shirt. But on a different child. AWESOME.

Who wants a snack?

I think this is how the conversation went down before the picture:

“Hey #3, let’s push the wobbly chair over to the cabinets and get really, really close to the stairs so that when mommy turns around from changing a diaper she sees us and gets all in a twit.”

“Okay #2. And I know. Instead of getting a healthy snack lets each shove a mouthful of marshmallows in our mouths so when she asks us what we were thinking we can’t talk.”

“Great idea. Do you think while she grabs her camera, because we know she will, we can quickly shove some marshmallows in her mouth so she can’t yell at us?”

“Yeah. Good thinking.”

“Ready. Set, go!”

And this is how the conversation went when the boys were busted (and after a took a picture)!

“Um boys, what are you doing?”

“dghdshgdsha”

Yep, their plan worked. I couldn’t understand a darn word. Between the smiles and the giggles and the mumbled words I couldn’t even yel. I did manage to not laugh though and to still firmly remind that that their behavior was unsafe. And then when they offered me a marshmallow I accepted. It was a sweet peace offering I couldn’t resist (even though I probably should have.)

As I munched on my marshmallow I had fond memories of a Bridal Shower where we made the bride eat a marshmallow every time she answered a question about her future husband wrong. How many kids does he want? 2? Wrong. 1. Marshmallow in. When did he know he was going to marry you? First date? Wrong. 2nd marshmallow in. By the fourth marshmallow we couldn’t understand a word she spoke and couldn’t stop laughing. Just like now.

Which made me think: what if I carried marshmallows around and stuffed them in my mouth whenever I wanted to yell? That would definitely make the boys laugh and change their behavior (win) but oh so not practical or smart of nutritious (no win).

BUT I could bite my tongue and try to talk instead. That would DEFINITELY have the same effect. I tried it out today when everyone was crying and carrying on at dinner time. They weren’t doing anything deserving of yelling or reprimand I was just tired and cranky.

So I bit my tongue and talked pretending I had marshmallows in my mouth.

It sounded like this, kind of:

<<< Okay, just kidding. I can’t figure out how to upload a video to my friend’s computer. So just Imagine it! Better yet try it tomorrow!>>>

When I spoke, the boys stopped in their tracks and started laughing while asking me “mommy, what’s wrong with your mouth?” “mommy you sound like after you went to the dentist.” “mommy you sound funny.”

I had their attention at last and it was quiet enough to get my message across. So I repeated it this time not biting my tongue.

“Boys. Please stop yelling. I have a headache and I am really tired. Please go play with your legos. Thank you!”

“Oh, okay.”

Wow. Biting my tongue literally worked. I’ve always heard that sometimes you have to bite your tongue. Guess it’s true.

Master one moment at a time

285 days without yelling, 80 days of loving more to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

I regret to inform you that my computer read my post last week and in sheer defiance decided to go kaput. So unfortunately for this week looks like I will be posting via phone again. Apologies! Anywho, here is a conversation I had with my hubby this morning. Based on the tone of my posts the content should come as no surprise, but hopefully you like it and find it useful (and funny!) I know I did at the time.

xoxo,
The Orange Rhino

*

OR: I’m cranky.
Hubby (H): Yes I noticed. Is it that time of month? (Ever so loving).
OR: No!
H: Oh. Sorry. Is it because you feel gross like me?
OR: Yes partially. I just wanted to cry this morning when I woke up.
H:I feel ya pain sister (why he calls me sister I have no idea. Weird.)
OR: No seriously. I just can’t seem to get back on track after the Hurricane and it is overwhelming and annoying.
H: Of course you feel that way.
OR: thanks captain obvious. Want to shed some light?
H: You’re off routine and have been for 3 weeks! You’re not exercising, not eating healthy, not motivated to write because you’re stressed and therefore not writing which is a routine you had, you aren’t sleeping well because kids aren’t adjusting back to aforementioned missed routine so yeah you’re proper f’d.
OR: wow babe. Thanks for the awesome pep talk. Yeah, things are tough right now. But how does one get through? How does one pick up and get going when the going gets tough? You know, as you would say, how do I light a fire under my a**?
H: Is this a philosophical question about life? A blog question? A weight loss? I can only handle one female emotional issue at a time…
OR: it’s all of the above. It applies to all you know.
…He starts talking and I cut him off becuase in talking to him I started gaining clarity.
OR: I know, you just go at it. I read somewhere then when working out if you feel weak that is when you push through. That is how you become stronger.
H: Exactly. It’s hard and overwhelming right now but if you push through you will get back on track. And everytime you come to this place you will push through faster because you’ve become stronger.
OR: Okay great philosopher, put it into simple terms please.
H: Focus on what is 3″ in front of you.
OR: My nose??? (Yes I said this. Yes I have a big nose).
H: No you dumb a**. Focus on the basics. Focus on what has to get done now. One choice at a time. One thing at a time until you have both feet underneath you again.
OR: oh okay.
Child #2: I have to go p**p and I can’t wait until we get to Starbucks.
Philosophical conversation ends as we each run, pushing a double stroller the remaining half mile. Focus on what’s in front of you – like the potential of an accident. Back to basics!

*****
Seriously though, this applies to the Challenge and life. Focus on the moment in front of you now. Not the 365 days or the 3 months or the 30 days or even a week. Master one moment at a time and when you feel weak push through…the strength to not yell will come. Tell me, what do you do to get the spark going? Focus on the basics, like cleaning (sat morning FB post), or what?