Living with a four year old can be a wild ride. One minute everything is fine, and the next it is as if the world is ending.
Last week, I was telling V that I was going to make spaghetti for dinner. Meal times are always a struggle with a picky eater and little one that loves to be in control, so the day before I let it be known that spaghetti and meatballs was for dinner tomorrow.
Protest ensued. V made it clear that she didn’t want sketti and meatballs, she wanted macaroni and cheese (again), as that is always the first preference. I tried the strategy “I understand it’s frustrating that I’m making spaghetti and you want macaroni again”. Protest intensified.
At this point, I’m reminding myself in my head to stay calm. Breathe, count to 5. While my little internal calming session is going on, V takes it upon herself to reach for the sketti noodles to put them back into the pantry. What she doesn’t know is that the end of the box is open.
You can imagine what’s next………yep, sketti noodles flying everywhere!! At this point the deep breathing and counting is blocked by the color red.
I pick her up and head to her room. It’s time for her to calm down. It’s time for me to calm down. What we are doing now isn’t working. And for me, that was the sketti noodle that broke this camel’s back.
My mom was fortunate enough (sarcasm) to witness sketti-gate. She says “You’re going to be picking up sketti noodles forever”. Yep. She’s right. At that point she goes upstairs to be with highly upset 4 year old.
I scoop up some of the noodles, leaving some for V to clean up. I calm down, she calms down and then she helps clean up the rest of the noodles. Suddenly sketti and meatballs is the best thing ever for dinner. Well, except mac & cheese but I don’t dare remind her of that.
About half an hour later, over a glass of wine, my Mom and I have a real good laugh over the flying spaghetti noodles. I decide that every piece of spaghetti noodle that I find in the coming days will be my reminder to find the humor in these intense moments while they are happening.
And then I think back to how laughter was what kept us going last year. With Lucy’s diagnosis we had so many unknowns. Would she need a feeding tube? Surgery for her incomplete palate? When will seizures start? Will seizure medication wipe out development that she worked so hard to achieve in therapy? We had 6 specialists to follow up with. We had very little uninterrupted sleep.
Stress does things to you that you have very little control over. And time was so precious to us. We wanted to make positive memories as a family. We wanted to experience the joy of having another baby and a little sister for V. Stress got in the way sometimes. And there were some very dark days on our journey.
But, there were also some really great moments that I will never forget. In fact, I will hold those moments in my heart and soul forever. And I never would have been able to have those moments without keeping my sense of humor.
Our condo was a duplex down, kitchen/living room/den on the main floor, bedrooms and both bathrooms downstairs. Bathrooms downstairs made potty training even more of a nightmare. We relied a lot on a free standing potty on the main floor.
One morning after getting V out the door with her Dad for school, I sat down holding Lucy and sighed. I looked down at the floor, and what did I see, a turd. Yep, turd on the living room floor. And in that moment, I laughed hysterically and said to my Mom, “Wow, you know it’s going to be a great day when you look down see a turd on the living room floor”.
I was tired, scared, uncertain, already grieving, and in that moment, all I needed was a good laugh. I learned that choosing to see the humor in things is something that I do have control over.
Grieving with PTSD and trying to function in this world again is a challenge. What keeps me going? One thing is laughter. It always has.
I inherited sarcasm from both sides of the family. I’m a people person and every once in awhile I meet someone that I don’t click with. It always takes me a bit to figure out why, but then it hits me, no sense of humor. And I think, what am I going to do with that? Then I make it my mission to get a good laugh out of them.
I’m lucky to have a 4 year old that provides multiple opportunities a day to laugh!! And I think she has my sense of humor, HA!
So if you find yourself stressed, annoyed, angry, remember to slow down, stop taking yourself so seriously, and laugh! It truly is the best medicine.
My name is Lou and I am a mom of two girls living outside of Chicago. I never would have imagined this, but our oldest daughter is at home and our youngest is not. She will be in our hearts forever. Lucy was an amazing soul and we continue to learn lessons from her today.