Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Line

I was thinking this morning on my drive in about the fine line that is holding your ground and showing love. I think I was definitely straddling it this morning, saddened that I couldn't hop onto the love side due to work commitments. Jacob woke up cranky this morning. When I walked in his room to wake him up, I was pleasantly surprised that he was awake. Usually he makes some sort of audible noise when he wakes up, be it screaming for us or just talking or singing quietly to himself. But I walked in and he was just sitting there. Bonus for me because I didn't have to wake him up out of a sound sleep, which is usually quite the task. I did that yesterday after a horrendous couple hours at the end of the night. Jacob woke up a little before 5am, wide awake and not wanting to be alone. After multiple unsuccessful attempts at comforting him and leaving his room only to hear him scream, we brought him into bed with us (ugh) in the hopes of getting that last bit of sleep. But unlike the night terror night, he did not sleep. And after repeated episodes of poking, hair pulling, and thrashing, I put Jacob back in bed. He cried for a few minutes but fell asleep. Of course, waking him back up a little over an hour later was not good, and he had a cranky morning before drop-off.

Despite a pleasant initial wakeup this morning, things went downhill fast. He didn't want to wear the shirt I picked out, he didn't want to put his coat on, he wanted to take his animals to daycare, he didn't want to get in the car, he wanted to watch a movie, etc. He cried like crazy about the shirt for a good ten minutes. For the record, I let him wear a nearly-too-small hockey shirt yesterday because he wanted to wear one and he just wore his other one. Today I didn't want to give in, for many reasons. That did not go over well, and he cried right into the beginning of our drive. He was a little clingy at drop-off, too, but seemed fine when I left.

After drop-off I thought more about the morning's events. If things weren't so crazy at work, it would have been awfully tempting to just stay home with him, let him sleep, and chill on the couch with a movie. Based on his behavior, he was sleepy--probably still catching up from yesterday. And that's not really his fault. It would be pretty much as valid a sick day as any, other than the fact that his issue wasn't contagious. Chances are he'd be nearly as miserable, anyway. And it would have been so nice to just spend a day chillin' with the little man...assuming he'd stay chilled. Which is doubtful, knowing him. And I do hope he improved as the day went on.

If I would have been able to stay home with him and let him rest, I do worry about what kind of precedent it would have set. I mean, when I was a kid I could only stay home from school if I was puking or had a fever. I didn't get those stay-home-and-relax days that I know some classmates did. And ultimately, I'm probably a stronger person for it. Of course, I probably push through illnesses more than I should now and thereby infect my co-workers more as a result, but at least I'm dedicated. I only take a sick day if I have to. And perhaps Jacob needs to learn to push through and make the best of the situation. But is that too much to ask of a two year old? Should he be coddled until he's old enough to understand why he's sleepy and to have coping mechanisms to deal with it? Certainly I didn't have to deal with it too much until I was five and in kindergarten, by virtue of having a stay-at-home mom at the time. And maybe when she was freely able to be at home, she was a little more lenient than she was later when she had to work. I have no idea. Ahh, the things you ponder when you're finally old enough to have kids of your own...

But I do question where the line is of allowing your child to get the recovery they need vs. helping them understand that it's a tough world out there and they need to push through sometimes. I don't want to coddle him now and later have a kid that's strapped to the couch the second he doesn't feel great, but I also don't want him out there in the world feeling miserable, like his needs aren't being met. Maybe he needed to stay home and rest. Or maybe once he got to daycare he went about his day like nothing was wrong. How do you make that call? And what do you do when you're stuck letting work and other things impact your decision. Ugh. Tough one for today...

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