Breathe, Thumbalina, Breathe

By Tracee Sioux

Close your eyes and breathe in pink puffs of air full of courage and calm, black air full of all your pain and fear.

In two three and out two three, pink courage in two three, and black fear and pain out two three. Great, we’re almost there, just keep breathing like that until we get there.

I’m teaching my daughter how to not freak out in a crisis, like the other day when she smashed her thumb in the car door and we were on our way to the doctor to have it lanced.

Now, one of the things my husband appreciates about me the most is that I AM calm in a crisis. A wasp flew up Ainsley’s shirt and stung her three times before we knew what was going on (we were in the house). I calmly had her in the shower with mud on the stings within a minute. He was very impressed that I remembered what to do and did it in the face of hysterical screaming while remaining super calm. Just as I did when I had to hold her down while the doctor cut her thumb open. Poised and graceful under pressure in a real emergency – that’s me.

However, if it’s not a real crisis then I’m a bit of a complainer, whiner, drama queen, freaker-outer, spaz.

If my toe nail hurts I’m going to complain to the whole family about it. If there’s drainage or congestion from allergies, my kids and husband and anyone who asks me how I am will know that I’m suffering from everything that grows in Texas because I’m allergic to this place.

The other day Ainsley had her cousin over to play. Both were blessed with siblings last year. Both suffered through their mothers’ pregnancies. When I went into my bedroom I found this scene:

Ainsley lying in bed with her back propped on several pillows, a ball under her shirt. Adjusting herself ever so slightly to relieve the pain in her back and the swelling in her ankles.

Bring me my book, husband. Can you get me some water? Oh, my back hurts. Bring me some food, kid. Oh, I’m pregnant!

Having had a pregnant mother of his own this seemed like exactly what happens when mommies are pregnant and families are held hostage by their discomfort. So, Cory followed every order to the T, never questioning his role as the expectant father.

It was hilarious. And a very accurate portrayal of what goes on in our house when a baby is expected (which explains the readiness of my husband to volunteer for a vasectomy.) I would think a very accurate portrayal of what goes on in most houses (except those strange women who actually LOVE being pregnant – whatever!)

Okay, women deserve a free pass for everything when they are pregnant.

But, I also realized that I frequently complain and make a drama out of nothing when I’m not pregnant.

I have heartburn, stomach acid from those nachos are burning a hole in my esophagus. My head feels like it’s going to explode. My feet are like icicles, I may have to get them amputated due to frostbite. I’m so sick of these allergies, I am seriously considering moving anywhere but this God-forsaken place where everything that grows seems determined to suffocate and kill me. I can’t take one more year of living without central air and heat, I seriously don’t think I can live through it anymore. It’s so hot it’s like an oven in here, I’ve got to go to my grandma’s before this house cooks me and the kids, we can’t even think.

Honestly, my bitching and complaining doesn’t bother me — it kind of amuses me really. It’s like a writing exercise where I make the description of how I feel funny, strange and apt. Of course, it’s exaggerated by about a billion (I mean, really 103 degrees is extremely uncomfortable, but it would have to be like 150 degrees to cook the kids wouldn’t it?)

The only reason I understand that this is so annoying is because the behavior is creeping into my daughter and all I really want to teach her is:

Suck it up! I’ve even heard myself say stupid nonsensical things like, There’s going to be a lot of pain in your life and you need to learn how to manage it and control it rather than complain and freak out about it.

Who am I kidding? Not my daughter. Not my husband. Not a single person on the planet probably – except perhaps me.

So, while I am teaching myself to manage the little microscopic dramas in my life: stepping on a freaking Lego I told you to pick up yesterday, how many times have I asked you to brush your hair, we’re late why aren’t you ready?

Why don’t you ever listen to me?

What she should say to me, but what she will never say because she will be punished is: I do listen to you, but I’m only five and it’s hard for me to tell when you’re full of crap!

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