Sunday, March 02, 2008

He can't breathe

My little Levi. He really struggles with his lungs. It's been series after series of steroids since November. We're now the proud owners of an allergist and a pediatric pulmonologist. We've spent thousands on testing and meds.

One day, in my desperation to solve his wheezing problems, I attacked the closet in his bedroom. There were stacks of boxes from the move, a dusty old suitcase big enough to hold at least two of the kids, and other unused items. I pulled everything out and vacuumed like a crazy woman. ( The kids are aware that Levi doesn't have the easiest time health-wise, and often make their own assessments about why things are different for Levi. "That cookie will make him sick?" "Levi can't go there because they have a dog and that will make him sick?" "Does milk have milk in it so Levi can't have it 'cuz it will make him sick?") Well, I cleaned for a good hour and hauled the over-sized, dusty luggage into my bedroom. Izak came in, immediately interested in the huge black box. "Mom, why is that in your room now?" "Because it might be making Levi sick (running my finger through the dust)." "So... now Levi's allergic to suitcases too?"

Good friends

I am beginning to enjoy my children's love of one another more and more. They really are becoming very good friends, navigating conflict, understanding and accommodating differences, and enjoying the levels of silliness that each one brings. I don't know how much is nature and how much is nurture, but part of being home as much as I am enables me to be in their relational business every time they turn around. Libby was in the front hall the other day, having a conversation aloud with herself. She said, "Izak is my good friend. (pause) Levi... (long silence) Levi is my good friend." And I unconsciously exhaled a prayer a thanks.


If you've survived the toddler years, if you're in the toddler years... then you need one. A backbone. A certain amount of "you are absolutely too short and have too poor of a vocabulary to control me" kind of attitude. I joke that when I'm older and the kids have gone to college, I should think about becoming a hostage negotiator because some days it feels like I negotiate with short terrorists every day! I don't have the alpha attitude every morning, but mostly... you absolutely have to for your very survival.

Most people who know me understand that I really dislike confrontation. I'd rather disappear than deal with explosive, negative, volotile situations. I've always been (honestly) passive-aggressive with hostile people, usually by never letting them know how outrageous and immature I think they are. I cut out people that I perceive to be a threat. I'm not quick with words and refuse to enter into shouting matches. It's not that I want everybody to just love each other and get along, but I want a fair playing field, one without cutting words, power plays, manipulation, intimidation, etc... and then I had kids. I love my kids alot. And thankfully, God is giving me the backbone to push back and shape their hearts... even when there are demands and screaming and tantrums. I love them too much to let them be uncontrolled, and God loves me too much to not strengthen my backbone.

Funny how life plays out occassionally. I was working in recovery room the other day. We had a particular patient that was really making life hard for the staff. He was fully recovered, very demanding and rude. Downright mean. Fortunately, he wasn't my patient. Unfortunately for him, I was in an anti-terrorism mood. I was bending down beside the bed of my patient to measure some urine from the catheter when I hear BANG BANG BANG BANG. I looked up to see a 30-ish year old guy two feet from me with his cup in hand, banging it on his tray table. Worse yet, he was looking right at me. I studied his face. Was he nauseous? Perhaps confused? Non-verbal? And then I saw his eyes narrow, and he glared at me and BANGBANGBANGed the cup again. And my toddler-mom brain said, "Oh, no you don't! I DID NOT come all the way to work to deal with THIS!" I suddenly felt filled with power of a mom that's survived 5 long years of pecking, nagging, and demands, and I fully engaged this hostile man. I imagine that he, too, saw my eyes narrow as I leaned towards him. Without as much as a smile I said, "Do you need something?" BANGBANGBANG went the cup. "You need to use your words. I asked you a question. (more slowly and with a slight growl) Do you need something?" And slowly he dropped his gaze. "Water." I put my hand on the cup and decided to negotiate my final demand... "Water what?"

"Water, please."