I've made it my personal mission, these last couple of weeks, to be a little more Willow, and a little less Cordelia. For the most part, this has meant me breathing lamaze style through moments.. occasionally hours.. of wanting to be blunt. Blunt like candlestick in Clue blunt. As for the effectiveness of the lamaze breathing? I"d like to remind the reader that I had two C sections.
The big problem, really, is that I'm just not a Willow. I'm a Cordy. It's an honest effort for me not to say what I'm thinking, when I'm thinking it; and I have a hard time accepting that rephrasing my truths isn't being manipulative. It's that balance between "I'm going to say it this way so you do what I want." and "I'm going to try to speak your language now, so that we understand each other."
Hence me spending a major portion of yesterday and the day before being enormously frustrated and irritated with someone. And then realizing, sometimes it's not me. I can phrase and rephrase and smile and breathe until I'm so zen I pass out, but if the other person isn't listening? If the other person is so wrapped up in their own world? I might as well sing Dixie at the top of my lungs and stick my thumbs up my nose. That, at least, would get their attention.
The one place where I've seen some pretty noticible results of this experiment is with my teen. I've read that non reaction is key when dealing with the pubescent race, but I didn't really get it 'til now. I'm not saying it's perfect, or that Tris and I have suddenly become a finly tuned team working in unison.. but the blow ups are shorter. I'm more aware of when the drama is running away with the actors. It's a good thing.
So, in a gesture of help me help you, I spent this evening with a sharpie and my groceries. I labeled everything. "Nope, has gluten!" or "This is just for Tris! Hands off!" I used the calculator and the interwebs to figure out how much insulin he needs to take for each serving of each food, and then a visual comparison of the serving size. So the granola bars are labeled (individually) "2u for 1, 4u for 2" and there's a note on the fridge that says "A cup of potatoes, 4u.' with a drawing of a cup. In scale. I even took a measuring cup and figured out how many cups of milk each of our glasses hold, and labeled them by type. The little blue tumblers, 2u. the big plastic glasses, 6u.
This is all stuff Tris knows. We're going on 10 years living with diabetes. BUT, his ratios changed, and doing the math and remembering the new numbers was a hassle. So I did it for him. I can't go to school for him, but I can do this, and he doesn't have to worry about it any more.
In return, I got blown up at. Because he's a teen. And human. And change is scary. And having things like your diabetes pointed out to you is embaressing. And it's easier to yell "yep! I'm a screw up! I can't do anything right!" and storm away than it is to remember how good you are at so many things, and admit you need help catching up in school.
Remember: However much you try to change? Give the people around you time to catch up. Or not. It's their call. You worry about you.
The upside is this: After the explosion and the storm, and a hot shower for him and a cup of tea for me, the kid came back downstairs. With a better attitude. And questions. And we worked together for a bit on the system. We didn't let the explosion carry us through the night, or the week, being mad. We set it aside, and found a solution to the problem.
That's the goal, right? Acknowledging the problem and finding solutions to them? There's no shame in that. Tell your kids. I think this is one everyone should hear:
It's ok to have problems. It's ok to make mistakes. Just focus on the solutions. Don't beat yourself up. Have the courage to find the answer. It's harder, but you only have to do it once.