Toddlers and Tonsillectomies and Things to be Thankful For

Cricket had her tonsils out a few weeks ago. It was a stressful time for our family and things have been pretty crazy.

Thankfully, the surgery went well and she has bounced back quickly. Too quickly! Keeping a toddler quiet for two weeks has been difficult. We’ve played lots of games, colored lots of pictures, and watched way too many cartoons.

During this recovery period, I’ve discovered that I have lots to be thankful for. Our overnight hospital stay really drove that home.

At the start of our stay, I felt sorry for myself and for Cricket. How awful it was that my baby was having surgery. How hard for her and for us. I will admit that I spent a few hours wallowing a bit.

But the reality is this: Time in a Children’s Hospital puts things into perspective pretty quickly.

While Cricket slept, and I was alone with my thoughts, I thought about how lucky we were.  A deep feeling of gratitude quickly overcame the self-pity I felt.

I’m thankful for so many things.

I’m thankful for a stellar medical team who took wonderful care of Cricket during her surgery and hospital stay.

I’m thankful for my family who came to be with us during the surgery. I’m thankful for my Mother-in-Law who stepped into my shoes at home and cared for my family and home while I focused on Cricket.  And my Father-in-Law who played with the Grasshopper and helped her to feel special while her sister was getting so much attention.  And my mom who was willing to drop everything to come help, but equally willing to let my Mother-in-Law step in to help, too.

I’m thankful for a circle of friends who shared with me their experiences, checked on us, and kept back the things they knew would frighten me.

I’m thankful that I have a job that allowed me to be with her the entire time.

Most of all, I am thankful that we all came home together, healthier than we started.

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Cultivating Gratitude with a Newborn

In honor of one of my friends who will be having her baby any day now, I thought it might be nice to pull together some of the thoughts I’ve been mulling over on different things that have made transitioning to motherhood easier for me.  I hope this is helpful, not only to her, but to my other mommy friends and readers.

Cultivate Gratitude. I don’t mean thanking your adult friends for helping you.  This goes without saying.  I mean cultivating gratitude toward your baby.  It can be so hard when you’ve been up all night, you’re tired, you’re hungry, and you just can’t find a spare second to yourself.  I found myself, with the Grasshopper, focusing on what I wasn’t able to do during the day.  I wasn’t able to eat breakfast.  I didn’t have time to go to the store. I didn’t get a nap. And on and on and on.

I found myself struggling emotionally with how I could manage everything.  I felt like my ability to have a life of my own was slipping away.  I became frustrated and occasionally resentful.  I felt overwhelmed.

But the Grasshopper was patient with me.  That’s the thing about babies.  They are so forgiving.  They won’t stop loving you if you mess up.  They won’t say, “I told you so.”  They won’t hold your mistakes over your head.

She taught me that it wasn’t so important to be perfect.  She taught me to appreciate each moment.  Her patience and joy and love helped me to grow into the mother I am today.

With Cricket, I was able to find something different within myself right away.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t get to do during the day, I found myself feeling grateful for what I was able to do.  I thanked her every day for letting me take a shower, for letting me eat breakfast, for napping while I drove, for letting me suction her nose without a fuss, for putting her legs down while I changed her diaper, and on and on and on.  It’s amazing how powerful those two words can be.

Try it.  Say those words.  Say them out loud.  Say them when you’re frustrated.  When you’re in the shower and you’ve only just soaped your hair and your baby starts to cry and you know you won’t have time to do anything else except rinse the bubbles and dry off.  Say, “Thank you baby for giving me the time to wash my hair.”  Take a deep breath and let the rest go.  It makes a huge difference.

I am finding gratitude in all parts of my life.  I’m digging deep when my bouncy four year old knocks something off the table.

Thank you Grasshopper.  Thank you for your joy and energy.

I’m finding it when my husband is stressed and grouchy from work.  Thank you Mr. Grasshopper for keeping a roof over our heads.

This gratitude helps me get through my day.

So my advice to new moms is this: Don’t focus on what you didn’t accomplish.  Thank your babies for the small things.  The small moments.  The time to eat a snack or use the restroom or shave your legs.  Find joy in the little things.

And to my daughters?  Thank you.  Thank you both.  Thank you for your patience and your unwavering love.  Thank you for teaching me to be a better person.  You are my two blessings, and I give thanks for you every day.