Letting be (#535)

It is not uncommon to hear about people “battling colds” or “fending off illness” or otherwise rallying themselves ’round to fight off the Common Cold, the Stomach Bug, or other Viral Invaders. Now that the three of us seem to be possibly, hopefully, getting over whatever persistent sickness that has been overwhelming us this week (Charlie having had it since late Friday evening), I have been thinking that a militaristic response to flulike symptoms is not the best way to get back on the road to wellness, at least not in Charlie’s case.
When one’s child gets sick, one’s first thought (as a parent) is to hope that she or he will get well as soon as possible. And so we parents—seeking to make that pre-emptive strike to ward off illness from a well child—go out of our way to encourage healthy diets, coax our kids to swallow their multivitamins, wear hats and gloves and a properly warm jacket out into the cold. When some malady descends, we seek out comforting chairs heaped with blankets and pillows, a visit to the doctor, a prescription of the latest antibiotic, and we push the fluids. We do all we can, at least to make ourselves feel better.

Taking the path of least resistance—succumbing to the sickness, that is—-has rather proved the better path to take for Charlie. I recall that his hands felt warm on Friday night and sure enough his forehead was hot on Saturday, and he then slept through most of that day. And of Sunday. And for big chunks of Monday and Tuesday and even today, Thursday. An attempt to send Charlie back to school on Wednesday made it clear that Charlie was not yet ready and was not in the mood (or the right health) to rise to the occasion. By the end of today, though, he was running around some and laughing in a more lively manner, and (still sniffling and coughing) had a good piano lesson.

It is December and he has not been sick or missed any school at all till now. The one thing that seems to have helped Charlie get better has been, quite simply, to let him sleep and rest up for the final push of schooldays before winter break; to let him be. To let the cold run its course.

Charlie has not been talking much, due to his having (I think) a sore throat and a loud cough that comes in waves. It was good to hear him just say a few phrases: “o-pen!” “Mommy stairs up!”

The last phrase took me extra time to figure out. “Stairs” is one of those words of Charlie that has some four or more meanings attached to it, including “go upstairs” and “go downstairs” and “come downstairs” and “come upstairs.” At first I thought he meant “upstairs” and then—because he kept standing right in front of me and grinning so big—I said, “You want mom to carry you?”

“Up mommy!” said Charlie and giggled more. I attempted said action though not up the stairs as Charlie is a good-sized 9 1/2 year old. He laughed when I picked him up and put him down and then ran up the stairs himself.

So each of the words of “mommy stairs up” was really equal to a phrase: “Come on mommy, carry me and go upstairs!”

I could tell Charlie to enunciate each of those sounds in those phrases and say it all just right. Even though his own three-part phrase—“mommy stairs up”—needs some deciphering, the great thing about it is that it was entirely Charlie generated, with him stringing together the three words into one long (if telegraphic) utterance.

Let go a little, let it be, and you never know what sort of language you might freely hear.

4 Responses to “Letting be (#535)”
  1. Hsien Lei says:

    I also believe in letting colds run their course. No acetaminophen or cough syrup over here unless absolutely desperate for a good night’s sleep. Knock on wood. We’re all doing fine. Glad to hear Charlie is too. Now I hope Mommy and Daddy recover in time to have a good weekend!

  2. MommyGuilt says:

    I’m glad to hear that Charlie’s feeling better. I’m chuckling to myself reading about how succumbing to the illness, instead of taking the proactive approach and pushing cold meds, hats, gloves, etc..might just have been the better thing for Charlie. I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to convince SmallBoy to drink up the alka-selzer cold (he prefers airborne, but I’m out). Perhaps if I had just let it ride….

  3. Of course, what I write here is NOT medical advice! I’ve been trying to tell myself, when I get sick, or any of the three of us get sick, it is our bodies saying, time for R & R!

  4. Julia says:

    My daughter has several meanings for “up”: Go upstairs, pick me up, carry me upstairs, I climb up. Figuring out which one she means can be a challenge sometimes, but if it takes too long, it becomes “pick me up” if it wasn’t that to begin with.

    (She can sing all sorts of songs, but “functional vocabulary” is small. Her twin brother, until quite recently, had nothing but functional vocabulary, but he didn’t say very much, just what was needed to get what he wanted.)

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