Sunday Blues and My Empathy Super Heroes

I have been a bit down this weekend. Especially today I basically just wanted to go back to bed. I have had no energy and everything has been a struggle. It might sound relatively normal for a mum with a teething baby, but for me it is an alarm bell I have to take seriously. If not, things can get a lot worse – I am planning on writing more about my mental health, but it takes time and curage, so for now I’ll just tell you my little Sunday story. It’s actually a feel good one, if you stay ’til the end 🙂

Mummy is just gonna paint a wall

Luckily Josh caught me before I really fell – he took the girls and sent me to bed in the airconditioned bedroom. A nap and a cool down (it’s bloody hot here atm.) gave me enough energy to go and paint the bathroom. As you do, right? Maybe not your average stress-down activity, but when I struggle in my mind it helps me to focus on a specific hands-on task. This bathroom has been a running project for weeks now. Stressful in itself.

I sweated and painted for four hours.

Meanwhile I could hear the girls play together in the garden. Play. Not fight.

Then, at one point I could hear screaming from the living room. Billie fell down the stairs and bled from her lip. Apparently Abby “accidentally” pushed her. Well, I went out to save, what I thought was, the sinking ship. While I gave Billie a cuddle, Abby came over and said sorry, gave her a kiss and they shook hands (that’s Billie’s thing these days) and hugged each other. Then all was good and they went outside to play happily together again.

Wait, what just happened?

A little later Abby came and slit a drawing under the bathroom door. She made it to make me feel better. You see, when I don’t feel good we let the girls know that mummy is tired or maybe even a bit sad. Then they accept that I need a break and they, somehow, get extra loving and caring towards me – but also towards each other. It’s like some kind of “family above all”- thing is happening.

My Emphatic Super Heroes

While I was wrapping up my painting I could hear the girls talking to Josh:

“Mummy has painted a lot today. I think she’s trying to make us proud of her. I am proud of her, but she doesn’t need to paint so much. I am always proud of her”

Oh, my heart!

I am so proud of them. They often drive me nuts, but their intuition of when they need to step up is (almost always) spot on. It becomes so obvious that they do have loads of empathy hiding underneath their cheeky, rascal surfaces.

The Flower Dilemma

Actually Abby is in quite a dilemma due to her emphatic nature. It can be hard to have loads of empathy and be an aspiring scientist at the same time, I tell ya.

So, Abby wants to find out if flowers have feelings (don’t ask). Josh set an experiement idea up for her: get two similar flowers. Plant them in similar pots, place them next to each other and give them exactly the same amount of water. Then, one flower you keep telling how much you love and the other you keep telling how much you hate. Then, if flowers do have feelings, the loved one will flourish and the hated one will die. Logic.

Abby gets the idea and really wants to try the experiment. However, she is very worried about doing the experiement in case flowers actually DO have feelings – because she doesn’t want to make any flowers sad. Oh dear.

Mummy, are you okay?

At dinner Billie said to me: “now mummy, you don’t have to paint anymore” and gave me a kiss and a cuddle. I think it was her way of saying “mummy, are you okay? I hope you are feeling better.

And I do feel better. Exhausted, but better. Fingers crossed for a good nights sleep. Ready for the Monday rush in the morning.

Oh, and I actually do have to paint some more. The little sucker of a bathroom needs another coat. Exciting when that’s going to happen.


Abby Makes Me So F***ing Proud

It’s probably not why you think, though.
Okay. Okay. Okay. I miiiiiiight get my proud mummy-face on every time she does something awesome, like hits the tennis ball perfectly with her little Wilson racket(it’s so ridiculously cool that thing) or ride her skateboard like a baby pro. Even when she climbs the mountain side at the beach without any fear what so ever. Ohh, and by the way she can also swim by herself now. No biggie.

She’s a little adventurer and is fairly advanced physically. Two things that I, admittedly, do cherish quite a lot. However, there is absolutely no doubt that I would love her just the same if she had had poor balance and couldn’t climb a fallen tree.

No, what REALLY makes me proud of our little girl is that she’s got the biggest and most caring heart and soul ever seen in such a tiny body. We have made a human being loaded with empathy. How rad is that?

Two of the last three weekends I’ve been ridiculously sick. You know, stomach bug sickness, of the kind where you lay on the bathroom floor at 3 a.m. thinking you most definitely is dying. Nothing is supposed to be that awful and painful and disgusting. One night I even had Josh call an ambulance, when I REALLY thought I was dying. My hole body was literally cramping. That’s what happens just before you die, right?!! Well, it turned out I had just been hyperventilating for too long, due to all the vomiting, and that, apparently, causes the body to cramp. So yeah, I survived. Twice.

The following days I was very weak and tired, and that’s when Abby stepped her empathy game right up. It’s nothing new that she does these things, but this time I really noticed it and appreciated it. I might even have shed an emotional tear in there in my sickbed, when she came in and did nothing but look at me and kiss my hand. Kisses make everything better.

Sadly, kisses aren’t enough to cure real sickness, so she also brought me cucumber and biscuits and plenty of water. I could even have some from her drink bottle if I liked. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. What makes it special is the look on her face in those situations. There is no doubt in the world, that it hurts her deep inside to witness someone else in pain. It makes her feel terrible and she will do anything to help and “make it aaaaaaaall better”.

Also, her ability to switch from a terrorizing toddler to a caring and helpful little girl, as soon as she realizes someone else is not okay, is amazing to witness – and every time it happens, I get confirmed that, despite her tantrums and crazy fits, she is pretty much emotionally on track. Such a relief.

During the week, I have daily been met with a “Good morning, are you better, mummy?” Today I could finally tell her, that I’m back to normal. That made her very happy…

Now, the above is just one tiny example of all the times where this little person over floats with care and emotions for other people.

After my parents left for Denmark, I was an emotional wreck and I could and would not hide from Abby, that I was very sad. Abby was also sad those days, but she assured me, that it would all be okay, and we would soon fly to mormor’s house on a big aeroplane.

She also gets very upset, when she can hear the neighbour boy cry, or any other child cry, for that matter. She wants to help them out, because “no-one is supposed to be sad”.

Today, Josh had a migraine. Abby went and found the thermometer all by herself and gave it to him, because that’s what you need, when you’re sick, right? “For your fever, daddy. It will make you better.”

The list could go on and on, but I think my point is clear by now; Abby is an awesome human being and I could not be any more proud of her for it.

Maybe it’s natural for children to have and show this amount of empathy. Maybe it’s the surrounding environment that ruins it on their journey towards grown-up-ness. If so – shame on the environment.
I know it is not a matter of course for grown-ups to have so much empathy, none-the-less to show it and put it into action like Abby does. I, for sure, don’t consider myself to be very good a showing empathy, but I do try my best to break down my emotional barriers, and even I, at the age of 33, is learning to be a better person these days. And Abby’s the best teacher I could get!

So yeah, we’ll worry about learning to count to 10 later. For the time being we focus on the important things around here. Such as showing empathy – and getting those 10.000 hours of tennis practice in the book.