There are very few things that annoy me more than people telling me to relax. If you have to tell me to relax, the chance of me relaxing will no doubt plummet immediately. The same goes for smiling. Telling someone to smile will invariably have the opposite effect. And if you ever use a phrase like “turn that frown upside down” you are liable to get punched. I used to get told to smile all the time by all different kinds of people; teachers, my grandfather, mailmen even homeless people. Of course, when homeless people are telling you to cheer up – that’s not a good sign. But I naturally have a somewhat dour expression when I’m thinking or just plain old not smiling, so I guess I can see where people might think I’m unhappy when I’m not. But telling me to try to force an expression of happiness in not the right direction to go. Try giving me money.
Today, Sadie had a developmental specialist come and check on her progress. As I’ve written here countless times, I have let my worry about Sadie’s past feeding and growing problems lead me down a few bad paths (thanks Google) and I’ve had to be talked off of a few ledges regarding various syndromes, the latest being Russell Silver syndrome that I half convinced myself she had. I’ve since ruled it out. But mostly I’ve accepted that she’s doing things at her own pace and all I can do is make sure she has all the proper medical intervention in place to monitor her. Although I’ve accepted that, I’m still hyper vigilant and a natural worrier and I tend to ask a lot of “what if” questions. The development specialist checked out my petite baby, put her through the paces and announced that I needed to relax and stop looking for problems. Oh, okay, thanks. I hadn’t thought of that.
To tell a high strung, neurotic Jew who’s already had a lifetime of therapy; is already on a daily regimen of Zoloft, Xanax, and a few medicinal beers, is late on a deadline, and has gained an extra two children and ten pounds in the past nine months to relax is almost comical. Almost. But not.
I’ve been this way for 42 years and I kind of know how to deal with myself at this point. I know that cocaine is not a good drug for me. Neither is coffee, tea or almost anything you can buy at Starbucks. I know to stay off of Google (when possible), to avoid Scientologists, grape Kool-Aid and overly simplified answers like “The Secret.” If the Secret really worked my house would be built out of yummy yummy gumdrops and I would be soaking in a hot tub of hundred dollar bills right now. And please don’t tell me to get a massage, try Yoga, take a bubble bath or sip some herbal tea. If that worked I wouldn’t be still be paying off old shrink bills.
The good news is that things are where they would be expected for Sadie taking into account her IUGR, preemie status, fungal infections and possible reflux. She’s connecting, engaging, rolling, tracking, grabbing toys with two hands and doing well on her stomach. Now if I could just teach her to fetch me a Red Hook…we’d both be doing great!
I will do another installment of my book deal series tomorrow – we’ll talk more about finding your voice and whether or not you need a platform.