Dealing With Pain

Three days in a row, three different boys, three kinds of pain….

On Thursday night, Athos and Porthos were playing a crazy game of chase around the house, opening and closing the doors while hiding from each other. We’ve told them many times how dangerous it is to play with doors but let’s just say it’s the kind of lesson best learnt by experience. So as it happened, Porthos was hiding behind the door just as Athos swung it open, and ended up getting his big toe slammed into. He shrieked non-stop for a good 15 minutes. After we made sure his toe wasn’t broken, I cuddled him and tried to soothe him as best as I could. But Porthos has always worn his heart on his sleeve, and I was sure his screams could be heard clear across the neighbourhood. Eventually I distracted him with stories and songs. And he fell asleep.

Friday night, we came home to find Athos lying on the couch, clutching his head, gritting his teeth and stifling sobs. This was the first time we’d ever seen him do this and it was nothing short of alarming. I cradled him and it seemed to calm him though the pain did not go away. He slept cuddled against me, and fortunately the pain wasn’t bad enough to awaken him in the night. At the doctor’s the next morning, we were told it was an ear infection, commonly caught from swimming. We were prescribed an antibiotic and some ear drops, which have been a great help.

Last night, Aramis awoke with a loud cry and continued inconsolably for a good 10-15 minutes. I tried carrying him, rocking him, nursing him, singing to him. But nothing worked. It was beginning to frazzle me. Pilgrim Dad took over and after a while, Aramis cried himself to sleep. I still don’t know why he cried.

But these three consecutive experiences have taught me a few things. First, every child responds to pain differently, so every episode needs to be handled differently. Second, knowing the reason for the pain (no matter mild or serious), is far better than not knowing the reason. And third, pray!

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