Sincere Thoughts on Being a Mom · Stories About Jake

Growing Pains And Going Bananas

Max woke up in the middle of the night complaining about how his legs hurt. I felt so sorry for him because I acutely remember how growing pains feel and he was pretty scared to be going through this for the first time. I assured him that these pains wouldn’t last all night and the good news was it meant he was growing big and strong.

He was not amused in the slightest. He began crying and felt hopeless that he’d never feel the same way again. He’s five so that means he said the words never, never, never again. A lot.

I sat on his bed and rubbed his legs for as long as he would let me (he kept saying it was “making it feel worser”). Ugh, I was not helping him at all.

Then I remembered how a friend told me once that potassium helps with leg cramps. Hey, we always have bananas in the house. They’re probably not helpful at all for growing pains, but don’t tell Max. He bought my explanation about the miraculous powers of the banana and he ate half of one on the spot. Still, the banana didn’t work instantaneously so I had to think of something else.

I considered ways to help him but came up short because I was so tired (Mini would be waking up in two hours) and I just wanted to snap my fingers to make this go away so I could go back to bed. I wasn’t feeling very nurturing.

But then I remembered how on sleepless nights when he was younger, say, when he had a cold and we both weren’t getting any rest, I would rub my hand on his back in a circle then tap, tap, tap, tap my fingers at the top of the circle. Amazingly, the rhythm and pattern I drew between his small shoulders worked every time.

So I asked him if I could show him what I did to comfort him when he was a baby. He nodded and turned over with his back towards me. I began, and he relaxed. I then smiled and traveled down Memory Lane for a while. It’s been too long since I just sat there with him in the quiet of his room and reflected on our relationship as mother and son.

I caught a glimpse of his early years that I’ve shared with him, of sitting beside his bed in an attempt to bring comfort during the trauma of sleepless nights, bad dreams, strange noises, and imaginary things hiding in the shadows. My techniques haven’t always worked and some of my ideas are lame even to a preschooler, but the most important thing is that I was there and present for when he needed me.

Tired or not.

By the way, Max said the banana worked.

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7 thoughts on “Growing Pains And Going Bananas

  1. I was up last night, too, with a coughing little Bean. Our comfort thing is that Bean loves to fidget with my earlobe like a lovey. Despite the fact that like you, I’m already SO tired, and sick myself, it feels pretty darned great to still be able to solve the problem and comfort her basically just by being ME. I can really relate to your feelings. Glad Max is better!

  2. My son has had growing pains on and off for several years now. It’s been awful. Wakes him up in the night. The docs have said to try and stretch your leg – point your toes, then contract. Bend your knee, then contract. Motrin also helps. And we ended up taking an old tube sock and cutting it so it was just a sleeve. Then we soak it in warm water and my son wears it. Helps a little.

    Growing pains stink. I hate them.

  3. Not sure why you’re so surprised that you’re a great Mom. It’s something I’ve known since the first time I saw you with Max. Even when things don’t work out like you like (banana not working instantly) remember….you can only do what you feel is right at the time. In hindsight, there will be times that you’ll feel like you should have done things differently, but believe me when I tell you that kids (thank you Mike and Jen) are very forgiving and usually don’t even remember the times when you feel like you failed them in some way. They remember the fact that you were there and trying your hardest to be the best Mom in the world:)

  4. We always give the boys a bottle filled with hot water and tell them to put it on the part that hurts. They usually fall asleep right away. πŸ™‚

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