Resiliency is about more than barfing

Hail and well met!

I can say that now, but over the weekend there was much barfing in our home.
We’ve been traveling, and visiting family and skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
And despite our best efforts, we brought home the most unbelievable bug from the plane!

I spent Friday in the ER, I’ve got one teen who is still in bed today, and poor Ben – who didn’t even travel with us – is also still recovering.

As we are all in various stages of recovery it’s got me thinking on how much easier it is for kids to recover.

And how much less they care about being sick. They just don’t seem to have the same dread of it as we grown-ups do.

I’ve seen this extend out into other kinds of recovery as well, and I got permission from my now-18-year-old to tell the story of the leg surgery he needed when he was just five years old.

I used to think of Max as my little baby Roo,

if you remember the small kangaroo from the Winnie the Pooh series. (His mom was “Kanga,” and I always loved their names.)

He had the cutest little gallop!
Max always ran with the right foot in front, from the time he started running. Which he did fairly late, he didn’t walk until he was well over a year old. And when he did, he fell. A lot.

It didn’t slow him down at all. We’d just see him galloping along and then all of a sudden – boom! – he’d be down. And then up, and off once more.

We didn’t view his little gallop as anything unusual, but his grandmother, a retired orthopedic nurse, most certainly did. Her concerns led us eventually to a wonderful doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston, who patiently showed us how the bones in his right foot were being deformed, and how a surgery would be necessary to fix that.

Max had always been a sensitive boy. He couldn’t tolerate the feel of denim, preferring sweatshirt material against his skin. He couldn’t tolerate loud noises (unless he himself was making them :-), and he always has possessed a heightened sense of atmosphere. If somebody’s upset or worried, he would instantly know that and translate it into something he himself had done, even if that wasn’t the case.

I worried, how will he get through something like a surgery? He’s so small. How would he withstand the pain – and it would be a very painful recovery, involving the reconstruction of his Achilles tendon.

The doctor heard my concerns and reassured me: “you won’t believe how quickly he will be up and about. The one thing I ask, the day he forgets his crutches, don’t let him actually run in the cast. Try to keep his activity to a dull roar.”

He said all this with a wonderful twinkle in his eye. Clearly a guy who has spoken with concerned parents like me before, and who has seen their children shine post-op.

But still I worried.

I shouldn’t have. Max came through the surgery with flying colors. He understood and used the pain scale, appropriately telling us when he needed pain relief medicine.

There was definitely some barf though!

Children’s Hospital has this policy, where patients can order any food they want off a menu, at any time they feel like it.

Max ordered Froot Loops, and bacon, at least twice each over the forty-eight hours he spent in the hospital.

He ate nothing else! And, we got him home and settled on the couch with the quilt I made him a few years previously, his favorite stuffed animals and comic books around him…

He brought back up all the Froot Loops and all the bacon!

That was the end of cereal enjoyment for him. He still likes bacon though… Somehow that survived LOL

Joking aside, all through his recovery I was amazed at Max’s resilience.

First with the pain scale, then with adapting to a cast (for the first 3 months) and then a walking boot for the next 3 or so months.

I couldn’t believe it when, one night as he brushed his teeth about two weeks out from surgery, the doctor’s prediction came true – he forgot his crutches! Just left them in the bathroom.

Minutes later we found him, cast and all, jumping on his bed.

As he recovered he took on all the physical therapy that was asked of him. He submitted to massage, to keep the tissue from scarring. He learned exercises and stretches, and cheerfully did everything his physical therapist asked of him.

He was recovering right before my eyes!

I saw my child in a new light.

And that’s why I wanted to share the story with you.
I want you to see your child in a new light. Maybe you’ve never had the fear of watching your child go through a surgery.
But just like every kid throws up at some point – and recovers – so does every kid take those hard knocks of childhood.

Being misunderstood. Getting feelings hurt. Feeling frustrated, or worried, or sad… These are all things children feel.

Maybe one of the best ways we parents can help them through it is to express our understanding for what they’re going through. And to tell them how proud we are of them.

“This is a really tough thing you’ve just come through! I’m proud of you.”
How glad would you be to hear this sometimes?

I know how glad I was to hear it from my husband today, as we commiserated over these last many days of illness and sadness and barf.

Barfing is a part of life.

Thank heavens, so is resiliency.

What’s up on the podcast this week:

What’s your go-to approach for getting work done?

Do you view something difficult as an exciting challenge, or a way to prove to yourself and others – once again – how crummy you are at difficult stuff?

Today, we look at how our own mindset impacts our children’s eventual success.

Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy the show this week!

Click the link below to listen:

What’s up on my YouTube channel this week:

Extending on this theme, the live YouTube (I do one every Thursday) is called
“What is a good mindset for learning? How to get my child the best educational mindset”
Check out my YouTube channel by clicking here.

What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:

Each Monday at 10:30 a.m. EST, I do a superquick Facebook live that I call “Magic Words for Parents”… And this week’s was all about how to foster a growth mindset. I shared a quick phrase to help you do exactly that!
This, and all the back episodes of Magic Words for Parents are available 24/7 in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, so  click here to view or (if you haven’t yet) join!

Wishing you a wonderful parenting week,
Karen of

PS Good news! I am accepting people once more into our private community for parents!

Recently parents in our community have been getting help with:

  • A 4-year-old’s very disrespectful behavior
  • An overwhelming and insensitive parent-teacher conference
  • An “aggression journal” kept by one 3-year-old’s daycare teachers (!)

Whatever your struggle, come and be part of our supportive, caring and above all helpful group!
Click here to read more about working with me and what it can mean for you.


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