For anyone who follows my personal blog, you know that I spent this past weekend at a personal retreat. It was an awesome experience, but my cell phone service was spotty, and I tried to avoid being on the Internet too often. I talked to Patrick, and he kept me up to date on things. I knew Simon had a cough, he’d had it when I left, but it hadn’t seemed to get much worse.
On Monday morning, the day I was leaving, my phone missed a call, but I saw a message pop up. I listened. It was Simon’s school nurse, and she left a terse message, telling me to call back. No details. No nothing.
I was on my way to mantras and breakfast, but I called as I walked, worried. It turned out that Simon had been coughing so hard they thought he would throw up. But he had stopped coughing. He had no fever. His color was good. He seemed to feel fine. But he had coughed.
Had he been coughing that weekend, she asked.
Well, I told her, I knew he’d been coughing a bit last week, but I hadn’t been home all weekend, I’d been away, so I wasn’t sure.
That’s all she said.
And the way she said it. The full weight of judgment was upon me.
How could I not know if my child had been coughing? How could I go away? Why was I not right there, right then, to come pick him up?
I reiterated that he had a cough when I left, that he often coughs until he throws up because, like me, he has a horrible gag reflex, and that it doesn’t seem to bother him when he throws up (he has thrown up from coughing in the middle of the night and gone right back to sleep, so we don’t find out about it until the next morning…).
I told her that I was about five hours way, so if there was a problem, she should call Patrick because he could pick up Simon if it was necessary, but that I would obviously not be able to since I was, as I had said, five hours away.
I felt her grumpiness through the phone. I ignored it.
Later on, she called Patrick because Simon had been coughing even more. He went to pick up Simon. She showered praise on Patrick. Thanked him for coming. Oh how wonderful he was to take the time to get Simon from school when he was sick. How wonderful.
In direct opposition to his slacker, loser mother, I’m guessing.
Why did she feel the need to judge me? Why did she feel she had the right to judge me?
I know I’ve said this before, maybe even in a different Simon blog, but there was one important thing I learned when I worked a job at a hospital oh so many years ago. It was the platinum rule.
For those who don’t know, the platinum rule is better than the golden rule.
Everyone knows the golden rule: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
But that doesn’t really work, does it? Because some people believe in stoning others for their sins. Some people believe that you need to have a quiversful of children. Some people believe in forgiveness. Some people believe in an eye for an eye.
The platinum rule fixes that issue.
The platinum rule states that you should treat others the way they want to be treated.
Treat people the way they want to be treated!
Me? I prefer not to be judged when I’ve done nothing wrong. I can sometimes go away, whether for business or pleasure. I can sometimes not be able to drop everything and rush to my son’s aid, especially when his father is five hours closer than I am.
And I can avoid judgment from people who don’t know me.
Now for something completely different:
I want to give a huge shout out to Behavior Plus. I went ahead and showed Simon a video of fireworks (the BBC fireworks from January 1st of this year) and let him know that we could only talk about fireworks once a day. He was welcome to watch the video – a full eleven minutes of fireworks, and talk about fireworks the whole time. But once it was over, that was it. He watched the video once, and since then, he has only brought up fireworks once a day. When he does, I let him focus on them for a few minutes, then remind him that he can’t talk about them until the next day.
I honestly did not think it would work. He is not very verbal, and he does have a lot of issues understanding days and weeks and months and, well, time in general. But he’s totally latched on to the idea that he can only talk about them once a day.