Monkey got sick last week. It started with some abnormally calm monkey behavior, and progressed into frothy diarrhea and then on to projectile vomiting. When a 18 lb infant starts sending partially digested ravioli bits several feet across the room in a fire-hose like gush, it's time to call the doctor.
The poor little guy was so dehydrated from all his hydrotechnics that by the time he got in to the doctor all he could do was lay and stare. He barely moved when she poked and prodded him - this the guy who at his nine month appointment a few weeks ago was a two-foot-tall destruction tornado who barely paused long enough for the stethoscope to graze him.
The doctor’s orders involved pedialite (a rehydration drink for kids) and a dropper. His mom and I took turns sitting on the floor with little Monkey in our laps, feeding him a single ML of fluid per minute for most of the afternoon. (And alternately trying to keep Turtle out of the way: Monkey's only concession to lethargy was to shriek whenever his brother got close.)
I feel a little self conscious about turning poor Monkey's ordeal (who, five days later, is once again gobbling ... and processing ... everything in his path) into a lesson for myself. But I hear that's what parenting (or, nannying in this case) is about sometimes. So here goes: All of the frantic planning and applying and researching and DOING of the last six months has left me strung out and a little crazy. There is an endless list of things that MUST GET DONE NOW, and I have become so intent on multitasking, that I start freaking out if several things aren't getting done every minute that I'm awake. I have lost touch with my exquisitely lazy side in this season of planning and transition. But sitting on the floor, feeding a baby a drop of fluid every minute for several hours, left me feeling calmer and more centered than I have for months. What a crazy (and scary) way to be reminded. No wonder centuries of monastics have relished the mundane, repetitive tasks of their calling. I hope the rhythms of our (hopeful, future) farm - milking, feeding, mucking, chopping, weeding - will give us a taste of living out of that centered place (without, of course, the scary anxiety of a sick infant.)