Often I think we do not even realize we do it. We complain about how little sleep we got the night before, the guy that is driving too slow on the road, how a co-worker treated us. We might complain about the wilting lettuce that came on our salad, or how cranky we feel. It is almost second nature for us to complain. I am just as bad as the next person. I think about it though. I try to watch myself and see when I am complaining. I wonder what life would look like, feel like, or sound like if we did not complain. Would we all sound like Pollyanna?
This Fast Company article, “What It’s Like to Go Without Complaining For a Month” is an interesting idea. I know it would not be easy to do, and yet why not? Does the Pollyanna vibe feel odd to us because someone who does not complain feels fake? Does that mean that our society is so immersed in the idea of agonizing over the hand that we were dealt, that it is almost very strange to imagine not sharing our qualms, experience, and drama with our co-workers, family, and friends? Is it the drama that encourages to complain? Or is it the storytelling and community that comes along with going into all the gory details of all you went through getting your take out last night at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant?
Often I think individuals do not realize they might be complaining. We are all storytellers at heart. I am an addict of a good story. I love to laugh and while I am not one to make fun of someone’s misfortune I do love when a story weaves and explores what someone might have had to go through – even if it all happens in the process of complaining.
While I do not think I have it in me (yet) to go an entire month without complaining. I am going to *try* to be conscious about my complaints. For someone who is very free with my thoughts and what is on my mind, I could do a better job filtering the complaints. I should probably spend some time thinking about the list of ideas in the Fast Company article that are tips for complaining less.
I have nights when I sleep beautifully, and other nights when I toss and I turn. Either I cannot sleep on one side, I get hot, or I have to pee multiple times. Some nights I toss and turn because Chris is snoring. I have to either deal, or pat him and ask him to roll over so I can actually go to sleep. Other times I ponder life, and eventually fall back asleep, or I get up and read and when my eyes can no longer handle it, I snuggle up next to my warm husband and fall back to sleep.
When I found a new way of approaching falling asleep, I thought why not try it? It actually works (from what I have found so far). It is the 4-7-8 principle outlined here:
“She happens to be a licensed wellness practitioner who studies meditation, stress, and breathing techniques, and told me it would change my life. You simply breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds. She explained that the studied combination of numbers has a chemical-like effect on our brains, and would slow my heart rate and soothe me right to sleep that night. “It works,” she told me. “It’s crazy.”
I have tried it a few times and since I do not remember what happened next, I think that means that I have fallen asleep. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale through mouth for eight seconds. When I do it I can physically feel a difference in my body. When you hold your breathe for seven seconds, and then exhale, your body has to go through a moment of relaxation. You would exhale out in a different way if you had not held your breath. While it feels a bit strange, I feel my body relax and release in ways it probably would not if I did not do: 4-7-8.
They are right that is slows your heart rate. It somehow slows my mind, which is just what I need to let go and let my mind and body relax and allow a few hours of sleep to get me to the next morning where it all starts over again. Take a moment to read the above link to see more detail on mindless breathing, and how it can help you sleep better. ZZZZZzzzzz…
Occasionally (Chris would probably rebut that comment and say often), I talk in my sleep. He thinks it happens when I work too much and have tons and tons of information coursing through my mind. Yet, the most recent occurrence happened around the holiday, when my brain was mush, and there was a tiny fraction of thoughts flowing in my head. My recent middle of the night rambling:
[Tami rolls over in bed.]
T: Put them in a pile. Put them in a pile in the middle of the floor.
C: Put what in a pile?
T: The sticks that are meant for play. I think I know what I’m talking about.
C: Ok babe.
Chris has learned it is best to agree with me in these moments. We have been married for 11.5 years. He has learned over time about my late night babble. It is like an alter ego comes forth via my subconscious and I can snarl, cuss, and disagree. Since everything makes sense in my unconscious mind while I sleep (it does for everyone, right)? Early on in our marriage I would talk and he would find it fascinating and ask me questions about my babble, if he disagreed with me I got a bit aggressive back at him. For example: if he said you cannot put sticks in a pile, I would snarl and get confused and frustrated as to why not.
Over time he realized that I would wake up in the morning and have no remembrance of our conversation, what I was talking about, or my reaction. He decided he would just agree with me. So if I said there are sticks coming out of my head, take them out. He might say something like: “okay, I did, is that better?” Agreeing meant that I could babble all I wanted, but not have to process why it was not logical or made no sense (thus last week’s ramble).
My husband is a saint. I think he should start to write down all my middle of the night ramblings, and we can compile and publish them together. A coffee table book?
Last night my sister made my day. See I love to hear my niece laugh. I tried quite often last weekend to get her to giggle, and I had my ways and succeeded, but not that deep gut laugh that continues and is impossible to stop. My sister knows how much I love a baby that giggles, and how happy it makes me. So, of course she texted me the most recent video. I cannot tell you how many times I have played it since she sent it.
Since Charlie’s birth my sister and I started a little informal tradition. Either I will text her: “POTD” (Photo of the Day) especially when I am having a rough day, or she will just text me a POTD without prompting. The video last night came with the text: “I think the element of surprise really got her. He was closing his eyes like he was asleep and then he would open them with a loud laugh.” I think we might have just ventured into VOTD (Video of the Day). No pressure Pen. Here is the video of Charlie:
If only we all lived our lives taking time each day to make others laugh. That would be an amazing shift for the world. If we all lived to make others laugh until you pee your pants, because you cannot stop giggling, well that would turn the world upside down. Stop what you are doing, let your shoulders drop, watch Charlie again and find a way to share a deep heartfelt laugh today. Or better yet, giggle until you pee your pants.
Most all of us like to cuddle, whether we are 3 months, 3 years, 30 years. The art of the cuddle is the security of connectedness, closeness, and feeling safe. Sleep is always the necessary commodity for both babies, toddlers, and their parents. Either you have a sleeper or you do not, or the child ebbs and flows from one extreme to the other. With my sister and good friend both having babies in the last 3 months, it seems to be a current topic. Co-sleeping, cribs, naps while laying on you, not sleeping unless you are near them. There are so many different philosophies to what we should and should not do, how we treat sleep schedules, whether we should co-sleep with our babies.
I honestly do not know what I will do, or how I will handle whatever situation I am in, all I do know is that every child and every situation is different. I might have selected how I want to handle sleeping, only to find out that it will not work for my child. I obviously do not have to worry about it for the moment. However, when I saw this video of this father who goes much farther than I would to get his daughter to go to sleep, I laughed. You have to watch it entirely. It is comical, and yet you can probably relate. He is probably thinking my back is going to be fun to stretch out tomorrow.
What do you think? Would you go that far to get your baby to stop crying and go to sleep? It does show how sometimes we just want to be close to another, safe in their arms. She goes right to sleep if she is laying on him. I can relate. Sometimes just snuggled up next to Chris on the couch I can fall right to sleep. Comfort + Safety + Trust = A good night sleep.