Thursday, January 17, 2008

the right way

We've just experienced our first ear ache in the Young household. Captain Handsome was the patient, and it took a while to diagnose because he didn't exhibit any 'normal' symptoms, he just had a fever that spiked between 2-4 am for 5 nights in a row.

By the 5th night, things were getting ridiculous. The little guy would start squawking, completely out of it with tiredness, but he kept climbing all over me and trying to sit up. Knowing, as everyone does, that it's easier to sleep laying down, I kept trying to help him to the 'correct' position, only making him more wiggly and determined to sit up. I finally rocked him in the glider, raised up on my shoulder, and he fell right asleep.

The next morning at the doctor's office, when the problem was finally diagnosed, all his behaviour made sense. (Well, the signs he SHOWED. It's still crazy to me that he never showed any direct signs of discomfort in his ear, even when Kat the fake doctor poked it a little to see if was infected.) Naturally, in his case, sitting up and having his head elevated made it easier to sleep, because it relieved all the pressure in his head.

This has been swimming around in my head. While there are often many ways of accomplishing the same task, let's be honest: most of us have a favorite, or RIGHT, way of doing things. Many times this is even true - at least for us. Through trial and error we have learned what works optimally for us in a variety of projects. It tends to follow that this course is the best way for OTHERS as well.

Occasionally we are even right. I hazard to say it is universally true that socks going on before shoes is the way to go - if you're choosing to wear shoes and socks together. And generally it IS easier to sleep in a prone position - unless your head is clogged and feels like it's going to explode. Then you need to reevaluate.

This idea of MANY right ways - or at least different right ways for individuals - is continually reinforced as I watch Katie create things. She hasn't yet learned to be afraid of the vast white space of her paper. She has no inner compulsion to be symmetrical. Colors don't yet match in a particular way. She is already very particular about the way things need to be lined up in some instances - you can't thwart genetics entirely! - but she's still young enough to be experimental in most things.

Hopefully I can keep this in mind more often than not: just because a way of doing things is right for me, does not mean it's the best for ANYONE else. Anyone want to lay odds on how long it will take me to forget this? Probably the next time I have to work with someone on something . . .

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