My stomach hurts, Mia said to me. Again.

Immediately, I touched her appendix. Let’s play doctor. Does it hurt here? Here?

I knew she’d say no, because my own mama gut was screaming: Parasites! And we all know that when our gut talks, it’s in everyone’s best interest to listen.

Parasites are part of our daily existence, but in varying degrees. Some days are fine, others are annoying. When someone has a few annoying days back-to-back, it’s time to get checked out.

I’d been dreading it, though. Going to see the doctor always takes so much time, and – in Mia’s words – it’s so boring. But I didn’t want to put it off too long.

We took a tuc-tuc to our local hospital, registered, and looked around for a seat. The waiting room was packed, so we headed outside.

Can we go see the doctor now?

Not yet, I said.

Now what do we do?

Now we wait.

Waiting is not my strength. No matter how hard I try, waiting feels like imposed unproductivity. But on this particular day, the prospect of just waiting for a few hours with a 4 1/2 year old felt overwhelming. So I decided to try something radical : surrender.

I decided not to fight the wait. I would shift my perspective, I decided – and my eyes landed on my daughter.

Children are masters at filling time. Give a child a swath of time, and she will weave a game out of it.

Games, then, instead of a boring wait.

She spied a bird, I spied un untied shoelace.

Can we go see the doctor now?

Not yet, I said.

We sat and shared an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie I’d made earlier and frozen for a day just like this one. If I’d had coloring pages on hand, I’d have set her up with that. But we just had fingers and toes and our imaginations – and it was enough.

She jumped over coloured tiles and raced to the wall. She made up a story about a unicorn, I plucked a memory from my childhood and turned it into a legend. Time went by.

We waited. We played. Were we unproductive? Maybe. But when the nurse called my daughter’s name, we were both giggling.

That day, I realized that one-on-one time with kids is the best way to get closer to them.

In a few short years, Mia will stop believing in unicorns. She’ll stop asking me to spy something green.

She will stop asking for this little piggy, she’ll forget all about the tickle monster.

But not yet. Not yet.



  1. Fern Rancourt February 14, 2018 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    So wonderful that you turned this boring time into fun games thanks to your and Mia’s creative imagination! This full attention that you gave her is probably half of the healing process.This is how a Mama becomes the best Mama in the world in her child’s eyes.

  2. WHY I DITCHED WORK-LIFE BALANCE April 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm - Reply

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