Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Early Childhood Illness

Originally posted on August 21, 2013

While I was traveling to see family recently, I encountered a parent with her little boy of about 18 months of age, the child being extraordinarily fussy. I found him deeply annoying, and reflecting on this reaction, I wondered how my mother might have felt—not to speak of my older brother and father—when I, as a sickly child, no doubt fussed like this. I was told that sometimes I cried as if I were being tortured. I silently blessed my family for what they must have gone through with me. It might be difficult to openly delight in a kid who is such a trial. It is enough just to keep him alive! It was a pity, because it left me with more than a trace of an inferiority complex.

A related element is the way I don’t consciously remember my fussing or being so trying, but recognizing that this was probably true, at least part of the time, might have contributed to a variety of possibilities. Related to this heart-opening (now) on my behavior is the associated  dynamic of “denial” (would that be a fair word?) over what a trial I was, and it made me wonder about denial in other conditions—addiction, etc. I wondered for the first time, listening to that fussy little boy, “what if you were that bad and worse?”

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