I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
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Saturday, 19 February 2011

On Losing My Marbles

When I first became ill 2 years ago, I came across this wonderful way of explaining what I was feeling.

You can read it here: The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino

Then I found that there is a whole community that has grown out of this story. There are many of us 'spoonies' out there, and finding them has helped me a lot.

One of the things this community has helped me with is inspiration and encouragement. Another, is finding ways of still being a Mom, and a good Mom at that, while having to count my spoons, or as we refer to them in my house now, my marbles.

I've been searching for a while now for different ways of communicating with my son in regards to my illness. It's not an easy one for most adults to understand, never mind 6-8 year olds. I had told him things like: "You know there are different types of sick; coughing sick, throwing up sick, fever sick, right? Well this isn't like any of those. This is a different type of sick, that makes me very very tired all the time." It helped, but he didn't get it. So it was in communicating with members of the spoonie community that I was insipired to try and share the spoon story. It goes very well with Montessori, being so concrete, that I thought a bright kid like him would understand it. But he wasn't interested in hearing a story about spoons. Sigh. So I almost gave up. But then......... We were about to go brush our teeth, and I saw his marbles, all gathered up on the rug in his playroom, and it struck me!

I said to him: "You know that story about spoons I wanted to tell you? Can I tell you with marbles instead?" and he just jumped on it.

So I sat down and invited him to join me, and took his marbles, and went over what his day was like, and showed him all the 'leftover' marbles. Then, because he is working with fractions at school, I said to him: "People with my illness, we only have one third of the marbles you have." And he split the pile into three. Then we went over my day, him telling me how many marbles he thought I would use for each activity - the showering really threw him, because it was one marble to get undressed, another to shower, another if I need to wash my hair, another to get dry, and another to get dressed again - and ended up with very few, which we decided we should use to play with him, rather than read, or do the dishes.

Then we talked about what happens when there are just no more marbles, and there are still things that HAVE to be done. He understands dynamic subtraction, so we talked about borrowing from the next day, and how you just can't get it back but you have to start the next day with less marbles.

It was amazing how he got it. Just amazing. When I asked him if he understood, I could see the gears spinning as he said, "so we could do this with spoons," followed by "could we do it with stormtroopers?" after I finished laughing... "we could do it with my swords, or with all my toys!"

A couple of days later, he called me into his playroom, and said "I want to show you how I'm going to use my marbles tomorrow." And we went through his plans for the whole day! It was awesome!

I am grateful for many things: for Christine and the Spoon Theory, and for my imagination and my awareness of my son's levels of knowledge and interests that allowed me to adapt it in a way that would be fun for him; for the Montessoris who created a great math program within an amazing educational system that allowed him to understand the concept in such an advanced way; for toy manufacturers that make marbles and stormtroopers; for the spoonie community and the inspiration it has provided; and finally, for an amazingly open and perceptive child who has proven to be an amazing support.


  1. Children will do it every time.He will be learning important lessons through you.XOXO

  2. That's so cool! You're an amazing mom, even in the midst of your own stuggles you're always thinking of ways to make sure your son is OK and managing as well. You're awesome!