Snakes & Ladders
(Originally written for www.raise4all.com)
Quite possibly the dullest game in the world. Plod, plod, weeeeee down the snake, plod plod, yay up the ladder!
Unless you play it with my 3 year old. He doesn’t like winning or being last so basically makes sure his counter is on top of mine the whole time. So we are together. The dice gets chucked across the room. The counting is dubious. Basically it doesn’t look anything like snakes and ladders but is a tad more interesting than dull but not by much!
Over the last few weeks, and if I’m honest my entire life time, my life has been like a snakes and ladders board and dull it is not.
Plod, plod, yay he ate a pea.
Plod plod, weeee, literally all over everything. How can one wee cause such devastation?
Plod plod, <insert minor achievement that means the world to you but nothing to anyone else>
Plod plod <major catastrophe involving food, bodily fluids or the pet dog>
I’m not sure if I play a game of snakes and ladders every day or whether one board lasts a life time. I like to think it’s the former and one day I hope I have a board with less snakes.
Interestingly this all started for me when I was struggling with one particular parenting issue.
At this point can I say I would rather give birth 10 days running than go through toilet training?
It has been awful. I don’t want to say too much as I want to protect the privacy of my nearly 4 year old. He is a wonderful little soul and I want to protect him from everyone knowing all the details.
The basics: he is nearly 4, he has NEVER asked to go to the toilet, we are under a consultant paediatrician. I feel like the only person in the world dealing with this.
I realised that for him to say, “I need a wee wee” was really hard so I created my own version of snakes and ladders. We played as normal but when we went up the ladder I congratulated him for telling me he needed the toilet. If he went down a snake I would say he didn’t tell mummy he needed a wee wee. And if he landed on a star (planted by me and my marker on several of the squares) we had to shout, “I need a wee wee!” And we used wee wee counters!
I created this board from scratch so I could choose how many snakes and how many ladders. It felt sort of god-like! I even amazed myself with this amount of creativity. Don’t mess with a mummy on a mission.
I speak to a Continence nurse every week and I always think beforehand how hard it has been, what will I say? Why isn’t this happening quicker? What have I done wrong? How can I put it right?
She always says to me, “Nicola, wow you are doing a really good job, you are amazing, that’s brilliant. I’m coming to your house to see all these resources.”
I sob for a bit.
Then we talk about the week ahead.
She is either completely insane or we are doing better than I think.
The reality is that our ladders are tiny. Really small. I am expecting us to climb big ladders so when we don’t I’m utterly disappointed and feel like I have failed.
“Mummy I need a wee.” Said once in one week is a tiny ladder.
Sitting on the toilet without having a fit is a tiny ladder.
Me taking a deep breath is a tiny ladder.
These ladders are so important and I’ve realised that I need to stop minimising them.
Whatever parenting or life thing you are going through I encourage you to see those tiny ladders. Just like the Pokemon they are everywhere, you might not be able to see them. You might need to look everywhere to find them. It might take you on a journey that you didn’t expect.
But those Pokemon – I mean ladders are everywhere.
My gift to you this time is simple.
Draw a ladder with 10 rungs and label the rungs from 0-10 going up.
Answer these questions about a particular area of your life. 0 = struggling to achieve and 10 = on top of it.
Which rung are you on?
Which rung do you want to be on?
How are you going to get there?
Then notice in between the rungs there are some tiny ladders.
I am all for helping people set big goals whether you want to run a marathon or start a degree, I can help you. But sometimes we just need to acknowledge that those tiny ladders contain the hardest steps we have ever taken, are almost invisible to see and quite often are difficult to plan for.
I am pretty sure you are doing a great job. Keep going.
But if you need a helping hand contact me for your FREE session.
I love helping people see their ladders and climb to the top of their lives!
And check me out on Facebook. www.fb.com/nicolahughescoaching
Lots of love
Nicola x x