If You Give a Mama a Cold…

…She’s Not Going to Function Properly. Or will she?

For some reason, lately I haven’t had much inspiration to write blog posts. I can hardly get myself to keep up with reading my favorite blogs, either.

Maybe it’s the February blahs. But my mental energy seems at a serious low.

I noticed something interesting today, though. I seem to have come down with yet another cold — didn’t I just have one? This morning after everyone was at work and school, I decided to take care of a few odds and ends that were still rattling about in my brain, in lieu of working on my current manuscript. My brain felt too fuzzy to make sure I was doing a good editing job.

Because of that fuzzy mental feeling, I broke down each task in my head so that I wouldn’t get bogged down by running all over the place to get what I needed:

You want to pay those few last bills for the month, so you’ll need your laptop and wallet. And stamps, since at least one bill needs to go via snail mail.

Then you wanted to get those two packages ready to mail out. For the book you’ll need the scissors and packing tape and some BookMooch cards, and you need to pick a note card to put in the other one.

You’ll need a pen to write the check and the note card.

So I gathered up all these odds and ends, and arrayed them near to hand. I was able to get a lot done, even with a mush brain. I even remembered later to put gas in the car and turn in SillyBilly’s registration for the next school year on time.

Why was I able to accomplish all that while I was physically and mentally dragging? How could I remember all of those steps even when I was tired and sick? I think it was because I used the Mouse and Cookie method.

Have you seen the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book? It’s been one of our favorites for a long time. It starts like this:

If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.
When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw.
When he’s finished, he’ll ask for a napkin.
Then he’ll want to look in a mirror, to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache….

And so on, until the little boy is run quite ragged catering to the mouse’s needs! The thing I love about this book is that it progresses quite logically (with a few silly detours) from step to step. It’s almost like a preschooler’s version of one of Rudolf Steiner’s supplemental exercises, the one where you choose a simple manmade object, like a paper clip, and think through everything you know about its production, back to mining the raw metal from the earth.

This exercise helps you practice focusing your thinking by excluding unrelated thoughts and progressing your thoughts in an orderly way. I felt like I was doing that this morning, somewhat unconsciously and spontaneously, to help me focus on my tasks.

Just imagine what I might get done if I tried that exercise regularly and consciously!

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9 Comments

Filed under Anthroposophy, Books, Health, SillyBilly

9 responses to “If You Give a Mama a Cold…

  1. Mon

    ooh, it’s quite exciting and scary to imagine, lol.

    So what happened at the end of that mouse story?

    It’s good to see you, I had been wondering if you were okay or still under a mound of tissues. A 2nd cold so soon is a sure sign of overdoing it, no?

  2. My kids and I love that book. 🙂 I never thought about it that way, but you’re right! That is a great way to focus your thinking. I hope that you’re feeling better soon.

  3. I have to do this kind of detailed tracking all the time; for some reason I thought everyone did. 🙂 You can imagine how truly confused I am when some random illness makes me even more confused than usual!

    Sorry to hear that you’re sick again … two kids and two adults in a small space is a recipe for Petri dish fermentation. Keep the disinfectant handy, and soldier on, poor thing.

  4. I hope you feel better, I really loved this post. I don’t think I could be that witty and functional when I am sick.

  5. Mon: Scary, indeed 🙂 The mouse wants another cookie, of course! I don’t know about overdoing anything, except perhaps the wrong foods. I feel like it was evidence of not completing the clear-out my body was trying for.

    Dawn: I’ll tell you a secret: I didn’t think of the “Mouse and Cookie method” part until I wrote that bit of mental dialog, and saw that I was somehow using the same kind of speech pattern as the book!

    David: I’d say that was more evidence of your advanced capabilities than any lack on your part! See, you’re doing consciousness exercises without being conscious of them 🙂

    Lisa Anne: Thanks, I’ve noticed that it’s like my normal swings in energy and attention are just somehow magnified right now. So somehow I can blog again, even though in general I’m tired and feeling icky.

  6. Tammy

    We love that series of books….there’s like 5 or 6 of them now.

    Take it easy, rest, find ways to rejuvenate in all aspects…..

  7. I’ll have to give this course of thought a go! I’m willing to try anything to deal with the shortcomings of my attention deficit disorder….
    February blahs for SURE!

  8. Hi
    I was beckoned over here by the name (as a former student of anthropology i was intrigued) and I’m so glad I did! I am about to settle down now with a cuppa to have a proper mooch though!

    If I can just find my glasses….

  9. Welcome Lisa! Thanks for stopping by.

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