An amazing thing they do in the P.I.C.U. at the Evelina is to give each child and parents a notebook to write in about what happens daily. Nurses and doctors also write in it when you ask them to. There’s a sticker trolley to decorate it and the nurses take photos for you which they print to stick in. I was hopping with excitement when I saw it as I love stickers. You are sat by the bedside a lot and it is great to write.
Here is the picture of when I got to hold Coraline for the first time on the third day and some of the pages from the wonderful nurses. The nurses explained that people had previously said they left the P.I.C.U. and didn’t remember what had happened there.
I realised there is great depth to the simplicity of it too. A friend lent me a book called, “The Whole-Brain Child” and I’m reading a chapter about integrating the left (logical) and right (emotional) sides of the brain for a child, and there’s a section called, “Name it to Tame It: Telling Stories to Calm Big Emotions”. After a difficult experience for a child, or something they are struggling to get past, it says that it’s important to sit down with the child and simply talk through the experience and what happened in order instead of saying “it’s O.K., that’s over now”. By re-telling it, the left and right side of the brain begin to engage together which begins to bring in logic (left side brain) to the powerful emotions (right side brain) which will have dominated the experience and perhaps have set up emotional connections. The left side of the brain makes sense of what the right side is feeling and the re-telling helps that process happen. The book talks about the power of journaling.
It even says that telling the story is important for babies as young as ten months. Yesterday morning I told Coraline step-by-step all that’s just happened and why, and explained where we are now. We did, of course, talk her through everything that was happening as it was happening in the hospital. We can read her book together when she is older. What a powerful thing to furnish parents with.