There ain't nothing like the real thing, Baby

Or maybe there is....


What do you expect from a woman dressed like the one on the left? Or from the man on the right? For me, the lady is a spy trying to lay low and the guy is goofy so I expect humor and fun. But the one is a sketch and the other a cartoon...why would I expect anything from 2D objects? Does my mind think they are real? Don't know. I know they are created objects, I still have expectations of them.

Brains are funny things. I don't even begin to understand how they work. And is a brain the same as a mind or is a mind what the brain processes produce? You never say, "There's something on my brain." or, "My mind hurts." Are they two things or one?

I do know that the mind can do funny things. I believe the brain can do way more than we use it for, too. My eldest got a migraine one afternoon when she was about 17. It was not a "get out of school free" headache, she had just gotten home, it was a crying, blinding pain in her head. I had nothing in the house for that kind of pain but I knew she had already taken the OTC stuff we had to no avail.

What to do? CRAP! Think! You're The MOM, you have to fix this! I thought. I had been the victim of a viscious toothache earlier in the month. ....hmmm. Those pills were gone, but the bottle wasn't. I told her to hang on a minute, ran to the bathroom and put a giant vitamin pill into the painkiller bottle, filled a glass with water and raced back to her.

"I have one left of the pain pills from the dentist. This is 100 mg. of ______, and it's very powerful stuff because I am resistant to medication. He based the dose on my weight. You are smaller than I am so I am going to give you half, which may be a little too much for your size. It should kick in pretty quickly, like fifteen minutes. If that doesn't work say, in an hour, you can have the other half." I had been spliting the pill with my pocket knife as I spoke and held out half of it to her.

She lifted her head and winced, snatched the pill, popped it in, took the water and washed it down. I made her a cold rag for her head and sent her back to her dark room to try and rest.

In an hour she was back up and doing homework while I finished making dinner. When she came out of her room I asked her how she felt. "I'm a little woosie from the pill, you know, like, lightheaded and floaty feeling, but it doesn't hurt anymore. That was good stuff!"

"I'm just glad it worked. I hate migranes. Let me know if it comes back and you can take the other half."

And I smiled as I cooked, thanking all the gods and goddesses for the kindness to my child. I had risked having to take Eldest to the doctor later if it hadn't worked but she always stressed out so easily that I was pretty sure that getting her to relax would fix her up. I never told her till years later what I had done. Then she didn't believe me.

Then today I found this article that says expectations can trigger physical healing. It made me wonder what else expectations can do. What do humans expect?

I have always expected my kids to behave in certain ways, to do things I did when I was, perhaps, too young to do them myself then, to be true to themselves and honest with people. I expected them to do chores and help with the house work when the mate and I both worked. Yes, and still do their homework! What a meanie I was!

Then I have watched other families where the 11 yr. old male was only allowed to make cold spread sandwiches and eat them with a glass of water because he wasn't allowed to use the stove or microwave, a knife to cut meat or the bread, or pour from a gallon jug. His parents didn't expect him to be able to do these things.

I have seen kids told they couldn't climb trees or ride bikes out of the yard. I have seen moms doing tons of wash in a home with teen agers because the kids were not allowed to use the washer and dryer......these parents didn't expect anything from their children and I think they got what they expected. Kids that didn't do anything for themselves and expected others to always be there to do it for them.

At least in the first case I know the boy grew up thinking he couldn't do anything complicated or dangerous. He believed he was too clumbsy and stupid. He got past that in time, but it took years to get the confidence in himself to try things, like driving a car, that most kids would have done years sooner.

If you are tall enough to reach the buttons you can run a washing machine or reach a sink to do dishes. When you can depress the brake on the mower you are ready to learn to ride it and mow. If you can reach the handle release on the vaccuume you are ready to clean carpets. When everyone works together to do chores they are done more quickly and that leaves more time to play cards, Nintendo, or watch TV as a family. All, of course, IMHO.

I feel that if you expect your kids to help and expect your kids to learn that they will feel if you believe it, it must be true, so they do help and they do learn. My kids were not allowed to call anyone stupid. We allowed ignorant and they knew what both words meant very young. Ignorance can be fixed by teaching and learning, so it wasn't a bad word. When kids said "Stupid!" they meant too dumb to learn and most kids really are NOT stupid - unless you have told them they are until the believe you.

I have also found that if you expect people to behave in a certain way, they will. I worked a lot of service jobs but I expect to be treated like a human being and with basic courtesy. Even my drunkest customers would say please and thank you and excuse me to me because I expected it. I just can't hear you if you are bellowing, "Hey baby! Bring me a beer!" rudely. New people learned fast because the regular customers would be laughing at them. One of them would take pity on the new guy and say, "Try - Excuse me, Val, may I have another draft?" It always made me smile. Two drinks or eight drinks drunk, my people were polite to me! I expected it.

So for the weekend - have you ever used a placebo yourself or for someone else? Did it work?
and what do you expect from your kids? Do you think your expectations for a relationship affect how it turns out or not?

Jump right in the comments and tell me what you think. I'll see you all on Monday!

Comments: 13 Comments:
At 3/12/05 6:38 AM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I have heard of this type of thing but never experienced it. I remember once, when I was very sick with a bad virus, telling the doctor, "Unlike normal people, I don't sleep much when I'm sick." He assured me that I certainly would with "these pills." He was wrong.

At 3/12/05 9:46 AM, Blogger Fred said...

We've never used a placebo, so no information there.

As far as expectations, I can absolutely testify that if standards are set, and consequences are attached, they are usually satisfied.

We are going through a rough period with our middle daughter right now; she's putting her social life in front of her academic life. So, she's now minus a cell phone, no sleep overs, and very little outside contact with her friends. She's been crying that she "wants her life back" and we've told her there are conditions to be met.

Well, her grades are creeping up, and she pretty much understands now what has to be done. She still not where we want her to be, but there is movement in the right direction.

Parents have to be sensible, but also hold their children accountable. It’s not easy, but it's worth it in the end. I’m not here to be her friend, but I do hope she realizes in later years that we’re pushing her to be better, which will lead to more choices for her when she leaves high school.

At 3/12/05 12:49 PM, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Gotta tell you Anvil, you expected you wouldn't sleep..LOL, may be why you didn't. I am resistant to drugs I always thought. Found out that morphine does not work for me. Or any of the morphine based drugs...codine etc.

I expected drugs not to work most of my life....not a good thought when you need the relief.

And Fred, clamp down on child = good. The same eldest thrilled me one Mother's Day when she was 21 by telling me she hated me for what I did with discipline when she was home but now she knew I was right to do it.

You should have heard her gripes about roommates with no home keeping skills, courtesy, study habits, etc.

She had them because we "made" her do her own chores, homework regularly, respect elders and tell others in group where she was going by a note, at least.

Other eldest girl tried to run off with the carnival one year. I put the serious, physical halt to that. She is my good pal and daughter now and told us the same thing.

Don't be afraid to be as bad as you have to for the child to understand it is their responsibility to be sure you have NO reason to punish them. They know the rules, they break the rules, you enforce the punishments for those mistakes.

Real world will be much nastier than you will ever be and when they learn that kids understand why you were hard on them.

Just do it with love. And when they do get it right remember to reward them. Like a sleep over with pals at their home or a dinner out with 3 or 4 friends on you....works wonders for compliance.

Sure it's bribery, works!

At 3/12/05 10:42 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Key phrase, Val; Do it with love.

Many parents cave because they want immediate gratification, and forego the long-term gains in favor of the short-term hugs.

I want hugs. But, if it's a pissed off child that hates me for pushing her, I'll turn to The Missus for hugs, while I privately cry because my daughter hates me for what I need to do.

Being a parent is tough. *sigh*

At 4/12/05 1:30 PM, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

she doesn't hate YOU, she hates what you did. Let her.

While daughter is grounded is great time to make memories of Dad helping with homework, Dad making breakfast for her, Dad helping her organize room, whatever dad/kid stuff you usually do is enhanced because she is not able to distract herself with friends.

Spend time with her while she has no choice - grounded will be forgotten in the long run, things I did with Dad are never forgotten.

At 4/12/05 7:03 PM, Blogger Madzillah said...

Tee hee

Haven't ever used a placebo, unless kisses by momma count.

Might try one now, though!

At 5/12/05 9:38 AM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I took a psych class in college and was totally amazed at some of the mysteries of the human brain. So fascinated, I subjected myself to every experiment the professors did in the interest of finding out more. Fortunately no drugs were involved in any of the tests. But having seen the results of numerous tests with placebos, I am a believer in them.

At 6/12/05 12:26 AM, Blogger dan said...

Why are expectations built in? Say you talk to someone on the phone... from their voice you immediately develop an image of the person you think their voice represents...

Good question...

At 11/12/05 11:10 AM, Blogger Cuppa said...

I don't have any experiece with a physical placebo, but I am reading a book called "The worst is over - verbal first aid to calm, relieve pain, promote healing and save lives." And I thought of it when I read this blog this morning.

The book gives you instructions on what to say when the car in front of you goes off the road and you get there before the medical personnel, or a friend is diagnosed with a serious disease and you don't know how to help, or a family member is going through extreme emotional pain and you are at a loss for words.

Maybe I can't set your broken bone, heal your broken heart, or stop the internal bleeding, but I can calm you with my words and give you verbal first aid to help you calm down until "the real thing" arrives and the paramedics or doctors take over.

Excellent book, I highly recommend it.

At 11/12/05 12:14 PM, Blogger I_Wonder said...

I'm reminded of a "true" story I read years ago about a missionsary who fed a forbidden meat to a native of the country in which he was working. His guest believed he would die if he ate this meat so he was told it was something else. Years later, the missionary reminded the man of the meal and told him the truth -- that he had eaten the forbidden meat. Within an hour the man died. A true story? Not certain but, from my experience, it's possible.

PS: I came here from AnvilCloud's "Poignant Posts".

At 12/12/05 12:39 PM, Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Hello Cuppa and Iwonder! Nice to have you stop in! Ty to Anvil for the link. Will check out the book, Cuppa.

LOL, Ed, experimented on you! I always wanted to do that for mental communication and OBE's!

Hi, Mad, glad you stopped in!

Nice comments, all. Thanks!

At 12/12/05 8:19 PM, Blogger Cuppa said...

Just stopping by again to say thanks for the nice comments on my blog. I will pass them on to my sister.

At 14/12/05 10:05 AM, Anonymous Simply Coll said...

Yes.. I do most definitely believe in the power of suggestion. I, too my knowledge :-), have never taken a placebo.. but then again.. if I new it was a placebo.. I can almost guarantee it would not work. :-)
Attitude and Expectations.. powerful influences.


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