My new theory is thus: Any problem will be either greatly improved or greatly worsened by ignoring it. The art is knowing what to ignore and what to act upon.
I think that no where is this truer than with children. Some things truly need to be addressed right away and some things, well, if you leave them alone, they'll go away.
For instance: a few weeks ago Maren was having trouble sleeping. She would wake at two or three in the morning and cry and scream and I'd go get her and put her in bed with me. A nagging voice told me every night that I needed to nip this in the bud. I must teach her to stay in her own bed again or she'd be in mine until she was 30. But, every night (or morning) at two or three, I'd also tell myself that I'd worry about it tomorrow. I was too tired tonight. Sure enough, after a couple of weeks, what was ailing her began to heal and she started sleeping soundly without me all over again.
I left it alone and it fixed itself.
On the other hand, my nearly three year old is still sleeping at night with a paci and I really need to take it away and I'm afraid that she might actually take the paci until she is 30. Luckily, it's only at night, so the only people who ever have to know are her college roomate (and what a great story that will be) and her future husband. Leaving it alone is not getting me much of anywhere with the paci, and I do believe that every day I let it go, it's going to be one day harder to get her to give it up.
This weekend, Uncle D looked at me funny while I was sitting on Mom's couch.
"Can't you hear Maren crying?"
"Yeah, but it's not serious." I went to explain how you can tell if it's a mad cry, a sad cry, a hurt cry, a scared cry or just a I'm-a-gunna-cry cry. This was a mad cry. She would get over it. Quite possibly better without me. Leave it alone. A hurt cry requires immediate attention. She cried that one later and I scampered on out the door. It wasn't serious, but if it had been, then leaving it alone would have proved disastrous.
This is what kids teach you. Or at least, this is what kids teach me: some things need to be handled right now. Some things you should ignore for just a couple more days.
I'm a worrier by nature and it's hard for me to not worry. Hard to let anything go for any time at all, but I find that when I don't know what to do, doing nothing might be the right answer. Or it might not. In a very zen way, you'll never know until it's better or it's worse. Which sort of adds to the worry, but you know...