Where is the class that will teach me how to do this? Where is the book that says, "To survive cancer is one thing, to survive parenting a nearly 4-year old while you have cancer, is quite another. Here is how you do it with grace and humor...."??
All my common sources for parenting info fall a little short in the "sick parent" department. Dr. Sears is missing a niche market. Where is Attachment Parenting with Cancer? Come on Lawrence Cohen, where is Playful Parenting for the Chemo Patient? Alfie Kohn? Unconditional Parenting for the Bedridden?
I guess it's just you and me, kiddo.
Rule #1: Go for a walk, every day.
Fresh air can make all the difference, especially fresh air with room to run and jump and explore. It doesn't have to be a long walk, and it doesn't have to be fast. Just open the front door and go, no matter the weather. Bring a snack and water, and just go as far as little feet and the cancer will allow.
Rule #2: Turn on some music. Music can fit any mood -- and turn around a great many bad moods, too. Keep it flowing from morning to bed.
Rule #3: Let there be art.
Let art happen wherever and whenever it must. Let the frustration out and the creation in.
Rule #4: The daily/nightly bath. This one serves two purposes: The bath is relaxing and fun for little ones, and if you bring in your book & tea and take a seat, it can be an extra 15, 20, 30 minutes of peace for yourself, too where you aren't having to facilitate play and make snacks or clean up a mess, etc. Word to the wise: Put a towel around the base of the tub and turn a blind eye when water and bubbles come out over the edge. There are worse things than bubbles on the floor. Also, nightly baths can help curb the raggamuffin, crazy-kid, mama-has-cancer-and-hasn't-combed-out-my-hair-in-days look.
Rule #5: Call on friends and family for help.
This is huge. Let your friends and family take your kid out for a puppet show, or to the park, or out for ice cream. If they aren't volunteering, ask them to help you. Your litttle one will feel refreshed and excited when she comes home, and you'll have gotten your peaceful center back while she was away.
We'll get through this, bug. We will.