Today, as my youngest SCREAMED in pain, I sat near them and wondered. (When I say SCREAM, all out, murderous, earsplitting yelling, to the point where I actually put my hands over my ears and shouted back just to heard.) What the hell was the matter? My youngest was complaining that their side hurt. Now mind you, this is a new thing, telling me that something hurts. I feel like it took awhile for my eldest to do so, to completely understand what “hurt” meant and where to show it. Many times, their teacher offered a suggestion of “does your belly hurt?” which prompted a “YES” response, regardless of if it hurt or not. But now, they get it. Both of them. So, back to my youngest with a pain in their side. There were a few things I had to consider. Was this an emergency? Do I need to call the doctor? Or were they just tired? It was close to nap time, and they had been jumping in the pool over and over, so they were probably exhausted. Or were they?
The quick decisions that we make as parents are out of this world. And usually, it comes along with the whole mommy guilt thing. Should I call? What if I don’t? Will they be okay? Did I just ignore something I shouldn’t have? With my eldest, I called the pediatrician about EVERYTHING. One time, I was giving them vitamin D drops as an infant. The ped wanted me to, as my baby was no longer breastfeeding, the concern was that they wouldn’t get enough vitamin D from the super high test formula for soy/milk allergies. In the process of using the syringe, my baby literally inhaled the vitamin D! Holy shit! My heart started to race. I immediately started patting my baby’s back, helping them to cough up whatever they could. They sounded a bit raspy as they cooed at me, not even phased by what had just happened. But me? I panicked. I called my husband at work, practically in tears. “What do I do?? What if there is something wrong? What if it’s in their lungs?!?!” His usual response was, “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.” (He doesn’t mean to say it to be mean, but he definitely hasn’t a clue any more than I do, and usually reminds me of such.) So I call the doc’s office. They agree to see my baby, and when I go in, meekly apologizing for being so stupid when my baby was given a clean bill of health as they laughed at the doctor, the doctor responded with, “Don’t feel bad. That’s what we are here for. Whatever makes you feel better about it.” The doctor smiled at me, not in a mocking way, but a way that didn’t make me feel dumb for paying the copay to have them agree that there was nothing wrong. As I drove home, my baby laughing and cooing in the backseat, I chided myself, but at the same time, reassured myself that if I hadn’t done something about it, that could have been the ONE time that something WAS wrong, and I’d regret it for the rest of my life.
Flash forward to kid #2. Not the same dilemmas. I learned not to sweat as much of the small stuff. Fever? Not a big deal. Ibuprofen can help. Fell and hit their head? Not a huge deal, but I will monitor it to make sure they aren’t acting funny. I’d say the times I actually think I should call the doc for #2 are fewer and far between. It’s not that I don’t care as much, because believe me, I care just as much as I did with #1. The thing is, I have learned from many mistakes I made along the way with my eldest. I learned what I can forget about for the moment, and just watch. I have learned what is normal for most kids, even though I know that no one kid is like any other. I follow up when there needs to be, get them to their checkups on time, and monitor things when I feel it necessary.
Back to today. Screaming toddler. Can’t calm down. Crap. I ran through so many scenarios in my head. If I call, and make an appointment, most likely it will be nothing. It will be that they hit their side jumping in the pool (definitely happened, just wasn’t sure how hard), and they will be fine. Or, I won’t call, and then sonofabitch, something IS wrong. They have pneumonia or some other breathing disease, because they have been coughing with their summer cold for the past week and half. Or worse, some other disorder. Everything that is wrong or right flashes intermittently through my mind as they scream away in my face. Finally, I hear a burp come from their lips as they eat the lunch I am slowly feeding them (that was the only way I could get a few mouthfuls in). They chuckle slightly, and continue to eat. Putting down for a nap, I ask how they are. It’s almost as if they have forgotten why they were screaming 5 minutes ago. Guess I chose wisely.