Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jumping to Conclusions. Terrible, Terrible Conclusions!

As parents, we all wish that we had all the answers all the time, especially when our kids are sick.  There is nothing worse for a parent than having a sick kid on your hands.  Not only is it heartbreaking, but it is nerve racking too.  You don’t know what is wrong, and if the poor kid can’t really talk yet then you are left on your own to try and figure out what is wrong.  That sucks, especially when it’s the middle of the night.  I don’t know about you, but if I am woken up out of a sound sleep I won’t be able to think straight for at least an hour or two.

To be honest with you, most times when the alarm clock goes off I still think it is my phone ringing.  I don’t know how many times I have tried to answer a nonexistent phone call.  I’m pathetic at waking up!

So, what’s a parent to do when their kid is sick?

Well, I know that I need to start by not panicking like chicken little.  All that does is make things worse, but I can’t help it.  Yeah, I have read all the articles in the parenting magazines that tell you what to do in situations like this, but who takes those articles seriously?  Really, how can anyone really take to heart anything they read in a parenting mag that has articles about body waxing and hairstyles that immediately follow bits about proper discipline techniques? 

I know I don’t!

So, last night when my baby boy woke up screaming and screaming we couldn’t figure out what to do about it.  No one really tells you about times like this before your baby is born.  We had no clues that we would feel so desperate when my wife and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with our little man.  Eventually, while my wife and I groggily paced the floors with him, trying to calm him, we got so frantic and exasperated that we were going to take him to the emergency room because he never cries this bad.   

We were desperate!  Nothing worked!  We didn’t know what to do, and there was nobody there to tell us.

He wouldn’t nurse.  He wouldn’t drink anything.  He wouldn’t eat anything.  He wouldn’t stop crying! We were going crazy with worry.  It felt like our little man was screaming for hours and hours with no letup in sight.  I don’t care that my watch said that we had been awake for only five minutes!  My clocks must have been broken because we were obviously really up for hours at this point. 

What are you going to believe more a device specifically designed to measure time or a hysterical parent?

Well, I guess now that I am fully awake I would probably begrudgingly believe that clock over me too.  I actually am quite embarrassed that after only five minutes of listening to my little man crying I was resigned to take him to the emergency room.  I would like to think that I keep a cool head in most all situations, but I would be lying to you if I said that.  If my son is involved I have a tendency to freak out just a little bit. 

If he is upset or hurt or scared in anyway all bets are off.  There is no telling what I will do or think because I am instantly frantically searching for a reason why he is upset, scared, or hurt and looking for something that I can do to alleviate the situation.  I think all parents are like this even if they don’t get as bad as I do.    

I don’t really think that I am a freaker outer.  I just can’t stand it when my boy cries!  It makes me feel so bad for him.  I need to know why and what I can do to help him.  When I can’t figure out what is wrong or what I can do to help, then I become frantic and say things like “We better get to the hospital quick because obviously something must be really wrong with him” as I frantically pace around the living room like I did last night.  I think I walked a mile or so trying to stay calm and think of what was wrong.  Then my more level headed wife performed a miracle.  She turned on the television for some good ole’ Shrek Treatment. 

Yep, the Shrek cure did the trick!  He stopped crying almost immediately, and after a little time he fell right to sleep.  Boy was I relieved, but, even then, I was still contemplating taking him to the hospital.  What can I say?  I was tired and not thinking straight.  If he started crying and screaming right now, I would probably not automatically assume that something was really wrong with him, but in the middle of the night I am a little more insane than usual.  I tend to jump to bigger, scarier conclusions than I do most other times of the day.

 So, here is the lesson I learned.  Before you freak out and jump to conclusions try turning on a movie before going to the hospital with your sick kid.  Sometimes, all they want is a distraction.  My baby doesn’t want or need a parent who automatically assumes the worst is happening.  Maybe yours doesn’t either.  

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