So if you were raised in the south then you've probably heard someone say, "Don't you worry your pretty little head." Or when something has happened you hear, "Bless her heart."
I'm a Mom, what do you mean don't worry? There are some things in life you never forget. I remember the first time McKenzie rolled off of the couch. I'm sure my heart stopped for a second, I wasn't breathing and was on the verge of panic until I saw that she was alright. And from that moment on as she became able to move more, start crawling and now walking it seems like even the most child-proofed environment is a war zone of sorts.
There's the coffee table where she can bump her head, the toy she likes to carry around with her that when is dropped on her foot scares us both. The dogs we have that love MC and love to play with her but that I'm always staring at wondering if this will be the time they decide to play too rough. And sometimes when the dogs get too excited that run right past her knocking her over and while she's fine, am I?
So yes its a known fact that people teasingly call me a worrier. And I'll admit there are some things you just have to let take their course. But as a Mom I don't think that worrying is a bad thing as long as it doesn't consume you and you can still let a kid be a kid.
But as I look at today's environment and the dangers that didn't exist when I was a kid, I wonder where do I draw the line? How do I let my little girl be a normal child that enjoys her life when we also need to take so many precautions?
Today we have bird flu, swine flu, seasonal flu, autism that many say is caused by vaccinations, lead paint on our children's toys, stranger danger, cancer, exposing them to too much violence or too much television, obesity and every other illness that lurks in the shadows of our environments.
As my little girl began to crawl and bump into things I joked that it would be easier to bubble wrap her or just fence her in a large area where she could be safe. Calm down, it was a joke, and you have to understand my sense of humor. But this weekend as she was getting a bath and she slipped and bumper her head before it could be prevented...I wonder. Can I baby proof the walls of the tub? Wrap the tub in waterproof Styrofoam so she's safe? ( And no I don't think that product exists)
I've tried to be a little more laid back after having McKenzie and not to go overboard with things. When she got her first cold we didn't call the doctor, we rode it out at home. And when she runs a low grade fever I attribute it to teething and check her temperature every 4-6 hours. We have hand sanitizer in the house, car and diaper bag that I use after we've been to the store or another crowded area. I don't keep a mask on MC like Michael Jackson did on his children, but I do take what I consider normal precautions. We use a highchair cover and shopping cover when shopping/eating out. And I try not to let her drink or eat after me in case I'm sick and don't realize it.
Now with all that being said, my baby girl became sick two weeks ago on a Friday afternoon. We took her to the pediatrician (she had a fever of 103.6 and a few random spots) and they tested her for strep and the flu and sent us home saying its just a virus. So home we went and I relaxed knowing the doctor wasn't worried and kids get viruses. As the weekend went by she seemed to be getting weaker and by Monday the fever was high again and she was listless. We went straight to the ER. After more flu/strep tests, a chest X-ray and blood work she had a spinal tap and we learned our "baby" had bacterial meningitis. Those are probably the toughest and scariest words I've heard since having MC a year ago.
And for the week we were in the hospital watching MC go from listless and very ill to sitting up, then standing and playing I spent almost every minute wondering what could I have done better?, was there a way I could have prevented this? I'm a SAHM with my little girl every day of the week. We don't go out very often, she's rarely in close contact with other children, no MDO, no sharing pacifiers, eating utensils etc. Was it my fault?
Now we're home and I feel certain that it wasn't my fault but rather just one of those random things that occurs in life for no apparent reason. And as I'm so very grateful that my little girl is home and seems to have escaped this disease with little lasting effects I think about how fortunate we were and now how do I keep her safer?