You would think that after four children and eighteen years of parenting experience, I would have all the answers. My mother’s intuition would be finely tuned, and I would know what to do in every situation. Unfortunately, when it comes to having sick kids, I’m still totally clueless.
Take this week, for instance. Austen (one of my four-year-old twins) started complaining of a stomach ache on Sunday. For the next two days, he had a high temperature and a cough. We debated whether to take him to the doctor. Was it a touch of flu, or something worse? We finally decided that if he was still feverish the next day, he was definitely going to the doctor. Fortunately, his fever broke the next morning, and he was noticeably spunkier the rest of the day. I’m still not sure what he had, but I’m grateful he’s better!
On the other hand, Austen’s twin brother, Caleb, experienced much lighter symptoms. He had a runny nose and complained of a slightly sore throat, but he never had a fever. He seemed just as happy as usual. I took him to preschool and got a phone call a half-hour later. “Caleb’s eye is all red, and there’s a discharge. You’ll have to pick him up, and he can’t return to school without a doctor’s note.” I have to admit, I thought the school was overreacting. Of course his eyes are a little red, I told myself. That happens often when the sinuses are involved. As for the discharge, well, he probably just has a little sleep in his eye. I resented that the school wanted me to take him to the doctor for a simple cold. Huffing and puffing, I picked up Caleb and called the doctor from the car. When we got to the office, I noticed that Caleb’s eye was “gunky” again and wiped it with a tissue. In the waiting room, more gunk appeared. I had to admit that the school had been right: The poor kid had pink eye and, to top it off, an ear infection!
The moral of this story is that you’ll never know it all. Every day in parenting is a new learning experience—perpetual on-the-job training—even after eighteen years! Forgive yourself for any moments of cluelessness and know that you’re doing the best you can. Uh-oh, is that a rash I see popping out on Austen’s face??? Clueless Mom to the rescue!
Postscript: The rash is getting worse...I'm diagnosing Fifth Disease!