I think most parents with multiple children will confess that they worried about every little thing with their first, and loosened up considerably with subsequent children. It makes sense – with your first bundle of joy you worry about every cough and sneeze, convinced babies are fragile like glass ornaments.
But I feel we’re actually getting more paranoid with each additional bundle of joy. We were somewhat relaxed about the Gort when he was a baby. I figured if he wasn’t bleeding profusely, burning up with fever or lolling about in a catatonic state, he was probably okay. And, to that end, I can’t really recall taking him to the doctor only to be told there was absolutely nothing wrong with him.
And then we had the Hen. And he cried. A lot. And didn’t sleep. And I was certain that those ‘symptoms’ meant he was nursing a latent double ear infection. Or some disastrous stomach ailment. And we’d take him to the doctor and even the walk-in clinic, certain they were going to find something really wrong with him. And they almost never did.
And then we had B3. And since we’re living in the land of the walk-in clinic, I’m always trying to be three steps ahead of any possible illness. Hyper alert to any semblance of symptoms, so that I can schedule a doctor’s appointment, instead of having to go to the walk-in clinic and spend several hours waiting in the germ-laden reception area.
So the babe woke up yesterday morning. And I noticed the area around his right eye was a little red. And there were three little red spots in said area. Upon closer inspection I decided to wait and see; hoping he’d just poked himself in the eye while rolling around in his crib.
Several minutes later, I heard the professor calling to me: ‘did you see the baby’s eye?’ And then I second-guessed myself. Maybe I’d been too lax about the whole thing, especially if the paternus familias (who I’ve realized worries more about the boys’ health than I do) had noticed and commented on it. I tried to recall any other possible symptoms. The babe had felt a little warm. He hadn’t been overly excited about eating his food. Maybe he was nursing a double ear infection. Or some throat calamity. Or maybe some sort of sepsis.
So I called the doctor’s office. Because it was Thursday and the doctor doesn’t work on Fridays. And the professor was leaving for DC and I had zippo desire to take three kids to the walk-in clinic. By myself. On a holiday weekend no less. The receptionist informed me there were no appointments available. And, as an added bonus, the doctor was going on vacation and wouldn’t return until May 31st.
I begged her to transfer me to his nurse to see if he’d be willing to squeeze us in somewhere in the day. I couldn’t help but wonder if there is some sort of note on B3’s computer file: crazy, paranoid mother who brings baby in for no reason at all. Because the nurse sounded a little skeptical as I stammered to explain the kid’s ‘symptoms’. She promised to check with the doctor and call me back.
She called back several minutes later and told me he could see us at 3:10. I hung up and thoroughly regretted having called her in the first place. The kid was fine. He’d eaten all of his breakfast. He’d laughed. It seemed highly unlikely that he harbored a serious illness in his little body.
As we drove to the doctor’s office, I informed the professor that he had to take the baby in. Since his words had set the sequence of events in motion. ‘I didn’t tell you to call the doctor’s office!’ he protested. But he could see I wasn’t going to budge. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing the doctor smile knowingly when he walked into the exam room and saw me sitting there with my (healthy) baby.
So father and littlest son went to the doctor. While the rest of us waited in the van, eating scones. Like a purposeless surveillance team. The pair emerged half an hour later. Carrying a (pity) prescription for some sort of antibiotic eye cream…..’in case’ his eye looked worse in the next day or two.