Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to be a Bad Mom

I have a weakness in my mommy defenses. A blind spot if you will. Something I'm not proud of and rather embarrassing.

I have a tendency towards denial. Specifically denial when it comes to my baby being sicky on the road.

At home, I'm on the phone with the nurse at the first hint of warmth.  I'm taking her into the dreaded doctors office at the slightest runny nose and cough. 

But on the road?  I get sicky blinders.  Because having a sick baby means trips to far away pharmacies and  after-hour phone calls to our pediatrician and hunts on the interwebs for urgent care clinics. It means a rerouting of any and all plans. 

And so my first instinct?  I get into a John Edwards type denial state. 

As I did on last weekends trip to see my lovely sister.

My sister is my best friend in the world.  To quote the fabulous Tina Turner, she is simply the best. The Best! And she used to live 10 minutes from my house. And we saw each other all the time. And life was grand.

But in July she and Lynn moved to Athens, GA.  And it goes without saying that I miss her terribly. Every day, in every way, I miss my sis.

Last Saturday there was an opening for a group show that her art is a part of.  The show is called Deluge and it's up at Athens Institute of Contemporary Art.  Her work is amazing -- super detailed cross stiches of weather maps.  I've been watching her create them in total awe.  I wasn't able to go to the opening because I had a gig, but there was no way I was not going to Athens to celebrate with her.

Oh, and did I forget to mention, she's totally preggers!  Her bean grows as we speak.

And of course I brought our bean with me. 

Experienced traveler that she is, Lisel traveled amazingingly from Austin to Athens. Two flights and a shuttle ride did nothing to dampen her spirits (I've found that my often reserved daughter is her most outgoing on planes and in restaurants.  Go figure). When we arrived she was a smiling, excited, explorer baby,  rambling through the new terrain that is my sister's lovely house. 

But the next day, not so much.  She was warm.  She wanted to be in my lap at all times.  Eating? Naw. Sleeping. Yes. Lots.

Now I'll preface this by saying that every time Lisel has been sick in the last couple of months I've taken her to the doctor only to be told that it was viral. There was nothing I could do but keep her relatively comfortable, keep her fever down and love her as much as possible.  So when she exhibited signs of sicky, I kind of thought she just had another virus. I gave her some Tylenol. The fever went down.

I mean, I had a vacation with my sis planned okay?  And besides, Lisel wasn't that sick. We were still going to have the vacay of my dreams.

We went about our day. Breakfast.  Grocery Shopping. A nap.  A trip to the park.

A trip to the park?!?!?

Yes, I took my possibly sick daughter to the park. Because she was acting better. And I thought maybe it was like a minor fever virus type thing that I had knocked out cold with some over the counter infant drops.

Looking back on it, it was not the smartest move. 

Actually, it was pretty dumb.

I have been in serious self recrimination mode every since.

That evening the fever came back with a vengence, probably because she'd been playing as opposed to resting.  Of course, it was after all urgent care facilities in Athens were closed. And after our pediatrician's office in Austin was closed.  And I was freaking out.  To the max.

I family got ahold of the on call doc, who told me it was probably safe to watch her through the night, so long as the fever went down and she didn't get worse. So I did, spending a fitful and warm night with the poor bean.

We took her into see a doc the next day.  I was sure he would tell me it was a virus.  But of course it wasn't.

We got ourselves a case of strep throat!

And then I really felt like a dolt of the most doltish variety. It's a "what kind of mom" type feeling. What kind of mom denies her baby's ick sicky? What kind of mom takes her icky sicky to the park?

Me I guess.

And that's when I realized I have a blind spot in my mothering. Because I've done this before.  I convince myself that nothing is wrong because I don't want anything to be wrong.  It's an incredibly scary tendency, and one that I plan on catching next time. 

Believe me when I say I never want it to happen again.

I've thought about it a lot these last couple of days, about why it happened. And I realized that I'm still coming to terms with the fact that as a mother I am the one on point.  It's up to me to take notice and take action when it comes to Lisel, even when it's not on my list of things I planned on doing.  I'm usually pretty good about baby prioritization, but it seems that in the travel department, I could use some work.

I did get to see my sister's work, hanging on a gallery wall looking awesome.  I got to hang with my life long bff. And the bean and I did get to hang with the best aunt/uncle combo out there.  The trip, overall, was a success. 

But I just wish I'd been more on the ball, so my little girl wouldn't had had to suffer unnecessarily. I really wish I'd stepped up at the first chance.


BYehaskel said...

Being a mom, as I've learned, means that these incidents happen. And being a mom also means forgiving yourself for not being "perfect." Whatever that is. ;-) After countless bad mom moves, I still look at Max and see a happy, healthy, wonderful kid - he survives all my mistakes. And he still kisses me and tells me he loves me to infinity. Its kind of nice not being perfect. And its nicer when I LET myself not be perfect. ;-) You rock. Love you!

Gtwodagee said...

I've done that too many times to count, so don't beat yourself up too much. when Taylor was done with Ear Infection No.1 last December, and he got sick (i.e. fever,listlessness, no appetite)again 2 days later, I said it couldn't be that again!! But after another trip to our pediatrician, that's exactly what is was, Ear Infection No.2!! Since there is no manual that comes with these young-uns, I guess all we can do is try and be better next time.....

EMQ said...

Really? You guys make these mistakes too? Seriously? Maybe I'm not so terrible after all, because y'all and your kids are amazing. Thank you both!