It’s 7:30 p.m., well past the point when we begin the bedroom routine for our two children. My oldest son is running through the house. It’s a special night because we are going to see a movie at the drive-in. Neither of my kids has been to the movies before, and my four-year-old is screaming with excitement because he can’t wait to see Cars 3.
I finish packing up my bag when I hear wailing coming out of my bedroom. I gaze over at my husband who has the distinct “What just happened?” face all parents know. My gaze moves to my son whose forehead is bleeding from a fresh, gaping wound.
Many parents, in that moment, would have rushed their kids to the emergency room, but not us. My husband rigged together some bandages, and we set off for the drive-in as planned.
I knew the wound was bad, but a tantrum over missing the film would be way worse.
I weighed my options.
The next day, the cut still looked rough, so my husband, wisely, convinced me to take my son to urgent care.
I was lucky I didn’t wait any longer. The doctor, after an unsuccessful attempt at traditional stitches, was able to glue the cut together. My son will have a small scar, but he’ll live.
Looking back, I wonder if, maybe, I was too lax this time. Maybe, I should have taken the injury more seriously.
The thing is, when it comes to my kids’ health, I’m probably the most laid-back out of my mom friends.
As the daughter of a nurse, you would think I’d own every medical device I could get my hands on and be a regular visitor at the E.R., but you’d be wrong.
I don’t even own a thermometer. I had one that came with the little infant care kit I bought after my first child was born. I think I used it a few times for him, less for the youngest. I honestly have no idea where it is now.
When my kids look or feel sick, I encourage them to rest. If they are hungry, I feed them. If not, I leave them alone.
And, I call my mom.
I am lucky to have a mom who has both the experience of a nurse not to mentioned decades of experience raising three kids. She helps me keep my kids’ health in perspective.
The first time I went to the emergency room with one of my kids was when my youngest was covered from head-to-toe in red spots. He was under one, had never been tested for allergies, and we had no idea what it was.
Turns out, my son had the highly contagious coxsackie virus. My mom helped me make the right call to go to the emergency room.
My mom has been an oncology nurse for more than 30 years and, in that time, she has seen some truly sick patients. She knows what unhealthy looks like. So, when a kid has a cold, fever, or just isn’t feeling well, she has a perspective most of us don’t.
Her solution to almost every common ailment is drink more water and get more rest.
I don’t recall taking a ton of medications or antibiotics as a child, and my kids don’t either.
If any of us were really sick, we would get what we need. And they are vaccinated, as was I.
I realize not all parents have a health professional in their family. I also know how lucky I am that my kids are generally healthy and don't have medical conditions, which necessitate steady monitoring of their well being. I am lucky I can be so lax when it comes to my children's health.
Still, like most parents, I worry about a lot of things when it comes to my kids. I wonder if my older son’s behavior will improve or if my youngest will catch up with his speech. I think about the foods I give them and if I let them watch too much T.V.
But, when it comes to your run-of-the-mill coughs and sneezes, I take it all in stride
A version of this post originally appeared on Perfection Pending.