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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

Sleeping on the couch with my sick baby girl

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Isn’t it funny how every time your child is sick, they seem completely fine when you take them to the doctor?

My daughter had a fever and a slight cough. She’s only 5 months old and the next day was, of course, a holiday (because it’s not a holiday unless one of the kids is coming down with something). Like any normal parent, I called the doctor’s office the second it opened so they could squeeze her into the schedule. They did. And – inevitably, once we arrived for vitals, no fever and a more-or-less now perky child.

We have an awesome pediatrician. He’s been taking care of our four children for almost 10 whole years now. Honestly, we trust him so much that if he recommended healing crystals and a rain dance to treat our kids, we would probably do it, zero questions asked.

Anyway, Dr. Awesome examined our once ailing, but frustratingly-fine-at-the-office infant. For the record, he didn’t think I was lying about the fever or cough. In fact, he just laughed and quipped, “isn’t this always the way?”

He checked her thoroughly. He asked questions and “mm-hmmed” as he typed my responses on his laptop.

Ears look healthy. Lungs sound clear. No signs of congestion. Nothing whatsoever to suggest a viral anything infecting my daughter’s body.

I’m absolutely comfortable with a diagnosis of “just a bug.” Kids are kids. I’m on number 4 here, so trust me, I get that sometimes they are just mysteries with inexplicable bugs that come and go out of nowhere.

“Just a bug.” Fine. That, I can handle. We’ll dose with Tylenol as needed and go on about our holiday.


Now that it’s tomorrow, I’m no longer so sure.

Her symptoms came back and she’s even worse than before. We had a crappy night of sleep because the poor thing just couldn’t stop coughing. Her fever is back. Her cry sounds hoarse and only makes her cough more.

Now in the dark of the earliest morning hours, I lay with her on the living room couch, second-guessing every little thing. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken her to the doctor so prematurely? Maybe it was too soon in her illness to make a proper diagnosis?

Ugh. Now it’s baby, me, and Doctor Google – the only ones awake in the house. I should know better. I have 4 kids. This isn’t my first sick kid rodeo and it won’t be the last. But, alas, my anxious mama mind and the ease of technology at my fingertips win me over and now I’m reading about the “top 10 types of coughs and when to worry.” Ha – got you there, Google – I’m already worried.

I finally stop reading as my eyes are too heavy from a sleepless night. She’s asleep in my arms now – maybe the cuddling is all she needed?

Hell, who knows? All that’s important is she’s resting.

I’m starting to doze now too. Her rest is all the permission my body needs.

When we wake up, we’ll figure things out – and, by that, I mean I’m too tired to think straight anymore.

Eyes are closed. Hers and mine. A few deep breaths and…



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