How do you have confidence in your parenting when you can’t even know if it’s safe to take a walk in your neighborhood with a friend, or if you should be doubling up your masks?
Recently I was reminded that I know more than I think I do, and should have faith in my maternal intuition. I share this with anyone who needs to be reminded that you do, despite all external obstacles and self doubt, know what you’re doing. Or at least most days.
Watching goo run from my 1 year old’s little nose for just the second time in his short life, I knew this was more than a cold. His screaming, irritability, and sleeplessness were all reminders of a common childhood affliction in my home, the dreaded ear infection. Couple that with two new teeth bursting through his pink gums and I had one, hot mess toddler on my hands.
My pediatrician’s current policy required an initial telemedicine visit during which my son was the model patient. My doctor remarked that he didn’t seem sick, but a newbie she is not. As my exhausted eyes stared blankly at my phone, she said if it made me feel better she’d take a look at him that afternoon in person.
When we arrived, the office staff said she’d examine him in the car. With only a half hour nap that day, by 3:30 he was having none of that. The doctor quickly brought us inside her office, realizing how his demeanor had changed since earlier that morning. After examining him, she confirmed that my suspicions were correct. Yes, he had an ear infection.
As we made our way through traffic to the pharmacy drive thru for his antibiotics, he screamed the entire time. I was stressed, yet relieved, though, that I had trusted my gut.
If you’ve had a sick child during the pandemic you know it’s not easy to get past all the understandable hurdles in the effort to get a diagnosis of something treatable. COVID-19 is scary to everyone, but it’s not the only illness out there. Children still pick up colds, the flu, infections, etc. And lots of kids, like mine, have ear infections as a result of an otherwise minor virus.
When you’re worried about whether or not your child should even step foot in school let alone go to a play date or sign up for recreational sports, you start to doubt even the things you know you’re capable of judging.
My recent experience with the ear infection was a good reminder that I still got it. I know when my children are sick, hungry, or frustrated. I know when they have had enough of one another or are struggling with schoolwork. I know these things, because I know my children.
As we try to make the right choices in an unfamiliar world, remember that you are the most familiar with your children. All you can do is your best, and if you strive for that daily, you’ll do more good than harm.