At this point, writing to whine about all the unsolicited advice we receive as parents seems a bit over done in that I’ve written about it and then written about it some more and then, just to to be sure I’ve gotten my point across, I’ve written about it a wee bit more. I’ve also read multiple blog posts and articles lamenting the fact that from the moment our burgeoning pregnant belly begins to betray us to the world as a woman with a baby on the way we begin to receive the often unsolicited advice of friends, family, and complete strangers in line at the supermarket.
Some of that advice was useful.
If the baby’s screams are making you crazy (and they will at some point), don’t feel bad if you have to put him down and walk away for a while.
Some of that advice was less useful.
In my day we used to put rice cereal in our baby’s bottles the moment we brought them home from the hospital. It helps them sleep for longer stretches, you know.
The great thing about all this onslaught of parenting knowledge is that you can choose what you take into consideration and what you ignore. This turned out to be about a 50/50 split for me. Unfortunately though, there was one piece of knowledge that no one chose to lay on me. Perhaps that is because of all my friends I was one of the first to have a baby and my older relatives wanted to spare me or maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this part of parenting, but here is the pertinent piece of information I feel was left out of all that handed down wisdom:
Being a parent is terrifying.
I know that I worry more than the average person. I know that, but even so, you guys, this parenting gig is rapidly and prematurely aging me.
All helicopter parenting aside (which I admittedly engage in at times), last night Anders comes to me, hands running through his hair, and says, “What’s this thing on my head, mom?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “Come here. Let me look.”
I run my fingers through his hair, across his scalp, and my fingers still on a giant movable lump on the back of his head at the base of his skull.
“What is it?” He asks again.
“Nothing. It’s nothing,” I reply reassuringly, but in my head I am freaking out. I can hardly wait for him to run off to play before I begin doing what no person, mother or not, should ever do when they suspect that they or someone they love has a medical problem.
That’s right. I googled it. Of course, the internet returned a myriad of answers of which I was only able to focus on the worst case scenario.
Finally, I remembered that a friend’s husband was a doctor so I sent her a frantic text because doctors love when you do that. Her reply was that it was likely an innocuous swollen occipital lymph node. I knew exactly what that was because I had already read and googled all the causes of such a thing.
I’m taking him to the pediatrician on Monday first thing, but the whole episode is just another reminder that I have created two beings of which I will live in fear for the rest of my life that harm will come to.
However, having them in my life is so incredibly worth the gray hair and constant elevated blood pressure and so I digress.