I'm not a very observant mom. Actually, a better way to put that is: I am not observant AT ALL. I'm rarely the first person to notice if one of my kids has a bump or a scratch, and when I'm in the throes of dealing with a whiny, unhappy kid, it hardly ever occurs to me that he might not be feeling well. I'm much more apt to assume he's just being a brat. I know, I know. That's, like, forty Mom Demerits.
Both of my kids have been out of sorts for a while now. It started with runny noses. Molly had it first and I thought, "Teething!" because one time I heard someone with authority say that a runny nose without any other symptoms often means teething and I REMEMBERED. I have no idea if it's actually TRUE, but there I was feeling oh so proud of myself for 1) noticing and 2) coming up with a diagnosis. Parenting win! Then Jack came down with a runny nose and I had to reevaluate -- unconnected grossness, or a cold making it's way through my family?
Molly has since dried up in the nose department and is currently in one of those Sweetest Baby in the World phases. I know they don't last, so I'm soaking it up. Cuddliest, darlingest, baby EVER. But Jack... Jack is cuddlier than usual too, but only because he's been in this vague Victorian malaise about something and in dire need of Mommy 24/7.
Seriously, I don't know what's up with this kid. He stopped eating and I was all, "Well, that's my boy! Eating is classified as a torture device in the universally acknowledged Jack Conventions!" But then his dad figured out that his mouth was hurting. Canker sore? Bit his tongue? Who knew? And then yesterday his GRANDFATHER found a small cut on his tongue. Mystery solved, and not by me.
That's not the end of it, though. In addition to the mysterious mouth trauma we have a puffy eye, random eczema, boogers that have decided, apparently, to become permanent nasal cavity residents, and frequent demands for "Cream!" in the, ah, diaper area. He even has a preference for WHICH cream. And all of this, you can be sure, was first discovered and worried about by people other than his own mother. Once I was made aware of the various injuries I did my best to fret and treat, but none of it looks all that horrible. I probably wouldn't even be writing about it if it wasn't also accompanied by endless mind-numbing whining. I briefly considered institutionalization (for ME, not him) after tonight's Great PlayDoh Meltdown. What am I going to do when he's REALLY sick?
How much fun would it be to shriek, "SWINE FLU!" and run crazy and despairing through the streets? WAY fun. But it's obviously a virus or the dry air or at best a collection of random unrelated symptoms. If and when I call the doctor tomorrow, what do I even say? I don't know when things started, or for how long, or even exactly what's uncomfortable. Jack has only the most tenuous grasp on the English language and the minute he stops whining about it is the minute I start thinking about something else. (Now I'm up to FIFTY Mom Demerits.)
My kids have never been very sick, so I tend to sit on the Wait It Out and See What Happens sidelines. No use in calling a doctor to make me feel stupid, right? But I do wonder when my lazy not-observantness will get the better of me. Probably on day three of the Swine Flu.