Adventures in Overparenting

My laptop is currently balanced on my knees so that Nugget can sleep on my chest while I type. He used to sleep on my chest like this all the time when he was a newborn and I didn't yet realize that it's a very good way never to get anything done. I'm spoiling him today because he is sick and his hoarse whimpers are irresistibly pitiful. He is a little too big for it now: his kicks threaten to send my laptop flying, and I have to react quickly to keep his restless head-tossing from colliding with my face. Of course, I never tried to use my computer while holding him back then. I thought such inattention might constitute Being a Bad Mom, and anyway I was pretty content to just sit and get drunk on his newborn perfume.

Yesterday we took new parent overkill to the ultimate heights and brought our baby to the emergency room for a cold. In our defense, we only did it because the nurse at our pediatrician's office told us to go when we called to ask what to do about his labored, phlegmy-sounding breathing. She asked us stupid questions like "Is his stomach moving in and out when he breathes?" Trent and I and my mother bent over him and watched his stomach. It moved in and out, of course. The ER doctor told us later that the movement would have been much more dramatic if there was cause for concern. It certainly sounded like he was wheezing, and you could feel the rasp in his chest. The ER doctor, who was very nice about it, acknowledged that it could sound like there was fluid in his lungs although the infection was only in his upper respiratory system.

We did recognize, when we went, that he was probably fine and we were just being overcautious. Since we weren't really very worried about him, that left plenty of room for me to worry about other things, like whether the ER personnel would think I was a Good Mom. When the nurse took off his sock to put a heart rate monitor on his big toe, I was horrified to see that it was the toenail I'd cut too close the other day, leaving a tender red line along the edge. And I was unreasonably embarrassed that the diaper he was wearing was a size too big, because I'd put one of his cousin's diapers on by accident. But I thanked God he'd actually had a bath recently, and was warmly dressed.

In retrospect, I think the folks at the ER probably were not that worried about the parents who brought their baby in for a cold.

No comments: