Riley seems to be dealing with some lingering effects of being sick, at least we suspect he’s still not feeling 100% but it’s impossible to tell for sure. He’s been more moody than normal, prone to insane outbursts of crying and sorrowful episodes where he just sort of drapes himself over the furniture, lays his head onto his blanket, and sniffles “no” in response to every question we ask. I wish I could run some sort of Star-Trek-esque diagnostic machine over him, something that would tell me whether his system is still sub-par or if he’s just getting a jump start on his teen years. If he were constantly acting weird, I’d take him to the doctor, but lots of the time he seems totally fine, his regular old spirited/chattery self, and I don’t know, maybe we’re just going through one of those awful toddler stages?

Adding to the Possible Mysterious Illness mix, Dylan barfed a couple times yesterday and then had himself a, um, Diaper of Horror, which had me drumming my fingers and staring fixedly at him and trying to figure out if he looked sick, while he remained relentlessly cheery and bright-eyed and coo-ey and temperature-free.

So maybe our household is rife with disease at the moment, and maybe everything is perfectly normal. I have no idea, but it is stressing me right the fuck OUT. In the midst of dealing with the maybe-sick, maybe-not children yesterday I happened to read a nightmarish story about a mother whose 6-month-old became feverish one night and they took him in to the ER where they were sent back home with a flu diagnosis and after he continued to get worse they took him back to the doctor where he DIED OF MENINGITIS IN HER ARMS TWO HOURS LATER, and I’m really sorry I just shared that with you but I can’t stop thinking about it and feeling something like a full-body freakout because oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.

I don’t know how to mitigate the Parental Anxiety when it descends. Most of the time I feel like I’m a fairly low-key mom, I don’t stress too much about things that are out of my control or that aren’t worth my energy, but sometimes . . . man, sometimes the act of loving someone can be nearly unbearable, because there is so goddamn much to lose.


38 Responses to “Worrywarting”

  1. Amy M. on May 13th, 2008 2:25 pm

    Sorry you’re going through some sort of bizarre illness. I’m going to go pick up my toddler now & hug him the rest of the evening.

  2. Stephanie on May 13th, 2008 2:39 pm

    I hope the boys are back to normal soon. Funny you should write this post because I have been feeling the same way lately about things beyond our control (like all the natural disasters going on..what’s UP with that??) I think we just need to hang on though this stage and ride it out. My toddler is being extra “special” right now as well. “No” is the chosen word as of late, and a little bug flew into the car this morning and I thought she was going to break down right there. Then…smiles. AHHH!

  3. Keri on May 13th, 2008 2:44 pm

    My nearly-three-year-old has not really been himself lately either and I suspect his third-year molars are coming in. He’s been gnawing at his hands and when I ask him if his teeth hurts, he says ‘yes.’ Perhaps you could ask Riley if his teeth hurt? Hope your boys feel better soon!

  4. sundry on May 13th, 2008 2:51 pm

    KERI. OH MY GOD. The . . . drooling? The announcement the other day that his mouth hurt, at which point we thought he bit his tongue? The bad, bad attitude? The random wincing mid-meal and frantic declarations that he’s ALL DONE EATING (even though he can usually be cajoled to eat more)? Holy shit, does he have even MORE teeth coming in? Second molars?

  5. Swistle on May 13th, 2008 2:57 pm

    Here is one of a kersnillion possibilities: Elizabeth was a total crab for a couple of weeks, and it turned out she had a sinus infection. (One symptom: bad breath.) Ten days of amox and she’s back to usual crab levels.

  6. jonniker on May 13th, 2008 3:11 pm

    I LOVE that Keri may have come to the rescue. Love.

    To be honest, I am feeling much like Riley these days and the culprit is the hilariously high pollen count that has my face looking to escape through my cheekbones. My first thought was some sort of sinus infection/allergy issue.

    I can offer no guidance on the Diaper of Horror. *shudder*

  7. Kym on May 13th, 2008 3:12 pm

    I second that w/the sinus infection, that could be the cause:(

  8. Trina on May 13th, 2008 3:14 pm

    Molars and possibly he’s just feeling sad because he isn’t the center of attention anymore. All kids deal with the new baby diffrently. But, I am guessing it’s teeth.

  9. Laura on May 13th, 2008 3:18 pm

    The Worry has been killing me all day.My daughter (Riley’s age) keeps telling me her ears hurt. But it seems to be a ploy to get q-tips (she is obsessed). So do I call the doc or wait for the ped appt we have later this week? Also, my three month old has been napping for…four hours now? five? Is he tired from a big morning out? Or, you know, perishing from spinal meningitis? I am usually pretty relaxed, but some days, it’s like i can’t stop thinking about how fragile it all is.
    (Seriously, five hours? What is this???)

  10. Kym on May 13th, 2008 3:18 pm

    Holy shit, just re-read the post about more teeth, Grrrreeeeaaaatttt! I can’t wait for those!

  11. Jennifer on May 13th, 2008 3:53 pm

    OK. I am nuts enough to begin with, kids are going to send me right over the edge with worry.

    I’m sure there’s no cause for worry and Riley’s just dealing with a tooth or sinus thang. Poor little kids! It’s just awful they don’t have any way of expressing themselves other than being grumpy little a-holes.

    I hope everyone is on the mend soon and the Diapers of Horror are far and few between!

  12. All Adither on May 13th, 2008 3:54 pm

    I love to worry about things beyond my control. If they’re controllable, why worry?

    The half-sick thing is, in my opinion, almost worse than the full on illness. Can I expose them to other kids or not? Can I put on a show and take a shower or will they disintegrate the second I leave the room? Am I going to throw myself off a rocky, windy cliff today or stay among the living?

  13. Joanne on May 13th, 2008 3:57 pm

    I had no idea about the third year molars, I can’t imagine my three year old fitting more teeth into his head! He is pretty crabby and dramatic anyways, so he might have gotten them already.

    I.HEAR.YOU. on the freaking out and the having so much to lose. SO MUCH, you are right. You just get over it, or get better at it, and then you have another little baby and even though you’re sure everything is going to be fine, you still lean over them to be sure they’re breathing when they nap for more than ten minutes. Ugh. When I brought the latest one home from the hospital, she had to go in for a weight check the next day because they were worried that she had lost almost a pound. And I was freaking out, so worried, and my husband reminded me that she weighed 9.5 pounds at birth! So she was down to 8.8, which is still pretty freaking big! And of course she was fine, and I feel like a dope, but maybe that’s just par for the course? Maybe?

  14. Eric's Mommy on May 13th, 2008 4:20 pm

    Everything will be okay :)

  15. sweetcheese on May 13th, 2008 4:22 pm

    Once again you have me cracking up AND nearly crying. And if you think you have a bad case of parental anxiety, I can only imagine what mine is going to be like because you already have me freaked out about all the stuff I am going to have to worry about.

  16. Janet on May 13th, 2008 4:23 pm

    Hey, I’m a veteran mom of teenagers and I still worry about losing them to something horrible that’s completely out of my control. Heck, my second full time job is making mountians out of mole-hills so I feel ya sista!

  17. ML on May 13th, 2008 5:08 pm

    Our daughter has been acting like that and we just found out about six year molars! Hell on a stick.

  18. Josh on May 13th, 2008 6:49 pm

    My great grandpa pretty much did the same thing for a few years and then died. All his organs started failing. but he was like ninety someshit, so you’re probably safe with the youngins. I say dope them up with nyquil for a while then give them some sugar and take em to the park. That fixes stuff right? Or tell them they can go get shots if they don’t feel well. Riley that is, the baby probably hasn’t mastered teh art of thinly veiled threats yet. That usually comes some time after learning to speak. Anyway, good luck with the sars or whatever. If you see any of those Indiana Jones monkeys running around the forest, call the cops.

  19. Becky on May 13th, 2008 7:11 pm

    Amen on the Worry….sometimes it just gets the best of me and freaks me the hell out….I imagine it doesn’t get any easier the older they get.

  20. kalisa on May 13th, 2008 7:26 pm

    “I wish I could run some sort of Star-Trek-esque diagnostic machine over him, something that would tell me whether his system is still sub-par or if he’s just getting a jump start on his teen years.”

    Man, your shit is funny.

  21. willikat on May 13th, 2008 8:07 pm

    hm, i’m so NOT a mom. but my guess is maybe a little sibling rivalry is setting in since he’s realizing dylan’s not going back to wherever he came from?
    or just remnants of sickness. i actually kind of act like that when sick, and i’m 27.
    this too shall pass!

  22. Margo on May 13th, 2008 9:10 pm

    oh jesus, yes the meningitis. doesn’t matter what the symptoms, i’m always convinced it’s meningitis.

  23. Kate on May 13th, 2008 9:51 pm

    Man, I forgot about those 3 year molars. Crap. Sounds like that could be the culprit. Or maybe an ear infection?

    And I so totally hear ya on the paranoia of possibile evils. I work in a hospital and know *just enough* to be dangerous and extremely suspicious of every.little.thing. I can’t hardly bear to read the news because of the daily dose of child-related crap in it. It goes right in thru my eyes and tears my heart up into little shreds and leaves me gasping for reason. So f**king unfair.

  24. lisa on May 13th, 2008 9:52 pm

    Oh god, the parenting fear can be debilitating. I am a low key, let-them-eat-dirt, slacker kind of mom, but even I get blindsided by the sudden “what if” worry. Losing a kid is so unthinkable that you can’t stop thinking about it.

    This usually crops up while I’m watching action movies. Having kids just ruins some things.

  25. Mary on May 13th, 2008 10:17 pm

    The worrying never stops. I read a horrible story about teenagers going to prom yesterday, and a horrible follow up today, and I am having a hard time not crying about it. Even though my son and his prom date are very boring and normal. My mother assures me she has never stopped worrying, and her baby is older than you.

    I think all we can do is love them the best we can while they’re here, and hope for the best.

  26. Katie on May 14th, 2008 4:56 am

    I was totally on my way to your comments section to say “with our daughter the kind of behavior Riley’s got going on was always either ear infection or molars”, but it looks like that’s all covered here! Hope everybody feels better soon.

  27. Erin on May 14th, 2008 5:06 am

    Oh sweetie, I hear ya! It is not possible to know all the time. And that sucks in a major way.

  28. nonsoccermom on May 14th, 2008 6:20 am

    Wait, ML, WHAT? SIX-YEAR-MOLARS? Really? I had no idea. SWELL.

    Sundry, hope the boys get to feeling better soon, and that meningitis thing is terribly sad and also pretty much my worst nightmare…

  29. Christina on May 14th, 2008 6:28 am

    UGH I hear you on this… read one story when your kiddos are sick and bang I am in a mild state of panic. I know that is not what he has but still… YOU NEVER CAN TELL…

    Our three year old was also in this odd state. Sick but not then he got sick and it seemed to run its course except for the bad bad bad attitude. I never thought of molars coming in.

    He actually has been up in the night sobbing for no good reason and as soon I get there he stops. He says he did not have a bad dream and cannot really explain why he was crying but I tell you being 7 months pregnant sleeping in a twin bed with a VERY active 3 yr old may kill me!

  30. Emerald on May 14th, 2008 6:30 am

    Aw, I’m so sorry you got the momfreak going on, that’s no fun at all. I get that and I’m not even a mom; if the boyfriend disappears from the internet for a day, he’s DEAD OH MY GOD SOMETHING HAPPENED! I hope I don’t drive myself mental when I actually AM a mom. But I hope the kids are all good and well, and stop stressing you out so much. *positive vibes your way*

  31. Shelly on May 14th, 2008 6:34 am

    So I was all set to make a comment about how I’m sick, too, and could I be like Riley and have sorrowful episodes and drape myself over the furniture, and sniffle “no” in response to every question and then you laid that meningitis story on me and I think my whole body liquified. Those kinds of stories kill me dead. So sad, and yes, the fear just tears you apart. So much to lose indeed. Well said, Linda, well said.

  32. Jane on May 14th, 2008 6:43 am

    And it certainly doesn’t help with the mom worry when giant corporations run commercials beginning, “Every year six thousand teenagers go out for a drive and never come home”. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!

    I am with Mary–saw the Prom story and the horrible aftermath of the brother. My kids are boy then girl, 2 years apart, just like this family and I about lost my shit. Of course, some of it is hormonal (8 week old baby), but still…Horrifying!

    Linda, hope the boys get better soon. In case you were taking a poll, I vote the sinus issues and/or teeth.

    Good luck!

  33. Alie on May 14th, 2008 7:31 am

    “…man, sometimes the act of loving someone can be nearly unbearable, because there is so goddamn much to lose.”

    Amen, sister. I’m sending one of my ‘loved someones’ to Afghanistan in a month, and couldn’t figure out how to put into words how I was feeling. Reading that just made me tear up because, YES, that IS how it feels.

    Thank you.

    Good luck with the whole molars/sinus/diaper debacle! Crossing my fingers for you.

  34. MRW on May 14th, 2008 8:40 am

    I’ve been worried because my son has had a runny nose and cough for three weeks – he is on antibiotics because the doctor suspects a sinus infection, but of course I always worry it’s “THE MENINGITIS.” Now I wonder if at least some of it isn’t these damned six year molars of which I’ve just now learned. I don’t think the worrying ever stops. ACK.

  35. Andrea on May 14th, 2008 8:54 am

    The last line of this post? Got me in the throat with a lump and stabby in the eyeballs. So true.

  36. JennB on May 14th, 2008 9:48 am

    I think Riley’s got what they call “almost-3-years-old” syndrome. I have to say, it doesn’t go away and in fact can explode into temper tantrums the likes of which you have yet to see. It’s something to behold.

    Either that or he’s figured out that Dylan’s staying. And he’s pissed.

  37. Tessie on May 14th, 2008 10:16 am

    I saw that meningitis thing too (DAMN YOU PCJM!) and I even CLICKED THROUGH (WHY?).

    It made me especially panicky because due to the constant Daycare Plagues we have endured, I have developed a rather unfortunate “suck it up” attitude towards any and all sicknesses. ACK!

  38. Becki on May 14th, 2008 8:22 pm

    I am with you 100% on the scariness and fear of loss. Sometimes I wish I could turn my heart off for a while like I do my cell phone.

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