Being an on-call pediatrician or nurse must be so super annoying.
Granted, there are legitimate emergencies, like kids with spiking fevers or things stuck up their noses.
But then there are the parents who worry about everything. Even the stupid things.
As a second-time mommy, I thought I was in the clear of these silly concerns. It’s a general rule that the second time around, you are way more relaxed.
The kid eats dirt? Big deal.
The baby cries in her crib? So what?
Nap schedule? What nap schedule?
This is my second baby, and for the last eight months, I have felt confident that I have got this parenting thing down. I am relaxed. I can enjoy the baby instead of stressing about dumb things like when her last dirty diaper was.
Spoke too soon.
This weekend, for the 800-millionth time, Eliza fell and totally smoked her head. I am a second-time mom, so I was all, “Oh, you’re fine, shake it off, kid.”
After a little mommy cuddle, she smiled and turned back to gumming the remote control. The next time I looked at her, which was just a few seconds later, there it was: a thin, red line of blood coming out of her nose.
You would have thought her skull had caved in and her brain was seeping out of her ears. I had a very not-subtle reaction.
“DAVID! CALL THE PEDIATRICIAN NOW!”
“What?!? What’s wrong? What happened?”
“Our daughter is hemorrhaging and probably has long-term brain damage. The evidence is spilling out of her nose. Why are you not speed dialing the doctor right now?”
“Um … what’s the pediatrician’s name?”
I could have killed him with the anger that darted out of my eyeballs. I don’t think my voice has ever been as stern or as deep as it was when I bellowed, “You DON’T KNOW who the kids’ doctor is?”
I grabbed the phone and left a hasty message for the on-call pediatrician while at the same time Googling “What to do if your kid smokes her head and gets a nosebleed.”
In my defense, I don’t get nosebleeds and Monster never has, either.
In defense of common sense, Eliza was laughing and playing, and David kept poking her nose saying, “She isn’t even flinching. Her nose isn’t broken. I think she is fine.”
But when you are a worried parent, there is no such thing as common sense. It flies out the window, along with patience and grace, which is why every five minutes that passed without a call back from the pediatrician, I shook my head and said some “not nice” words.
An hour later, the doctor called, offering the excuse that he had been on a plane and just landed, and how could he help?
“Well, my 8-month-old daughter fell and her nose was bleeding for a minute and I want to know what signs I need to look for to determine if she will need long-term care.”
The doctor paused. (He paused a little too long if you ask me, but whatever. Like, spare me your sarcastic silence.)
“So, your daughter took a tumble and got a very small nosebleed that has ceased? I hate to tell you, Mom, but there are going to be a lot more scrapes and bruises down the road.”
And just like that, I lost my “second-time mommy” card.
I am just like the rest of the paranoid parents who abuse on-call physicians with underwhelming stories about medical non-emergencies.
I have learned nothing.
Scratch that. I have learned just one thing: Never judge another parent’s concerns. Sooner or later, it will be you having an unnecessary freak-out that makes your husband question your sanity.