Help! My Friend has a Child with Special Needs!

There are so many rants and articles and blogs floating around today with a title like, ’20 things never to say to a new mother/single dad/parent of a large family/pitbull owner/diabetic/vaxxer/anti-vaxxer/breastfeeding mother… etc etc etc.’ And let me tell you, some of those are utterly warrented. Sometimes, especially on the internet, we engage our mouth (or keyboard) before we engage our brain. Or, to quote my dear, sweet grandmother, “That man just opens his mouth and stupid falls out!” 

Sometimes I open my mouth, and stupid falls out. Once I was introduced to a little girl and a dog at the same time. Their names were Savannah and Winter. I later addressed the little girl as Savannah… and much to my chagrin, discovered that was actually the dog’s name. (I’m all for unusual names, but c’mon, make it easy on the rest of us and give your dog a dog name. I would never have assumed the little girl’s name was “Fluffy”)

So we all have these verbal glitches, but one of the hardest things is when someone is in a situation that you yourself have never experienced. And I’m struck by the need for some friendly guidance because of the vast amount of misinformation there is on the internet and elsewhere about my child’s medical condition, so although some of these my be diabetes-specific, they really apply to any parent with a child needing above-average care. 

Don’t say: “What did you do to cause it?” or even worse, “You obviously caused it by doing ______.” 

Instead, if you must comment on cause, ask: “Do the doctors know why?”

Reason: We live, breathe, and sleep our child’s needs. It’s a 24/7 deal. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to tell somebody what’s going on. It’s NEVER nice to be blamed or guilted. Trust me, we’ve already been through anything we could have done differently in our head. 

Don’t say: “I couldn’t deal with that.”

Instead, say: “That must be so hard. Is there anything I can do to help?”

Reason: Well, duh, it’s hard. But if I don’t deal with it, (in my case, giving daily injections and/or glucose checks) my child dies. Don’t tell me you couldn’t, because if it was your kid, you would soldier through, just like me. 

Don’t say: “Your normal kids…”

There’s no “instead”. Just don’t. Seriously, my four-year-old has better manners than that. 

Don’t ask: “Can he/she do ______?”

Instead, ask: “Is there anything today that he/she shouldn’t participate in?”

Reason: We’re a little touchy about our kids. If we think someone is putting limits on them, we can get very defensive, very fast. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. We’ll try to let you know if there’s something they need to sit out, but more than anything, we and they just want to be normal. 

If you are comfortable with it, uask if the parent would like a break sometime. Offer to learn enough about the care to babysit for an hour or so. 

Offer to get together, and come to them. Especially with toddlers, disrupting the routine is even more explosive when there are higher needs involved. (Bonus points: Bring coffee)

Listen. Sometimes we are going to sound like a broken record. Sometimes that’s what our life feels like. 

Remember: They’re just kids. They need the same amount of love, respect, nurturing, and dicipline that other kids do, they just need a little more, besides. I’m not a better parent, or a worse parent, because my child needs little more attention. It just means I need a little more coffee. 

Adventures in Bathtime

I don’t know about you, maybe yours is the kind of house where bathtime is a calming experience, the end of the day when little whirlwinds finally sit still for 10 minutes and you can sit still, too. Maybe yours is the kind of house where you put a few drops of lavender oil in the bath and the little angels settle right down in preparation for bedtime.

Mine isn’t.

First off, I can’t bathe my kids at the same time anymore, because as soon as I turn my attention to one, the other is either dumping water onto the floor or taking a bite out of the soap. 

Seriously. She ate the soap. Twice.

So what I have to do is strip and wash one before the other one realizes what’s going on, then power-dry and hope to goodness that the first one actually gets dressed like they’ve been told while I speed-wash the second one. 

Even back when I would bathe them at the same time, though, it went something like this:  
Bath is over and the water has all been sucked down the drain, much to the chagrin of my littles, and I take the Princess out of the tub, dry her off, and put a diaper on her. Then I send her into her room to find her pjs. 
Big brother is a little more adamant about staying in and shivering in the now-empty tub, so it takes a little longer to wrangle him out. Finally I’m victorious, and I proceed to dry him with what you would think was sandpaper from the howls. Pause here, and chase a squealing, buck-naked baby down the hallway. 
Finally, I get her wrestled back into her diaper, and come back to Brother, who by this time is busily caking $10-per-ounce, organic diaper cream all over his little boy parts.
I kneel down to wipe his hands, and other things, when he announces, “I went potty.” 
“Where?” 
“Right there.” and he points… right where I’m kneeling. Now the warm wetness is soaking through my favorite jeans. So much for going all day without having to change my clothes. 
I sigh, wipe him off, and put a pull-up on him. Just then, the nudist appears again, and off I run to diaper her for the third time in 10 minutes. For good measure, I find her pajamas (stuffed in between the couch cushions) and proceed to dress the little darling. Have you ever tried to dress an octopus that is still a little bit soapy? Let me tell you, Two-year-old dressing should be an Olympic sport. 

About this time, Daddy comes home. 

Remember, one child is still basically naked, one is wailing that I put the wrong pajamas on her (“I WANT THE CINDERELLY ONES!”) and there is water all over the bathroom and teeth marks in the soap. 

The man takes one look that encompasses the chaos, disheveled wife with cold urine seeping down the front of her pants, offspring in various states of undress, since Princess has decided to change her pj’s without consulting me, and house that looks like it saw a civil war, and without missing a beat he says, 

“Do you have any wine left?”

“Yes, why?”

“Oh, good. I was prepared to go back to town and get some, but I guess I don’t have to. Let’s get these kids in bed.”  

Where the Sanity Ends (If Shel Silverstein was a stay-at-home-parent)

There is a place where the sanity ends
And before the silence begins,
And there the pillow is soft and white
And there remains of dinner burn crimson bright
And finally toddlers rest from their fight
To cry in their blankie-strewn beds.

Let us leave this kitchen where the smoke blows black
And the dark hallway winds and bends
Past the pits where the withering houseplants grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow
And watch where the muddy-brown handprints go
To the place where the sanity ends. 

Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is heavy and slow
And we’ll go where the crayon-scribbled stick figures go
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sanity ends.

The Possibility of Polite Preschoolers

Recently my husband and I took our kids, ages 2 and 3, to lunch at a friend’s house. My children sat politely at the table, asked for what they wanted, thanked the host and hostess, and asked to be excused when they were finished. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not always like that. Sometimes they are holy terrors and I wonder what kind of precocious imps I’m raising, but on this occasion, as on many such, they behaved almost exactly the way I expected them to. 
People are frequently surprised at how polite my preschoolers are, and frankly, I’m surprised at their surprise. It really isn’t difficult to raise polite kids, it just takes a lot of determination. So here are my top tips for raising polite preschoolers:

#1: Let them know what’s expected

Kids need to know what you expect of them. Knowing their boundaries makes kids feel secure and loved. Pushing those boundaries is their way of asking how much you love them, and giving them the structure that they crave is one of the best things a parent can do. Make sure the rules are clear and simple, and the consequences of breaking them are the same each time. 

Johnny, you know that we don’t throw food on the floor. You also know that the consequence for throwing food is leaving the table, so you may be excused, now. 

(Remember, if they leave hungry once, they will probably remember it and decide it’s not worth it, next time.)

#2: Be consistent

Just as they need to know what is expected, they need to know that it is always expected. My kids, even at their young ages, know that it is always expected that they ask to be excused before leaving the table. They also know that if they don’t, I will always make them come all the way back and sit correctly in their chair and ask politely before excusing them, whether we are at home or not. 

#3: Insist they be polite and respectful

This used to be a no-brainer. Children spoke politely and respectfully to adults, and ideally, to each other. When my children are spoken to by an adult, any adult, if I’m with them they are required to answer. (Yes, we have had the ‘stranger danger’ talk, and they know that is a different situation.) We do not permit our children to hide or ignore adults when they are asked a question. I once watched a child ignore a (very resonable) request by an adult caregiver and hide her face in Mom’s leg, and to my shock, Mom excused the behavior instead of correcting it. Unfortunately, in this situation, Mom just set herself and this caregiver up to fail, because now the child thinks she can get away with rudeness and disobedience to adults and Mom doesn’t care. 
When we walk into church or the grocery store and our children are asked, “How are you, today?” they know they are supposed to answer, “Fine, thank you” if they can’t think of anything else. If they utterly refuse to be polite, they are removed from the situation, receive a reprimand or a time-out, and then are returned to the adult to try again. Don’t ever, ever let it slide.

I know that all these things are exhausting. I know that there are going to be times when we Just. Don’t. Feel. Like. It. But we’re raising little humans and it is so worth it to make them polite, productive members of society, and it absolutely must start when they are tiny, malleable humans instead of stubborn, teenage humans. 

The Million-Dollar Question

I just had one of the hardest conversations of my life. I would say it ranked somewhere between “Honey, I lost my job” and “Your grandfather is dying of cancer.” 

We have some of our best conversations in the car, and even as young as my kids are, sometimes they get a little deep. Today we were driving home from the doctor’s office and my 3-year-old was examining the green medical alert bracelet on his wrist. His little brow was scrunched up, and I could tell he was thinking hard. 

“Mommy, why do I have Diabetes?” 

Once, in elementary school, I fell backward off a barrel, landing flat on my back and knocking the wind out of me well and proper. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, all I could do was gasp for air that was just out of reach. The pain of having all the air forced out of my lungs terrified me, and as soon as I could breathe, I started to sob. Not so much from the pain, but from the fear. I’m not talking about delicate little whimpers, either. I’m talking about full-on sobs, to the point that I couldn’t look the freckle-faced neighbor boy (who had won the “king of the hill” battle) in the face for weeks afterward. 

That breathless feeling, those terrified sobs, that “sucker punched” feeling, they all welled up inside me when I heard that sweet little voice ask that impossible question. 

Because there is no real answer.

There’s no “why” to Type 1 Diabetes, at least not that anyone has found. It’s all “we think” and “perhaps” and “we often see” and “there are studies that indicate,” but there are no real facts, other than that his body suddenly decided to attack his pancreas, destroying its ability to make insulin.  (No, I did not feed my child too many pancakes and candy bars. That’s the other kind of Diabetes, which is not an auto-immune disoder)

So how do you explain to a three-year-old that the God who made him, who supposedly loves him and “ordained his days before he was born”, allowed him to get a disease that has no reason, has no cure, and has no end? That requires him to get poked and tested, puts him at risk for all manner of complications, and, at the very least, requires him to wear an insulin pump for the rest of his life? 

Somehow, I stammered out a shamefaced answer. Something full of lame platitudes and encouraging smiles and half-hearted assurances of Jesus’ love and protection. Not that I don’t believe those things, because I do. Not that I don’t think he should, because they’re true. But somehow, in the face of the child that I have to stick and poke and squeeze blood drops out of and attach tubes to, they just seemed to fall short and I was left feeling like I had failed to give an acceptable answer.

What do you do when there IS no answer?  

I know this isn’t a normal, feel-good, fluff post. But it IS reality. I don’t write all this so that you pity him, or me, pity never helped anyone. But I know that my son asked a question today that I didn’t have an answer for. I know there are bigger and more difficult questions, I know the world has bigger problems than one little boy without a working pancreas. I know that my readers have been asked impossible questions. I don’t have answers, but I do know this: 

Parenting is flippin’ hard, and we’re doing our best. Sometimes that’s just all that matters. 

Growing in Love

This morning I was getting dressed while my husband sat at the computer in our bedroom, and I knew we had to have the conversation I had been working up to for days.
“Honey, I need to tell you something.” I could see him tense up, because those words rarely mean anything pleasant. “I love you,” at this point he turned away from the computer and looked at me warily.
“I love you deeply and devotedly, and I love that you bring me things like doughnuts and oreos and wine when you come home from work. It makes me feel very loved.” At this point he was trying to hold in his laughter as he watched me hop and dance around the room, trying to fit my behind into the jeans I bought the month after our honeymoon.
“But you have to stop,” I continued, “because my clothes don’t fit me anymore!” 
By now, there was no trying. He giggled, he snickered, he howled. I wiggled, I jumped, I danced, I squeezed. I shot him a death glare as I peeled them off and pulled stretch pants out of my drawer. 
Carbs are my weakness, and he knows it. Chocolate and wine are like kryptonite, I lose all strength and will-power when they’re around. If we’re going out as a family on Saturday morning, the first two stops are the local doughnut shop and the drive-through coffee shop. I love food. Good food. And drinks. 

*Over-Sharing Alert*

In college I spent almost a year living on as little food as I could manage. I saw hunger as a sign of self-discipline and spent hours obsessing about how little food I could eat, and congratulating myself every time my stomach growled. 
Of course, within a few months I was having trouble focusing in my classes, my skin was drying out, my hair was falling out, and my social life was suffering. 

Long story short, I got help and decided that was never going to happen to me again. So now I enjoy my food, and sometimes when my brain says “I shouldn’t eat that, think of the fat content!” my heart says “But I’ll enjoy it, and I’ll do some cardio later to make up for it.” And occasionally I actually do. (occasionally do the cardio. I always enjoy the food)

I have three beautiful sisters, none of whom have had kids yet. They all have smaller feet, smaller waists, and bigger… yeah, those things all girls want to be bigger. Even the fourteen year old. Family functions are a fiasco of self-image issues for me. 
But I’ve learned something recently about body image, and here it is: 

Little girls are born without self-image hangups. 

But if my daughter, who is in that “retaining everything, human sponge” phase, hears me say “I shouldn’t eat that, I’m too fat already” or “I just wish I could lose those last 5 (10) pounds” or “Uhg, this shirt shows off my arm flab/baby pooch/cellulite!” she is going to internalize that attitude toward her body. But if she sees her mommy living her life, loving her body, and enjoying both food AND excercise, she will internalize THAT instead, and that’s the attitude I want my little one to have. Not only that, but it’s also the attitude that I want my son to have toward women’s bodies. So the way I treat and talk about my body, excercise, and food is the way my kids will view their own and (hopefully) their spouses’ bodies, someday. 


Widened hips for perching babies,
Soft tummy for littles to lean on,
Strong legs for chasing Munchkins,
Squishy arms for comfy hugs. 

No more bikinis, but that’s ok,
My body’s for more important things
These days.

The Sound of Ultimate Suffering

A peircing scream wafts down the hallway in the half-light of the pre-coffee haze. 

image

All she’s supposed to be doing is putting clothes on. Brother is in here, it’s not a repeat of the WWE incident last night. Maybe her head is stuck in the dresser again. 

I run down the hallway and burst into the playroom, only to be greeted by the sight of my daughter, standing in the middle of the room wearing a pink peasant top and Buzz Lightyear underwear, wailing like her little heart will break. 

No visible injuries. Not stuck in anything. Shirt fits fine. What the bleep? I need coffee.

“What’s wrong, Baby Girl?” 

(Deep breath) “Dis dress is not beeeyutiful!”

My turn for a deep breath. Ok, physically fine, emotionally fragile. Confidence boosting moment. C’mon, Mom, do your stuff. Make sure she doesn’t inherit your body image issues. 

“Sweetie, this is a shirt, not a dress, (Bad start! Bad start! Aack!) you need some pants with it.”

“Sniff! Ok.”

Really? That’s all I had to say? Better address the beauty issue, quick before she forgets!

“I think your shirt is very nice, but you know what makes it beautiful? The beautiful little girl inside it!”

(Big smile) “Ok, Mommy. Can I go play, now?”

Whew! Wow. That was… not completely botched. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this, after all. 

Avoiding the Monster-in-Law

My mother-in-law came to stay for the weekend. 
Since Brother and Sister have extensive food and chemical sensitivities, having houseguests is always a touchy thing. All it takes is a dollop of scented lotion or a squirt of hairspray to ruin the whole visit. 
Parenting is a touchy thing. Everyone has a different idea of how to do things, and it’s personal because everyone does their best to raise their own kids. Anything I do differently than you do/did is because I think my way is better for my family, and if I’m not careful that can quickly turn into, or at least feel like, judging. With my own parents I can always be sure that, whether or not we agree, they love me and my children, regardless. But that’s not always true in the case of in-laws. There are a few things I’ve learned about relationships with parents and in-laws that helped in my marriage and family relations, so I want to share them with you.

1. You marry the whole family.
        Never go into a relationship with the idea that if you don’t like your Love’s family, they will just go away. 
Not. Going. To. Happen. 
Always assume you are going to have to deal with these people for the rest of your life. If you can’t deal with that idea, well, there are other fish in the sea. Remember, this is your Love’s family, chances are he/she feels the same way about them that you do about your own. 

2. Complaining doesn’t endear anyone.
        So you made the decision that you can deal with your spouse’s family and now you’re married. Don’t complain about them. Complaining and whining about family just creates strife and resentment, and causes your spouse to have to choose sides. 
Granted, sometimes there are real issues that need to be addressed, as a couple, with one set of parents or the other, but nearly everything can be addressed in a helpful, constructive manner. I hope this doesn’t embarrass anyone (yes, my in-laws read my blog!) but when Hubby and I were first married we moved into a house that his parents own, and into Hubby’s old bedroom. We were leaving the country, so it didn’t make sense to rent a place for a month when there was an empty house available. One morning when his parents were visiting, I was sitting on our bed with the door partly open, and his dad walked in, opened the closet, put something in it, and walked out. It’s HIS house, HIS son’s bedroom, it didn’t even occur to him that it might be an issue. But it was to me. By some insane luck, my 20-year-old self reacted correctly: I went to my husband and calmly explained what had happened and that it made me uncomfortable. Thanks to The Lord, his 20-year-old self reacted correctly, as well. He pointed out that it had been FIL’s house a lot longer than it had been mine, that he didn’t mean anything by it, and then he mentioned it to his dad and it never happened again. Wins all around.

3. Space is the best peacemaker.
        Sometimes it’s not practical, or even possible, but putting space between you and your families is one of the best ways to keep the peace. I’ve never, ever, ever met anyone who said to me, “We live with my parents/in-laws and it was the best decision we ever made.” If it can be avoided, two adult women should never have to share one cooking space. Even if you have to share a house, finding a balance and respecting each other’s space is non-negotiable. 

4. Communicate.
        Your in-laws are your spouse’s family, it’s important to treat them like family. One way I make sure to do that is at Christmastime and birthdays. Since our families live 10 hours apart, planning is imperative! Making sure each family gets the same amount of time and different ideas of what the kids want/need is just a beginning. Sometimes communication is best when it goes through your spouse, especially if there have been bridges burned in the past, but ladies, a word for you: don’t make your husband/son choose between you. Even if he makes the right decision (sorry, Mom, the right decision is his wife) he’s still going to be miserable, and so will you. Trust me, it won’t end well. Open, honest, direct, and mature communication is key to a good in-law relationship. 

5. Respect each other.
        My sister-in-law lives with us. She has been with us since Sister was born, and she’s a permanent authority figure for my kids. I’m not going to lie, it’s been difficult for both of us to learn to live together. One of the big things for me was letting her be an authority, even when I was around. A few times one of the kids would come to me with tears in their eyes and wail, “Auntie told me NO!” 
I had to learn to say, “then go talk to Auntie about it.” If I had comforted, or even dismissed the issue, that would have been disrespectful to her and undermined her ability to be an authority to my kids. Hubby’s parents afford me the same respect, and if I make a decision about the kids there is no argument from them. Occasionally they will discuss a decision with me, but always later, never in front of my children, and they frequently have good ideas that I’ve never thought about before. (Huh, well, I guess they DID raise three kids…) Not only does this mutual respect create a peaceful and secure atmosphere for my children, it also fosters good in-law relationships. 

So when Hubby’s mom said she was coming for the weekend, my reaction was excitement, not dread. When she got ready in the morning, she skipped hairspray because I’ve explained to her that it bothers the kids. When the two of us went to town together, it was a fun and stress-free outing. 
What I’m saying is, good relationships with your in-laws are not only possible, but desirable. They just take a little effort.

Camping with Preschoolers

I have exceedingly fond memories of camping with my parents when my sisters and I were very small. We hiked Burney Falls when I was seven, and camped on Pebble beach when I was six. Once we saw the California Redwoods. So when my husband suggested that we should take our 2- and 3-year-old camping on his friend’s ranch next to the Molalla River, I was all for it.
I packed and I organized, I planned and I prepped. I bought those awesome baby food squeeze tubes that my kids think are smoothies, and I went to every grocery store in town trying to find all-natural hot dogs without cherry powder or paprika in them. (Never did find any, ended up with chicken bratwurst from Safeway) I gathered everything one family could possibly need for one night in a tent, and brought it all home

When Hubby got home from work, I had everything stuffed into the back of the truck and the kids and I were waiting by the door with bated breath for our epic outdoor adventure. 

Yeah, not so much. 

I did have everything in the back of the truck, except the cooler which I couldn’t lift, but unfortunately, he almost patiently pointed out that the moment we got over 35 mph, the tent, lawn chairs, and sleeping mats were going to scatter along the road like a trail of breadcrumbs.
So he unpacked it all and put it back. 

After that rough start, and a small argument about the state of the house, (Hey! I was getting ready for this adventure! Who has time to fold laundry?) we were on our way. 

“Mommy, are we there, yet?”

“Mommy! He touch mine blanky!”

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

“Mommy, can we go home, now?”

We were meeting some friends at the campsite for dinner, so as soon as we got there we started unpacking. Of course, the first thing the kids wanted to do was go in the water. Hubby started the barbeque. Then he set up the tent. Then he unloaded the truck. I stood there, feeling a little foolish, with absolutely no idea what to do or what order to do it in. Suddenly, my Mommy skills were called into play:

“Mommy! Sister has to go POTTY!” (She has her very own narrator)

“Ok, ok! Let’s go! Wanna go potty in the trees over here?”

“Yes!” 

Note to self: When taking preschoolers to the “bathroom” in the woods, a) always have wipes on you, and b) always ask them to specify what they need to do. Leaves are not very comfortable.

Somehow, dinner got made and eaten. Somehow, the kids got changed and strapped into their life vests. Somehow I got into my shorts and flip-flops and made it down to the river with them without anyone eating dirt, literally or figuratively. 

“What’s that?”

“That’s a crawdad. You want Mommy to catch it?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“Here it is, be careful and don’t let it pinch you. You want to touch it?”

“AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! NONONONONONONONONONO! GET IT ‘WAY F’OM ME!”

Somehow we all survived the river. Somehow we all made it back up the bank. Somehow we wrangled the kids into their pajamas and into their sleeping bags. Though Baby Girl kept calling it a ‘suitcase’, so hopefully she doesn’t tell anyone that Mommy and Daddy made her sleep in a suitcase and zipped it up. 

Awkward. 

That was probably one of the longest nights of my life. Every time one kid would start to doze off, the other would wake him/her up. They fought bedtime from 8 o’clock until 10:30, at which point, frustrated and exhausted beyond the bounds of reason, Hubby and I each took a kid to opposite sides of the tent and cuddled and shushed them until they fell asleep. 

Wish we’d have thought of THAT sooner…

We did have fun, though, we went on a short walk the next morning. The kids tried to skip rocks on the slow-moving water like Daddy, and the dog ran circles around the campsite trying his best to keep everyone in his field of vision. Big Brother was pretty excited that Daddy let him poke the campfire with a long stick, and Baby Girl tried to throw every rock she could reach into the river… and even some she couldn’t.

I realized this weekend that it’s been 20 years since I went camping. I also realized that neither camping nor preschoolers are for the faint of heart, and both at the same time may very well be certifiable. 

Maybe we’ll try again in 4 or 5 years. 

Precautionary Parenting

Here’s the problem with trusting your instincts and being right about a worst-case scenario: 

You’re paranoid for the rest of your life. 

I was right last July when I insisted there was something seriously wrong with my son, even though the doctor told me it was just a virus. I pushed, saw another doctor, and was right. All the nurses at the children’s hospital were amazed that he wasn’t more sick, because normally with toddlers that develop type 1 Diabetes, they are very sick when they are admitted. My friend’s 8-year-old was in a coma. Maybe that’s because some lazy doctors tell mothers that it’s a virus and dissuade them from checking blood sugar, but what do I know? I’m just a mom. 

Here’s the point of my bitter little tirade: Now I’m paranoid. 

I gave my kids beets with their snack the other day, knowing what could happen, but when my three-year-old pointed and laughed at the pink water in the toilet, I freaked and took him to Urgent Care, terrified he had a kidney infection. 
He didn’t. 
He had beets. 
I had egg on my face. 

As I was driving the 40 minutes home that night, I went over and over in my head how I was going to justify this trip to my husband. I told him in that imaginary conversation that if something was actually wrong and I ignored my instincts, I would never be able to live with myself. I was angry at him for being angry at me in this imaginary conversation. I didn’t need to justify myself, I’m a mom! I do what I think is best for my kids, to avoid those worst-case scenarios. In my mind, I let him have it for judging me and my cautious parenting. 
When I got home, I put our son to bed, and cried on my husband’s shoulder. He gently told me everything that I had been ready to say in my defense on the way home. He told me he was glad I had gone, and that I would be able to sleep that night because I had listened to my instincts. He told me that I was a good mom, and he was glad I was taking such good care of our kids. 

Yes, I’m paranoid. Yes, I overreact sometimes. Yes, I will continue to do so. 

But I will not apologize for it. I won’t write one of those “I refuse to shelter my kids” blogs. I won’t feel bad about it. Here’s why:
If I make 10 trips to Urgent Care, and 9 of them are nothing, they are still justified by the 10th. I’m not going to live my life in fear of something happening, but I’m not going to ignore my instincts for fear of overreacting, either. 
I’m a mom. It’s in my job description. 

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