Last week one of my children came down with a case of the croup. Which is what Diana Barry’s little sister would have died from except for Anne Shirley’s quick thinking and prior experience. My pediatrician assured me we’ve come a long way since then. Anyway, we nursed this child through and she never really did get wheezy or struggle to breath which was a relief. Her worst complaint was a sore throat and her eyes stinging. We had a couple of really rough nights, but she finally bounced back and is doing fine now.
Yesterday I noticed another one of my children acting unusually lethargic and when I checked on her I could tell she had a fever. Then last night she started with the barking cough and a little wheezing. Fortunately we had a prescription for the medicine she needed and I’m sure in a few more days she’ll be fine.
So here’s the confession. Yesterday I was so consumed by this second child’s sickness. I kept checking on her and worrying about her when it dawned on me that my response to this child was totally different from my response with my first child to be sick. Now I hardly neglected my first child, I was busy giving her medicine and waiting on her and caring for her. The difference was my attitude. Child no. 1 is not my most stoic child. She’s very vocal about pain and discomfort and to be fair probably truly has a lower pain tolerance. She likes to be waited on and never seems to run out of requests. Most of the time I’m happy to do what I can to attend to her but can’t help but think she’s overreacting and really working it.
My second child is the exact opposite. Whenever she gets sick she just sort of curls up in a corner some where. When I find her and ask her if she’s okay she says she is. She never complains and hardly even speaks (let me stress that this behavior is ONLY when she is sick :)). She asks nothing of me and it makes me want to give her everything. I hover over her and do everything I can think of to make her comfortable.
So the bottom line -- both children were sick, both needed me to take care of them. One child needed and wanted a great deal of attention and one child wanted to lay around without needing a lot of attention. It came much easier to me to give the greater portion of my attention to the one who needed it less. Why is that? It makes me sad. If only my children could have a perfect mother.