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.


Blogger Mrs. M said...

Andrea, I can relate. My older boy seems to be much more whiney and dramatic about injuries, disappointment, and general sadness. I feel like I'm always telling him to buck up, in slightly more kid-friendly terms. My younger guy is usually so happy that when he whimpers I drop everything. I wonder if it's related to birth order? I hope your kids both feel better soon and that you don't come down with anything yourself.

11/16/2005 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger annegb said...

Yeah, I relate, as well. I had two kids who just crawled in a corner and slept it off and two who threw up next to the toilet.

My husband is the biggest baby and I am a corner crawler.

It's annoying. I don't think you're any less perfect a mother.

Also, my kids got croup, it's a scary sounding thing.

11/17/2005 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Suzie Petunia said...

I can't help but think of Anne Shirley whenever my kids get croupe (which is quite often) and I wonder what the miracle drug was that she used...

11/17/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

I have a very distinct childhood memory of waking up one morning very, very, very sick. My mother was downstairs, yelling at all of us to get down there and eat breakfast and get ready for school. I kept trying to call to her to tell her that I couldn't get up, that I didn't feel well. I remember even shouting, "I DON'T FEEL GOOD MOM!" at least twice before she showed up at the bedroom door. She then said, "What's your problem?"

I angrily told her, "I don't feel well!", and I remember that she sighed. She stalked over to the bed, and put her hand on my burning forehead, and her attitude changed immediately. "Oh, I'll bet you don't feel good, sweetheart," she said, and I spent a week in bed with her bringing me everything I needed. One time my sister even made me come down to dinner, and my mom shooed me away back to my bed and a dinner tray. I think she felt guilty about being so slow to respond to my pleas of sickness, so she overcompensated a little bit. I remember really liking all the attention I got from her.

But the bottom line is: I survived. I was fine, and she did what she needed to do to get me through it. I think we can torture and torture ourselves about being a perfect mother, when really, it's all about being a mother who's good enough. Andrea, I'm sure you're a good enough mom, so don't beat yourself up about it.

Hugs to your sick family!

11/17/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

Croup is so scary. I had two women in my ward who had to take their kids via ambualnce to the ER because of it. They both had the strider (sp?) kind. Both times the parents just called the doctor because the cough sounded like a seal, and the doctors said, "get here right now." Once there, they transported them via ambulance to the children's hospital.

The scary thing is, neither mom was really sure if they should have called the doctor or just wait and see. But the doctors told them that their babies would have scared them enough that eventually they would have called.

Glad your kids are doing well.

11/17/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most people are like this; it's natural. I'm much more apt to give love and validation to the people who don't want or need it than those who are grasping after it greedily and very clearly need it.

On another note, when talking to the stoic, second child, I said, "Are you sick?" and she said, "I don't know. Let me ask my Mom." I thought that was so cute.


11/21/2005 12:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the way you react is normal and natural and probably good. You worry less about the child who complains about every problem because you know she will let you know if anything serious happens. The one who is more stoic scares you because you're not sure she will tell you everything you need to know. You also worry that if that child looks sick, she's really very sick.

I think this makes you a good and wise mom, and shows that you care for each child according to his or her needs. Well done.

11/21/2005 12:45:00 AM  

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