When to Worry

I’ve never really been a worrier – at least not like many others I know. I didn’t feel the need to stockpile canned goods for Y2K, I never thought about bird flu, I never stocked up on duct tape to seal the windows and keep anthrax out. But being a parent has changed my worrying habits some.

First there are the worries I tell myself are ridiculous – but I still worry briefly about them anyway. This week I worried a few times that Nora has some form of OCD. When she goes over the parts of the face, ears, eyes, nose, etc, she has to point to hers, mine and her dad’s. Sometimes she even runs into the other room to touch Ken’s hair or nose. In the car she points to he own nose or eyes and squeals until we touch ours too since she can’t reach. And at swimming lessons she even touched the instructor’s nose. That’s when I worried. I tell myself that this is a stupid thing to worry about – but I have to entertain the worry anyway.

When swine flu hysteria landed I couldn’t avoid it. I searched the stores for hand sanitizer since it was TAKS week and I knew I’d have to touch at least 20 students’ tests. Sanitizer was sold out at three stores! More worriers like me. Nora had been so sick just before swine flu that I worried she would get it. And while I like to believe swine flu worry is somewhat more rational than worrying about OCD, I’m not so sure. I don’t think I’d have given swine flu two thoughts before Nora.

And then there’s the ongoing worries. Is she eating enough? Is she developing normally? Am I providing her with enough stimulation? Too much stimulation? Is her daycare good? Why doesn’t she sleep well? These are the things that drive me crazy – that I try to reason out but can’t. I suspect many of these ongoing worries won’t ever go away (though I hope and pray and will bribe anyone possible to have the sleep one disappear ASAP). And sometimes I know these worries are irrational too – that I am doing the best job I know how as a mom so I should just trust my instincts and know everything will be ok. But I also think that worrying is just part of doing the best job I can.

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