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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

So, apparently, there's this whole other aspect of new parenthood, aside from the unbridled joy and the mind-boggling fatigue. (And those two in and of themselves are more than enough to occupy one's time.)

What I haven't heard mentioned much is the sudden, semi-constant, horrific fear that something is wrong with your kid. There are noises and behaviors that you come to fairly quickly identify as indications of hunger and/or feces. But there are others that are harder to interpret. And when you're presented with one of those that doesn't go away quickly enough, your mind starts going to all kinds of awful places. "Holy shit! He's kind of shaking in a weird way! Start the car, we're going to the emergency room!"

We were taking him to his first pediatrician visit yesterday and we were trying out our carrier for the first time. He fit in it nicely and was sitting snugly right up against my chest, but I couldn't really see him breathing. So of course I start freaking out that he's too snug, too tight against my chest and he's suffocating. Happily, I can report that he was fine. In fact, he was uber-comfy.

On the way home, I was sitting on the bus next to the kind of old lady you see all the time in New York. Loud, not entirely clean-looking, possibly drunk. She asked how old he was and congratulated us on him. Meanwhile, I was just praying she didn't get her old, drunk germs on my brand new baby.

I'm assuming this goes away after awhile and I won't actually spend the first few months of our son's life calling the pediatrician every four or five hours in a pan beccuse he farted in a way I've never heard. Otherwise, this is going to be a long, long parenthood.

I'm afraid I can't tell you when the paranoia goes away. My youngest is only 40.
I am not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you. Really. I promise.

Don't tell Mrs. Hairshirt that I said this, but the best cure for that paranoia? Have another baby. That cures it every time.
Relax. You're doing it right. Especially by taking him out. You want the old lady's germs; that's what builds up his immunities.

Mine are in their mid-to-late 30s and I still worry if I did it right. Didn't anyone tell you that feelings of guilt come with the territory? The way I see it though is that the paranoia, guilt and anxiety are indications that you're a good parent. You'll get used to it.

P.S. If you have any more kids you'll find that, after the first one, it's just a case of "out of the chute and into the basket."

Oh, and as far as fatigue is concerned, my second son didn't sleep all night... ever. He's turning 34 in two weeks and he STILL doesn't sleep. I was a single mom, so I didn't get a full night's sleep, seriously, for about two years.
Ah, yes. The paranoia. Well, I chalked it up to hormones and didn't get relief really until after I stopped nursing Jasper. Although, after the first 6 months, it gets better. Totally normal. Just don't let anyone tell you any awful stories about babies (seriously, cut them off rudely) and don't watch any educational TV on daytime about baby and kid issues. Thanks to those, I didn't sleep even when I could.

You will reach a new level of paranoia when you start acting and sounding like YOUR parents. It's not subtle--it's more like a shrieking punch in the face.

Mine is 10 and I worry MORE, now that we're approaching the pre-teen years.
Joseph, I specifically remember warning you about all this shit! Helllllo! Did you think I was talking out my ass?
Love, sis.
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