I used to think I was a somewhat intelligent human being.
Then I became a mom.
When Mikey was only a few months old I was certain he had some sort of bladder infection or related ailment because he suddenly started peeing through his diaper and clothing all day, every day. Frantic, I took him right in to see the pediatrician.
She took one look at him and told me we needed to go up a diaper size. Her exact words were, “Those diapers look like bikini briefs on him.”
Utter shame. Total embarrassment.
How had I not seen that, yes, my pudgy baby was outgrowing his newborn diapers? And how did she just let me walk out of there with him still in my care?
About a month later, we were back at the pediatrician’s office. This time I feared he had some sort of problem with his esophagus because he suddenly started pushing the bottle away and refused to drink no matter what I did.
Can babies get eating disorders?
Again, her response was quick: “You need to go up to a bigger bottle nipple.”
Humiliation and degradation.
Apparently the plastic nipples come in different “levels” to allow for greater flow of formula or milk to go through as babies age. Well, maybe they should put that in the “New Parent Manual” you receive as you leave the maternity ward. Oh, wait…
Here’s a good one: I called the pediatrician’s office to ask if it was bad that Mikey’s head was kind of lolling to the side when he would fall asleep in the car seat. The receptionist — not even a nurse — curtly asked, “Can he hold his head up when he’s awake?”
“Then he’s fine.”
“Maybe we should buy those cushiony things that go on the seatbelt straps-”
“Ma’am, he’s fine.”
And then there is just the general worry and wonder the parent experiences every waking moment of the day.
Someone once told me being a parent is like having half your brain disengaged and reserved solely for thoughts of your child or children and, boy, was she right. It seems that no matter where I go, what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, there is a piece of me that is thinking about what Mikey is doing.
When I’m working and he is at school/daycare, I wonder if he’s having fun. Did he eat his lunch today? He was cranky this morning, so I wonder if he is behaving himself. Did he nap today? If not, what kind of kid and I going to be bringing home?
One of the worst things to happen to parents was the development of a program in which we can log into a web-based app and watch, in real time, video footage of our child’s daycare classroom. This way, while we are paying out the nose for someone else to watch our children so we can make a living, we are also still keeping an eye on them, ourselves.
It’s bad enough that I’m getting to the age where, when I enter a room, I have to pause and ask myself, “Now, why am I here?” I don’t need any other distractions.
Now, pardon me while I go call the pediatrician and ask why Mikey is suddenly calling me “Mom” instead of “Momma,” and how I can stop it.
Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 4-year-old. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.