Of Loving and Leaping

Tuesday morning, Dove stopped moving.

I mean it – she put her hand behind her head, lifted her leg, started crying, and stopped moving.

And it was a scary cry. A pain cry. Did she bump herself on the way out of bed? I picked her up immediately, and she tensed. I tried to look at her, ask her questions, find out what happened, but she maintained her stiffened pose. I finally got her to tell me that her neck hurt, and to adjust her body slightly so that her head was on my shoulder, one hand still behind her ear, the other tucked under her body, left leg raised high. No doubt she could feel my heart beating double-time, as I tried to figure out why the hell my two-year-old was in so much pain and had stopped moving.

I rubbed her back and her neck, trying to ease her muscles into relaxed submission, but if I moved her in any way, an anguished cry. After about 45 minutes with no change, I decided to call Telehealth.

They’ll just tell you to go to the hospital, Chris said, It’s probably just a muscle spasm. Muscle spasm? My kid is two. Two-year-olds are practically boneless. She wasn’t moving her head or her leg.

It’s probably MENINGITIS, I shot back, panicking just a little.

Chris looked at me. It might just be a growing pain, he suggested.

It might be a TUMOUR, I responded, and picked up the phone.

The Telehealth nurse was reassuring, saying that sometimes this happens, but suggested we go to the hospital to check it out. Okey dokey, I told her, rushing around to find some pants.

Two hours later, we were back home. It was a muscle spasm, one that actually eased up while we were sitting in our room waiting for the doctor. One minute she wouldn’t move – not even when the nurse was listening to her heart and checking her oxygen levels – and the next she was squirming in my lap, asking for her water and trying to see the TV better. (We were in a peds room; Treehouse was on).

The doctor had been great, telling me what to watch for, reassuring me that she would be ok, understanding why I had been so scared, and joking that part of the parenting contract is to be available for the odd coronary at the hands of our children. Glad he could joke about it.

It took about a day and half a dozen phone calls home that afternoon to our nanny to finally ease my adrenaline levels back down to (my) normal. People were actually laughing at me as I told them the story of my Tuesday morning. My brother accused me of being paranoid and neurotic.

And I guess I am. I guess I am paranoid and neurotic when it comes to the health of the people I love most in this world. I’m actually good at handling the minor stuff; I don’t run to the doctor for sniffles or tummy aches; I’ve only ever had to fill a prescription for antibiotics once since becoming a parent, and between both kids, this is only the second time I’ve gone to the emergency room. I still think we are lucky and healthy.

But in my head…

In my head, I am expecting catastrophe. In my head, everything I’ve experienced; everything I have read about; everything I am afraid of becomes a possibility, a probability.

And I always think it’s cancer, but that’s just the Jew in me.

The thing is, we’ve all had bad, scary, sad experiences. Those are not the ones that should influence our everyday thought process, but they are the ones that take me from muscle spasm to meningitis in 10 easy seconds.

And not to minimize anyone truly suffering from an anxiety disorder, but I don’t think I have one. I mean, I carry Rescue Remedy with me, but y’know, that’s only because my purse is too small for a bottle of gin.

But I should try to calm down; try to keep in mind that so much of my role as a mother is making sure my kids do things like eat organic vegetables and get exercise and stay away from chemicals and pesticides and negativity and Max and Ruby, although to be fair, that last one just kind of annoys the shit out of me.

I do a lot to keep my kids safe and healthy and although I know I can’t control everything, although I know that sometimes shitty things happen anyway, I will try to skew positive.

Next time, maybe, instead of jumping to conclusions, I will take a deep breath, and a leap of faith.



  1. You know, that would freak me out, too. I can handle bumps and bruises and coughs and fevers, but immobile and unresponsive would freak me out. In a situation like that, being a little neurotic is not necessarily a bad thing.

  2. Oh. My gosh. I would have done the SAME thing. And I don't have an anxiety disorder either (she says, as she twitches) but after a really bad health scare I had to have ativan on hand in case I started to get nervous, so maybe I shouldn't claim not to have an anxiety disorder. But anyway.

    I'm so glad she is okay and it was not meningitis or a tumor but my mind would have gone there too.

    And thanks for the giggle about Max & Ruby. ;-)

  3. It's easier said than done, isn't it.

    Oh, and maybe you should get a bigger purse. ;)

  4. I always think it's cancer too and I'm just a low-flying Protestant. Perhaps it's the culture of fear has made our society incapable of not thinking the worse. Duncan's doctor also happens to be a complete hypochondriac, which doesn't help matters. We just try to keep clear of her office - not that we can actually get an appointment. Glad the little one is fine.

  5. I could tell you to quit being such a worry wart but that would be coming from the girl who once took a dirty diaper to her doctor's convinced that my son had internal bleeding. Turns out it was just some undigested red pepper. Luckily my doctor is very tolerant of neurotic mothers.

  6. ha ha - I once called telehealth because of 'red' poop. Beets for lunch, anyone?

  7. I would love to be able to not jump to the WORST POSSIBLE CONCLUSION at every opportunity. When do I get to relax?! Probably never...

  8. I can't believe anyone is laughing at you because of that! Sounds frickin' scary! It's not like people talk about these muscle spasms as if they happen all the time! Freak out all you want!

  9. I would have done the same thing -especially if I happened to live so close to the hospital.
    Last week Lulu was complaining of chest pain- I kind of freaked out a bit because my mom had open heart surgery when she was eight.
    I got her to lie down and pull her knees to her chest and rotate a bit.
    needless to say it wasn't a heart condition and instead too much chickpea hummus & peppers..
    But I had my hand on the phone ready to call telehealth myself.
    glad she's okay.

  10. I'm laughing at your comment about thinking it's cancer, because my best friend thinks everything's cancer, and says it's because she's presbyterian!

    But I will also tell you what I told her this weekend - that if I had to pick a mom, I'd pick you. You may have your neuroses, but we all come with something.

  11. Glad she's ok. Don't be too hard on yourself. After all, that's what telehealth is for!

  12. My kids have totally given me an anxiety disorder.
    let me know if you find a way to stop worrying.
    I figure its my job.
    If you can stop worrying, it will prove that you are a man. ;)

  13. Good for you for being aware. so many aren't then the shit hits the fan.
    I'm the SAME way, and people say I'm too paranoid. the lady who calls herself my mother, told me: "I don't understand the overwhelming love you have for your daughter"
    this is a woman who we shall not go into all the things she wasn't there for, for her children.
    so good, good for you, I understand and I support you!
    keep it up!!
    I just happened to find your blog.
    glad I did! I will be linking to you

  14. Yup. I would have done the same thing, without question.

  15. I tend towards the "'eh, shake it off, you'll be fine" when it comes to my kids, but that? That would have scared the crap out of me. Wow!

    You clearly need a bigger purse, because really, gin, woman, gin!

  16. My mom's brother died when he was 2 and she was 13 of a twisted intestine and a medical misdiagnosis and his accidental, unneccessary death has haunted her whole family for generations. When my Girl was a toddler, she had this terrible stomach ache and we ended up in emergency and the doctor's eyes got soft and kind when he found out why I was so scared.

    Of course, I DO have an anxiety disorder. But I've earned it, i feel like.

  17. Love you! and I know how you feel. Ruby has had a cold this week. A cold. Yet, we check every symptom and twitch on the internet and out baby books. Just in case.

  18. Are you kidding me? I'm coughing as I'm reading this and thinking, "Could be lung cancer..."

    What is it about our generation? What did our parents do to us? Did we watch too many hospital dramas. Fuuuuck


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