I drove to collect Catrin early from preschool with a sinking feeling in pit of my stomach. I had just received the phone call which every parent is likely to get at some point but which every parent dreads. My child had been taken ill.
Alongside the anxious feeling came the guilt. She had been in and out of her bed during the night and was upset when she couldn’t stay in our bed. She was lethargic in the morning and I still took her to preschool thinking she was just tired because she didn’t sleep well. I was wrong…I found her curled up under a blanket in the preschool sleeping corner with a pitiful look on her face and a high temperature. She mustered up a little smile when she saw me and I felt like a totally rubbish mum…I should have known she was ill and kept her at home. I should have done this… I should have done that…
She spent the rest of the day tucked up on the sofa, snoozing and getting hotter and more miserable. She even lost interest in watching episodes of ‘Boj’ after a while, which concerned me greatly. We were considering a trip to the hospital by bedtime but decided to observe her symptoms regularly as she slept to see if she got any worse.
It is when my child is ill (and children do tend to suffer from general illnesses fairly often) that I feel the greatest ‘burden’ of responsibility as a parent. Google drives me to despair as the symptoms of a common cold could also be indicative of something far worse. All sorts of dreadful scenarios run through my head and my husband and I have to make the judgement call as to whether to let her rest, sleep it off and remain cosy in bed or to drag her to see a doctor which could be upsetting and counterproductive for her, especially late at night.
But if we don’t take her to be checked out maybe she might have something more sinister than a cold and the delay in seeking medical help could make things a million times worse.
If I trust my instincts I might be wrong. If I don’t trust them I might be wrong. If something bad happens it will be my fault.
I was wondering what to do when Bethan, worn out by chewing her high chair tray, suddenly, without any warning, woke from her nap on my lap and explosively vomited all over herself, me and the sofa. That took me completely by surprise. I stripped her soaked clothing while my husband removed the puddle of puke from the sofa and she started to grin at me. I was worried that she was also ill but she happily kicked bath water in my face and reassured me that she was fine.
All night I listened to Catrin’s breathing and movements. I woke at her slightest stirring. I checked Google at 1.15am, 2.56am, 4am, 5.25am… It didn’t help and just compounded my worry.
I was so happy to see she had started to improve this morning. Her interest in CBeebies had returned and she started to play with her toys again. She still only managed half a strawberry for breakfast but she was talkative. There is nothing so worrying as silence from Catrin.
She is on the mend and will forget she felt poorly very soon. I will remember the feeling of having my heart in my mouth, however…it is a feeling which most parents know well.