I have become one of those mothers who rushes to the GP's surgery every five minutes. When Gertie was a baby I used to despise them: the new mums who made an appointment to have their offspring examined every time a hair was out of place. What I didn't understand then was that I was blessed with a very healthy child.
This week I took Gilby to the doctor's twice with chicken pox. I spent a long time on the telephone to NHS Direct, then had to use the out of hours service at the hospital on the bank holiday. Because despite having had chicken pox myself, and recognising it immediately when Gertie came down with it a year ago, for some reason it looked different on Gilby and my inner medical expert was convinced it was something more sinister. When the diagnosis came I was relieved: only chicken pox. That was easy to deal with. A few blobs of calamine lotion and some bicarb in the bath; no problem. Except that Gilby was much, much more sick with it than his sister had been. He tore at his clothes and didn't sleep for two nights, crying all the time because he couldn't get any relief from the itching. His ears bled where he scratched and pulled at them, and he couldn't close his eyes properly because of the bulbous lumps on the lids. He had a high temperature and I couldn't console him at all. So I took him back to the doctor. Who suggested a few blobs of calamine lotion and some bicarb in the bath...
So I felt a bit silly. Where did this over-anxiety come from? Because prior to this Gilby has had a succession of unpleasant ear infections (five lots of anti-biotics) and a horrible vomiting bug that meant he just seem to waste away in the space of a week. Gone is my bonny, plump baby; he is now a spotty bag of skin and bone. And of course all his illnesses have happened one after the other since he began at nursery in January. No surprise there. But the result is that I have become one of them: the mothers who clog up the waiting room at the doctor's for minor ailments.
My father-in-law has a good way of expressing the way that anxiety lessens with experience. "If your first child swallows a 5p you rush it to casualty; if your third child swallows 5p you dock its pocket money." Unfortunately I seem to be going the other way. So this week I shall be aiming for some rational judgement and perspective, and hoping that no coin-swallowing occurs.