I am a reader by nature. If there’s nothing better to read, you’ll catch me reading the cereal box in front of me. It’s just a integral part of who I am. I don’t remember not reading although I know I was not some sort of child prodigy who read at age two! So I like to read blogs, articles and books (when I have time for some consecutive reading). There are tons of articles, theories, and books on christian parenting. There is a lot of useful advice; things to think about that you never thought of before. My mom says that when we were growing up, there was only Dr. Spock. Now there’s probably the opposite problem… information overload. It’s good to try and be an intentional parent, to use biblical principles in raising your kids. Where I get a little annoyed is when a particular book/method/guru becomes the final word in child rearing, and people get all gung-ho to follow the method.
I got to thinking about this because I had an interesting experience in the past few weeks. I had been kind of noticing (in the back of my mind where it seems all insights we mom’s have, reside) that my youngest 2 3/4 yr old girl was pretty moody. She was happy one minute, and the next minute, without warning throwing big temper tantrums. Now if I were the following the latest book type, I might have tried to apply the latest theory (whatever it is these days). I could have gone on this “break the will of the child and make them obey” kick. She was also waking up multiple times a night for no apparent reason. That bugged me because she’s never been a good sleeper, but this was just plain going backwards! I could have embraced the “cry it out theory” but frankly, I didn’t think about it too much because I was too busy coordinating our church’s VBS week. But niggling away at the back of my mind I was bothered by her behavior and seeming regression to the early two year old stage. At this point her ability to express herself is excellent, so why the frustrations and tantrums?
Then she had a fever twice in a week… maybe just what was going around at that time… and then two more fevers. My momma’s instinct decided that we needed to visit the doctor despite being now in the middle of VBS week. After my insistence on blood work to check her iron levels (low levels are correlated to restless leg syndrome) and for Lyme disease (which is rampant in NJ) and whatever else the doctor wanted to check, I found out a couple days later that Annika has Lyme disease. And symptoms of Lyme disease include irritability, joint pain, fevers, tiredness, inability to sleep etc. etc.
I’d love to say that I had thought of that diagnosis all along. But really, I hadn’t. I just felt like something was off. I actually wish I had paid attention to those niggling thoughts sooner. However, I am infinitely glad I did insist on blood work, and I didn’t go on a big discipline binge. Her brain was being attacked by the disease. So the lesson I learned, and have had to learn it many times before, is go with your instincts. Don’t ignore that little feeling of unease in the back of your mind. (Unless you are a hypochondriac ;)) You know your kids best, so don’t let other peoples ideas cloud your own experience and knowledge. You might miss something big. Thankfully after less than a week on antibiotics, Annika is already improving. A few more weeks of antibiotics and hopefully she will be over it. We are so thankful to God that it was caught early and the prognosis is really good.
Have you had anything similar happen in your parenting experiences?