Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fourth Child Syndrome


This morning I had a coffee date with a friend. We'd scheduled and re-scheduled a dozen times already. I refused to change plans again.

Of course, this would be the morning Samuel, my youngest, wasn't feeling well.

When my first child was a baby, I jumped at the first sign of sniffles. I had the doctor's office number on speed dial, right after my mother's. I was on a first-name basis with all of the office staff, knew their favorite TV shows, sent them Christmas cards and shared recipes.

Fast forward almost twenty years. We have a different pediatrician and I can't even remember her name. I don't think our youngest has seen the inside of a doctor's office since his last round of shots before kindergarten.

I've earned my medical degree by now, right? I can patch up a bloody knee with an old paper towel and some scotch tape-with the speed of a gazelle. Burns and bumps are minor distractions. Daily diagnosis are my specialty.

A clear sign of 4th Child Syndrome.

Samuel woke up with pain on the side of his face. Holding his cheek he told me, "My face hurts."

"Let me feel your forehead. Why, you're as cool as a cucumber." I smiled.

Visions of girlfriend-time danced in my head.

"But, Mom, my face really hurts."

I listened to his chest, peeked in his mouth and checked his ears. "No fever. You slept fine last night. No blood. You haven't barfed. Yep, you're okay."

Paul walked in, bending down to examine our son. Apparently, Samuel needed a second opinion. "Well, maybe we should take him to the doctor's, Joanne."

A sliver of mom-guilt crept in. I smothered it. "Okay. I'll give him some ibuprofen and we can take him in. But, not until after I get back."

Samuel's doctor's appointment confirmed I was right. Nothing was wrong, except maybe some sinus pressure from a former cold. We received no medication and ended up taking him to run errands and then out to a sit-down lunch. Something I would've never done if my oldest child had been home sick.

Parenting looks a lot different after twenty-years.


4th-Child-Syndrome: Anything you now find cute, humorous, or indifferent, that you would have had a fit over with your first born.




12 comments:

Mari said...

I didn't have 4 kids, but I know I was way more laid back with my 3rd than my 1st!

Jacquelyn Stager said...

Yep, it must be universal. We "only" had two kids (we were much afraid of being outnumbered) and they are 4 years apart. I'm a firm believer that not only are no two kids alike, but that siblings are all raised differently...even though we may not realize it at the time! Glad it wasn't anything serious and you trusted your very experienced motherly instincts!

Mining for Diamonds said...

Lol...I'm like that with my "only" child! :) I'm very laid back with her when it comes to doctor/sickness stuff. For one thing, she's hardly ever sick! And when she is I usually know it by the way she acts. Maybe I was meant to have only one and 4th child syndrome, lol! (My hubby is the 4th and youngest and I'm the 3rd and youngest...so I wonder if that has anything to do with it?)

Kela said...

Yep. It's like that with photos too...well before digital cameras and computer downloads! The digital camera must have been the invention of a fourth child!

Chris Pedersen said...

My first born was my last born. I must have began with 4th child syndrome. I remember taking him to childcare at the gym when he had all the symptoms of chicken pox. Thinking, This is good, right? All the mom's want their kids to get chicken pox. I was sent home with my feverish son. Yikes! Can't believe I did that!

Sunny Sue said...

Yes, kids are definitely raised differently for sure. I only have 2 but it is amazing what knowledge we believe we have when we have already lived through "it" once (or 2 or 3x).

My 2 brothers are 11 and 13 yrs. older than me and by the time I came along, my dad said he was tired of eating his veggies. So he didn't and therefore, neither did I! :-)

Janet said...

I also agree with you, and the ladies! I have 3 and shared with a MOPS group yesterday how "careful" we were with our 1st and how I don't think I even took her anywhere with me for the first 3 months! By the time I had our 3rd, I was speaking and breastfeeding (not at the same time! ha ha) a week after he was born. (My mom had him in the back of the room)
Thanks for sharing honestly, and how parenting does seem to change w/each child, even though we think we are not treating them any differently!
blessings!

BARBIE said...

So true. With my first two children, I always took them to the doctor for every little thing. I was pretty panicked. Then I had six years without kids, and then two more kids. With those, I only call the doctor if there is blood, extreme pain, high fever, etc.

Shelly said...

That is so true how we are easily to jump with the first child than the second, third, fourth, etc. Glad he is okay and that you were able to have a nice time out with your friend.

Kathy S. said...

...and it wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with a woman aging... ;) (I have totally lightened up! Of course my baby is 18...)

Genny said...

Joanne,
I'm glad everthing was okay!! And I'm glad we got to see each other too! You are a wonderful mama and I sooo enjoyed our coffee time together.
Many hugs,
Genny

Erin MacPherson said...

Ha! I'm not to fourth-child syndrome yet but third-pregnancy syndrome is sure similar. With my first, I knew EXACTLY how far along I was, how big the baby was, how he was growing, what trimester I was in. Now? No clue. I'm not sure I could even tell you what MONTH I'm in.

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