Kids, Choices and Guilt

When your child is hurt, your heart breaks. When you think your child might be hurt, or he might be faking, your heart is filled with angst-ridden guilt. How do you know what to do? That is the million dollar question. And, after 2 kids, I can say with 100% certainty that regardless of whether you race him to the ER or tell him he is fine and just put ice on it, you made the wrong choice.

Two months ago I made the wrong choice. We raced to the doctor to get an x-ray. He was fine, nothing (and I mean nothing) showed up as even slightly abnormal on the x-ray. So, last weekend when he fell from the monkey bars and said his leg hurt I figured he was fine. 4 hours and many ice packs later, he was still complaining. So, after much deliberation I finally took him to the doctor for what I fully expected to be an unnecessary x-ray. Well, it was necessary. His leg was broken. We left the doctor in a full hip to toe cast that he will wear for 8 weeks. He is too little for crutches and they don’t give 4-year-old wheelchairs. We will carry him around for the next 8 weeks. So, again with the guilt, I should have taken him sooner, I should have listened to his complaints, I should have…

What we have to realize as parents is that we do the best we can. There is no manual, no “right” way to handle all of these situations. All we can do is listen to our kids, follow our instincts, and realize that even then we will get it wrong most of the time. But, we are wrong out of love, and we try, and our kids love us unconditionally. And I get to carry a 4-year-old with a 1,000 cast on his leg everywhere I go, so there!

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