Usually, I kind of think I have this parenting thing down pat. In fact, of all of the things I've ever done in my life, being a mom is the only thing that I've ever felt that I'm genuinely good at. The rest of the time, I feel like an impostor.
And then something happens that makes me wonder exactly why someone let a pair of amateurs like the Boy and I have a kid. We're clearly unqualified.
Today, it's a fever. M has had a fierce diaper rash for days, and has been having diaper-related trouble (use your imaginations). The Boy and I chalked it up to her fruit-heavy diet, slathered on some Desitin, and went about our business.
Today, M's been cranky and has felt a little hot every time I picked her up. Fabulous, detail-oriented mommy that I am, I just figured she was running a little warm because it's so freaking hot here. It wasn't until after the pediatrician's office closed today that I noticed she actually felt hot enough that I could grill kebabs on her tummy. The thermometer says 102 degrees. And the tummy on which I was making dinner? Covered in a nice web of tiny red spots.
Of course, this leads me to panic. Out comes Dr. Sears' book, which is singularly unhelpful. Apparently, none of the "common childhood illnesses" he covers consist of a high fever and a rash, but no other apparent symptoms. I've called the pediatrician, but the office is closed, and if they don't call back, I don't know if it's because they don't check messages after hours or if they just don't think M's fever is serious enough to warrant an evening call.
So I do what any normal, slightly insane mom would do, and ask Dr. Google. I think I've ruled out Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (no rash on her feet) and meningitis (she can move her neck just fine). I've ruled in Fifth Disease (harmless to M, but causes miscarriage), but that doesn't quite fit her symptoms (or lack thereof). At this point, I'm out of ideas. I've given M Tylenol, and she is now happily ensconced in a cool bath, counting to 11 (did you notice that even while panicking, I find a minute to brag about my kid?) But other than that, I have no idea what to do. Should I take her to the ER? Give the Tylenol time to work? Perform a voodoo ritual? Stay far, far away from my existing child in a feeble attempt to protect the potential new child?
Seriously, what was the universe thinking, giving me this kid? At the very least, I should have taken a year or three of childcare classes. Or gone to med school.