I've always been a bit of a worrier. I worry that the potato salad that's been sitting out in the sun at the 4th of July party is going to make me sick. Or that the guy I inadvertently cut off in traffic is going to follow me home in a fit of rage. Or that my storage unit is going to mistakenly be auctioned off to the highest bidder and everything I own will end up in a pawn shop.
But when I got pregnant, the worrying got worse. I worried whether or not the baby was ok. If the coffee and beer I'd had before I knew I was pregnant would screw up my child forever. If the cold cuts on my deli sandwich were going to kill my unborn child.
And I thought that, at each stage, the worrying would get better. Once I can feel him move, then I won't worry. Wrong. Once he's born, then I'll be able to look at him and know he's ok, so I won't worry. Wrong. Once he's out of the newborn phase and can move himself around a little, I won't worry so much. Wrong.
In fact, the bigger he got, the more I worried. And it's not just your run-of-the-mill worrying. My brain - without my permission - paints very vivid pictures of the multitude of ways in which my child might end up maimed...or worse.
Now that it's been two years, I think my husband has gotten used to my paranoia as just a normal part of our everyday lives. For instance, ever since we stopped sleeping in the dining room and started sleeping in our separate bedrooms, I've been leaving the hall light on in case Little Spaghetti wakes up in the night. But it shines right into our bedroom and keeps my husband up.
So tonight, I went around trying different lights to keep on that would provide enough light, but give us some more peace. I settled on the light in the hall bathroom.
I climbed into bed. "That's better," my husband said.
"You think so? You sure?? You don't think it's just a beacon calling to a groggy toddler to come drown himself in the toilet?" I replied.
He just laughed as I crawled out of bed.
Thanks to a little masking tape, I'll sleep a *little* sounder tonight.
As I recently told a pregnant friend of mine, "The worrying as a parent is constant and unavoidable. But I think it's supposed to be that way."
What about you? Do you worry about your kids all the time (or do your parents still worry about you)? Does it ever get better?