You think her rain boots from last year still fit so you put them on her. She wears them for a couple of hours and when you help her take them off, you see an angry blister that has rubbed on the back of her heel.
You're cooking spaghetti for supper and even though your child has eaten it with sauce every day of her life to this point, today she decides she wants it plain. You offer her pasta with sauce, she pushes it away so you assume she's not hungry.
She has a headache but you just think she's being grumpy.
She's thirsty but you don't know it. Or she'd really like milk but you give her lemonade.
She wants to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but you put in an Elmo DVD instead.
So much of each day is spent guessing.
And trying to ward off the frustration your child feels when she is not understood.
Even though Lily has not been sleeping well for the past three weeks now, we really didn't have any other symptoms that warranted a visit to the doctor - until the "vomit show" 2 nights ago. We loaded up and headed to the clinic yesterday, fully expecting to hear, "Lily has a virus. It just needs to run its course. No medicine needed."
Argh.... I strongly dislike the v-word.
Turns out Lily has an ear infection.
"And the Bad Parent of the Year Award goes to..... Lana Rush! Lana didn't realize her child has had an ear infection for the past three weeks! Sitting in the doctor's office, she suddenly remembered that the one sure sign of an ear infection in Lily is that she cannot sleep! Congratulations Lana! Here's your trophy - display it with shame!"
OK - I don't really feel like the Bad Parent of the Year.
But I was reminded once again of an important role that I play in my daughter's life. I am her advocate. I must speak up for her because she cannot do it herself.
As parents, we know our children better than anyone else in the world. And that little nagging voice in your head that tells you something just isn't right with your child? Listen to it!
Maybe the pediatrician will think I'm crazy if I bring my child into the office simply because she isn't sleeping. Maybe she'll think I'm really only concerned because I'm not getting enough sleep and I'm a lazy bum. Maybe she'll think I'm one of those overprotective parents. Or a hypochondriac.
That's fine with me.
Because at the end of the day, my job isn't about not looking foolish in front of others. My job is to stand up for my child.
And that's a job I want to do well.