Second child syndrome

By Published On: February 22nd, 2013

“HP’s nose is bleeding,” my wife said the other morning. […]

“HP’s nose is bleeding,” my wife said the other morning. I was working in the front room, really on a roll, too.
“Did you hear me?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Well, don’t you think that’s a problem?”
“Well…define bleeding.”

I came in to indeed find a small trickle of blood coming out of her nose. But no tears, no event, just a little bloody nose. And, dab dab dab, wipe wipe; we didn’t even speak of calling the doctor.

My, how things change. If this had been Bub, we would have been strapping him in to his car seat, hospital-bound, while frantically trying to get a hold of the doctor on his emergency line.
This was a natural reaction, I think, especially for new parents. Fake it till you make it only goes so far; we really didn’t know what we were doing, and every once in a while, we got exposed.
Though I don’t remember the exact circumstances, there was an instance where Bub DID injure himself in some minor way. What I DO remember is a friend being here to witness it and not being able to quite hide the Oh-my-God-you-guys-are-FREAKS! look on her face. The kid just stubbed his toe!!
Of course she was right. I can admit that now. We WERE freaks. It’s not overprotective so much as over-attentive. Too fast to coddle, a little too quick on the speed-dial to the doctor.
Of course, with HP, I could tell from my wife’s tone that no one was gushing blood or even in any pain. It’s been extremely dry around here, and all of us have actually had a bloody nose or two at some point.
Kids are tough, if you let them be. More times than not, they react to you more than they do themselves or the situation. In nearly two and a half years of parenting, I can’t actually think now of one bona fide emergency, though of course I say this with the value of hindsight, plenty of ingested stress and sleep lost. But I still have to step back and remind myself, sometimes a bloody nose is just a bloody nose.