Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bad Daddy

When Carter Lilly was born in 2004, I stressed over everything. He coughed? I worried about it. He fell? I cringed and checked all over for bruising and broken bones. He seemed tired? I was concerned that he had a 'condition'. He lined his toys up in a row? Clearly he was autistic.

That's the nature of the first born...they get the brunt of your own self-doubt and insecurity about being a parent. I mean...who the hell nominated ME to be a parent and role model and take care of a little kid? I still eat shit that falls on the floor, I stay up too late, watch too much TV...who am I to tell this kid he can't do these things when the time comes? And when it comes to fear over the well-being of the first born, fuggedaboudit...it consumes you. Well, me...maybe not you.

Then, along comes Bennett last year. He coughs? No reaction. He falls? Pick him up till he stops crying. He seems tired? Put him in his crib. And though he doesn't line up his toys yet since he doesn’t actually PLAY with a lot of toys right now, I am sure when he does I will just smile and not think there is something wrong with him.

At least...I think so. Something is happening that might be changing that whole cavalier attitude generally reserved for the second born. There are moments...and it can be under any circumstances, where he will just stand there, his stare becomes a little vacant, and he sort of has a mini-convulsion. His body lurches just slightly and his arms jerk. It's subtle, really subtle, almost like a hiccup.

Except they ain't hiccups.

Happened last week a couple of times, and he had been given a shot of some junk that kids get, some immunization, and we thought that maybe he was chillin' from a mild grade fever that kids get from that shit. Wrote it off. Didn't see it for a few days. Saw it again. Managed to think quickly and get about 2 or 3 of these 'body stutters' on digital video disc. That's what I decided to call them. It's weird though... his face shows NO emotion during these episodes, almost like he is just not even there. And he is a very emotive baby in every other circumstance. He belly laughs, he cries loud, very expressive.

So then...nothing for days. So again, we didn't think much of it. Does that make us shitty parents? Am I a...holy crap...a Bad Daddy? I don't know...it is easy to freak out over something your kid does, and it is just as easy to NOT freak out when they do something that you just can't explain. They sometimes will do things that you just can't get your head around. Hell, even Carter will do something odder than Hell...and he is four and a half.

Then, it happened again over this past weekend. Jen and I ultimately decided that yeah, we actually WERE really freaked out and worried about it, though we were trying not to let the other THINK we were freaked out and worried. Amazing what a married couple will do to not worry the other, even hiding the truth.

So we are taking him today to have his doctor check under the hood. I'm skeptical, because I just don’t see how someone can look at him and see what is wrong without witnessing one of these 'episodes'. The only thing I can be sure of is that I'm worried about it, more than I thought I was, more than I previously admitted to Jen that I was. It's likely he is having some kind of seizure, and that is some scary shit, the scariest aspect of it is that I don't want to see him go through his life with any kind of built-in disadvantage.

The tide has certainly turned...now we pay a hell of a lot more attention to every little thing he does, just like we did when Carter was born. I hate irony.


  1. Yikes, man. I don't think you're overreacting at all. If he's having some sort of seizure or something, maybe they can detect it and treat it.

    Here's hoping for a VERY good appointment and all the best to your littlest.

  2. Thanks dude. I am in a very weird place mentally. Definitely losing my daily fight against depression today, that's a fact.

  3. I just have the one still so I don't know exactly of what you speak, but my buddy Art, who is about to have his third, once described to me that "relaxation of over-protection of your subsequent kids" as "the shine is really off the penny at that point. You let them play with sharp things and wall outlets and things because you know how sturdy kids really are at that point"

    I don't think you guys are over-reacting and it's always better safe than sorry. I remember at one point when she was about 14 months or so the ex and I thought Paige was developing a facial tick. It was a weird thing she'd do over and over randomly over the course of almost a month. It didn't turn out to be anything and she eventually stopped it. The doctors said she was just experimenting with facial control, but I distinctly remember thinking "oh, God... is this for the rest of her life? Really?"
    I hope yours turns out to be nothing too. I'll say a little prayer for you guys. Good luck.

  4. You're not a bad dad - I think every parent goes through a relaxation of their hyper-protectiveness with their second child, because after watching the first grow up, you realize they're not quite as fragile as they seem. (I say that . . . though my second child is the one always ending up at the ER for stitches, so maybe that's not quite true!)

    Anyway, good luck at the doctor today. I really hope things work out okay. His picture is adorable!

  5. Thanks Tink. I know deep down I am not a bad father, it is just my nature to beat myself to death over something that I feel helpless about, which I do here.

    Thanks for the kind words though, both here and on FB.


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