As a Jewish Mother, it is in my job description to worry about things that are ridiculously remote possibilities. These worries can consume a professional Jewish Mother, despite the continued attempts by her rational side to explain to the worry lobe that she is being a boob. Frankly, the worry lobe is the largest organ in a Jewish Mother's body. I could feel mine growing during pregnancy (although it was no slouch even before LO came along).
Case in point, this entire week I have been consumed by a worry that is so ridiculous that I dare not mention it to others, for fear of mockery. But at the same time that I am certain that voicing this worry aloud will bring about guffaws of laughter, I cannot shake the concern that it might be true! Clearly, the worry lobe is dominant.
On Sunday, after my conference was over, LO and I went for a fun-filled afternoon at the LegoLand Discovery Center in Schaumberg, IL. We met Batman, as you can see. We marveled at a model of Chicago made entirely of Legos. We watched a 4-D movie (the fourth D was water that they sprayed on the audience--yeah, I don't get it either), which LO did not really fully enjoy because it required additional headgear (3D glasses) and the child is vehemently opposed to cranial accessories. And the piece de resistance for LO was the opportunity to play with a bucket full of Legos.
I was pretty certain the child would like Legos. He's his father's son, after all, and Legos build things! They also make for pretty cool objects to remove from a bucket and strew all over a table. And of course, LO thought they might be a delicious snack, too.
I was on the lookout for this particular behavior. As everything says in triplicate all over LegoLand, WARNING: Legos are a choking hazard! So I managed to keep the Legos out of his mouth for the nearly 40 minutes that LO was entertained by the blocks. Sometimes I had to put my hand over his mouth to keep a particularly tasty-looking brick from becoming a crudite.
Two days later, LO starting wheezing.
The worry lobe jumped instantly to red alert: The child swallowed a LEGO!!! It was probably one of those tiny 1-divot pieces and it's stuck in his trachea. His brain probably hasn't been getting enough oxygen since Sunday and he'll have permanent brain damage and never go to college. Oh, dear Lord, what have I DONE??? I'm the worst mother in the world!
Here is what is so pernicious about the worry lobe--red alert status can be roaring through my body, but I'm still quietly going about my business, pretending like I haven't a care in the world. And that of course makes everything worse. The worry lobe starts sneering at me:
The whole situation would have been fine if you had just gotten LO looked at when he first started wheezing. Now that you've ignored me, you've doomed your child to a lifetime with Legos in his trachea! You're the worst mother in the world!
On Wednesday, the worry alarm had been going off long enough (24 hours) for me to risk ridicule and mention my fear to J.
"Have you heard LO wheezing?" I asked him. (The worry lobe makes certain that Jewish Mothers couch their concerns in the way that seems most reasonable. It prolongs the worry.)
J had not heard the wheezing.
I went on to say that he'd been breathing a little funny. Then I laid out my Lego hypothesis.
J simply gave me a look--the one he has perfected over eight years of my unfounded and ridiculous concerns--and shook his head.
"Yeah, it's probably not that," I said. The worry lobe shriveled up, for the moment. "Because one of those little bricks would hurt, right? He'd be crying."
"Y-e-e-e-s," J agreed, clearly humoring me.
"He's probably just a little congested," I said, needing to walk myself through Logical Conclusions 101 now that the worry lobe was allowing rational thoughts to run through my brain again.
"Much more likely," J said in the Okay crazy lady tone that for some reason makes me laugh. And of course, laughter is the enemy of the worry lobe.
This afternoon, as LO and J were playing with the Duplo blocks that I bought at the conveniently situated LegoLand gift shop (come for the model city, stay for the exorbitant retail prices!), LO started wheezing again.
"Has he been doing this to you all week?" J asked.
Maybe he's swallowed a Duplo block, my worry lobe whispered.
"Shut up," I told it. "You're being a boob."
You're going to feel terrible when it turns out to be true, my worry lobe huffed and then went quiet. It's been giving me the silent treatment ever since. I don't know if I should be worried...