Sunday, August 8, 2010

On The Job Training

When I first starting working in a law firm in 2003, I decided that if I was ever in charge of hiring, I would never hire someone who went straight through college to law school. From my experience with colleagues, who shall remain nameless, I thought that even one year of experience doing retail, hiring sherpas in Nepal or working on a dead senator's campaign, would at least give someone insight into how the working world works, how you should treat staff members, and how to handle all the nuances at an office. I still stand behind that policy, even though my days of being in charge of hiring are on a very distant horizon.

So, what about my parenting skills now that I have a year under my belt? Using my analogy, Sadie is my first boss and I made lots of mistakes. Cherry Blossom will inherit a seasoned, been-around-the-block mother who's seen a few things. And, not all of the things I have seen (or done) make me proud, but they do make me experienced. I laugh most often about the things I have been smug about, but later found myself doing.

Example from our real lives: I have sort of always thought that this hyper focus on babies having allergies was overblown hype. Kind of like how now every child has ADD and needs Ritalin to get through pre-school. I know plenty of moms who haves struggled with their kids' allergic reactions, which in some cases can be really dangerous, but still I felt proud and a little smug that we don't have to deal with that.

Until tonight.

I was feeding Sadie her delectable dinner of peaches, crackers with hummus, pork tenderloin, string cheese, and eggs. All of these things, except the pork tenderloin, she has had before. When it was time to hose her off -- get the hummus and egg and cheese off her entire body-- I noticed some red splotches on her cheek. Then, I noticed a welt around her eye. It dawned on me and Jeff that she was having an allergic reaction to something she ate (and smeared all over her face). Um, meant to get that Benedryl at the drug store. It just happened to be one of those nights when everyone was in their pajamas by 5:00 p.m., but Jeff put on some pants and ran to the drug store to get Benedryl.

Now who's smug? I don't have any idea which food made her react. I stood in the kitchen watching Jeff pull out of the driveway thinking "Should I call poison control? Should I call my best friend? Should I call my sister? My therapist? Jeff on his cell phone in the car?"

I opted to just hover over Sadie for the 12.5 minutes it took Jeff to get the Benedryl. I didn't want her to stop breathing while I was busy deciding who to call for support. She's sleeping now and I will check on her every hour.

But, Cherry Blossom is going to be spared some of this. First of all, I plan to have every room and every purse stocked with Benedryl starting at 0800 tomorrow. Second, I will never ever be smug again about another child's allergies. (Adults I probably still will. Sorry.) And lastly, I can chalk it up to some very valuable on the job training that would be impossible to get before I had a child.

I just wonder if everything I have scorned and ridiculed in other people's parenting styles will eventually come back to haunt me. This could get very interesting and very, very humbling.

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