In every parenting team there is a “worried one,” who is likely to flip out over stuff, and a “mellow one,” who tends to roll with the punches. These terms are fluid, of course, and on a bad day the “mellow one” can become the “worried one” and vice versa, but for the most part a parent picks a role the minute their little bundle of joy squirts out and sticks with it.
I, unfortunately, am the “worried one.”
I blame my mother for this. She was not just the “worried one” in her parenting team, but the “worried one” for the entire Western United States during the mid to late eighties. It’s true…they gave her a badge and everything, but she rarely wore it because she was too worried she’d lose it.
I could tell you many crazy stories about my mother’s obsessive worrying, and I will in a future post, but right now I’m more concerned with explaining how at some point in high school I uttered the phrase, “I will never be like my mother,” and, of course, doomed myself to becoming exactly like her. Before long I will not only worry about everything, but also have hot flashes and wear a girdle.
Sometimes my worrying really pisses Heather off. Take last night when we were getting ready for bed. We laid Maddie down in her crib in the baby room, then retreated to our bedroom and got under the covers. Before drifting off to sleep, however, the “worried one” in me had to check the baby monitor one last time. That’s when I saw Maddie staring back at me with those spooky baby monitor eyes. (Anyone who has a baby monitor knows what I’m talking about.) This unsettled me because I expected Maddie to be asleep, and suddenly an unsettling image popped into my mind of watching the monitor when two foreign hands appeared on-screen and snatched Maddie out of the crib. As if that wasn’t creepy enough, I then imagined the hands not to be human, but scaly, puss festering monster hands.
At that point, as only a man can, I turned to Heather and did something incredibly stupid. I said, “Wouldn’t it be horrifying if you were watching the monitor when two hands suddenly appeared on the screen and snatched up Maddie?”
Heather, who had almost been asleep, was now totally awake. “The fuck are you telling me that for?”
“It just dawned one me,” I stammered. “And -”
“There’s a window in her room. Now I’m totally picturing someone smashing it and climbing inside to steal her.”
“That won’t happen,” I said, trying to reassure her.
“How do you know?!”
(NOTE: See how quickly the roles can switch?)
Heather: “Go get her. I won’t be able to sleep now unless she’s in bed with us.”
Me: “I can’t. She’s on her oxygen.” (for those of you not so familiar with our story, Maddie needs oxygen at night because of her lung issues).
Heather: “Well, I’m not going to be able to sleep now. Thanks!”
Me: “Me neither. It’s a disturbing image…and it only gets more disturbing when you imagine the hands belong to a monster.”
Heather: “A monster?”
Me: “Yeah, like a scaly, puss dripping, eight foot tall demon thing.”
Heather: “Who are you?”
Me: “It gets even more disturbing if you picture yourself trying to run in to save her, but can’t do it because your legs suddenly weigh a thousand pounds.”
Heather: “Do you want me to make you sleep on the floor next to her crib?”
Me: “No, I just… These are the things I think about.”
Heather let out a long, annoyed sigh that told me the conversation was over.
A minute or so later I looked at the baby monitor and saw that Maddie’s eyes were now closed. Heather, however, was wide awake and glaring at me with eyes far spookier than any seen in a baby monitor.
It’s hard to be the worried one. It’s also hard to be the crazy one.
Came over from Heather’s blog. It’s ok to be the worried one. I am the worried one in our family; my husband is the laid back, “it’s all good” one. It’s good to have a balance, sometimes. And sometimes wouldn’t it be nice to be the “it’s all good” one, just for a bit, to see what it’s like?
Anna Marie says:
I swear to god Mike, you crack me up every time. I mean, here you are blogging about worrying and I’m LAUGHING MY ASS OFF. But I’m with you on the scary monster hands. I check the locks on the kids’ windows every night. Every. Night. And it doesn’t help that People magazine just did a follow-up story on Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her BEDROOM in the middle of the night with her sister SLEEPING IN THE SAME BED. Gah. I’m off to buy an alarm system.
This is what I have to deal with, people! Is it any wonder I suffer from insomnia?
I too am the worrier in our house, and unfortunately, my husband & I have yet to switch roles. I am ecstatic to hear though, that I am not alone in the thoughts of crazy scenarios department! Sometimes I think I must have a disorder or something with the things I come up with to worry about…you are not alone, my friend! Maybe our spouses could start a support group? lol
Haha, that is a great story. I am definitely the “worried one” with (unfortunately) a very active imaginiation. I have to have the monitor so loud that I can hear her breathing but I always worry that I will wake up to hear something growling in her room.
It’s totally obvious that I’m the childless one. My first response was, “Wait… since when do baby monitors have visual components?” I’m 10-15 years older than my three younger sisters, so I had plenty of baby experience, but that was still 10-15 years ago (they’re all in their early to mid teens now) – my my how things have changed. And I do have those worrying problems, but for now the worries are directed at me? Half the time I think I’M going to wake up and someone is going to be snatching me out of my bed. I can only imagine how much worse that would get if I had a child… it’s probably better than I don’t.. I’d never sleep again. Why would you do that to Heather?
I am also the worrier and too think I have a disorder! I mean the most craziest hair brained thoughts come into my head about what could happen to my children! It is actually almost debilitating at times!
I am with ya Mike, but from experience, keep them to yourself so Heather can get some sleep and so she won’t look at you with “those eyes”!
What a spot-on post! I am a total and complete worry wart for sure. I lay in bed at night and re-hash my fire escape plan, my kick-the-burgler’s-ass plan and my survive-the-next-natural-disaster plan. I can easily waste a couple of hours doing this. I won’t even get into all the craziness I worry about when it comes to my kids. And what drives me really batty crazy is that while I’m laying there, waiting for some crisis to befall the household, my husband is blissfully snoring the night away. It sucks to tbe worrier that’s for sure.
My husband and I agreed early on not to share A) crap like that that pops into our heads, and scary dreams involving our children. It’s a sanity-saver.
You so suck.
You two should consider maybe NOT talking after the lights are out….
Good laughs though!!
Mike, that was a hilarious post! I was laughing out loud, picturing you two going back and forth! You are crazy!!!!
That really made me laugh.
This is what you think about? A monster picking her up? I mean , if a monster went to so much trouble to climb through the window quietly and snatch up one of my daughters- I would think he deserved to have her- i mean going through all that trouble and all.
Wow–that brought back memories for me. I was the mellow one in the relationship until my first daughter was 3 days old and it was our first night home from the hospital. My daughter was sleeping (and breathing, then not breathing, then snorting) in the bassinet. I was going in and out of sleep when I saw my husband get up and move toward the bassinet. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was putting the baby back in the bassinet. I instantly jumped out of bed because I KNEW the baby was already in the bassinet. He was getting ready to put his PILLOW in the bassinet. Had I not been awake, he would have smothered her. I am now a worrier.
Jenny, Bloggess says:
Lexapro and xanax. I recommend.
PS. Featured: http://tinyurl.com/53gs4k
I’m with Jenny. If you’re not up for scrips – get yourself some nighttime Tylenol.
Can relate! Looking forward to reading more… Can’t wait to share this with my hubby – because he’s the laid back one whilst I remain the worrier – thanks to my mom!
Hah! I loved this so much, I had to read it aloud to my husband.
BTW, I am the worried AND the crazy one. I get those same random thoughts at random times. No spooky eyed baby monitors over here, though. Hopefully the attack cats will keep the scaly monsters away.
Fiesty Charlie says:
I don’t feel so weird now! As an Emergency Medical Technician, I am the worried one x 10…. I see danger lurking in every corner… and it drives everyone bonkers.
I will tell you that as they get older, it gets better and easier to become the laid back one, especially when they start talking and say things like, “It’s no big deal….” or “There is nothing to be afraid of Mom.”
I find I am getting more laid back with Abbie’s wise, no fear attitude and less anxious when she is out of sight. Crazy how the little ones make us crazy in our own heads huh?
Mary Moon says:
This is why my children slept in the same room with me until they were….
All right. Way too old.
It all has to do with imagination. And being raised by a crazy mother. Which means my children are doomed because they have both.
You’re normal. For someone having a huge imagination who was raised by a crazy mother.
And I’m sure it will comes as no surprise to hear that you will always worry, no matter how old your children are. But not in the same way, thankfully.