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Katy England Katy England
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Motherly instinct or enhanced paranoia?

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Motherly instinct or enhanced paranoia? Ellie, not puking. You're welcome.

The difference between going with your gut and being an oversensitive helicopter mom is a fine, fine line. Almost impossible to see, even to the mom herself.

I learned recently that both of my girls get car sick. Which sucks. A lot. Driving, an activity that previously both zonked the kids out and de-stressed Mom, has turned into a whole lot of misery and company for misery.

The biggest problem was there wasn't a whole lot of warning before the barfing. There was some general fussiness, a little crying, and then I'm washing two out of three car seats (or all three, depending on trajectory). The first time is bad luck. We were still doing the rear-facing seats, because that's what the experts recommend until age 2. But, since we met the legal height and weight, we went forward facing. For science.

And it worked better. But not better enough. Test drive number two ended with both the girls losing it again, which didn't bode well for the five hour car trip I had coming up that weekend to visit relatives and attend a wedding.

This is where the line between over-protection and common sense gets really blurred. Because I was pulling over a lot. And I could feel this war raging in my tummy between frustration, anxiety and paranoia.

My friend who accompanied me must have felt I was insane. Hell, I felt I was insane. Once the cries ratcheted up past a certain, almost unidentifiable point, I would insist that we pull over and give them a break. Get them out of their seats, check diapers, cuddle and cajole. Rinse and repeat for what turned into six-plus hours.

We made it down puke-free. We made it to and from the wedding puke free. So I got complacent on the ride back to Maine. All of my internet research (science!) indicated that if the kids were sleeping, the chance of hurling was reduced. So when one of my girls started crying in her sleep I was able to convince myself that she was simply uncomfortable. That I was uncomfortable and if I had to sit in a five-point harness I'd be crying too. I could feel my stomach clench as it picked up past the point I was comfortable. But I pushed it aside. I was being silly. I was being over sensitive. Besides, we were five minutes from the exit.

Then she barfed.

And I realized a couple of things. I'm not a crazy, over-protective mom. I just know when I have to act like one. And I need to go with that.


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