The boy sidles up to his mom, clutching his stomach as he moans, ‘Mummy, my stomach hurts. His mother looks up from her laptop, sighing at being pulled away from her focused attention on her presentation slides.
She has a deadline to meet and zero patience for a child who was only seeking attention and probably trying to avoid resuming school after the summer break. She snaps at him and tells him to go eat a cookie, lie down for a nap, and continue with her work.
Several hours later, she shuts down her system and strolls into the living room, where she meets the young boy lying on the floor, face down, covered in vomit, barely conscious.
She screams and picks up his limp body while calling his name. By the time they reached the ER, the poor boy was certified dead. Medical cause of death; he choked on his vomit. The real cause is parental neglect.
This scenario may look extreme and macabre, but it is real. Could this have been avoided? Yes. A’very important’ deadline took first place and her child a far second place, and she paid dearly for it.
While raising our children, I remember once taking our 16-month-old son to the national dental center because we felt his teeth were corroding and not growing properly.
My husband and I shelved all we had to do to make the long and laborious ride to have the best dentist look at him.
When we arrived, we were told our fears were unwarranted and that the reflux from nighttime breast milk feeding was the source of the issue.
The nurses there were a bit amused by our concern since he only had milk teeth that would fall off anyway.
A somewhat similar situation arose with our third-born child, whose shaky milk teeth were taking too long to fall off. Her misery led us to the dentist again, and once again, a few seconds on the dental chair, and it was history.
Now we could have taken the path of heeding the jeers and derision of others and ignored our ailing children, but that would run against our grain as present and caring parents.
I will never forget the day my adult son called to say he needed to see our family doctor because he felt he had a bad cold. I gave him the doctor’s contact information and informed my husband, who immediately said we needed to go meet him up in the hospital.
Our son had already driven himself to the hospital and consulted with the doctor before we arrived. I remember the nurses jokingly saying we were still babysitting him.
While waiting for the drugs to be administered to him, we had to go get him food. We decided to wait until the treatment was over. While waiting in the reception, my son asked the nurse to call me. He was feeling breathless and dizzy.
I immediately asked her to stop administering the intravenous drug injection. It turns out that he hadn’t eaten enough food for that drug to be administered. We had to quickly go get him more glucose drinks to revive him. I shudder to think about the outcome of that experience if it were a different scenario.
As parents, we cannot understate the importance of always being there for our children. Yes, always, even when it isn’t convenient. It is absolutely important to read in between the lines and hear what they are not saying. I am bold to say that this has made the difference between life and death.
The uncanny bond between parents and children is, at times, spiritual. Being there for the so-called ‘little’ things may be all the child needs to make the difference in raising a wholesome child and adult.
Take on the responsibility of parenting well. Be there!