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3 Times My Mom's Intuition Screwed Me Over

Photograph by Twenty20

For some reason, Aquaphor has become my go-to when anything is wrong with my kids. Oh, you cut yourself? Let's put some Aquaphor on it. Broke your arm? Here's a little rub of ointment on that sucker. Sometimes the Aquaphor works and sometimes it doesn't. Just like my mom intuition that convinces me to reach for the tube.

I'm a big believe in mom intuition, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes it takes me a long time to figure out what is going on.

Here are three times something was off with my kids that it took me awhile to realize (actual and metaphorical) Aquaphor couldn't fix.

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1. A rash can be a sign of Scarlett Fever

Recently, my 4-year-old had bumps on her stomach. My husband and I thought it was due to dryer sheets. I applied Aquaphor—for two weeks. Then her face started to peel. I snapped a photo and sent it to my pediatrician friend, and she said to have her checked for strep. The Urgent Care doctor told my husband it was highly unlikely, since she had no other signs. Instead, she was diagnosed with Scarlett Fever. Turns out, undiagnosed strep turns into Scarlett Fever. Yep, just keep rubbing that Aquaphor, Lindsay.

A few years ago my oldest, then 7, and I were coughing a lot. I mean until tears came out of our eyes. I doped myself up on NyQuil and it still didn't work.

2. Vaccinations don't protect you 100 percent of the time

A few years ago my oldest, then 7, and I were coughing a lot. I mean until tears came out of our eyes. I doped myself up on NyQuil and still didn't feel better. One night I thought, "He's got whooping cough," despite the fact that we are a fully vaccinated family.

I took him to the doctor the following Monday. The doctor said is wasn't a possibility, since his lungs sounded fine. He said it was just a cold. That night my son said he really couldn't breathe. We went to Urgent Care. Again, the doctor said his lungs sounded fine and gave him a breathing treatment. My son cried after the doctor left, saying, "I can't breath mom."

So I took him back to our pediatrician's office and saw another doctor. She said his cough was due to the new duvet covers I'd purchased for the kids. They told me my son would be fine to go play at a friend's house, where the mom had just had a baby.

But after nothing really changed, I went back yet again to the same pediatrician's office and saw yet another doctor. I told the young doctor to test him for whooping cough. She agreed and started us on antibiotics right away. The results came back and, sure enough: whooping cough. I posted this on Facebook and two other families, from different parts of Los Angeles, then had themselves tested for whooping cough. Both had it.

I always felt like there was something that needed help with my middle son.

3. Kids can't always see

I always felt like there was something my middle son needed help with. I wasn't sure what it was. For the first 4 years of his life, he nearly drove us bonkers. He slept a lot, screamed a lot and also amused us to no end. He charmed everyone with his big smile.

Still, I knew I needed to figure something out. During his first year of pre-school, he kept telling me art was so hard and that he didn't want to do it. He went to a progressive, very loving pre-school, exactly the kind of place that didn't overly structure art class. The teacher and I spoke, and she assured me he wasn't made to do the art. So I found his aversion to it very strange. I took him in, along with his older brother, to get his eyes checked. I felt sure nothing would be wrong.

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Then the optometrist did the test. Both of our eyes opened wide, and I texted my husband frantically. Our son had horrible vision. One of his eyes was essentially giving up, a condition that if not corrected by the age of 8, is irreversible.

Prescriptions were written and glasses were ordered. The day he put them on the world came up to greet him. I wish I had been there. My nanny took him to pick up the glasses, since I was home with my youngest. The woman who works with fitting the glasses told the nanny that his face, that look, is one they see only once in awhile. The gift of freaking vision.

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