I love the internet. I adore the internet. I spend an inordinate amount of my time communing with the internet. I am a total internet fangirl, completely in awe of all the powers and abilities of the beautiful interwebular network. But there is one thing that the internet is really really terrible at: reassuring a new parent, already given to flights of anxiety, that her child is, in fact, fine.
It starts with an innocuous comment or perhaps an observation - in my case, an offhand remark from my dad that Stella's feet turn out when she walks. Though what I was doing listening to my dad in the first place is beyond me; for he is the kind of guy who, upon hearing that Stella has a canker sore on her tongue declares, "She probably has lupus!" and then laughs hysterically at his own super funny and not at all inappropriate joke. Thanks for that, Dad.
Anyway, so a couple of "her feet really turn out, do you think that's normal?" remarks later, and I'm in front of a computer googling the hell out of "baby's feet turn out".
Now, I don't know what is up with people who post about their kids' medical conditions online, but the vast majority of the posts read something like this: "my child had that exact set of symptoms, and as a direct result she was struck by lightning, fell down a flight of stairs, broke her head in two places, and was eaten by a rabid pack of dogs. But it’s probably nothing!" Or something equally reassuring.
So, anyway, I'm googling away and coming up with such helpful advice as, "you should definitely talk to your doctor," and "it's probably nothing, but talk to your doctor, especially if she has a patch of hair on her back near her tailbone".
So, down the rabbit hole I go, because, yes, come to think of it, Stella does have some peach fuzz on her back, and I'd better google this, oh crap, maybe google image search, oh no oh no oh no, holy hell, NOOOOOO, I did not want to see that! Symptom checker...and now I'm convinced that my precious baby girl has spina bifida. And probably autism, and perhaps maybe a side of SPD or something obscure and un-fixable-when-you-live-in-a-foreign-country.
Coincidently, we had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and after earnestly documenting every little fact about my girl down to the exact location of every freckle on her body, the precise amounts of food she consumes, and which hand she prefers to wave at the dog with, the doctor came back with a diagnosis of Strong Willed Child.
She doesn't sleep because she is strong willed. She won't eat because she is strong willed. She won't crawl because she is strong willed. She walks funny because that's the way she walks. She has peach fuzz on her back because all people have peach fuzz on their backs. The end.
And now I'll resolve never to seek medical advice from Dr. Google, ever ever ever again.*
*probably not! The next time my kid sneezes, I'll be googling up a storm!