[I want to start this post by saying that my twins are both healthy and, thankfully, did not get lead poisoning from the following incident.]
A couple of weeks ago, I literally caught one of my twins red-handed (or should I say lead-handed?) eating paint chips. Her hand was covered in slobber and inside her chubby little fingers was a long sliver of white paint. I took it from her and swept my pinky insider her mouth. Then I tried to not to panic.
As with most parenting fails, I only left them alone for a few minutes in their play room when this all transpired. We just painted the room a couple months ago, but the paint they were eating was off an old phone cord. I think the girls had pulled the cord off the wall and I wasn’t sure what kind of paint was on it. To make it worse, as I studied the phone cord, it seemed like a lot of paint was missing. Have they been doing this every time I go to the bathroom or make myself a sandwich?
I promptly got on the Internet to check the year lead paint was banned, which only increased my worries. Our house was built 8 years before lead paint was outlawed.
I decided to call Poison Control. It was sort of hard not to cry while I gave the lady our information, even though she was extremely nice. She said I probably don’t need to worryif this was a one-time incident. (However, how can I really know they’ve never done this before?) According to her, eating one lead paint chip will not result in lead poisoning. Before I hung up, she said, “Thanks for calling. This is exactly what we’re here for.”
Just to be sure, I ordered a lead test kit and decided to order one for our water while I was at it. Two days later, the tests came in the mail. The phone cord was definitely positive for lead paint. My heart dropped into my butt. It was hard to believe because over the previous two days as I waited for the test to come in, I had convinced myself that there was no way it would be lead paint. I knew the test would just confirm this. It was shocking when they didn’t. (Thankfully, our water was negative for lead (as expected), so that was good news.)
I called our pediatrician and we took them in the next morning. The doctor ran a quick lead level blood test. Both tests came back well below the safe lead level.
What. A. Relief.
Sometimes I think parenting is going to destroy me. I’ve always been a worrier but the anxiety I have for my own babies’ well being is sometimes overwhelming. I’m going to have to actively resist being a helicopter mom. I wish I was more of a “dirt is good for them” kind of mom, but I still wash their pacifiers when they fall on the floor, I still get nervous around other sick kids, I still jump to worst-case scenario when they sniffle.
As I type this, my Baby B is looking up at me and coughing – her first cough! I can’t help but notice there’s no place in her baby book to record that…. I know she’ll get over it and apparently it’s good for her immune system (that still doesn’t make sense to me – they need to get sick so that they don’t get sick?) I’ll try to keep this helicopter on the ground by remembering that it will build her immune system (probably?) and will (hopefully) help me chill out when she gets better.