First Bad Scare
What's it going to be? Baby swallows a button? Baby falls off the bed? Baby wakes up with unidentifiable rash all over his body? Sooner or later you will experience something that gives you firsthand experience with the cliche about blood running cold. No matter how careful you are or how much time you spend babyproofing your house, your child will find opportunities to scare you blind.
But there is an upside. The night you pace the hallway with your screaming, feverish baby, are you thinking about your big 9 a.m. meeting? Of course not. You're trying to make a deal with God wherein he lets your baby live through the night and you agree never to fantasize about sleeping in again.
Humiliation works, too. Picture the time you rush your child to the emergency room because you can't identify the scaly rash on her scalp that wasn't there yesterday. It's a brain tumor, right? Oh. Snot mixed with hair? Sorry.
Next time, you'll remember to breathe, you'll remember that truly sick babies don't gurgle and play like yours is, and you'll remember to try the warm washcloth remedy first. Overreaction is the first step toward learning how to trust our intuition about what's truly life-threatening and what's just an ouchie.