My son, 2 years old, has recently started some behavior that is concerning me.
This morning he was upset (this isn't terribly uncommon for him in the morning, when both my wife and I are getting ready for work). In between tears, and demands for milk and to be picked up, he told me he needed his temperature taken.
I took his temperature (we use a non-invasive temporal thermometer), and it was perfectly normal. He didn't even wait to see my reaction, though. As soon as I ran it across his forehead, he walked away.
He's also been complaining about stomach aches which go away 30 seconds later:
"My belly hurts."
"Here." (points to a spot on his belly)
"Do you have to poop?"
"Does it still hurt?"
These two things by themselves probably wouldn't concern me, but there's a family history that factors into this which is why I'm worried.
My wife's family is, in my opinion, somewhat obsessed about health issues.
Illness and injury are perpetual topics. Any indication of something out of the ordinary seems to result in my wife evaluating symptoms to determine if she should worry. If he seems unusually cranky, she takes his temperature. If he seems "out of sorts" (defined as any period lasting more than 5 minutes where he isn't smiling and wanting to play), she takes his temperature and asks if we should take him to the doctor.
When he was 6 months old, he was incorrectly diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Our specialist warned us to watch for "bulky, greasy stools" as an indication that he might be having pancreatic enzyme issues. This led to her obsessively monitoring his bowel movements, and asking for constant evaluations of "does this poop look normal?" I think that worry was understandable at the time (we tried to get a better description of what to look for, but the best we could get was that it may "explode out the top of the diaper").
However, we verified over a year ago that he doesn't actually have CF, and our specialist agreed that he was merely a carrier. He's had no symptoms, yet every time I change a diaper, she asks "did he poop? How did it look?".
Granted, I tend towards the opposite extreme when it comes to medical issues. I don't go to a doctor unless I'm really sick, and feel that I can't get better without a prescription. I try to be less reluctant to go to a doctor with my son, but I still feel that a cold, for example, is not a reason to go to the doctor. Yet I fear that my wife's worries about his health push me even further into the "its not something to worry about" spectrum.
So, my main concern is that my wife's worry about health issues is not something I want my son to pick up. My wife's attitude towards health issues is a somewhat watered-down version of my mother-in-law's, and my two sister-in-laws, so I feel that this behavior does seem to be learned.
Is it normal for a 2-year-old to ask for his temperature to be taken when he's upset, or complain about phantom pains?
How can I make sure that he doesn't grow up to worry too much (or too little) about his health?