The excuse: my kids were sick. It started with Das Big Boy’s pinkeye on a Sunday, after he’d spent Saturday having a blast at a community carnival where he’d frolicked in a rather suspect bounce house/ball pit/level 2 disease research lab.
So we went to the pediatrician on Sunday, declaring ourselves either patient zero of a town wide pinkeye infection or a victim of the aforementioned germ cave. We thought there might be more to it than pinkeye (cough and boogies were present), but didn’t lobby for antibiotics because that’s not how we roll, although afterwards (and *before* things went totally pear-shaped) we both said we thought he might need them. I guess the point of that statement was unnecessary medical smugsbyness.
Sunday night he was restless, and had a fever of 101 but normal o2 sats (we have a pediatric monitor (known as Froggy) that I bought on Amazon and use only when he seems really sick, I promise), so I gave him some Motrin and he finally slept well. But at 6 am I woke up and heard him breathing fast. Sats were 89-90, which might be ok for the Columbia Presbyterian NICU, but which isn’t exactly winning any medals in the breathing Olympics. My sat monitoring woke him up, which, as usual, fixed his sats (they only sag when he’s asleep, and only with more serious illnesses). He felt warm. I took his temperature: 105.7. Holy shit. He’d NEVER had a fever higher than 102. I woke up Herr Husband, who got on the phone with the pediatrician’s service (Superhero Dr. Larry was at a conference and unreachable, which never happens! But good for him. I had rather hoped he was on a well-deserved family vacation). I gave DBB more Motrin and took him to Children’s. His fever had come down to a somewhat more reasonable 103.5, and they diagnosed an ear infection and respiratory virus. Chest X-ray was negative, but they worried a pneumonia could be lurking or brewing. And even though he had a flu shot, and had a negative rapid flu test, they worried about flu. They even asked if he’d been around anyone with measles! Ack! Don’t even get me stated on “anti-vaxxers.” I’ll just say congratulations on intellectually aligning yourself with Kristen Cavallari. (I try not to be a judgy mama, but I get high-horsey when my kids’ health is compromised by other people’s beliefs in WRONG, discredited nonscience.) Anyway, he got antibiotics for the ear infection and possible pneumonia, Tamiflu for the slightly possible flu, and steroids for the cough which had sounded a bit croupy the night before. I had audio of it on my phone, which prompted the ER doc to declare that she loved me. Oops. More smugsbyness.
This love actually paid off, because they didn’t admit him. They decided they trusted my ability to care for him and observe him for anything more serious. Even more smugsbyness, I guess, but the real point is that I do know my kid and how to care for him (thank you NICU nurses!). So we left and he took a huge nap and I had yet another fight with my local CVS and his sister cried all that night and went to the doc the next day for antibiotics for her own ear infection and GAH!
I love that I think antibiotics are overprescribed for ear infections and I’m all opinionated and snotty about it and then my kids get sick and I’m all, “Where are the drugs!?” And I don’t even mean Xanax. I know where that is. My closet. Waiting for me to stop breast feeding already! I digress. Back to my attitude towards medical intervention. Granted, my kid had basically a 106 fever and couldn’t breathe effectively (they sort of think the fever so taxed his system that his lungs couldn’t keep up). But still. I guess I should remember that I’m not really anti-interventionist (see earlier Kristen Cavallari snipe and miracle baby saved by lots o’ intervention).
So there’s my excuse.
Here are some facts:
1) Das Big Boy has been informed that he can’t marry me because I’m married to Daddy (I left out the Oedipal explanation. He’s three, you guys). His second choice? Grover.
2) The health benefits of using glasslock over plastic storage are undercut when you drop your daughter’s glasslocked strawberries on her nose. Discuss.
3) If your kids are sick and you are stuck in the house with them, finger painting in the bathtub is really fun.
4) Ditto shaving cream wars. And a homemade playdough character named Sad Owl.
5) A fun way to get your kids to clean up is to have them fall in love with the book Trashy Town (more on that in a minute). Then push them around the house in a diaper box–their trash truck– making them pick up stray toys. Then return to the place where the toys go, refer to it as the dump, and have your kids put their toys away in the proper bins. Sorting practice and cleaning and the physical challenge/vestibular input of climbing in and out of the box. I should have been an occupational therapist.
6) I am so fucking tired of winter and cold weather that I have shouted at the forecast my iPhone. A lot. Also, no matter how much fun you are having with your sick kids you are ready to kill them on day four if you still can’t leave the house. Thankfully, it was warm enough for the playground. Now that Little Liebchen is the best walker ever, she stomps all over the playground as if she invented it. Please note her sliding talents.
7) Have we discussed that my Mimi is a 101 years old? Have we discussed that she and I had a awesome chat about sexual double standards last time I visited her?
8) DBB is in LOVE with his preschool teacher, who is kind and warm and creative and nurturing and soft-spoken and young and blonde and smiley and sparkly-eyed and pretty. But I think she won him over with her reading of Trashy Town. At home, he likes to pretend to be her and have me be his other similarly awesome teacher. This is adorable, but awkward at bath time when he pretends one teacher is bathing the other. Because I am running for mayor of Awkward Town, I shared this anecdote with his teachers.
9) I just watched True Detective. I know people loved it, and I thought the performances were good and the visual scenery compelling. But I thought it was written by white stoner frat guys who were taking freshman philosophy and were overly impressed by their own depth and intelligence. After every episode was a chat with the writer and director and it made me sicker than the horrors of the show. If I’ve insulted you by saying so, I’m sorry. It’s no judgment on you. Is “no judgment” my new “no offense”? And also, didn’t I learn from the show that judging is how we form our identity? Now excuse me while I pack a bowl and read Lacan. (Actually, I love Lacan. So maybe I’m cut from the same cloth as the show’s writers… Uh oh… But not the stoner part. I’m a mom now, people!)
10) “If you are trying to have a not even that nice dinner out with your family at The Cheesecake Factory, and your daughter won’t stop screaming, you can try feeding her butter in the foil packaging,” said the worst mother ever, aka, me.
Remember how I was all smugsby about how delightful my life was? Like, immediately after I posted that I got sick. I’m also one of those people who never really gets sick (I like to come down with major health issues instead, then have them seemingly go into remission. Ask me about my thyroid and my colon some other time). But I was fever-chills-unable-to-get-off-the-couch-sick for three days (thankfully it was Saturday, Sunday, Monday, so I was able to pull it off with some big assists from Herr Husband and my parents). Then I was sort of half-assed sick with a disgusting chest cough and general malaise for an additional week. Oddly, and thankfully, it appears HH brought this illness home from a trip to Mobile, and bestowed it upon me but not the Kinder, which is good given DBB’s pulmonary history and all. Anyway, I felt craptastic and looked worse. I finally started feeling better yesterday, and good thing, too, because today Little Liebchen and I had PEANUT CHALLENGE!
Yes, this sounds like a cage match for cute small children like LL (who, btw, is completely full-blown walking. It’s how she locomotes now, and has been for several weeks). But, no. It’s what you have to endure if the first peanut product you feed to your baby-led-weaning baby is spicy peanut noodles, and she goes just a bit blotchy around the mouth. Then you mention this offhandedly to your pediatrician, hoping he’ll encourage you to fish a peanut butter cup out of your purse (come on, don’t even pretend there isn’t one in there) so you can feed it to her, prove she’s fine, and be on your merry way. Instead, he sends you to an allergist, who does a skin test, which the baby passes, then a blood test, which she passes, then still insists she do a PEANUT CHALLENGE, wherein the doctor thinks you will feed your baby what your baby considers to be ungodly amounts of peanut butter (but which you, ESA, Mo, or several other folks wouldn’t blink twice at eating off a spoon).
So here’s how that goes: They take LL’s vital signs, then bring me a spoon with 1/4 teaspoon of peanut butter on it, tell me to feed it to her, and leave the room. I coo and offer it to LL. She pushes spoon away. Repeat. I manage to wipe some in LL’s mouth, and she acts as if I have fed her fish paste or an old sock (except she loves the latter). She won’t let spoon near her mouth again. I hand her spoon. She throws it on the floor, and begins to chant, “Boob, boob, boob,” in her adorable little fratty spring break 1999 way. I summon the nurse. The doctor tells me, “Don’t hand her the spoon. You hold it.” Does this woman have children? Did she baby led wean them in my tried and true (if by true you mean failed): “You eat broccoli while I eat fries and your brother eats Goldfish method?” I didn’t think so.
They go to get me more peanut butter.
“I’m going to wipe it on my boob.” I tell the nurse.
“Do you want me to just leave it on the knife then?” she asks. This strikes me as odd, but hey, I’m the one about to slather peanut butter on my boobs in a doctor’s office. She gives me peanut butter and leaves.
I pop out the preferred boob, and wipe peanut butter on my nipple. (Come on pervs, come and find me!). “Boo-oob,” I tell LL in my most tempting voice. She latches, then gives me a filthy look, and we undergo an epic battle where I manage to get her to eat some of the peanut butter and she manages to terrify the entire office with her screams, then pull peanut butter off of my nipple with her fingers to wipe it on my shirt.
The doctor comes in to check her vitals. “Try to keep the peanut butter on the paper on the table,” she suggests. Now I have friends with peanut allergic kids and the last thing I want to do is kill someone. I’m very allergy sensitive (it goes with my having expected people to be germ sensitive). But seriously. Does the doctor understand the battle of wills going on in here? Has she met a baby?
So we wait fifteen minutes, and they bring in a half-teaspoon of peanut butter. More of the same ensues, with peanut butter winding up all over my outfit, once she figures out she can pull it out of her mouth with her hands and still swallow breast milk.
Same vitals, etc. The good news is she’s doing fine and showing no signs of allergy. The bad news is we and the room have become peanut butter death bombs. The worse news is that the nurse returns with two TABLESPOONS of peanut butter. “Last dose!” she chirps.
I laugh. I really like the doctor and nurses in this practice, and I think they’re great. Warm, responsive, knowledgable. But not realistic. “There is no WAY she’s going to eat that,” I tell her. “If you guys want to tie her to the table and force feed her, you can try. But I don’t think she’s going to eat it.”
So the doctor releases us, deciding they’ve done enough. But releases us actually means we have to sit in the office for an hour. Thankfully, there was a sixteen-month-old boy there waiting for an appointment, so we got an unplanned playdate out of the deal (and we didn’t even kill him!). And the verdict was that she’s good to eat peanuts, ramping up slowly (which doesn’t seem like a problem, except now she’s allowed to have peanut butter cups and peanut butter crackers so she’ll want to eat 9 million tablespoons of the stuff).
And I left looking like this.