Archives for category: Illness

October 6th, Tuesday. Boy had his first car ride (and out-of-the-house trip) in underwear. He stayed dry, which the car, the Piggly Wiggly, and I all appreciated. Woo hoo! Within two or three weeks, he had fully transitioned to underwear during the day. Celebration!

October 6th, Tuesday (same day). Boy had his first real experience throwing up. There was a lot of orange food involved: cooked carrots, raw carrots, goldfish – so as you can imagine, this was quite the first. Sadness.

This was also Girl’s full week of fall break, her first real break from kindergarten (excluding Labor Day). She, too, spent it sick. Pretty much the whole week, between them. We each had a turn. Not the most fun we’ve ever had.

November 13, Friday. Yes, that’s Friday the 13th. No, we wouldn’t have picked it that way. Today, the house that Boy and Girl have dubbed “The Bluestone House” finally became ours. Their very own home – it will be Girl’s fourth home of residence but only Boy’s second.

November 30, Monday. Girl first tried and subsequently succeeded at tying shoelaces. Hooray! (And did you know that one method involves making two loops, not one? And apparently, it’s easier??) At school, beginning on December 1st, kindergarteners could get into the Jingle Bell Club. Once they showed their teacher that they could tie their shoes, they got to wear a jingle bell necklace every day at school for the rest of the month. Her entry into the club didn’t come until roughly two weeks later, but she’s now a confident shoe tie-er – not bad for someone who still has no shoes with laces.

December 9, Wednesday. Girl, Boy, and I all got haircuts. For Girl, it was her first time donating hair (two of the cutest little braids). She was delighted to have chin-length hair and never once thought she’d made the wrong choice. I donated mine, too (yea!). For Boy, it was his first not-at-home haircut. All the same, I think I’ll be cutting his again next time, which should really be today!

December 22, Tuesday. After going to the public library for an ornament-making craft, Girl got her first library card and checked out her first book: William & the Missing Masterpiece by Helen Hancocks. She was so proud of herself!

December 25, Friday (Christmas at the grandparents’ house). Boy was given his first pack of gum – Glee Gum, just like Girl got for Christmas when she was two – and chewed up a storm. Glee covered how he felt about it. (Sure, he swallowed a good bit, too…maybe we should call it “swallowing gum” instead of “chewing gum”!)

December 27, Sunday (our bonus Christmas at home). Girl received her own mug, “I (heart) Cupcakes!”, and was delighted. Sometimes, it’s the funny little things that are your own that become special.

January 2, Saturday. Girl read two books all by herself. I think she just holed up, snuggled in, and lost track of time. (What a great way to spend a day!) She read a Magic School Bus Chapter Book, Rocky Road Trip, and a Geronimo Stilton book, A Cheese-Colored Camper.

January 9, Saturday. Boy and Girl got to make pasta with their Auntie Lou. This was a first, and they enjoyed cranking the machine and helping to pull the pasta out. Family visit: yea!

After Matthew came home from a conference in Seattle (his return is always like a gift for the kids, whether it’s after a trip or just a morning at work), he unpacked his sack, Santa-style. (He should have laughed “ho-ho-ho,” too!) Among the goodies was a gift rolled in newspaper for Boy. He unrolled and unwrapped then said in high-pitched delight, “My very own mug!” His says “Seattle” and has one scene with a blue sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas and another scene with a grey sky, clouds, and folks covered by umbrellas!

January 10, Sunday. Our first snow of the season that stuck. There was a little snow in December, the kind that decorates the air but not the ground, but this was enough to make a heavy powdered-sugar showing. Delight again! “I bet the house is wearing snow!” said Boy, upon seeing the snow on the ground, trees, and playset.

January 11, Monday. My first blog post in too long, my first reminder of the year of the many kinds of things that happen and pass all too quickly (or, in the case of stomach bugs, not quickly enough!) in the lives of small children.

Happy New Year, 2016!

According to “they,” children between ages one and five are supposed to sleep about twelve hours a day, give or take. “They,” however, have not had a chance to discuss this with Girl and Boy yet. I wish they would. Boy slept away his early months, rarely cracking an eyelid or giving us a glance before nursing and going back (or, really, continuing) to sleep, sleeping something like twenty-two hours a day. Girl gave up napping at two and a half and hasn’t napped in months, not even when she has been sick.

Even given their approaches to sleep, today was a whole different thing. Yes, Girl had a fever last night, said, “I’m too tired to eat!”, and fell asleep on the bed at 6 in her clothes. Yes, Boy wouldn’t go down for his nap, so he was asleep at 6:45. An early night, given that they’ve been falling asleep at 8:30 or 9:00 lately (and sleeping until 8, too, I should add). A moment of calm. Their daddy had been out of  town for a few days, and when he arrived home a little after seven, the quiet house was a shock.

It didn’t last long enough. Girl coughed and cried some, rousing herself from sleep, and then was happy to see her daddy, holding onto his hand with a strength that belied the effects of her fever, even as she lay with her head on my chest, coughing more. A little after two in the morning, she was coughing even more, and I took her to the shower, hoping the steamy air would soothe what ailed her so she could sleep.

Instead, it seemed to rouse her a bit. To backpedal, I tried to sing her back to sleep, scratch her back – whatever I could do while not waking her brother. Like my first bike, however, backpedaling brought the brakes on, and any sleeping she’d thought of doing came to a pink-Schwinned halt. She’d already had eight hours of sleep. When she saw her daddy again, it really was all over. She wanted to sleep next to him. She wanted to put her head on his shoulder. Sure, she’d go to sleep, she said..

“Daddy!” Boy shouted, springing to his feet in the three o’clock hour and throwing his arms around his daddy. Ah, now no one was sleeping. (Well, maybe the cats still were…)

And just to fast forward: there was no more sleeping. Their daddy went back to bed because work requires some semblance of together-ness, but for the rest of us, there was much frustration (that was mostly me: how hard could it be for them to just go back to sleep – and let me sleep, too?). By four-something, I conceded, and we watched Word World (I still love it!) followed by Classical Baby: The Dance Show. Twice. She ate an apple, he ate grapes.

He napped from almost 8 until 9:45. He wouldn’t nap in the afternoon. (To be fair, he may have, had it not been for the less-than-helpful kissiness, leaning-over-my-shoulderness, and general distracting nature of Girl. How is it that such things, which, under other circumstances, would be so endearing, can be so distracting?) She did not nap at all, though not for lack of my effort.

He went to sleep around 5:30, maybe 5:45 tonight. He was toast (the “oops, I sure left that in the toaster too long!” kind).

And Girl? She was asleep at 7:00. Just to make this clear: she was awake from 2:15 in the morning until 7:00 at night! Nearly seventeen hours. How is that possible? The fever seemed to fade away to nothing, and all that was left was a mad desire to stay awake, logic and sleepiness be darned.

Sleep is good. At some point, we realize that, often when we’re least able to get it. Sleep was in front of them, served up on a platter, steaming and fragrant. Mmmm, sleep. I could almost taste it. Was it not appetizing to them? Did I inadvertently try to serve Girl a steaming pile of mashed potato-esque sleep? (And what IS the deal with her cough? How much do I need to worry?)

I’m hoping for a better night tonight.

Once I get more sleep, I’m looking for “they”;  I hope “they” can set my children straight on this sleep thing. If you’ve seen them, would you send them my way? While you’re at it, would you throw in a few extra hours of sleep? Rest assured, I’ll put them to good use.

This is what nighttime should look like.

This is what nighttime should look like.

2:30. Two thirty. Tooth-hurty.

That’s Matthew’s joke (that came from somewhere else), anyhow.

Yesterday, it was at 11:00. Not that I wanted to go. Not that I wanted to have a reason to go.

But I did. Rather, he did. Small Boy.

We’d gone outside and literally one minute after being out, he tried to step over a rock, didn’t make it, stumbled, and hit his tooth on a rock. Oh, I thought, I hope he didn’t cut his lip. He didn’t, or at least not much.

But what were these little white bits on his lip? What could he have fallen on? Tiny rocks, weird lint out here, what?

Bits of his teeth. *heart sinks, panic rises* BITS OF HIS TEETH! HIS TINY, PERFECT BABY TEETH!

Just the day before, on Girl’s birthday, I’d seen his seventh tooth, another bottom tooth, the one on his left of the two middle bottom ones. Just as I was celebrating his new tooth, he lost a chunk of an old one – and I use “old” in disbelief. He rarely even shows his teeth – no toothy smiles for this one – and now, his perfectly-imagined toothy grin is gone. There was much crying on his part, and I imagined all sorts of terrible things, the way parents do. (Why is it that parenting often leads to a worst-case-scenario imagination?)

In brief, the dentist said that the damage was limited and the tooth itself is OK (although trauma to teeth may, sooner or even years later, result in the blood supply being shut off to the tooth, resulting in a grey tooth). He said I didn’t need to worry; it’s not loose. The adult tooth wasn’t harmed. To me, it looks like a third of his tooth is gone. *shiver*

Today, he was eating a carrot. It seems to be OK. For now.

This parenting thing is not for the timid, as Matthew’s said before. Or the squeamish.

I always hope and expect that the holidays will be something beautiful and peaceful, more swan or dove than ostrich. This year, sadly, we could dub this season the holiday of the ostrich.

On December 20th, Baby Boy needed a doctor’s visit after having a fever for a day – and then his fever was 103.9! Ear infection. Amoxicillin.

Abbreviated in-law visit.

Christmas at home!

On December 26th, Preschool Girl needed a doctor’s visit after complaining of a sore throat. Strep throat. Amoxicillin.

Even once her spirits improved (after skipping dinner that night and being in bed at 6:00), she still had a cough that didn’t go away. Attempt to head off for family visit…and resulting ER visit. Croup, symptom of some virus. Breathing treatment, no impact. Scary, but, as we were told, she’s old enough that she can still breathe, even with the swelling, so we don’t need to worry. But of course, we worry. It IS scary. And it still isn’t gone. At the worst of times, it sounded like she was snoring when breathing in and breathing out, and a coughing or crying jag made it seem like she was gasping for air. Once, she even threw up.

Not to be left out, Baby Boy added a whole-body rash to the mix – probably a reaction to the amoxicillin and not really anything to worry about, either, the ER doctor reassured us. Oh, good. A polka-dotted child.

Return home instead of continuing on. No my-family Christmas. Sadness.

During all of this, to add to the fun, Matthew’s had a virus, too. Happy holidays!

Yes, we’re ready for the new year, if for no other reason than to leave this bout of illness behind. Thank you, 2013, for bring us Baby Boy and making us a family of four. We’re grateful. I hope that 2014 brings healthiness and adventure and lots of cozy friend and family time, both for us and for you out there, reading these words on your screen. And while I’m at it, I’ll hope for many nights of good sleep, too. Why not? Even birds have to roost sometime.

We survived an unexpected doctor’s visit yesterday (Baby Boy was beside himself, crying and screaming and inconsolable, for hours – nothing was apparently wrong besides being extra tired, and today has been a far better day), and today, we had a lovely trip to the swimming pool. Sister LOVES to swim, with floaties, and Brother has the crazy little-babies-kick-in-the-water thing going on. It’s some instinct, I tell you – I’d both love to and be terrified to let him try to swim in the water. We ate ice cream and hot dogs and Baby Boy smiled a lot. Baby Girl was enormously happy herself. She cracked us up on the car ride home, at one point, repeatedly saying, “Hola,” like “Diego’s daddy said.” With each syllable overemphasized and repeated until the sounds lost nearly all meaning, we laughed. Undeterred, she said, “I’m teaching you!” to her daddy until he repeated the sounds back to her. “That’s Spanish talk!” Ah, that girl.

And then, getting ready for bed tonight, we had a super sweet moment. “I love you!” I said to Baby Girl.

“I really, really love you a lot,” she said, and my heart swelled and pounded and did a flip or two (I guess it was at the pool on the diving board).

Then, apropos of what I don’t remember, I said to Baby Girl, “I’ve seen you every day of your life!” I’ve slept away from her once, for one night – when Baby Boy was born – but I still saw her each day. 

“No,” she said, with certainty.

“Yes, I have!” On this one, I felt sure. The furthest away I’ve ever been, drive-time-wise even, was an hour and a half, and that’s just been once, and just last month. I’ve been with my girl a lot.

“No,” she went on, “we will die. At the end, we will die.”

Oh. Yes, I’ve seen her every day of her life, and while at some point that will cease to be true because of sleepovers and trips and college, at some other point, that will cease to be true because I (please, let it be me before her) have ceased to be. 


What does she see when she looks at the world?

What does she see when she looks at the world?

Snotty sleep, night three:

From the start of nighttime preparations to sleeping took twenty minutes tonight (and included all of the usuals – toothbrushing, washing up, reading – even some saline spray for the nose!), probably a record for us. She was one tired girl. I’m hoping for better sleep. We had to buy extra soft lotion tissues today to try to be good to her nose, if that puts the extent of her snottiness into perspective. Her nose is chapped.

Snotty sleep, night two:

She was restless from two to three then fretfully awake and dozy from three to four, with a little nightmare-y screaming and kicking thrown in for fun, with congestion as the cherry on top. It was not a good sleeping night for either of us.

Snotty sleep, night one:

She woke up and asked where Daddy was (never mind how many times she’d asked before or that she knew the answer – at a conference, giving a talk, in Pittsburgh). She woke up screaming and kicking at least five times, although she wasn’t so congested yet; it got worse yesterday. In the morning, I asked her the adult question, “How did you sleep?” I wondered if she’d remembered her thrashing.

She looked at me as if I were daft and said, “With my eyes closed.”

Guess I should have known the answer to that one.

Last night, we were reading Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy (charming and totally worth a read!), and Tacy’s little sister Bee dies. She shut the book then, and we called it a night. To be fair, it might also be because I got teary, and she doesn’t like to see that, but how could I not? Reading to my small child, and a small child dies? *sigh* So much for emotional control.

This morning, she asked, “Why did Boo Boo die?” (The Boo Boo interest was renewed when a stray cat recently wandered through the backyard, and she said, “Maybe it’s Boo Boo!” We had to remind her that Boo Boo died, and the stray cat did not appear to be her reincarnation.)

“Sometimes, people and animals get sick, and they die,” I told her. I feel like this is slippery territory for a not-quite-three year old: she recently had a cold and has another small one. I don’t want her to think she’s about to die every time she gets a sniffle. “But usually, people are old before they die. Children don’t usually die.”

“I won’t die,” she told me, with all the certainty of a two-year-old.

“Everyone dies sometime.”

“I’ll die and you’ll die and Daddy will die,” she then acknowledged, just as breezily.

Somehow, I don’t know which set of statements was worse. We should go eat breakfast now; too much truth on an empty stomach can make you sick.

Let me tell you, sweet daughter, that I’m writing this out of admiration for your creativity and the way you work to make sense of your world – even though, as a teenager, this may well be the kind of thing that makes you wish your mother had never, ever written about you. I love you very much.

After a poor night’s sleep (you woke up at least three times and, as often seems to happen now, when I got out of bed to go to the bathroom without you [ah, pregnancy!], you cried and screamed and ran after me, which poses dangers in the dark), we concluded that it may have been because your stomach was bothering you: what filled your potty today was more liquid than solid. When we went to play today, you told me you had to pee, but that wasn’t quite what came out, either. Tonight, as you were going to sleep, you put it best: you had a pee toot.

And really, I think you summed it up perfectly.

Marco! Polo!

I love you. I love you, too!

The second comment often follows the first (and, in the case of Marco, is part of what makes it problematic as a first-name option, in my opinion).

In our house, we have our own call and response. It’s generally a sleepytime thing, at pseudo-naptime or bedtime. “Mama!” she’ll say, sometimes in her normal voice, sometimes softly, sometimes with her own special inflection. “Baby!” I reply.

Although we haven’t read it in a while, I’m rather certain that she remembers this from Richard Scarry’s Funniest Storybook Ever. Flossie loses her doll into the bread-dough trough, and when a strange loaf of bread says, “Mama!” (which may be spelled “Momma!” in the story), Lowly helps solve the mystery. In the final story, in which Lowly’s birthday is being celebrated with an enormous cake, the doll is in the cake. The doll says, “Mama!” as Flossie runs toward is saying (you guessed it), “Baby!”

And so it was tonight. The past few days have been rough. It’s Wednesday, and since Sunday, she’s had a cold or some viral infection – a runny nose, tiredness, a cough which sometimes sounds a bit barking – and she even threw up once, last night, when she cried too hard (after not napping, she also couldn’t go to sleep and was beyond distraught). A trip to the doctor today confirmed it’s not the flu or anything obvious, and to our relief and her necessity, she’s now in bed – her converted-as-of-last-week toddler bed! – asleep. It took many rounds of our call and response. If I tried to keep quiet to encourage sleep, she’d remind me of my role: “Say ‘Baby!'” And I upheld my end of the bargain. Sometimes I’d get quiet to imply the need for quiet, for sleep.

And she sleeps. To call, to respond, to know that someone is there – we all need a little comfort, sometimes.


We should have known, when she woke up early and a little fussy. We should have known when she only wanted to be held, and Matthew cradled her on his chest, as he had when she was an infant, and she nearly fell asleep there, in his warm embrace.

She snuggled this way at less than a month old, too.

We should have known when she napped at 9:15 in the morning – we should have known because of the napping, period.

If something seems wrong, it probably is.

After her nap, I checked, and her armpit temp was 100.9 – and you’re supposed to add .9 for a “regular” temperature, making it 101.8.

After spending at least half of the day in bed and eating only a piece of a pumpkin bar and half of a saltine over the course of the day, she called it a night by seven o’clock. Her adjusted armpit temperature was 102.3. Her eyes never had their alert look; they only foretold sleep.

She’s never been this lethargic, this happy just to sit on our laps or lie down next to us. I hope sleep does its restorative job and that she perks up, like a flower in the rain, by the morning.