Sunday, October 13, 2013


Welcome to the Round-Up, weekend edition…late, because that’s my favorite way to arrive to anything (just ask my husband).  Today we’re going to talk about how much I loathe pumping gas, why I love October, and of course, poop.  I’ll bet you thought there’s not much left to say about poop, right?  Well, you were wrong.

Lights on the Dash
People like me are the reason car manufacturers have lights on the dash to tell you when to do certain things.  If it weren’t for those lights, I’d never know when my left tail light is out, when I’m low on washer fluid, when an oil change is needed (because there’s a different light to tell you it’s required) and, most importantly, when I’m low on fuel.

Oh yes, I’m one of those.

I am one of those people because I don’t like doing anything automobile related.  This probably sounds old fashioned (read: setting the feminist movement back 60 years) but I’ve always viewed car stuff as boy stuff.  I have zero desire to learn how to do anything.  If I get a flat, I’ll call AAA, and a boy will come and change the tire.  If I need an oil change, I’ll take the truck to Goodyear, and a boy will change the oil.  I don’t want to get dirty, sweaty, smelly or greasy. 

My least favorite car related activity is pumping gas.  That’s one of the reasons I let the low fuel light come on…it reminds me to remind my husband that I need gas.  Of course, there was a brief time in my driving life that I did not know Evan, which meant I did have to fend for myself.  So if I absolutely have to pump gas, I will.

There are two reasons I hate pumping gas: 1.) GERMS and 2.) Creepy guys.  The first reasons is completely self-explanatory.  If you actually considered how many unwashed hands have been on that gas pump…hands that could belong to people who shovel manure, handle raw meat, care for people with Swine Flu, or even an axe murderer, it’s just gross.  There isn’t enough Purell in the world to handle all that nonsense.

Reason number two.  On the rare occasion I have to pump gas, I always end up at a pump next to some creepy guy.  And even better – Creepy Guy almost always thinks I want his attention.  It’s probably because I have a staring problem (Evan likes to call me a “people watcher”) but really, it’s the Creepy Guy’s fault.  Don’t paint a giant flamingo on your truck, get a neck tattoo declaring your abhorrence of law enforcement, or pump gas with no shirt on, if you don’t want me to stare at you.  And that look on my face should be conveying, “SERIOUSLY?!” and not whatever else you’re thinking.  Also, what’s up with guys and no shirts?  It’s hot in Florida, but it is never so hot that you can have total disregard for clothing the top half of your body.  PUT A SHIRT ON (also, pull up your pants while you’re at it).  And those stupid tank tops don’t count.

Ryan Gosling: This does not apply to you.  Feel free to pump gas, mow the lawn, fold my laundry or empty my dishwasher topless.  Evan gives you permission.

On Wednesday, I took Miles to the pediatrician for the second time since he came down with this ear infection.  The trip was to check on the cough he had developed (because, of course, I’m thinking it’s croup or whooping cough or some other weird thing).  His lungs sounded good, his throat was fine, diagnosis was either post nasal drip or a cold.  But his ear still looked a little infected…like there was still a little fluid in there.  Not a real infection, but it would be easy to re-infect.  At this point, I think the pediatrician (who was not Miles’ regular doc…I love the regular doc but we only see him for well visits) can tell I’m an OCD WebMDer, and he’s just playing games with me.  I could’ve sworn I heard him ask, “Oh, have you heard of that new chicken flu?  These symptoms are exactly like it…” (there is no chicken flu, that I know of).

The pediatrician writes a prescription for a second antibiotic, and instructs us to start it on Friday, if the cough hasn’t improved.  I don’t want to start another antibiotic.  I know it hurts the good bacteria in Miles’ little tummy.  Also, he’s not a good sleeper when he’s on antibiotics (anxiety and insomnia are common side effects for most meds) and trust me when I tell you that we were all equally exhausted after the last 10 day round.

Friday arrived, and the cough was most certainly overstaying its welcome.  No amount of Vicks BabyRub, Simply Saline, steam baths or prayers were getting this cough to hit the road.  I begrudgingly picked up the antibiotics, and read the label: TWELVE DAYS.  Yes, the Twelve Days of I’m Never Sleeping Again.

Thankfully, this one is a once-a-day dosage.  We started Friday night, and he had his second dose Saturday morning.

Around lunchtime Saturday, Miles and I were playing on the floor when he casually told me he needed a diaper change.  His morning constitutional was complete.

He’s on the changing table, and I’m singing our usual diaper changing song.  I open the diaper, and just stand there, horrified…his poop is red.  Not bright red; more of a brick red, but red nonetheless.  A thousand thoughts are running through my head (chicken flu, followed by internal bleeding, and ending with zombie apocalypse) so I do what any sensible and rational parent would do…I fold the diaper back over (like in a “IT’S GOING TO GET ME!” fashion) and tell myself to calm down.  Then, I change his diaper.  I save the red poop diaper.

Miles is laughing and playing and looking at me like, “Make with the baby powder, woman!”  This is the only thing keeping me from putting him in my purse and sprinting to the ER.

In my happiest, sing-songy voice, I put Miles in his crib and tell him I’ll be right back, I just need to check on something.  I head to my laptop (you already know where this is going, right?) and immediately go to WebMD.  I look up the antibiotic he’s taking: Cefnidir.  Finally, I find the page with “possible side effects/precautions.”  And I find the usual suspects…but buried at the bottom, under the “precautions” I find exactly what I’m looking for:

This medication may cause stools to turn a reddish color.  This is common, and not harmful.

ARE YOU SERIOUS?  If poop turning RED is a possible side effect, you’d think that a pharmacist, pediatrician, nurse, somebody, would make that the first side effect listed on the bottle.  And not only that, but everyone should have to remind the parent or patient that this could happen.  A dozen times.  Because if you had red poop, you’d probably freak out, too.  They should just call the antibiotic "redpoopacillidin" so we'd know not to totally panic.  Right?

Miles is fine, we’re on day three of antibiotics/red poop and the cough is clearing.  Nine days to go…

I love October…it’s the beginning of Fall, which is my favorite season.  But I do not love October for its pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin yogurt or pumpkin toothpaste.  I love October for the return of this:

 Cue music...

And this:


And this:

 Staying for dinner?


 Need braaaains.



Also, Darryl:

Only six hours to go,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dear Twenties: It's not you, it's me.

So, this Saturday, something kind of major is happening…yours truly will be turning 30.


You heard that, right?

T H I R T Y.

Really, it’s no biggie.  I mean, there are a lot of things I could do to celebrate/mourn, but I’m just going with what I do best, and writing an open letter to  my twenties.  Because really, isn’t it time we moved on?  Here we go…

Dear Twenties,

It’s been one heck of a ride, but I think we both know what has to happen next.  I mean, of course I still love you, but I’m not in love with you.  Don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s me.  I can’t hold you back any longer, and we both know it’s time for you to spread your wings and fly.  We sure did have some fun over the past ten years though, huh?

You were a joyful time of terrible karaoke, attempting to burn our apartment down with incense, and eating French fries with Ranch dressing for dinner.  A lot.  Ah, metabolism at 20, am I right?!

Yes, in your very early years, you were a time of questionable decisions, questionable behavior and incredibly questionable fashion choices.  Of our early time together, I am most thankful that Facebook and smart phones were still an unknown.  It ensures that things like my four leaf clover tattoo will never been seen by anyone other than my husband, and God.  Well, and anyone on Fort Myers Beach during the summer of 2003.

It was a learning experience.

But it wasn’t all so bad, Twenties.  I mean, I did meet my future husband during your era (okay, so I was nineteen, but we both agreed that twenty sounded way older so that’s what we went with).  I was 20 when we officially started dating, 21 when we were engaged, and had just turned 22 when we were married.

We also went through some difficult things together, Twenties.  You were there for me when I lost one of my very best friends, my Moosie.  The two of us spent weeks planning my wedding together; she was so excited and overjoyed!  Then, she was taken home in June of 2005.  It was so very difficult to know that she wouldn’t be there for the big day, at least in person.  But she was there in spirit.  And we weathered the storm, Twenties.

It was also in your era that we bought our first house and slowly, over the next few years, turned it into a beautiful, warm and loving home.  And it was in your era that we experienced a joyful, incredible, amazing miracle when we welcomed Miles, our firstborn, and we knew then that our home was complete.  Well, until the next kiddo comes along…but we’ll save that for Thirties.

Most importantly, it was in your era that I reconnected with God in a way I’d never known was possible.  The void of false friendships was replaced by an unconditional love like none other.  And I knew where I was supposed to be, where we were supposed to be.  And I am filled with joy, happiness, thankfulness and overwhelming gratitude to see my little family growing together in our faith.  That’s a big deal, Twenties.

Yes, Twenties, it’s been a fun ride.  While it may be time to part ways, I’ll keep with me forever the memories we created together. 

You may want to let Thirties know that the bar has been set pretty high…

Ready for the next adventure,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Point.

I read a lot of mommy blogs.  Some are sarcastic and funny, some are inspirational, some are full of helpful advice.  But most are just real…full of the tales that photos posted to Facebook or Instagram will never tell.  Reading their experiences is a tremendous help for someone who is a new mom, because I now I know that I am not alone in my fears (allergies), worries (current ear infection/cold) or things I find funny (Miles peed on Evan – again).  It’s like being a part of the most awesome club ever in the history of time and space.

Today, I stumbled on a new (to me) blog.  I had linked there from something else; I can’t recall what, but it wasn’t to read what I ended up immersing myself in for the better part of an hour.  This mom wrote like so many of us, about life.  But her life was different.  They have a daughter who is four, but they have also experienced the loss of not one, not two, but three sons.  They lost their twin boys when they were just 18 weeks in utero.  They lost their third son just a few weeks after he was born, after finding a rare disease that prevented him from having a much needed heart transplant.  This is my unfairly brief summation of the cards they were dealt.

Reading her posts made me do The Ugly Cry.  For those who don’t know, The Ugly Cry is exactly what it sounds like.  That overwhelming, consuming, emotional cry that causes your face to twist and writhe, your breathing to become short and gasping, and your eyes to get so puffy and full of tears you couldn’t even read the address on your mailbox.  You.  Look.  Ugly.

And those of you who know me are also aware of my complete avoidance of all things that bring on The Ugly Cry.  I don’t do Lifetime or Hallmark (lame); I don’t read Nicholas Sparks (lamer) and I change the TV channel every time that ASPCA commercial with Sara McLaughlin singing in the background comes on (lamest, ever).  I can’t do it.  I’m not coldhearted; I just don’t want to cry.  The Ugly Cry is the reason we can’t watch things like Extreme Home Makeover (TWO HOURS OF UGLY CRY – NOTHANKYOU!)

So for me to sit there and read, at length, this family’s story, was difficult.  But I couldn’t stop.  Because, while difficult, I found her healing and faith inspirational.  I felt drawn to continue reading.  And I felt called to pray.  A lot. 

When I picked up Miles from daycare today, I hugged him tight. 

This morning, he had a congested cough, which led to me taking another trip to the pediatrician with him today.  And I’m not going to lie; I felt exhausted and exasperated, and not understanding why after ten days of antibiotics for an ear infection that had no cough, we woke up to a cough.  I felt sad for my baby, even though he smiled and played and ignored the cough completely, because I want him to be well and feel his best.  And I felt frustrated that we were dealt something else to handle, in less than a week.

Now?  Well, now I feel blessed that it’s just a cold.  That’s not to say it isn’t still something to struggle with; in life, you will find that while your situation may be better than others, it is still worse than some.  We all have things to deal with, and there is no diminishing what anyone is experiencing, because it cannot be compared to anyone else.  But, in that moment, I felt blessed.

There are times in life that call us to question, “why?”  Times where we struggle to find a reason, an explanation, a purpose…the point.

What’s the point of illness and struggle?  What’s the point of dealing with hardships?  What’s the point of being here, now, in this?

Here’s what I know about the whole point: there are actually two points.  Two reasons, two purposes, two explanations for what we’re here for:

1.      To love God.
2.      To love each other.

That’s it.  Of all the things we do on a daily basis, our entire purpose, being and existence (in my mind) comes down to those two very important points.

So when someone you know, or even that you don’t know, is going through some stuff…our calling is to be there for them.  To love them, comfort them, help them, pray for them.  We go through this stuff together.  God put us here, now, together, for a purpose. 

You will find love and peace in the arms of friends and family, through conversations with people who understand where you’re coming from, in prayer and meditation, and sometimes, just by reading words on a screen written by a stranger but connected to you in heart and spirit.  And while these things won’t always offer the explanation that human nature may cause you to search for, it will always lead you to the point: LOVE.

“The most important command is this…
Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this: love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 12:29-31

Be the hands and feet.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Mom, My Hero

Society will sometimes lead us to believe that upon reaching that magical AARP milestone age, we’re supposed to start winding down, relaxing, taking it easy.  And while that’s true of some people, others find that as a time in life to try new things, embark on exciting adventures, and maybe even see the world.

My mom is one of those “embark on exciting adventures” people.  It’s because of not only this new phase in her life, but her journey leading up to it, that my mom is my hero.  Not in a sappy, Hallmark move kind of way…well, sort of, but in a, “I’m tougher than nails and no one is going to stop me” kind of way.  Let me explain…

My mom was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa as a young girl.  For those who are unfamiliar (which could be many – this isn’t one of those diseases you hear about very often) this is a degenerative eye disease affecting the retina.  It affects only 1 in 4,000 Americans.  It is genetic, although as far as we know, no one else in our family has experienced it.

Retinitis Pigmentosa causes loss of night vision, loss of peripheral vision, loss of central vision and color blindness.  There is no treatment; there is no cure, and the disease can lead to eventual complete blindness.

In her 20s, she was declared legally blind.  In her early 30s, she voluntarily turned in her driver’s license as she felt unsure of herself driving from Pahokee to Belle Glade (about 10 miles). 

Despite this disease, my mom worked in accounting and bookkeeping her entire life.  In the 80s-2000s, while keeping the books for our family farm, she ran payroll for hundreds of employees on her computer using a DOS program for which she’d memorized the keystrokes to complete her task.  This was just one of many day-to-day tasks that some people in her position would have given up on…but she did not. 

My brother and I grew up, moved out, went to college (me) and joined the Army (him).  We got married, settled, and started our own adult lives.  My parents’ house was quiet; there were no more term papers to help with, no Saturday nights waiting up for one of the kids to get home, no big meals to prepare.  Yes, that “winding down” time had arrived.

My mom then became involved with Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches.  She began to learn about “accessible” technology – programs, devices and apps for the visually impaired.  She found that through the State of Florida, there is a wealth of technology available.

She started with audio books.  She moved on to a screen reader, to help enlarge her cookbooks so she could continue with one of her hobbies and passions.  She installed a computer program that allowed her home computer to “talk” to her.  She started texting and she joined Facebook months before I, her sighted daughter, did.  She was unstoppable.

She no longer wanted my dad to drive her to Lighthouse; she started taking the bus, wanting to increase her independence despite her disability.  She used her white cane frequently.  She took dance lessons, and performed in a dance competition.  She learned Braille.  She began taking classes in technology.  She began volunteering to assist in the technology classes.  

And today, my mom is an Access Technology Instructor at Lighthouse.  Yes, my mom, the girl who was declared legally blind her 20s and stopped driving in her 30s, became an educator in her 50s.  Because, really, who has time to slow down?

This woman gets on the bus several times a week, and heads to the coast.  She teaches in the classroom, and she teaches in homes.  There is now a waiting list for these classes, thanks to the awareness she has helped bring to the technology available.

Despite her busy schedule of teaching, co-chairing events, and volunteering for various organizations, my mom found new things to add her ever growing “to-do” list.  There was still so much to learn, to “see”, to become involved in, to do.  She became increasingly interested in Southeastern Guide Dog School, and so, a couple years ago, she began the process of applying.

This is no small feat.  It involves months of interviews, education and mobility training, to make sure you’re ready to get around with just your dog.  An example of mobility training: crossing all four intersections (eight lanes each) of Congress Avenue and 45th Street in West Palm Beach, alone, during morning rush hour.  This may sound easy, but for those who travel in rush hour traffic, have you noticed how many people who are turning right on a red light fail to slow down, yield, or even pay attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk?  When my mom told me this was one of her “big tests” for mobility training, I was nervous.  We prayed about it at home, at church, in small groups.  I now knew what all parents probably feel like when their sixteen year old drives to school alone for the first time.

Once you’ve passed mobility training, you begin meeting with trainers from Southeastern Guide Dog School who will assess you, to help pair you up with the perfect dog.  After that, the waiting game begins.  There is no attending school until a match has been found; this can take some time to happen.

I am beyond thrilled to say that tomorrow, just a two short months after completing her training, my mom will leave for Bradenton, where she will meet her dog for the very first time, and attend school.  She will be there until her graduation on October 31st.  Yes, my mom is going “off to college” at the young age of 55.

In terms of faith, there are many people who question why certain individuals are given struggles like Retinitis Pigmentosa.  My personal belief has always been that, through these times of difficulty, not only will we learn the power of our faith and the strength and love of our God, but that we will be given the opportunity to be Jesus to someone else.  And I can say, with certainty, that regardless of the challenges presented, my mom has used this to its full positive ability, and has absolutely brought love, joy, appreciation and determination to many.  She has been the hands and feet in more ways than I could mention.

The image of a hero is usually a grand one…someone with superhuman strength, fortitude, power, and an unwavering spirit.  That’s my mom.  No mountain too high; to river too deep; no storm too turbulent.  Immovable, unstoppable, unbreakable.

I could fill the pages endlessly with words telling you about the adventures we’ve been on as a family; the fun things we did growing up, the foundation she gave my brother and me for life, the wisdom she imparted on us and the respect, appreciation and determination we have gained through watching her.  But I will close with this, something my mom told me as a young girl when faced with decisions that weren’t always easy:

“Life is not a dress rehearsal…you only go through this once.”

Once.  Just one time to do all you can, be who you were destined to be, follow the path laid in front of you – regardless of how rocky it may be.  And it’s never too late to start. 

If, in my life, I can be half the mom she was to me, I know I’m doing it right.

Thank you, mom, for being you.  Happy Birthday.

Endless love and thanks and gratitude,

 Dancing Out of Darkness

 The whole fam-damily, kayaking River Bend in Loxahatchee.

Mom with Stevie Wonder at LAX.

If you’d like to read more about my mom, check out this article published in the Palm Beach Post earlier this year: How Miracle Devices are Helping the Blind.

Also, you can see photos from Dancing Out of Darkness, an event held by the Beyond Blind Institute, by clicking the link.

If you'd like to learn more about Retinitis Pigmentosa, check out RP International.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Round-Up

It’s poop again!
Man, it’s been one heck of a week at the Coke House.  Most of you know we’ve been battling Miles’ first illness (an ear infection) which means little sleep, food, rest, showering or sanity.  Last night, he went to bed around 9p.  Woke up at 10p.  Back to bed around midnight, and slept through until 5:30a, hallelujah!  Today, he’s even more back to normal, so I am full expecting and have requested an 8p-6a sleep.  For me.  Miles can do what he wants; I’ve left instructions with the cats on how to care for him should he wake before I do.

One thing I forgot to include in my sickies post was the constipation (not me, Miles – I’m more of a “nervous pooper” and I don’t care if that’s TMI).  When kiddos get sick, their guts go haywire…I think you’ll either end up in a too much or a not enough situation when it comes to poop.  And we were on the not enough end (literally). 

Wednesday, he pooped.  It was glorious.  I mean, it was gross, but it was awesome.  I could at least worry less about whether the kid would ever poop again.

Parents, why do you not tell future or soon-to-be parents about the joys/concerns of diaper contents?  I suppose those moments end up in the eventual blur that is ages 0-5, right?

Oh, Billy...

Why do I never get anything done?
People, life is so busy.  I mean, I thought it was busy before we had Miles, but now I realize I was just spending my Saturday watching the time-suck that is The Cosby Show and doing not much of anything else.  Now?  There are days I walk out of the house wearing slippers because, in my extreme haste, I forgot to change back into my shoes for work.  It takes two hands for me to count the number of times I’ve forgotten to put on deodorant.  I come home during my lunch hour solely to dust, mop or do laundry, because I just can’t find time to do ALL OF THE THINGS during the week/weekend.  Mostly because I want to hang with Miles, but still…he does nap.

The thing about his napping…it’s unpredictable at home on the weekends.  I mean, if we take a nap together, you can count on a solid two hours.  Perfect for me to catch some shuteye, or read, or just lay there and watch 17 episodes of Roseanne.  If I put him in his crib?  Could be 30 minutes, could be three hours.  There’s no telling.  That makes someone as OCD as I am totally bonkers when you’re trying to do things.

During maternity leave, I could maximize nap time like nobody’s business.  As a newborn, babies are (at least mine) pretty predictable in their napping schedules.  Now that I’m back to working full time, and naps are as long (or short) as Miles sees fit, I go into complete panic trying to decide which of the things I want to do.

Mop?  Fold laundry?  Organize something I meant to organize three years ago?  Bake a cheesecake?  WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME?

So, I usually end up sitting here, eating handfuls of cereal, reading celebrity gossip and blogging.

Like right now…it’s 5:15pm, and Miles is sleeping in his carseat (inside, duh) because he fell asleep on the way home.  So instead of starting dinner or making the bed, I’m writing about why we’ll probably just have Thai take-out and who cares because tomorrow is sheet/towel/blanket laundry day, anyway.

Lunch is on the house…
Today, I went to lunch with one of my GFs/co-workers.  It was a glorious Friday lunch, because the producers we work with were both out of the office on vacation.  For those unfamiliar with the world of insurance, producers (the guys on vacay) are outside sales, and the account execs (us on our most productive Friday ever) are inside sales, working with a producer.  So when the cat’s away…the mice go an undisclosed location for a fun lunch.

We’re blabbing and stuffing our faces with chips and salsa, when my friend gets a semi-concerned look on her face.  She says something along the lines of, “I don’t want you to freak out, but…blah blah blah.” 

PEOPLE: If you start a sentence with, “I don’t want you to _______, but…” do you know what happens?  Yeah, whatever you used to fill in the blank.  So if you didn’t want me to panic, freak out, call the cops, or eat that last cookie, well you’re SOL.  I didn’t even hear what the filled in blank was because I was already fuh-reaking-out.

What was the blank?  A ROACH.  A German roach, to be more specific.  A teeny, tiny, scampering, intruding, creepy German roach.  Walking (crawling?) in loop-de-loops on the wall of the restaurant.  On my side of the table.  We both sat there, staring at our lunch guest.

First, we thought he’d loop through the opening in the wall to the other side of the restaurant.  He almost did, twice, but no…the thought of crawling on our utensils, in our purses, up our legs, probably in my hair, was far more intriguing.

He wiggled down the wall, towards our table.  He veered to my side.  He centimetered his way closer and closer.  This roach had an agenda. 

I get it…I’m nice, funny, clever, and (now that Miles is feeling better) showering on a regular basis, so I smell pretty good.  Yes, practically irresistible.

I thought about smushing him, but knew that he probably had some super powered roach propeller wings that he would use to fly at my head, land in my hair, and forever become tangled.  Or worse – he’d send his legion of roach buddies after me.  Oh yes, they were probably waiting in the car at that very moment. 

Home Sweet Home

So I did what any rational patron would do when a germ covered, apocalypse surviving, asexual pest starts circling you…I sat there in a state of panic.  And did nothing.

My friend got up, relayed our concern (read: ohmygoshpanicattack) to a waiter.  Three waiters came to our rescue…and the best part?  Our meal was comped.

This makes me want to make friends with little German roaches, so I can carry them in my pocket and get free lunches and dinners.  Also, always order the steak.

Weekend Love and Rainbows,

Thursday, October 3, 2013

When Your Child is Sick for the FIRST Time...

Monday afternoon, 4:30pm.  My cell phone rings.  I glance down to see who’s calling, and my stomach freefalls – DAYCARE.  Yes, that call that all working parents dread with every fiber of their being.  Their child’s daycare, school, nanny, caregiver, calling to tell you something that is important enough to relay now, and not when you pick your kiddo up.

Daycare: Hi Kristin, just wanted to let you know that Miles is running a fever of 102.2.


Me: (confused that there wasn’t more information in this first sentence) Is he very sick?  Is he vomiting?  Is he awake?  Should I come pick him up right now?

Daycare: Oh no, he’ll be fine.  We know you’ll be here in just a little while.


Me: Okay, thank you.

Caregivers: I understand you don’t want us to totallyohmygoshfreakout when our kiddos are feeling under the weather, but if you could refrain from the Mary Poppins schtick when you call, that would be cool.  Because Miles has never had a fever before, let alone been sick, so you may as well be telling me that he was kidnapped.  It emits the same emotional reaction from me.

I skipped out early from work, and went to pick up my sweet little schmooglie.  His teacher tells me he’s in one of the swings in the back, in a “quiet and peaceful” area of the infant room.  They have a blanket draped over the swing.  I lift the blanket, and my eyes behold the most pitiful, sad, frowny faced little baby in the world.  No, there’s a mistake…this isn’t my son.  Do you know my son?  The one who never stops smiling, and wants to playfully grab your nose at every opportunity?  The one who kicks his feet in a fit of joy when you snort at him?  This isn’t my baby; this isn’t Miles.

But it is.  And it’s horrifically depressing.

We load up and head home.  He drifts in and out of sleep.  We get home, and I take his temp.  The thermometer reads 97.3.  STUPID THERMOMETER.

Here’s the deal…I thought his head felt warm Monday morning.  And I chalked it up to teething.  I took his temp, and it read 97.3.  So, off to school we went.  I had also taken his temp Sunday night, thinking the same thing.  And yes, it read 97.3 then as well.  And I know it’s not 97.3.

Digression into bad mom moment: The thermometer read 97.3 because I didn’t know how to use it.  After a half dozen readings and my total freak out of “how am I going to take care of him if the thermometer won’t help me?!” my husband points out that I am pushing the wrong button.  Look, we all do stupid stuff like this as first time (or even fifth time) parents.  It happens.  But when you’re in the thick of what you think is Yellow Fever, you feel not only like a complete and total moron, but a moron with an apparent vendetta against your own offspring because you CAN’T EVEN USE A THERMOMETER PROPERLY. 

We debated between taking him to his pediatrician in the morning, or taking him to Urgent Care that night.  He had a faint rash on his arms and legs.  Against my better judgment, I went to WebMD for a third opinion and became certain that he had some rare disease transmitted by bites from purple dragonflies that live in New Zealand and migrate to Florida once every seven years to choose a chubby little innocent victim to attack (Miles).  Urgent Care, it is.

Ugh, Urgent Care.  You’re like the ER, only with less blood spilling out of tree trimming related injuries.  I’m imagining swarms of invisible germs floating around the air, crawling all over your benches and chairs, and covering every form you have me sign.  But when faced with the option of waiting at least 15(!) hours to see your pediatrician, you suck it up and break out the Purell.

After a 20 minute wait, we were seen by a super friendly nurse that Miles really seemed to like.  Side note: at this point, he was smiling and laughing through his 102 degree fever.  That gave us a little peace.  The physician arrives, tells us it’s probably strep (!) and writes a prescription for Amoxicillin.  We start antibiotics that night.

Meds for an infant...that’s a joke all on its own.  First, your pharmaceutical companies are going to take something that was probably clear or white, and dye it bubblegum pink, or my favorite, grenadine red.  This is unnecessary.  My kid doesn’t care what color it is, or really what it tastes like.  His primary concern is where I’m about to stick that stupid little syringe.

Giving medicine to an infant is like giving medicine to your cat.  You have to hold his head, hope he opens his mouth long enough for you to get .5ml in (only 4.5ml to go!)  He’s going to flail and shake his head, he’s going to clamp his mouth shut and purse his lips (smart kid) and he’s going to end up with Tylenol on top of his head, which I won’t notice for another hour and instantly think he must have some horrible wound somewhere on his precious body because this very red, very sticky stuff must surely be blood!  Oh wait, why does it smell like cherries?

At least he can’t scratch or bite me.  Yet.

We head to his pediatrician for a follow-up appointment.  We’re told it’s not strep (thank goodness) and that it’s “just” an ear infection.  Okay, that I can handle.  I’m a little less WebMD paranoid now with this diagnosis.

Feeding an infant while he has an ear infection…also a joke.  His ear hurts; he doesn’t want to eat, his appetite is diminished.  We’re getting 3-4oz. in every few hours.  Not as much as we’d like, but it’s something.  He gets upset because he’s hungry.  He gets upset because I try to feed him.  He gets upset with being upset.  I cannot convince this kid that his bottle will be delicious and make his tummy happy and hey, at least it’s not pink!

Sleeping…nonexistent.  Our lives revolved in 2-3 hour increments of nap, medicine, bottle, bath.  Evan spent the better part of the first 24 hours with Miles sleeping on his chest in the recliner.  And if it was 3:15am, you can bet Miles was up and awake, staring at you like one of those creepy rave kids, wanting to know where the party was.  But as soon as he hit Evan’s chest, it was lights out.

Confession: I stayed home with Miles on Wednesday.  He was feeling better, but not 100%.  He slept on my chest most of the day.  I flopped in that recliner, watched a marathon of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and I enjoyed snuggling with Miles.  Because that’s something he hasn’t done since he was about three weeks old.  He’s not one of those “curl up on your chest and nap” babies.  When it’s bedtime, he wants you to rock him or put him in his crib, and that’s it.  According to my husband, “He thinks he’s grown – no more baby stuff.”  So we snuggled like we did many months ago, and I loved it.

His fever finally broke on Wednesday morning, and today, he went back to daycare, smiling and bopping his teacher in the face.  We’re still up 2-3 times a night, but it’s getting better.  I’ve had more coffee than I care to admit.  Yesterday, I took a shower for the first time since Monday morning.  We’ve lost track of all time; days run together in a big blur, because our only focus is Miles.  And those last three pre-pregnancy pounds?  Gone, and then some.  You have no room for food when your child is sick.

But I can tell you that the first time that thermometer (which I know how to use and read now, thankyouverymuch) reads 97.9, you will cry tears of joy and kiss your sweet baby all over his chubby cheeks and fuzzy head.  When he smiles a genuine, hey mom I feel better smile, you’ll melt into a pile of goo.  You will laugh when giving him antibiotics now, because even though he’s fighting it and smearing pink goo everywhere, they’re working.  You will forget about every minute of lost sleep, exhaustion, worry, and hunger, because it was worth it to care for the child who is really your heart, outside of your body.  And you will thank God in Heaven, your lucky stars, the check-out gal at Walgreens and your postman that he’s getting better. 

My mom said we should get a rectal thermometer, because you can’t screw that up.  My gut tells me I could probably screw that up, too…but more than likely by thinking it was my thermometer and not Miles’ butt thermometer.  Oy.

Only 7 days of antibiotics to go,