Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sick Days

Ainsley is rarely sick.  Maybe once a year she gets a cold bad enough to run a fever.  But really, she's fairly healthy.  I attribute it to full time daycare since 3 months of age.  Because she wasn't always this way.  She was my ear-infection-every-6-weeks kid.  If it wasn't an ear infection it was a virus or strep throat.  She was sick a lot, which made me sick a lot.

However, by about age 3.5 she stopped getting sick.  Sure she has a cough or runny/stuffy nose here and there, but really down and out more.  Also, she's never had any kind of stomach bug.  The child has never thrown up.

This school year, the only days she has missed have been days we pulled her out of school for something...until February.

February brought the flu to our house and a nasty, high fever virus to both the kids.  So three weeks ago, Ainsley was sent home from school with a 102 fever.  She then missed the next two days  The following week we kept her home because of another high fever.  That whole time she would run a fever here and there, but that was it.  In between fevers she was her normal happy self.

Fast forward to this week.

Tuesday the school called at 10 AM, Ainsley was complaining of a sore throat, but no fever.  I was kind of caught off guard.  No fever?  Then why are you calling me?

But since I'm still kind of new at this public school thing, I left work and picked her up.  This child was not sick.  No fever, no congestion, nothing.  She said she "had a frog in her throat."  She flipped out when I told her she couldn't play with the neighbor girl after school.  "But I'm not sick!!!" she insisted.  Which I knew, but no way was I encouraging this behavior.

Yesterday, she cried getting on the bus.  Said she was afraid of poisonous snakes.  The night before she had grilled me about blood-sucking bugs.  Clif forced her on the bus and the day was uneventful, as far as I know.  Last night I asked her about it.  Asked her if everything was okay at school.  Asked her if she was getting along with all of her friends.  Her answer "I had a great day mommy," as she bounced into the minivan.

Today, I'm working away at my office when the phone rings...Virginia number I don't know.  I answer.  It's the school.  Ainsley's in the clinic.  She told her teacher she felt like she was going to throw up.  Again, the girl has NEVER thrown up.

"Is she running a fever?" I ask.
"Not really, 98.9 (side note: NOT A FEVER NURSE!!!)" the nurse responds.
"Did she throw up?" I ask
"No, but she's asking to go home," says nurse.
"Can you please explain to me your criteria for sending a child home?  I thought they had to be running a fever."
"Well, yes, they need to have a fever over 100 degrees, but we also send them home if they're not feeling well.  And she says she's not feeling well," she explains.

Then I got all blubbery.  I don't know how to explain it.  I'm not good when my parenting is questioned.  I was asking if it was really necessary that I come get her and even though it wasn't, I was being made to feel like an ass hole for, I don't know...not caring that my kid was sick.  Which is not the case, but that's the way I felt.  Most of that, probably my own issue, but I have no idea why a school nurse is calling me when a child has ZERO symptoms.

If Ainsley gets embarrassed or upset she tells me she doesn't feel well.  A kid saying "I don't feel well, I want to go home" is not reason to send them home.

So here I am, at home again with her and guess what...she's not sick!  I am forcing her to stay on the couch all day.  She's pretty pissed about it.

I tried talking to her, asking her why she kept wanting to come home and her only answer is that she was sick, but now she's not.

I'm trying to make her understand the difference between actually being sick and just feeling a little icky.  But really, how do I make a 5 year old understand that?  I don't want her suffering through school if she is sick, but again...she rarely, RARELY gets sick.  And she's already been sick this month.  I can't see her getting another full blown illness this close to the last one.

So bottom line, I kind of feel like something else is going on, but I've asked every question I can think of and nothing.  No one hurt her feelings, everyone wants to play with her, no one yelled at her, she loves school.  So why is she asking to come home every day?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bedtime Musings

His thinning figure curves around my growing abdomen.  He squirms and shuffles on my shrinking lap as he tries to doze off to sleep.  He settles for a few moments and then moves again, trying to find a way to fit his almost 3 year old self into the disappearing corners of my body. 

I know he won't fall asleep like this.  I know he needs the shrinking space of his crib.  But the bunk bed will be here Friday and I know my opportunities to rock him are disappearing.

I'm not sad, but I do realize the weight of this moment.  In a few months he will no longer be the baby.  He will become the middle child, a role he was born to play.  He has always been my middle child, from the moment he emerged from me kicking and screaming.  Always demanding attention, always emotional, always stubborn and strong willed.

His head is on my shoulder now.  His long body bent at the knees.  His belly on mine.  I can feel the baby moving.  I wonder if he can feel his little brother responding to his touch.  I wonder how they'll be together.  I wonder how Freddie will react to a new baby taking away some of his attention.  I wonder how three will fit together. 

He squirms again and I finally push myself out of the chair and hoist his 34 pounds into the crib.  On our wall hangs a picture of him at 3 months old.  Sometimes I can't believe we've gotten here, to almost 3.  From a swaddled little nut to the length of the crib.  It doesn't seem like three years, but in ways it seems so much longer.  Like he was always here, always a part of me.  I don't remember myself without him.

I've always had trouble picturing the future.  Really putting myself there, in that time, is hard.  When I was pregnant with Ainsley I worried that I didn't really want to be a mom, because I just couldn't picture myself as one.  And when I was pregnant with Freddie, I was terrified of having a boy because I could only imagine mothering a girl.  Now, again, it's difficult to imagine having three children.  When I try, I only see Freddie's face and hear Ainsley's babbles.  I wonder how this one could be different, it doesn't seem possible.

He asks that I rub his belly, so I sit on the floor and oblige.  His eyes flutter closed, but just as quickly he is awake and asking me questions.  I can't remember the questions.  I'm too tired to answer in anything more then "emm-hmm" or "okay."  He never goes to sleep well for me.  It takes Clif roughly 20 minutes to accomplish this.  With me, it's an hour.

I know I'll give up soon.  I know I'll ask Clif to come take care of it, but there will be crying and heartbreak.  So instead I lift him out of the crib and carry him to my room.

I lie next to him in the dark, his breath becoming more rhythmic as sleep comes.  I close my eyes and I think about how we could probably use a bigger bed.  The 4 of us don't fit comfortably, 5 definitely will not.  Then darkness until I'm dreaming of a huge floating bed that we all jump on.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Flu

We get flu shots every year.  Well, the kids and I get flu shots every year.  I know I made Clif get one when Ainsley was first born, since she was too young to have one.  And I think he got one last year, or maybe it was the year before.

But the rest of us, do not miss a flu shot...except for this year.

I can blame it on lots of things...

-This is the first year in a long time that we have not been to the pediatrician all year.  It's a blessing, means my kids have not warranted a trip to the doctor.  They've been  healthy.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I missed work because of a sick child.  We've been for well visits, but my kids are old enough to be on the annual plan, and neither one of their birthdays fall during flu season.  So there was no reminder.

-The day they gave them at work I was out.

-I'm pregnant and this fall, was too tired and too brain dead to think about it.

...but really, I just blanked.

So we didn't get our flu shots, and it really didn't even cross my mind until early January.  I called 4 pediatricians in the area...all out.  I called CVS and stopped by the Target pharmacy...they don't give them to kids, even with a script.

I talked to my doctor at my last appointment, on Wednesday.  "The height of the season is over, but you might want to still get one.  Up to you."

Wednesday night Clif came home with a scratchy throat.

Thursday afternoon he left work early with a cough and headache.

Friday he stayed home with a fever.  Doctor confirmed...flu.

So I spent the weekend trying to keep the kids and myself away from him.  Even though he's been contagious for days.

This morning Ainsley had the shivers and said she didn't feel well.  No fever, but I'm pretty sure I see where this is headed.

We sent her to school.  I'm not sure it was the right decision.  But it will give me a chance to gather things up at work and prepare to telecommute for a few days if necessary. 

These things always remind me how hard it is to be a parent.  Making decisions based on instinct and answers from a little person.  I can't keep her home every time she doesn't feel like going to school.  Is this more?  Is this different?  Maybe.  Probably.  But I don't know really. 

Five and a half years in and I'm still just learning as I go.
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