Sniffle.

The Who’s a snot factory. Poor thing. It’s his classic allergy symptom, but he’s on the same allergy meds he’s been on for a while that had been working. I suppose it could be a cold, but he has no fever, no lethargy, and his appetite’s been just fine. He’s been ever so slightly more whiny and disagreeable these last two days, but other than that, no signs of sickness. I’m still pumping him with Claritin and Nasonex every night, per doctor’s orders and hoping that it’s what’s helping him sleep through, which he is, thankfully, doing. (I don’t know how, though. Seriously. When I am that stuffy, I am up every hour.)

Monday, I am taking him to be allergy tested. He doesn’t even know what’s coming. I remember getting allergy tested. It blew. Our pediatrician told us that this doctor is really gentle and his test really doesn’t hurt, but I know that it can’t be completely painless. Still, it has to be done. He’s clearly got something going on that we’re not hitting with these basic meds. (And this is just him at home. Sometimes when we stay other places, his eyes swell up like Rocky and he actually rubs them raw. Literally. Last time we were out of town, he rubbed his eyes so much that he created a little scabby wound.)

The allergist told us that we can’t give him any antihistamines for 72 hours before his appointment, which means tomorrow night is his last dose of meds until Monday morning. I really hope the stuffiness has cleared up by then, otherwise the weekend’s gonna be hell on all of us.

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

Yesterday, I had a migraine.
I practically skipped into Panera this morning, so delighted was I that my 34-hour migraine was finally gone. The whole morning, actually, was just joyful. I didn’t mind getting out of bed, letting him help make the cocoa, packing his lunch. We didn’t even have to do battle over getting dressed (granted, today is Pajama Day at school, so it was just a matter of swapping out one flannel outfit for another) or getting shoes on. Instead of an ultimatum or threat, I offered a hug when he was distraught over having to transition from watching Peppa Pig to getting into the car. Being headache-free is wildly underrated. I take it for granted 29 days of the month. But not today. (And for those concerned, mother-types: I am looking into alternative treatments.)

Today is Pajama Day.
So. Yeah. It’s Pajama Day at The Who’s school. This is something I used to witness from afar last year when he was in the Toddler room, but now that he’s in the Preschool room, he gets to take part. If there is one thing my Who loves, it’s wearing jammies. He often asks to wear jammies for his nap and would really prefer to wear them all day, every day. This school “holiday” was made for him. (Add to the fact that they are getting a visit from a firefighter at school and the whole day is damn near perfect.)

Tomorrow we have swimming.
The Who started swimming lessons when he was ten months old. I love the Y for this. Their parent/kid swimming classes were just the thing to get The Who used to the water so that when we joined the neighborhood pool this past summer, he was a pro. We took lessons almost straight through, session after session, until June and then we took a break. Now we’re back. It’s the last class (I think) before The Who graduates to lessons without a parent in the big, cold pool. (Now, we’re still in the “therapy” pool, which is warm like bath water.) I can’t decide if I am looking forward to that graduation or not. On the one hand, how delightful will it be to not have to suit up, shower, and get dry before tending to the wet kid? But on the other hand, my baaaaaaabbbbyyyyyyy! The Who is our one and only and so I’m never comforted by the thought of getting to do the baby stuff with the next kid coming down the pike. And I’m finding that this age — almost three — is coming with a lot of endings and transitions. Diapers, naps, crib, mama-and-me swimming class — it all ends around this time. I get it. I’m prepared for it. And in a way, I’ve been waiting for it. But, y’know. *sigh*

Inside.

Sick days are no good, in general. I hate staying inside and missing adventures. The days take forever from wake-up to bedtime and yesterday was no exception.

Last week, when I heard it was going to be in the scorching 90s on Sunday and I knew m* would be out of town for work, I planned to spend the whole day at the pool, nap and all. My first clue that this wasn’t going to work out should have been when The Who complained of mouth pain when I picked him up from daycare on Friday. It wasn’t. When he spent all afternoon on Saturday whining and miserable at a family picnic, even turning down a chocolate chip cookie, this should have been my next clue. Nope. And I even obliviously believed the plan was still a go on Sunday morning, despite his lethargy.

Lemme just take his temp to be sure.

One-oh-one under the arm. Super. Needless to say, we stayed in. He laid his hot body on me and napped. We watched a lot of Barney. He drank some juice. He whined and moaned. I dosed him up. Sometime around 2pm, he rallied, the Tylenol finally kicking in, and we played for a while before he pooped out again and just wanted to hang out on the couch.

We played with Play-Doh during the 2-hour rally. This is truly an act of love; I can't stand Play-Doh. Can't they make it not smelly and crumbly?

Yes, I know Barney doesn't really resemble Al Jolson in full blackface, but you try representing a big toothy smile with Play-Doh on command. Don't hate.

Today was another “inside” day, despite his waking fever-free (and staying so all day — hooray!) I honestly don’t know how I made it, but i do know that i squinted into the sun this afternoon when we ventured out for milk, as though i had been living in a cave.

Yeah, kinda.

Firsts.

With an only (or an oldest) child, the first few years are a barrage of “firsts”, which is both exciting and exhausting at the same time. First solid food? Fun. First immunizations? Stressful. First fever? Horrifying.

Last night marked the beginning of The Who’s first stomach bug (and I am really hoping that tonight marks the end of it.) But, despite how much experience I’ve had caring for children, some things still catch me off-guard. Puking is one of them. It’s not that I’m particularly grossed out by it or that I am afraid it’s a symptom of something worse, but it just sort of — halts me. Yesterday, when The Who chucked it up all over m* as she lifted him from his crib, I walked down the hall, back to his bedroom, back down the hall, and back down to his bedroom before saying, meekly, “I don’t know what to do.” M* told me to get some towels and a bucket and then I was able to snap back into action as the competent adult that I am.

And then when it came time to decide whether to send him to daycare this morning or not, I felt a similar sense of complete befuddlement. Instinct, instinct, I reminded myself. Trust your instinct. And so I looked at him and he was happily drinking his cocoa and playing and chatting and I thought — well, ok. Clearly he’s ok. But then — he wasn’t and so, in the end, we kept him home. (And I’m keeping him home tomorrow, too, for the record because although it seems the gastro distress is over, he was still a warm, droopy rag at bedtime tonight.)

Sometimes this parenting thing feels like a piece of cake. Most of the time, actually. Sure, it’s exhausting and frustrating, but it doesn’t feel actually hard for the most part. We make it through most days without much actual strife. But some of these firsts really throw me for a loop.

Limping Around Like He Owns the Joint.

Last week — Wednesday, I think — The Who stubbed his toe. Or his foot. Or maybe banged his knee. I’m not sure, actually, because he was on the other side of the bed and I could only see him from the waist up when some loud cracking noise happened and then he went down into a crumpled heap of sadness. When he recovered, we wiggled all his toes and pushed around his whole foot and ankle to see if anything was exceptionally painful, but nothing was and so we carried on with the bedtime routine that we were in the middle of. (For the record, the bulk of his injuries happen right near bedtime. Despite knowing that he is accident-prone when he is tired, we can’t seem to keep him out of harm’s way entirely. Witness: the big purple lump on his eyebrow from a one-step tumble last night.)

Getting out of his bed Thursday morning, he complained of his toe hurting him when he walked, but again, we didn’t see anything and nothing hurt to touch and he seemed recovered within an hour, but then Friday morning, I noticed him sort of favoring his right foot. More toe-wiggling and careful watching, but again within an hour, he seemed back to normal. Saturday and Sunday and even Monday seemed fine and I mostly forgot about it until this morning, when he was clearly limping. He was still joyfully running around, but he was definitely guarding his right foot (toes?) I sent him on many little errands (“Can you put this in the diaper pail?”) so I could observe him walking many steps and decided that a quick visit to the pediatrician was in order.

Ha! Gotcha! There is no such thing as a “quick” visit to our pediatrician.

Fortunately, I have the World’s Most Cooperative ToddlerTM (especially when I am well-prepared with snacks, toys, and BlackBerry apps) and although we spent the better part of 4 hours in that building, the closest we came to any kind of meltdown was when I threw away some of his Cheerios that had fallen on the floor. (I just pretended to take them out of the trash and pretended to put them back in his cup. Problem solved.)

The Who is a charmer, man. He had everyone in that office chatting and smiling as he limped around like he owned the joint.

30.25 lbs.

Giggling and running into the front office, even softening Miss Lucille, the often-grumpy receptionist. He climbed on and off the scale, ducked into all the examination rooms, chattering at the crying babies, and told anyone who would listen (med students, residents, nurses, other parents) about the firetruck we saw on the way to the office, its great hood hydraulically lifting for some kind of maintenance.

The doc ordered an x-ray just to be sure, although we all doubted anything was really broken. (How could he be so joyous with a broken bone? Of course, we’ve all seen stranger things, which is why I was there in the first place.) So, after a pit-stop for lunch, we made our way down to the bowels of the hospital in search of Outpatient Radiology.

We walked. And waited. And registered. And walked. And waited some more.

Lucky us -- Barney was on in the x-ray waiting room!

Finally, got the pictures taken. I wore a stunning turquoise lead apron for my role as “foot holder” and The Who held a red lead blanket over his lap as he skeptically eyed the nurse taping his toes to the film.

And there you have it: Baby’s First X-Ray. We’ll have to wait and see what the results are, but in the meantime, the patient is resting comfortably, a belly full of Cheerios and a morning full of adventure.

Two Sticks, No Blood.

We attempted The Who’s 12-month lead blood test today. I’ve been putting it off for months — in part because it just never seemed like the right time, but also, I’m sure, because I knew it would not be pleasant. And it wasn’t.

Although I cried when The Who got his first vaccinations at 2 months old, that was the exception, not the rule. I have not shed a tear at a vax appointment since. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I never like to see The Who in pain, but I have very good boundaries around what needs to happen for his health and well-being and I don’t feel guilty when I believe the pain he is feeling is in his best interests. I feel worse, frankly, thinking about how happy and carefree he is in the waiting room when he doesn’t know what’s coming. But when the time comes to actually hold his arms down, I put my face very close to his, whisper stories into his ears and give him kisses when it’s done. His are the only tears and they don’t last long.

But today was next to unbearable. For him, sure, but he recovered within moments. Smiling and waving bye-bye to the tech with big, fat tears still gleaming on his cheeks. Meanwhile, hours later, I still feel a pit in my stomach.

Before, he wandered around the waiting room, making friends with “Miss Donna”, the tech, and the big leather chairs. He happily walked back to the room. He sat on my lap, played with the stickers and the rubber gloves. He waited patiently when Donna put the tourniquet on his arm (“It’s like a bracelet!”) but then — then — she stuck him. And he screamed. And she poked around, looking for the blood and he kept screaming. And he pulled back on his arm, which apparently makes the vein collapse and I kept watching for the blood to flow through the tubing — I kept waiting for the payoff for his suffering and…nothing.

Nothing.

She pulled the needle out and I kissed his sweaty head and gave him his binky and kissed him again and tried not to cry myself. And then she did it again in the other arm with the same results and the poor child screamed again. I said, “just take it out. We’ll try another day,” because I seriously couldn’t bear to watch her digging around in his veins anymore. “All done, baby,” I told him and, through his tears, he repeated, “all done” and I felt like such an asshole. For holding him on my lap and making it all seem like it would be fun and then it wasn’t. It so wasn’t. It was horrible for him and for me. And the kicker? We didn’t even get the blood. We’re gonna have to do this all again. Ugh.