Strep, Love and Vomit

I am experiencing the phase in life that many parents of young children know all too well.  My children are ALWAYS sick.   Two weeks ago the entire family enjoyed a good old fashioned case of strep throat courtesy my four year old.  This week it was pink eye.  In between was perhaps the worst of all.

I went downstairs to check on my babies and could smell the foul aroma wafting out of their room, through the hallway and into the playroom (it seriously filled like 2000 square feet of space).  Any physician worth their salt can instantly identify that smell.  It was rotavirus.

I carefully investigated to determine who the culprit might be.  It was Baby Bird, the two-year old.  After lifting her unconscious body, it became immediately apparent that she had soiled her entire backside and the bed.  I plucked her out of bed and placed her on a towel in the bathroom.  In an emergency, the best thing to do is to call for help, so I leaned out into the hallway to yell for my husband.

Big Mistake.  Huge.

By the time I lean back in, Baby Bird has woken up and is spewing forth like a tiny Linda Blair.  It just keeps coming. Did you know that a twenty-four pound baby can hold up to a gallon of vomit?   Me neither.   It was on the floor, walls, my clothes, her clothes, in our hair, everywhere.   We put her in the bath and I set about cleaning up the puke when suddenly my husband, who is a sympathetic puker by the way, starts yelling for me as she starts puking in the tub and there is just so much puke.  Did I mention puke?

After a bazillion towels, a gallon of bleach, some plastic bags, and several days of reflection, I have come to one very important conclusion: Thank the Good Lord for Puke.

I have so many reasons to thank God in this situation.

  1. I have a wonderful husband who was willing to help me with my sick child.  Many women are in this parenting thing all alone.
  2. I had an almost endless supply of towels to clean up after my child and a totally endless supply of clean, fresh water.   I just think about some poor woman living with her toddler in a grass hut somewhere.  I am sure they have rotavirus in grasshutistan.  This poor lady doesn’t have an endless supply of clean fresh linens and clean fresh water to take care of their child.  Heck, they do not have enough clean fresh water for their child to drink probably.  Look at me with all my clean fresh water and towels.
  3. Being a doctor,  I had a readily available supply of nausea medication to medicate my child with.   I didn’t have to make the choice to blow this month’s budget in order to take care of my sick child.
  4. I have wonderful people willing to help me with my sick child while I work that I can implicitly trust with her care.  Did you see where I said people?  As in several.  As in several people that I can trust with my sick child.   Some people have NO support like this in their life.

So, yeah, I think I am pretty lucky with this stomach virus thing.  It could be a lot worse and is for many.  Thank you Lord again for your goodness in showing me how great I have it. wp-1486785740138.jpg

 

Defiance

20160705_193538

Recently it was one of those beautiful late days of summer where it is still warm and sunny enough to swim and I took the girls to the pool to play date with their best buds.   After a lengthy swim, my two-year old wanted a snack and demanded I take her puddle-jumper off to enjoy her goldfish crackers.  After a lengthy stay in the sun, Baby Bird decided she wanted to get back in the pool.

“Ok, but you have to put your puddle-jumper back on,” I explained.

“NO! I do it!” she loudly replied.

“No, Baby Bird, you have to put in on, you don’t know how to swim,” I patiently intimated.

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!  I DOOOOOO IT!” she wailed.

This is when I thought to myself that this may be an excellent learning opportunity for Baby Bird.  Natural consequences friend, natural consequences.

I stood back and said, “By all means sweetheart, YOU do it.”

Confidently, Baby Bird approached the pool stairs.   She strutted her stuff down, one, two, three stairs, and then confidently strutted herself straight under the water and sunk like a rock.

I was standing right nearby and snatched her up and out of the pool in seconds asking, “Do you see now why you need your puddle-jumper?”

“Uh-huh,” she sputtered.

Since then, I have thought about my relationship with God.  I wonder how often I am standing there like a toddler with my fists balled up screaming, “I DO IT!”  I wonder how often he stands by and lets me suffer the natural consequences of my actions.   I am so grateful he is always standing by to pick me back up when I sink to the bottom.

A Joyful Moment

IMG_20141018_111639_457

There are wonderful, priceless times in our lives. These are times that we are carefree and joyous; times were the bad things in life don’t seem so large. When I was young, it was easy to overlook these times and not recognize what a blessing they were.   As I get older, when I have one of these transient life-moments of delight interspersed between the moments of pain, it is easier to distinguish it as the glimpse into heaven that it is meant to be.

When I was in medical school, we lived in the University Cabana Apartments, affectionately known as Cabanaland.   This was not some pre-professional school luxury condo.   This was a section eight apartment complex in Memphis.   Let me say that again so it can sink in. It was a section eight apartment in Memphis.   Also, this complex had eight foot fences with razor wire around the top, and an ACTUAL moat around it.   Okay, so maybe it wasn’t an actual moat as much as it was a giant culvert going around the whole property to drain overflow sewage from the city, but it did make me feel marginally safer from outside marauders. There was also a twenty-four hour armed security guard at the gate.

One sunny afternoon, Hipster Doctor found a bag of crack and money on our adjacent front porch.   She, being the good Samaritan that she is, turned this over to the security guard (who incidentally was later fired for being found high in one of the public bathrooms on the property. I think there is a possible connection here, but I cannot be sure.)   I think I would have flushed the crack and kept the money (considering my husband and I were living on about $9500 annually).   One of the neighbors (a self-professed cocaine aficionado) came by all the time to borrow our phone (this was the day of land lines).

I miss lovely summer evenings at the Cabanas when a string of tricked out Caddys, Buicks and Cutlasses would come pick up a parade of scantily-clad, deftly made-up young women for their evening employment.

So you may ask, “What was so great about being poor in a section eight housing unit in Memphis filled with crime, drugs and hookers?”   This is a valid question.   No argument, but let me tell you what else the Cabanas featured.   Hubby’s sister, Aunt Panda, my brother, Dr. Pepper, Wild Pharmacist, Italian Stallion, Tim The Overly Italian Optometrist, The Librarian, Art Student, Hipster Doctor, Insane Newscaster (story to follow at eleven), and Evil Genious all lived at the Cabanas.

Every single one of my friends at the time lived in Cabanaland.   There was always someone to go to dinner, or a movie, or for a walk at any time.   There was constant entertainment at a moment’s notice. Impromptu parties abounded, and someone always had a video game system fired up somewhere.   I was too naïve at the time to realize that this was magical and something that most people don’t experience.   I didn’t know that for the rest of my life I would have to work to socialize and plan for a party.   It was about the last couple months as we were graduating and it was coming to an end that it hit me that this time in life was a gift from God. It was my support during a difficult time, giving me good memories and fun times to sustain me. When it was over, I mourned these times.

As I have grown in age and wisdom, I have come to distinguish these enchanted times in my life. As I was getting ready for church last week, I was standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair.   My daughters were dressed in beautiful matching outfits. Z was dancing around in a sunbeam from the window with motes of dust sparkling in the air singing, “Mommy, look, sparkly!”, while Baby Bird was army crawling after her and shrieking with laughter.   As I watched her exultant expression, sun shining on her hair, so delighted in this discovery that we have all experienced of the beauty of dust dancing in the sun, it hit me with a force that took my breath away that this is one of those joyful moments.   I am drowning in joy.

I wish I could bottle these moments of my daughters laughing and playing as sweet chubby babies to sustain me in sad times to come.   I wish I could freeze them like this. I know there are times to come when I am not their hero.   There are times to come when they won’t greet me at the door with screams of excitement.

Now I know a joyful moment when I see one.   These days are a gift from my Father, and my Father only gives good gifts.   James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. All praise to the one who knows my heart and crafts these perfect moments just for me.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

jack

I remember having a few nightmares as a child. I had a recurring dream about tornadoes sweeping me away. Ironically, this dream went away after I was actually in a real tornado. I guess there is something to be said for facing your fears.

I remember being about five years old when Dr. Pepper in his infinite wisdom decided it was okay for me to watch Poltergeist. (He was about eleven at the time, so don’t judge him too harshly). That resulted in pretty bad dreams and an inability to sleep with the closet door open for about thirteen years. But one thing no one tells you is that there is something more disruptive and disturbing to your sleep than your own bad dreams, and that is the bad dreams of your two-year old.

Z is a pretty sound sleeper, but about once a month she will wake up screaming lie a banshee because of a bad dream. Here are some of my favorites:

“Z sweetie, what was your dream about?”

“A monster,” (keep in mind that this child is only allowed to watch PBS).

“A monster? What kind of monster? What did he look like?”

“He was blue and he was eating ALL the cookies and then he was going to eat me.”

That’s right folks, kiddo had a nightmare about Cookie Monster. She thought he was going to eat her. She has also had nightmares about dragons in the jungle who were going to eat her (I place the blame squarely on Dinosaur Train for this one).

Last week she woke up screaming and I asked her what was wrong and she told me there was a bug in her bed. I paused for a second on this one because we have had a little bit of a spider problem, and I figured that this was potentially a real situation. So, I emptied her crib and even lifted up her mattress and couldn’t find anything. Upon a more in-depth query it became apparent that the bug in question was a giant purple beetle with pink stripes and I realized that this was probably not a legitimate concern.

By far the most disturbing dream she had was also the one that was most panic inducing. It occurred a few months ago right after she turned two. I awoke to her screaming.

“Z what’s wrong?”

“I was in a rocket and a ball came at the rocket and the ball went BOOM and the rocket went BOOM and I died and Aunt Panda had to take care of my body.”

Wow, that isn’t a creepy thing for your child to say at all you creepy little kid. I don’t really know how my two-year old learned about rockets, or explosions, or death, or embalming. Not sure how this happened, but it is really weird being confronted with it.

Interesting thing, as soon as I come and comfort her, she is calm and ready to go back to sleep immediately. She has even told me, “Mommy strong. You keep monsters away.”

It makes me reflect back on a time in my childhood to one of my earliest memories. I was riding in the back seat with Dr. Pepper while my Mom and Dad were driving us somewhere at night. I was watching the lights of a plane flying overhead and I felt so small and so infinite at the same time. I remember feeling completely and totally safe. I remember feeling like nothing on earth could harm me.

I wish Mommy was strong enough to keep the monsters away.   I wish this was true. I wish that I could protect my daughters from all of the world’s evils. In a world where there are children being killed by hunger, and thirst, and disease and war, I can’t even protect my child from being made fun of on the playground much less any of these larger concerns.

It is humbling to realize how little control I have. I don’t remember the point in life where I realized that my parents really couldn’t protect me. I want my children to hold onto this feeling of security as long as possible.

This is all enveloped in the larger realization that ,my parents were never in control at all, and neither am I. You see, It is my Father in heaven who holds this world, including me and my precious girls in his hands. And I cannot protect them from all the things I consider bad, because some of them are just a result of living in a fallen world, and some of them may be part of his bigger plan for their lives. But it sure is comforting to know that I don’t have to be in charge and I can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Stagnation

IMG_20140218_185602_659                I have a confession to make.   I co-sleep. I know, I know, there was no stronger opponent to this abhorrent practice than myself. As a physician, I have had the unpleasant, heart-breaking task of pronouncing four babies dead from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and all but one of these was due to co-sleeping. Now granted, alcohol or drugs were involved in each of these cases, but that did not alter the tragic look on the parent’s faces, or my hardline stance on the practice. It was during this depressing time in my life that I determined that I no longer wanted to work in an Emergency Department setting. It was also when I became a strong adversary to the co-sleeping movement. I preached loudly to patients and friends alike about the dangers of co-sleeping and how they would most certainly roll over and smother their baby beneath their ponderous, non-organic food eating American fat rolls.  

                That was BBB or Before Baby Bird. I understand that there are some co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment-parenting, modern hippies who actually enjoy co-sleeping and do this as a matter of personal preference. I assure you I am not in this crowd. I enjoy building a pillow fort around myself and having as much sleeping space to myself as possible. I would get twin beds like Lucy and Ricky if my husband would let me. My co-sleeping experience is a little less granola and a little more like being held hostage by a tiny tyrant.

                Baby Bird will absolutely not sleep without being able to both touch and see me, and if Baby Bird doesn’t sleep, then NO ONE sleeps. We have tried tricking her by putting a pack and play or a co-sleeper in the room, even shoved up next to the bed with my arm draped precariously off the edge of our bed to be in constant contact with her minute, heaving chest. Baby Bird is neither fooled nor appeased by that. She wants to be IN our bed, and as of late she has added an extra entertaining and particularly demanding element to her evening routine.

                The newest element of torture she has employed against us is obligatory hand holding. That’s right, hand holding. I must take her diminutive fist in mine and hold it between my hands until she falls asleep. Don’t tell my captor, but I secretly love this part of the bedtime ritual. She caresses my hand with her free hand over and over again until she falls asleep while wriggling her petite captive hand betwixt my palms. I fall asleep happy every night.

                Then, the creeping sensation settles in. I am in that dreamlike state somewhere between waking and sleeping. It is subtle at first, a gradual loss of proprioception. We have all experienced it. Your body is heavy and you no longer can feel where your leg is in space without twitching it slightly. I know logically that my hands still encase this petite treasure in their grasp, but I can no longer feel her movement against my palms. Occasionally she will quiver in her sleep and I will feel her precious presence. Sometimes, even though I know it may wake her, I stir slightly myself to feel her move.

                I reflect on my relationship with God. When I am standing still and refusing to move in my faith it is harder and harder to feel His presence. Sometimes I will feel a flicker of his movement over me in my stagnation, but in order to really feel Him, and I mean really feel Him, I find that I must move. Even if it is the slightest shadow of a movement toward Him, I am rewarded by the feeling of His enveloping presence.

                For now, I will enjoy the ephemeral, all too transient feel of my baby’s touch. I wonder if God in His omnipresence and eternal nature finds our touch so fleeting as well, as this time passes us by, or can He just revisit joyful times with us at his will?

 

Letter to Baby Bird

Dearest Baby Bird,

                You are unlovable. I am now four months, three weeks and two days into my captivity. I have been held hostage in my home by a tiny despot. This eleven-pound tyrant controls what I eat, when I sleep, and where I go.

                It started with pregnancy. My pregnancy with you was horrible. I was tired, all the time, sick, depressed. I assumed, wrongly, that once you were born that the situation would improve. After all, maternity leave with your sister was like vacation. She started sleeping through the night in a couple of weeks, hardly ever made a peep. I wasn’t like those parents who had babies that didn’t sleep and screamed in the restaurant. I had this parenting thing down. And then you came along, and shattered my preconceived notions.

                You have never slept through the night. In fact, I asked Daddy yesterday if he could remember the last time that you slept more than two hours at a stretch, and he couldn’t. Neither can I. Fortunately for Daddy, in the middle of the night you refuse to take a bottle and you only want Mommy. Yet still, I love you.

                You scream like a banshee any time we put you in the car for the ride that was supposed to soothe you to sleep. Forget going out in public anywhere. That is a thing of the past. I am sure I would be arrested if I took you to a restaurant, and I am unwilling to hazard the annoyed glares of other patrons anyways. Yet still, I love you.

                You always smell like spoiled milk, because you vomit up anything I put in your mouth to include the rice cereal, oatmeal, karo syrup, gas drops, reflux medication and everything else that everyone has assured me will calm your irritable tummy. Sometimes you vomit more than I have shoved into your mouth, and it doesn’t seem possible that you could contain that much puke. I have gone through every one of your sleepers in two hours, and the bedding, and every burp cloth, and all the towels. I am constantly doing laundry. Yet still, I love you.

                Daddy and I are never going to have a date again. You often scream from the time I get home until the next morning with just an hour or two of sleep in the interim. I am really not sure when you sleep. You don’t sleep for Nanny either. Surely you must be tired. I trust Nanny with you because of her infinite patience, but even she has her limits. Daddy has suggested hiring a sitter to watch you, but I think of the hours of screaming at the top of your lungs and how frustrated I am with you. I consider the prospect of leaving you with someone who does not love you. I think of how they may not be kind to you, and so we must miss yet another action movie on the big screen (the only way to watch it according to Daddy). Yet still, I love you.

                This love for you has taught me a lot about myself and about God. You are not loveable right now, but I love you anyway like a compulsion. It is like a wave crashing down on me drowning in my love for you. One of my biggest struggles as a Christian is not in believing the existence of God, or Christ, but in understanding that the God of the universe is aware of my existence, much less that He loves me.

                For you see dear Baby Bird, I am unlovable. I fail daily. I am unkind to others. I gossip. I am spiteful and prideful and rejoice in the misfortunes of others at times. I am not a perfect mother, and get frustrated with my beautiful daughters who are a daily gift from Him. How can He love me when I fall so short of His expectations?

                At three in the morning when you wake up for the fifth time since I have placed you in your crib, you smile at me. The warmth that rushes over me gives me a glimpse into the other side. I can just begin to understand how He loves me.   Thank you for that Baby Bird.

 

Love MommyIMG_20140225_140802_823

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Uturnlavern's Blog

Thoughts and opinions from UTurn LaVern

The Accidental Missionary

A regular guy tryin' to figure it out

lindseydaffin

Live Free & Be True to Yourself

modern father online

one dad's thoughts on parenting in these crazy modern times...

barbellsandpacifiers

My personal journey to stay a happy, healthy, new mommy!

Kitt O'Malley

Love, Learn & Live with Bipolar Disorder

Not Just Sassy on the Inside

The Journey toward higher consciousness and finding the sassy girl

Perichoretic Theosis

"God became man so that we might become gods." --St. Athanasius

Eclectic odds n sods

Parenting, Pet Tales, Humour & Photography

notthrowingstones.today

(but maybe tomorrow)

My So-Called Life

Is this real life?

Drunk on Life

Every day is a reason to celebrate.

Mark Bialczak

What will I write about next?

The Perfect Dad

Every man dies. Not every man truly parents.

iwantedwings

A Geeky Feminist's Musings On Pop Culture

Ginger's Grocery

Come on in and browse. The biscuits were made fresh this morning, the Slush Puppie machine was just refilled with a new bottle of red syrup, and we have the biggest selection of bait this close to town.

sillyliss.com

I meant it that way.