Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rough Week

This mothering stuff is not for the fainthearted. Every day seems to bring a new challenge. Some of them logistical (How can I safely transport two toddlers from car to classroom without resorting to leashes?); some of them humorous (How can I get Julie to stop taking off her diaper?); some of them impossibly frustrating (How can I force them to stop feeding their vegetables to the dogs?), and others are more manageable (How can I organize their clothes so it doesn’t take me half an hour to get them dressed each morning?). But no challenge has been quite as terrifying as the one that we came up against last week, when I answered a call from the day care to hear: “We’ve called an ambulance for Anna.”

It took 1 ambulance ride, 1 ER visit, another 911 call, a 6 a.m. visit from the paramedics, 3 trips to the pediatrician, and one more trip down to Children’s, but I’m relieved to say that Anna is fine. Really, she’s okay. It was a mean, mysterious virus that kept causing her fever to spike, and unfortunately, she has inherited her father’s childhood tendency to have a seizure when her temperature rises too quickly. But now that the virus has passed, she seems to be fine. Of course, I’m terrified of the next time she picks up a virus that causes her temperature to rise without warning, but at least I’ll be a little more prepared. In theory anyway. I’m still not sure I’ll be able to sit and watch her seize for the five minutes my doctor advised before I call 911, but in theory, I’m ready.

It was a rough week; I won’t lie. Scary as hell. But now that it’s over, it makes me realize how lucky I am. Lucky that this is the biggest scare we’ve had up to this point. That by some miracle Roger and I brought two tiny creatures into this world that, other than the odd seizure (!), are perfectly healthy. Despite a really scary week, I realize now more than ever how blessed I am that the hospital is so unfamiliar to us. We have no idea what our insurance will bill us for an ER visit or an ambulance ride – and that’s a good thing! (I’ll have to remind myself of that when the bill arrives.) In the past I’ve complained that I’m at the pediatrician’s office every other week, but if it’s only for an ear infection or an extended cold, well, I should consider myself lucky.

And I am lucky. So lucky. But damn, this mothering stuff is hard.

Monday, March 5, 2012


The girls are finally feeling better. Knock on wood. But just when I thought we might go a full week without visiting the pediatrician, I realized I had scheduled their 18-month well visit for last Friday. Great.

After their 12-month visit, I swore I would never again go by myself to an appointment involving immunizations. Taking two toddlers to the doctor (or anywhere, really) is hard enough as it is, but when the visit ends with both of those toddlers screaming bloody murder (for a pretty legitimate reason, mind you – have you seen the size of those needles?) – well, I’m sorry, but I need back up for that. The M-I-L came to the 15-month visit with me, and Roger took the afternoon off to attend last Friday’s affair.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve been to the doctor a lot as of late, and thankfully none of those appointments have ended with shots. The girls aren’t big fans of the stethoscope, the tongue depressor, or the ear thinga-ma-jig either, but with each visit, they seem to be coping a little bit better. Still, as we stood in the exam room answering Dr. Libby’s questions about the girls’ development, Julie was growing antsy in Roger’s arms so we foolishly decided to trade toddlers. This of course resulted in Anna bursting into tears, and when I tried to then give Julie back to Roger, Julie burst into tears. Frustrated, I just told Roger I’d hold them both, but lately, having to share mommy only seems to make them angrier than if they didn’t have mommy at all! So I’m sitting in the chair with both of them climbing all over me, poking each other at every opportunity when Dr. Libby asks, “And how’s everything else going? Any, uh, discipline problems?”

I look up at her and laugh. “What do you think?”

She gave me the name of a book or two and talked a little about how she used “time outs” with her daughter. I nodded along, genuinely happy to get her advice but not really learning anything new. I do plan on getting the book she mentioned, 1-2-3 Magic (mostly because another friend recommended it too), but it’s not really the “time out” type issues that are driving me insane. It’s the constant battle for “Mama” that’s going to be the end of me. It’s nice to be loved of course, but I feel like I’m constantly letting one of them down.

Now I know that whether you have 1 baby, 2 babies, or 10 babies, there are going to be times when they want to be held and you just can’t hold them. More importantly, there are times when you really shouldn’t hold them. They have to learn to cope right? But there are also times when avoiding a meltdown is more important than teaching a lesson. Sometimes it’s more important because you’re in a public place that you’d like to return to one day. Other times it’s more important because you know that if you hear your children screaming/whining for one more second your head might explode into a million tiny little pieces that scatter all over the room, swirling around your darling children as the shattered piece of your lips come together to say, “See, now there’s a bit of mommy for everyone!”

But sure, teaching a lesson is important too.

So, if you hear of a book called 1-2-3 Magical Ways to Keep Your Head from Exploding, well, do let me know.