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Contrary to my promise to do so, I haven’t updated my blog in a few weeks.  But, don’t worry.  It isn’t because I haven’t been writing.

I wrote a short story that, while still a work in progress, is a good first start and perhaps, something that I’ll submit somewhere someday.  I need more defined goals, don’t I?

Last weekend, I took Bear back to my hometown for the first time since March.  I am always amazed at how when I first arrive, my rural little hometown feels so foreign.  After half a day there, though, it begins to feel familiar again.  The first morning we spent there, I put Bear in her jogging stroller and took a twenty minute walk across town to visit my grandmother.  My hometown is flat with few trees in comparison to where I now live.  I reveled at how it was so quiet and peaceful that I could hear a car driving down the street three blocks away, and if I turned my head in time, I could clearly see it pass between houses.  As I walked, I could easily tell who was home, and even hear moms talking to small children inside their houses as I passed.  Sound carries easily there without the trees to soak it up and other sounds to drown it out.  On our walk back, I thought about how all of the familiar names on realty signs and inscribed into rocks in front of houses now belonged to my classmates rather than their parents.  Later, when we went downtown to shop, I was amazed how some people (mostly those from my parents’ generation) so enthusiastically welcomed me and how others (mostly those from my generation) looked at me like I was the prodigal son returning home and they were his brother.

On Sunday, Bear battled stomach issues that I am fairly certain can be traced to some mystery zucchini bread that a lady in a hometown clothing store gave to my grandmother with Alzheimer’s, who then gave to Bear while my back was turned.  There were a few exciting minutes that my aunt spent frantically digging pieces out of  my daughter’s mouth.  Bear spent most of the next day with some nasty diapers and had periods where she cried and beat on her tummy, crying “Owie!”  Her response reminded me why I work so hard to only give her food that I know will not cause her to react.

Yesterday, after several good days at daycare, Bear came down with a fever.  She also began using her new, favorite word “owie” indiscriminately, so while we knew that something was hurting her, it was impossible to tell what.   At first, she would pull up her pant legs and hit her knees and saying “Owie.”  Then, during diaper changes, she would say “owie.”  She would also open her mouth to say something, and a huge bubble of saliva would come out instead.  These symptoms, along with her fever, seemed concerning, so I called the pediatrician’s office and her allergist’s to see if he would call in a prescription for some compounded non-soy containing Tylenol-type medication.   Around 6:00 last night, Bear began acting strangely.  She couldn’t seem to keep her eyes open, and she was moaning softly.  This, of course, scared me, and I immediately took her to her pediatrician’s after-hours clinic.  By the time we arrived, her fever had reached 104.  Despite enduring a strep culture and a catheter to obtain a urine sample, we left without any answers. Her pediatrician promised that a high fever wouldn’t “boil her brains” but acted annoyed that her allergist wouldn’t let us give her generic painkillers that contained soy.  I was annoyed that he was annoyed, but mostly I was tired and sad that my daughter was still not well and that we didn’t have any way to help her.

Fortunately, Bear’s fever broke last night.  She has not felt well today, but the absence of the fever has greatly improved her spirits.  She seems hungry but doesn’t want to eat.  She continues to have strange drooling issues and to say “owie” when I change her diaper.  She has also started telling me that her hand hurts.  We think that she has Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, but until blisters start forming, we won’t know for sure.  She seemed happy to take a nap, and for now, is sleeping peacefully, and I am still waiting for a call from the compounded pharmacy that someone has made a painkiller that my little girl can safely take.  However, I am hoping that we’ve passed through the worst.

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We have been traveling lately, so updating this blog has been difficult, but I will try to be more attentive.  Last week, we flew to West Virginia to visit my husband’s extended family and so they could see Bear for the first time in the past year.  We flew last year there with Bear, which strangely was an easier process with a five month-old.  Then, I was able to breastfeed her for much of the time, and despite being a human pacifier for the better part of a day, at least, I could pacify her in some way.  We also flew to California in May, which by coincidence fell on Day 1 of her bout with Roseola, so the poor girl had a high fever and clearly didn’t feel well, but in retrospect, she was quite subdued.

Flying with Feverish Bear is nothing compared to flying with Pukish Bear.  As we parked the car at the airport just prior to checking in for our first flight, I heard Bear coughing from the backseat and then gurgling.  We turned around to find Bear covered with the milk that she consumed earlier that morning.  So, we changed Bear in the parking lot and used about a million baby wipes trying to clean up the puke-covered car seat that we were getting ready to check for the flight.

Then, we were delayed from actually boarding the plane, because despite having booked our tickets and clearly indicating that we had a lap child with us, the airline had assigned us seats in a row without the extra oxygen mask for said lap child.  Instead of simply reassigning other passengers to new seats, they asked for volunteers to switch with us.  Apparently, no one would volunteer, so they had me sit in a single seat in the very back of the plane with Bear and had my husband sit elsewhere.  I was already annoyed with the unpleasant start to our trip, but I was really unhappy at the prospect of wrangling a nauseous fifteen month-old by myself.

Naturally, Bear proceeded to scream for most of the flight, except when she was eating, which resulted in her consumption of A LOT of blueberries.  She was also exhausted since it happened to be naptime.  Fortunately, she has a very good daddy who willingly walked up and down the aisle with her until, toward the end of the flight, she fell asleep on his shoulder.  My husband decided to just sit back down in his seat with her.  As we were getting ready to land, the flight attendant told my husband that he had to move.  Clearly this flight attendant had never struggled to get an infant to sleep (or stay asleep), but instead of causing a scene, my annoyed husband eased as carefully as he could out of his seat and walked back to where I was sitting to trade me seats.  Shortly after sitting down and as the flight was landing, Bear began screaming again.  I looked back, and my husband painfully indicated that I needed to get back there as soon as I could.  So, I waited until the plane was on the ground, and even though the ubiquitous seatbelt light had not been turned off, I charged back to where Bear and her daddy were wrestling and where both of them were covered with blue puke.  I did my best to help my husband and to console my crying baby while ignoring the flight attendant who was yelling at me over the loud speaker that I was not allowed out of my seat at that point.

I’ll admit.  I’m kind of a rule-follower, but I had had it with that flight.  I yelled back at her – past every passenger on the flight – “I DO NOT CARE!”  We found out later that there is some huge fine for being out of your seat during take-off and landing, but fortunately, by the time the flight attendant was able to get out of her seat, passengers were already disembarking.  We took our puke-covered baby and happily got off that plane.

The rest of the trip was more fun, and fortunately, the flights home were not as traumatic.  I am now thinking that we should avoid flying until Bear is at least three and certainly not within twenty-four hours of her consuming any blueberries.

On my own

On my own

My one year-old may have toddled into toddlerhood today.  It happened overnight.  This weekend, she was a happy-go-lucky baby, playing and wanting to be held and read to.  Today, she just wasn’t.

The morning started off well-enough.  Bear was happy to see me when I pulled her out of her crib.  She grabbed her “babies” – a stuffed giraffe affectionately named Jo Jo and a little bunny – and happily accepted a bottle from Daddy.  The trouble began when I took her to her room to get her ready for daycare.  I stretched her out on her changing pad, which I’ll admit, is not her favorite activity.   Lately, I’ve pacified her by pulling a book off of her book shelf and letting her browse it while I change her diapers or pants.  Today, however, I made the tactical error of handing her a box of cards that she enjoys, which I found underfoot on the floor.  Unfortunately, as soon as I handed the box to her, she dumped its contents out on top of her.  Approximately 20 cards spread across the changing pad and into the dirty diaper zone.  I quickly pushed the cards away and handed her two to play with.  This action infuriated her.  She flung the two remaining cards at me and flipped over onto her stomach (all while I was attempting to maneuver a dirty diaper out of the way and hold her dirty bum off of the changing pad).  She then became rigid, by arching her back and pushing her feet out (which were still in my hands).  I felt like we were practicing pro-wrestling moves.  I’d like to say in that situation that size matters, but honestly, the little bugger was making the most of it.  Although Bear was the one being pinned to the changing pad, she was clearly in control of the situation.

I managed to clean her and wrangle her into clothes for the day, but she continued to wail and fight me through the rest of our morning routine.  Once dressed, I took her to our kitchen for breakfast.  Once I plopped her down in her high chair and poured cereal and cut blueberries onto her tray, she quieted down a bit.  After Bear chucked her sippy cup at me, which is clearly toddler-speak for “stop trying to pacify me with this blasted sippy cup,” I turned on “Sid the Science Kid”, her favorite t.v. show (even though it is the only t.v. show she watches, and I like it too).   A faint smile appeared on her lips.  I thought that maybe I was making progress, so I began dancing about with the music on “Sid.”  Nothing.  Well, nothing pleasant anyway.  She made it clear that she was not happy with me and would not indulge in any silliness.  In fact, she turned away when I got too close.

When her daddy was ready to leave, I told him that Bear was not in a good mood and that I was pretty sure that she was mad at me.  He laughed as though he didn’t believe that she could be mad at me and picked her up from her chair to take her to the car.  Wait, I told him.  I didn’t want Bear to leave on a bad note, so I gave her a hug and as I leaned in to give her a kiss, she turned her head and pushed me away.  Her daddy laughed again, but not in disbelief this time.  Bear then began chattering happily to him as he carried her out to the car, leaving a dejected mommy in the kitchen.

I felt little pangs of sadness at work today thinking about how my little girl was already asserting her independence from me and how she had apparently grown-up enough to feel wronged by the actions of others, namely me.  Despite her unhappiness with me this morning, thouh, she squealed with delight when I walked into her room this evening to pick her up.  Whatever I did this morning was forgiven by this evening, and I was her much-loved momma once again, or for a hour or so at least until our next clashing of wills.

What will tomorrow bring?