Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Diagnosis Contrary

As I mentioned yesterday, Michael’s daycare called to let me know that he was crying and complaining that his ear hurt. His recovery has not been as good as I had hoped, so I thought that maybe the antibiotics weren’t working and scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician. The director was so concerned about him, that she called me again before I left work and came out to meet me when I picked him up. I assured her that I had scheduled an appointment for him. She questioned what he was on, and said she was certain he needed something stronger. When I indicated that I wasn’t completely sure the problem was his ear, she stated, “I’d be surprised if it isn’t. If not, he should be an actor.”

Of course, as any working mom knows, the logistics on things like this complicate matters about tenfold. Andy was supposed to pick Michael up yesterday. Because my afternoon meeting was canceled, I was planning on stopping at Michael’s and picking up some beads I need for a project. Once I got home, we would have a nice leisurely dinner, and then play outside until dark.

Instead, we decided that I should pick Michael up and take him to the doctor’s appointment, which is right next door to the daycare. My drive home is subject to a lot of traffic, so I left a little early to make sure I got there on time. Instead, I got there half an hour early. We goofed around the daycare for a little bit, and then I decided to just take Michael over so he could play in the waiting room.

Michael was clearly feeling sad and out of sorts, so I didn’t even try to get him to leave his shirt or his binky in the car. They had also done some activity with firemen yesterday, so he had this plastic fire helmet that he just HAD to wear as well. So, there we are in the waiting room. Me, dressed in my nice work clothes, trying to keep “boogers” off the dry clean only items, and Michael with his dirty shirt, binky, and too large plastic fire helmet sliding all over his head. I have no idea what the ten other parents sitting with us thought of the whole thing, but I’m sure we were a sight.

Oh, have I ever mentioned Michael’s thing about needing privacy to poo? He will not do his business if other people are around. He routinely hides in the bathroom or a closet to take care of business, and if Andy or I check on him, he tells us “you disappear.” While it makes potty training difficult, it does have the advantage that I almost never need a diaper bag when we go out. You see where this is going right?

Half an hour into our wait, Michael is overcome by the need that only antibiotics (and beer) can create. I looked at his red face, and then down at my tiny purse. Oh shit. So, add a lovely odor to the already strange picture of the two of us in the waiting room, and that’s how we sat for another 15 minutes. (Dude, I was so not going to run out to the car and possibly miss being called for the appointment.)

Michael was in a pretty decent mood when we entered the exam room. He even allowed the nurse to take his temperature. Once she left, Michael started playing with his plastic helmet. I was relieved because he normally tries to escape from the room or tear through the contents of their drawers. The hat has one of those little elastic bands that you place under your neck to hold the hat in place. Michael was pulling up on the hat, and letting it snap back into place. Then he started pulling on the band. Right as I said, “Michael, you are going to zing yourself,” he let the band snap right across his eyes. There goes the good mood.

All of the pediatricians in the practice are really great with kids. My favorite one somehow distracts Michael while calmly examining him. One of the other ones just goes in for the kill directly, and finishes up before Michael has a clue what’s going on. The doctor we saw yesterday takes the conversational approach. “Does your ear hurt?” No reply. “Does your ear feel ok?” Turns his head away. “Does your ear hurt?” Nods. “Does your ear hurt?” Shakes his head.

“He’s contrary, isn’t he?”

Michael? Contrary? You mean the child that had been saying no, nope, uh-uh for a year, and had picked up about 500 words before he would say the word yes? (Well, aside from one time when he said it just to let me know that he KNEW it.) The child that refused to call me mommy for months just to drive me insane? The child that disagrees with me JUST FOR FUN? Contrary?

No. (Guess who he gets it from?)

She proceeded with the exam and confirmed my suspicions. His ear looks great. The antibiotics are working. He does have a cold, and maybe he’s feeling some pressure is his Eustachian tube, but overall, he looks pretty good.

At this point, I don’t know whether to be annoyed or proud. On the one hand, crying wolf is a real problem. Not only is he trying to manipulate people to get what he wants, he also making it harder for us to trust when he really is hurt or sick. How do you explain trust to a two and a half year old? On the other hand, I have to confess that I’m a little proud of him. It only took him seven days there to figure out how things worked, and what he needed to do to get what he wanted. That shows some real problem solving skills. As long as he’s not trying to pull that on me, it’s sort of impressive.

Needless to say, we did not have the nice, leisurely dinner that I had hoped for. However, we did get to play outside for a little while after dinner, which always seems to cheer up Michael. While Andy was giving Michael his bath, I took a few minutes to call my mom and update her on his little trick. Her response? Laughter. Guess who Michael got the crying wolf syndrome from? Yep. Me.


Mama Mia said...


LauraC said...

I meant to comment yesterday but I didn't want it to sound bad. Whenever the boys have ear infections (or teething), I give them a dose of motrin right before we leave for day care. Then I know they won't be in pain until at least their nap. Then if they wake up from nap and are in a bad mood, I only need to leave work an hour or so early.

Obviously I don't do this for fevers, but it's a nice trick to have up your day care sleeve.

LauraC said...

Oh yeah, we took Alex to the ped on Christmas Eve last year bc he was having such full-blown tantrums. I'm talking 60-90 minute uncontrollable tantrums.

Doctor's diagnosis? "He can really go for the long haul."

Julie said...

I had to laugh a little bit b/c I feel like we have ALL been there--the strange-looking mom and child, the contradictory responses, the realization that your kid is working you! They are clever little buggers aren't they?

Stacey said...

This might be my favorite yet of your posts. Your dear boy is so brilliant (and I love that he's brilliant in the same way as his mom).

Cole has yet to be nearly so manipulative, but he did go several days at the beginning of the school year in which he'd start yelling, "I'm scared" as we approached daycare. It didn't take me too long to realize he knew that'd scare me. Kids!

-Bridget said...

It's probably a good thing Reagan and Michael don't live near each other. Just thinking of the havoc these little two year olds could do if they put their heads together makes my head swim.

Karen said...

My mom said the same thing about me and Michael this week. She told me she had never seen him throw a tantrum like he did on Friday. I told her I wondered where he got it from...she let me know I did the very same thing!