Monday, November 10, 2008

Parenting is not for the faint of heart

I’m sick of sick. Seriously, I’m done. I want my kid back. And, I want to know where that M&M came from.

We did not have a good weekend. When Michael got home from my mom’s on Friday, he was still running a fever, but did not appear to have any other symptoms. He was in a decent mood, so I decided that we would just take it easy, and see how things were going on Saturday morning.

Saturday started at 5:30 am when Michael woke up crying for medicine. Andy and I rushed to him, got him settled down, and got some Motrin in him. Andy stayed up with him, while I tried to go back to bed and get some sleep. I tossed and turned for a bit trying to decide if I should take him to the doctor, or just head right into the ER.

I hate this kind of situation. I’m a fairly decisive person. I look at the facts, consider my emotions, and then quickly come to a conclusion. But the decision to go to the doctor or ER is tough when there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong but a fever. I worry that I’m over reacting to a situation that doesn’t really warrant medical care. Then I worry that I’m not concerned enough. I hem and haw, and end up feeling like I’m really bad at this whole parenting thing, and worry that no matter what I do, it will be the wrong thing.

I finally gave up on sleep and decided to take Michael in. I jumped in the shower quickly, and then went down to check on Michael. He and Andy were goofing around, laughing, and eating. I took Michael’s temperature, and he was fine. I knew that part of it could be from the Motrin, but Michael was doing great, so I decided to give him a little more time before taking him in.

We went out and did some shopping. Michael had a blast running around the store. He seemed to be doing great. On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up food for dinner. I had plans to try some great new recipes as potential Thanksgiving Day menu items. In the 15 minutes from the store to the grocery market, Michael started to go downhill. By the time we got him home, he was feverish and complaining about his mouth. I gave the Pediatrician’s office a call, and had just missed them for the day. I regretted not taking him in earlier.

I gave him some more Motrin, and took him up to my bed to nap. He had a rough time of it. He didn’t want to swallow, so he was drooling and clearing his throat. He didn’t get much sleep, and neither did I. We finally abandoned the nap, and came down to get dinner started.

Part way through preparing dinner, Michael got upset that I wouldn’t come into the living room with him. He tossed up what little food he had eaten all over me, the kitchen, and Shirt. At that point, I decided that we would finish up dinner and head to the ER.

We decided to make the drive to one of the bigger and better ERs than our local hospital. It was the one right decision that I made all weekend. They brought us right in and took excellent care of Michael. Michael was a real trooper too. I wasn’t sure how he was going to handle it, but he did great. Well, except for the toddler hospital gown. He would not wear it. Period. After pulling at it for about 10 minutes, I finally decided that he didn’t really need it, and took it off. We cuddled on the ER bed so I could keep him warm.

The rapid strep test came back negative, but based on Michael’s symptoms; the doctor felt that it was strep. He gave us a script for another round of penicillin and sent us home. Once home, I tried to transition Michael into bed, but he awoke and made it clear that he wasn’t going down without a fight. I snuggled with him for about half an hour before finally getting him settled in bed. A good 45 minutes after the pharmacy had closed.

Sunday morning I heard him babbling in his crib around 4:30, but he didn’t seem to be upset, so I let him go. Then, at 5:30 I heard the gagging noises and rushed in to get him. He was crying, covered in goo, and clearly quiet sick. I got him up while Andy stripped the crib. Michael desperately wanted milk, and to add to my bad decisions of the weekend, I gave it to him while I sent Andy back to bed. Half an hour later, I learned why you are supposed to avoid milk in a child with an upset stomach. My sofa will never be the same, and Shirt got washed for the second time in 24 hours.

That’s when the “I don’t want what I want” tantrums started. Michael wanted to go up and sleep with Daddy. When we got up there, Michael wanted to be downstairs. When I picked him up, he wanted to sleep with Daddy. When I put him down, he wanted to go down stairs. I don’t even remember how we resolved it. All I know is that we eventually got him downstairs without too many tears. I decided to hit the 24 hour pharmacy at that point, which I should have done the night before.

Michael has decided that he’s done with antibiotics or anything even remotely resembling medicine. I can’t sell him on “magic pink candy juice” any more. I can’t trick him into taking it by pretending to take it myself. He won’t even be bribed with M&M. M&M’s was my last line of defense. I finally managed to get the first dose in him, and started to plan the second dose. I’d do Motrin at 12:00 and hopefully by 12:30, he would be feeling good enough to agree to take the penicillin. He wouldn’t do the liquid stuff, so I gave him three M&M’s and a chewable Motrin. By some miracle, he actually ate the Motrin. He just palmed the three M&M’s. But hey, this was good.

I left Michael and Andy in the living room for a few minutes, and Michael started to drift off. Here is where I made the next bad decision. I tried to take him up to bed. He snapped awake, and pitched a fit. A big fit, that involved Michael screaming and crying while demanding to go to bed and go down stairs at the same time. Not this again. There is no appeasing this irrational plea. If I could, I would. Anything to make him happy. Anything to stop the crying.

I finally got him back downstairs and decided that I needed to give him his second dose of antibiotics. I went into the kitchen, filled up the dropper, and then preceded to DROP THE OPEN BOTTLE ON THE FLOOR!!! I stood there watching that pink sticky liquid ooze out onto the floor and almost cried. I grabbed it up off the floor and then used a dropper to try and pick up what I had spilled. I must have looked like a desperate crack addict hovering over the little pink puddle desperately scooping up every drop I could get. I’m sure I lost a few doses worth, but decided that I had enough for the day; I’d worry about getting more later.

So back into Michael. I tried to bribe him again, but that’s when I noticed two of the three M&M’s abandoned. Not only was he not taking medicine, he wasn’t even eating M&M’s. This is bad. So, I popped the two M&M’s in my mouth (oh, like you wouldn’t have) rolled up my sleeves, asked Andy to hold Michael, and demonstrated that a two and a half year old can successfully fight off two grown adults. I managed to squirt half of it onto his cheek, and I lost it.

When I say I lost it, I mean I really lost it. I ran out of the room, threw the half filled dropper in the sink, and went to another part of the house and just screamed and shook. It only lasted probably ten seconds, but it felt like forever. All I could think was how much it disgusted me to physically restrain Michael. I. HATE. IT. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. But, even worse was the fact that it didn’t even work. If I’m going to man handle my child, at least let it be worth it.

I collect myself as much as possible, and went over to my neighbor’s for help. She’s a nurse, and a mommy, and at the moment was my last hope. Her husband came to the door and saw me crying, and got her as quickly as possible. Angel that she is, she came over and helped me get most of the dose into him. “So, how many doses has he gotten so far?”

“This is only the second one of 30.”


Michael and I saw her out, tears pouring out both our eyes. We then lay back on the sofa while I tried to calm him down. He hugged me and cried. I soothed him as best as possible. And then, he reached over and popped the third M&M in my mouth.

Now, I had just spent the last 45 minutes fighting with him. He had managed to grab both me and Andy with both hands. There was no M&M in his hands during the struggle. It wasn’t sitting on the sofa. It wasn’t stuck to me. Michael had refused to put on pants all day, so there were no pockets for it. So, where the hell did he get it from? And yuck! I just ate it!

The rest of the day went a little bit better. Michael took a good nap, and didn’t get sick any more. He even ate a little food in the evening. The evening dose and this morning’s dose of antibiotics didn’t go well, but he doesn’t seem to hate me for doing it. He also didn’t seem to ingest much of it either. Well see how he does for my mom at lunch time, and if it’s still bad, I’ll call the pediatrician and let them know that I don’t think I can get a full round into him.

At this point, I feel like I made a string of bad decisions. If only I had taken him into the doctor on Friday evening, maybe he wouldn’t have felt so sick and might have been happier about taking the antibiotics. If only I had called on Saturday morning, we could have saved a trip to the ER. If only we had gone to the ER earlier, I could have started the antibiotics earlier and helped him feel better sooner.

I also feel bad for fighting Michael so hard to take the antibiotics. Fighting him physically is so against everything I believe in. And, it’s not even working. But, I don’t know what else to do. At this point he rolls over on his face and braces himself as soon as he sees it. We still have 26 doses to give him, and several of those spilled all over my kitchen floor!

Sometimes, being a mommy is the hardest job in the world.


Karen said...

I am so sorry to hear about your weekend. I don't know if it helps any but I have been in your shoes before and it's extremely frustrating. Todd and I have to hold down Michael to get just about any kind of medicine in him. We actually have it down to a science that doesn't involve too much restraint. Hope that today is better for you!

LauraC said...

First Joanna, I am really sorry to hear about all of this! It is truly tough to see our kids sick and sick, tantruming toddlers are incredibly taxing.

Now for the medicine advice. My friend Kaylyn taught this to me when the boys were 7 weeks old bc Nate started Zantac and we could NOT get him to swallow it. And when he would not take it, he would scream in pain for hours. It feels mean but later I found out it is from Dr Sears!!

Before I tell you how we do medicine when the boys object, I want to affirm that giving a child medicine is HELPING them.

Sit down on the ground and open your legs in a V. Put the kid's head in between your legs, as high up into your thighs as possible. This is so you can squeeze your legs together to immobilize their head.

Tuck each arm under one of your legs. You will be effectively pining them to the ground with face up. The only way they can try to stop you is to kick their legs.

Take a syringe and squeeze medicine in their mouth. Do it bit by bit in case they gag or spit. If you think they might spit it (did you know Nate could spit when he was 4 months old?!?) out, you can pinch their nose and cover their mouth with your hand to force them to swallow.

Writing it, I know it sounds incredibly mean but it is so fast. It is literally over in 30 seconds.

We call it the "hard way" so if the boys object to taking any medicine, we tell them they can do it the hard way, and we lay them down and suddenly they are very cooperative.

We also do it in a loving manner, so it's not like we're throwing them on the ground and pouring stuff down their throat!!

But girl, I've been there screaming into a pillow in the middle of the night myself!! I think the first year of dealing with illnesses was truly the worst and now I just take it all in stride. It will get easier.

Deborah said...

I'm so sorry you're having such a time of it. Poor Michael! I hate when my kids are sick. I know it's hard for you too since they get so difficult when they feel bad. I don't have any words of wisdom on the medicine. Connor takes his pretty well except for the time it kept coming up. I can say a prayer for y'all though. Hope today is better!

LauraC said...

Oh yeah, also sorry for the complete assvice last week. Truly sorry.

And to provide some type of humor (which I know you would appreciate)... you gotta really appreciate now the complete and utter insanity of having twins in day care that first year. No wonder I almost lost my mind.

Although it is SO much easier to deal with a sick baby than a sick toddler. All sick babies do is cry and there was already so much crying anyway. Sick toddlers are so tough.

Joanna said...

Laura - I'll be trying that approach this evening. It makes a lot of sense. Michael kicked me in the chest this morning and just about knocked me on the floor. I also like the idea of giving him the option between the hard way and the easy way. He might actually consider that.

Heidi O said...

It sounds like you all need a vacation from sickness. I hope that this is it for you for a bit. I don't have any advice on the medicine so I will second Laura's way of doing it. Sounds the quickest and most painless way to do it.

Again you are doing the right thing and don't beat yourself up over the should haves because it isn't worth it. It is what it is.

Erin said...

I'm so sorry you had such a bad weekend! I know how much it sucks to have a sick kid, especially one who will not take medicine! I hope Michael feels better soon!

Zoey's Mommy said...

Oh Joanna I'm so sorry! I hope he's feeling better today.

DesiDVM said...

Well I'm not sure if this will work but it's what we figured out with J...if I fill up the medicine dropper/syringe and hand it to him, he likes to just suck the medicine out on his own. It sounds weird but it works, and I don't have to hold his head/face, and he thinks he's doing it "by myself."

I know what you mean about hating to restrain your kid -- one day I was fighting with J about putting eye drops in and I suddenly felt like I was at work wrestling with an animal. Only the animals aren't as smart at getting out of restraint and don't scream "Mommy, no, please stop it!"

Catherine said...

I feel your pain on the restraining your own kid thing. Changing my 10-month old's diaper is the hardest thing I've ever done - I literally have to pin him down with my left arm while holding his legs with my left hand and trying desperately to wipe poop away with my right. He and I both cry during the whole ordeal.

I hope your son feels better soon :)

Steph said...

Oh, girl. I am so sorry you all had such a rough weekend. We have been there too. The best thing I have found for giving Cooper medicine is to pin his arms above his head so that they hold his head in place- I guess that sounds a little like what Laura mentioned. Also, you should see if the dr's will prescribe a different antibiotic that does not require so many doses. I'm not sure what options you may have there depending on how strong of an antibiotic Michael needs. Cooper unfortunately has gone up the spectrum on the antibiotics over the last two and a half years from amoxicillin on up but now when/if he needs one he generally gets azithromycin (Zithromax) and there are 4 doses- one per day for 4 days but the meds work for 10.

Karla said...

Oh Joanna! I hope Michael is feeling better soon! Poor little guy and poor Mommy!!!

Deanna said...

No, that crummy bubble gum flavor tastes NOTHING like bubble gum. What happened to that stuff we used to take? I have the Target pharmacy add vanilla (or is vanilla-strawberry? or strawberry creme?) to the bubble gum flavored does help.

It is so heartbreaking to have to restrain your child. We had to do that for the ER trip when K-man had to get an IV and a catheter and it makes me sick to think about it. We still slip meds in to his bottle for now when he's on antibiotics. I figure we'll keep doing that as he gets older. A few ounces of milk or juice with some strawberry creme or vanilla flavored stuff...just tastes like a funky drink. And there's not so much that he won't finish a few ounces. I'm making note of Laura's method for restraining for I feel that day may come eventually. We're currently in the throws of an 11 month old who will only lay still long enough for the diaper to come OFF. geez.

Maria said...

I am so sorry that Michael is sick again. You do a wonderful job with him and although in moments like these it probably doesn't feel like it, you are the thing that makes him feel the most secure. It is so easy to second guess our every choice as parents, but know that you are doing a great job and that he loves you. Also...that M&M thing made me laugh out loud!

Julie said...

Oh Joanna, I am so sorry Michael is so sick. I got a little misty reading this post because so many times I have been there thinking I made the wrong decision, I am bad at this whole parenting thing. And I have had to leave the room and scream or cry--I have been there. Listen lady--you are a GREAT mom! It is evident b/c after your friend the nurse left, he hugged you and gave you and gave you the M&M--that is LOVE! (Even though the M&M may have been questionable). You are so right--parenting is not for the faint of heart. HUGS!!