It has now been fully six days since I last set foot in the outside world. This whole hunkered-down-with-the-sick thing is starting to wear a little thin.
I’m actually feeling a little better, thank you very much, which is sort of surprising given the limited availability of medication and rest. But Baby picked up the nasty cold around Thursday and that reinvigorated our downward spiral into general unhappiness. Or rather, my downward spiral. Baby has demonstrated a remarkable ability to be chirpy in between the miserable little bouts of cough-and-sneeze. It goes something like this: we have a little bout of coughing or sneezing or both, Baby screws up her little face and goes red and makes a big pout and goes w-a-a-a-h. And then sputters a bit. And then looks around for a toy or a kiss or a smiley face, which, when acquired, triggers a smile and then we’re good until the next round of coughing or sneezing. Or until Mommy does something totally invasive and heinous like squirt saline drops up her nose and then go at the snot with a wet cloth. (Note that Mommy can’t even work the snot-snucking magic because Mommy doesn’t want to huff more germs on the precious creature. Note too that Mommy is actually lamenting the fact that she cannot do something so gross as suck snot out of a baby’s nose. Clearly, hell does freeze over when one becomes a mother.)
Curiously, the most invasive thing that I subject her to doesn’t seem to bother her all that much. The taking of the temperature, so that I can be reassured that there is nothing worse than a head cold going on, is not so straightforward as to involve thermometers balanced carefully under little tongues. ‘Cause, you know, that’s never going to happen with creatures who want to chew everything that comes within an inch of their mouths. And the whole sterile thermometer-under-the-arm thing doesn’t – as I learned some weeks ago in the most difficult way possible (1) – take a temperature that is accurate enough to stake a baby’s wellness on. So what’s left is the anal probe – the taking of the temperature through the wee poo-hole. Which I would think would be more unpleasant than having someone delicately dab the mucus away from one’s nostrils, but hey, maybe that’s just me. She just lies there quietly, cooing away at Frog and Hippo, the fellas that hang around the change table (actually, the change mat on the counter by the kitchen sink, which is the downstairs medical headquarters and potty station), paying no mind. (Frog and Hippo are discreet; they keep their eyes averted, as they do during the changing-of-the-diaper. Or maybe they’re just squeamish. I wouldn’t blame them. It gets ugly down there sometimes.) Go figure.
I need to make an amendment to that post where I got all expletive on the asses of the Baby Experts who diss sleep props. I really shouldn’t have been so cavalier (I believe that I said, ‘so the eff what???’ about the purported negative effects of sleep props) in my dismissal of the hazards of relying upon sleep props. A certain Super Awesome Mom (2) reminded me that a big problem with certain sleep props is that they can get in the way of baby being able to get herself back to sleep if she wakes up in the night (e.g., falls asleep to rocking, then wakes up later and can’t get back to sleep because the rocking is no more.) The Experts (towards whom I still reserve the right to get all pissy) call these things maladaptive sleep habits and the Experts, on this topic, are not totally wrong (ahem).
This is, in fact, the problem with the swaddle. Or, I should say, was the problem with the swaddle. Baby generally only wakes up for one of two reasons: she’s hungry, or she’s bust out of her swaddle. Hungry is self-explanatory: until she can get down to the refrigerator on her own she needs me to help her with that one. The swaddle bust, on the other hand, that’s a problem because she can’t reswaddle herself. All together now: MALADAPTIVE. But (aren’t you glad that there’s a ‘but’?) we have a figured out the magic of making the swaddle pretty much unbustable and so that problem is, for the most part, a was, as in past tense. (3) In any case, I grant that one has to be careful in approaching the sleep props, for the above reason. Choose them wisely. And be prepared to work that sleep prop for a l-o-o-o-n-g time. But then rejoice at having found something that brings about the precious precious sleep! And while you’re enjoying your own delicious cruise into sleepdom, try not to think about what you’ll do when the sleep prop is outgrown. ‘Cause Baby will be bigger then, and maybe Ambien will be an option. (4)
1. The journey into parenting hell that was our trip to Emergency when it seemed that she had a fever but really kinda DIDN’T but who could tell (as the evil little pediatrician reminded me like ten times) because I the overfunctioning mother had given her infant Tylenol to bring the imagined fever down and didn’t I know that you should always take the temperature RECTALLY and NEVER give the infant Tylenol even though her doctor had said when she got her shots, like, the day before that that’s exactly what we should do because then evil little pediatricians who think that all mothers who end up in the ER are stupid can’t tell exactly whether there is a fever or not and so they have to stick needles in your little baby and make her cry just to make sure that it’s not spinal meningitis which they maybe wouldn’t have to do if you hadn’t given her the Tylenol and so they hint VERY STRONGLY that IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT that your baby has to have the needles and what business do you have sobbing in the corner of the emergency room while your baby cries because you probably brought this on yourself but because WE REALLY DON’T KNOW because of the IMPROPER temperature taking and the TYLENOL we have to go ahead with these terrible tests anyway. And you just SNAP.
It was a NIGHTMARE.
So, yeah, I only take her temperature rectally now.
2. I’m biased because I love this particular mom dearly. But she is Super Awesome, and the proof is in her three totally awesome little boys who are CRAZY adorable and so good and sweet that you could just die. So I listen when she speaks!
3. Baby wriggled out of the swaddle last night. Actually, just one side of the swaddle, which, as anyone who swaddles will know, is sorta weird. Don’t know how she did it. Trying not to think about it; must have (musta musta MUSTA) been a one off. Won’t (WON’T) happen again.
4. Kidding. Duh.
Totally gratuitous picture of Baby, cuz she’s ADORABLE and adorable babies make everybody happy…
Aaawww. (Proud, blubbering mother dribbles on keyboard…)