Monday, December 3, 2012

Am I doing this right?

So first off, let me apologize profusely for my two month blogging hiatus. I fully intended to write a blog every couple of weeks or, at the very least, once a month. Yet, here I find myself nearly eight weeks from the last post. If there is anyone left reading this blog, I apologize and promise to do better.

One of the excuses that I am going to give you about why I have taken such a long break is that the Simpson clan has been quite under the weather for the last week. Being sick sucks. There, I said it. There is nothing fun about it. Historically, I haven’t been one to get sick too often but when I do, I am reminded of how much I adore my immune system and can’t wait for it to do its thing and get me back to normal. You know what is worse than you being sick? Your kid being sick. When I’m sick, I know what hurts and how much it hurts. I can take a stab at what is wrong and what I need to do about it. A little girl just under two can’t tell you that. And so there is not a lot I can do about it. This is where our story begins.

The great thing about living on campus with all of the teachers and their families is that we get to see each other all the time and our kids have plenty of playmates. Unfortunately, however, this also means that when one kid gets sick, they all get sick. So, our two girls with a cough that sounded woefully similar to their friends’, we took them to the doctor and received the diagnosis we were expecting: bronchitis. Ten days of antibiotics it was. Not surprised, we headed home ready to serve our time on the medicine spoon chain-gang. The hospital had other plans, however.

The giving of the medicine turned out to be a more difficult task than I had anticipated. Lily must have been poisoned in a former life because she did everything in her 10 kg. power she could possibly do to not swallow the medicine we offered. If you have ever tried to get a toddler to do something they don’t want to do, you have some sort of idea how much her tiny little self writhed and squirmed so that the two tiny drops that did actually enter her mouth could easily be spat out. There has to be an easier way, I thought. There is no way I’m doing this right.

Poor Lucy really tried to cooperate with the medicine. For her, it was her stomach that refused it and promptly ejected it so as to not allow any of the antibiotic properties to do their job in her system. So then, what do I do? I’m her mother; I’m supposed to take care of her and make her better. Do I force her to take medicine that will most likely make her throw up and cause her to lose the day’s nutrients along with the medicine? Or, do I stop halfway through an antibiotic to let her keep lunch down for once but cause her (and her bronchitis) to build up an immunity to the antibiotic? Both decisions felt like the wrong one. Sitting in the ER at midnight one night confirmed that there is no way I was doing this right.

Lucy was still throwing up. I wasn’t doing this right. Lily was still coughing. I wasn’t doing this right. That is why having your kid sick is a million times worse than you being sick. More than anything in the world I wanted them to get better but there just isn’t a switch to flip or a button to push. Seeing my distress, other parents comforted me, “Don’t worry, they will get better.” Nonetheless, every time the clock struck “medicine time”, it seemed like the world was going to end.

But, it didn’t. My friends were right. The girls did get better. Though we are still making our way through the post-antibiotic haze, I am able to take a step back and get a little perspective. How blessed am I that the only illness I have had to deal with in their two years is a little bronchitis? And how amazing to live in a place that has antibiotic and IV hydration drips readily at my disposal. I really have very little to complain about. As far as the medicine administering, I still don’t know if I was doing it right or if I made the right decisions. I do know that I love them more than they will understand until they get to know the agony and the ecstasy of motherhood. All I can do is hope that I only give them enough dysfunction to have funny stories at dinner parties. Wish me luck! 

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