Because I am a writer by trade and by brain, I have chosen Monday as the day that I will take a short break from reviewing subscription boxes and talking parties and stuff to write a bit about life as a mom, toddlerhood, family stuff, life stuff, basically anything I feel like doing a little babbling about. If you just want box reviews, feel free to keep scrolling, they are down there!
*In addition, this post contains mentions of toddler bodily functions and the related wrath.
In our lives as parents, my husband and I have been extremely lucky on so many fronts, and I do not take that for granted. We have a healthy, sweet boy who will be two in April. And while I would never trade his general healthiness for any amount of sleep, we were lucky on that front, too. He has been a great sleeper most of his life, sleeping through the night beginning around eight weeks old, and, besides the occasional week here and there where a cold or upset tummy would wake him up, he has generally logged 11 straight hours a night. I have watched friends who struggled with colicky kids or kids who just aren’t good sleepers, and I felt genuinely bad for them, while in the same breath feeling so thankful for my solid eight hours every single night. What I didn’t realize is that I am now completely spoiled.
Enter the holiday hell of 2013. We left our home in Colorado to spend six days with my husband’s parents in the Bay area on Christmas afternoon. We got to their house after D’s bedtime on Christmas night, and he fell fast asleep in his travel crib right away, leaving us to sit upstairs having a glass of wine and settling in. We went to bed a couple of hours later.
We woke up around 1am California time to our son making unfamiliar noises. We both jumped up, and Mike scooped him out of his crib. Our baby had vomited. Not something he does often, but hey, we’d been on a plane and he’d had juice for the first time ever (a small, watered-down bribe on the flight). It was surely just a one-time thing.
Over the next few days, he would throw up about a gazillion times. Oh, and he would also poop his pants approximately a million times in various explosive manners. He would cover both of us in things we never expected to be covered in, including one incident that involved me getting in the shower partially clothed at midnight, a veritable double baptism that I consider to have fully initiated me into real parenthood. Throughout and because of all of these violent excretions, D woke up no less than five times a night. Every single night. We were away from our home, all three of us exhausted and sharing a bedroom that was now semi-rancid, sleeping on a futon, no diaper pail or changing table in sight. I do not remember being that tired when our son was a newborn; I couldn’t possibly have been. I shed many tears on that trip for various reasons, but mostly because I was broken by worry, running on absolute empty, and not even slightly in control.
Following a flight where we took turns holding our ticking time bomb of a toddler while he slept peacefully, we arrived home incident-free. We entered our house, greeted our dogs, perused a few holiday cards, and then watched and listened as our sweet, blue-eyed son filled his diaper and the leg of his pajamas and then walked directly to his changing table to request some new clothing and possibly a once-over with a power washer. We laughed at his perfect timing and felt so much relief at avoiding an airplane horror, and then we suffered again all night as he woke up every single hour.
His stomach bug ran its course, and he had one healthy morning and afternoon explosion-free. But that night he again woke up several times, this time with a steadier digestive system, but plagued with high fevers. The next day, the pediatrician told us to wait it out. That was five days ago, and our first night of more than five hours’ sleep was last night. He slept well, woke up at five ready to play, and seemed totally fine.
Then today, before I even knew what was happening, he was running a temperature of 103. I called the doctor, and she said to keep waiting it out.
I guess I’m not sure why I’m revealing all of this. Maybe it is to explain why I have been a little MIA for the past two weeks. Maybe it is to seek a little sympathy from the other moms out there (because seriously, holy hell). Maybe it is just to get it out of my system and try to sort out what to be insanely worried about versus what’s totally normal for a toddler with a virus. All I know is that there have been times throughout the last two years, including during my late pregnancy, when I have become acutely aware of why so many people (used to?) have children in their 20s instead of their late 30s, and this is one of those times. I’m tired and worried. I’m completely worn out, annoyed with the doctors who don’t seem to realize that my particular child is the most important center of the universe, and sore from constantly lugging around the sickly 26-pounder who normally insists on walking. But mostly, I am something I didn’t realize I was and apparently have been this entire time, and that is a real mom. Shit got real, (literally) but, even unemployed, slightly chubbier than my fighting weight, and covered in baby vomit shrapnel, I’m still the luckiest person in the world. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to slam this glass of wi–Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz