A case of the Mondays

Yesterday started with my son biting down upon my nipple hard enough to bruise it. In his sleep, so I can’t blame him. Lest you think 4 a.m. could not hurt more…it can.

That’s not the kind of thing you go back to sleep after. And with the way it makes you scream, nobody else is getting any more sleep, either.

Both kids are sick, so it was not an easy morning. Anya’s is mild – low fever, sinus drainage, a little cough. Kai’s stuffy and wheezing. A higher, stubborn fever. A few times, he’s coughed so hard he threw up.

The bad thing is that, due to the biting incident, I couldn’t nurse him. I in fact had to slather my nipple with nipple butter and tape gauze over it (with Monster High bandaids, so now I have a parentheses-shaped rash around my nipple) to make the pain somewhat bearable. I let him try to nurse on Slacker Boob, but nothing really comes out of it anymore. I gave him a bottle of cow’s milk. He chewed on it.

I tried, and failed, to get Anya to eat breakfast. She wanted a cupcake. I settled for trail mix with M&Ms. She just ate the M&Ms.

After some crossed wires, I made an appointment for Kai to see the doctor. Anya had an orthopedist appointment yesterday afternoon, but Kai’s appointment was early enough that we could eat lunch in between. I had to cancel a meeting with a client, but otherwise it was no big deal. I figured we’d hit Target on the way home and pick up the stuff we were running low on. It was a full day, but a doable day. NBD.

What was a big deal was getting Kai dressed and into the car. After a bit of a struggle, which arose because he wanted to nurse to sleep and I couldn’t let him, he’d been napping peacefully. I had to manhandle him into the car seat. I always feel like a shit when I have to do stuff like that.

I forgot that a railroad crossing on our normal route was closed. I had to turn around and drive miles out of my way to get to the doctor. Anya, trusting soul that she is, spent those 30 minutes grilling me about whether I really knew where I was going, or if I was in fact lost. “Close your eyes for a minute,” I finally told her. “I don’t want to,” she replied.

Predictably, Kai threw a fit when I tried to put him in the stroller at the doctor’s office. But I was prepared with suckers for both kids. I’ve become the kind of mother who bribes her children with candy at 10 in the morning. I am not proud of this fact.

Kai’s tests for RSV and flu were negative, but because of the wheezing they checked his pulse oxygen. It was a bit low, so they gave him a breathing treatment.Which you would think, by the way he carried on, was acid steam. It took me and the pediatrician together to hold him down and administer the treatment. The nasal swab was less trouble. Together with Anya, we sang to him. He shrieked at us. For five solid minutes.

Afterwards, I asked the doctor about Anya’s itchy butt. She explained to me how to check for pinworms.

The doctor sent us to the hospital for chest x-rays to rule out pneumonia. The receptionist there was utterly befuddled by Kai’s last name. The kids’ last name is mine and R’s names together. R’s last name can also be used as a first name. So we had a rousing game of “who’s on first” trying to sort that out. I was so tired at this point that I slipped and called her “honey.” I am not a honey-baby-sugar kind of person with anyone but my kids. It doesn’t go over so well when you don’t have a Southern accent, apparently.

I was given a hospital bracelet for Kai. It listed his last name as one word, not even hyphenated. So my communication skills were apparently on point. Or maybe their computer system is just dumb.

The way they take x-rays of toddlers is to bodily restrain them in a plastic cocoon. He stopped howling at this point, and merely cried silently. I’d rather he screamed. The x-ray tech gave both kids suckers, with my blessing. Yes, they’d already had a sucker apiece; in fact, pretty much all they’d eaten that day was candy. I was too frazzled to care.

We had a little time to kill before Anya’s appointment, but not enough to eat. I drove to Starbucks. The line was four cars long; it moved swiftly, but Anya still complained the entire time about the wait. The child hasn’t got a patient bone in her body. I ordered a mocha and ordered Anya a frappucino. I know now that they make decaf fraps. I didn’t even bother with that; I couldn’t handle any more grousing from her by this point. She demanded pastries. I promised her Panera after we finished at the orthopedist.

In the waiting room of the orthopedist, she straight up walked away from me, into a room I’d explicitly told her to stay out of. She’s a “ask forgiveness, not permission” kinda girl. I did not blow up at her, but it took everything I had not to.

The nurse gave me the option of letting them remove the cast, x-ray her arm, then putting a new cast on, or just letting it go another 10 days. After the shrieking my day had already entailed, I told her to leave the cast. Unfortunately this conversation took place in front of Anya, so I still heard about it.

Kai had had enough of cars by this point, and not even a sucker could derail his hissy fit when I went to put him back in the car. (The sucker I gave him while we waited for Anya to finish her x-rays made 3. Even suckers lose their charm after a while.) He kicked out at me just as I was closing the car door; while his leg wasn’t long enough to get shut in the door, I did pinch his toes between the door and the car seat. If I were to cry, that’d have been the point at which I’d have done it. But I held myself together.

I told Anya no Panera; I couldn’t force Kai into the car seat one more time. Instead, I stopped in a park on the way home and ordered Subway, then picked it up in the drive-through. How people parented before smartphones and the internet is beyond me.

I forgot about the railroad crossing a second time. But the kids had fallen asleep, so I relished those extra moments of quiet. I knew the minute we got home, they’d be on me like a litter of puppies. It was a good thing they were asleep, actually. Because we were approaching the witching hour at which self-centered, entitled white guys turn into raging assholes behind the wheel. And I, for a brief window of time, completely lost control of both my mouth and my middle finger. I even honked at one guy. I am not a honker. I am deeply grateful that my daughter was not awake to witness this lapse, because that’s precisely the sort of behavior she would emulate in front of her teachers and grandparents.

After we ate dinner, I tried to nurse Kai, as I was beyond engorged at this point. He was too afraid to nurse. I’d conveyed the message that he’d hurt me that morning a little too clearly; he was terrified he would hurt me again. I pumped half the milk out and tried again, and he was able to take it from there.

At her insistence, I gave the pumped milk to Anya. For all of her jealousy at not being allowed to nurse, her wheedling for me to pump some milk for her, her swearing that my milk is the best milk in the world…she didn’t actually end up drinking the milk.

I let them destroy the living room while I looked at clothes online. The doctor called; Kai doesn’t have pneumonia. Asthma is a possibility, but it’s too soon to tell yet.

Their dad came home, and they attacked him as only sugar-rushing kids can. I went to get Kai’s prescription, and afterward drove around for a few minutes with the music turned up to levels I haven’t employed since high school. It helped, a little.

Kai’s medicine is an inhaler. With a spacer — a face mask. So I also bought some chocolate, for him and me. And Anya and Daddy, because I am not a total meanie head.

After all the sugar and caffeine the day had involved, nobody wanted to sleep. Anya finally conked out about 10:30. I watched TWD, then checked her for pinworms. I didn’t find any.

I nursed Kai to sleep while watching Once Upon a Time. I finally zonked somewhere around 1.

Today dawned cold, overcast, and far too early, but thus far I haven’t been bitten today. So it’s already better than yesterday.



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