Sunday, April 24, 2011

The sick that wasn't

People told us that kids get sick a lot when they start day care, and oh boy did they understate the case. Viral infections. Ear infections. Stomach viruses. Strange unidentifiable illnesses that vanish after lasting just long enough for you to yank them out of school and haul them to the doctor. I feel like I should prerecord myself saying, "Kiddo/kiddette is sick and DH took them to the doctor, so I need to leave early to pick up kiddette/kiddo from school," and just hit "play" whenever I need to inform my boss. Saves wear and tear on the vocal cords.

So this time around, we'd just gotten kiddette in for a follow-up visit after her ear infection -- all looked much improved, but he said to keep tabs on it -- when kiddo developed his own ear infection two days later. A round of drugs for kiddo. That evening, kiddette started fussing and crying, generally acting in pain, slight fever, refusing food, and we both thought, the ear infection returns. Arrgh. I called the pediatrician, but by the time he got around to calling back, I was halfway to the ER, because it was Good Friday and we were not going to wait out a holiday weekend on the off chance her ear really was worse. Naturally, she fell asleep in the car. Which probably should've clued me in right there, in retrospect.

Fortunately the ER wasn't packed, and they have a separate sitting area for kids, which we spent zero time in anyway. I guess they didn't want to keep the small child waiting. So the doctor -- who I think might've left his bedside manner in the pocket of his other white coat -- came in and checked her over, declaring her ears looked fine and it was probably a viral infection. Duh on me. So, looking at me like I was a crazy person to panic over my kid having the sniffles, he told me to give her 130 ml of ibuprofen. And left.

While waiting for the discharge papers -- yes, apparently we needed some, and no, they didn't say THANKS FOR WASTING OUR TIME, YOU NUMBSKULL -- I checked with DH, who noted that our bottle of kiddie ibuprofen measured in mg, not ml. So I asked the nurse about that when she bustled back in with the paperwork.

A note about the nurse. I don't know if she was on loan from the grownup ER, or if she just does the kiddie ER thing on her way up to becoming chief of surgery or whatever, but seriously, if you're going to treat ill children you should have some sort of way with them. Shooting up your voice 15 octaves and talking in exclamation points does not cut it. Don't get all cutesy-poo about how adorable my kid's pink coat is. She knows. But she doesn't know you, and no power on this planet is going to make her crack a smile for you unless and until she decides you're cool by her. And why are you trying to get a smile out of a presumably ill and unhappy child, anyway? Where do you think you are, the playground?

Anyway. She bustled in and I asked her about the mg/ml thing. She seemed startled that I was talking, because clearly that's not how discharges are supposed to go. But then after hemming and hawing about it, she said mg and ml are the same thing. And that 5 ml equals one teaspoon. Thus having explained the math for us, she went back to her prerecorded discharge speech, collected my signature and left.

So I got kiddette home, and we looked at the label for the ibuprofen again and realized the amount the doctor had said to give her would've been about 15 times the amount you'd give a 2-year-old. So either he gave me the wrong number, ml and mg are completely not the same thing or the kiddie ibuprofen they use in hospitals isn't the same as what you buy at CVS. (A quick Googling tells me the answer is #2. Also, that you can't convert one to the other because milligrams are mass and milliliters are volume.) We gave her half the amount of the dosage for a 2-year-old -- that's half a teaspoon -- put her to bed and hoped for the best.

She seemed, of course, completely the usual the next morning, except her fever was still a little high. We even made our family playdate, since the other kids' parents figured, if our daughter was going to infect their son -- her classmate -- she would've done it already. And a fine time was had by all.

And then the mom made the most obvious point in the world: "You know, she could just be teething."

Why yes. Yes she could. Since she's had a couple teeth coming. And her behavior tracked much more with a teething episode than with an ear infection (no tugging on the ears, for instance).

Seriously, next time before I call the doctor, I'm just going to call all the moms I know and see what they think. It'll save me some angst.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Socializing, 2.0

Mixing and mingling and small talk have never exactly been my thing, since I'm the introverted type who won't open her mouth without having something specific to say, and since my extra-low voice won't carry in large groups. I'm pretty sure both of my kids could out-shout me at this point. Not that I'm telling them that.

But I realize I have to step it up a little and be more social, being that we live in a new area where we don't know people, and being that the kids our kids are in school (day care) with are probably the ones they'll be going through kindergarten/first grade/etc. with, so now would be a good idea to make friends with them. Which, I've realized, at least partially depends on me making friends with the other moms. Because 21st century/changing gender norms/more involved dads doesn't mean jack when it comes to preschool world. Moms still rule.

So I've actually been pretty eager to go to all the birthday parties kiddo gets invited to, even if I'm not sure he actually plays with or likes the birthday child in question, because he gets used to hanging around the other kids and I hang around the moms (and the occasional dad).

It's been going fairly well. The other parents seem nice. Although I hate to admit to them that I think of them as "Soandso's mom" or "Suchandsuch's dad" because I still don't know their first names. I so, so hope they're doing the same thing with me.

The real test, I figured, was kiddo's own birthday. Would any of his classmates show? Would it go well? Would my goodie bags stack up to the other goodie bags (because man, do these things get elaborate)? Would the parents be happy or annoyed if we didn't serve pizza?

The answers were yes, yes, I think so -- judging by the gleeful shouts as the kids peeked inside -- and happy, I think, since a fair number of bagels got eaten and the cream cheese was entirely devoured.

It was kind of a funny mix of classmates, one or two younger siblings of classmates, friends of ours and their kids, and assorted family members. The kids were instantly entertained because it was at a kiddie play place and they were let loose to run around and climb and lob balls at each other in the ball pit. These places are the best. The first time we went to a kiddie birthday party at one of these places, we thought, an hour and a half party? What a rip! But now we are older and wiser and know that that is the perfect length of time for a small child's party, so parents can get their kids up and out before they get too whiny or bored or before the sugar crash sets in. Besides, you don't have to clean anything up. Bonus.

So the kids are running around and it occurs to me, as the de facto hostess of this shindig, I should "mingle." I don't think I ever passed Mingling 101 but I think I performed adequately. I talked to one group of moms about the upcoming parent-teacher conferences, I checked in with our friends and their kids, I talked to a few other moms. I made jokes. Really, it was like I was social or something.

Most embarrassing moment: Being five minutes late to our own party. It takes forfreakingever to get everyone out of the house on a normal day. When you're also toting a very large cake, a bag of goodie bags, bagels, Goldfish and fresh fruit? Forget it. And that was with the grandparents helping.

Most adorable moment: When kiddo's bestest buddy from school waited outside the play room for us because he refused to go anywhere until he had personally handed me kiddo's gift.

Most secretly hilarious moment: When one of kiddo's girl buddies was in the ball pit with him, and they were climbing up onto the ledge on the side and jumping into the balls. I guess he was taking too long, because she shoved him right off the side and then jumped in after him. Oh, he is going to be ruled by girls. I can see it now.

Most idiotic thing I could possibly have done: Giving them noisemakers. I have no idea what I was thinking. Because of course the girls working the party put one out at each plate, and as soon as the kids came into the food room and saw them, the room was filled with HONK HONK HONK for the rest of the party. "What did you do?" one mom mouthed to me. "I'm so sorry," I mouthed back. You'd think they would've eased up once they started eating, but you'd be wrong. (C, dryly: "I understand the geese are migrating early this year." Heh.) One little girl actually started crying, and I thought, oh great. The noise hurts her ears. Then her mom came over and explained she was upset because her noisemaker didn't work, and did I have any more? I didn't think so, but checked again and indeed yes. I gave it to the girl and all the moms around her applauded so she would stop crying.

I even apologized to a couple of the moms individually about the noisemakers, but they said, eh, don't worry about it. We'll "accidentally" lose it on the way home. Resourceful!

So now I just have to write a bunch of thank you notes for the lifetime's worth of Matchbox and Hot Wheels kiddo is now the proud owner of, and then moving on.

Well, sort of. We have another birthday party next weekend.