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Nov 18 2011

When Mom Is Too Sick To Be Mom

By at 11:33 am

My daughter makes fun of my inhaler!

For the past few weeks, I have been battling bronchitis. If the incessant coughing weren’t enough, I have developed tendinitis of the ribs because of it. The first wave of medicine abated but didn’t cure it. Now I am on two inhalers and a codeine pill to sleep at night. But my daughter doesn’t care about any of that.

Case in point: Ellie wanted me to carry her for 90 minutes straight at the zoo today. Somehow, my explanation didn’t fly. I can’t imagine what she didn’t get about, “Mommy has an ouch that makes it feel like 10 zillion knives are stabbing me in the chest and back every time I breathe, so it would be really great if you could walk just a little bit.” To add insult to injury, she thinks it’s hilarious when I take puffs off the inhalers.

My editors and my managers at the gyms where I teach group cycling classes understand that I’ve been under the weather. But my toughest boss, Ellie, is having none of it.

So how do you mother when it feels like 10 zillion knives are stabbing you in the chest and back every time you breathe? How do you get it across to an almost-2-year-old that Mommy needs a time out?

The answers I have come up with are two-fold. One the American Academy of Pediatrics wouldn’t like, but the other balances it out. First, I let Ellie watch TV. No, not “Law & Order” or “Sex & the City” reruns. She loves “Yo Gabba Gabba” and “Sesame Street” so instead of watching just some clips, I confess to letting her watch a full episode or two, as prescribed by my pain level. I sit and watch with her and we interact about what’s going on, but I don’t have to chase her around or carry her anywhere, and the less physical I have to be, the less I cough. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 27 2011

Babies Ruin Everything

By at 12:42 pm

...this is what we got.

This is what we imagined...

It’s become our motto. It’s catchy, it’s funny, and it’s true. It’s also a great way to tell if I’m talking to a parent or not. If I casually mention that babies ruin everything, and they look back at me in horror, disgust, and judgment, I can assume they’ve never had a baby spit up on their new sweater or a toddler throw a soul-crushing tantrum in the middle of the restaurant.

Say the same thing to a parent, though, and he or she will smile and nod and quickly regale you with stories about double ear infections and cancelled vacations.

Canceled vacations. Ouch. That one hits a little close to home. Josh and I were supposed to take the girls to Barbados a couple of weeks ago to visit their great-grandparents. After a long day of packing and sorting and counting diapers (somehow, no matter how many you have, it never seems like enough), we finally climbed into bed only a few hours before we needed to head out to the airport. That’s when the barking began.

We don’t have a dog. It was our toddler. It was croup. It was bad. It’s agonizing listening to your child cough, but we had learned through many, many painful nights and a variety of failed interventions that we just need to leave her alone. But croup can mean more than just a bad cough, it can mean a baby that can’t breathe. Croup has given us two trips to the ER (one for each girl) and one hospital admission for my younger daughter when she was 4 months old. Croup scares me.

And that is how I found myself on the phone with a clinic in Barbados the next morning. “Croup. C-R-O-U-P. No, it’s not asthma. It’s an inflammation of the vocal chords…” When I found myself describing the treatment, I knew our trip was doomed.

We hemmed. We hawed. We tried to tell ourselves it would be ok. In all likelihood, it would have been. But an island paradise becomes a lot less appealing when your baby is gasping for air and you’re an ocean away from the pediatric emergency room that has become all too familiar. We called our parents. We called my grandparents on the island. I kept hoping one of them would tell me to calm down and stop being such a Nervous Nelly, that it would be fine. But they all agreed that we had made the right decision not to go.

Well, shit.

Instead of flying off to the sun and sand, we spent the morning canceling reservations. We took the girls to Ikea and tried to ease our sadness with $3 pasta. (The damn Swedish meatballs have pork in them. Being Jewish ruins everything.)

And now, here we are, heading into yet another major snowstorm with no sunny memories or sandy suitcases to gird us through the long winter. I’m trying to put a positive spin on this, but the truth is, Babies Ruin Everything.


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