Saturday, February 21, 2004


Even worse. The baby threw up again around 2 AM.

7:00 PM recap:
...Last night there was little or no sleep for my wife, and the same applied for me. I had just retreated to the couch at around 1:48 AM, when the baby woke for a feeding. My thinking, as I drifted off to sleep, was that when you have ALS, you really do not want to get a vomiting/diarrhea combo that zaps your will to live for two or three days, during which time your muscles and nerves decay. Really.

That was when the baby threw up. I went upstairs and helped cope. The baby was chipper and happy, actually blew me a kiss with flecks of spat-up mama-milk still on her cheek. I stripped the bed and put the mattress cover into the laundry machine. The water-resistant 'shammy' that my wife usually puts down under her was by coincidence not deployed. But fortunately the mattress itself had no puke on it. We got lucky. Parenting is a lot like flying the space shuttle.

So then I tossed some new sheets on the bed and, in the interest of self-preservation, ate a banana and went back to the couch while my wife endured getting the baby back to sleep, and the endless round of wake-ups.

Really, my sister is a gift, because she came over this morning and played with our son while my wife coped with the baby and then napped.

In the afternoon my wife took the baby to the urgent care room at the local hospital. My son and I ate lunch and played. He was in a good mood. I read him Pooh stories and put him to nap. Then I napped. He got two hours and I think I got one. My whole soma cried out in protest when he woke up and woke me up with the usual protests about whatever was handy. I did NOT want to wake.

The rest of the day was miserable and then guess what? We got to take care of four kids at once! We had done an exchange with friends on Valentines Day, in which they watched our kids. Tonight, of all nights, was the payback.

Actually, I myself got to take care of three kids. Under my wife's instructions, I made the dinner. I put Tylenol into the baby, and then my wife nursed her. The plan was to get her calm enough to take the antibiotic which she had spat back earlier. She has been too upset to eat or drink, except to nurse. But she needs more than breast milk now. Kids will fight hardest against whatever they need most, whatever will make them most comfortable. Anyone who has tried to put a diaper on a baby who wants the diaper change to be over now will understand the irony.

So I coaxed/coerced the antibiotic into her and then my wife took her upstairs to put her to bed, because she was exhausted. That left we with an 18-month old, and two four-year-olds. The youngest one has a trait of inadvertently breathing or spitting into your mouth or nostrils with surprising accuracy from long distances. He's the one who gave our daughter the stomach flu. I must have washed my hands 20 times. Then, after all the chaos of dinner (with me grabbing bit of food while passing in and out of the kitchen), I was the only man standing to get the baby into his pajamas. Guess what? He had a poopy diaper, which I discovered to my surprise. The wipes in his diaper bag were as dry as sandpaper. I used one from ours. I got him into his pajamas. I am an enormous hero. Then I coaxed the two four-year-olds to put on their own pajamas. This, they did admirably.

The baby is asleep, and the other kids have been picked up. My wife and I (and the poor baby) have endured a full week of interrupted sleep. Let us fervently hope that tonight things begin to change.
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