I think, providing whichever deity is responsible for toddler sickness doesn't read this and smite me for my hubris (probably a Greek one, those gods were bastards), that we are getting better over here. It's been a scary, scary week for me. It started with a little cough last week and progressed into violent hacking, 103+ fevers, and all sorts of digestive pyrotechnics. I learned a few things:
1. True love is hugging and cuddling your kid even though she's got salsa-and-ice-cream puke in her hair.
2. Front-load washers really suck at getting bodily fluids out of bed linens. Especially white duvet covers.
3. I really need to find a pediatrician who will take me seriously.
My vivacious and chatty little girl turned, over the course of two days, into a sunken-eyed, hollow-cheeked child who was too weak to even sit up and play puzzles. I pestered the doctor about the fact that Piper was exhibiting signs of extreme dehydration, but got the same "it's a virus, it'll pass" response I get to everything. Even when Piper lost over a pound in two days, I was brushed off. I was freaked, because for a kid who only weighed 29 lbs to begin with, that's a pretty big loss. She wasn't eating, she wasn't drinking. I had to sit with her in bathtubs full of cool water and pump her full of ibuprofen to keep the fever at a reasonable level. All she could do was lay on the couch glassy-eyed and watch cartoons or listen to stories. I was freaking the hell out. I followed all the instructions I was given to the letter, trying to coax her into drinking Pedialyte or eating crackers, bananas and rice. I kept weighing her and so far she's lost about 3 lbs, 10% of her body weight. I ran her into the pediatrician's office both last Friday and again on Monday, making the 40-minutes-each-way drive only to be told that it was no big deal, not to give her too much medicine (I got yelled at Monday for giving the antibiotic the doctor had prescribed during the Friday visit) and not to let her have any juice. I ground my teeth and tried not to panic as my baby got sicker and sicker.
Finally, on Wednesday, I couldn't take it any more and when, on the way back from a grocery run, she asked to have "chicken and fries" for lunch, we hit a drive-through (like I needed an excuse to get Chick-Fil-A). She ate more at that meal than she had in the past five days put together, and I started to feel a little less anxious.
She was well enough yesterday for a quick trip to the big children's library (I was looking for a book they had weeded out, so I could buy it, but no luck) and a treat from the French bakery. I am letting her watch just a little more TV right now, and then I'm shutting the damned thing off. She has watched more TV in the past week than in the past six months, and I suspect there's going to be some withdrawal. I did get to introduce her to a couple new things (I love Kipper, but four hours in a row is enough), like:
- The Last Unicorn, a beloved movie from my childhood. She loved it and now asks to watch "the beaunicorn one" every other day.
- Shaun the Sheep, which was new to me too. I adore Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Aardman Studios*, so I thought we'd give it a shot. It totally cracks me up, and I love that the sheep are always using their brains and cunning to solve problems.
- Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It's silly and ridiculous and features Bette Midler camping it up like only Bette can. The storyline is still a little bit over my 3-year-old's head, but she enjoys screechy witches on brooms as much as anyone.
I realized this week that once again, my Fall is whizzing away. How is it almost Halloween? We haven't done a single fun Fall thing yet. No hikes, no apple-picking, no cider doughnuts. No pies, no vats of homemade applesauce. I made pumpkin bread, apple-pumpkin muffins, and sweet-potato chilli, but that's been it. We have scheduled a visit to the pumpkin patch Sunday morning. I am trying to work on knitting, but I just can't settle down and get to it. I feel like the summer dragged on forever, and now my favorite months will be over before I can blink. I think it's because October is so warm here (still 80+ most days), I just don't realize what's going on until it's almost over. The leaves have barely started falling from the trees. Yesterday Piper was feeling well enough to play outside for a while, and I attempted to rake up a leaf pile for her and her little neighborhood friend to jump in. The result was pretty pathetic, even though I raked up everything I could find from our front and decent-sized back yards, and a little from the neighbor's yard as well.
*When my siblings and I were kids, my dad used to watch the Angry Kid cartoons with us and he laughed just as hard as we did. Now that I'm older, I understand why he laughed so hard. I totally love the geniuses at Aardman, because the same is true of Shaun the Sheep. Piper and I laugh in the same spots, sometimes for completely different reasons. The original Creature Comforts was much funnier than Creature Comforts America, though.