So last week at 5:30am I am woken up by LTD announcing that he has thrown up. A statement when heard makes a person wake up quick. This led to a day of off and on vomiting which led to a day of off and on laundry. Thankfully, the bug wore off by late afternoon and the boy was on crackers and naps. On a side note, you really feel like a parent when your exhausted son wants a hug and even though he is pretty much covered in puke you hug him anyway instead of recoiling in disgust. However, in the middle of turning the house into the chunderdome LTD did have one brief moment of insight he wanted to share with us. He explained, “I found a new trick, if you feel like you have to throw up you can just do it in your mouth.” At least he is ready for college.
So the family had an interesting Saturday night. For the first time in almost three years LTD threw up. Here’s what happened. The little guy had a lot of blueberries for breakfast along with a few silver dollar pancakes. At this point all is normal. However, throughout the day he was acting a little tired and didn’t want to eat anything else for snack or lunch. As we were snowed in, we chalked it up to cabin fever, but it turns out it wasn’t that illness but some sort of stomach bug. Around five, LTD announced his head hurt and he wanted to go to bed. The Mommy gave him some Tylenol (cherry dye liquid) while I was holding him. About two seconds after swallowing the syrupy medicine he revisited it. He pretty much covered his pajamas, but amazingly missed my light blue brand new sweater. Pop quiz what is one of the best things to throw up if you want everything to stain? Correct, blueberries.
We thought he might not have actually thrown up but merely spit back up the gross Tylenol so we put him to bed and all was fine. Fine that is until a half hour later when we went to check on him to find his bed covered in blueberry flavor puddles. While The Mommy applied stain remover and remade the bed, I taught the little guy how to pray to the porcelain god. The incredible part of the whole ordeal was that LTD never cried and handled the whole thing with dignity. I spent the night in his room dealing with false alarms every time he coughed, but all was clear and he was able to sleep even if I wasn’t. What is my point in telling this gross story? This is my point and this is true. When we picked him up out of his sick covered bed, he looked at us and said, “I have a throw up mustache.” I swear to you that actually happened.
LTD got a cold right before the holiday’s and while it wasn’t horrible it came on as we were about to travel for the holidays, so I took him to the doctor fearing Murphy’s Law would show up and he would get worse on Xmas eve. I was also concerned because every time I take him into preschool there is a sign up saying that they have one confirmed case of ‘fill in the blank’ communicable disease. The good news was that the doc said it was indeed just a cold. Well, that just a cold made the holidays pretty tough for all those near the little guy but we powered through and got back to normal. Not more than a week later, the boy starts coughing again.
We didn’t think much of it cause it was just a cough and The Mommy and I knew he just got over a cold. Flash forward a few days and the cough is still making sleep difficult and so I take him in to see the doc again (thank you walk in hours) and after a check of his ears and chest the verdict is once again just a cold. I of course wondered out loud to the doc how he could possibly get a cold so soon after having one. Without missing a beat she replied, well he’s in preschool. So there you have it. Preschool equals Petri dish. The silver lining is that she also mentioned that all these colds now will steel his immune system for later in life making him not unlike the Six Million Dollar Man, better, stronger, faster.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know all to well, LTD is not in daycare. His lack of exposure to other kids on a daily basis has resulted in him never really being sick. The streak is over. Or I should say, the streak of him not getting a cold is over and the streak of stuff coming out of his nose has begun. Thankfully, this all happened a few weeks ago and now that he has recovered I am able to speak about the traumatic things I’ve seen for the first time.
The first sign of trouble was when LTD started have coughing fits, sounding hoarse and running a slight fever. He was also not exhibiting good behavioral control like he normally does. It was clear to The Mommy and me that he was not feeling 100 percent. Thanks to our awesome pediatrician’s office having walk in hours, I took the little guy in for a quick check up. We didn’t wait all that long and after listening in the doc determined that it was either croup (or as I call it kennel cough) or a cold, but nothing serious. He told me to watch and see for the next day to see what developed. Well, it turns out he did in fact have a cold as his cough went away and the mucous started. LTD soon looked liked every sick baby cliché in the book. We are talking gross. The doc told us to use Tylenol for the fever, engage the cool air humidifier and use the steam from a shower if necessary. Unfortunately, the cold’s symptoms and discomforted seemed to mostly manifest itself during the night which made for some tired days. All in all it could have been worse with LTD feeling better after a few days even if his nose ran like it was getting paid to make mucous. The Mommy and I have survived the first real cold and assume the little guy won’t get one again.
At LTD’s one year doctor’s visit, the Pediatrician asked us if we had any questions or concerns. The Mommy and I looked at each other and then at the doctor saying, ‘yeah, what’s with his belly button?” We had noticed a few weeks before our visit that sometimes it looked like LTD had an outie belly button and other times it looked inward. Turns out the little guy has what is known as an umbilical hernia. The doc wasn’t concerned at all, he told us that when LTD has just eaten it would pop out. Also, if he was very angry and crying a lot it would really pop out Hulk style. He informed us that the hernia’s usually close up on their own and if they don’t, they wouldn’t do anything about it until the little guy was between four and five years old. He explained they never put a child under anesthesia unless absolutely necessary and the umbilical hernia in most cases goes away on it’s own. However, he did mention that if whenever we press on it, it was hard and he screamed then we should bring him in to have a look. So far LTD doesn’t seem to be bothered with it, so we aren’t either. In fact, I use it like a mood ring, when it pops out I know the kid is not happy.
We are deep into the winter months and as the storms grow fiercer so does LTD’s nasal congestion. Yes, I speak of the dreaded runny nose. Since Beyond the Car Seat is a family publication, I will refrain from using the words, snot or booger and instead go with the correct medical term of mucous. When I speak of the runny nose I am referring to only half of the problem. There are times when the little guy’s nose isn’t runny, but standing still. If you want to hear a baby scream try wiping his nose when it has dried mucous in it. The more I write about this the more I think it is gross, so I will just finish with this. The Mommy and I have to tag team LTD in order to use the saline drops on him because the combination of his hands flying everywhere and his head whipping back and forth make it a two-person job. I mean we are trying to help him clear his nasal passages and he acts like we’re water boarding him.
The Official winter season is soon upon us and the combination of the cold air outside and the hot air inside is doing a number on LTD’s fair skin. Thanks to The Mommy’s Scandinavian heritage, the little guy has the skin of a blonde haired blue eyed Swedish architect. His dry skin has led to a rash, which is basically Eczema. In some patches it’s pretty rough, but in others it just looks dry and red, thankfully it’s only on his torso and back. The doctor gave us some very helpful advice. She told us to use only cotton clothes on the lads skin and that we should limit the frequency of his bathes.
In terms of treatment, the doctor told us to coat him in Vaseline or Aquaphor and leave it on to air dry for five minutes. We started using Aquaphor because it is a little less greasy than Vaseline. When the time is up, we coat him in a layer of baby lotion, our choice is calendula cream by California Baby. She told us that we could use hydrocortisone on the really rough patches, but never on his face because it could lighten his skin and that would be very uncool. Lastly, she mentioned that if it stayed that bad for the next four or five days we should see her again to get a stronger and possibly prescription lotion, ointment or salve. Of course, thanks to The Mommy’s hard work providing the spa treatments, his skin mostly cleared up and I think we shall all survive the harsh winter ahead.
Before we had a baby I can’t remember the last time I used a thermometer at home. I can tell you it was glass and had some tasty mercury inside. Not anymore, it turns out mercury is dangerous (thank you Jeremy Piven). All the new thermometers are digital and guess what, they stink. They aren’t very expensive, so after I couldn’t get the first one to work, I bought two different brands. The good news is that you have to use them rectally and who doesn’t enjoy that? Another good thing is that they only take a few seconds to read the temperature. Now the less good news, they all read different temperatures and no of them has ever been 98.6 degrees.
I shared my frustration with our doctor who explained that we don’t really stay at 98.6 and that it is a rough guideline. He suggested that not only we take the temperature a few times, but that we would basically be able to tell when if he was sick and had signs of a fever. So far, we think, LTD has never had a fever so we shall see if I can get the thermometer to work by the time I really need it.
A reader wrote in and asked for additional thoughts on the subject of germs and babies. It is no secret that hospitals are the best places to pick up germs. If you ever need proof of this, watch how long a doctor will actually stay in the hospital when they have to have an operation. However, it’s not like you can avoid going to the doctor’s office and in this case the benefits outweigh the risks. For babies, germs present the biggest challenge during the first two months of life. Our pediatrician warned us that a fever at that age was very serious. He said that during the first two months dealing with a baby that has a fever was basically veterinary medicine. There is no way for the baby to indicate or show what is wrong, so the medical staff, in some cases, will admit the baby to the hospital and conduct a battery of blood tests. As the baby gets older, it becomes easier to diagnosis what is causing them distress, for instance a baby may pull on his ear when she has an earache.
The other big no-no during the first few months is taking the baby out in crowded places. Baby shouldn’t go to the mall or supermarket. A new parent should embrace this restriction because when you are on no sleep the last place you should be is the mall parking lot. When people visit a new baby they should avoid kissing or touching his face and always use lots of Purell. Another trick I learned for when young children want to see the baby is to let them play with the baby’s feet. We were fortunate that LTD never had a fever during the first few months especially since finding a good thermometer is not even a little bit easy, but alas that is a tale for another time.
Here’s something fun, a summer cold. Last week, I had to go to the pediatrician’s office twice. Once for LTD’s two month check up and once for the Daddy/Baby part of The Mommy’s new mommy class. What does two visits to the pediatrician’s office do to the human body? Easy, it makes it sick. There is no greater incubator of germs than the baby doctor’s office. I went in healthy and came out feeling like bomb went off in my head. If you have ever wondered if it is fun to change a diaper at 4am when sick, I have the answer. It is not fun.
The only good news is that so far The Mommy and LTD haven’t contracted my plague-like illness. The baby book claims that babies really don’t get sick all that much from my sneezing and coughing, they get sick from the germs on my hands. So armed with that information my digits are constantly coated with Purell. If LTD does get my cold, a doctor told me that the more they get sick when they are young the better their immune systems will be later, so we got that going for us, which is nice.