Monday, April 29, 2013

Daughter's sickness inspires freakout

My only moment of sanity this morning, courtesy of They Might Be Giants. Sorry for the not-completely still camera.

I fashion myself as a level-headed person. OK, so maybe I'm not rational all of the time, but I like to think I am. Or pretend I am. And isn't it the thought that counts? If it isn't, well that sure makes for a crummy Christmas.

Let's back up. Until I find a decent professional job, I get to do the best job ever: stay-at-home Dad. Allicia is working, and with today being her first day on the job, I felt like today was my first official day as a stay-at-home dad. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I wanted today to go absolutely perfect. But thoughts of perfection were thrown out the window on Sunday night, when Lucy started coming down with a fever, most likely due to teething. And since she didn't get any more than two hours of sleep at a time overnight, I knew today would be a long day.

I had no idea just how long.

First, she gets up at 5:45, when she normally wakes up around 6:30 or so. I take her downstairs and she doesn't want to eat anything more than a handful of cheerios. No oranges, despite oranges being her absolute favorite food at the moment. No juice. No eggs. Lucy only wanted milk, which wasn't going to make for a good day.

She dozed off for about 20 minutes in the morning, a quick nap that was planted right in the middle of bawling her head off. I know I'm far from the first parent who has ever dealt with this, but it just felt like there was nothing I could do to comfort her. Her diaper was clean. She had already taken her fever reducing medicine. She refused any offer of food or drink. I just had to wait it out and feel like the worst person ever. Here was this tiny being that depended on Daddy to make life great, and I couldn't give her that.

Eventually, she calmed down, enough to film this short clip of her dancing to They Might Be Giant's "Istanbul," but the joy of that alt-rock band was soon forgotten as my daughter remembered that fevers do indeed suck.

So we decided to take a bath. That calmed her down until she did something I've avoided for 14 months: Poop in the tub. Which made her cry because, hey, when you refuse liquids all day, constipation will rear it's ugly head. So we got out of the tub, I gave her more milk (not bright of me) and we tried nap time an hour early.

She wouldn't have any of it. Tired as she was, nap time was an evil thing to her, as she let me know at what must have been 90+ decibels. I had seen earlier that someone, a pediatric nurse no less, had recommended Pedialite to keep her from getting dehydrated. Despite my wife and sister saying she didn't need it earlier in the morning, I was a man possessed: I was going to get my Lucy some Pedialite.

Only I couldn't find it. The one thing I knew for sure would make her feel better, and I couldn't find it anywhere.

I lost my mind.

I searched every cabinet. Every drawer. Every room of the house with growing helplessness. "God, all I need is this Pedialite to help my daughter," I nearly screamed, voice cracking and fighting back tears of frustration. All I wanted to do was make my daughter feel good, and I couldn't even find medicine for her.

Giving up on my search, I went back into her room after 30 minutes of her screaming, rocked her, and she eventually took a one hour nap. When she woke up, she had the look of a dazed stoner at a Dave Matthews concert. Thankfully, my sister was around to make an amazing concoction for her. A greek yogurt smoothie with strawberry, banana and grape juice. Lucy gulped down the whole thing. As far as the Pedialite, it was in the trunk of the car, which Allicia had at work (she did get that ounce of Pedialite later).

Eventually, Lucy started to feel better this evening, and I do hope she sleeps through the night. I learned a lot on my first day as a temporary stay-at-home dad. I learned that you should use gloves when you wipe down a bathtub with bleach. I learned that you shouldn't keep medicine in the trunk of your car. I learned that music can soothe a crying baby, even if just temporary.

And I learned that its so easy to lose rational thinking even if you think you have it all together. I wish I had some spiritual lesson to take from this. Trusting in God? I dunno. I trusted him today somewhat, and things turned out ok, although constant prayer all morning probably would have helped.

It's easier said than done, but in the future, I should probably remain calm instead of slamming cabinet doors when I can't find something. God eventually helped me out today. My daughter didn't die, or even require a trip to the ER, so that's definitely something to be thankful for.

I think every parent is entitled to a freakout when it comes to their children, especially when they're sick and you can't comfort them. If I did this every day, then I'd call into question my parenting sanity, but for a first day on the job? Eh, it could have been better. It could have been much worse as well.

Oh, and I should be thankful for They Might Be Giants, for providing my only moment of sanity today. Thank God the Backyardigans aren't my only friends.


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