Tuesday, April 12, 2011


*WARNING* This is a stream-of-consciousness post. Not for those who prefer editing or organization or logic. /warning


This post was supposed to be all about rainbows and butterflies as I carried on about how wonderful good health, spring, and relocation have served us over the last few weeks. And in a turn of I-couldn’t-have-made-it-up-if-I-tried luck, we wound up sick. Again.




I literally left class on Tuesday, bouncy and relieved. The semester’s last hurdle was over, the sun was out, and I had been breathing well for two whole weeks. The good fortune! And when I picked up Amelia from school, she had green stuff coming out of her nose and eyes. EYES. Green solid shit coming out of the babychild’s EYES, I tell you. Every frantic interweb search declared that any such nonsense needed doctor attention immediately. Lovely! Okay, I figured an allergy attack of some sort. Treatable. NOT contagious. And then she woke up the next morning with swollen, oozy, red eyes. Good morning Pink Eye.


Still, the ignorant optimist inside thought, ‘hey all kids get pink eye. It’s nasty, but just some stupid eye thing. No big. You can do this.’

You’d think by now that idiot optimist would just shrivel up and die. Or at least shut the eff up once in a while, just out of repeated failure.

At the doctor’s office, we discovered that the doctor didn’t really know what was going on except that obviously Amelia had an infection in her eye that needed drops. Oh and here’s some nasal spray too in case the runny nose is from allergies. Again. No Prob. She’ll be better in 2-5 days and completely cleared for school in 24 hours. Sweet. Totally doable.  And then the hives appeared. And the fever. And I started feeling sick too. Two calls to the Advice Nurse, one call to her doctor, and another trip to Urgent Care later and it was clear that Amelia was having an allergic reaction to something that nobody wanted to attribute to the meds, but that was clearly from the MEDS. At the UC, it was determined that she’d caught a virus that had affected her eyes in addition to just making her sick. You know, a virus. Something that mom can catch too.


Swollen puffy eyes.

pink eye


Hives. They started like this and then covered her from head to toe! “My Body itches Mama!”


And so it goes.


When news got out that we were sick again, I had more than one exasperated exclamation of “how do you get so sick all the time?!” It’s almost accusatory, but wrapped in sympathy too. In any case, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Feeling defensive maybe, but also in my own exasperation. I mean W.T.F? How many times can one person get sick in the course of a season? To date, I haven’t been healthy for more than two weeks since Thanksgiving. THANKSGIVING. And when I tell people that I live with a 2-year-old trudging her way through her first year in preschool, they respond with “But she’s building an immune system. What’s WRONG WITH YOU?!”

So this is what I figured out. There are many things to blame, I’m sure. Pregnancy ails your immune system. Just when I should be adding hours to my sleep schedule, I am getting less sleep than ever. Can’t be good. But all in all, when I analyze my daily life, there’s something that stands out.


See, um, Amelia and I are close. Not like cute mama/daughter close, but borderline obsessive. Maybe a little unhealthy. Maybe a little silly. Maybe cringe-worthy and a little embarrassing. But it is. And we are. When people keep asking me how I catch toddler illnesses so easily, I guess it makes sense.

Amelia and I spend a lot of time together. I don’t work a Monday through Friday 8-5 standard job. I’m home with Amelia several days a week, just her and I. And then several other days a week with I’m home with her and her dad. Her dad works crazy long shift for half the week, making those long days mama/baby days. If I am not with her, I am at work. That is it. It’s ridiculous, the extent to which that statement is true.  It’s regretful on my part in many ways (I mean, mom could use a freaking pedicure every once in a while!), it is the truth all the same. We are, I believe, spiritually connected. Cut from the same cloth. I just get her.

Oh and there were those months when she was the baby nobody could love and I held her close and cried right along. When nobody would listen to me about her abnormal crying, I knew only one thing for certain: that I was the expert on her and no stats or books or others’ experiences could cloud that. In the quiet, lonely moments of new motherhood, she was there. And in the quiet, lonely moments of my life today, she is still my partner. Or shadow. Or appendage as the case may be. And when we are together, even now, we are almost always touching. Even just sitting on the couch requires her hands wrapped around my arm. When she’s within my reach, she holds my fingers. When I sit at the bench table in the kitchen, I put her on one end and sit at the other. She slides her plate over, and sits beside me. Not just beside me, but overlapping me. On top of me to an extent so I can’t lift my own fork. This physical attachment has become a joke in our house. Justin can only laugh as she plops down on top of me in whatever situation we find ourselves. He thinks it’s just hilarious.

And the attachment is on my end too. Her new big girl bed has allowed me to slip into bed and snuggle my baby close every night. It has, and I’m crazy embarrassed to admit this, saved me from the humiliation of having my husband actually find me in our daughter’s crib. When we snuggle in the dark before sleep, our foreheads touch and fingers intertwine and sometimes we just look at each other. I whisper the things to her there that I want to stick. I’ll love you forever, Angel. There’s nothing you could ever do to make me not love you. You will always be my sweet baby love. And I would be absolutely lying if I said that I didn’t love and need those moments with her because I do.

However, it’s safe to say that I don’t shower/bathe, eat, drink, or do anything really by myself. (Seriously, there have been meltdowns because I wanted to *gasp* shower alone.)

All this on normal days in normal times.

And when she’s sick? Fuhgetaboutit. The child literally attaches herself to me. When Amelia doesn’t feel well, she develops complete tunnel vision, a world in which nobody exists but mama. Her daddy, whom she adores in a way that she could never love me, becomes totally invisible. Her Grammy, with whom she acts ridiculous and free of discipline and drenched in blind love, might as well be a troll when Amelia is sick. She blows past both of them screaming for maaaaaamaaaaa.

sick baby

Innocent enough? Yeah, but it gets a lot worse. It’s beyond measure, the neeeeed she has for mama when she is sick. The other night, I couldn’t leave her with her Grammy for two seconds to pee. I had to literally push her off of me so I could stand to pull my pants up. This produced tears. Real, sad, huge tears. Because I had to pull my pants up, people! It can be exhausting. Last week, in the midst of the pink eye/hives/virus debacle, she screamed her way through a bath because god forbid, her adoring, amazing, loving daddy had the nerve to steal her from me to get clean for a few minutes. As soon as she was out of the tub, she came wailing through the house maaaaaammaaaaaa as if she’d just been tortured by some horrible child hater. She was screaming with her eyes closed, located me by sheer magnetism, and jumped into my lap, hair soaking wet, unbrushed, naked. She curled up in my blanket on my lap.

sick baby 2

And fell right to sleep. She never even opened her eyes. Or brushed her hair. And let me tell you that picking up this dead weighted sleeping child, while scooting off the couch, and 6 months pregnant (with utero baby stretching to obscene lengths) was a sight to behold. Justin had to act like the human crane to get me up.

In any case, is it any surprise that I’m always sick? We share everything down to the space we take up on the planet. And the air we breathe.

And the crazy thing is that it’s worthy of complaint. It’s completely exhausting and draining and frustrating and literally sickening. It is why I have stayed up all night holding her so she can sleep upright and breathe, while sick and in need of rest myself. It is why I can’t get better and struggle with my own health. It is why motherhood is impossible and insane. It is not enviable in the slightest. And it is what makes me feel like I have superpowers too. Because nobody else can really do what mama does.

1 comment:

Monica said...

The sweet statements you tell Amelia before her going to bed brought tears to my eyes! My mom told (and still does) me that she would/will love me NO MATTER WHAT! That never leaves a kid or in my case, a grown woman ;)

My mom always tells a story where my brother wouldn't let her pee in peace. He would stuff his little hand under the door and say, "Mamamama...." She would say, lovingly exasperated, "Jonathon, PLEASE let me pee!" hehehe...