Friday, May 20, 2011

When your child falls sick...

It is only after you become a mother you understand what they mean when they say - motherhood is a piece of your heart walking outside your body.  Sometimes I feel as if my heart and soul are entirely outside of me especially when they fall sick.  KB is prone to bronchitis and he had been sick the last four days.  He had to miss school for three days in a row.  He was sick in October of last year when he had to miss five days of school.  It is not a big deal - it is just Kindergarten.  But it feels so terrible when you know that the child is sick and you cannot send them to school day after day until they get better.

It is almost a high when suddenly after a few days of sickness, your child gets better and gets back to routine activities.  Only as you grow older these cliched statements like, "Health is wealth" and "No news is good news" make so much sense.  KB is finally better now after three days and just doing regular things like going to school, eating lunch etc.  I feel so relieved.  Parents who have children who are asthmatic or are prone to respiratory illness just know when it has begun.  That horrible painful cough.  I used to hate giving him Albuterol but I have learned my lesson the hard way - if I don't nip it in the bud, it escalates to an ER visit.  So now I grit my teeth and just give that blessed (and yet damned) medication.  I am thankful that we have these good medications to relieve them of pain but I am still so bothered that we even have reason to use them. 

Three nights back, of course it all happens smack in the middle of the night, KB woke up in his sleep crying loudly holding his hand over the left side of his head.  He had had very low grade fever all day that day.  B was in the room with him and I was in the living room with my laptop reading something.  Suddenly I heard B call out to me to come to the room and attend to KB.  I ran in and I saw KB holding the side of his head, half asleep, crying loudly saying it hurt really badly.  Somehow that scene just sent me into momentary panic - this child with fever crying in pain holding the side of his head.  I instantly felt so light headed and I had to sit down on the bed for a second myself.  B got mad at me for this was the second time this was happening - once before when KB woke up in the middle of the night with severe coughing, I had that same feeling - that it was bad and finally we ended up taking him to ER.  I don't know which is worse - his suffering or me seeing him suffer.  And this is just bronchial cough.  Even this is makes me so sad.  Anyway - within a few seconds, KB woke up some more and said it was his left ear that was hurting.  I ran to the kitchen and got him some warm compress cloth and pressed it against his ear.  I then added a few drops of olive oil  and then called the nurse.  I knew what she would say but just had to call anyway.  B went in the middle of the night to get some Ibuprofen.  The rest of the night KB slept fine.  The following day, the two kids had a great time playing and jumping and getting on each other's nerves until I took KB to the doctor.  She gave him an antibiotic for his ear infection.

KB had not eaten much that day - cereal, half an apple and two bread slices for the whole day.  And lots of gatorade.  But without much food intake, that night he took Albuterol, Ibuprofen and the antibiotic.  He was tossing and turning all night complaining that he was feeling too hot.  I kept giving him cold towel rubs on his back and forehead every now and then.  All those medications in that little frame that too with so little food.  God knows what it was doing to his system.  I have been giving him honey with ginger for the last 10 days or so.  For KB who is such a picky eater, this is such a big deal.  But he mentally trained himself literally on this one because I told him it would help him with his cough issues.  And yet this happened that very same week.  It is very disappointing.  Although may be because of it, I ended up giving him Albuterol only twice a day and not every four hours.  I feel so desperate to somehow prevent these sort of cough episodes.  The ear infection came out of the blue - he has hardly had any ear infections.  This is the reason why when I read blogs about kids traveling in trains in India etc it seems so adventurous to me.  That kind of heat and dust coming in, if the coughing starts, I don't know what I would do in the middle of some random place. 

I was talking to a friend today and she told me that one of her family friends had something terrible happen to them.  Their only child, a lovely four year old boy suddenly developed high fever.  A couple of days later, when he was coming down the stairs, he cried because his head was hurting unbearably.  They rushed him to ER and found a tumor in his brain.  It is in a place that they cannot even operate on.  He has been in the hospital ever since and has not come back home.  How can life change so rapidly for people?! It seems so grossly unfair especially when it happens to children.  Even imagining their pain, I feel like my knees are becoming weak.  If there is a hell, this must be it.  Seeing a child suffer through pain, tests, treatment, confinement.  Big or small, honestly, it is so hard to see children go through anything more than a mild cold.  I don't know how the parents of that child (the one with the tumor) ever come to terms with it.  How do they even carry on with every day duties, work etc? I don't know, I don't ever want to know.  I have been feeling so sad all evening thinking about them even though I don't know them at all.

How do you feel when your child falls sick? I have become better at coping with all this but I still feel that wrenching feeling when I get that feeling that the sickness has begun, it will last 2 or 3 days, the coughing, lack of food, sleep etc and it still makes me feel bad.  I cannot stop taking the kids to the park.  I can only make sure they wash their hands well after they get back . I try to give them good healthy food, natural preventatives like ginger and honey.  KB is just prone to it and there is only so much I am able to do to really prevent it.  Has any magic potion worked for you? Do share!

And let's make a wish for that family - to give them strength to get through this terrible time.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Was daddy king?

KG was eating her breakfast when my FIL was watching the royal wedding on TV.  I told KG, "Hey look KG, the prince and the princess are getting married".  She turned and saw Kate (yes, we are on first name basis) down the aisle in her wedding gown. 

Today as I was driving the kids back from the doctor's office, a carnatic music CD was playing in the car.  KB knew that that vocal artist had sung at our wedding.  He asked me suddenly "Mamma, when did you and Daddy get married?".  I told him.  "Mamma, I was not born then right? I came only three years after you and Daddy got married".  (Yes dear you were not born when I got married or your grandma would have killed me outright).  KG who was quiet until then said, "But Mamma, you were a princess when you got married".  Not wanting to elaborate on how I was not a princess and to not disappoint/confuse her, I said, "Yes, KG, I was a princess when I got married".  Very innocently she asked me, "Daddy was the king right Mamma?".  Hmm. You bet he was! Why do you think I married him?!  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Stop with one child or not?

KB was in the yard riding his scooter.  KG had mild fever and chest congestion and I made her go to bed and take an afternoon nap.  She has nearly stopped afternoon naps but I find that if she does nap for a short while then the evenings are easier for me.  I spent some time trying to get her to sleep and came to the family room thinking she was asleep.  Five minutes later she was out of the room declaring that she was done with her nap.  Naturally because she could hear KB in the yard riding his scooter in the concrete area.  She too joined him.  Five minutes into it, I could hear the screeching from KG.  As always it was a case of "He did that...she did this".  Apparently KB had rammed into her when she was riding her scooter.  I asked KB - why did you do that? Of course, the expected answer.  "But mamma, she is trying to make smaller circles and act like this is a race".  KG retorts, "But Mamma, KB is not being nice to me".  Phew.  Never ends, this fighting and arguing and me playing mediator.  I yelled at the two fighting monsters, "Are you guys ever going to be friends?".  I threatened KB that I would e-mail his teacher and tell her to teach the kids in the class as to how to be nice to each other and not bicker all the time.  To which KB replied with a sullen face, "F..i..n..e.  I won't trouble KG.  But that's not fun anymore. It's so boring".

I read this post by MM and I remembered that I had written something along these lines a while back.  I remembered Ro too wrote about it.  So I went back in archives and found my old post on the topic.  So how do I feel about it now? Now that my second one is going to be four years old.  Now that I have seen how they can fight incessantly.  One day when KB was sick, I had to drop KG at school and after I got back home I asked KB, "Are you missing your sister?".  He said, "I can be peaceful for sometime now"!.  "What? I labored through pregnancy and gave up the admission to a program for which I had a fellowship as well, just so you could have a sibling...and you feel peaceful when she is at school and you can be home alone?", I thought to myself for a fleeting second.  That thought was more in jest.  Because deep down, despite everything I knew that an hour later, I would notice that "peaceful" look waning and questions of "Mamma, is it time yet to pick up KG?" would emerge.  And as expected it did.  "I thought you found it more peaceful when she is at school?".  "No Mamma, but now I am ready to go pick her up!".  So then I take KB along three hours later to pick her up.  She is busy playing in the fabulous playground at her preschool when I walk in to pick her up.  The moment she sees us and she spots KB, she runs to him and the delight is obvious.  She tells her friend, "This is my brother!".  In those few words, I feel the bonding they share and the joy they feel in just having each other. 

On the face of it, when I see them constantly getting on each others nerves, it is hard not to wonder if this whole sibling thing is over valued.  But in the laughter and sheer delight I see in their faces when they are playing with each other is my answer.  When I see how easily they can switch between being annoyed with each other to laughing with complete abandon, I see how strong their bond is.  I suppose this relationship between siblings will have some of the uncertainties that any adult relationship will have in later years.  But when one child is at school or is asleep, there is so much silence and peace and quiet - after a short while, it starts to get to you.  You realize how lively it is and how rich all our lives are because they are together.  It is so hard for me to imagine one without the other because KB was only twenty two months old when KG was born.  Practically speaking, yes, life would have been so much easier with just one child.  But when it is a labor of love, it is the only way you want it.  It is so hard not to convince people who are on the fence to just go for the second.  I feel so happy when some of my friends who were afraid or doubtful about having a second call me and tell me that they are pregnant with their second child.  I feel so happy for their first child more than for the parents.  When I see KB and KG together, I just pray that they will be there for each other long after even I am gone.  That they will be there for each others children as well.  So yes, now that my second one is going to be four, I am more than sure that we did the right thing.  Of course, I do think single children do grow up happy and have a great life as well.  My two nephews and one niece are all single children and they are absolutely wonderful human beings.  I am not saying being a single child is worse off, but having a sibling is just wonderful nevertheless and it just feels right for me as a parent.  If any one asks me, I don't have to think for a second to say, yes, go for it, you will not regret it. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's day begins with a 6.00 a.m. argument!

Of all the hallmark days, I have to say I actually don't mind mother's day.  Commercial as it is, it is one day when mother's are thought about...and kids are made to just pause for a second to think about their moms and express something to acknowledge mom.  And honestly when I think of how my mom and her mom have slogged throughout their lives in the context of their own lives, for their family and extended family and how it was all mostly taken for granted, I actually feel like mother's day is not a bad idea.  If Hallmark benefits along with the way, so be it!

Last year, KB dragged his dad to a store and bought me ear rings and a tee shirt.  No such luck this time around.  May be because he had done such adorable mother's day craft at his school.  A tiny heart pillow, a bracelet made of painted stones and a totally adorable card saying why he loves mom! KG's school was no less - they had a mother's day luncheon and KG, with her teacher's help I am sure,  had painted the rim of a adorable paper hat (the kind you saw the royal wedding!) with her finger prints and gave it to me.  And had made really lovely paper flower out of thin tissue paper painted with water colors.  She answered questions about mom to her teacher - like "what does mom do for fun?" - she takes us to the park.  What is mom's favorite movie? "Boring things"! She didn't know what my favorite movie was - so she said - boring things!  KG's preschool had the luncheon on Friday itself since mother's day falls on a Sunday.  She gave me her mother's day craft/gift that day itself. 

KB on the other hand remembered to hide the mom's day gifts he made at his school.  This morning he was so excited about Mother's day, he woke up bright and early at 6.00 a.m.  No chance of sleeping in once he wakes up.  I was in bed but of course answering his questions non stop. He woke up and immediately ran to his hiding spot and got out the stuff and brought it to my bed.  KG woke up too and this is how it went.  KB gave me the stuff and I looked at the gifts and read his card and sounded very happy and excited.  KG said to him, "But we celebrated mother's day yesterday".  For KG anything that is not today is yesterday even if it is a month back.  KB, the logic boy, said to her "But KG, that was a pretend celebration, today is actually Mother's day".  KG immediately raises her voice and said, "NO KB! Mother's day was yesterday".  "NO, TODAY!".  While poor mom is lying in bed with the two kids sitting on either side, fighting over mother's day and it is just ten minutes past 6.00 a.m.! Well, shouldn't complain.  Waking up to two beings who make me feel like I am alive because of how much I feel for them unconditionally is a true blessing.  Thank you God for giving me this blessing - to really feel what it is to love someone truly unconditionally.  I really don't know if it is possible to feel this for any one other than for your own children (by own I mean, the kids who you consider your own children because you raise them).  May be things change when they become adults, I don't know, but when they are children, it is truly a powerful and pure feeling.  Wanting the absolute best for them without any doubt what so ever.  Praying most earnestly to that power up there to keep them safe and healthy.  That untarnished feeling of genuine love - it does feel good to be a mother and feel that.  I hope all of you had a wonderful mother's day!