Monday, February 9, 2009
220: first babysitting, pneumonia
I'm meant to be an hour and a half northwest of where I am sitting just now, just me and a baby, facing puppy outings and soft building blocks on the floor, but instead, I am home again, content with my pups, happy to sleep next to my husband tonight.
All was going well--I showed up in the late afternoon sun, we had dinner, the four of us, a little family with a special family guest, Christian eating more than usual in a goofily robust fashion, and he played and smiled and smelled like little boy happiness and warmth. He fell asleep easily at seven, and I thought: I can do this. Instructions were printed, directions to the daycare were sketched out, the doctor's number was confirmed to be hanging on the fridge. I knew the routines, knew the cats and the dog, knew how to turn the swing on and off and where the fresh pajamas lay.
An hour after he was tucked in, Christian woke up, wailing. Kelly seems to have a level head with this whole parenting thing--she informed me that she verifies the comforts--the pacifier, the blanket, the music--and if all seems well, lets himself cry himself back to sleep. Richard is more prone to worry, and since Christian is teething, tablets were produced and a frozen pacifier was swapped out. And he wailed. And wailed. And threw up all over himself and Kelly. We thought--perhaps it was too much food, and that gag reflex the doctor spoke of was in effect. (You see, Christian caught a little cold at daycare and had been coughing and snotting all over the place.) But then he threw up again. And again, and again, and Kelly was on her fourth shirt, Christian in his third set of pajamas, her husband in the bathtub, holding him out and away, me fetching a washcloth, and there were tears, but eventually all was soothed and Kelly's work trip to Madison was canceled, traded out for a doctor's appointment.
I still stayed the night and helped meagerly. Christian woke several times in the night, and Kelly calmed him back to sleep, and Richard had to leave well before the sun was up for his own job as a cross-country long haul trucker. But, you see, Christian wasn't having much of me or Richard. I was pleased to feed him breakfast and to placate the little bugger for a while as Kelly had to deal with work disasters from home (she apparently employs a few people who behave like middle schoolers when not under her supervision). I held him up, my hand against the span of his back, and we toured the house, peeking out windows at the snow, at the farmland turning to townhouse land, and he sucked on the strings of my university sweatshirt, his gummy smile comforting and wet fists slapping my cheeks, my nose.
I came home just before they left for the doctor, showering away the soot of sofa-sleeping and baby drool, snuggling up against my dogs who are giants compared to hers, and Kelly called with the doctor's verdict: pneumonia. Nothing to wail about, at least not on our part, but enough for poor Christian to add another misery to that of teething. And we'll try this again next week or the week after (where you will be smothered in photos of him all over again--just imagine what it's going to be like when I have kids of my own--collective grooaaannn).