medicine free by May 3

About three weeks ago, we put Bumby on amoxicillin for an ear infection. He’s had the same nasty ear infection since about mid-February, and just can’t seem to completely kick it. We had suspected a mild penicillin allergy the last time he was on it, but ultimately decided it was a combo of the high fever, pneumonia, and two horrible viruses that he had — and not the amoxicillin after all. So I said sure, okay. If that’s the best for ear infections, let’s give it to him and hope it clears it up once and for all.

For a week, he seemed fine. Ear clearing up, no reaction to the amoxicillin.  We simultaneously decided it was a good time to try to wean him off his Prevacid. The problem with treating a chronic condition like acid reflux is that the only way to know if you still need the meds is to take the person off the meds and see how they do. Prevacid weaning is known to cause “rebound acid,” meaning reflux symptoms in a person that would otherwise be fine, so you kind of have to push through the discomfort and see how they do once they are completely med-free. We opted for a very slow wean, using an entire month to take him down step by step. We also started a probiotic regimen and a low-acid diet to try to get his gut healthy and comfortable.

Then, on day seven of the amoxicillin, this happened:

Bumby Rash

I was rather terrified, and rushed him in to the pediatrician. An allergic reaction, they said. Give him Benadryl to keep him comfortable and let us know how it goes. It should start to clear up within 24 hours. The following day, he was worse, so they prescribed a low-ish dose of prednisone (a steroid) to help him clear up what was now an “inflammatory” reaction, which I guess is worse than an allergic reaction.  The day after that, it was even worse. I will spare you the photos, because they are completely heartbreaking. He was miserable — itchy, hot, covered in red splotches. His eyes were starting to swell shut.  I was even more terrified, and rushed him back in to the pediatrician. They gave him a shot of steroids in his fat little arm because the inflammation had progressed to his mucous membranes. THIS POOR KID, you guys. Also, for the record, he still had the ear infection.

The steroid shot kicked his inflammatory reaction’s ass, though. Five hours later, his skin was completely clear, although it was a little bruised looking in certain places where the inflammation had been really bad. But now, we had to taper him off the steroids. Apparently you have to give the body time to adjust and take over the work that the steroids were doing. So we were on a 10-day wean from the steroids.

You want to know what’s worse than a toddler with an ear infection?  A toddler with an ear infection and roid rage.    He was so mad, all the time mad. No, you can’t go out that door, let’s go out this one. Head-slamming against the ground, tears, screaming, kicking tantrum.  It got worse and worse as the week progressed, because the steroids amped him up so much he couldn’t sleep. He was also literally eating as much as I was, which meant he was constantly hungry.  Always eating, always running, always crying, and never, ever, ever sleeping.

After a week of this, I was totally fried. On Saturday morning, my wife got out of the shower and I told her that in the hour we had been up, Bumby had seven tantrums. I tried to calm him and sit on the couch with him, and he slithered off my lap to the floor and started SLAMMING the side of his head against the ground. My wife sat down next to him, and stuck her finger in his ear. He immediately calmed. Oh yeah. The ear infection.

We went back to the pediatrician, where the receptionist greeted the lot of us by name. The ear was scary-infected still, so they gave him a z-pack after we refused an antibiotic that could cross-react with a penicillin allergy in about 10% of people. So starting on Saturday, he was on Prevacid (although down to a half-dose by then), steroids, and antibiotics. It’s going really great weaning him off the meds, we tell ourselves. Oh hey look! A molar! Awesome. Also, he has broken 30 lbs due to eating everything in sight while on the roids.  I guess that’s why people take them to “bulk up.”

It has, however, improved since then. He finished the steroids on Monday and I gleefully threw that shit in the garbage. Today, he had his last dose of antibiotics, and I gleefully threw THAT shit in the garbage. The ear does not seem to be bothering him, nor does the stomach. He is back to eating a normal-for-Bumby amount of food (which is to say, approximately as much as your average 10 year old). He’s down to 1/4 dose of Prevacid and doing great with weaning off of it — he only has half of his nighttime dose and nothing in the morning anymore. After about a month of frequent night-wakings, Bumby has slept through the night for two nights in a row. Honestly, the 2mL of Prevacid he is on probably does almost nothing to reduce his stomach acid, so I expect he has really and truly outgrown the reflux. We’re keeping on with the low-acid diet and the probiotics. We’re going to delay his 15 month booster vaccines, which are due on Friday, because HOLY SHIT this kid has had a lot of crap pumped into his body in the last month.

Now, he is happy and healthy. We had a laughing fit this morning after I told him “Nopity-nope-nope” could he open the drawer and eat Mommy’s earrings. A week ago this would have been 30 minutes of screaming. Instead, he pointed at the drawer and said “Nope nope” and cracked up, over and over.

On May 2, he will get his last-ever dose of Prevacid.  On May 3, our little boy will be completely medicine-free for the first time in about 10 months. Hallelujah.

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houses and disappointment

A while ago, I mentioned that we had bid on a house and our offer had been accepted. It’s a long story, but what basically happened is that after accepting our offer, and after we paid $1,300 for an inspection, the sellers informed us that they had actually received another, better offer that they had decided to accept instead. We pushed ourselves, upped our offer, and were again out-bid. Imagine our “surprise” when we later learned that the same agent was representing the sellers and the new buyers. In other words, the new buyers knew exactly what we bid each time, and out-bid us by the bare minimum amount. Legal, yes. Ethical, not so much.

So there we were, one Wednesday night with a bottle of wine, an internet browser, and a lot of disappointment. We looked at the other houses on the market in our town. A few piqued our interest, so we decided to e-mail our agent and set up time to go look at them. We weren’t set on moving, but since we had started the process, we thought we might as well explore our options. When we lost the other house, my wife had a rant that lasted about 5 minutes about all the things she hates about our current house, and none of them were changing any time soon. Plus, it is now or never with the move. The Big One will be a junior next year, so if we’re moving, we’d like to do it at a time where she can really settle into the new house before going off to college, so that when she comes home, she really comes home, not just back to her parents’ house that she never actually lived in.

We saw a few houses. Some were too small, some needed too much work, some had the master bedroom on the first floor, which doesn’t really work when you have small children. One had leopard carpet.  Then we got to the last house.  It was five bedrooms, plus an office. One of the bedrooms is really small, but one of our children is also really small, and by the time he cares about the size of his room, the Big One will be about 24. The yard is huge, and awesome. The layout is better than what we have now. It was built in 1910 but has been well cared for all along, so it is full of charming details but not run-down. The first floor has French doors between many of the rooms, so we can keep Bumby in eye-shot without having baby gates all over the place. We fell in love, and when we brought the kids back, they did too. It’s only a tiny bit bigger than our current house in terms of square footage, but the layout gives it more usable space. We wanted to make sure that if our offer was accepted, the sellers would want to sell to us, rather than someone else. So when we put the offer in, we wrote a heartfelt letter about why we thought this was the perfect house for us. Each of the kids contributed a paragraph (except for Bumby who cannot read, write, or speak).

Long story short, we got the house. We put ours on the market immediately, and after three stressful weeks, it also sold. YAY, we’re moving.

When we told the kids, the Big One said, “Well, you know how I feel about this. I don’t want to move,” and left the room. We were stunned. We actually did not know how she felt about this, since she seemed totally excited when we looked at the new house originally. Boo was excited (the new house is three doors down from her best friend) but said, “We have had seven Christmases in this house.” The Big Brother acted like we hadn’t said anything, and Bumby obviously had no idea what was going on. It was…. anti-climactic. What happened between writing a letter about how excited we were to buy this house, and selling ours three weeks later?  It’s hard to say. All we can come up with is that to the kids, they were separate events. Getting a new house is exciting, but leaving the old one is sad. Also, the Big One realized she would have to share the bathroom with her sister. I actually don’t know a single teenager with her own bathroom, but this has become monumentally important to the Big One for some reason. We were really disappointed that the kids were no longer excited. It took the wind out of our sails.

So we scheduled time to go see the house. My wife and I have been back a few times for various reasons, and each time we get more excited. In our contract, we’re allowed to come in to “take measurements” so we thought we would bring everyone back, walk room to room, and talk through with them how they wanted to set up their bedrooms. They could remember why we were excited about this house in the first place. We went to Home Depot and got paint cards for them to look at in their rooms. We were psyched up.

When we got there, the house was TRASHED. Apparently, the seller is preparing for an estate sale, so there were card tables set up all over the place with knickknacks on them. Every room was cluttered with half-packed boxes and the whole house smelled like mothballs from the stuff that had been dragged out of the attic. There were dirty dishes in the sink, and every inch of counter and table-space was just covered in crap. The floors were dirty and there were crumpled up paper towels all over the bathroom counter. The master bedroom closet looked like it had been hit by a tornado. There was a half-eaten bowl of rice on the desk in Big Brother’s room, and none of the beds were made.  On and on, each room more disgusting and cluttered than the last. Our trip to get the kids excited about the move had backfired spectacularly. Now even Boo, who was the only excited one, was disappointed. It was so hard to see past how dirty and cluttered the house was. It felt small and dingy even though it’s actually bigger than our house now.

We were all worried about how cramped it felt. And all the French doors on the first floor, which at first had seemed like a dream come true, now seemed like a nightmare as Bumby ran from room to room, careening around card-tables covered in tiny breakable things, slamming the original 1910 glass doors into the walls. It turns out he is already tall enough to reach the handles.

I was angry. How could they have left the house like that? We couldn’t even get the measurements we needed because there was so much stuff in our way. We couldn’t see ourselves living there at all.  It seemed, frankly, like a shithole. When we got home, my wife announced that she thought the whole thing was one big mistake and locked herself in our bedroom. I felt the same, minus the locking myself in the bedroom, because it was already taken.

I know that the house was just dirty. It obviously won’t be full of all that crap when we live there. We will come in, with our paint samples and our mops and brooms and our cute furniture and we will make it our own. It is still charming, it still has amazing views and a great layout. It still has an office and a bedroom for each of us. But… if even the adults are having a hard time maintaining any enthusiasm after that experience, how are the kids supposed to feel about it?

The one silver lining is that I really got the opportunity to explore the yard. There is a perfect spot for the vegetable patch — bigger and sunnier than what we have now. There are at least three spots that are completely hidden from view if you are in the house or on the street, perfect for secret kid-stuff. There are steps and rocks and flowers everywhere. It’s perhaps the most amazing yard I have ever seen. I am hanging onto that, and trying to get us moved in with enough time to plant our summer vegetables in the spot I have chosen.  We will have to push through the disappointment we all feel, because it is what it is. We have sold our house, and bought this one, and now we’re moving.

dads at the playground

With the first nice weather for the spring, and a budding toddler who loves to play outside, we took a couple of walks to the playground this weekend. In our sexist town, we were literally the only moms there with our kids. Don’t get me wrong, the playgrounds were packed. But all the other kids were there with their dads. 

“But how BAD did you pee your pants? …. Oh, that’s fine. We can stay, then.”

“I SAID YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. BUT YOUR SISTER GOT KICKED IN THE FACE. SO WE HAVE TO GO.”

Most of the dads were engaged and having fun, playing with their kids. We even had a nice chat with the dad of a two year old and a four year old who will eventually be at the same elementary school as Bumby.

I know that Bumby is really lucky to have two moms who love him so much. But for the first time, I was a little sad for him that he won’t also have a dad. Probably I will lose my lesbian-card for saying that, but there it is. 

I can’t quite put my finger on why it matters. My wife is amazing at sports. I can fix things around the house. He has a great male role model in his older brother. I logically know there is no reason for him to “need” a dad — we can provide him with all the stereotypically masculine skills he needs, and big brother can instruct him in how to make his penis blow up like a balloon by holding his foreskin shut while he pees (this is a real thing that boys do). I guess I just don’t want him to miss any experience in life, or be left out in any way, and he will be. I wish I could protect him from feeling different, even while I know that being a little different will make him a stronger, happier, better-adjusted person than walking through life with no adversity at all.