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Dewey Defeats Truman

While fully realizing that the stakes are quite different, I do believe that yesterday I had my own “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment when I prematurely declared Simon well. Or at least better.

From the moment the mattress delivery folks arrived at 9:00 a.m. until Simon fell asleep at around 8:30 p.m., he had an awful, awful day. Except for a one-hour spell, he spent the entire day whining, crying, wriggling, and calling out “Mommy.” He didn’t nap; he was a total wreck. At 8:30 we put him down to bed and held our breath to see if he’d fall asleep. He did.

We exhaled deeply, tucked into some leisure reading, and assumed that we were at last on the road to wellness and happiness. At 2:30 a.m., our idyll was interrupted with a piercing cry. What follows is, to be blunt, too much information. One day, Simon will kill me for broadcasting this episode.

Matt brought him to be with us, I laid him against me, and we assumed a now-familiar position that usually brings him comfort. Last night, though, he would periodically stretch out his legs, stiffen, and cry. We thought it was gas and tried to talk and massage him through it. Every time he passed gas we declared ourselves one stop closer to victory.

We all dozed off an on for the next four hours, and then the stiffening and crying escalated to shrieking. I could tell he was trying to poop and couldn’t. Poor guy was constipated despite guzzling water for four day straight. I guess there just isn’t enough water in the world to make up for the combination of fever and an antibiotic.

I called the 24-hour medical hotline, a now familiar ritual, and was told I could try anal massage or, if that failed, a pediatric enema. Oh boy. I was hoping, really really hoping, that the anal massage would do the trick as I smeared Vaseline on my pinkie finger and, well, dug in. I mean, we were squeamish about using a rectal thermometer. An enema? Terrifying.

Massage failed to do anything other than anger and irritate Simon. Matt then dispatched himself to the 24-hour drugstore, also becoming a familiar ritual, and came back with the enema. The one moment of levity in the entire miserable evening came when we discussed where to administer this strong medicine. On our brand new mattress? We’re guessing-protective cover or no-that this would totally void our warranty. Wait, we hate the rug in his room! It stained quickly and didn’t clean well, and we should probably get rid of it to decrease allergens in his room.

To the nursery it was. I’ll simply report that the whole procedure took about 5 minutes, that Simon was mightily unhappy about it, but that we yielded results. We brought him back in bed, where he promptly collapsed from exhaustion and slept soundly for two hours.

Today he’s a wreck. Toddlers really need more than eight hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. My mom is helping with him because I need to get some work done and because, frankly, I need more than the four hours I’ve been getting myself. We’ve got a call into the doctor to see if he needs to be seen. And as day 5 unfolds, I have no plans to declare victory.

I’m just hoping that by Thursday, two full days from now, Simon can go to school and have his birthday cupcakes. It’s one thing for Simon to be sick on my birthday, as happened this past January. It’s another thing entirely for him to be sick on his own.

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