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Unwelcome Encore

Two nights ago, I fussed-really fussed-at Simon for the first time. Matt was out at a concert, and the two of us were spending the evening together. He had had a quasi-tantrum (the first and only in a delightful two week stretch) earlier in the day, during which I had been the picture of compassion and patience.

But this behavior was markedly different from that unwelcome encore. I sensed in Simon a desire to be negative and irritating for its own sake. He wasn’t struggling within, he was fighting with me, and I was having none of it. I wanted us to share a nice, playful evening, and he was being contrary. I’d turn on some music to enjoy; he’d immediately turn it off. If I blocked his access to the controls, he fussed. If I suggested that we play ball, his idea of “playing” was to put the ball somewhere he couldn’t reach (like under a chair or behind the toilet) and then wait for me fetch it for him. I finally blew my stack when he begged for a cup of water and then wanted nothing to do with it once I gave it to him.

I’m not sure how much he understood, but I laid it all out for him. He was being difficult. I was getting irritated. If he wanted to play the same game 100 times over, that was fine. But he had to play with me in a collaborative sense, not in a make-Mommy-his-servent/dog sense. At the end of my little speech, delivered in a tone he is not used to hearing, he sucked in his lower lip and howled. I told him he needn’t cry; he simply needed to behave better.

That made him briefly howl even more, but then he got the message. We enjoyed the rest of our night, had smiles and giggles during story time, and when I tucked him into bed I looked forward to tucking myself in early as well, as I was still getting over a bug that arrived with a 101-degree fever Thursday morning.

Instead, Simon awoke at 10:30 p.m. throwing up. He continued to throw up until around 1:00 a.m., slept until 3:00, awoke to throw up some more, and then endured dry heaves and stomach cramps until about 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Between the hours of 11:00 p.m and 5:00 a.m., I did three loads of laundry, changed two beds, and cleaned our couch. Simon himself had one full bath, several partial baths, and SEVEN changes of clothing.

Yes, seven. It’s cold right now, so lying around in only a diaper was not an option. Kid needed PJs. He puked on his original PJs, the spider PJs and robe he wore after that, and the GAP candy-striped “sleepy” PJs he wore next. He then vomited on the two sets of regular clothing I put him in after I ran out of clean PJs-and the newly clean PJs from the first emergency load of laundry I did in the middle of the night.

I feel like I’m quoting Tudor history when I report that the seventh clothing change survived Simon. He spent all of yesterday recovering in those same clothes. I spent the day in the clothes I changed into sometime during the night as well, when my original clothes became collateral damage to Simon’s illness.

In fact, we all spent the whole of Sunday in a disorganized state, wearing a combination of night and day clothes-robes over sweaters and sweaters over PJs–befitting our very confused biological states. We didn’t eat normal meals at normal times, nor were we entirely sure what time it was or what the proper meal would be. I realize now that very much like the first days with a newborn, having a sick child puts you in a twilight zone divorced from the world around you.

The difference is that the first days with a newborn put you in a happy daze, while the sick-kid daze has no hidden upside. Of course, the other difference is that last night Simon slept for 13 hours straight and woke up hungry and cheery this morning, whereas the newborn fog lasts much longer.

One Response to “Unwelcome Encore”

  1. blg says:

    Here’s hoping you are all feeling 100% by now.
    Enjoy Turkey Day!

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