It’s been 10 days. 11, I guess. Today is the 11th day.
He had the flu about a week and a half ago – 11 days ago, I guess – and we did all the usual things through a day or so with a sick little boy. I wore my Mama Who Has Been Barfed On badge again with pride and enjoyed the cuddles – warm and soft and in the normal range of worrisome. Which is to say not terribly.
Then the abdominal pain started and by 4 am a week ago Sunday we were in the ER. No parents want to learn their child’s appendix has burst the hard way.
The ER was quiet that morning. No one else in the pediatric area but us. Waybuloo is only slightly less weird at four in the morning; those Brits were definitely on something.
No appendectomy required. A bit dehydrated, even though he drinks Pedialyte like it’s juice, and home we went.
That was only the second in a series of sleepless nights.
Tonight will be the 11th night. We have pushed through a brief road trip (if a very long drive – there and back in six days – can be considered brief), a house purchase, and a few quick visits.
We are home, but he is not better. He has been, off and on. Enough that we felt it was okay to make the trip. Enough that he played in the snow on Friday. Enough that he went to school yesterday.
But he is not better, and the morning at school was apparently weepy with repeated requests for Mama. When Grandma and Grandpa picked him up, he went home with them and slept. For more than an hour. (Very unusual.) Daddy had to go and pick him up.
Mama came home, and the pieces of velcro connected again. We have been this way – attached – for 10 days. Or 11 now, I guess. He wants me and stays close, his soft hair tickling my chin and his small fingers rubbing my wrist.
This is what I know:
His toddler tummy fits right in the palm of my hand.
It is warm and soft and it soothes me.
Rubbing his tummy only sometimes soothes him.
He has a spot – a specific place he likes to be. Between my chin and collarbone, shoulder tucked under my right arm as it wraps around him.
This has been his place for months now. It’s where he comes when he wants a cuddle. It’s where he sleeps when he’s sick. It’s where he fits.
Except he doesn’t. He’s getting tall, and his gangly limbs struggle to find a place to land. His head bumps against my chin as he looks for his spot, refusing to acknowledge that he doesn’t fit the same way as before.
He wants me to fix him, except I can’t. He’s blocked, I think, so nothing terribly worrisome now either except that my baby’s in pain. We’ve tried the usual remedies – applesauce, prune juice, warm baths. We’ve tried worse, and had it work, except not fully. And now, on the 11th day, he doesn’t want any of that.
He just wants Mama.
Tomorrow Daddy will take him to the doctor to see if she can help. Mama will go to work, again, and turn on the bright lights, again, in hopes they will keep her awake. She will take ibuprofen for her shoulder – the one that loves holding her boy but is tired, and is sending waves of stabbing pain running up and down her neck between her ears and her shoulder in protest.
Tomorrow is day 12. He might still want Mama, but hopefully, for everyone’s sake, he won’t need her quite so much.
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