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Since our lake experience, we’ve been reluctant to go anywhere for an overnight stay. So it was with some trepidation that we finally took up an offer from a co-worker to stay at his weekend home in New Braunfels. And this past weekend was one where both the house was available and we had no other major plans.
Tubing was out on account of the cold weather, fast moving river, and, you know, toddlers that can’t swim. We felt rain in our palms, and in moments where the drops retreated, we searched out lizards, picked up sticks, and ran up and down hills with the WHOA! that can only be experienced hand-in-hand with a toddler. Plus, cold weather equals lots of books and laps and fleece blankets. Delicious!
On Saturday, Gamma (my mom) joined us from San Antonio. I made a rosemary pork tenderloin with roasted fingerling potatoes and steamed vegetables. And we almost got to enjoy it before the kids, as on cue, woke from their naps. Still, though.
I invited Annie up, who blogs over at We Are Fambly. Over a year of reading one another’s blogs and commenting and exchanging the occasional email, I up and asked her over, to which Jennifer said “great, strangers.” and my mom said “what if they kidnap babies?” And to think that I’m the introvert.
Nevetherless, Annie and her partner and their as-beautiful-and-tall-as-she-looks-in-pictures-but-taller toddler spent the better part of the afternoon and early evening with us. Mateo was Jude’s first older boy kiss, too. And after they left, we all agreed they were the nicest stranger baby kidnappers we’ve met.
So I get a phone call at 3:58 yesterday afternoon from Jennifer that she is on her way to the pediatrician with the boy. But I can hardly hear her because it seems she’s carting around three elderly emphysematics that are trying to sing row row row your boat in harmony. In rounds. Except that it’s Mateo trying to breathe.
I’m gathering my bag, car keys, and shooting an email to the boss that I’m leaving as I pellet Jennifer with questions, all in an effort to determine if he’s getting enough oxygen: “Is he blue?” No. “Is he red?” Yes. “Did he have a fever?” Low grade. “When did he start doing this?” Immediately upon waking from his nap. “Was the humidifier on?” Yes. “What’s his general disposition?” He’s eating his trail mix as I talk to you, she says.
Apparently, the boy’s stomach is one of his major vital organs.
Fifteen minutes later, I met them at the crosswalk of the medical office building of our pediatrician (conveniently located on the campus of a hospital), breathing was labored, but the singing smokers gone.
His coughing and breathing sounded horrible so it was kinda fun to be that family in the sick waiting room that the other parents are trying to keep their kids away from. The benefit, of course, was that Mateo had both Doodle Sketches to himself.
A quick assessment by the nurse showed barely a fever at 99.6, something I think he had coughed himself into what with all that kinetic energy heating up his body, the one that weighed 28.1 lbs. The doctor came in shortly thereafter and assessed his lungs and throat which were amazingly (but thankfully) clear. For that reason, no antibiotics or breathing treatments were necessary. He said he had croup and gave him an oral steroid (dexmethasone) to open up his airway. As we were getting ready to leave, he started to sound a bit better, but still with the wheezing, which I captured here as he “washes” his hands, in case you want to know what croup sounds like. Turn up the volume. Not only to hear him better, but to hear me ask for confirmation from the nurse that what we’re hearing from him is okay, me in my most professional valley girl dialect. Ugh. This is why I don’t like being on video.
Afterward, we headed home with instructions to turn on a cool mist humidifier in his room, something we’d been doing the last couple nights and naps anyway because both kids have had runny noses since Thursday and cough since Saturday. In addition, we separated them almost immediately after baths last night, lest they start playing, which inevitably leads to chasing, which necessitates running, which requires heavier breathing, which causes coughing, which leads to airway constriction, something we were trying to avoid. Because it was now after clinic hours and dexmethasone is far less expensive at the clinic than the emergency room thank you very much. So off we went, Jennifer with Harper to her room, and me with Mateo to his room, for quiet reading and calmer play.
We braced ourselves for a long night, but they both slept soundly throughout.
Here’s a general description and guidelines for addressing Croup, as laid out by our pediatric clinic. And for my fellow Type A’s out there, a more detailed article on Viral Croup and practical therapeutics written in the American Family Physician Journal.
We usually reserve liquids for a cup, open top in small amounts, or if in large amounts, in a cup with a lid and straw. But we figured we had to show them how to eat cereal from a bowl at some point, so why not Sunday afternoon after-the-nap snack?
Dude poops upwards of four to five times a day. A DAY, people! And we’re not talking the second one is leftover from the first one kind of poop. We’re talking full on, wholly independent, fifteen wipes, under the balls, centimeters from the top of the back of the diaper kind of poops.
Battling this kind of pooping requires strategy, such as in the form of meal planning. I seriously plan their meals around their bowel movements. Overnight pooping (which leads to massive diaper rash for Mateo)? Make sure his fruits are in before 1:00 p.m. Poops too watery? Add starches, reduce dairy. Good day for watermelon? Better have some bananas handy. After dinner poops? Move the proteins up in the day.
These kids are as much science as they are art.
Our dining table is a sore subject, primarily because things get stacked on it that shouldn’t be. Like the camera, mail, kid swimsuits. And ASL flashcards that we purchased for ourselves so we could learn and then teach the kids. One day, one of the kids saw the boxes and asked for “more”. And now, we can’t serve them a meal without doing sign language flashcards at the table. BUT HOW CUTE ARE THEY SIGNING?