Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of the Working Parent

I don't even know where to start this... I suppose that chronological order works best, so we'll start with Thing Two's starting at his new daycare last week.

Wednesday dropoff went well. He was interested in the toys, but did get a bit worried when I said I was leaving.

Thursday dropoff...not so good. He started to cry as soon as I said "I've got to go...You have a good day!"

Friday nightmare. As I carried him into the building, he started hyperventilating, and he wrapped his arms around my neck. I sat down in a rocking chair with him, and gave him some time to adjust. But when I said "Bye, buddy" he let out an almighty shriek and charged for the door. His teacher scooped him up and my last glimpse of him was of a screaming 20-month old baby crying "Mommy! Mommy!" I almost threw up in the hallway my stomach clenched so hard. When I picked him up that afternoon, he was hoarse.

Saturday was a trial of its own--I could not leave the room without a constant stream of "mommy mommy mommy" in a steadily rising pitch.

Sunday came with its own brand of fun. I laid him down at 3 but he didn't sleep--and by 4:30 when I went in to pick him up, he was hot to the touch. Fever of 102. Off to Urgent Care we went. The doctor said that a viral fever is making the rounds in this area, and the only thing we can do is give him ibuprofen to keep the fever under control. Argh. Daycare policy is that the fever has to be gone for 24 hours before they'll take the child for care. Double argh, but understandable.

The upshot of this was that I couldn't go to campus on Monday to finish my syllabi and get my copying done before the inevitable copier-malfunction/breakdown. I stayed home all day until it was time to take Thing One to her school for pictures and to drop off her supplies/meet the new teacher. Hubby met us at Culver's, and took Thing Two (whose appetite was way off) home.

At 6:50pm I get a cellphone call from Hubby just as Thing One and I are leaving the elementary school: he and Thing Two are at the ER because Thing Two's "meat and two veg" are red and swollen. The diagnosis (erroneous, it turns out) is a fungal infection, for which the only treatment is Nystatin 3 times a day. Oh goody. Thing Two doesn't like anyone touching him there, so it's a two-person job when he's in this much pain.

So Tuesday (yesterday) I was home again--Thing Two incredibly cranky and/or clingy due to pain. Fever finally broke late morning but pain remained. I missed the campus Opening Meeting. This is my tenure year, and I missed the Opening Meeting because I have no other option than to stay home with my sick child. Hubby does not have paid sick leave (he works for a private company that does hundreds of millions in sales and purports to be about "treating people right" but he doesn't have paid sick leave).

Which brings us to today, Wednesday September 1st. I had less than 4 hours to do the work I'd been planning to do on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for my first classes on 9/2. Why? Because the only well-baby appointment I could get this week was at 1:00 today. I dropped Thing One off for her first day of first grade (when she said as we pulled up, "You don't have to walk me in, Mom. I'm not afraid.") and drove Thing Two over to his daycare. He started to cry as we pulled into the parking lot, and did not stop as I handed him to his teacher and walked out. I am dying inside.

I know that this is something all working parents go through. I know that he will adjust and learn to enjoy it (at least I hope so, because I never did). Thing One was at the same place from birth all the way through 4K, and we only had a few episodes of crying. This is the third place Thing Two has been in since he was born, and though I want to think that he can't remember, I feel as though the familiarity of TinyTech would have made this easier. He's miserable. He cries when I drop him off, and he cries when I come to pick him up. His teacher says that he does play but he has bouts of crying. And thanks to my pediatrician, I think I know why.

At our well-baby visit, I described his symptoms to our pediatrician, who is wonderful and whom I adore. She listens, and she gives helpful homeopathic advice. She examined him, and said "He has hand-foot-and-mouth." The fever, and now the spots on his hands, feet, and lips and the inside of his mouth--DUH. The only treatment is a cocktail of Maalox and Benadryl to help ease the pain in his mouth. It's highly contagious, so no daycare until he stops drooling, which is probably going to be a few days from now.

Well shit. What do I do now? The first day of classes is tomorrow. I cannot cancel class on the first day. Hubby cannot take off work (we depend on his paycheck until I start getting paid--October 1st). Shit shit shit.

Hubby calls his mom. They can take him, but they're leaving for the cottage tomorrow. Shit. OK. I pack all of his gear to get us through Monday (we're leaving for the cottage on Friday afternoon). Hubby takes gear and Thing Two to the halfway point. Thing Two is now going to hang with Bopbop (Grandpa). Thank god for Bopbop. Thing One is pissed because she doesn't get to go hang with Bopbop because she has to go to school. Wheeeeee! What fun!

OK. Evening is falling. I hear the hallway door. Hubby is back. Time for a cosmopolitan.

And I did manage to get my copying done before the copier crapped out. Hooray!

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