First Words

(FeverGate 2012 Update: After 6 days on antibiotics with virtually no improvement, we went back to the doctor and got a new antibiotic. The improvement was almost immediate. His fever stopped spiking, his lips stopped turning blue, and he felt good enough to return to daycare the very next day. A week after switching antibiotics, he’s completely back to normal. It’s so great to have our happy boy back!)

Alexander has a few words in his vocabulary that he uses somewhat consistently. He’ll say “DaDa” to Tim and “Dah” to the dogs (though, to be fair, he says “Dah” about a lot of things…he’ll say it when pointing to the door, he’ll say it when he’s done eating, and he’ll say it when pointing to the dogs. Basically, there are lots of things in his life that start with a “D” sound, and he’s mastered it). But more than any other “D” word, the one word he uses most consistently and most accurately is “No.” I used to think it was just a sound he made, and it was nothing more than a funny coincidence when he would answer questions with his “no” sound. But as time goes on, we’re begrudgingly starting to get the impression that we’re going to have to write “No” down in the theoretical baby book as the official First Word.

Lately, Alexander’s been playing a fun game where he likes to dangle himself head-first over the side of the couch and have us pull him back to safety by his feet. We try very hard not to encourage this behavior since it’s obviously dangerous, but the kid is determined to do a nose dive off the side of the couch and onto the hardwood floor. The other day, as luck would have it, I was half a second too slow in grabbing his feet to pull him back from the edge, and he finally succeeded in throwing himself to the floor face first. Much wailing (Alexander) and frantic checking for massive head wounds (Tim and me) ensued, but he calmed down after a few minutes and only had a small scratch on his forehead to show for his tumble.

Tim tried to use reason (as you do with a 13-month-old) to explain to Alexander that this is why we don’t do nose dives off the couch and asked, “Did you learn a lesson?”

“No,” was the child’s prompt reply.

“Are you going to stop playing that dangerous game?”

“No.”

And then, trying a different tactic: “Are you going to do that again?”

No response.

This kid has learned the word “no,” and I’m beginning to think we’re in for quite the wild ride raising our mischievous little monkey.

(Sure enough, less than an hour later, Alexander was crawling back to the arm of the couch, dangling over the edge head first all over again. At least he didn’t lie to us about whether or not he learned anything.)

Little Boy Blue

It seems that being a one-year-old is not good for Alexander’s health. Since his birthday, he’s had Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, an eye infection, and now a nasty head cold/mild ear infection featuring The Fever That Would Not Die. It’s been a hell of a month.

This latest illness has been particularly rough. He has a high fever and low appetite, and he’s just all around very pitiful and sad. Sometimes, when the Baby Tylenol is working, he feels better and almost acts like his usual self again. But in a few short hours, he’ll take a dramatic shift back to Fever-ville and become the most heart-breakingly listless baby boy you’ve ever seen. We’re on Day Three of this roller coaster, and we’re ready to be done.

The worst of it hit last night, when we rushed him over to Urgent Care because he was turning blue. His fingers, toes, and lips were blue, he was shivering, and his fever was climbing. It was terrifying. It had happened earlier in the day, too, but only in his fingers, and I was able to get him some Tylenol, get his fever down, and get him back to normal pretty quickly. I’d consulted the ever-reliable Dr. Google and learned that the blue fingers and toes thing is a fun trick that some babies do when in the “rising stages” of a fever, so I managed not to freak out. It helped tremendously that he bounced back so quickly.

Last night, however, it was worse. He was more blue than before, shivering like crazy, and completely out of it. And he didn’t seem to be bouncing back. We called the on-call pediatrician, who was completely frustrating in his lack of concern or helpfulness, repeated what I’d already learned from Google about this being something that can happen with fevers and babies, and basically said it was “up to us” whether we took him to an after-hours clinic or not.

We were scared, though, so we piled into the car and headed for Urgent Care, if for nothing else than to have the peace of mind that comes with having a professional look him over and assess the situation. When we got there, Tim explained to the receptionist what was happening while I held my sick baby and unsuccessfully tried to hold back my tears. The receptionist calmly told us to have a seat in the waiting area and someone would be with us shortly.

Now, the logical part of my brain was thinking it was a good sign that the Urgent Care staff wasn’t alarmed by our baby’s blue lips and didn’t immediately rush us back to an exam room. But the concerned mother part of my brain wanted to scream “What do you mean, ‘have a seat’?! MY BABY IS TURNING BLUE! DO SOMETHING TO MAKE HIM BETTER RIGHT NOW!”

I managed to hold myself together, though, and we sat, and we waited. Meanwhile, Alexander transitioned from blue to bright red and then settled into a nice, healthy pink just in time for us to be called back to see the doctor. The doctor checked his oxygen levels, listened to his lungs, and gave him a flu test, all of which produced healthy results. This doctor, at least, was very kind and understanding of the scared first-time parents in her exam room. She took her time explaining what could be going on and assuring us that the antibiotic our pediatrician had prescribed the day before would help, and Alexander should be feeling better within a couple of days.

So two hours and a few tears later, we walked out of Urgent Care with instructions to stay the course and come back immediately if the situation worsens. And a great sense of relief, knowing that we’re doing what we need to be doing to take good care of our little guy.

Today he’s still fighting off the fever, and we’re still stuck on this roller coaster of happy baby/feverish baby. Tim and I have spent the day napping and watching the baby in shifts. Alexander’s passed out on my chest while I write this, but an hour ago he was dancing in the kitchen while eating macaroni and cheese. He hasn’t turned blue at all today, so I’m counting it as a good day.

Hopefully tomorrow will be even better.