The Toddler Curve Ball
One of the very first lessons that you learn as a parent is just when you think that you’ve got everything figured out, your kid will throw you a curve ball and make you question everything that you know. Figured out how to get the newborn to sleep? Two hours later, none of your tricks will work. You think you know how to entice your picky toddler to eat his veggies? At the next meal he stubbornly refuses the broccoli that he was shoving in his mouth two days ago.
Xander can be especially good at the curve ball thing. I have to give the kid credit, he is smart. See the curve ball is his secret weapon. He uses it sparingly, as if he only needs to remind me two or three times a year that he’s really in charge. Last week he threw a curve ball. And let me tell you, it wasn’t fun.
Sunday morning Xander woke up not quite himself. He usually wakes up happy and cuddly. Not this day. He woke up cranky and screaming. He was pulling and tugging at his ear. I gave him some motrin and he calmed down a bit, but still wasn’t himself.
After a few hours of clingy, crying, screaming baby, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed that he need to go to Children’s Express. The tiniest boy-child has a history of ear infections that are accompanied by low-grade fevers, ear pawing and extreme crying. Since we were three for three on the symptom list, it was pretty much a no-brainier.
When we got to Children’s Express I was happy to discover that our pediatrician was working there that day. He came in, checked Xander’s ears and promptly declared that not only were they not infected, but they looked better than they had in MONTHS (he’s had a bit of residual fluid in his ears most of the winter). CURVEBALL #1. The little stinker tricked me. Dr. V said his fever and crankiness was either teething or something viral. Given the state of his mouth and the fact that he is drooling even more than usual, we settled on teeth.
On Monday, Xander’s fever was gone so we sent him to school. I called to check on him around nap time. They said he was doing ok. Not quite himself, but at least he wasn’t clingy and screaming. That night he came home and at a good dinner, which he managed to get all over himself. Because I’m lazy and it was almost bath time, I just took his clothes off let him run around in a diaper while the husband and I cleaned up.
As we were finishing the cleaning, I wondered into the living room and smelled the tell-tale sign of a dirty diaper. I walked over to Xander, who was playing on the couch and that’s when I saw it. His diaper had leaked. On the couch. CURVE BALL #2. I yelled for the husband. He took couch duty and I took diaper duty. Neither task was pretty. After the clean-up was done, we got the kids in bed and I cleaned the couch again. Not because I don’t trust my husband’s cleaning skills, but because poop on the couch seems like something that should be cleaned like 12 times. After I cleaned it 12 times, I febreezed the shit (pardon the pun) out of that couch. It’s been a week and you can still smell the febreeze on the couch.
So, after this incident, I was left to wonder if we were dealing with teething poop or something viral. I was guessing teething poop. And since I know about teething poop, I know to expect lots of yucky diapers. I did not expect curve ball #3.
On Tuesday, my husband called on his way home with the boys. There is nothing in and of itself unusual about that. He calls every day. The unusual part was when my husband said “Xanny’s not wearing any shoes. They are coming home in a bag. There was a poop incident.” CRAP! Literally and figuratively. See, the thing is as much as I love shoes (and boy do I love shoes), the boys really each only have one pair of shoes. Have you checked out little boy shoes lately? There really isn’t that much out there that’s cute, doesn’t have a character on them and are less than a bajillion dollars.
So as I sat and waited the 30 minutes for my crew to arrive home, I was plotting a trip to Target after the boys were in bed for a new pair of shoes. Then I decided to run up and take a look at what I had in the way of shoes in the hand-me-down bins. I found two pair of shoes that looked like they might fit.
Once the boys got home and settled, I grabbed the offending bag of shoes, some plastic gloves and headed downstairs to the laundry room. I honestly had visions of shoes completely covered in poop. I was kinda surprised to find that it wasn’t *that* bad. It was really just the laces and the holes for the laces. I stood trying to figure out what to do. The laces were easy, but the holes? Ugh. So I ran upstairs and tried the hand-me-down shoes on Xander. They fit. I returned downstairs and promptly threw the old shoes in the garbage.
Then I went and begged my little man to stop with curve balls.
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