Tag Archives: sickness

She Says… Small Victories

Can I get a woot woot?

I feel like a rockstar when I can get dinner made at naptime (thank you, turkey enchilada casserole!). I’ve showered today. My hair is blown dry. The littles are peacefully napping (for now). Owen and I even got to the dentist this morning (please ignore the fact that it’s been a year since we went last and consider this a win…)! This is all even more amazing since yesterday Emmett was diagnosed with a CRAZY contagious rash all over his body and Benjamin was working half the weekend.

Let’s back up.


I have been trying to make us dentist appointments for about, oh, a year now. And by “trying” I mean I had a reminder set in my calendar that I kept looking at and thinking, “Oh! Time to call the dentist!”, but then getting sidetracked by anything and everything before actually doing so. We went last back in January 2013, which meant that our 6 month follow-up put us EXACTLY at Emmett’s due date. Well, anyone who has had a baby (and probably anyone who hasn’t) can tell you that dentist appointments aren’t usually high on the list of priorities once the wee babe pops out… so it took us another 6 months to actually get there again. Ummm, oops. The grandson of a pediatric dentist should do better, eh?


At least our visit was a huge, cavity-less success.

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Benjamin’s dad is my dentist (why yes, I DO still see a pediatric dentist…) so Owen gets to see Pop when we go. Even more incentive to keep up with our appointments! O hopped right up in the chair next to me, put on the cool shades he was offered, and chatted it up with all of the hygienists while they flossed and cleaned and counted his teeth. He could not have been happier or more at ease in the office. Hallelujah that he did not inherit my fear of all things teeth-related!


He “played dentist” with everyone and loved getting to hit the buttons to move my chair. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if any readers live in the Boston suburbs and need a pediatric dentist, check these guys out. I realize I’m biased, but I am always impressed with how they treat Owen when he is there. (Bonus: There are 2 adorable pictures of Owen blown up on the wall!).


Everyone wanted to meet Emmett too, but alas, he was quarantined at home.

On Saturday I noticed that Emmett was shaking his head around and acting kind of fussy. In the afternoon he woke up with a temp and all of my Mommy signals were screaming “Ear infection!”, so I made an appointment with our doc for Sunday morning. When I put him to bed on Saturday night I noticed two small red dots on the backs of his shoulders. He is constantly battling eczema and has very sensitive skin, so I made a mental note about it to ask the doctor about it on Sunday. I know some viruses can come along with a rash as well, so figured that’s what he was fighting.

When he woke up in the morning, his arms and trunk were covered with what appeared to be boils or crusty sores. GROSS. The doctor confirmed my ear infection diagnosis, added on a symptom of blisters on the back of the throat and then called in 2 other docs to take a look at the weird rash. It looked like chicken pox, but the distribution wasn’t right. Long story short we figured out what it was (very contagious) and started treatment right away for all three things. SAD BABY. He hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, and won’t let us put him down. Can you blame him? Poor guy is exploding with an itchy rash all over his tiny little body! Benjamin was traveling all day Sunday (I survived the day without him!) but got home just in time before I had to handle double bedtime with a screaming baby. Phew.

I’m just counting on my magical Mommy immune system to get me through this one without boils all over my body too, because I’m not going to not touch or hold my sad little guy. In the meantime I’m bleaching and doing a constant rotation of laundry in hot water and anything else I can do to stop this awful infections from spreading to other members of the family.

Uhh, anyone want to come over and play?

She Says… Mama Down

On Monday evening I felt my throat tightening in a strange gag-y sort of way. Benjamin was working late, I was putting both kids to bed myself and I felt ok otherwise, so I did what any other mother would do and told myself to stop thinking about it and get shit done. I chalked the throat thing up to a lingering cough I have that’s been around since both kids had RSV around Christmas and continued feeding and bathing and brushing and diapering and kissing my boys to sleep.

A hand-written note that I had seen in the infant room when I picked Emmett up on Friday kept popping into my head, though. “3 cases of stomach bug” it said. Yuck, I thought, as I innocently believed my kid couldn’t possibly contract such a thing.

After I put them to bed I felt kind of shaky and strange. As with most body things, I convinced myself that it was all psychosomatic and I was making it up. Just watch Fashion Police about the Grammys and go to bed, I told myself. NOTHING IS WRONG.

That worked for a little while, until I found myself lunging for the toilet bowl while dry-heaving.

Oh NOW I remember what those two little words feel like. Stomach. Bug.

I cannot remember the last time I was actually sick enough to puke. Puking, to me, is the ultimate worst thing my body could possibly do. Yes, even after birthing 2 children, I still HATE vomiting. When I was younger I worried I would not be able to hold back my own child’s hair someday because I was a chronic “secondary puker” (you know, the type who would immediately throw up themselves if they saw, smelled, touched or even thought about someone else’s puke). Thankfully I have grown out of that habit. Or perhaps my carsick first child forced me to.

But Monday night, let’s just say I had no choice. My body exploded from the inside out. Stomach. Bug.

In retrospect I think Emmett had a minor version of it too, since he cried for a bit on Sunday night and when I went in his room in the morning he smelled like puke and he hasn’t been pounding his bottles like normal the last 2 days. A quick buzz through my Facebook feed confirms that pretty much everyone in my world with children has experienced some form of this bug in the last 2 weeks. Exorcist-style, my friends. So at least we’re in good company?

Tuesday I spent most of my day working from under a blanket on my couch (10 points for being able to work from home and not puke on coworkers!) and by late afternoon I was feeling a lot better. The good news: it’s a true 24 hour bug.

Benjamin was working late again so I was on my own for kid bedtime. I went to grab the keys to get the kids from school.

But they weren’t there.

They weren’t anywhere.

Now, it’s not like me to lose my keys. I always know where things are in our house. So I called Benjamin and asked him offhandedly, “Is it possible that you took both sets of keys to work today?” “No. They were both on the counter this morning.” And then he looked in his bag. And there they were. And without a spare set at home.

Good news: We live close enough to walk to daycare, and I often do this when the weather is good. Bad news: It was 10 degrees outside. I had no other choice, so I gathered blankets and coats and hats to take with me. I figured I could run as fast as I could with the kids and we’d get home without frostbite (yeah, running a non-running stroller with 50+ lbs of kids when barely recovered from the stomach bug sounds fun, right?). I started walking to school while frantically calling any friends and neighbors who might be able to help. But they had to have carseats the right sizes for my kids (and be available), which was a tall order.

Miraculously I DID get ahold of a friend who lives right near us and who has 2 kids about the same ages as ours. He was on his way home from work and said he’d come pick me up, take me to school, pick up the kids, drop us at home and then go back for his kids. HALLELUJAH. Saved.

So that’s what we did. Eventually, an hour later than I normally get the kids, we arrived home in one piece and without anyone (ahem, ME) throwing up on anyone else. I scrounged a quick dinner for Owen and completed bathtime and bedtime for both boys before falling into bed myself.

Lesson learned: It doesn’t matter how sick you are, you’re still the Mama and you’ve still gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Puke or no puke.

She Says… Happy Holidays 2013

Santa came early this year!

FOR US: Both kids are plagued with RSV. Coughs, wheezing, runny noses and sadness abounds. Just in time for the happiest day of the year! Perhaps we’re continuing a fun family tradition, as the same thing happened last year, after two healthy fall seasons. As with last year, we’re determined not to let it get us down. Fingers are crossed that it passes sans chest x-rays and puking this year and Santa can make them forget the rest.

FOR YOU: The annual This Place is Now a Home family video Christmas card is here!

Enjoy. May you all have HEALTHY, happy, harmonious holidays with the ones you love.


In case you missed previous years’ videos…


She Says… LICE

There are very few things that I’ve encountered so far since having children that truly gross me out. Vomit is close, but as a mother I’ve been able to handle it so much better than I ever could have when I was younger.

But I just got an email that sends shivers down my spine.


A little buddy who has likely shared dress up hats and hugs with my kid. Who probably sat next to him and itched his or her little bug-infested head right over my kid’s snack.




Little itchy bugs embedding themselves in my kid’s scalp. Or mine. Or my dog’s. (Can dogs get lice?).

Tell me everything you know about lice. What do I do now? How do I check for them? How long are we in danger (his school is taking measures to clean the classroom and obviously the kid has been sent home until he/she is nit free)? What do I do if, God forbid, he actually has lice? Is there any possibility he WON’T?



She Says… 3 Months

Emmett 3 Months-8

My sweet Emmett (or Emmett-y, as your brother calls you),

Happy 3 month birthday! Three months feels so… significant. The end of the “4th trimester” and into the big, wide world of being a baby. A baby who coos and gurgles and drools and smiles and laughs. A baby who pushes up with all of his might when placed on his tummy and holds his head up high to take in the world. A baby who grabs my finger with such an iron grip that I swear he has adult strength. A baby who smells so gosh darn delicious that I can’t help but bury my face in his neck at every possible opportunity. A baby who is starting to understand subtle changes in facial expressions and gives a shy half-smile to strangers exclaiming over his unbelievable cuteness (and a HUGE! WIDE! OPEN-MOUTH! SPARKLY EYES! smile to Mommy, Daddy and Owen).

Emmett 3 Months-6 Emmett 3 Months-5

Oh Emmett. If there’s one word I use to describe you the most on a daily basis it is SMILEY. You are one joyful little person. Even when you’re tired or hungry, you often smile through your tears in this adorable I-can’t-decide-if-I’m-happy-or-sad state. I took you into my office last week to visit my coworkers and you charmed every single one of them, smiling and cooing while they oohed and ahhed over you. After a bit of socializing you always look for me, though, and you need some one-on-one time to recharge.

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I get it. I totally do. I’ll always be here to wrap you up in my arms and be your calm. Your home base. Your comfort.

Emmett 3 Months-1

Usually you are quite the mama’s boy (and I couldn’t be happier about that), but there’s one situation where I always play second fiddle: when Owen is in the room. You are enthralled with him. Totally in love. Entertained. Amused. In the mornings or after naps he climbs onto the side of your crib and opens your swaddle saying, “Good morning cutie pie!” or “Wake up, sleepyhead” or just “Emmett-eeeeeeeeee”. It takes my breath away every time. I love to watch you love each other.

Emmett 3 Months-9 Emmett 3 Months-10

When we’re playing together Owen is always all up in your business. Patting your head or climbing on your body or making you clap with your feet or do sign language with your hands. Last night he was dead set on feeding you a potato despite my insistence that you are too little to eat food. I constantly hear myself saying, “Owen, please give Emmett space” or “Back up” or “Face away from his face!”, but you wanna know the truth? YOU LOVE IT. You love all of the manhandling and silliness and physical torture. You’re smiling, egging him on. You guys are going to be quite the pair as you grow up together. Partners in crime. I can see it already.

Emmett 3 Months-11

You and me, though, we’ve got something special too. I know when you’re older you won’t want to hear about how breastfeeding was this special time between us, but it is. It really is. I am so thankful for the quiet times I get to sit with you and rock you and gaze at your beautiful little body. Even amidst the chaos of Owen playing and breakfast making and Schnitzel barking… when I’m nursing you it’s like there’s this force field around us and we’re the only two people inside. (Believe me, sometimes I feel like I need a force field, since Owen always seems to think that nursing time means “let’s climb all over mom and ask her incessant questions”). Every 2-3 hours you get 20 minutes of time with me all to yourself. And I get you. And at night when it’s quiet and you’re swaddled and our bodies are rocking in sync I wish I could freeze time and remember that feeling forever. It’s my happy place (at the same time, I would also LOVE to know what it feels like to sleep for 6+ hours at a time again!).

Emmett 3 Months-14

You got sick for the first time over the last few days. Daycare germs, no doubt. The raspy, squeaky sound of your “I’m losing my voice” voice just about broke my heart into a million pieces. It was so sad. We’ve been humidifying and nursing around the clock (remember when you used to get up only once a night? Yeah, that was nice…) and I think you’re starting to feel a bit better today. When you had a decent fever the other day I tried to give you some medicine and learned something about you. You are a TRICKSTER when it comes to medicine. You have already perfected the art of spitting out every last drop. I’m going to have to work on my technique. I hope you don’t have the same reaction when we are ready to try solid food in a couple months!

Emmett 3 Months-12

I’ve started giving you your vitamins and any medicine in the bath so that when you spit it out it doesn’t make a big mess. Owen thinks this is HILARIOUS and loves to watch me. He instructs, “little by little” and asks me if you spit it out after every gulp. Speaking of bath time, you love baths. Love. No matter how tired or hungry or ready for bed you are, you immediately calm when I start running the water. You and Owen splash and play together and I try my best to make sure he doesn’t drown you with his antics.

Emmett 3 Months-13

I love you so, little one. You are the perfect addition to our family. I can’t wait to watch you grow up and learn more about who you are.


She Says… Boogers x2

It was inevitable.

Emmett was bound to get sick earlier than Owen did. He’s constantly accosted by his brother who can’t keep his germy little hands off of him. He’s gone to daycare once a week for 3 weeks. It’s the beginning of fall when all of these lovely illnesses come out of hiding.

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Still, though, I didn’t think it would happen SO SOON. The day that Emmett hit 3 months last week (monthly post to come… someday…) I started to hear the telltale grunting/snorting/snuffling when he nursed like his nose was stuffed up. Owen had the same. The next day it had migrated to both of their chests — a thick, mucus-y cough. Red around the eyes (“sick eyes” as we call them). No fevers and they were both pretty happy and playing normally, so really nothing to do but wait it out.

Since Owen’s asthma diagnosis we’ve kept a close eye on any and all respiratory bugs, as in the past they almost always got super serious and morphed into bronchialitis, pneumonia and an ear infection very quickly. Now we have an asthma action plan that includes starting up his inhalers at the first signs of a cough. It has helped IMMENSELY and dramatically cut down on the number of illnesses he had last winter. So last week when the cough started, I knew exactly what to do. After 2 days of “puffs”, he’s cleared up and feeling fine. Magic.


Having one asthma kid has put me on high alert for similar symptoms in Emmett. With Owen, now I know the sound and rate of his breathing and when/how to intervene. But I have no experience with a 3 month old getting sick, and Emmett is a completely different kid with a completely different body that I just don’t know as intimately yet.

By Monday Owen was still complaining of ear pain (he said, “I have an ear ninfection”, and he’s always been right when he’s said that in the past) and Emmett’s cough was still pretty thick, so I felt it was the right time to head to the doctor. Unfortunately I didn’t make the call until afternoon nap time so the only appointment they had available was 6:15pm. RIGHT AT BATHTIME. And I was home alone since Benjamin was traveling again. Of course. Still, I wanted to make sure both kids were ok, so we made it work.

The doc said Owen’s ear was dull and inflamed but not infected, so there wasn’t really anything to do except some Motrin if needed. His lungs were clear. Similar situation with Emmett — gunk seemed to be all in his upper respiratory area, not in his lungs, so no sign of his brother’s asthma (yet). Tylenol if needed and lots of hydration and humidifying.

I had already started humidifying over the weekend, hence the fire alarm scare. Since I couldn’t use the humidifier overnight for Emmett again, I decided to get out Owen’s old nebulizer from when he was a baby (he has since graduated to an inhaler and spacer) to give Emmett some saline-only treatment.

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Guess who wanted in on the “fun fish face”? The kid who I used to have to wrestle to the ground to administer his treatments. My how times have changed. Unlike his brother, Emmett sat totally calmly and quietly while I held the mask in front of his face. Like he was at the spa or something.

Owen is feeling almost all better again (thank goodness for asthma medicine!) and Emmett won’t be far behind.

I think we’ve made it through our first double illness. While I’m sure there will be many more, I’m proud of (and exhausted from) handling two sick kiddos all by myself for several days. Sickness + fire alarms = NOT a lot of sleep for this mama recently, but we’re on the up and up.

She Says… A Very Healthy Sick Day

On Tuesday at 4:30pm I got “the call” from daycare. Apparently Owen had a fever. It was borderline on their must-send-kid-home cutoff, but it meant that he couldn’t come back to school on Wednesday. Boo.

I was so thankful that this didn’t happen last week (while Benjamin was traveling and I was working in the office leading a training for 40 people singlehandedly) that I was more than happy to bring him home and figure out how to cover both a day’s worth of work and a day hanging out with my favorite 3 year old on Wednesday. Even better, Benjamin was working from home as well, so we tag-teamed the whole day. And, to make it even more fun, Owen wasn’t even sick in the slightest (his fever was non-existent) so it was kind of like an extra weekend day. It went great, and by the time we got in bed at night Benjamin and I both felt like we had successfully done a good job with both work and home responsibilities.

We patted ourselves on the back. Then I dropped Owen off at school this morning ready to get a lot more work done today.

But at 9:30am, a mere 2 hours after dropping him off, I got the same call. Apparently his fever was back. Borderline, but enough to get him sent home (especially since there were 5 cases of fever in his classroom, 2 of which came along with stomach bugs).

Of course I understand the school’s rule. And I understand being cautious when other kids are sick as well. But seriously. Owen is FINE. He’s more than fine! His fever is 100.1 under the arm. For my kid, that is really not a fever at all (or at least nothing to worry about if he’s acting totally normal).

Currently he’s out for a scooter ride around the neighborhood with one of our neighbors right now so that Benjamin and I can each squeeze in a couple hours of focused work before doing another tag-team day.  He’s been blowing bubbles and swinging on the swingset and running around like a maniac. Not exactly a picture of sickness.

Of course I’ll eat these words if he starts puking in an hour or two. But until then, I’m stuck wondering how in the world I’m supposed to wrap up my last few projects at work before I have this baby while my other baby is at home making it impossible to get anything done.

She Says… Stomach Bug

Owen woke up in the middle of the night last night screaming for me, which he rarely does anymore (aside from his night-terror-like nap wakeups, which still happen every once in a while, but seem to be disappearing). I ran in and he was sitting up pointing to a dark blob about the size of a quarter on his sheet.

“What is that, Mommy?”, he whimpered. Instinctively I touched it, since I didn’t have my glasses on and he only has a very dim night light in his room. It was slimy and wet. Definitely something from his body. Ew.

I turned up the light a little so I could examine more closely. I wiped it up with a baby wipe and after further inspection deduced that it was a weirdly undigested piece of green pepper from dinner. I couldn’t really tell if it had been stuck on the roof of his mouth, or actually came up from his stomach. “Did it come out while you were sleeping? Or did you cough and throw this up?”. Strange questions, but surprisingly clear answers. Owen was certain it came out while he was sleeping. His tummy felt ok. He didn’t feel warm and was otherwise fine (as were his sheets), so I rubbed his back for a minute and went back to bed.

A few hours later I heard that scream again. I went back in and he said, “It happened again”.

Stomach bug, y’all.



She Says… Pile Up

I got “the call” from daycare yesterday afternoon. Owen had a fever over 102 after his nap.

In pure Owen fashion he was all smiles and acting fine, but when I picked him up I could see the puffy/red eyes and low energy level that always tells me when he’s not feeling well. The first thing he said was, “I get to watch tv? And drink warm water with honey and lemon?”. Ha!

(The answer was yes to both.).

Due to the high fever yesterday, he couldn’t go to school today. Fortunately I can work from home today and get almost all of my work done during naptime and after Owen goes to bed. Phew.

He’s been battling some serious congestion for the last week or so (as have I… mine is still lingering from my flu/sinus infection so many weeks ago), so I wasn’t actually surprised that it finally caught up with him and turned into something. It seems like a run-of-the-mill cold, but any parent of a kid with asthma will tell you that asthma can turn even the most minor cold into something very serious very quickly. At this point I’ve been through enough respiratory infections to know what to listen for, and although his breathing sounded a little thin, there was no wheezing or retractions. I also know better than to consider us “in the clear”, though, so I watched him really carefully.


After a strict regimen of inhalers, nebulizers, humidifiers and lots of warm water with honey and lemon (a new favorite “treat” since I’ve been drinking a lot of tea to get rid of my own post-nasal drip), he seems to be doing a bit better. Lots of congestion, but his fever is down and his asthma seems under control, so I don’t feel the need to take him to the doctor.


Well, except to MY doctor. My gestational diabetes test is this afternoon. You know, the one I’ve been stressing over. You know, the one where you have to wait for over an hour just to get blood drawn after drinking the sugary drink. You know, like, the hardest appointment ever to have to bring an under-the-weather 2 year old to. Where he’ll be forced to sit in a doctor’s waiting room for an excruciatingly long time, undoubtedly gathering more germs than he’s bringing in, while we wait.

Also? How cruel is it to schedule a gestational diabetes test late in the afternoon? When I was pregnant with Owen I did it first thing in the morning and had just protein for breakfast. No chance to screw up the test with carbs/sugar. Now I’ve had to eat all day (some people even fast to make sure they don’t screw up the results… but I would be crazy to fast all day, especially while pregnant!) and I’m about a million times more worried about the test than I even was before. Oh joy.

So, off to get 8 hours of work done in a 2.5 hour naptime. The clock starts… now.

Send me happy, low blood sugar thoughts for this afternoon!

She Says… Lights Out

THANK YOU all so much for your thoughtful comments on the big boy bed/new clock issue. It is so helpful to hear what worked for you and your families, as it helps drive home the point that everyone does this differently, and what works for one kid won’t necessarily work for another.

As with potty training (and breastfeeding, and so many other things…), I decided to put my own “best laid plans” in the backseat and let Owen drive the bus. I asked him, point blank, if he wanted me to take the clock out of his room, and he said, definitively, “Yes. Take it out.”. I’m still not totally sure what the issue was (excitement about something new in his room, anxiousness about when the light would turn green, stress that he was awake before he was supposed to be, whatever), but it doesn’t really matter. Since we took it out 2 nights ago, he went immediately back to sleeping later and staying quiet in his bed until I come in to get him. Phew. Crisis averted.

We’re going to keep the clock in our back pocket as a tool if getting out of bed becomes an issue, but there’s no way to tell now if it will be necessary.

Though I’m still on the “move to a big boy bed in the next month or two, or wait until several months after the baby comes” fence, I think we’re going to give it a shot sooner rather than later. Owen seems to know exactly what he’s ready for and what he wants, and he is verbal enough to tell me exactly what’s not working for him, so I’m going to trust that he can help lead me through this next transition. More to come on that!

Also, thank you to those sending me good vibes while waiting for my Fifth Disease test to come back. It took a really long time (3 days in the lab, when I’m used to results within a few hours), but finally came back showing that I am immune to Fifth, which means I’ve had the infection at some point in the past and it is no longer a risk for me or my baby. So, “lights out” on another thing I had been worried about. Hooray for being the weird rash-y kid (much like my son) who got All The Sicknesses as a little tyke. Though it was never diagnosed as such, I have had it before. My antibodies are strong now, and I can only hope for the same for Owen when he grows up.

Here’s to a happy, HEALTHY long weekend!