Thursday, September 30, 2010

Anxiety is a mom's best friend

In case you have never been pregnant, or in case you've never had a friend or family member who was/is pregnant, I'm going to fill you in on a little something about pregnancy: it is a breeding ground for anxiety; a veritable petri dish for worries and fears and angst.

Unfortunately for me and for those who love me most, I am already an anxious person by nature. Over time, I've been able to get a little bit more of a grip on myself, which is good because I'm pretty sure that if I'd kept up on the path I was following, I'd be alone in a tiny studio apartment living on Ramen noodles. (And somewhere, any college students who read my blog are like, "HEY! What's the matter with that?" And I'll grant you, some days that sounds pretty darn good to me. So maybe that wasn't a good comparison.)

So combine my natural tendency towards sweating the small, medium and big stuff with pregnancy and the result you get is not always pretty. There is SO much to worry about when you're pregnant. You have to worry about what you eat and drink (a biggie for me). You have to worry about how you sleep. You have to worry about how much weight you gain (talk about a nightmare). You have to worry about spontaneously turning diabetic. And let's not forget the teeny, tiny worry about what you have to do to bring this miracle into the outside world.

I think my biggest worry, though, is about the health of the baby I have yet to meet face to face. And my worries tend to get a little on the wackadoo side of things.

The other night, D and I were watching tv in bed and I was talking to him about how excited I was for our ultrasound (that is today, by the way!!). I love the mid-point ultrasound because it's not just a quick look-and-see. They measure everything and take a good look to make sure things are in order, so you get to see your kiddo for a good 15 minutes.

Anyway, for some crazy reason, we started talking about hermaphrodites. D almost never indulges my crazy anxieties, but sometimes I can get him into it.

I was like, "OMG D, what if our baby is BOTH GENDERS?!?!"

And he was like, "Come on, that's not going to happen."

"But what if it does? We would have to decide what gender we want our baby to be? HOW CAN WE BE EXPECTED TO MAKE THAT KIND OF DECISION?!?"

And we went on from there, weighing the pros and cons for both genders, in case our baby turns out to be a hermaphrodite and we have to choose. And then it got me thinking about what would happen if we were to choose "wrong". What if the baby really is a girl, but we make it a boy? We'll basically be sealing the deal on a lifetime of confusion for our kid.

So now, I'm a little bit worried that at our ultrasound today, the tech is going to be like, "Hmmm...that's funny." And then she'll say, "Well, it's a good thing you don't want to know the gender because I don't know what it is."

Obviously, there is a significant amount of worry that goes into being the parent of "outside" children. But for me, the worry that goes along with "inside" children is far worse. At least with my outside baby, I can see if there's something wrong. With my inside baby, I have no clue.

It must be life's way to even things out. I am blessed with relatively easy pregnancies, so for me, my children are the lowest maintenance that they'll ever be while they're on the inside. Lest I enjoy pregnancy too much, the ridiculous anxieties need to be thrown in so that I'm not super cocky and braggy and also so that the women with awful, difficult pregnancies don't want to knock me out.

For the sake of my sanity, I really hope my baby doesn't turn out to be a hermaphrodite on the ultrasound today. As all mothers do, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying that all turns out well and that Le Bebe Nombre Deux is healthy as a horse. But not as big as a horse. Please God, not as big as a horse.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Squirrel Chronicles

Conner (our crazy dog) killed a squirrel this weekend. Wait, let me rephrase that. Conner killed another squirrel this weekend.

Since we moved in with my parents in July (barely 3 months ago), Conner has killed two squirrels. I have absolutely no clue how he did this. He's no stranger to chasing squirrels by any means. At our "old" house, he chased them all the time. (D hates it when I call it our "old" house because it's still our house and we still own it. Also because my parents' house is not our house, thereby we cannot consider it our "new" house, thus failing to render our "old" house old in the first place. ...Got that? Regardless, I have not found a more satisfactory way to refer to that house, so "old" it shall stay.)

There are two squirrels that frequent the back yard at our old house. They are smart, fast and a little bit bitchy. They hang out on the power lines and taunt him when he's outside. When he's inside, they stand right in front of his face on the patio, safely separated by the sliding door. He will never, ever catch those squirrels.

So I'm guessing that the squirrels in my parents' yard are a fatal combination of dumber, slower and curious-er. How else can you explain the fact that the same two squirrels at our old house have managed to survive Conner for well over two years, while the army of squirrels at my parents' house have already suffered two casualties?

The first time Conner killed a squirrel was about 2 weeks after we moved in with my parents. I was really sad because, from a distance, it looked like a baby squirrel. I was freshly pregnant and the hormones were at a fever pitch. We stood at the window facing the back yard, watching as the mama squirrel tried to nudge her fallen child awake and back up the tree. I could barely control the tears.

We have to get something straight here. I really don't like squirrels. I think they're way too smart for their own good, and it annoys me when they run around all over the place, causing Conner to go apeshit and bark his head off when I finally just got the baby to sleep for the love of all that is holy.

But when Conner killed that squirrel, it jabbed at my maternal side. Circle of Life my butt! The Circle of Life is evil.

It's kind of like when you're venting to your significant other about your parents or your sibling and saying how awful they're being, but when they start to agree or chime in, you're like "WOAH step off there, son. Don't you be saying nothin about my family."

Not really like that, but kind-of.

So D ended up having to go outside and shovel the squirrel into the trash so Conner wouldn't eat him. Turns out, it wasn't a baby squirrel after all, but what D referred to as a "teenager". Which I guess helped me get over it a little bit, because I could pretend that the squirrel was being a real snot-nosed brat, acting like Mr. Big Rodent, telling all his squirrel friends that he could outrun the dog and asking what they would give him if he did it. And when D told me that he had enormous, sharp-looking teeth, I felt that much better. Better that Conner came out victorious in that one than the alternative.

Then, yesterday, my mom and I went out to the store to get some fabric to finish up the stocking that I cross-stitched for L (which is turning out freaking amazing, by the way). When we got back, D told me that Conner had gotten another squirrel. When I looked at Conner and said, "What did you do!??" he literally looked at me with sad eyes and slunk away, like a little boy who picks the neighbor's roses and brings them to his mom expecting her to be thrilled, only to find out that she's exactly the opposite.

I started to feel bad for him because I knew he was only following his doggy instinct, but then D told me that the squirrel was still alive and that Conner had only injured it. Talk about making matters worse. My dad said that the squirrel had somehow made it back up the tree and was just laying on one of the branches.

I went outside to check on it, and my heart almost broke into 48 pieces when I saw this little, tiny guy nestled on a branch against the tree trunk. (Why was I again feeling so affectionate towards squirrels? Again, my money's on the hormones. Between being pregnant with L, the dreaded postpartum stage, and now being pregnant again, I've been hormonal for like a year and a half. It's getting old.) Then we went through about 3 hours where we'd look outside to see the squirrel either laying by base of the tree or laying on that branch.

We wondered how and why he kept getting down there, and my dad thought he was falling. But when we went out so my dad could lift him in a shovel and move him to the other side of the fence so we could let a frantic Conner outside again, that squirrel popped half-way up the tree like someone had lit his tail on fire.

So, we reasoned that the squirrel was actually better off than we'd originally thought and we just resigned ourself to the good old "circle of life" argument. Then D left and my parents left and I was alone with L. I let Conner out and within 10 minutes heard him raising hell. I looked outside and saw him standing within 2 feet of the squirrel. I couldn't see the squirrel's lifeless body, but I knew what it was.

It was dark when my parents got home, but I told my dad and he went out to try to look for the squirrel. He couldn't find it, so this morning we went out to look again. Nowhere to be found. Ordinarily, I wouldn't really care. I've got too much that's making me cry these days without having to worry about dead squirrels. But again, thanks to hormones (which seems to be resulting in an ever-increasing mental imbalance - maybe years and years of hormone influx causes permanent brain damage?), I found myself hoping that the squirrel's comrades had come in the night to give him a proper squirrel burial.

Farewell, little squirrel. I'm glad you didn't have to suffer the cold weather with an injured leg. I'm sure being a squirrel in the Michigan winter is hard enough as it is. I hope you and your buddy serve as warning signs to the rest of your squirrel clan: the dog is not to be messed with. He has come, and he has conquered. Maybe you'd like to leave and not return until we move out in July? That might be prudent. At the very least, head over to our old house and take some tips from the resident squirrels there. They make Conner look like an incompetent fool. And whatever you do, please stop allowing my dog to kill you. My fragile emotions just can't take it anymore.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

"A" for effort

I love my husband. He's my matching puzzle piece. Sometimes when I see or talk to other guys, I think to myself, "Man, I'm so glad I married D instead. I could never deal with xyz about that other dude." Or, an even more grateful thought: "Man, I'm so glad I married D. Pretty sure that other dude would never be able to put up with me."

There's lots of things D is good at. He's good at being a father, for one. And that's a pretty big one.

He's also amazing at keeping up with repairs. If something goes wrong with the house or with one of our vehicles, he is ON it. Which is particularly fantastic because that means that I don't even have time to fake concern or pretend like I'm trying to come up with a way to fix it. Like last week, I was driving home from my mom's group, and my right blinker started blinking fast because one of my lights was out. So I texted D when I got home (he was at work) and told him about it. To me, these things are usually "Oh crap" moments, because I hate having to even think about stuff like this. But to D, it's like, "What? You need me to fix something? HELP IS ON THE WAY!" and he was like, "Ok I'll get a new bulb tomorrow."

And even better, he likes doing that stuff. When my van miraculously healed itself (which is actually one of the features that led us to purchase it) and the light stopped blinking fast, I think he was actually disappointed that he didn't get to fix something. Since we've moved in with my parents, he's really been hankering for a good repair.

There are many more things that D is awesome at. Sports, his job, cutting lawns....I really could go on and on, but I don't want to get into the blog equivalent of embarrassing PDA, so I'll reign it in. D hates PDA.

Amusingly, one of the things that D is not good at is something that endears him even more to me. He is not really an awesome cook. (Oh, how I wish the same quality in myself would further endear me to him!)

He wants to be a good cook. He really does. But when he cooks, he ends up happening on the same conundrum that trips me up whenever I try to cook for him. By the time he's finished taking ingredients out of the recipe that he doesn't like, he usually ends up with the same boring thing that we eat most of the time.

But I think his biggest stumbling block is mostly just a lack of experience.

When we were first married, D decided he wanted to make some stew in the Crock Pot. So, I left him to it. I got home from work, excited that I didn't have to think about dinner, and sat down to eat. I noticed that the house didn't smell like stew, as one would normally expect a house to smell after stew had been slow cooking all day, but I put it out of my mind. When I went to ladle some stew into my bowl, all I saw was a weird, liquidy broth that I'd never seen in my life. Then, I reached the ladle to the bottom of the bowl to get some meat and came up with.....ground beef.

But you know what? I ate it anyway. Because he had worked so hard on it and really, really wanted it to be good. I just salted the crap out of that stew and I ate it. After a few bites, D was like, "This is terrible." And I had to gently say, "Well....I think you're supposed to use stew meat, not ground beef." And he was crushed that he had worked so hard on it and it had flopped.

Fast forward to last night. I came home from work and smelled something in the oven. I assumed it was my parents' dinner cooking, and I headed to the living room to hang out with my guys.

After a few minutes, D was like, "I made dinner. It's in the oven."

After I picked myself up off the floor from the shock of it all, I asked him what he was cooking. He didn't want to tell me because he wanted it to be a surprise. That only made it more cute, so I asked him where he found the recipe. He didn't want to tell me because he was afraid I'd go look, but he eventually confessed that he'd found it on the back of the Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup can.

When it was time to take it out of the oven, D uncovered the foil from the baking dish and said, "....We might have a problem."

Turns out, he wasn't quite familiar with the guidelines for when you're tweaking a recipe, and he'd tweaked just a bit too much. The recipe didn't call for any butter, but since D usually puts butter on chicken when he bakes it, he thought he'd add some...or an entire stick, whatever.

So when we pulled the dish out of the oven, we were met with three good-looking pieces of chicken, sitting in a pool of rice, corn and melted butter. As I've said before, I love my husband, but there was not enough love in the world that could have induced me to eat a bite of the soupy rice and corn mix. I'm pretty sure I would have dropped dead from the cholesterol upon contact.

But with all the thought and effort D had put into it, combined with the fact that he'd done it completely on his own accord, topped off with the fact that because of his consideration, I didn't have to figure out what was for dinner....I couldn't bring myself to say anything. Before we ate, I'd teased him a bit about how I was going to be just like him and make disparaging comments, but when push came to shove, he was so darn hopeful about the meal turning out well that I couldn't let myself do it.

So I ate the chicken and pushed the rice around my plate, commenting on how much I liked the spice he'd chosen to use on the chicken, and after a few bites he said, "I probably shouldn't have added butter to this."

I took that opening to tell him (in the nicest way possible) how butter is not usually a discretionary ingredient, and when you're making a recipe that already involves soup or other liquids, it's probably not a good idea to just toss in a stick of butter for good measure.

So between the stew catastrophe and the chicken and rice disaster, I'm guesstimating that my husband will continue to be inspired to cook on average about once a year. And if the meals keep turning out like this, it might go down to even less than that. My hope is that in 5 years or so, he'll put himself in my shoes and realize what it feels like when you work so hard on a new recipe, only to have it either not turn out at all or have your dinner companions not enjoy it.

Probably not. But if I had to grade him solely on his effort and enthusiasm, I'd say the stew and the chicken were probably the best meals ever made.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An open letter to the Secretary of State

Dear Secretary of State,

I'm sorry to say this, but I kind-of hate you. You're like the person whose phone number I keep in my phone simply so I'll know not to answer when you call. And just when I think you've gotten the message, right around my birthday you like to check in to make sure I still remember you.

You want me to remember that I owe you money for my car tabs, and I suppose that's fine. But really, it's the way you go about all this that gets me mad. You try to be like, "Hey, I just want you to know that I still know all about you! If you want, I'll just make it easy for you. Just go online, shoot me an email or something, and we'll be all good."

And then I get all relieved because I won't have to actually talk to or visit you, and I try to go online when suddenly, something catches my eye on my form. Are you kidding me, SOS? You still have my maiden name listed? Even though I spent 3 hours with you last year getting these shenanigans straightened out (when I was approximately a ZILLION years pregnant, might I add. And you didn't even make a single one of any of the other waiting able-bodied citizens give me a seat, so I had to stand on my swollen ankles for a majority of those three hours).

So of course, when I read your little annual love note, it says that if there are any changes, I can't file online. And then I further noticed that you have not updated my records to show that I no longer have my stupid old Sebring, but a sleek "new" van (that I did NOT use to back into a shopping cart last week. Where did you even get that idea?). So now I just don't know what to do. I certainly don't want to have to deplete my precious personal leave time from work to come sit in your smelly, crowded office so I can "sort out" everything with you (since it appears that even doing this will never sort anything out). I especially don't want to do this because I have a sneaking suspicion that you will give me the run-around and tell me that I have to leave to go visit someone else I don't want to see, then come back to you and wait for three more hours to talk to you again. For someone who so desperately wants to get in touch with me, you sure do play hard to get when I finally bite.

Secretary of State, things would be so much better if you would just stop being such a loser. I mean, I see your purpose and I totally validate your existence. And come on, aren't we both secretaries here? Isn't there some sort of sisterhood in all of this? I'm sure we both know the pitfalls and difficulties of this job. So instead of being a royal biotch, why don't you just chill out a little. Come over to my place, have a cup of tea, and we'll watch Project Runway. Or hey, Grey's Anatomy starts back up this week. I'm sure you like Grey's. I'll even bake you some cookies.

Can we call a truce? Or, at the very least, can you pretty please promise to actually update my information when I inevitably have to make the horrible trek over to your turf? It's bad enough that I have to pay $100 right around my birthday for something as boring as this. Can't you just make my life a little bit easier?

Thanks ever so much.

Love, Me

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(Don't) hit me baby, one more time

I don't like being smacked, scratched, punched, clawed or bitten. I don't think I'm alone in this. But apparently I am alone in the fact that I didn't really think that all these acts of physical violence come with the territory of motherhood.

Side note: Why is it that becoming a mom has made me feel like even more of a baby dummy than I was before I had kids? All this stuff I never knew that turn out to be "common knowledge" just make me feel like a huge idiot. Like the fact that I didn't know that child-on-parent physical abuse begins at 9 months and not 2 years. Was everyone just keeping this a secret or something? (Or worse, what if L is the only baby who beats on his mother and is just really violent and destined for a life in and out of the clink?)

In what will be the most obvious thing you will hear/read today, I do not enjoy the fact that my baby has become a bite-sized bully. And I don't know how to stop it. L loves to hit and pound on everything. Seriously - everything. This lady at church whom I've never officially met is obsessed with L and always tries to sit near us when she sees us. That weekend when L was really sick, we left him with my parents when we went to church. When we got there, the lady turned to us at the sign of peace and said, "Where's Bam Bam? That's what I call him because he loves to bang on things."

Naturally, my face and collarbone are not excluded from the list of things he likes to hit. He also likes to use his thumbnail to dig into my hand when I'm holding him. I don't understand that one. Why does he only use his thumb? Why doesn't he go for the five-finger claw?

And lately, he has taken to biting. I chalk this one up to teething, but it really doesn't make the pain easier to take. Again in church (I think he likes to get me when I'm most vulnerable and surrounded by tons of witnesses), I was holding him and he was facing behind me, smiling and laughing at the people in the row behind us. He rubbed his face on my shoulder and I thought he might be getting sleepy, when suddenly I felt a very sharp and painful bite. Of course, this was during one of the most sacred and quiet times of the Mass, so the only sound was the priest saying the prayers. My initial reflex was to rip him off my shoulder, bring him to face me and whisper a fierce (and not super quiet) "NO!"

Then I gave him to D because I didn't want to have any more pain inflicted on me, and L immediately began to blow raspberries and further attract the adoring attention of the people around us. I looked at him and could not stop laughing. For some reason, it always seems harder to control your laughter in church, and I was just cracking up. Not wanting to encourage that behavior at church, I tried to hide my face so he couldn't see me laughing, but the damage was done. He knew I (and everyone around us) was laughing, and he gave his half-chuckle like, "Yeah, you know you love me."

And on the way home, I moved the shoulder of my shirt and saw that I had a rather large raised welt from his bite.

It's so hard to be consistent with the "no physical violence rule". Where do you draw the line? Should we try to stop the virtually non-stop smacking and pounding he does on any flat surface he can find? I am certain he translates pounding the table to smacking me in the face, but obviously one is somewhat acceptable and the other is not so much.

What the heck is a mom supposed to do, aside from longing for the age where he is somewhat capable of reasoning right from wrong? I really don't know. And it is wearing me out. It's pretty hard to come home from work and be ex.hau.sted. and go to pick him up, only to get smacked in the face. And it's even harder to remind myself in those moments that he is just a baby and is not trying to hurt me, don't take it personally, these are not reflections of how he feels about you, STOP TAKING IT PERSONALLY!

I have a really hard time separating my emotions from any situation, especially those to do with kids. I tend to see things in regards to rules and right and wrong. I used to babysit for this kid (who was maybe 7 at the time) and he LOVED to cheat at games. He could not stand to lose, so he cheated as part of his normal strategy. It drove me crazy.

I would find myself getting seriously upset whenever I'd play games with him and his brothers, and one time I even got into an argument with him. As in, I was actually going back and forth with a 7 year old about the rules of the game. I knew he was cheating and he knew he was cheating, but he was trying to convince me that his cheating was an actual way the game could be played. Instead of being the adult and saying something calm and mature like, "I'm sorry, but if you're not going to play fair, then you can't play the game with us," I allowed us to go back and forth in an endless round of "Nu uh!" "Yuh huh!"

So now that I'm dealing with the hitting with L, it's really hard for me to deal with it. To me, you just don't hit. Kids don't hit their parents. L should really understand this. I've told him "no" beyond a thousand times. Why isn't it sinking in? It takes every iota of my self control not to get angry when he hits me. Because I get mad when someone hurts me. Even if it's an accident.

Am I the only one who does this? Like, the first thought I have when I stub my toe is, "Oh man, this is going to really hurt in a few seconds." The second thought I have is, "WHERE THE HELL DID THAT TABLE COME FROM??" And then I'm pissed off at the table and in pain.

I guess this is simply yet another example that having kids is one big learning and growing experience for the parents. Hopefully by the time Babela #2 gets here, I won't be so upset about the physical violence because I won't be so caught off guard when my formerly sweet and affectionate baby turns into Lord (or Lordess) of the Smacking.

Or, I'll just end up teaching my kids that the proper response to pain is anger.

Let's hope it's the former.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Sometimes I think my world would be a better place if everyone would just lower their expectations of me. And I totally don't mean that in a cynical or emo way at all. It's just something I've been thinking about lately.

I guess having a baby makes you think about all sorts of things you'd never think about otherwise. But I was thinking about it this morning after I dropped L off at daycare. I had set him down and was talking to the daycare lady and when I opened the door to leave, I turned to L playing on the floor and said, "Bye baby, I love you!" and waved (as I always do). And for the very first time ever, he looked at me, grinned his huge grin and waved back. It thrilled me to no end.

And as I walked back to my van, I got to thinking. How funny is it that the simple act of waving turned my first day of the workweek blues completely around? And how come no one ever gets excited when I wave?

Then I started thinking about all the things I do that if L did, I'd die of excitement. Talking, for one. Walking. Drinking from a straw without choking myself after every sip. Sitting still in church. Sitting still anywhere.

And yet, all these things are entirely under-appreciated when I do them. No one shrieks with excitement when I say "mama". No one breaks out the video camera when I walk across the room. Not that I would want them to. That would actually be really unsettling.

But some days, it would be really, really awesome if I would walk into work and have everyone go, "Hey, look at you! You made it! You got yourself and your baby out the door on time, you're dressed in an outfit that coordinates and you're not outwardly cursing the world. Yay, good job!" (Round of applause and cheering)

Or when I come home from grocery shopping: "WOO HOO! You're under-budget and you managed to buy everything on the list plus some! And look at that, you saved 26% with coupons! You are AWESOME!" (High-fives and congratulatory hugs)

So maybe what I'm getting at is not so much a lowering of expectations; more like an increase in recognition. I'm not asking for a huge cheering section every time I tie my shoes. That would probably have the reverse effect. Like, "You think I'm so stupid that I need you to throw a parade for me when I do a simple task?"

But I wouldn't mind an occasional 'atta-girl for coming to work day after day and constantly suppressing the urge to say even one of the huge number of things that I'd really, really like to say. But then, I'd probably need someone to be in my head to hear all the things I wish I could say but don't, and I don't think I'd wish that on anyone. They would probably lose all will to live. And they'd probably hate me. And I don't really like the idea of anyone hating me (even if I don't particularly care for them).

So maybe I'll just start giving myself my own props. Since there is no one inside my head, there is no one to hear me when I'm patting myself on the back for making that awesome spreadsheet or successfully preparing a new recipe. Therefore, there is no one to think I'm crazy or full of myself.

Note to self: Look at you! You finally managed to crank out a blog post! Even with how crazy work and home have been! You rock! 'Atta girl!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Follow-up to the worst night ever

Whew. It's been a week. And it's only Thursday.

I am happy to report that L is officially recovered. But it was a tough road getting there. After The Worst Night of My Life on Sunday, L was still not himself. We were coming at the fever from all ends, with both Motrin and Tylenol (as recommended by the ER doc), and it seemed like it was just barely enough. We were keeping the fever away by only the teensiest, tiniest margin, and L certainly was still not acting normal. Instead of acting 100% sick and being all sleepy and cuddly, he was like 75% sick and was grouchy and irritable.

I truly felt for him. Not only because I'm his mom and I'm naturally hard-wired to feel almost physical pain when I'm watching him be so sick at such a young age, but because I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for him to be feeling so bad and being unable to communicate what exactly is wrong. If he has a headache and I'm stroking his hair trying to calm him, I'm probably exacerbating the problem but he can't tell me to knock it off.

So, we just kind-of floated through Monday. He did not have one speck of fever the entire day, so I thought we were probably well on our way to recovery.

Tuesday came and I had to go to work, so I took him to daycare. It was clear that he was still not feeling well, but since he did not have a fever when he woke up, and since there was no fever the day before, I figured it was just residual ickiness. So, I brought his Motrin with him to daycare and there he stayed, in all his fussy crankiness.

I explained everything that had happened to the daycare lady and told her to call me if he got a fever at any level and I'd come pick him up. I definitely did not (and still don't) want to be the cause of a viral outbreak at daycare.

Since no call came during the day, I figured all was well. I was going to call a number of times to check on him, but work was insane and the day got away from me.

Got home and D told me that L had a 101 degree fever at one point during the day and that the daycare lady had all but said she did not want L to be there the next day.

By then, I was at my wit's end. The only thing more frustrating than a sick baby is having a sick baby who has been sick for days and there is no reason or explanation as to why. It would have been pretty pointless to take him back to the doctor, since it was obvious that what he had was viral and there's not much you can do about that, outside of what we had already been doing. I felt drained and exhausted and grumpy.

And then D took L upstairs to change his diaper and a few seconds later I heard him call down, "Katie, come here."

And I thought, "Mother effer, what is it now?"

I got upstairs and D showed me the spotty rash that had broken out all over L's chest and stomach. And going through my mind was, "Mothereffmothereffmothereff are you effing kidding me right now eff eff eff."

I called my mom to look at it and she initially said scarlet fever, since that's what I'd had as a baby that caused my febrile seizure. We put L down for his nap and went downstairs to do the natural first step in diagnosing and fighting an illness - we Googled it.

And we stumbled across a reliable website that was discussing something called roseola. And as we went down the checklist of symptoms and signs, we checked off 9 out of 10. So I put a call into the doctor and he called me back half an hour later. And when he called, I told him we knew it was roseola and he said, "Yep".

And then he said, "And actually, roseola has a high correlation to febrile seizures." Great. So you'd think that one of the two doctors we saw would maybe tell us to look out for a rash because it could be roseola. Maybe not. Maybe only I think that.

The good news is that we are finally done and in the clear. The rash is like roseola's white flag. Once it presents, roseola surrenders and goes away. And the even better news is that, after having it once, most infants are immune to it and do not get it again. So here's hoping L is one of those "most infants".

After I learned that we were done, I was a different person. I was happy and chatty and even a little giddy. I think relief is a highly underrated feeling. You don't appreciate it as one of the truly good feelings until you are experiencing it, and then it's the best feeling in the world. Almost akin to the absence of pain when you get an epidural.

So thanks for all the thoughts and kind words about my last post. Hopefully we never have to experience anything like that again!