Rose just made her first rhyme! She said, “Yummy yummy, I have pasta in my tummy!”
Chris and I then proceeded to explain rhyming and go on about its role in poetry, music and as a mnemonic device until we realised that no one was listening except ourselves. You know, like normal.
Okay, so seconds after I hit send on the last post and was about to lie down for a nap, Chris arrived home with Tess who had been expelled from day care for having Hand Foot and Mouth. Right. It makes sense that the medieval diseases would start around about now because haven’t we worked our way through the rest? We took her to the doctor, and she doesn’t have Hand Foot and Mouth. Hurrah! She has something called molluscum contagiosum, apparently an infectious skin condition that will last up to a year. Yep, a year. Fortunately our only instructions are not to bathe together.
But the Hand Foot and Mouth threat hasn’t left our household yet. Rose came home from day care today crying from having “a stinging mouth”. I looked inside and saw a few ulcers – one of the dead giveaway signs of Hand Foot and Mouth. But who knows? If you don’t hear from us for a while it’s because we’ve all contracted the plague.
So, where to start? Tess came down with a gastro flu on Friday night, which was pretty scarey for about 5 hours when she vomiting non-stop, but didn’t turn out to be too bad. She was better by Saturday, but still tired and cranky; by Sunday she was completely revived. Then Chris came down with it on Saturday, he looked very ill indeed. And then Rose came down sick with it on Sunday night, vomiting from about 9pm until 2.30am! I kinda knew all this would be starting with Tess going to day care (children get really sick when they start any kind of childcare because they don’t have immunity to all the bugs that adults have), but gastro has to be the worst.
It’s also bookended a very challenging 3 weeks for us. What with Tess being in hospital, needing follow-up appointments with doctors and ultrasounds and so forth, and my work really heating up now that students are returning, we’re all feeling in need of a holiday. Also, Tess has had a tough time adjusting to day care. She was okayish the first few days (although when I called to check on her they said that she was crying on and off), but the third day was pretty bad. I guess she knew what was coming. They called at about midday to say that she was crying, wouldn’t take a bottle, and wouldn’t sleep, and they wondered what we wanted them to do. Chris went and got her. Fortunately the fourth day was much better, mainly due to my Dad staying with us and spending an hour with her in the morning at day care after drop-off. We’ve been doing shorter days thinking that would be helpful, but we’ve come around to the realisation that it’s better for us to go and spend time with her there. The centre assured us that it was all very normal for kids starting day care, but we can’t help but feel that Tess’s adjustment issues also result from her recent hospital stay. While we were in hospital she cried whenever a nurse came in and she’s generally become fearful of strangers. She is, however, very resiliant and has adjusted really well to a lot of tough situations.
One exciting development is that she’s started walking around with a little trolley! She’s been cruising for ages now (walking around furniture), but this is the first time she’s used an object to “walk”. Her balance is very wobbly, but once that’s improved she’ll be walking in no time.
She had a follow-up with her new pediatrician last week (why we ditched her previous pediatrician is a long story, but it involves him losing her file. And the realisation that we’re going to be spending a lot of time at Sydney Children’s possible and it would be useful to have all our doctors associated with the same hospital.) He was pretty frank about the fact that she has a bad case of renal reflux, and that given she’s had a breakthrough infection she’s a good candidate for surgery. But on the other hand, the ultrasound showed her kidneys are growing appropriately and there aren’t signs of scarring yet. The nuclear scan she has in 3 months will be a better judge of the state of kidneys, though, and after that she’ll be referred to a pediatric urologist for assessment. He also explained that surgery in small children for VUR is not a universally accepted path. There are different opinions on what to do. I really like the way our new doctor goes into all of that. I can handle that complexity. Anyway, we’re on a more stable footing now, ready to handle each thing as it comes along, but we have to very vigilant about signs of infection and if her temp goes up high and she’s vomiting, she has to go to hosptial quickly.
There’s probably hundreds of other things to write about but I’m losing steam. I’ll leave you with a photo of Tess and her grandad. And a link to a short video of Rose dancing at Mardi Gras Fair Day.
Big day tomorrow. Tess’s first day of childcare. She’s been visiting the centre for weeks, but each time with one of us to hand. This time we drop her off, make up her bed, say our goodbyes and leave.
Will I be shedding a tear or two throughout the day? Yes
Will disaster scenarios be playing out in my head all day, the main one being that Tess loses her contact and no one notices and she can’t see and is frightened? YesYesYesYesYesYes
Will I be thinking of that magazine article I just read that said that small children can be harmed by poor-quality childcare? Yes
Will I be wondering whether there was a control study done about the harmful impact of poor-quality parenting while stressed out and sleep-deprived?
Will I be calming myself about the fantastic centre the girls go to, the wonderful carers, the fact that Rose and Tess will be together, and the fact that Tess is now 15 months old and only going two days a week? Yes
Will I feel incredibly lucky that I have finally found the right mix of family life and work? YesYesYes!
This photo tells a story. A story of two parenting moments: one wonderful, one a bit shameful. The wonderful? We’ve worked out that Tessie asks for kisses by moving her head on to one side. She’s been asking for kisses a lot lately. We’ve been kissing her non-stop.
The other parenting moment? Notice that she’s in the nude? That’s because we’ve taken to feeding her in the nude. You end up doing less laundry. There’s less mess. That’s right, folks, not even a bib. How lazy is that? One day the Queen will drop around and she’ll be appalled. Appalled!
Tess came home from hospital on Monday, and we’re so glad to have her back home. She’s doing a lot better in that she doesn’t have a temperature any longer, her colour has come back, and so has her personality. In hosptial she was just so sick, either crying or asleep. The bummer is that she seems to have picked up a bit of a respiratory infection as well, so I took her to her GP today to get her checked out, and she was fine. But we’ve still got a lot to deal with. Because she got such a bad infection (which was a UTI, but probably involved a kidney infection as well) she has to have a lot of follow up tests as well. She has a renal ultrasound next week, a follow up with a pediatrician the week after, a few weeks after that a nuclear scan of her kidney to check for signs of scarring.
Why did she got a UTI in the first place, as she’s been taking a daily dose of antibiotics to treat the renal reflux she was diagnosed with at 5 months old? Well it turns out that she got a bug that was resitant to the bactrim she was taking. The disquieting thing is that the new antibiotic she’s on also has strain-resistant bugs, and there’s further possibilities she’ll have other infections. The reason why they’re sending her for further tests is to check whether there’s permanent damage to her kidneys and to check to see whether her condition is serious enough for surgery. Needlesstosay, we’re all hoping for the best?
But actually the hard thing right now is the patching therapy for her eye. We missed one day hospital because Tess was really ill (ie. not really awake) but the rest of the time we tried to keep up with the patching. But she is HATING it and fighting it. She screams whenever the patch is on, rips it off, and keeps ripping off replacement patches until her face is bleeding. We’ve been using pediatric arm restraints when desperate and she also hates these and screams. I’m not sure why she’s fighting it so much, but my guess is that it has something to do with the hospital visit, the difficult time she went through having IVs and all sorts of tests done. Whatever the reason it’s very stressful and feels traumatising for us and her. In short, it sucks right now, but we’re trying our best to be strong and help Tessa get through this difficult time.