Tag Archives: day in the life

Debriefing with Maia at 3 a.m.

Last night/this morning at 3:30 a.m. Maia was wide awake. I heard Sarah say, “It’s time for sleep Maia!” as she pushed Maia over to my side of the bed. “She’s been awake for hours!” Sarah said and she rolled over and covered herself up signaling the passing of the “put-the- kid-to-sleep”. I sat there for a moment hoping that Sarah was exaggerating and that Maia would just drift off to sleep once she felt the warmth of her papa’s arm…right, fat chance. She was wiggling. She was arching her back. She was groaning, squealing, and talking. She was wide awake indeed.

I got out of bed and began to gently rock her and she quieted right down. After about five minutes she began arching her back and fussing for Mama. I figured it had been just enough time to remind her of what she was missing out on, and put her back in bed, next to Sarah to nurse, which she did, and then she started to drift off to sleep. “Hey, that was pretty easy!” I thought to myself and began to doze off.

Five minutes later I felt Sarah slide Maia back over to my side. First attempt failed—round two. I immediately got up, began rocking and singing softly, “Go to sleep little Maia…” and again, Maia quieted right down. And again, five minutes later, began fussing and arching her back. Sarah suggested I turn on the bathroom light—because Maia likes to be able to see what’s going on—and get the sling. So I turned on the light and Maia sneezed—as she always does when the light goes on at night; funny huh?—and I got the sling and put Maia inside. She was definitely more at peace and she began to groan/mumble. On and on she went. Then she put her wrist up to her mouth and continued on, now making a buzzing sound with her saliva against her wrist. I stayed quiet and just listened and rocked as Maia continued to make these noises which were getting softer and softer. At that moment it struck me, maybe she just needed to get the day off her little chest? She was asleep when I got home from teaching at 10 p.m., and she hadn’t seen me in 15 hours, so maybe she just needed to tell me about her day in a groany, buzzy, sleepy-baby kind of way? She did this for about 10 minutes and konked out. It reminded me that even little babies that can’t “talk” need to just be listened to sometimes.

I set her back in bed and laid down myself. Ah, success. Thirty seconds had passed and then the friggin cat walks in and starts clawing at my side of the bed and then threatens to knock things off the dresser if I don’t give him some lovin’. What can I say? Maybe the kids just really missed me yesterday? I grabbed my pillow and headed out to the living room floor so Miko wouldn’t wake Maia up. In an hour-and-half Keana would up and I had to get some sleep. Before I knew it the sun was up, Keana was calling, and there was a fur ball curled up by feet. As I shook off the stiff neck/back/shoulders I thought, “Man! That was rough. Good morning Wednesday, guess we better get this thing rolling.”

Continued from 3/19/08 (the joys of vaccinations)

Sorry to leave y’all hanging on that last one. Bottom line, Maia is fine. We went to the pediatrician and as predicted, she had no idea what the red spots were or what was causing the fever. Of course she said it wasn’t related to the vaccines—it was just a coincidence that it showed up around the same time. Anyway, she was concerned enough to order a full blood work-up STAT. This meant we had to drive to Oakland’s Children’s Hospital to get a speedy turnaround on the results. At this point it’s almost noon and we’re all hungry, Maia still has a fever, and we don’t know what to think.

We decided we couldn’t deal with the hospital on empty stomachs so we picked up some sandwiches on the way to Oakland. We were completely stressed out. As a parent you know you have to be calm and at least pretend you know everything will be all right, but I must say, I wasn’t doing a very good job at that. Keana was of course pushing the limits on everything, knowing something was going on and that we weren’t on top of our game, and Maia continued to cry and cry. It was total chaos for a while there.

We finished wolfing our sandwiches down just as we pulled into our parking spot in the garage across the street from the hospital. I grabbed Maia in her car seat, Keana followed Sarah, and we crossed the street and entered the waiting room. We then put our names on the list and proceeded to wait. Immediately I noticed all the kids in the waiting room coughing and sneezing and with red bumps all over their arms and my skin began to crawl. “Just perfect,” I thought, “this is exactly where our kids need to be right now. SHIT!!!” Again, not the calmest parent there.

Surprisingly we got in to the lab only after waiting an hour but only one parent could go in. We decided Sarah was the best choice do Keana stayed in the waiting room. I could hear Maia screaming through the door and could only imagine what was going on. After about 10 minutes Sarah and Maia emerged and Sarah began to cry. She said the lab tech couldn’t find a vein so she just stuck the needle in and moved it around until blood started coming out. Then she had to take five files of blood for all the tests. Traumatic. Luckily (hopefully) Maia won’t remember any of this.

By the time we got home our doctor had the results and there was no bacterial infection and therefore nothing to worry about. All we could do is wait it out and use tylenol for the fever. A whole afternoon of trauma just to be told to keep doing what we were doing. Of course it’s better to be safe, err on the side of caution, but man, what a day.

The joys of vaccinations (and other things)

I’m sitting in the BART station waiting for the next train to El Cerrito. We have a pediatrician appointment for Maia because we’re worried she may be having a reaction to the vaccines she got last Friday (3/14/08). We don’t think it’s anything severe but we don’t know for sure. I have a feeling the doctor won’t tell us anything conclusive either, which is annoying. Western medicine touts its knowledge and superiority but it’s always a game of chance. We’re told we should do the vaccines to prevent something terrible, but there’s only a slight chance our kids would even be exposed to most of these illnesses in the first place. Then there’s a slight chance that our kids may have a terrible reaction TO the vaccines. Of course the argument is that the benefits outweigh the risks but this is coming from an establishment with intimate ties to pharmaceutical and insurance companies. And behind these companies are, of course, people making a profit from all this. Let’s say that the majority of healthcare professionals DO have the best interests of their patients in mind. It seems that by the very nature of their profession it would be impossible for them to fully practice care to this end, because it would mean not complying with mandated protocols influenced I’m sure, by more influential, more powerful people who are in the healthcare business for money.

I know there are benefits to modern medicine and I appreciate this privilege. But as a parent, you can’t take everything wholesale, even from your healthcare providers who are supposed to be caring for you and your family. It seems to me the business of healthcare is so deep, that there’s no way we can fully trust any agent of the system, even your family doctor, because in the end, it all leads back to money and there can be no true care where this much money is involved.

I hope we’ve made the right decisions for our children and lord knows we’re paying a premium for this whole confused mess.

To be continued…

Going on an adventure

Keana wore her pajamas, her favorite Velcro shoes, and a rainbow fleece from her one-year-old days (so yeah, way too small, but she’s big enough to dress herself, right?). I wore my shorts and t-shirt from yesterday, grabbed her Hello Kitty backpack and stuffed it with a little bear, a bunny, and a water bottle (so yeah, the backpack was a little small for me, but Keana’s going to carry it, right?). She screams out, “We’re going on an adventure!” as we exit the house for a Sunday morning hike.

After a quick stop for some coffee we headed for Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley hills. I opened the sunroof, baby held her backpack and looked out the window while the local alternative rock station played hits from all the way back in the ’90s. Soundgarden, New Order, and Social D provided our cruising soundtrack while I sipped my coffee and Keana ate her mini-stone wheat thin crackers.

We pulled off the road by the trail and, Hello Kitty backpack in tow, I carried her to the trailhead. She refused to get down. We’ve hiked on paved paths at Tilden before, and I’ve carried her in a backpack on dirt trails, but this was the first time I was trying to get her to hike on her own on a “real” trail. I tried to explain to her that’s why we wear shoes, to keep our actual feet from getting dirty, but Keana wasn’t buying it. So I carried her up the trail all the while trying different angles to get her to hike on her own. At various moments in our conversation I would ask, “So do you want to try it now?” and Keana would reply, “No. Papa carry me. I don’t want to walk.” After a couple hundred yards of hiking uphill carrying Keana, I was wishing that damn Hello Kitty backpack wasn’t too small for me to wear.

We reached the top of the hill and I had to set her down. At first she threatened to unleash a little two-year-old storm, but I quickly jumped in with a barrage of nature observations to distract her.

“Look baby, a rolly-polly!” I exclaimed as I pointed to the tiny bug moving across our path. It became aware of our focus and it curled up into its little ball.

“And listen! Do you hear the birdies? Where are they?” I asked. That was a good one because it was impossible to see any birds in the foliage so we looked for a long time.

And just like that, Keana had forgotten all about the dirty dirt she was standing on. I proposed we move forward and she said, “I wanna go home and see Mama!”

“But we just got here Baby. How about we go a little further?”

“No! I want to see Mama!” she yelled back.

“Okay, no problem, let’s head back,” I said secretly pleased we had even made it this far.

So we continued back down the hill I had carried her up, all the while singing, “We’re walking on dirt! We’re walking on dirt!” and carefully avoiding all the big rocks on the trail. Before we knew it, we were back at the car.

“I don’t want to get in the car!” She yells.

“But you said you wanted to go home, right?” I try to confirm.

“Yeah! I wanna see Mama!”

“Well, in order to see Mama, we have to get back in the car,” I try to reason.

“No! I want to hike home!” She yells back.

“Oh Baby, it’s way too far to hike. But if you want to hike more, we can head back up the trail.”

At this she’s satisfied and heads back up the hill, watching out for bugs and rocks. After a few moments she starts to say, “We’re going home to see Mama!” Hmmmmmm. Where did I go wrong in the little talk at the car? I had to let her in on what was really going on.

“Well Baby, we’re actually not headed towards home,” I say, “remember we headed back up the trail away from the car and away from home.”

“Well, which way is it?” she says. Pointing up the trail she asks, “Is it this way?” then pointing the opposite direction, “Or is it this way Papa?”

I had to laugh.

“It’s that way,” I say pointing back to the car.

“Okay, this way then,” and she heads back down the trail towards the car.

When we arrive back at the car she happily gets in her car seat with her bag of crackers and a book. I turn the radio back on, take a sip of my coffee, and point the car in the right direction, the direction of home.