Leopard-Print Baby

February 21, 2010

I awoke this morning thinking that we’d have a nice, relaxing Sunday. Eat some pancakes, go to church, take a nap, watch the Olympics—all with a nice blanket of snow falling outside. After our very busy Saturday, the thought of total couchpotatoism was just what I needed.

Unfortunately, my sleepy Sunday plans were dashed when I got Graham out of bed. I found him in his crib in tears (very unlike him) and covered from head to toe in a spotty red rash. His face was puffy, his nose was running like a faucet, and he was coughing and rubbing his itchy eyes. The little man was in rough shape.

This was the second such reaction that Graham had had in two days. On Friday, he broke out in a rash on his face, and I learned from his doctor that it was a reaction to the amoxicillin he’d been taking for the last week to treat an ear infection. So we switched him to omnicef, and that seemed to be working just fine. Until this morning.

I had Graham in the car and on the way to Children’s Mercy within minutes of snatching him out of his crib. They got him right in for treatment (God bless them!), and within an hour of our arrival, Graham was hooked up to an IV. As the steroid and antihistamine flowed through his system, he collapsed from exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep in my arms.  

While I lay there in the hospital bed, listening to Graham’s slow and steady breathing and rubbing his soft little back, I thought about how wonderful yet terrifying parenthood can be. It’s amazing how fast a perfectly healthy child can turn into a wheezing, coughing, leopard-print mess. And it absolutely breaks my heart to see him suffer because he doesn’t understand what’s going on—why he feels so bad, why he’s being stuck with needles, and why his mommy isn’t protecting him from the pain.

It’s an awful feeling when you can’t “fix it” for your kids, and I think that’s one of the most formidable challenges of parenthood. You’ll never feel more desperate and helpless as you do when your child looks at you with fear in his eyes, and you can’t do anything more than hold him and say “I’m here. It’s OK.” I like to think, though, that as Graham’s mom, I’m the only one on the planet who can calm him so well with just a touch and gentle word. I’m not a miracle worker, and I can’t always rescue him from suffering, but I am uniquely qualified to soothe and comfort him when life throws a curveball—which it always will.

Days like today make me literally sick with worry, but also very proud to be a mother. You have no idea what you’re getting into when you embark on the journey of parenthood, but man it’s worth it—every minute of it.


“I only have two eyes. Be all seeing. I only have two hands. Be everywhere. I do not know enough. Be all knowing. I give this baby up into your care.”

Prayers for This Child by Sara Groves

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 3:24 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Well Grahammy, your mommy worked really hard to make you feel better today, and although you aren’t back to 100%, you’ll feel the strength of your mother (and father)’s love years from now when you read back over this blog post. Especially when you notice mom was nice enough not to post the pictures of your spotty self.

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