Poor Cooper. He’s had a really rough day. He got up and played in his bed like usual. I gave him his sippy cup of milk and got ready for work. At 8am, I started getting him dressed. As I leaned over to throw his jammies in the hamper, he leaned forward and flipped head-over-heels off the end of the changing table (the opposite direction of where I was leaning). He landed partially on the diaper pail before rotating further and landing on his back and shoulder (well, the rest of him hit the floor, but that’s what landed first). Even though I had one hand on him, that one hand wasn’t enough to stop him. As I watched that 5-minute-long split-second where my baby was tumbling onto the hardwood floor, the phrase “ohmigod let him be okay!” went through my head about 16 hundred times. I couldn’t go after him fast enough…and although I’m not even sure his legs even hit the floor, it seemed an eternity passed before I could get him scooped-up into my arms where I did a quick check for blood or bones sticking out before bursting into tears, too. I tried soothing him with his binky, a snuggle against my bare skin, his sippy cup, and even his magic blue blanket. Nothing seemed to work…he’d calm down a second, then start up again. I thought for sure that he sustained a serious injury and started bawling again, whimpering “sorry” over and over in his ear, thinking surely if I called the pediatrician one more time this week, they’d commit me to the psych ward and stamp Munchausen-by-Proxy on my butt.
I carried him into our room to get the phone to call the doctor. As I re-situated him in my arms and tried to dry our tears a little, he spied both of the dogs (who were hovering) and started laughing. And I mean belly-laughing. What did I do? Started crying again. Then, while he was occupied with laughing hysterically at dogs doing nothing but sniffing him, I poked and prodded him really good to see if he flinched or showed any signs of pain…none. I eyed him suspiciously to see if he’d vomit or if his pupils were dilated or not reacting correctly to light (or the lack thereof). After a good half-hour, and with a heavy, guilty heart, I brought him to daycare. I let the teachers know of his acrobatics and that if he even seems slightly fussy or anything to call me that very second.
I never got a call and when I picked him up, he was proclaimed “fine” and “happy” and “begged mercilessly to be walked all over the infant room”. I was warned, however, since he seems to be pooping the rest of that roseola virus out of his system, that he has one.wicked.diaper.rash. I looked at his daycare summary sheet and saw that between the hours of about 9am and 6pm he pooped FOUR TIMES! And it wasn’t diarrhea. Add in that he pooped first thing this morning, too. And yesterday he was also a crazy pooping machine…from 3am (when he got me up Sunday night) until 8pm on Monday he pooped 6 times…three of those were between 3am and 9am. Even though those wonderful ladies that love my baby were extremely diligent with the Desitin ointment, since he kept pooping over and over and over, it was never on his butt long enough to do anything.
So we get home, we eat (I won’t post about how Gavin and I had Cheerios for dinner…yeah, Gavin Trauma, except that he loves brinner). I start getting Cooper ready for bed, and when I opened his diaper I was shocked at how red his poor bottom was! He’s always been more prone to rashes, ever since we had Thrush, but this was bad (and I have to admit, when I sent him, his bottom was looking a little rough, but I was more concerned about his head to get too crazy over a simple diaper rash). Take a box of Crayolas, find the red crayon, and there you have it. Poor baby. This rash is so bad that when I wiped him, he screamed in pain. I tossed him in the sink with some baking soda in it (it works on yeast/thrush rashes…totally safe for baby), but he wasn’t having it. Even though I made the water a little cooler than his normal bath water, I’m sure it was a bit too warm and caused more pain. At that point, Justin was able to help me manage him and snuggled him in a towel while I got his diaper, jammies, and Boudreaux’s butt paste out. I asked Justin to not set him down until I was totally ready. He nodded and confirmed, “you want to do it big, fast, and once only”.
I squirt a huge glob of the butt paste onto my finger, he sets Cooper down and pulls up his legs, and I start quickly (but carefully!) smearing the paste on his butt, fully expecting more shrieks…instead, he calmed down. Guess it felt alright on his poor bottom. Once I put the diaper on, though, more painful screams. I quickly get him in his jammies, singing, dancing, anything to distract him. Then I finally stick that bottle in his mouth. Silence, save for Cooper’s rapid drinking noises. Enter additional guilt and self-loathing for not just keeping him home today because holy crap he fell off the changing table and I should’ve kept him home for proper mommy-observation, and then I could’ve been way-super-diligent about the rash that was trying to get ugly. And cue the tears…again.
Instead of being ridiculously grateful that Cooper seems fine considering his fall, and that we’ve battled many a worse diaper rash without batting an eye, I’m just completely guilt-ridden. I should’ve known better than to lean away from him while he was sitting up, even though I had a hand on him. I should’ve called the pediatrician right away to bring him in to make sure he was fine…have him gone over with a fine-toothed comb. I should’ve kept him home to monitor him…or that rash. This is all self-induced second-guessing…no one has ever said anything negative (to me) about my parenting or caretaking of my children, yet this is what goes on in my head.
Add in that Gavin has been struggling with a stutter that has gotten very noticeable in the past 4 or 5 weeks (particularly when he’s tired). Prior to that, he’d have the occasional stutter that seems fairly common in toddlers and preschoolers…they’re still learning how to wrap their mouths around words. But now, I am not exaggerating, it took him at least 15 seconds to spit out a word the other day. Once he finished his sentence, I heard Justin sigh with relief and I announced, “I’m calling the county on Monday.” I’m not sure what precipitated this change in his speech patterns, but of course I feel that I failed him along the way. That if I had really really really tried to breastfeed him, instead of giving up in frustration after 6 weeks; or if I somehow begged, borrowed, and stole so that I could stay home with him and caught it earlier; or if we had contacted the county sooner about his speech delay; or if once we had contacted the county that we followed-up properly and on-time instead of letting other things get in the way; or if I hadn’t glossed over his speech issue, thinking he’d just grow out of it and had just listened to Justin who was throwing a fit about it. Now my funny, bright little boy struggles to say words that he’s not had an issue pronouncing a month or so ago. And each time that he restarts a word or his sentence, during each stutter, my heart leaps up into my throat and then drops to the bottom of my stomach with a thud.
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