Her Bad Mother

Thursday, November 30, 2006


The hardest part of mothering an infant has been, for me, knowing what the heck is going on with my baby. She can’t tell me. She’s always been a relatively happy baby. So when she cries, I’m convinced something is very wrong.

I know. I’m green when it comes to this whole mothering thing. (But this is not where I’m going with this title.) The more experienced moms are thinking, “Good God. She’s freaking out about crying? How does she live?” And they would be right. I need to get over it.

But when it comes to health, how do we keep tabs on our infants? Since babies can frequently run high fevers after immunizations or spit up ridiculous amounts of milk with no apparent negative effects, how am I to know when my child is really sick?

Since I live far from any family I could turn to in order to get answers, I rely on the childhood illness and injury clichés I remember hearing as a child.

Spitting up is different than projectile vomiting.
No bruise + no bleeding = probably not a problem
Check her pupils. (Yes, I’ve had to. On more than one occasion.)
You know your baby best. (I love this one. Especially because, while it’s true, it’s frightening. I’m her best shot at survival, huh? Yikes.)
Green snot = infection

Alliclaus was throwing up all night last night, after a very difficult dinnertime. She usually loves eating. She had a bit of a fever, but nothing too serious. Since we were in the middle of an ice storm, I didn’t think it was a good idea to leave the house. So I went through my mothering clichés looking for some answers. I didn’t really find any.

She’s better this morning.

I guess sometimes, I get so worried about her health, I forget to think about my own. I coughed some phlegm out into a tissue on my way to work this morning.


Bethiclaus is a graduate school student and full-time mom. She smells like baby vomit this morning.

Check out other Blog Exchange posts by clicking on the above button. And, go check out what I had to say about the colour green over at Bethiclaus' place... (Kermit is not mentioned once. NOT ONCE. Behold my restraint, and rejoice.)


And, since this weekend will be all about cruising the 'hood, why not visit the Mother 'Hood, and the Basement while you're out and about?

WonderBaby will be hosting semi-naked public readings of selected works by Virginia Woolf around the 'hood tomorrow. Simultaneous translation in ASL and Froggish by Kermit.

(Couldn't help myself. Sorry.)


Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

We are currently experiencing bodily fluids that are green from other unmentionable orifices. Nasty runs action plus a severe ear infection. It's gonna be a loooonnng night.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Okay. Ewwwww.

But I love the post!

11:54 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Green can be ick.

Green poo.

Green snot.

My personal favorite is the special amber ook that flows from my baby's ear after a cold...thanks to the tubes. Hey better that than the fever and infection. Right? Right?

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha. Yeah. That's not so good.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm about to become a mother for the first time so I can relate to this from an abstract standpoint. I'm sure it will become much more real when I'm dealing with a live baby :o)

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that photo! Too cute, really! Hope everyone is back to perfect health soon and the green goes away. I always second guess my ability when it comes to sickness too.

I'm off to roam the hood!

9:13 AM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

But at 3 am you are not going to call your family...
You are going to call that great telehealth phone line...
It gets you through the night I tell ya...

10:34 AM  
Blogger AngelHawk said...

I feel your pain- I struggle with the anxiety that I am certain that my kids are gonna die if they throw up- it's crazy but I can't help myself! The pediatrician assured me that when a child vomits its a good thing that they do so as it gets rid of the bad stuff-this is no comfort to me- and I am such a puke-a phobe. that I actually will run in the other direction and cover my ears or eyes -I am aweful I know - thank God that Hubby is so wonderful for these times- but if he isn't home I get thru it and then have a nervous break down as soon as he walks thru the door- lol and it never ceases to amaze me that no matter how sick you ae( you can be on your deathbed) if the kids are sick you are superwoman! Again, I have to reassure you that you are a wonderful mommy and very normal- hey- at least you don't run the other way when they puke! LOL

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right - green's icky.

I hope Alliclaus stops oozing green and starts feeling better.

11:07 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Ha! I have many of those same bits of wisdom tucked up in my head, too. Being a human of an especially snotty variety, I am ingrained with the knowledge that clear=no problem, yellow=head cold, green=infection.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Binky said...

It turns out I don't know my baby best. The one and only time I ever took her to the doctor on account of that "I just have a feeling something's wrong" intuition, it turned out she was teething and there wasn't anything to be done about it. I felt like such a tool.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Energy - that is your guide. If Wonderbaby has energy, she is fine. If she is low energy, keep an eye on her. However, keep in mind that most illnesses resolve themselves. Sometimes you finally capitulate and go to the doctor and then are told to "wait a couple of days".

1:02 PM  
Blogger Creative-Type Dad said...

Ahhh-yeah! another one of those great Kermit picts.

I've seen green come out of the strangest places. It's just all wrong...

1:28 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

The green is always the indicator of having to run to the doctor. Yuck!

2:00 PM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

pukefest '06 just wrapped up at our place (well, bee's dad is home with her today, just in case), and i went through all the same things you did - what if i was missing something? what if, at any moment, she becomes catatonic because of my overlooking something? can she have apple juice? is that smell ever going to leave my nostrils?

thankfully, bee is well on her way to a clean bill of health, but it was definitely one of those times that chris and i exchanged a look that said 'are we supposed to know what to do here?'

3:21 PM  
Blogger OhTheJoys said...

I just feel like offering recognition. It is hard.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are doing fine, I assure you! This is sweet and so true, take it from a mom of two older kids.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Bobita said...

I'm on my third baby...and still get a bit freaked out at signs of sickness. Experience has not made me less anxious about the really high fevers and the green, oh my god, the green!

But I remember when I was a kid...it always made me feel better to know that my mom was worried about me when I was sick. Seeing her fret and flutter about getting me juice and chicken soup, made me feel more loved. Her efforts and worry reminded me of how valuable I was to her.

I hope my kids feel the same way! :)

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it! Hilarious!

Catherine - your comment on my post at Kara's cracked me up. You said you wish you could write poetry based on my poem? I have always hated poetry but had such bad writer's block for this assignment that I just went with rhyme. I thought it sucked. Funny how everyone's perceptions differ.


5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't have resisted either.

On a more serious note, relax. Odds are if it actually is serious, you *will* know. I say this as a mom with 8 yrs, 2 kids, 3 surgeries (1 of the major/lifethreatening variety) under her belt. There's just something different when it's serious. So long as youre second guessing whethr or not to have it checked out, it probably isn't vital. But if you *know* that it needs to be looked at, even if everyone including the doctors is saying it's not a big deal, trust that. Because you'll know. It's the mommy superpower.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated it. I took my baby in when she was three months old because she 'wasn't paying attention to anything anymore and was making grunting sounds'. I am forever grateful that he listened to me. I always had to watch her for subtle changes and signs like 'She always has a bit of blue tinge here but if it gets more pronounced...' It is a scary bloody responsibility and everytime I took her in I was prepared for them to say I was imagining whatever symptoms I was concerned about. It took me years to look back and realize that I had never been wrong. So, you do know what is normal for your baby and what is not. And things like, she is not interested in anything are real, reportable symptoms. It was still too scary but she is 30 with an almost 3 year old so I can breathe now. Usually.

5:30 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Our doctor's office must think we're overprotective nut cases at times. But, well, too bad! I'm new at this stuff, too; I figure they're there to help me, whether they want to or not.


6:56 PM  
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9:02 PM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

Hope you all are better soon. I am usually of the "Oh i'm sure it will be fine" school, but when my son had like 20 ear infections in a row... I began to wonder if I should just get my own otoscope, instead of hauling him to the doctor's office every other day.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Alex Elliot said...

I hope you're both feeling better. My motto is "when in doubt, call". That being said, as the daughter of an ER doctor my kids have to be pretty sick before I think that anything's wrong.

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel you pain. my little one year old pumpkin is pretty sick right now. just felt her forehead and she was pretty toasty. then she moaned a bit and nestled in her blanket. no greenies yet...knock wood. hope you all feel better.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Suburban Gorgon said...

Seems reasonable. The Kraken did a fairly extensive reading of the Necronomicon a few nights ago (don't ask - it's better, really).

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took Spitup Boy in with a fever of 99 because he felt really hot to me. The doctor all but laughed at me and told me not to come back until he had a fever of at least 102.

Turns out he had Roseala (baby measles) and broke out in a rash 2 days later.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that my son is two years old, I still don't know what he wants all the time, and he's just learning language, so it's hard to deciphor everything. I think this anxiety just goes along with mothering. My own mother tells me it never goes away. Hmmmph. So much for thinking positive!

And Catherine, I love Virginia Woolf. I love reading her!

11:41 AM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

When I first got in this game I said it was the quasi-medical responsibilities that bugged me most. -- the janitorial run second for me.

10:36 PM  

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