Day Care is a Cesspool of Germs and Viruses

About a week and a half ago, I wrote that day care is snotty.  HA! It’s worse than snotty.

Punkie is sick again.  Actually, that’s not entirely accurate because he never recovered 100% from the cold he developed on day 4 of day care.  Now, he has a fever.

Day care called me yesterday to let me know that Punkie had a fever over the maximum permitted threshold of 100 degrees and that I needed to come and get him right away.

I dropped everything and cancelled a couple of meetings and went to get him.  When I left day care with Punkie, I found a piece of paper in his bag that said (and I’m paraphrasing) that he was sent home for a fever and would not be welcome back until 24 hours after the fever went away without the help of medication.  So, if he magically recovered the same day, the earliest I could bring him back is Thursday.  More likely is that he would not go back until Friday or next week.

Okay… what do I do now?  I can’t bring a sick baby to work, so I need some kind of child care or I have to take time off from work.  I can see why it takes a village – someone has to be around when day care ejects the baby.

I brought Punkie to the pediatrician and she thinks that he got a virus on top of his cold.  The poor little guy was really miserable and I felt bad for him.  At its highest, his fever went to 101.8 and I’m not 100% sure why, which bothers me a lot.

He had never been sick before he started day care two and a half weeks ago.  He’s going to have the strongest immune system in history if he keeps this up.

He looks better this morning.  And, luckily, my husband was able to stay home with him today.

 

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Day Care is Snotty

Punkie has been in day care for 4 full days now and he is already sick. He was congested yesterday and didn’t sleep well the night before because of congestion – he sounds like he’s snorting when he breathes. This morning, he started coughing.

This is officially his first cold. I hope it’s a cold, anyway.

I mentioned that he’s congested to his care giver and she said she has it and most of the kids have had it too. Everyone says this is par for the course with day care – they all get the same colds.

I expected to be more fazed or distressed when he got sick for the first time. Really, I’m more tired than anything, and I’m girding my loins against anticipated fussiness and more not sleeping. Work has been difficult this week, but I remind myself that things are always more difficult when you’re tired.

That’s not to say that I didn’t call my husband in the middle of the night to ask him how to do the saline sinus drop and suction thing that he was telling me about before he left for his trip and before Punkie got sick. My worst-case-scenario-generator was telling me that Punkie could suffocate if he doesn’t breath well in his crib. My rational brain kind of knew I was overreacting, but:

Ring, Ring

Hi sweetie, can you tell me how to do that saline thing you were talking about yesterday?

It’s midnight – is everyone okay?

Um, midnight you say? . . .

I called our pediatrician’s office this morning because I honestly don’t know what to do for a 4 ½ month old baby with a cold. If I had the cold, I’d take as much Sudafed as allowed plus one and power through (not regular Sudafed, the good stuff you have to go to pharmacy counter and show your drivers’ license to buy). Punkie isn’t going to be on board with that approach, I imagine.  I explained to the nurse that I don’t know anything about babies and that Punkie has been in day care for one hot minute but is now sick.

The nurse recommended that I do the following things:

  • use a cool vaporizer in Punkie’s room (not a warm one because someone can get burned);
  • take Punkie’s temperature and call them if it’s over 100.4 degrees (take the temp rectally, of course?) ;
  • elevate one end of Punkie’s mattress by putting a rolled up towel underneath one end (so he can breathe better while lying down – I’m sure he won’t just roll to the far end); and
  • do the saline thing that my husband was talking about, which is to put some drops of salt water in his nose and then suction with the bulbous blue thing the hospital sent us home with (hold on to your brain, Punkie, mommy is going to suction now).

What do you think of these recommendations? Any more thoughts?

Home Alone

My husband is out of town for the next four days and I’m home alone with Punkie. I know how to take care of the kid and I’m a fairly capable person, so my rational brain knows it’s not a problem. I’ve got this covered.

But there is also a part of my brain that is busy generating worst case scenario thoughts all day. I’ve been wondering, what if I leave for work and forget about him at home? What if I drive to work and leave him in the backseat all day? After all, I am a little forgetful when I have something on my mind.

I’m a very sound sleeper. The thought I’ve been having since he was born is, what if I’m in a deep sleep and don’t hear him cry at night? Everyone I’ve confided in has said that’s nonsense – you’ll hear him. It’s instinctual! But I won’t know if that’s true unless I fail to hear him. And even then, I won’t really know because I slept through whatever the problem is. In truth, I won’t know unless something terrible happens.

Basically, I’m suffering from not having a chaperone . . . or maybe the better word is supervisor. That’s kind of pathetic, if I’m being honest with myself.

When we left the hospital with Punkie for the first time after his birth, I kept looking around the corridor and thinking, are they really going to let me leave with this tiny, fragile human? I didn’t even know how to hold him, much less keep him alive. But they just let us take him.

That’s how I feel here too. My husband left for his trip this morning and I thought, is he really going to just leave me with the kid? He knows better than anyone that I screw up at least one thing every day.

I dropped Punkie off at day care this morning and he was happy. He smiled at me when I left, which is a great relief for me. I still feel like I need to show up at random times to check on him, but I have the feeling that he’s resilient. I respect resiliency. I’m going to tell him that this evening, assuming I remember to pick him up from day care.

I’m Fazed

I’ve been a lawyer for 15 years. At the age of 40, I had a baby, and now I’m a new mother and a lawyer.

 

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I lived a life before I had my son, who I’ll refer to in this blog as Punkie. “Punkie” is obviously not his real name, but he is kind of a punk sometimes. I hit the big, red “reset” button of life several times before, so I generally feel confident in new situations or during times of change. I’m rarely surprised. Things don’t faze me.

So, when my husband and I decided to have a kid, I didn’t think it would faze me at all. How hard could it be to have one kid? I’ve put myself through law school, passed 2 bar exams, worked 100 hours a week at a law firm, survived a divorce, moved to NYC, and moved back to my hometown to start over again. These things were difficult, and anyone can have a child – it’s biology.

Well, lesson learned and cockiness banished. It turns out that this coffee-swilling, 40-year old, stress monster needed a lot of medical assistance to get pregnant. Apparently, I have a disease called “advanced maternal age.” There were two years of early morning appointments with a fertility doctor and her many, many nurses. There were intra-vaginal ultrasounds, blood tests, insanely potent injectable drugs, and medical procedures – I lost track of how many. It wasn’t fun.

Finally, we were pregnant and, after all that, I was surprised. It was difficult to believe the nurse when she called to tell me the good news. It was really great news and wholly unbelievable.

Punkie is 4 ½ months old now. His toothless grin makes my heart swell up, and, when he cries, my heart aches. I was lucky to be able to stay at home from work with him for 3 months after he was born. My employer has been really great with my pregnancy and maternity leave. This is a much bigger topic for another day, but I can’t believe that some women go through a pregnancy and birth and are forced to return to work immediately, or after 6 weeks. Three months is far too short. But I digress.

I was even more lucky that my husband wanted to take leave to stay with Punkie for 8 weeks after I returned to work. His willingness to do this means Punkie didn’t have to start child care until yesterday.

This brings be back to the idea that I’m not easily fazed. Dropping Punkie off at day care fazed me. I’m totally fazed.

We brought him into the child care center and into his “classroom” and he began to cry. He somehow knew that this was not just a visit. He continued to cry. When we left, I tiptoed back to the room to check on him one last time by peeking around the corner, and he was puffy eyed and angry.

I never felt so horrible in my life. The guilt that I feel for leaving him at day care is overwhelming. I’m at work at this very moment, taking a 20-minute break to pump breast milk for Punkie to drink at day care tomorrow, feeling like shit. (Typing while pumping is not easy, so please excuse the typos and run-on sentences.)

I stopped into the child care center mid-morning yesterday to check on Punkie. He was still upset.

When I walked in, the care-giver, who seems like a warm and kind woman, was on the floor snuggling Punkie and trying to get him to take his bottle of milk. He was refusing the bottle, which he had never done before. Until yesterday, he had always done a happy little kicking and grunting dance when he saw his bottle. Yesterday, in stark contrast, his eyes were red and he was frowning and not eating.

At the end of the day, when my husband picked him up, the report was that the afternoon was a lot better than the morning. I wonder if it was, because I wasn’t there to see him myself and, to be frank, the child care center is incentivized to tell us that Punkie loves it there. They said he slept for 2 hours in the afternoon, which my husband (a trusting optimist) took as a positive sign. In my mind, the most likely scenario is that he passed out unconscious after crying all morning.

So I’ll be using a few more hours of my precious little PTO time from work to drive over to the child care center today and visit them. I feel like if I show up at random times, maybe they’ll take better care of Punkie. I hope they think to themselves, “don’t let Punkie cry alone in the bouncy seat because his mom might show up.”

These are dark thoughts and I’m not happy to have them. Like I said, I’m fazed.