I start with a "Zoë is growing up" story. The first (of many, I suspect) Zoë versus Mom episode(s). We didn't do the whole sleep training thing. Zoë sleeps in our bed, we transfer her to her crib -- we sleep better without fighting her and she sleeps better too. But, this particular Friday night Zoë threw a fuss when transferring her to her crib. Back to letting her fall asleep in our bed, ... transferring her. Again, a fight. This pattern continued 3 times until it was 1am-- 3 hours after she first went to sleep. Finally, I had it. She's old enough now to understand that her bed is the crib and that there are boundaries. She's also simply too big to sleep in our bed with us, comfortably. And... it is a Friday night, so if there's ever a time to lay down the law, this is the time. So... I embark upon the battle of wills.
It is epic, it is fierce, it ends with Mom winning the battle. I will not relive it all here and now. However, here are some highlights:
- There was some rationalizing: "Zoë, you are old enough to sleep in your crib now without much fuss. We still love you. A lot of people love you a lot... (list of names), but you can't sleep in our bed anymore. You are a big girl. And when you wake up, you will see moon -- but even moon is sleeping now. So it's best if we all sleep soon." (Sadly, by the end of this process, both moon and Sun were on the brink of rising).
- Zoë understood all this. She nodded. She pointed at the window. "Moon", she said. More nodding. Less sobbing. She pointed at Daddy, "Dadda" she said (who, by the way, was snoring blissfully at this point. HOW???). She pointed at me, "Mama". She pointed at herself, "Zozo". There was complete understanding ... until "WAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!" when I put her back into her crib. Lots of kicking, lots of screaming, lots of thrashing. All understanding undone. Back to square one.
- At one point, I found myself saying: "Zoë, I know you are stubborn. But you didn't get that trait from your father. Cry all you want. Scream all you want. But this time, I will out-stubborn you. So there!"
- The statement above was made with me kneeling on the floor, arms dangling over the crib railing. How ironic that while I was not granted any sleep, my arms were fast asleep, now throbbing from the numbness. Sigh.
- Patting, bursts of screams, more patting, lots of shushing... for ~2 hours. Sleep. My armpits hurt, but sweet sweet sleep at last.
We have joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for fresh produce for the summer. Every Tuesday, we pick up a grocery bag full of farm-fresh produce that is grown biodynamically to be the healthiest and with the least negative environmental impact. Zoë enjoys cleaning and learning about her food too! Here, you see her playing with the garlic, whose stalk is taller than she!
WARNING: Like Lemony Snicket, I warn you and possibly discourage you from reading any farther if self-pity and tales of woe deeply depress you.
So, ten years married and 32 years on this Earth... and yet, the momentous day started with poor Zoë puking on poor me (aka, birthday girl). Zoë's school had an outbreak of Hand Foot and Mouth, which is NOT Foot and Mouth (despite the creative naming similarities). In this case, the name comes from the outbreak of blisters on the hand, foot and mouth (see here). The main concern with the disease is that the mouth blisters become so painful that children will stop eating or drinking and will become weak and dehydrated over the week long healing process. Zoë didn't have any of the symptoms except a few blisters on her heel and maybe a few on her hand. With the recent mosquito bites it was hard to tell definitively anyway (bonus: she can now say "bug bite!").
Other than throwing up, she did have a slight fever a few days earlier, and just seemed a little tired in general -- poor Zoë was missing her usual sparkle. When I called the school to share the news, the director told me that in addition (ooh! how exciting!) to this Hand Foot and Mouth, the school also had a recent confirmed case of Roseola. Back to the internet to research this one. Roseola has symptoms of incredibly high fevers (like >104 degrees F!) followed by a full body rash. Zoë's fever was much milder... but on close inspection, she was covered by small dots! Super.
Next: call the Doctor to make an appt. Followed by the call to cancel the appointment at Vidalia, the much anticipated restaurant where I was supposed to enjoy a nice birthday lunch with my husband. "Is this how birthdays go for grown-ups?" I think... closely followed by thoughts of worry and concern and "what if's" -- after all, we have had > 6 months of near-constant barrage of illness and none of us had any immunity left to fight another aggressive illness. Now what?
The Dr. barely walked five feet into the room and declared: "Roseola. Classic case." He then checked her temperature, ears, throat, ... I asked him to look at the blisters on the heel: "Are these also related to the Roseola?" He looked a little surprised and said that that was probably Hand footh and mouth. SHE'S GOT BOTH?!?? "Yup! They are different viruses, so no reason she can't have both" and that was that. He made it sound like I should be thrilled that she was chosen by the germ Gods to bestow both illnesses (mis-directed birthday gifts, perhaps?) upon our lucky little one-- Is that like having your birthday cake and eating it too? Luckily(if that's the right word-- silver lining outlook...!) she appeared to have a mild case of both SIMULTANEOUSLY.
Unlike Alice's very happy unbirthday, this birthday was my very unhappy birthday-- a backward day. You know? Where good is bad... and in kind, my birthday this year would instead be celebrated on July 21st. I started a list of 32 reasons that this birthday sucked (the self-pity oddly made me feel much better), but just at the moment that I got to #23 (note: that is 32 backward!!!) Stephanie wished me a happy day and gave me several reasons that I should feel good about myself and my special day. I received birthday wishes throughout the day and I realized that I did have many blessings to count. I did make it to Vidalia. Zoë is better and stronger now. This year I got the best gift of all-- I got a do-over. Two birthdays, two chances to appreciate my life, my family, my friends and our health, two opportunities to gain wisdom and perspective in this often too hurried life. And, my wonderful, supportive husband brought home a cake worthy of pictures, memories, and a few extra pounds.