How the Other Half Lives

March 14, 2006

I went back to work full-time when my daughter was just 5 months old.

But even during my maternity leave, I was never really alone with her. First, my mom came to help out for a while. Then, my husband took some time off. On his first day back at work, he was unceremoniously laid off.

Long story short, he took the opportunity to take a stab at working from home and building his own business. The end result: he is our daughter’s primary caretaker, and he is fabulous at it. It made my return to work so much easier knowing my baby was home with her Papi. She is in a daycare center at my workplace two days a week, where I get to spend my lunch hour with her and pop in whenever I feel like it. Truly the best of both worlds.

But this past weekend, my husband left town for not one, but two business trips, with a short visit home in between. This was my opportunity to be alone with my easygoing girl. I envisioned lots of play time, lots of singing, a trip to the zoo, walks in the park, and jaunts on the swingset.

I assume we’re all familiar with Murphy’s Law, eh?
First, she got diarrhea. Gnarly, copious, explosive diarrhea. All over me, all over her, all over everything. She started refusing food and water. Let’s just say that my daughter not eating is like a dog not barking. Something is very wrong.

The weather? Totally uncooperative. Clouds and rain and stiff, cold winds. No trips to the zoo and jaunts on the swing on our agenda.

I tried not to panic. Even as she refused all liquids and became increasingly irritable and we both developed cabin fever. I cuddled and coddled her and let her nurse, even though she was just about weaned. She napped in my arms and I enjoyed the closeness.

But when she woke, I was feeling strange. Achy and cold and a tad bit nauseous. I took her temperature: still no fever. Then, out of curiosity, I took my own: 102 degrees.

So I panicked.

The thing is, I felt utterly and hopelessly alone. My husband was 900 miles away. My family is 400 miles away. We don’t have any close friends within a driveable distance, and here I was in a situation I had never faced before: sick, alone, and with a sick baby to take care of. After a weekend of trying to keep it together, I just buckled. I called my husband and begged him to come home a little early if possible. And bless his heart, he did.

I spent much of yesterday shivering under a blanket while my husband watched our daughter. We did take her to the doctor, where we were told that she’s not dehydrated and her diarrhea should go away fairly soon. But the kicker: she’s got yet another ear infection. And we’ve been referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist to discuss the dreaded possibility of The Tubes In The Ears.

This morning, she woke up in a much better mood, and she’s eating and drinking much better. She has started yet another course of antibiotics, so hopefully the ear infection will be licked soon. We put Papi on a plane to the other coast, and he’ll be home Thursday night.

Did I mention her eyes are looking a little pink and goopy today? At this point, all I can do is laugh. It may not be the alone time I envisioned, but it sure has been memorable!

So single moms and SAHMs, my hat’s off to you! And please share any tips on how to keep my sanity when it seems that everything that could possibly go wrong…is indeed going wrong.

Anyone else care to share their Murphy’s Law parenting moments?