Friday, November 21, 2008

Pedialyte and Baby Einstein.

Today I had the task of watching Baby E. here at home. He's got some type of stomach virus, and it's making his stool look like gruel. He also had a couple of puking bouts over the last couple of days. Fortunately he doesn't have any kind of fever to speak of, and that makes us feel better about his overall well being. Whatever he has doesn't seem to be making him that miserable. He's got plenty of smiles for us, and he's playing the same way he usually does. But our daycare doesn't want a kid there who has puked within the last 24 hours, or has any version of nasty diarrhea. M. called off yesterday to watch him, and she's going through her allotted sick days quicker than normal. She used her entire store after E. was born.

I've got plenty of days saved up, so it actually makes a lot of sense for me to take the duty. The problem is that I don't know what the hell I'm doing most of the time. Sure it sounds easy in theory... babies eat, poop, and sleep. However they have a particular manner of doing each of these things, and you only really learn about them through repeat experience. E. is also too young (or too stubborn) to have much of a fixed schedule. So far today I've had to simply guess when it's time to eat, nap, or get his diaper changed (that last activity is made a bit clearer from the stench emanating from E.'s nether regions). I have to rely on my resources of observation and persuasion to get by.

What complicates the issue is that E. is out of his routine, and thrown off by whatever discomfort his ailment is giving him. I knew I was in for it late last night when M. decided to take him to Children's Hospital. He had only wet his diaper once, and that's an indicator of dehydration. You certainly couldn't tell that anything was wrong with him from his behavior. He seemed pretty happy. But the doctor that M. talked to said that you can't risk it. She schlepped him out way past his bedtime for check-up, and wouldn't you know it... the professionals decided not to give him fluids via I.V. They recommended that we give him Pedialyte (for those of you who are unfamiliar, it's like Gatorade for tykes).

Anyway, when I woke up with the kid this morning, I was given strict instructions to try hard to get him to drink this nostrum. Apparently though, little E. has strict temperature requirements for his drinks. He doesn't like them cold. If you open a single-serving bottle of Pedialyte, you are supposed to refrigerate the remains. If he won't drink it when you break the seal, it's got to be preserved, and then heated to room temperature the next time you give it to him. Luckily M. was able to rush home during lunch hour to problem solve. She was exhausted of breast milk, so she had to be creative. She mixed some Pedialyte with rice cereal and fed him with a spoon. I would have NEVER thought to do that. But that's why she's the Mommy.

I'm grateful that I have at least developed the skills to keep him distracted. More accurately, I'm glad that there are people whose jobs revolve around making stuff like plastic toys and Baby Einstein DVDs. What did hapless fathers do before these technologies were invented? I guess they simply went to work and let the stay-at-home mothers take care of it. That's not an option for many parents nowadays. It's a serious issue. You'd think that some enterprising entrepreneur would start sickroom day cares for kids that can't attend their regular facilities. I guess there are too many concerns with public health for that to work. I envy folks who have extended families that can take up the slack. Still I guess I should just be thankful that I have a job that allows me to take off for these situation.

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