Diminishing Capacity

Rosalind has so effectively shifted into childhood and out of babyhood, and has been there so long, that I have twice found myself having to relearn basic parenting skills in the last month. When they are little bitty you have to learn and store all this medical stuff in your brain. It goes right there alongside how to contort their bodies into onesies and shoes without breaking their bones, how warm they like the bathwater, and not leaving heavy things on surfaces taller than their heads because they will yank it down on top of themselves and make you feel like a real asshole. But then, inch by inch, so slowly it’s mostly imperceptible, your kid becomes self-reliant. Maybe not as independent as you might want, but leaps and bounds ahead of their previous blobdom. It happens so gradually you don’t realize that you, the parent, are forgetting valuable information.

Which brings us to two weeks ago when Rosalind, now a world champion sleeper (like grumpy teenager level sleeping), whined in the middle of the night and couldn’t seem to stop. When I flung myself down beside her I realized that she was radiating heat out of her entire body. Her feet would have been especially delightfully warm if, you know, I hadn’t been concerned her brain might be boiling. It was so close to morning I decided to just stay in there with her and monitor the fever since we didn’t have anything. Sergio stayed home with her the next day and we dutifully bought Tylenol to relieve the fever. All was well. Except that the fever was relentless. We spent four days trading off our sick time at work to stay home with her, knowing she would be sent home from school immediately if we tried to send her. Finally, as I was drifting off to sleep on the fourth night, frustrated that we were wasting time at home with a perfectly happy little girl, I remembered that you fight a fever with the tried and true Motrin/Tylenol rotation. It took me four days to remember something I knew in my bones just a year or so ago. She was back at school and happy the next day.

This all did eventually lead to a snotty cold and cough, which is relevant for the next part.

Yesterday, we noticed that Rosalind seemed especially awful. Not listening, whining constantly, yelling in frustration at the tiniest things, and then switching on a dime and being a screaming-with-glee-and-laughter Spaz. Needless to say, at one point in the evening Sergio may have lamented that we had failed as parents and that this particular child was a broken model. And I didn’t disagree and did spend some quiet time reflecting on how we had screwed up so badly. And then we all went to bed. Rosalind stayed up until 10:30. I finally drifted off thinking she was down. At 11:10 she started whining. We went through some rounds of trying to be in her bed. She couldn’t get still and seemed terribly uncomfortable. I assumed her nose was stopped up. I even checked for a bloody nose since that happened again last week. Nothing. She tried our bed. Same deal. Finally I asked her what hurt (who would have thought to have asked the fairly articulate preschooler to just tell me what hurts? Not me!). Her ear. Terribly. Felt like it could pop. And then everything fell into place. Rosalind’s only symptom of ear infections as a baby was the total transformation of her normally sweet demeanor to that of Hell Demon. I had forgotten entirely. Another thing I would have known immediately when she was still a toddler.

Add to that the fact that we were caught entirely unprepared again, forcing a midnight run to Wal-Mart for the sacred Motrin/Tylenol combo and some numbing ear drops and Sprite for good measure, and you can see that by the time she is 10 years old she will have to be in charge of our daily care because we will clearly have lost what is left of our parental/adult brains. Holy run-on sentence, Batman!

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