Our daughter the seal

It has taken me this long to gather my thoughts about this past weekend in a way that does not include profanity and/or screaming in all caps.

Here goes...

Caroline was so perfect on Thursday night that it was abundantly clear we were in for the happiest of happy weekends or we were witnessing the calm before the storm. Turned out to be the latter. Caroline came home with a runny nose from school which should have set off all the bells and alarms. Awoooga awooga!

We spent some time that night with our super nice neighbors Tom and Ann and Caroline played quietly on her mat for the entire visit. She got right to bed and all seemed well, until we were awoken by a sad baby at midnight. She was easily consoled, but woke up each time we tried to lay her down in her crib, so tired Mommy and Daddy said enough and cuddled her into bed with them, where she slept quietly until early Friday morning.

Caroline and I met Steve for lunch, sniffly nose and all, and we all prepared for a weekend with a somewhat sick baby. We were utterly unprepared for what hit us later that night.


Oh you haven't heard of it? It's awesome! Your baby goes to sleep, feverless, but perhaps with a runny nose, and wakes up barking like a seal, absolutely unable to catch her breath, wheezing, junky. Oh it's a blast. We were so scared, but luckily I had heard of croup, so we knew what to do and got her into a steamed up bathroom right away which helped calm down her poor inflamed upper airway. Steve read up online to make sure this was not a "call the doctor immediately" illness and gathered more hints and tricks to help dissipate her symptoms to get her back to sleep. Many of the information he read suggested sleeping in the same room with your baby to monitor their breathing closely, so family sleepover night #2 began. It took some time, but we eventually got her calm enough to lay down and with the assist of a mound of pillows to support my arms, she fell asleep... until 1am. Croup all over again, this time we did both cool night air and the steamy shower. I seriously had one of my first "power Mom" moments. Have you heard how mothers can do extreme things when their babies are in danger, like lift cars? I stood outside, barefoot, on a night they thought would bring frost and did not even shiver. STEVE SHIVERED! I stood there with my barking seal baby wrapped in blankets and hardly noticed how cold it was?! me! The coldest person on the planet, except for my mother of course. She was up until nearly 4am, when she must have become completely exhausted and fell asleep again until about 6.

We called the pediatrician first thing and they got her in right away for treatment. We were send home with one dexamethasone (a steroid) to crush up and give her with her breakfast. The steroid was to bring the swelling in her airways down so she might not be as bad that night, but we were left with a stern warning to expect another rough night.

Our neighbors had a get together to commemorate Octoberfest Saturday afternoon/evening, complete with awesome firepit action. (Greg, you will have pit envy!) We spent some time over there and Caroline fell asleep by the fire, breathing in that cool evening air, which we were hopeful would curb the croup. There was no crouping, but there were three wake up calls at 11pm (we'd been asleep for about an hour), 3:30, and 6 making way for family sleepover night #3 and at 6 she was up for the day. Steve took her downstairs and I caught two more hours of much needed sleep. Thank god for that. He napped later that afternoon very briefly, but not nearly enough.

So we survived croup, barely. If this had been mid week I honestly do not know how we would have functioned. As I lay in bed on Friday night with my sick baby snuggled close, my eyes burned with anger and hatred for school and Caroline's fellow "classmates" and parents. I was so mad that I literally could not rest, despite my tired swollen eyes. I had those fake in your head conversations with the Directors about exactly where they could put their "tuition." Are we paying for childcare or immunity? And if it's immunity, why pay them when I can surely buy it in a petri dish online somewhere?

Here we are Monday night and she is so far (knock on wood) sleeping soundly upstairs, wearing her Red Sox pjs in hopes that the Sox can pull off a win. She still has a little runny nose, but she is much healthier than she was on Thursday, just in time to go back to school and subject her weakened immune system to more germs.

I have calmed down and I have three suggestions that I will be offering up along with our payment this week. They are not all related to illness, but they would make me feel a lot better. Why not just air all my concerns at once right?


There is more to my daughter's day that meals, diapers, and naps. Tell me what kind of day she had! Add a mood indicator to the bottom of the form, perhaps based on the pain scale to tell the parents what kind of day their child had. Kind of grumpy, circle the frowny face. Overall pretty happy day, circle the smile.

Pain Scale


Since the people we drop off with aren't the people we pick up from and can never ever answer any questions about her day, tell us ONE thing she did. She read a book? GREAT! She went outside for an hour? Fabulous! She played with that germ factory Hannah? not so good, but thanks for the warning.


Start a Parent Communication board for each classroom for parents to share information. "Johnny has a runny nose." "Michael had a bug." "Hannah is as usual sick sick sick." In fact, let's just save Hannah's mom the trouble of writing out the litany of ailments which her daughter brings with her to school. We'll just leave up a permanent magnet that reads "SICK!" Steve added that parents could also share accomplishments and other fun things. "Johnny got another tooth." "Michael's walking." "Hannah busy creating a superbug!" If parents actually used this it would at least give us all a heads up on what might be coming our way. That runny nose we thought we were dealing with might have been given a bit more attention if we had read that Johnny had croup. Our kids are all getting sick constantly, so why not warn one another of the potential things that our kids might be bringing home?

I plan on presenting my ideas to the directors on Tuesday. I don't plan on a positive reception, but instead of complaining about her constant sickness, at least I thought of ways to make things better.

So in review; Caroline was sick. She had croup. She sat in a steamy shower and on the freezing cold stoop. There were three Family Sleeovers. She was up A LOT at night. Mom couldn't pump any extra milk. Caroline is better.

Peaks and valleys. Peaks and valleys.


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