Wednesday, April 09, 2008

a croupy crappy night

Last night around midnight, Silas started croup coughing.  For those of you (my 4 readers) who don't know what this sounds like, it sounds like a beached seal stuck in the rocks calling for help.  We've never had croup in our house before, though when I was a kid, Max used to get it all the time, and I remember the distinct sound and his hot, little, red face sitting on my mom's lap in the bathroom while the shower ran.

Thankfully, I was at my parents' house when the episode struck, so I got my mom out of bed (thank goodness for moms) and had her come listen to Silas's labored breathing.  She agreed croup, so off to the shower I took him.  I made a pile of pillows and blankets on the bathroom floor and ran the scalding hot shower.  While the steam billowed out into the dark bathroom, Silas fell asleep with his little arms over his head.  As the air got thicker, I started to imagine, in my 1AM sweaty state, that the water was taking the place of all the oxygen in the room and that I was surely going to pass out (why else aren't pregnant women allowed in steam rooms at gyms and spas??), and that Silas, my poor coughing baby, was actually already unconscious with water collecting in his lungs that was definitely going to turn into pneumonia.  It suddenly occurred to me that there are probably methods and tricks to running the shower safely for croup, some level of steam that is acceptable, that there was something more I should know -- where IS all that information?  Where is the how-to-raise-a-small-human-being, neatly-color-coded, tabbed, glow-in-the-dark guidebook that helps in dark hours of the night?? 

Instead there is floating information -- tips that people assume you already know or that you luckily hear in the nick of time, or that you invent brilliantly on your own, or that, of course, you try and then scramble to undo.  (Other helpful guidebook categories would be: how many "treats" are too many in a day, especially when your mother is pregnant and eating junk food all the time; how not to let threats like, "if you don't sit in your car seat you'll never play again!" not fall out of one's mouth and when they do, how to provide any kind of follow through that keeps you from crying wolf;  how in the world to make a two year old stop walking when his mother says stop (or screams it embarrassingly angrily at the park) or to come when she says come -- in short, how to raise a toddler who is remotely polite and mindful -- where ARE those instructions??)  
Fortunately, hours later, Silas was still asleep -- and conscious -- on his nest in the bathroom, was breathing and not coughing.  Unfortunately, this calm, soothing state expired around 5AM.   After an attempt to have him sleep in my bed, at 6 we were up, (cheery little "hi mama!  i wake up!" in my ear), and in a cross-eyed state I scrambled an egg and made grits for the cheery rise-and-shiner who instantly had become Crabby McGee refusing all breakfast fare.

Two hours later, enter my mom (thank goodness for moms! can we say that enough?) who took Silas out back to the park, played with him at the sink, and watched birds flutter to the feeder, while I slept for two heavenly hours and woke a little bit more sane and a little bit more patient.  (thank goodness for sleep too).  

And now, after days of clouds, there are hints of blue sky and patches of sun through the cherry blossoms.    

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