Writing this one-handed and half-brained, as I'm balancing a baby on my lap who hasn't slept more than twenty minutes at a stretch in three days. I was blaming a particularly fierce bout of tooth-erupting, but after waking up with a 102-degree fever, fussing inconsolably and then throwing up all over me, I started to think something else might be up. Or maybe it didn't occur to me until the third time he threw up all over me. Regardless. I eventually pieced together that Mr. Baby was not his usual happy self.
Fortunately I was already up at 6:55, which is when our doctor's office starts taking appointments for the day. Although somehow, when I called at 7:02, she was already booked up for the day. So I made a 10:15 appointment with a doctor I'd never met and tried to get Miss M ready for school with a screaming baby on my hip. (I may start pinching Mr. Baby in the mornings, because the girl is much more agreeable when her brother is in distress.)
By the time we arrived at the office, the Tylenol and sweet potato puffs had kicked in and Mr. Baby was happily scaling the coffee table and playing peek-a-boo with the coat rack. I almost packed up and took his cheeky little grin home. But when he screamed himself purple while getting laid flat to be weighed and measured, I was pretty convinced that his ears were hurting him.
And sure enough, when our mysteriously accented new doctor came in and inspected his ears, she quickly pronounced that there was an infection on his left side. If he'd been my first baby, I might have asked more questions and pushed her as to whether it was likely viral or bacterial, but after three days and nights of no sleep and a constant soundtrack of "mmmeeeeewwwwwwmmmmmeeeemmmmmmamamamamamamaaaaa," I just took the amoxicillin prescription and thanked the nice (Italian? Brazilian?) doctor for her time.
So now Mr. Baby is about to start his first round of the pink stuff, a milestone that Miss M managed to hold off until well after her third birthday. I'm trying not to take it as a statement on my mothering and just accept the fact that Mr. Baby lives in a wider, more social and, yes, germier world than his sister did as an infant.
P.S. for the relatives - he's now 18lbs and 27"