I have had this vision of life as a mother, particularly a SAHM. Life running as a well oiled machine. Daily tasks getting accomplished. My household checklists getting marked off, day after day. No big laundry piles. Trying one new dinner recipe each week, and finding the time to bake weekly. When I started staying home with the Little Monkey in the fall, I imagined all of these opportunities. Things that I thought I wouldn’t ever had the time to do as a working mom. Things that I wanted to have the chance to experience at least once in my life. Plus, I should have all of this free time, lots of free time, right? I can complete lots of crafts, write clever blog posts, and even take up a few new ventures and hobbies. Just so you know—that didn’t happen. Instead, a lot of life happened. Now it’s April 1, and I feel like I’ve been steam rolled since Thanksgiving. Has that ever happened to you? Thank goodness Spring is here!
In mid-November, the Little Monkey got his first ear infection, and it never really seemed to go away. Well, it did, but then it came back, again and again. By Christmas, the Little Monkey had had at least 4 ear infections, or at least a chronic seven week long ear infection. His sleeping was just a bit better than that of a newborn. He was going to sleep easily, and then waking up repeatedly starting around 1am. I don’t think that young toddlers are supposed to do that. Are they? He also seemed to be developing a permanent case of vertigo. We ramped up the medicine to stronger antibiotics, and prepared for the holidays.
Then two days before Christmas, the Big One started to look a bit pale. He complained about a sore throat, and we thought he might have Strep Throat. So I took both kiddos to the doctor, where I learned that the Little Monkey still had non infected fluid in his ears, and the Big One didn’t have strep. On the positive side, the Little Monkey knows the doctor very well now, and enjoys the doctor’s office (except when she looks in his ears!)
On Christmas morning, the Little Monkey’s antibiotics were working, and he was in wonderful spirits. My big kid on the other hand was curled under the Christmas tree. We ended up in Urgent Care on Christmas morning where we found out that he had Influenza A. Yup, the Flu! Poor kid had to spend Christmas Day, and the 3 following days in bed.
Two days before the start of school, the Big One had recovered from the Flu, but had developed with red, swollen eyes. Apparently, he had contracted an adenovirus. Thankfully, he recovered in 48 hours. Not so thankfully, both me and the Mellow Man had red, swollen eyes develop five days later. Even worse, we both had full fledged viral adenovirus with conjunctivitis. Did I mention that it lasted two and a half weeks!?
Unfortunately, during this time, the Little Monkey developed yet another ear infection. By this point (early February), I wasn’t sure if we were at 6 or 7 ear infections. The thing that was hard was my inability to diagnosis the Little Monkey from home. His sleeping was always off. He was constantly tugging on his ears. He had inconsistent vertigo, leading to serious falls. I couldn’t tell if he was getting better or worse. I had to weigh my concern about the Little Monkey’s sweet little ears with the ultimate financial costs of going to the doctor. We were going to the doctor at least once a week. Once I took him in on a Monday, and he had no ear infection, but some clear fluid in the ears. I took him back on less than 48 hours later because something didn’t feel right, and both ears were full of pus and infected. It’s so hard to tell when he was happy and cheerful, most of the time!
Then I noticed the thing that upset me more than his vertigo, or banging his ears, or his poor sleep. He stopped learning new words. He had been picking up new words and sounds until early January. However, by Valentine’s Day, I noticed that he was losing the ability to make sounds. He stopped saying his brother’s name. He was using more elaborate signs to talk to us, and now most words sounded like, “Buh!” I know a lot about language development, and I know a lot about speech development. I knew that something was a little off, and I didn’t want to wait.
During the next doctor’s visit, when the Little Monkey’s ear infection was confirmed. I mentioned his speech, so we got a referral to the ENT for tubes. The ENT evaluated the Monkey about eight days later, and he had no fluid in his ears! However, he did have hearing loss, and they recommended tubes. We scheduled him for the first available surgery. I took him to Target to have a celebratory Icee in preparation!
Nine days later, the Monkey had surgery. He loved the pre-op room with its basketball net! It was relatively uneventful, and the ENT told me that his ears were full of pus and infected when the tubes were put in. It confirmed our decision to have surgery. That night, the Monkey slept for 14 hours. 14 hours!
The change in his sleep was overnight, literally and miraculous. He’s now sleeping at least 10 hours without interruption, but frequently sleeps for 12 hours. He sleeps long and hard, like he’s making up for lost time.
He started talking more. Within 4 days, he started getting new sounds. He could tell me what the dog says (“Woof!”), and he could say the dog’s name (“Gus”). What’s even better, he started getting new words and better enunciation ever day. He could say his brother’s name again. He stands at the stairs and screams for his brother to come out of his room now! It was amazing!
We’ve had one set back. Not an ear infection, but some scary virus. It was actually scarier than any of his ear infections, and landed us in the ER. Two weeks after his surgery, the Monkey started getting a fever. And it kept going up. And up. And up. It didn’t seem to want to come down, even if we tried Advil or Tylenol. It started at 102 and at 105 we went to the ER. They were able to get his temperature under control, and told us how to keep it down. It lasted 4 days.
Now in all of this post, I want you to know that I know that the Monkey isn’t that sick. I know that i am lucky to have a sweet, wonderful little man who only has chronic ear infections. He doesn’t have some other horrible ailment. I know in the regard I’m blessed. I’m sharing this because it’s been my life for 4 months. I’ve been worried, tired and frustrated because I wasn’t sure if the Monkey was ever well. I think his poor little immune system was working on overdrive, and not being the most effective. It’s been hard.
That brings me to right now. April 1. April Fool’s Day. The Little Monkey woke up at 10am this morning, after going to bed last night at 8:45pm. He’s taking a shorter nap, and sleeping lots at night. I guess that’s my April Fool’s– Who knew he could sleep like this? I’ll take it though, and keep my fingers crossed that we can make it a week without going to the doctor. (It still hasn’t happened this year.)