Saturday, March 06, 2010

Ear Piercing Draaaaama!!!!

As part of Girliness' 10 year birthday, she got her ears pierced (I think I blogged about this, but I might have forgotten...she wanted her ears pierced and a haircut and lunch out with me for her 10th birthday present - awesome). This was over a month ago. As instructed by the woman who did her ear piercing, Girliness has been faithfully cleaning her ears thrice daily with the solution she was given at the shop. Nevertheless, yesterday the piercing in her left ear - formerly just a little more irritated-looking than her right - presented a pretty nasty infection. At about 10pm she came to me with the front part of the earing missing in her ear, because the amount of swelling had pulled it in too far. I have more than the average amount of ammunition to deal with such a situation. But OMG did it ever SUCK. Even with the lidocaine, pulling through the earing to drain and reposition was very difficult for her to get through. There was a bunch of thrashing and "mom my hand just DOES that I can't control it" going on. We had to take a couple of breaks (her excuse was that she wanted to look in the mirror, but it was that she couldn't handle it anymore). And I legitimately thought she'd hate me forever. After everything was drained and back in place and I'd hit her ear with enough antibiotic/sanitizing solutions to treat a small armada of girls with infected ear piercings (and made her take an oral antibiotic as well, although without so much overkill), she gave me a big and very sincere hug. She was eager to head off to bed, but a little shaky still, so a little rescue remedy and a warm sea salt compress for her ear, and she was out in 5 minutes.

I on the other hand am surprised by how much I absolutely totally completely hated this whole ordeal.

In the course of my midwifery education I have found that I am indeed capable of hurting people without feeling bad about it, usually because 1) I have their consent to do something necessary (or they would literally die if I didn't), 2) I know things will improve when it's over, and 3) I do my damnedest not to hurt anyone any more than I absolutely HAVE to.

It has always stressed me out, though. My body is really accustomed to stress hormones now and if I ever did get shaky and out-of-body because of them the way some people do, I don't now. My daughter thinks I dealt with her ear with utter calm and compassion. In truth I am not sure my stress level has EVER been this high, and I've seen some gnarly shit.

It really, really is different when it's your own kids. (Side note: I have SO much more compassion for the EMT dad that couldn't help our birth team out as his wife was hemorrhaging now.) And something nasty happens in your brain when you could just stop and it would still hurt, but not as much as THIS. I wanted badly to foist this off on someone else, but the alternatives weren't attractive (which pretty much sums up other circumstances in which I've hurt my children to provide necessary medical care).

Or maybe pregnancy has reduced my coping abilities to shit. After Girliness was safely and relatively comfortably abed, I proceeded to descend into a ball of horrified hormonal-ness, and contracted regularly for 2 hours until I finally got out of bed and ate a burrito and drank a glass of wine.

This morning, all is well with Girliness' ear. It isn't back to normal but it looks MUCH better and she says it doesn't hurt as much. Thank freaking goodness.

Lessons learned:

1) The antiseptic solution given at an ear piercing isn't sufficiently strong to prevent an infection, much less treat one. When I actually read the label I was shocked at how weak it was; barely enough to make sure there wasn't anything growing in the solution itself.

2) Pregnancy apparently reduces my coping skills to mush. Even moreso than I thought. I have no way of knowing for sure, but probably this wouldn't have been nearly so big a deal (still would have sucked) not pregnant.

3) My daughter loves and trusts me enough that she doesn't hold this incident against me.

In another thank-freaking-goodness aside, I had warned Girliness that this might happen before we ever got her ears pierced. I am SO glad I didn't talk her into it with promises of "it's so easy, no problems ever blah blah blah."

I continue to be horrified with people who pierce infants' ears.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Spring Cleaning. Ish.

Today I engaged in a little of what I like to call "moving day cleaning." You know, that kind of cleaning you only do on the day you move into or out of a house, and then wonder why you hadn't done that at all in the years you'd been there. Like "why did I let that coffee splatter stay behind the coffee maker for three years? It looks so much better now!"

I am well aware that there are many people for whom this type of cleaning does not exist, either because they really are that on top of their immaculate homes or because they don't actually live in their homes. Or maybe because they've never moved, have never in their adult lives had to fully empty out a space they've lived in for years, and haven't a clue how dirty it really is underneath their stoves.

I was relieved to find that there was nothing scary (or living) underneath my oven when I pulled it from its cozy little nook in the counterspace. Some dustbunnies and a long-lost baking dish, and a toy that had to have belonged to a prior inhabitant.

The same cannot be said for the furnace duct that emerges next to the "pantry" (=large L-shaped shelving unit that holds all our dry goods/non-refrigerated foodstuffs). There were formerly-edible things in there that our family has never purchased so I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who slacks when it comes to removing vent covers and cleaning the scary gaping tunnel that eventually leads to the furnace.

Unfortunately, while I now FEEL cleaner just standing in my kitchen, you can't really tell that big a difference. Except maybe for the front of the dishwasher, which will be dirty again next week I'm sure.

A couple of days ago we did the kids' bathroom in a similarly thorough way. That was downright scary, but luckily I had the messy-bathroom perpetrators to do the behind-the-toilet scrubbing. At one point they knew how to clean the bathroom really well, and would do it when I assigned it once a week or so, but standards had slipped to the point where I saw the same piece of unclaimed missed-the-can trash behind the toilet for four weeks running, and it became obvious that I had to take things into my own hands again. Which in this case mostly meant sitting cross-legged outside their bathroom and directing the Boyness cleaning army-of-one.

Also this week, I went into the garage and found all the boxes of outgrown kid clothes, and sorted them by size. You'd think they would already be sorted, but no...I tend to go through the kids' clothes on the same (or close to the same) day, and during the midwifery school adventure I didn't ever have time to do anything but stick the resulting pile in a box and slap a label on it, so I'd have three sizes in each box.

I have 9 large rubbermaid containers of outgrown kid clothes. Yikes. At least I know where/what it all is. And there is a piece of my decluttering-loving heart that is LOVING the idea of not having boxes of outgrown clothes lying around after this child; this is as-close-as-you-get-to-100% surely going to be our last.

Also since my last update, we completed Boyness' room. He loves it. I am very happy that he loves it and is so proud of his room. The girls, miraculously, cleaned their room very thoroughly and have kept it that way for a week; I had told them I wouldn't even consider rearranging their room until they'd kept it clean for 2 weeks straight, which I thought they would find impossible. I might be stuck rearranging their room.

This leaves the dining area, den, and laundry room to deep clean. And there are bits of the garage left to reorganize, too, but it's gratifyingly easy to walk through and Boyness has plenty of room to use his heavy boxing bag now (vs having to walk through a box maze to get to his mats etc before).

The really interesting thing here (and yes, I consider all of the above highly boring) is that none of that stuff HAD to be done. And indeed, if this was last year, I would not have done it, and nobody would have suffered. Funny how different things become important, how we fill our time. My life came to a screeching halt in early September when I simultaneously ended my midwifery school/apprenticeship obligations and got horrifically morning-sick. And it feels full again right now. I know we're descending into dangerous mommy-wars ground here...but for me it is a truth that this is less fulfilling and satisfying work. Nevertheless, it is where I find myself, unable to realistically work call or do midwifery work of pretty much any sort until a good chunk of time after this baby arrives. So I fill my time with the smaller joys of clean furnace vents and dust-bunny-free zones under the oven. What I was doing when my life was so hectic and crazy was Atlas-important for the women and families I was helping, and this feels...less. Even if it does still feel "full."

I realize I am glossing over the main mommy-war point - that joy I'm supposed to be feeling about spending time with my kids - because truth be told I'm not sure I'm spending that much more good one-on-one time with them (I'm not talking about one me with one child, I'm talking about one me paying 100% attention to any or all three). The kids have been simultaneously enjoying the stability of knowing mom is around almost 100% of the time and missing the chaotic fun of the days that they used to spend at friends' houses. I have been happily allowing them to do projects of various sorts virtually all day (everything from making and racing boats a couple of days ago to identifying birds to doing "art" projects that essentially amount to little more than scribbling on various media) with little input necessary from the mama gallery. I've found the internet to once again be a vital social lifeline when I would otherwise be mostly cooped up at home doing that depressing stay-at-home-mom no-adult-interaction thing (AGAIN no slap-down on the mamas who do and enjoy this. I just don't).

A little over a month until the baby-in-arms part. Probably a couple of months until I get restless enough to start up my midwifery business, and a few months beyond that until things get really interesting when I start attending births.

I feel stalled.