Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I hate feeling helpless, especially when it comes to my kids. Really, I do. Hate. It.

My little man had surgery last week to remove his tonsils and adenoids...and that is a story for another day. They told us that his recovery would be about 10-14 days in total, with somewhere around days 6-7 probably being the worst, as that's when scabbing takes place.

Doesn't that just hurt to think about?

Everyone tells you that the only thing they remember is getting to eat as much ice cream and have as many popsicles as they want when they had the same surgery as a kid. Well, I've learned that if you've talked to one former tonsilectomy patient, you've talked to them all. It doesn't hurt as bad when you're little, you love the cold stuff, etc.

Well, I'd like to talk to someone's MOM. I'm telling you -- this has been a LOOOONNNNNGGG week for ol' Mom. When he's hurting, that medicine can't kick in fast enough. Yes, it's short lived, but he is in some wicked pain between dosings sometimes. It's different than your typical "Owie, I fell and scraped my knee" cry you get most of the time -- it is a "I HURT. Truly hurt to where it scares me, Mommy" type of cry and it breaks my heart in two and makes me feel helpless.

Sunday morning he was just a mess. I needed to go to the grocery store to grab some things and everyone else was still in their pajamas. Now, not only is going to the GS by myself a treat these days (yes, I know it's beyond sad) but I was just generally not in the mood to pacify ANYONE while there. I wanted to listen to my iPod, cross stuff off of my list and get out of there. When Mitchell learned I was going, it was an instant meltdown. I'm not talking tantrum, I'm talking meltdown approaching insane levels.

Now, if you just had surgery on your throat, you can probably guess that screaming at the top of your lungs is not going to be something that will help your cause. 45 minutes of that...well, you can probably just figure that one out. He was a mess. A. CERTIFIED. MESS.

The thing is, my husband and I were caught between a rock and a hard place. We realized that part of what was driving this behavior episode was not feeling good, even though he hadn't complained AT ALL yet that morning and slept all night, but no way in the world do we want to reward that sort of tantrum behavior with "Okay, okay -- stop screaming, you can go!" I mean, he hadn't complained about pain at all after initially waking up and we'd given him all the medicine we could give him at that point. I'm sure he was really tired and probably in more discomfort than he told us he was...and that's the thing. He can talk. He's 4, but I don't think he has the words and the ability to truly tell us what's wrong in situations like this. I also think part of it was, he and I had been glued at the hip since his surgery and this was literally the first time I'd be leaving his side in over 5 days and he didn't expect it. I think that definitely factored in. Regardless, it just didn't feel right to say "Okay, since you did such a fine job of displaying such awful behavior, of course you can come! We'd love to teach you that acting that way is exactly how to get what you want." Again -- we were torn, but him staying home was the best thing anyway. And even though I was doing all of the things that I knew were best for him, I still felt absolutely helpless.

So, we just went into our normal routine of dealing with tantrums -- which really don't happen much anymore. He'll get lippy with us, but the big, dramatic, heartwrenching meltdown thing is very rare these days. So, upstairs we went so that he could sit in a safe place (on his bed in his room) and calm down. When it was clear that the only thing he would be doing is continuing to scream at me, cry hysterically and try to grab me, we went to the next routine step -- removing toys, books and music from his room. It's really the only thing that will calm him down when he gets like that. Trying to hold him and cuddle him doesn't work -- he gets all combative. So, with a guilty heart, I would give a warning that he needed to sit on his bed -- that's all, just sit on his bed -- and believe me, he KNOWS the drill. I'd give him some time, count to 10 out loud, and then remove a beloved toy from his room while he grabbed my shirt, screamed at me, kicked the door, etc. This went on for about 45 minutes. Oh, and the windows were all open so I'm sure the neighbors really enjoyed the whole thing as well.

It's quite the pretty picture, yes?

Then, with a mostly empty room, my little buddy finally agreed to just lay on his bed and calm down. I also had to chuckle at the way he went about it -- he said "OhhhhhKAY!" as he climbed ontu his bed, as though I was the one who'd been keeping him from getting up there for so long. I sat with him, rubbed his back, helped him stop crying and encouraged him to just lay there and think for awhile. I went across the hall to clean the kids' bathroom and somewhere between the sink and the tub being clean, he fell asleep. The time that I checked on him and saw him asleep was 10:30 a.m. Now, keep in mind that this is a little boy who doesn't take naps anymore, and if he does, it's falling asleep on the couch at about 5:30 pm...just before bedtime on days when he's played like crazy in the morning.

Oh, and his little sister was downstairs with my husband during all of this, in case you're wondering. That's the other reason for moving upstairs -- she doesn't need to witness all of that.

ANYWAY -- so, he kept sleeping and kept sleeping. I kept checking and kept checking. Finally, it was time for me to leave with Georgia for a birthday party, and I'd been dreading that all day since he wouldn't be coming. We thought for sure that it would be battle number two...but it wasn't, because he was still asleep at 2:45 p.m. Yes - -over 4 hours later, and still asleep.

I went to the party, had a great time, but all the while kept thinking about my baby boy at home and wondering how he was doing. I knew my husband would be great when he woke up and was prepared for more tears and drama -- he was armed with medicine and many hugs -- and he has his own set of tricks to get Mitchell out of a funk...I wasn't worried about that. I just felt guilty for not being there...and...helpless.

I called as we left the party, at about 4:45 p.m. and he had been awake for about 10 minutes. Yes, he slept for 6 hours!! Chris said that he cried for about 5 minutes after he woke up, but after some Daddy cuddles, a Capri Sun, a popsicle and a dose of pain meds, he perked up. I'm sure that his tantrum induced the sleep in the first place, but obviously, he just needed some rest. Lots of rest. It made me feel a little bit better that he slept that long -- the tantrum most likely would have happened over something else that morning anyway because that's how he gets when he's that tired. (It didn't entirely remove my guilt -- part of me still thinks I should have just taken him to the store, and the other part of me is patting myself on the back for not taking him -- story of my life.)

When we got home, about 10 seconds after I put the garage door up as I was pulling into the garage, I saw my little man fling the door to the house open and wave at us with a huge grin on his face. THAT was what I needed to see -- my happy little guy was back. He and his Daddy were playing "Red Sox" in the living room while they watched the game and they were both sporting their jerseys and backwards baseball hats. He was happy to see us and loved the balloon that we brought home for him. I got a huge hug, a kiss on the cheek, and he told me "I love you, Mommy. I'm sorry I was so mean this morning. I was really tired." I kissed and hugged him back and thanked him for apologizing. And then I got him some ice cream.

All was once again right in the world.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Aww, you did great, Mom! ((((bighugs))))