Monday, May 10, 2010

A mother bear's instinct.

It's been a long week. We got a lot done. I (finally) got Noelie registered in the French embassy. I got Marie's 'first big girl's' haircut. We went to a communion. We went to the hospital.

For a few days, I had a feeling that something was not quite right with Noelie. Call it a mother's instinct. There was nothing wrong with her. She was in great form. Crawling around, talking, clapping her hands, singing. Feeding well. Yet, something at the back of my mind was telling me that something was not quite right.

Friday, as opposed to the previous days, had been a quiet day. Until about 7.30 pm, when Noelie developed a high temperature. We gave her Nurofen and a lukewarm bath (in which Mr Foodie jumped fully clothed as apparently, 'it's easier to splash with her that way'). We brought the temperature down. She fed well, went to bed. We kept an eye on her during the night and she was fine. She slept well.

On Saturday, we had planned to go to Waterford for Mr Foodie's godson's communion. Noelie had a bit of a temperature in the morning. But it had gone so we decided to go down. It all went well but by 1pm, her temperature was back up. So we left early and made our way back to Dublin. At 6pm, her temperature was going up still. So we decided to bring her to the hospital.

Back in October, Noelie was admitted in for 3 days as she had a a UTI. And this time, the signs were the same. High temperature that came and went. A little cough (probably unrelated but still). Still herself and otherwise in great form. Nappies that were not as wet as usual. So we made the decision to go and get it checked out. Just in case.

We got there and she was admitted into the A&E. A nurse came over to check her out. She took her temperature that was still a bit high, checked her for rashes. Asked us the usual questions, checking for allergies etc.. Noelie is allergic to strawberries. It gives her eczema. And, what a surprise! The nurse came back to us with a syringe full of, yes, strawberry Calpol. We asked her for something else as first, Noelie doesn't like Calpol, and second, even though it is only strawberry flavoured, it still causes her to break out in a rash. Since there were no visible signs of anything in particular being wrong with her, we were asked to provide a urine sample. As the mother of the 2 year old little boy who was in the bed next to ours found out, it is not an easy task. Her little boy peed everywhere but in the little cup, not once, but twice. After a while, we did manage to get a few drops of the precious liquid in the cup and dropped it at the nurse's station. We got talking to a very nice health care assistant who informed us that she had sent the sample to the lab since it looked like Noelie had yet another UTI. All we could do now is hope that they wouldn't keep her in again. At 9.15, Mr Foodie went over to the nurse's station to see if the results had come back. Since that first nurse, nobody had been in to see us. The results had come back and she was being released with a prescription for antibiotics for the next week. So at 10.30 pm and after a well deserved detour via McDonald's drive through, we finally got home. Noelie went to bed and slept well and her temperature didn't come back until morning.

You would have thought that we had a bit of common sense and that we stayed at home and looked after our baby yesterday. But no, not us. Since her temperature was down, she was in good form and she had received her antibiotics, we decided to take a trip to the seaside. All of Mr Foodie's family had congregated there. It was also the first outing of the new baby. For those of you who are wondering, yes, they did call her the double barrel name that sounds incredibly like Noelie's real name. Arrrghhh. I did make a quick comment about it and left it at that.

At best, I'm a mother bear. It gets worse when my cubs are not feeling too good. And yesterday was a real test of my diplomacy skills. I think, at the best of times, people give the girls too much attention, especially Noelie. Comments such as 'she's so advanced for her age' etc make me grind my teeth. Our girls are not perfect. Our girls are average. Yes, they are advanced in some skills yet they are behind in others. I believe in praising the children, when they deserve it. Marie is 7, she is past the age of the 'good girl' for everything. She gets praise when she does something that is either out of her comfort zone, or she gets her homework right, or something a bit difficult for her. She doesn't get praised for picking up after herself, she gets a thank you. She gets recognition and encouragement and praise. Because in the real world, you don't always get recognition, let alone praise. I probably sound like a hard mother. I'm not. She receives praise and recognition and encouragement on a daily basis. I'm incredibly proud of my girls. I just don't like them to get too much attention and rewards for nothing. I don't believe that my children are better than all the other children (well sometimes), I don't believe that the sun shines out of their you know what. But that's just me.

As soon as we got there, Noelie was whisked away. She was pulled in all directions (metaphorically of course). 'Are you coming to me', 'Clap for X, Y, Z', 'Give us a smile', 'Are you giving me some?', 'Give the baby a kiss' were fusing, all at the same time, all by different people, who all knew that she had spent 4 hours in hospital the evening before and that her little body was fighting an infection. Despite all that, they were still asking her to perform. I felt like putting her hat in front of her. Give the monkey a penny and she will perform a trick for you! We thought that the new baby would 'deflect' some of the attention away from her. It didn't. We thought that people would understand that even though 'she looks in great form', she is not. They didn't. I felt like telling them to leave her alone, give her some space. She does not need anybody literally in her face when we are trying to feed her. She does not need anybody, trying to get her attention when we are trying to get her to drink the fluids that will help her flush away the infection. She would happily sit in her buggy and watch the world go by. She does not need to be asked to perform. She is not a performing monkey. She does not need 10 different people trying to get a piece of the Noelie cake, trying to hold her, trying to get her to say things, trying to get her to clap her hands, trying to get her to come to them. She needs space and peace. I was quite uneasy, so was Mr Foodie. All we could do was stand back, relegated to the back of the crowd while our baby was being taken over, while everybody was getting their little piece of her. After an hour or so, we made our excuses and left. We talked about it and we both felt the same way. Since it is his side of the family, I don't feel like it is my place to say anything. It's not really fair on him. I don't want to sound ungrateful. They are all caring, nice people. I am sure they don't realize that, sometimes, they just take over. I know it will be difficult. We don't want to fall out with people, we don't want them to take it the wrong way. But all we would like is just a bit of space for her and for us, time to get settled when we get there, without her being taken over, being whisked away, having people in her face asking her to perform. Even on a normal day, when she feels good. Unless they ask, unless we ask.

Have you ever had to ask people to 'back off' a bit? How did you approach it? Or are you just glad to go along with it?

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