Monday, October 10, 2011

Proof that you're a better parent than I am

Miriam got sick for the first time this weekend. We're still not sure if it was some sort of stomach bug or a reaction to the flu vaccine she got on Friday (either way, she's not getting the flu shot again), but what we were sure of was that our poor baby was not well. She was burning up and it was determined that we should take her temperature.

At this point I should mention that I have never cared for a sick baby. Actually I've never cared for a sick person, period - I don't ever get sick and when my husband gets sick he just wants to be left alone. But I'm a mother now, and caring for a sick baby is in the job description. And certainly something as simple as taking a temperature is part of that.

After searching through two bathrooms twice, I finally found the baby thermometer. I took it out of the package and looked at it dubiously. There were no instructions. Maybe I should test it first? I stuck it in my mouth. It took forever, but finally the numbers stopped changing. Something still didn't seem right about it, but I ignored that and cleaned off the thermometer.

My husband held Miriam as I tried to stick the thermometer in. She writhed and cried, and I pulled back.

"I can't do this!" I said, on the verge of tears myself. "This is too big! I can't - I don't - agh! There's something wrong!"

"Just stick it in far enough for the numbers to change," my husband frowned, trying to keep her pinned down.

I bit my lip and pushed the thermometer in, just far enough to register. The numbers finally stopped at 99.5 and I pulled it out. I wrapped my poor baby girl in my arms to soothe her as my husband took the thermometer to go clean it. My soft words of comfort were interrupted by my husband's exclamation.

"Elizabeth!" He stood in the doorway, something in each hand. "You didn't take the lid off!"

I gaped.

Yes, my friends, it is shameful but true. The woman with the PhD... the woman who took her own temperature (orally) every day for a year before conceiving this child... the woman who has read dozens of parenting books... this is the same woman who tried to take her baby's temperature without taking the lid off of the thermometer.

Needless to say, we did not try the snot sucker.

Please tell me I am not the only one who's done something completely stupid like this.

Edited to add: Don't worry, I'm not completely scarred by this experience (and neither is Miriam). I just thought it was a ridiculous and entertaining episode that highlights the fact that, no matter how confident I may seem,  I actually have no idea what I'm doing :)  I imagine I'll be laughing at this story for years to come!


  1. Aww, There are a lot worse things you could have done. I hope Miriam feels better soon. It's no fun to have a sick baby! :(

  2. Annd I totally mean that in an encouraging way. I meant it in a "it's not the end of the world" kind of way. :)

  3. Other than providing a hilarious story, having trouble with a thermometer does not make you a bad mom, just a frantic one. I imagine a lot worse has been done when parents are tired and flustered with a sick baby.

    I'm sure I can top that, but I have blissfully forgotten some of the horrible mistakes I've made like letting her sleep with a loose blanket within a foot of her. The horror, even though we all slept with loose blankets and this one has holes throughout the whole thing - I felt like I was the worst mom when that happened.

    All that matters is that Miriam gets well and you give her care. A thermometer doesn't do that anyway

  4. Entertaining story:) I have done so many ridiculous things that I stopped counting. A few weeks ago I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out what Ethan's math worksheet wanted him to do. The directions just weren't logical. Turned out I was just making it more difficult than it had to be:)

    Hope she feels better soon!

  5. Go with the ear thermometer. :)


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