Our 11 days of Davelessness, which I foolishly and brashly bragged about being excited for, started out well.
We had a busy weekend and a good start to our week. A Japanese style Halloween party, read: lots of explaining and tons of structure. V won the individual female costume contest. The male category was won by the only other foreign visitor to the party. I sensed a pattern but we collected our reward and gave an arigato.
Then there was a daycare day…a full day to myself to do work, exercise, sleep at random intervals. All that PLUS the bonus that she actually napped there MINUS that she hit her teacher when said teacher tried to console her after waking up from aforementioned nap crying. So she’s the hysterical slapping kid now.
The apple picking outing with our playgroup went well and the rain held out. My American friends are picturing us with a bushel of apples wandering through an orchard to sounds of laughing children. But the Japanese version is everyone proceed through the orchard in a line, pick ONE apple per child mostly from the ONE tree with a ladder leaning against it. Then quickly proceed back to the beginning where you are handed two more pre-bagged apples. But still. Really delicious apples.
The next day was full of down time, play group and baking. And with two more daycare days IN A ROW in front of me I was basically patting myself on the back as Motha of the Century because I was KILLING IT and this isn’t bad AT ALL. As if to test me, V then went to bed (by request) 1.5 hours early. I wanted to add that to my list of victories, but a mother can’t shake that feeling that this…probably…isn’t…good. I settled in with a backlog of work and a backlog of Supernatural episodes and around 9pm the bottom fell out.
She woke up distraught. And hot. Burning hot. So began the four day fever fest. And while some residual rain of Typhoon Francisco swept through on the same timeline, which almost made staying in bed with a burning baby and a bulging bump feel cozy, we battened down our hatches. On the second night I got really scared. She was REALLY hot. Hot enough that ‘letting the fever burn itself out’ was out of the question and the fever itself was impervious to my attempts to use medication and cold cloths to bring it down. I’m sure I am not the first parent to believe this conspiracy, but it really does seem the fever took a distinct turn for the worse right after the doctor’s office was closed. Just moments later, really. Late enough though for me to have to accept the reality that the nearest clinic open for her the rest of the night was a 45 minute drive away. At night. In the rain. With only a vague idea of where I am on a map, a map that I can’t, incidentally, read.
It was at this moment, while V slept that moaning sleep of fevers, that I lost it. I cried to Dave, over Skype. Mad at him for not being there, mad at myself for spending my time being mad at something so pointless, tired from the effort it took to care for a toddler while waddling around carrying another person on my front all day. I am adult, I’m her mother, I can make any all decisions I needed to that night about what to do, when to take her to a doctor, how to proceed. I can do it on my own, but I didn’t want to. And mostly I don’t have to. Dave was there with me, in spirit you could say, but at the end of the day it was all in my hands. I hated that feeling.
As I lay next to her all night long, sleeping between periods of checking isshebreathingisshemovingwhatishertemperature, I had time to calm down. I even stayed calm during the long and rumbling earthquake that shook us awake at 2am or so.
I had time to realize how wonderful it is that I have the support that I have. That my child is healthy in general, really VERY healthy, that this is only the 2nd time in 3 years that a fever has kept us up worrying while some parents live with the burden of caregiving and the fear of serious illness every day.
I had succumbed, probably justifiably, to the fears. The normal fears that parenting brings accompanied by the panicked isolation of not being able to speak, read or comprehend the world around me had led my mind to run wild for a while, but mostly I’m on solid ground. With a treasure chest of numbers I could always call for help and more than my share of local friends who would have done anything I asked that night. Deep. Breaths.
She started to feel better, shown primarily by the insistence of wearing a dress over her pajamas.
Though it took her another couple days to come back to full health, that night was the only scary test of mothering mettle. The following two were spent sipping drinks and coaxing food and watching movies in bed while she slept in the preferred position of forehead to forehead. PLUS a friend brought us a bag of food, popsicles and soup and vitamin water and juice and…arigato.