Sunday, February 22, 2009

of Molars, the Emergency Room, and Televised Babysitting

The Rozzle has been cutting some serious molars for…well, what seems like FOREVER, now! She always follows the same pattern with teeth: first we notice she's a little crabby, then she starts having a hard time falling asleep, then she gets really crabby, then we start dosing first with Motrin and asking questions later. And, it seems like each time she gets a tooth, she gets an antibiotic shortly thereafter. Hmmm. The wonderful women at daycare called on Tuesday last week just as Miss Tessmacher and I were about to leave for home: they'd noticed Roz was warm, and upon temping her found that she was up to 102.5! Yikes! So we hurried home to find a red-cheeked babe fitfully asleep on her cot, with R. gently stroking her head. Such good care! The next day - Wednesday - is a "G. Day" (Tess' mother, who refuses to be "grandma," chose the seemingly-hipper G. as her moniker.), so we didn't have to make any special plans; we left a still-hot baby in her very capable hands and split for work.

Which, not so much. I was only at my desk for about a half-hour when G. called, telling me that she'd temped Roz and found a holy-shit 104.8 reading on the thermometer! Uh…double-yikes! I quickly called the Dr. - with whom we aren't very happy anyway, because it seems like we always need to go to a redi-care facility any time any of us is sick - who flat-out told me "If she's temping that high, you need to take her to the emergency room." Great. What a wonderful day for G. THIS is going to be! I made the necessary arrangements by phone, then hit the road…which was thankfully not slippery as I vastly exceeded the posted speed limit, frightful scenarios playing out in my head: "What if she dies?!?" ("Don't be ridiculous, she's at the hospital, she'll be fine!") "Yeah, but…people die at the hospital all the time!!!" ("You fuckstick, just DRIVE!") And so on.

When I got there the place was, of course, packed: nothing like a busy small-town emergency room at noon on a Wednesday! They had given her a hefty dose of Tylenol for the fever and she was sleeping soundly on G.'s lap. When we finally got into the treatment room, she was starting to cool off with a Fla-vor-ice and was cracking up while watching Tom & Jerry. (Fan-fucking-tastic…I loathe that cartoon! Watch, now she'll start askin' for it.) The Dr. checked her out and found signs of an ear infection, but really nothing else. Strep is going around town, especially in the schools, but he didn't even bother checking for that: he put her on unpronouncicilin and sent us on our way.

Which, okay, great, but an antibiotic again?!? I walk a fine like with doctors and medication: I treat the shit out of headaches and backaches with Motrin, but I'm seriously of the mind that, hey, let's NOT create superbugs, right? Also, what would have been my fate a century ago? Would I have lived? I dunno…it just doesn't strike me as right that Rozzle has been on something like three antibiotics in six months. On the other hand…it sure did the trick! Her appetite is back with a vengeance (today's menu: whole leg of lamb, a silo of corn, and a couple gallons of soup), she's sleeping soundly, and she's a joy to play with again. So, apparently, all's well and etc. etc.

So, we're enjoying a weekend of baching it while the illustrious Miss Tessmacher is down in Mississippi, presenting at a flute conference and getting a day trip to New Orleans out of it as well. Which brings me to the concept of Television as Babysitter. Naturally, being a snotty overeducated liberal fuckwad, I'd read tons of books during Tess' pregnancy, all of which came down to the same basic point about TV (the "idiot box," per Jubal Harshaw): don't do it. TV for kids under the age of two is simply a no-no. Which, not so much. There are a few shows Roz absolutely LOVES: Sid the Science Kid, Super Why, and Pocoyo. They're all on PBS - we're a cable-free household, so no cartoon channel for us - and, well, they're just pretty good shows. We also usually watch a Muppet Show on DVD before bed, and Roz likes both Looney Tunes and Mickey Mouse shorts. But the 1/2-hour shows on PBS allow me to plop her in a chair and go "get shit done." I can organize her lunch and/or dinner without having her underfoot and whiny, I can put dishes away or fold laundry…basically, all those things that contribute BOTH to her happiness & ease of care, as well as general crap that needs to be done in the interest of keeping a sane household. Am I proud of it? No, not really…but on the other hand, I'm a realist, and there are just some things that you give in to. Tess is convinced that Roz will "never" have a phone in her room; I had one all through high school, and I was fine…in fact, I hate the phone now, as good friends whom I'm supposed to call back will attest to (Mike, I'm talkin' 'bout YOU!). Ditto video games: I had a console - granted, it was a Sears 2600 with such thrilling games as Asteroids and Pac-Man - and it didn't rot my brain or keep me from reading books. I'll try to draw the line at Halo, though. So, I'd rather walk a middle ground when it comes to things verboten: a little is okay, too much is definitely not good, and none at all makes it seem all the more thrilling for it's absence. I saw one of my nephews go crazy once he left his parents' house, filling his life with all those things that he was denied while under their roof. That's how I justify it to myself, anyway…while I'm putting dishes away as Roz giggles to the sight of sandwiches running away from Pocoyo and Pato.

Watching Mickey with Mom.

Perhaps we need a better humidifier?

"If you're happy and you know it, pick your nose…"

Ready for the cold.

Rockin' her Little People castle, Benatar-style!


Blogger Strangeite said...

Jubal (my personal hero) also said, "God forgives necessity."

Your take on television (and antibiotics) is exactly the same as mine. Anna and I kept our wee one away from any and all television until she was about 1 and half years old. Obviously we limit the her television time, but she loves Pingu and Big Bird. I don't believe we have melted her brain into a pile of gelatinous mush.

And if we have, at least she will be able to fit into society.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

I kept Daniel away from TV until he was 2. Anya watches whenever he does, though. Poor second kid. (A little PBS can't hurt that much, right?)

I had so many ear infections as a kid I practically lived on amoxicilin. Yech.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

I'll chime in as well. My little one has been on too many antibiotics. After four years, I'm getting much better at judging when the fever is caused by cold or something else, which helps. It's harder when he gets a staph infection (he seems to be prone, has had three in the last year). He got antibiotics twice, and the last one we kept an eye on to see if he could fight it on his own, which he did.

As for TV--he didn't watch before 2, but watches plenty now. We approach his shows (mostly Noggin) as video books. He seems to learn and make connections from the shows to the real world, and it hasn't replaced his imagination. I've been working on a book called "Everything Bad is Good for You" that looks at pop culture, TV, and video games and argues that the storylines are more complex and lead your brain through more mental exercise than some would expect. Not to say that reading it bad, but until CJ learns to read, I don't see a problem with him watching TV or playing the Flash games at or In the long run, he's learning a comfort level with technology that I find enviable at times.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

Becca, I also envy the comfort level my kids have with technology and I am a tech-head. At 2 and half Sophie already knows how navigate the interface of the iPhone to access Youtube, pull up pictures, activate the camera and take pictures, and start her favorite apps. She has figured out how to use the mouse on the iMac to open pictures left on the desktop and to start a new video on TOTLOL. Riley at 10 has had his own website for 3 years, can troubleshoot AV gear and knows PowerPoint better than I do.

I have always said that I don’t want to be the old man that can’t figure out the future’s equivalent of “setting the clock on the VCR.” However, I am afraid that it is a lost cause.

“Jeez, Dad. It really is simple. Just activate the thermo-nuclear exchange module to the flux-capacitor by sending a neuro pulse from your right temporal lobe at 33 Mhz.”

10:27 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Roz will never "have a phone in her room"? What century are you people in? Do you actually still have a landline? By the time Roz is in high school we will probably handle all telecommunication through chips implanted in our brains.

So glad to hear she kicked her infection. Yeeks.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Animal said...

Funny stuff, Steph! I agree: I'm pretty sure that for Roz, the concept of a "landline" will be embarrassingly obsolete. On the other hand: of COURSE I still have a landline! I also have a 1940s handset on my desk that rings to wake the dead and only has a rotary-dial…but I digress. Not to be anti-techhead, but cell phones suck for reception. End of story. When cells can equal the sound quality and reliability of copper wire, THEN I'll get rid of the landline.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

Hmmmmmm. I hate the pop that particularly bubble, but you are aware that landline transmission outside of your localized node (usually your residential block) has been handed over the a concentrator that digitizes your voice at a sample rate of about 8000 per second (saved at 8-bit to boot) and then sent over fiber optic cable.

You are correct that you will get the good old fashioned sound when you call your next door neighbor, but anything further probably is subject to the same digital compression that you hear on cell phones.

My guess is that you think the sound quality is crappy on cell phones not because of the transmission but rather because of the really crappy speakers they put in most cell phones. A high-end phone (like the iPhone) or a good bluetooth headset and you will find sound quality at or better than your landline.

(This isn't a dig against keeping the landline, I still have mine too, but sound quality is not a valid reason.)

3:36 PM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

I guess I should add that if you live in a really rural area where that have not installed the capcity for DSL AND they are still using the old electrical switches AND the calls are still being routed by electo-mechanical stations, then maybe you are placing calls in analog but that is unlikely.

As an old phone phreaker (I have the cap'n crunch whistle to prove it), I miss the good ol days.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Animal said...

Point taken Strange, and I'll allow the copper-wire-for-fiber-optic switcheroo. Still…my point still centers on the reliability of cell phone reception. I just hate the noise, the dropped signal and lost calls, the screaming to be heard because I only have one tower. That ain't speakers. And from what I understand, it's the technology of cell phones itself that is the limitation…that is, this is as good as it's supposed to get.

(Cap'n Crunch Whistle?!? WTF…?)

8:02 PM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Um, tv?

Tyler has watched tons.

He's a chess head, very much a thinker and his brain has maintained despite the boob tube. It's all how you use it and explain, really.

As for antibiotics, don't get this nurse started....

8:18 PM  

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