Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Tough Day at the Office*

Michael was cranky today, generally difficult to please which happens from time to time. So already I was not particularly looking forward to taking him to Harper's dentist appointment this afternoon. Most of the time I don't take both of them to things like that - Matt or his parents or Auntie M will stay with one of the kids. It isn't that I can't handle both of them, but is sure is easier if I don't have to. I think divide and conquer is a great strategy for dealing with young children.

Anyway Michael fell asleep in the car on the way to the dentist and then woke up as soon as they called Harper back for her cleaning, of course. He started fussing and then screamed the entire time. No position, no paci, no amount of walking would calm him. I felt compelled to repeatedly apologize to the other people in our (very, very tiny) dentist's office. Nothing to perk up your afternoon like a half hour of screaming baby! At one point I said to the hygienist, "At least only one of them is crying!" That comment may have been my undoing.

Harper was a complete angel during her exam. She was relaxed and chatty with the hygienist, which was actually rather hilarious. When the light was turned on over the chair Harper said, "That's too bright!" The hygienist said it had to be that way so they could see Harper's teeth. Then Harper leaned back into the chair and said, "It's fine now, it wasn't fine for a minute, but now it's okay."

She was perfectly still as her teeth were counted, polished, and flossed. She even dealt calmly with a fluoride treatment (which they didn't do the first time she visited the dentist). The dentist checked her, she picked a toy out of the treasure box, and we were on our way. And not a moment too soon, considering the fact that Michael had been crying all the while.

All was well as we started to drive until I looked back and Harper, who had been happily playing with a toy dinosaur moments before, started vomiting all over herself. One second she was fine and the next she was covered in stomach contents. In case you're having trouble keeping track, I now have two crying children in the car, one of whom just tossed her cookies all over the place.
My first thought was that she was having an allergic reaction to something from the dentist and I was in a near panic looking in my rear view mirror and checking for other signs. Fortunately she wasn't turning any unfortunate colors, wasn't looking/acting lightheaded or faint, didn't have hives creeping over her body, wasn't having trouble breathing. I asked her if she felt badly and she said no. I asked her if her stomach hurt and she said no. I asked her if she had choked on something and she said yes. Then I asked her what she choked on. . . "My throw-up!" she said.

My knee-jerk reaction was to call the doctor's office, especially since I had the number memorized. The nurse I talked to wasn't very nice or helpful, saying I'd have to call the dentist because she didn't know what they'd given Harper. (Fair enough, but she might have been a little kinder about it.) I knew Michael was starving and I doubted my ability to feed him and supervise a bath and the necessary laundry detail at the same time so I frantically dialed Matt's parents and asked if one of them could come lend a hand for a bit. The actual phone conversation went something like this:

Unsuspecting Father-in-Law: Hello?

Me: Mike?! Can one of you come over?! Michael is starving! Harper just threw up all over herself in the car! She needs a bath! Michael needs to eat! I can't do both! Ah! Help!

Calm Father-in-Law: Sure, one of us will be there shortly.

Thank goodness!

The next call I made was to the dentist's office. I told the receptionist what happened and she nonchalantly said, (And this is the part you should all pay attention to!) "Oh, she must have accidentally swallowed some of the fluoride, that will make them throw up." Gee, you think a three-year-old might swallow some foam from a tray filled with goop that is place in her mouth? Do you think, when you put the little spit-sucker in and tell her to suck on it like a straw, that some of the fluoride would make its way into her stomach? A little heads-up would have been nice!

So Mike arrived, Harper was bathed, laundry was started, Michael was fed, and the car seat was de-pukified. (Why oh why do car seats have so many crannies and crevices for undesirable substances to ooze into? Why?!)

As I type, Harper seems free from any lingering effects of the vomiting incident and both children are soundly asleep. I'm scheduled for an hour-long car seat reassembly challenge, but at least there are the Olympics to keep me company. Go USA!

*I was sharing this story with my friend Cindy and she said, "Sounds like you had a tough day at the office." To which I replied, "That's what I'm going to name my post when I blog about this later."


Jen said...

Kelsey, I'm not sure if we have ever met, but I'm friends with Hillary. I somehow got onto your blog from her blog one night in June and have been checking back here and there since then. I must say, reading your entries is like reading a good (and funny) book. Has anyone ever suggested you publish your blog, it would make a great parenting book! Thanks for sharing and not minding that complete strangers get just a little glimpse into your life.

stay at home mom of two in Wisconsin

Mommy Daisy said...

Oh boy! You should be VERY thankful that there was someone to come help rescue you. :D

Well, here I am up late watching the Olympics too.

Giselle said...

Ugh. All I can say is ugh. Glad you got through your tough day. Thank heavens for grandparents!

Astarte said...

Holy crap!!! They should TELL us that that can happen! AND they should tell the kids, hey, don't swallow this, it might upset your tummy! Jeeze! I'm glad it was 'just' that, though, and not some flu she picked up from being there.

What an awful morning you had. You poor, poor woman!

Anonymous said...

Way to get through the day like a champ! And so great to have Matt's parents close by. I feel for you -- cleaning disgustingness off car seats is NO FUN, as we learned during a trip to visit my parents in February when both Ruth and I got the stomach flu. Hope the reassembly was successful. See you in a few weeks!! xoxo Tracy

Emily said...

Way to go, Cindy with the post title!

Sounds like a really tough one. I get so stressed about fussy babies that won't stop crying, especially in public places. And how stressful that you couldn't leave! Argh!

Swistle said...

I laughed out loud (literally!) at your father-in-law's calm response. I love him now.

Laura said...

Wow! How about a little heads up about the whole flouride thing... I never would have suspected that to be a throw-up culprit. Thanks for the tip.

BTW- my days at an actual office aren't generally that tough! Way to get through it and ask for help when you and your kids needed it.

Hillary or Ryan said...

First of all, I was also at the dentist today. I did not have the fluoride treatment today because of the fact I'm pregnant. Today, I was able to skip the nasty foam that makes me excessively salivate. Yippee! Therefore, I did not throw up in my car seat. But I have to say I am looking forward to dealing with my own "tough days at the office" coming very soon in November.

Erin said...

Hey, another mommy war story for your collection! At least you didn't have TWO HOURS to drive while Harper sat in puke. I still can't believe you survived that trip.

Car seat reassembly is TERRIBLE. I had to do the same this past weekend with Cal's carseat and I was LIVID about it, cursing the carseat the whole time.

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you told us this story, though sorry you had to experience it! Now I will know: no flouride for my kids until they're old enough not to swallow it!

Christina said...

For everyone, not just Kelsey:

Our dentist (luckily) uses brush-on fluoride for our kids...stays on only a minute, and is swabbed on with a giant Q-tip. Very little, if any, is swallowed, thank goodness! Might want to inquire if any other dentists use it.

What a day:)