Don’t Fear the Teether
If you read Tuesday’s Captwin’s Log, you learned about my mutinous daughter’s escapades. It turns out that her behavior was not due to my own incompetence (Yay!)–it’s because she was teething and feverish (Boo!). Having figured this out, I scoured my memory for any folk wisdom relevant to the situation. I once heard that the only prescription for a fever is more cowbell, but I wasn’t so sure about that, so I decided to consult my pediatrician.
So, upon gratefully entrusting my son to his aunt’s capable hands, Wednesday morning I took my daughter to the doctor and the doctor said, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” Which I thought was a rather odd (and brusque) response. It turned out that she was confusing my daughter with another patient, one of five quintuplets who took an unfortunate spill while jumping on a bed, cracking his cranium on impact. Having sorted out the monkey business, we moved on to my daughter.
We love our doctor. She has a constant smile and always appears to be in a fantastic mood, but not at all in an annoying way–you can tell it’s genuine. As first-(and-I-guess,-second)-time parents, we’re aware–but can’t help–that we come in with a certain unbridled rookie intensity, and our pediatrician takes that in stride, making a point to reassure us of the phenomenal job we’re doing.
“So what’s going on today?” she smiled. “I usually only see my twins for well visits, since you and Mom do such a great job.” See? Love it. ALL people in the service industry, take note.
She consulted my daughter’s charts as I gave an animated play-by-play of the past 24 hours, apologizing for the crudity of my props and set design, for I had not had optimal preparation time: We had noticed she was flush and uncharacteristically warm last night, with especially red ears. Earlier that morning her fever had spiked to 100.4° F before we bought her a round of Tylenol with a breast milk/formula cocktail to chase. Additionally, she (and her brother) have been exhibiting all the signs of teething: gushes of drool resembling transparent, wet gotees; the gnawing of any appendage, corner, toy, or Nook Color in a one-foot radius (Don’t worry–my Nook is okay. I know you were concerned.); and a particular preference for objects of the arctic persuasion, such as fridge-cooled teething rings, wet rags, ice sculptures, Coldplay, etc. Suddenly realizing I had painstakingly chronicled yesterday’s events already, I offered to read my previous blog entry aloud for her and even autograph a printout, but she respectfully declined in favor of actually examining the patient, which was probably a good call, backed by years of medical training.
Having inspected my daughter’s vitals and crevices, she looked up. “Well, I am a little concerned about the fever. Have you tried cowbell?”
“Yes! Yes, we have! That was the first thing we tried!”
She nodded. “Excellent! Great work, Dad! Okay, well, obviously, that didn’t solve the problem. So then, when that didn’t work, did you try more cowbell?”
“As a matter of fact, we did. We attempted both the initial cowbell and then more cowbell.”
“Good, good,” she nodded, scribbling notes on the chart.
“Well,” she continued, “She’s definitely teething, but it doesn’t look like she’s quite ready to cut a tooth.” I cringed–not because of the news itself, but because of the expression “cutting a tooth.” I’d heard it before, each utterance more excruciating than the last. It’s just ridiculous. It’s not the tooth that’s being cut–it’s the gums. Yet, everyone has agreed upon this atrocity. It’s right up there with “I could care less.” No, you mean you could NOT care less. I was appalled to hear a medical professional committing such a crime against linguistics–there must be something Latin to say instead. However, given the circumstances, I decided it was best to bite my tongue. (But not with teeth that have ever been “cut.” I’ll stand firm on at least that.)
“So the reason I wanted you to come in today is because when a fever spikes like this, without other noticeable symptoms, it could mean an infection. Usually it’s an ear infection, but her ears look okay.”
I cringed, this time actually, yes, because of the news. I was plagued with ear infection after ear infection as an infant, many of which were not even diagnosed, until my poor mother–a pharmacist–persisted that I’d been clawing my pudgy hands at my ears for days, shrieking in pain. Doctors later discovered they were not discovering the infections because I have unusually narrow Eustachian tubes–so narrow that they envelop infections in an Invisibility Cloak. To this day, I must still insist–especially with new doctors–to re-examine my history if I am ever to receive the antibiotics necessary for salvation from the vice clamped around my head. I am hoping to dodge this tiny bullet with my children and knew my daughter would first need to be a repeat ear-symptom offender before validating it.
Then the doctor said something I will share with you, O Loyal Reader, in case you encounter this situation with your own progeny, because I, like Kyle Broflovskli of South Park, learned something that day.
“Occasionally–especially with a little girl–it could mean she has a urinary tract infection (UTI)…”
Now, this is mainly for the guys since they don’t have the equipment of their own to maintain, but it’s very important when changing a diaper to apply the axiom “wipe front to back,” particularly in sanitizing feminine parts. (This principle actually applies well to people all ages and genders. You’re welcome.) Unfortunately, due to the nature of wearing excrement in a to-go bag, infection does still occasionally happen. Like most things, I insist with my wife how awe-inspiring I am upholding this guideline regardless of actual skill.
A suspenseful swell of foreboding violin strings crescendoed as the pediatrician continued. “…but her lady parts look just fine, too.”
“Score!” I fist-bumped my daughter.
“Nn-Gaaah?” she tittered.
With all that in mind, I was advised to monitor Our Princess’s temperature and continue with the Tylenol if it got high, cowbell at the ready. A few days’ vigil saw her temperature returning to normal and an resurgence of her ecstatic self.
Then, over the weekend came the snorting, coughing and projectile sneezing…
Will Our Little Princess emerge victorious from this biological battle? Will the affliction spread to other unfortunate members of the Pseudonymous bloodline, culminating in the full onslaught of a zombie apocalypse 28 days later? Has our family cowbell’s efficacy diminished due to faulty manufacturing and/or a long-past expiration date?
For the shocking revelations of these and countless other unanswered questions in the Twinfamy Saga, tune in for the next electrifying Twincident, same twinternet site, same (or entirely different) twin-time!
Additional Twinformation for New Parents
A 500-Disc DVD Special Edition Bonus Feature
Handy and/or Dandy Baby Fever Chart
|If you baby is…||Call your doctor when…|
|Less than 3 months old||temperature is 100.4° F (38° C) or higher|
|3 to 6 months old||temperature is 101° F (38.3° C) or higher|
|6 months or old||temperature is 103° F (39.4° C) or higher|
|a werewolf||it changes back to human form (easier to get into car seat)|
For most babies under 6 months, Tylenol is the pain reliever/fever reducer most doctors recommend. The active ingredient in Tylenol is acetaminophen. I’m telling you this because you can often save a few bucks by finding the generic version, which usually says “acetaminophen” in bigger letters than “compare to Tylenol.” You can use these few bucks to buy yourself a drink, which will taste really good once your sick child has fallen asleep and has finally stopped crying.
Fellow rookie parents: Consult your own physician for proper Tylenol dosage–it depends on your child’s weight.
Rebellious rookie parents: You are so undeniably cool! Teach me to be like you! BUT, while play by your own rules and live on the edge and whip your hair back and forth and whatnot, please don’t make your baby a wild child when it comes to medicine. The label says not to administer it more often than every 4-6 hours for a reason, so please follow the rules just this once. Don’t worry about your rep. I won’t tell anyone. I’m not even looking.
Big Mother is Watching
“Okay, so it’s all set up. If you keep it plugged in, you can just leave it on. You don’t even need to touch it!” I winked in full infomercial swagger. As my school year winds down, my mother is wrangling the kids on days my wife and I are both working, so I was giving her a crash course on not touching the baby monitor so she would actually be able to use it all day.
“Just the way I like it,” she snickered. My mother’s technological savvy is just a cut above my four-month-old children’s, so she appreciates when I minimize her button-pushing obligations.
My daughter furrowed her brow and “Guh guh guh-ed” at Grandma through the nipple in her mouth, which translates to, “You shut your mouth while you’re feeding me.” She has a strict policy when eating: “No talking and no eye contact—I’m focusing.”
I have attempted to implement this same policy in a reciprocal manner. Whenever I’m seizing a precious free moment to shovel my entire meal stomachward in one gulp and she “interrupts” me, I’ll point an accusatory finger and throw that “Guh guh guh” right back in her face, but it’s an exercise in futility akin to expecting quality from a Kate Hudson movie. I’ve even tried to sit her down and explain to her that she’s holding me to a double standard, but then she’ll do the thing where she smiles so widely and intensely that her tongue trembles, and her damp, elated eyes literally sparkle. So, as the cuteness melts my face off, the only thing I can say to that is, “I’ll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!”
Making sure my son was secure in his jumper, I took a step towards my bedroom, still dazed from his 4 a.m. wake-up call. (“Hey, Dad! Watch this! See this thing on my foot? If I pull it, it comes off! You gotta try this! Oh…were you asleep?”) I then realized I should see if my mom needed anything before I passed the munchkin baton, especially because I now realize she endured this madness for me when I was one of them.
“Are you good? I was gonna shower.”
The proud grandma cradled my daughter, whose unrelenting cuteness had begun to melt her face off as well. “I’m more than good.”
“How are you feeling?” I asked my wife, who was getting ready for work. She hasn’t been feeling so hot this week, due to a debilitating cold. It’s the first time either of us has fallen ill since the Twins’ Earthen premiere, and it’s been daunting running on fewer cylinders than usual with the added two miniature, dependent cylinders.
“Alright, I guess,” she replied. “I don’t feel any worse than yesterday but I don’t feel any better either.”
It is a national day of mourning when she’s sick. I’ve always felt it’s better me than her. As a victim of terrible allergies for my entire life, I was a sickly child, always carrying tissues in one pocket and cough drops in the other, while my bastard friends always had room for cool things, like Swiss Army Knives and G.I. Joes. Don’t get me wrong—I despise being sick as much as anyone—I’ve just gotten used to it. My wife, not so much.
Plus, because she is the organized one—I like to think of myself as the “idea” guy—when she is sick, bills are neglected, appointments are forgotten, and basically any planning ahead whatsoever does not happen because I find thrilling new ways to drop the ball when I sub in. On the other hand, if I’m sick, the most devastating tragedy is usually that our iPods are not perfectly synced with our iTunes libraries.
But I am an excellent caregiver. As a soon-to-be-former middle school teacher, filthy tweens have blessed me with nearly every illness there is to have over the years, aside from the ones you need a vagina for. This—paired with the fact that my mother is a pharmacist—has yielded a fine assortment of remedies for every occasion. One that I swear by is hot tea, especially when you unload about a half-bottle of honey into it. (According to the leading e-mail forwards, honey has transformative healing powers and is said to be the best remedy for sore throats, unrelenting coughs, and even the occasional Saturday Night Fever.)
I’ve made tea for my wife every night this week. This is because I am the world’s greatest husband.
So on that fateful morning, upon hearing that my wife was still not feeling well, I inquired, “Do you have teabags at work?”
“Yeah,” she sighed, frustrated. She had that defeated look in her eyes that you see in uncoordinated people trying to play Guitar Hero. Something needed to be done to lift her spirits. Something epic. And as I was undressing to get in the shower, I decided to be hilarious.
“Would it make you feel better if I teabagged you right now?” For those who are unfamiliar with the act of teabagging, go ahead and Google it, and I’m sure you’ll find your answer. It involves likening a certain region of the male anatomy to a “teabag” while “steeping” it in a certain cavity of another consenting adult—in my case, a smokin’ hot female.
She finished blowing her nose and just stared at me. “Are you kidding?”
Well, of course I was kidding. As you remember, I was being hilarious. But that’s not to say I would have been upset if she had been up for it, either.
“You’re smiling on the inside,” I quipped. Then I got one on the outside. Boo-yah. My mission accomplished, I jumped in the shower.
Stop picturing me naked.
Just a few minutes later, my wife came creeping back in. As she peeked into the shower, I wondered if my beverage-innuendo-driven proposal had been accepted. Then I noticed an odd look on her face.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Um… Your mom…” She was whispering. “You know the monitor over there?” She pointed at one of the cribs in our room.
“You forgot to turn it off. I think she heard…about the teabagging.”
“Oh sh*t! Really?”
“Wait, do you think she even knows what it means?”
“I don’t know!” She hissed. “Do you want me to ask her?”
“Of course not!”
Several days later, the topic has not been breached. We’re okay with that.