those who cannot remember strep throat are doomed to repeat it

Fool me once? Shame on you.

Fool me twice a year for a decade? So much shame I’m soaking in it.

We just finished a long weekend’s visit with seven cousins between five and fifteen- a visit to which my 8-year-old son Seamus had looked forward for weeks. When the day of their arrival dawned, the kids asked when they’d be coming so many times I had to set my phone’s alarm and threaten a world of punishment to anyone who asked EVEN ONCE MORE before the alarm went off.

But once the cousins came, Seamus didn’t want to run and play, didn’t want to play Legos with his cousin, didn’t want S’mores, didn’t want to go to the beach, didn’t want to, didn’t want to.

And I spent four days rolling my eyes at him but refusing to give it any more attention- I had eighteen people to make lunch for.

As soon as the cousins left yesterday, and the house was quiet, Seamus coughed. “Where’d you get that cough?” I asked. He shrugged.

A few minutes later, he came over and hugged me around the waist. Burning hot. Are you listening yet, Mom? Fever: 102.

This morning, the doctor told me that he has pneumonia, is very sick, and needs at least a week of rest. Maybe more, since I spent all weekend dragging him out of his room and to all sorts of places he was TELLING ME he didn’t want to go.

Kids get sick. It’s not like I could have prevented the pneumonia from happening. But how many times do I have to learn the same lesson? When a kid is cranky, REALLY cranky, he’s probably sick. REALLY sick.

I learned this six years ago when Seamus the toddler clung to me in the kiddie pool on vacation (ear infection). I learned this again four years ago when Connor cried at the slightest provocation for a week (respiratory infection).

I learned this and blogged about it right here two summers ago when Seamus had no seeming interest in his birthday presents, because he had a 102 fever. Again. I called that post “worst mother ever,” but I think I’m really just deserving of that title about now.

Seamus is going to be fine, by the way- he’s on a heavy dose of Scooby-Doo and antibiotics. This too shall pass. It’s my own dunderheadedness I can’t seem to find a cure for.

Please tell me you have done this also- assumed that your kid was just being a pain in the ass when in reality it was scabies?

 

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara August 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Yes, I am definitely guilty of this same thing. A few months ago my 3 year old was being so “lazy”. When I told her it was time for swim lessons and she said she didn’t want to go I said, “What in the world has gotten into you? You love swim lessons.” It took my husband getting home and he realized that she felt very warm. She wasn’t being lazy, she had a fever of 103. What an awful mother. I knew I deserved a “terrible mom of the year” award.

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Aw Tara. I would have done the same thing. Since I actually am the worst mother ever, I’m not sure that will make you feel any better.

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mommyonthespot August 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Totally made this same mistake more than twice (probably more than three or four times, but who’s counting)? It’s hard when they can’t say, “Hey, Mom! I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. Could I have some Motrin, please?” Don’t beat yourself up!

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

When are they old enough to start saying that? Please let it be soon!

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Stephanie Smith Sprenger August 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Just this past weekend my daughter was whining and complaining of various aches and pains. I dismissed it as an attempt to postpone bedtime, but sure enough she spiked a fever during the night. Yes I felt like a big jerk.

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

glad to hear I’m not alone Stephanie…

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Linda Westover Senula August 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Amy, Having three children does not help the incident rate of this happening. I sent my oldest off to first grade twice, with a fever! I remember thinking why is she going so slow and getting very impatient on the way up to the bus stop (BOTH TIMES). Gus had tubes and an adenoidectomy this summer. His preschool screening came back boarderline for his left ear. All this time I thought it was selective listening and even ADD. The poor guy had chronic ear infections and fluid in both ears. Totally must have missed the fevers. Anna has very fair skin and red hair so her cheeks get red when she has a fever, can’t they all have this little built in mechanism?? They each have their moments when they get cranky, needy etc. so my first instinct is not always “maybe they are sick.” I have been there and though I would like to say this will never happen again….I’m sure it might. You have my full support.

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Thanks Linda. Poor Gus!

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Christain Vollmar August 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

I’ve done this myself w/ both my kids. Last year, right b4 I went to work, my son told me his stomach hurt. I told him he’d be fine. Go back to sleep-Dad gets up a little later, then he could have bkfst. 1/2 hr later, Dad called my cell and said my son threw up big-time. He didn’t hold down any food that day-barely held down anything the next day. 🙁 I felt like worst mommy ever.

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Missy August 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

You bet this has happened. I once called friends after a disastrous dinner and said, “Good news! H is really, really sick, so that’s why he was a nightmare last night. It was not poor parenting, as you likely suspected. Oh, and bad news: you might want to take your kids to the pediatrician. Bye!”

You should not feel awful. Unlike adults, who would gladly lie down at the first tickle of a cough (if only we could), kids try to power through a lot longer before the illness finally wins. Please don’t beat yourself up!

Tell poor Seamus that I hope he feels better soon.

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

You’re right Missy- and this is probably a separate post- but I guess I figured an eight-year-old was old enough to say, “You know, I feel lousy, I have chills, I think I’m sick,” rather than just up the cranky till I noticed. It probably depends on the eight-year-old.

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Experienced Bad Mom August 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Ahh, don’t be too hard on yourself. Because we’ve all done something like this. Last time was my son’s 7th birthday. He ran a fever for a few days, I didn’t think much of it, showed up for his well-child check up and boom–he had a double ear infection. Felt terrible! He doesn’t hold it against me, thankfully.

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Courtney August 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

My husband always airs on the side of oh-they-are-fine, and I always want to take the kids to the doctor at the first sight of anything amiss. Thus, I feel paranoid when something really IS wrong! My three year old daughter was acting really strange back in May, passing out on the couch at 7 when she normally fights sleep at 9; napping, when she dropped her nap 8 months ago, that type of thing. I knew in my heart that something was wrong, but I pushed it aside, as she had no fever, etc. Well, we soon found out that she had a gland the size of a softball, really, I am not kidding, and it was as hard as a rock to the touch, it was like something out of a horror movie. No one saw it all day (maybe for two days!) because her hair is really long, and she never said anything about it, either! I saw it one night after dinner, and almost fainted. Of course, by this time the doctor’s office was closed. So after a trip to Urgent Care, it was confirmed that she had a sever case of strep throat, among numerous other strangley named bacterial infections. What I learned – when your normally precocious child is acting as gentle as a lamb, something IS wrong and you should immediately go to the doctor:) My husband of course, still thinks the children are always fine!

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Courtney that is horrifying. So glad the gland was something (relatively) benign. And thank goodness for urgent care, right? They figured out Seamus’s pneumonia for me too.

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Courtney August 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Yes, thank goodness! Before kids, no trips to urgent care for me. Since having kids, too many trips to name! All minor occurrences, but still, I always feel the need to have a medical professional tell me that it’s ok and everything is fine!

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Holly Rosen Fink August 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve done this and each time, I want to beat myself up.

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Tammy Lucas August 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Last night. 4-year old seems kind of “off” – wants to be held. Falls asleep in the car (not unusual), wakes up a roller coaster of emotions, won’t eat. Take temp: 98.5. Then he seems kind of fine. In bed reading a book with dad, chatting away, when suddenly up comes the entire contents of his stomach on him, bed, book, dad. Sorry for the visual!

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm

It seems that the inconveniently placed vomiting is usually Mother’s punishment for not having noticed sooner. Hope your little guy is better today!

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Leigh Ann August 15, 2012 at 9:45 pm

When 1 of mine complained about a tummy ache and said she needed to go to the doctor, I gave her a good “oh really?” assuming she was pretending or seeking attention since we had gone to the dr that morning for her twin’s tummy bug. Then she threw up on the couch.

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amywlsn August 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Yikes, the couch! Well that showed you ;0

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Katie Workman August 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Oh, let me count the ways. By the way, your book title and cover is awesome — I’ve just started it, and (as I’m sure you’ve heard) find myself nodding away as I read. Glad to have run into you at BlogHer 12!

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