This kid is grounded.


Consider these symptoms:

For our entire vacation last week, he walked around with his finger jammed in his right ear.

…Or if he wasn’t doing that, he was shaking his head out to the right, as if he was desperately trying to knock loose a gallon of water from within the depths of his eardrum.


…Or if he wasn’t doing that, he had his whole right ear clinched in his fist, moaning.

The first night we were there, he slept horribly, which is quite unusual for him.

Also unusual for him – sleeping excessively.

On our first full day back home, he slept in until 10am, then fell asleep in a loud, bright room at 12:30 (from which I promptly woke him to preserve the Sanctity of Nap), then when it was The Holy Appointed Time of Nap, he slept for 3 1/2 hours.

And in the short periods of time in which he was awake that day, his nose spewed forth gallons of snot, and his grouchiness reached new heights, causing my toes to curl and my teeth to grind.


What would you assume?

Ear infection, right?

So I fought off my fears of being labeled as the HypochondriParent and made an appointment for the next morning.

I gathered my courage and my two children and a piece of chocolate or two and headed for the Pediatrician’s office.

Of course, thanks to Murphy’s Law of Parenting #201, Noah was suddenly full of abounding and overflowing energy and hyper-euphoria as soon as we arrived in the waiting room, wanting to touch and suck on all surfaces while visiting with every other sick or otherwise kid in the place.

As was his sister, except for the sucking part.

Then we headed to our exam room.

Murphy’s Law of Parenting #202: The smaller the space and the longer you’re confined in it, the more completely your children will fill said space with cacophony and unending movement.  And they will also feel the need increase their veracity to touch and/or suck on every surface.

So by the time we were placed in a room, saw the nurse, and waited for the doctor, my nerves were completely fried.

Which explains my huge sigh of frustration when she looked in his right ear and said, “It’s perfect!”

And my uncontainable groan of aggravation when she looked in his left ear and said, “Yup, it’s perfect too!!”

Thankfully, my Pediatrician is a compassionate and kind fellow-mother and understands the frustration of a baby TRICKING you into thinking that they needed to be treated when all they had is a RIDICULOUS COLD with NOTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT.

(And therefore she did not turn me into Child Protective Services for being angry that my kid did not, indeed, have an ear infection.)

So here’s what I’d like to say, for all mothers everywhere:

It is totally okay to hope that your kid has an ear infection.

Because the Fake-Ear-Infection-That-Is-Really-Just-A-Cold-And-Will-Make-You-Never-Trust-Their-Ear-Pulling-Again-And-Also-Be-Filled-With-Fear-Of-What-New-Germs-They-Licked-Off-The-Exam-Room-Floor is MUCH WORSE than a real ear infection.


It is totally okay to be momentarily mad at your one year old for faking an ear infection just so that they could get a sucker at the doctor’s office that they’re not old enough to properly eat anyway, thereby forcing you to take it away from them when you get to the car which causes them to scream…and tug at their ear.


Lucky for him, he’s cute – even when he’s covered in snot, pulling on his ear, and screaming in protest over Sucker Inequities.

20 thoughts on “Grounded For Life.

  1. What’s worse? My 2 year old recently had ear infections in both ears and I had no idea until she spiked a 103 fever. She never pulled on her ears or gave me any indication that she was sick. So when I took her to the pediatrician and found out, I felt like a horrible mother for not knowing.

    1. Ah… the Fake-Wellness. Yes, that’s awful too, because then the guilt is all on us. I suppose Fake-Wellness is worse than Fake-Ear-Infection!

  2. Yes my nephew is like a fake wellness kid. He never pulls his ear or anything and when he finally starts acting like something is wrong he has a double ear infection.

    1. See? That’s what Noah did when he actually DID have an ear infection. I was shocked! So basically I need to assume the opposite from how he acts.

  3. Awwww…poor little guy! My daughter used to get ear infections, but she would never pull on her ears or give any indication that they hurt. I always knew that she had one whenever she got really grumpy and had a fever.

  4. I usually encountered the fake wellness, which was totally embarrassing during routine exams. Teething doesn’t help. These babes drool/snot forever. It must be very uncomfortable as well. Poor things.

  5. Hate that! I’ve been tricked enough, that I tend to think it isn’t an ear infection, even when my daughter was and kept telling me her ear hurt. I told her if it hurt she couldn’t swim, and she said it was better. (It was summer, so swimming was the most important thing! IN THE WORLD!). 10 days later, oops, it was a double ear infection. Oh well, no harm, no foul.

    And she is my oldest. I shudder to think what this third baby has in store for her.


  6. what a punk! ;) my little guy had rsv and an ear infection about 2 months ago. i felt pretty bad for not taking him in sooner. i always think they’re being dramatic. just tonight my noah (7) was complaining of his side hurting. i thought it was muscle related b/c he’s been riding his flying turtle a lot (google it). but when he pointed at his appendix i got worried. i gave him a bucket and am hoping he feels better in the morning… :/

    1. So was he okay? I always think appendix whenever their stomachs hurt. It’s such an “out there” fear, but after reading Heaven Is For Real, I will always think of that.

      1. i thought of that book too! my parents did as well and they were trying to diagnose him based on it. but noah is fine. he slept through the night and complained a little the next morning. but after i had him do his flying turtle and show me better where the pain was, we decided it was muscle related. he’s been fine ever since. i had my appendix out a couple years ago and it was very icky.

        1. oh, and for your sanity, the pain i had with the appendicitis was MUCH different than normal stomach acheyness. it was just plain pain. not sick to my stomachness, just ouchie pain. i knew something was wrong.

  7. I took Kristina to the doctor SOOO many times when she was littler hoping for an ear infection as the (curable!!) cause of her not sleeping at night (vs. what it usually was, her just not sleeping at night, and therefore meaning I was stuck just dealing with it for-freaking-ever).

    That cold sucks, you have my sympathies.

  8. Oh, the memories! Barrett did the same thing when he was a baby. We were SURE he had yet another ear infection, and rushed him to the doctor. The doctor told us he was teething (which in Noah’s case fits in with your previous post!). He explained that the nerves in the face are so interconnected that the child can’t tell exactly what’s hurting – just that it hurts – and pulling on the ears is not an uncommon practice when teething. This, of course, produces the future dilemma each time – Is he teething or does he have an ear infection?!!

  9. I’m smiling and nodding over here: I know exactly where you are coming from! I hope it’s ok that I say that I am glad I’m not the only one who’s kid is hyperactive and dangerously resourceful. Ha! Mine likes the taste of the cough syrup, so he will fake a cough. Silly kid.

    1. Oh yes, my five year old has MANY hurts. Especially around bedtime, when she notices the Tylenol bottle as she’s brushing her teeth.

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