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.