At exactly 8 pm last night, I left my comfortable suburban existence and entered the 12th circle of hell. It started with SOMEONE I WON'T SAY WHO I BET YOU CAN GUESS taking a spectacularly large dump on the bathroom floor. Also, my foot. And then again in the bathtub, which SOMEONE ELSE WHO WAS ALSO IN THE BATHTUB found to be hilarrrrrious. I did not, and responded to their collective gleeful cackles with the very-useful, very-in-charge-of-the-situation admonishment of "STOP BEING SO GROSS!"
After all of that, and a stupid decision to stay up way too late because I suddenly and inexplicably care (AND CARE DEEPLY) about Conan O'Brien, Noah started screaming exactly 15 minutes after we fell asleep. First he said it was his mouth, so we assumed he bit his tongue and shuffled him back to bed without much sympathy. Fifteen minutes after that, we decided maybe he meant his throat, and since he'd had a cold over the weekend, we dosed him with some medicine that we're probably not supposed to dose him with, but those people who say those medicines don't work and a tablespoon of honey works just as well blah blah blah vaporizer plug-ins are welcome to suck on this here pile of snotty tissues.
Fifteen minutes after THAT (translation: once we could not give him additional, more-suitable medicine) he told us it was actually his ear. Oh, his ear. Oh, the pain. THE SCREAMING. He's only had a small handful of ear infections -- about once a year, really -- but he's never been so goddamned enraged by one before. (I had them ALL THE TIME as a kid before getting tubes in kindergarten, and if I reacted that strongly every time I am amazed my parents did not sell me to the gypsies sometime in preschool.)
I hate these kinds of nights, for all the obvious reasons, but mostly because I feel like such a MEAN PERSON: my child is clearly in incredible pain that I can do little about (except think back to all those times I contemplated those earache relief/numbing drops at the drugstore and did. not. buy. them.), and mostly I'm just wishing he would GO BACK TO SLEEP ALREADY, I'M SO TIRED. At one point, I guess in a preschool-logic attempt to get rid of the source of the pain, he opened his bedroom door and hurled his current weird-attachment-object-du-jour (an Elmo puppet book) out into the hallway. "YOU ARE NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE, ELMO!" he sobbed before climbing back into bed to writhe some more.
Later he decided he wanted to sleep on the couch, a request I blearily obliged, especially since I figured I might be able to sleep through some of his more low-level whining and moaning. (See: Person, Mean, Bad.) I got a brief catnap before the screaming amped up again; when I went downstairs to retrieve him he was sitting in the middle of the coffee table and wailing.
Jason and I took turns attempting to comfort him, offering whatever folksy remedies we could think of, counting the hours before we could safely dope him up with hardcore pain medication again (only to find that about 75% of the stuff we had on hand expired two years ago, niiiiiiice). I finally gave up on ever returning to bed and just stayed with him. He would drift off to sleep for about 10 or 15 minutes before the pressure in his ear amped up again and he'd wake up crying, but as long as I was there he wouldn't escalate to full-on screaming. He kept head-butting me all night, in search of the hardest, firmest part of my body to rest his ear against (sadly, he found few acceptable options), and at one point pressed his ear directly against mine, and I could HEAR the horrible fluid thumping around in there. I did not sleep again until...oh...7:15. Which was about 15 minutes before Ezra woke up (covered in snot, might I add), and it was time to start calling schools and bus depots and pediatricians and put a bra on before the babysitter arrived for her second day on the job. Here are my children! And their multiple strains of disease! I'm so happy you're here so I can get work and writing done and be a professional something somethingzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzomg.
We're headed to the doctor momentarily. He is now, of course, totally fine, and absolutely delighted to stay home from school and play with his new favorite person ever. He's even patched things up with poor Elmo. I would like someone to shoot me in the face. With coffee. Or bullets. Either one.