George drew this picture for me yesterday:
I love it so much for a bunch of reasons (what is not to love about a 3 year-old version of his family?), but I think mostly because it paints (draws) such an accurate portrait of what our lives have looked like for the past couple of weeks. The brown person is me, and as you maybe could guess, that is Baby Pearl sitting in my lap. George is the guy drawn in black, his hand stretched out to hold mine. And the little guy on the end is someone that George said was a "weird stranger." Not exactly sure why the weird stranger made the portrait and Daddy didn't, but we went with it, and it is hanging on the fridge proudly.
Pearl has been a sick little girl the last two weeks. It has been a very strange bout of illness; we get rid of one thing and another immediately begins. It started with some random throwing up (George and I also both threw up, but that was even more random so I don't think they were related). She struggled to have an appetite for anything other than breastmilk, and for a few days that is the only thing she ate at all. She had a low-grade fever on and off. Then the coughing and the runny nose started. She would cough so hard at night that I was sure she was going to wake herself completely up, but she always managed to stay asleep. Bless her little heart. Then last Friday she woke up absolutely screaming at about 6 AM. The grabbing at her right ear told me immediately that she had an ear infection. She has tubes in both ears, and within about an hour, sure enough, the right ear started draining. As soon as we got to the parking lot of the doctor's office that morning she threw up (random, seriously, because at this point she hadn't thrown up in 6 days). I stripped her down, wrapped her in a big blanket, and ran through the falling snow into the doctor's office where my baby immediately remembered the shots that had been administered to her just a couple weeks prior there, and was clingy and weepy anytime anyone tried to come near her. The prescription the doctor gave me started out awesome because Pearl really loved taking it, but quickly turned into a nightmare because of the yeast infection that it gave her. It was so bad, and Nystatin wouldn't touch it. I was having to rinse her little bum off after every diaper change because wiping it hurt too badly. Meanwhile her right ear is draining blood and nastiness. By day 6 of the antibiotics I had had it. I couldn't keep doing it to her-- the ear seemed to be under control, but the yeast infection was raging, so I decided to stop giving her the antibiotic. The next day she wouldn't go to sleep for more than 30 seconds if she wasn't in my arms. She would scream hysterically and then she started grabbing her left ear. I was seriously devastated at the thought that she was now getting an ear infection in her other ear. Like clockwork, the left ear started draining, and I knew. That was yesterday. I was so happy to talk to the ENT and find out that stopping the oral antibiotics a day early wouldn't have made a difference in the ear infection (well, actually, I was a little mad to find out that the yeast infection should have never happened because she should have never been on an oral antibiotic for her ear infection in the first place-- just the drops), so we started the drops in the other ear (so both ears, now), and the draining has definitely decreased. Pearl is still not herself, but she is doing pretty well, all things considered. She mostly just wants me, though yesterday she really wanted my mom to rock her to sleep, which was a nice break for a minute.
I love that in his picture, George drew Pearl on my lap because that is pretty much where she has been every waking moment of the last two weeks. She is also portrayed with a sad face instead of a smile, and it's true-- she has been so much more sad, whiney, screamy, and needy. She doesn't feel good. Poor little baby girl. He also said that he drew her ears really big to show the ear infection (it appears that I was given big ears as well :)).
I am relieved that he drew me with a smile on my face. There have been times in the past couple of weeks that a frown would be more accurate, but I'm glad that isn't something that has really stood out to him. I am also really happy that he drew himself holding hands with me. I have been more impatient with him, and less attentive to him because of Pearl's neediness, and I've felt badly about it. He's been heard crying, "I never get to do anything fun!" because it was bedtime instead of frisbee playing time. He's had to compete for attention over Pearl's insistent screams with screams of his own, and in turn, I get frustrated. I am so happy that he still wants to hold my hand. I'm so grateful that in the car tonight he told me that I was his best friend, and that at lunch today when I told him I was the luckiest mama in the world because I have the best boy and the best girl, that his happy reply to his sister was, "That's me and you, Peng!" I'm so happy that he is still smiling, both in his picture and in life. He is my little guinea pig child, the one that I have to learn and grow and succeed and fail right along with, and I hope he always knows that my greatest desire, the purest yearning of my heart, is that he feels happy, safe, and loved.
I hope when he is all grown up and thinking back on his childhood, the picture that he paints of himself is one where he is smiling. I hope he remembers the giggles under the covers instead of the stern counting to three to get him to obey. I hope he remembers the games of tag on trampolines where we both fall down from exhaustion and laughing instead of the times he got sent to his room to "think about it."
Mostly I just really hope he remembers that in our home there was a lot of joy, a lot of laughter, a lot of love, a lot of peace, and a lot of smiling. It's a good reminder to me that I need to be constantly aware of cultivating that atmosphere here, even when I don't really feel like it.