Last night, E wouldn't settle down for bed time. We had been to a birthday party and thought she was just revved from all that sugar. So we practiced tough love. First we made sure her diaper was dry and that the room temperature was comfortable. Then we ignored her while she screamed and pounded on the door. This went on for some time. We congratulated ourselves for setting boundaries and for not caving to a two-year-old's whims. She woke several hours later and was hard to soothe. Tough love again. More screaming. Once again, we traded self-congratulatory comments across the pillow.
This morning, J noticed that E's hair was matted and that her ear was oozing a bit. She has tubes, and some drainage is normal with a cold, so we weren't alarmed.
Then, during her afternoon nap, both ears exploded. Pus. Blood. Ooze. She has a double ear infection. This is quite a feat considering the tubes. It must have been hurting badly last night, but we were so focused on the sugar she consumed that other possibilities didn't occur to us. So she suffered longer than necessary.
Tonight, she is more comfortable. The antibiotic drops are doing their thing, and the ibuprofen is helping with the pain. She went to bed without complaint.
This parenting thing is tricky business. I think we get a lot right, but when we goof, we really goof. This time, we erred by assuming that she would be able to alert us to something serious. Last night when we asked her what was wrong, she asked for her books, she requested water, and she cried to be let out of her room. She never said a word about her ear. We should have known that her communication skills aren't yet sufficient to express what is wrong. She can sing the "happy birthday cake" song, but she can't say that her ear hurts like a bitch. She screams and we try to interpret. Last night, we got it wrong. Very wrong.
I wonder what therapy she is going to need later in life. Because of us.
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