After one particularly exhausting day where my two-year-old swallowed a small glass pebble and also tried to use fingernail polish as lipstick, I adopted the mantra, “I can handle this without screaming or swearing.” I know, both of those objects should not have been out and available to a two-year-old (but seriously, I can hardly open the fingernail polish), and thankfully, in both cases, I was right there as they were happening to prevent more unfortunate outcomes. I also know screaming and swearing are not appropriate reactions, especially when young children are watching and learning from your behavior. Some days are just downright challenging though, and mantras have often helped me better control my responses to stressful situations throughout this parenting journey.
We had just started to feel pretty settled as a family of five. The girls were getting back onto a regular schedule, accepting bedtime with less resistance, and Roland had worked his needs casually into the flow of our daily life. I had the realization one night that we had made it through the entire day without tears from any of us. Things were going pretty well until I discovered that my daughter had pinworms. Insert mantra.
My husband went out to scour any open pharmacies for medication, while I scoured the internet for the answers to all the questions (while avoiding any image searches). Coincidentally, all the pharmacies were out of stock, and we were going to have to figure out how to fall asleep without a resolution. It was too late to make a call to my pediatrician. The next morning, I called the doctor as soon as the office opened. She advised us to treat the whole family with the exception of Roland, who is too young for the medication, and I was grateful that even though I am exclusively breastfeeding, I was able to be treated as well.
Since we had to call several pharmacies in the area before finally finding one that had the medication stocked, I think it’s safe to say that this was something other families were handling as well, just as I would need to do … without screaming or swearing. I spent the following days laundering, vacuuming, steam cleaning and sanitizing over and over to eliminate the potential risk for reinfestation, and I can assure you that we will be adopting a pretty rigorous hygiene protocol for the following 4-6 weeks. While it is uncommon for babies to get pinworms, I am going to do everything possible to ensure that it does not happen.
I’m always humbled when I find myself in these situations. Of course, it sucks to have a one-month-old and be treating my family and my household for pinworms, and while I am physically exhausted from it all, having pinworms is pretty insignificant. There are one-month-olds who are still spending their days in the NICU and still others with medical needs beyond what I could possibly imagine being able to handle. At the end of the day, there are far more stressful circumstances that we could be managing right now, so I consider myself pretty darn lucky that this has been our biggest concern thus far.
I also couldn’t be more grateful that I was able to tend to my daughters and house in order to take care of everything while Roland just happily went along with the chaos, only putting up a fuss when I ignored his cues that he was hungry for a bit too long. He is the sweetest, most easy-going baby, and really, he is the reason I managed to handle this situation without screaming or swearing (for the most part).