Do you see my poor, sick baby? She looks absolutely desolate, doesn't she? There's something both heart wrenching and sweet about a tiny little girl in a big ole' bed. Despite her being a bit of a bed hog AND a human boiler (she's been running really high fevers), I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy what a cuddle bug she's become - I just wish she didn't have to be deliriously overheated and exhausted to be one!
Tomorrow will be four days of poor, sick baby, but hopefully we'll have an answer. After a few glimpses of "maybe our baby is on the mend" the last two days, they were each followed by chills on top of chills and higher and higher fevers. After having a temperature of 103 at 8 a.m. this morning, we decided she either has the worst strain of flu ever or something else is going on.
That's when it all started - the guilt.
Normally, I'm probably what you'd call a feminist. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an extreme, anti-bra, armpit hair growing, caustic woman (although I fully respect any of you that choose that lifestyle!), but I'm definitely more vocal about gender equality than others might be. I'm one of those women who think wives and mothers shouldn't just cook the bacon, they should be able to bring it home if they want too (or just order out the bacon for that matter). I don't think we're any better or worse than men and I don't want special attention because I have a vagina.
But then that damn guilt got to me.
My husband and I woke up this morning, throwing on our work attire and gulping our cups of coffee. We were fumbling for extra diapers, extra clothes, extra medicine and a thermometer, you know, the mountain of things you need to care for a sick child. My mom was due to watch Pearyn today and because it's basically a second home to her, I wasn't worried about shipping my sick child off, she loves, LOVES my parent's house. But then she wouldn't get out of bed and when she did, she cried, a lot. And then she shook. And cried. And her skin felt hot enough to cook tofu on.
And then it hit me.
Shit, we weren't going to be able to drop her off with mom in that condition, I couldn't ask that of my parents, so now one of us had to stay at home with her, and naturally, it was going to be me.
Wait, say what? Naturally it was going to be me? Naturally I was going to call off work to stay at home with Pearyn? What's so natural about any of that? Does my having a vagina make me more equipped to calling off work and staying at home with the child? Is it the fact that she literally came from MY body? Or, is it some sort of societal brainwashing I've experienced my entire life that I never knew I was absorbing?
Why did I feel like it was MY duty to stay at home? I had three calls with clients today to set up new projects, data and text coming in from others, not to mention I'm wrapping up eight projects alone in the next four weeks. Why do I have this nauseating urge, this unsung responsibility, to be the one to call off?
Before I had time to ponder gender stereotypes, my husband took one for the team and called off. Pearyn was running an abnormally high fever and the doctor shipped us off to have tests on her respiratory and urinary system run.There was no doubt about it, our little girl is sick.
We're still waiting on results to find out whether it's a bladder infection. We've ruled out most other common causes, so now it's simply a case of a really, really terrible strain of flu or an infection. At any rate, we're hoping to get to the bottom of it by tomorrow.
I cried half the way to work. Partially because I'm just way too sensitive and partially because I felt like I had let my baby girl down. What kind of mother gets in her car and goes to work when her baby feels like crap? I'll tell you what kind, a crappy one. I know it sounds dramatic; I know there's nothing wrong with leaving my little girl at home with her daddy, logically, I know I'm not a crappy mom because I went to work. But in my heart and in my warped, 1950s housewife mind, I felt like I let her down.
I can't help but wonder what other things I've programmed myself to be "dutiful" to. The kitchen? Dinner? My muffin pan?