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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Half the job is just showing up




So yesterday I had a really fun conference call. One participant had just arrived from a stressful, disastrous meeting with a client. Another participant had just had an eye exam and was still somewhat disoriented with blurred vision. I was calling from home, where I was taking care of my poor, sick son. Everyone else was in an office in Manhattan talking on speakerphone, which was very difficult to hear. And every few minutes I had to put the phone down in order to hold a bowl with one hand and Jasper's hair back with the other while he vomited.

I would love to personally strangle the person who coined this word, "multi-tasking." There is no multi-tasking. There is just some frazzled mom stepping in and out of worlds, focusing one moment on a sick child and the next moment on a the visual identity for a conference, worrying that she's not giving sufficient attention to either.

In the meantime, Lane arrived with the Pedialyte pops I had asked him to buy. Jasper is an unnaturally healthy child who never gets sick, has never had a fever above 100 degrees, so I am never prepared for illness. I'm just lucky Lane works a bike ride away and has the flexibility to make a shopping trip for me.

I fed Jasper the Pedialyte and he continued to vomit. I was in a panic by the end of the day because Jasper couldn't keep anything down and I was worried that he was getting dangerously dehydrated. I had put in a call to his pediatrician hours ago; she finally called me back by the end of the day and told me to give him only tiny amounts of fluids every 10 minutes. Apparently larger amounts stretch the stomach, and that's what triggers vomiting.

Why didn't I know this already? I could have saved him from a lot of vomiting hours ago. And if I'd had the good sense to call my mother instead of the pediatrician (I was thinking like a New Yorker, I guess) she probably would have told me the same thing.

Anyway, it was one of those days when I felt like an impostor--with the conference call, as Jasper's mother. I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but somehow I keep hoping that if I show up I'll get enough of this right and we'll all survive somehow. Is that enough? If I try to be as engaged and in-the-moment as possible, will it all be okay? I hope so.

5 comments:

Co said...

I'm sorry. I appreciate your description of being a working mom. I feel like that a lot of the time. There is no multi-tasking. There is just neglecting one thing or another.

On Friday, I too was home with a vomiting kid, and when not worrying about my kid, I was worrying about how I was going to meet my next deadline. It basically sucks all 'round.

Sarah said...

It sounds to me like you performed beautifully on all fronts. My gut (haha) reaction to a vomiting child is to run in the opposite direction, even now after nearly 8 years of parenting, so I think holding the bowl and the hair and being generally supportive qualifies you for supermom status. Seriously, though, my mantra is "just keep moving". I never manage any task coherently from start to finish, but I just hope that if I keep circulating from one thing to another it will all get done eventually, or done enough...

mamacita said...

Actually, I didn't know that about small amounts of liquids, either. Thanks for the tip. Sorry about how you had to get it.

ks said...

Well, the others all pretty much wrote what I was thinking...so I'll just say that I seriously hope you washed your hands well after all that super-momming you did so you won't be the next one the family with her head in the toilet, unable to keep more than an ounce of fluid down at a time. I had this similar bug a few weeks back at it was so miserable, and made me appreciate my mom so much. But who takes care of you when you're almost 40 and doing exorcist impressions? I hope you stay healthy and stress-free!

Adriana Velez said...

Thanks everyone. Jasper pulled through and was well enough to see a movie with Lane Saturday afternoon. Lane and I have escaped the dreaded bug ourselves so far--washing hands like mad. And then Monday we had a snow day, so he was home again! At least today he had fun.