Fair   51.0F  |  Forecast »

Deck the Halls with Amoxicillin

The holidays aren't so jolly with a sick child, but as this southeast Michigan mom writes, they do offer the gift of perspective.

Christmas is for children. That's what my siblings and I muttered in our single, childless 20s as we exchanged sweaters and gift cards and wished there were cute little ones tearing though toys and believing in Santa Claus.

Then I had children.

Chalk it up as one of those "nobody told you" factoids: Children's immune systems don't care about Christmas, and antibodies don't believe in Santa. I've spent so many hours parked in my pediatrician's "sick room" flipping through FamilyFun magazine that I've considered myself a subscriber, even if I never did make those "quick and easy" holiday crafts. (As if snowman coconut cakes or hand-stamped holiday cards are either quick or easy … but don't get me started.)

Our baby's first Christmas was challenging enough. Our daughter was colicky, and I was, well, exhausted. I'm pretty sure she got a slew of gifts she couldn't have cared less about. I know she looked adorable in her mini Santa outfit, because we snapped lots of pictures. The rest is a blur.

Christmases two and three must have occurred. There's photographic evidence of them. We looked like we were having a nice enough time opening presents under the tree. If only I could remember.

Christmas of '07 seemed particularly rough. That was the year we learned there are two more levels of antibiotics after that pink stuff failed to cure our son's fourth or so ear infection. (They were tricky to count. Did he have four separate infections, or just one month-long infection with an occasional reprise?)

Then a nasty allergic reaction to amoxicillin on our daughter's part introduced us to a whole new family of meds. That December, my husband brought the kids to urgent care so often, I joked that he might come home with a new toaster – or at least a punch card for a free peppermint latte.

Do you know who Bubbles the Fish is? Nope, he's not the must-have toy of the season. He's the apparently kid-friendly attachment to a nebulizer. Don't know what a nebulizer is? Count yourself lucky. We found out on the fifth day of Christmas, when instead of five golden rings, we got a cold that settled into our son's lungs in a crackly, wheezy sort of way. (By the way, a nebulizer is a sort of medicated vapor treatment for such a cold.)

Last year, we braced ourselves for a tough season, and not just because we can claim to be seasoned pros. Unfortunately, our 4-year-old son was diagnosed with lymphoma at the end of the summer. That made my Christmas list considerably shorter. And those small pharmacies we felt like we were packing for past holiday travels? They now seem like mere appetizers for what would come. 

But the angst and struggle of sick children is a sort of reality check against all the marketing hype for a once-holy holiday. Although it can be miserable to muddle through some of those tiresome, sickly days, it's humbling to watch my son troop through bigger challenges than a crowded Black Friday sale and still smile. And getting out the perfect gift or pristine Christmas card is hardly important when you're holding an inferno of a feverish child to your chest, a child that doesn't want a Barney or an Elmo … a child who simply wants you.

I might still take a stab at that crazy holiday to-do list – the tree, the gifts, the cookies, the lights that don't work once you actually get them arranged. But then again, I might just read about it in holiday People. Meanwhile, I'll hold out for the gift of hope and health.  Because after all, Christmas is for children.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

'Breaking Bad' Action Figures Pulled from Toys R Us Shelves

After a Florida mom petitioned on Change.org for the toy store chain to stop selling the dolls from the AMC TV show, the toy store has agreed.

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Starry Nights and Snowman Fun: Winter Crafts with Olaf, More

Turn a white sock or marshmallows into everyone's favorite goofball from Frozen or gear up for snowy evenings with a constellation lightbox and table runner.

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Kids and Indoor Exercise During Cooler Temperatures

Keep your kids off the couch this winter and get them active and healthy with these family-friendly fitness tips from the community program director at the Macomb Family YMCA.

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Sage Yet Strange 1920s Baby-Naming Advice

Modern flapper era mamas had plenty of progressive advice. But when it came to baby name tips, it was a mixed bag. (And especially tough for poor Lenora!)

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Dessert Pizzas Recipes That Kids Will Love

Slice into sweetness with these kid-friendly ideas – thanks to Betty Crocker, Taste of Home and more – that transform pizza into something oh-so-sweet!

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Rustic Pumpkin Lunch Bag Halloween Craft for Kids

Lunch surprises can brighten kids' day at school. As October rolls along, try something fun and new with this sweet, not-scary jack-o'-lantern sack.

Mom Transforms into 'Annabelle' Doll for Creepy Photo Shoot

Mom Transforms into 'Annabelle' Doll for Creepy Photo Shoot

One suburban mom embraced horror movie season when she dressed up as an evil doll for a photo shoot – an artistic expression that is drawing mixed reactions.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement