287 days without yelling, 78 days of loving more to go!
Consider this blog post a PSA. Not a Public Service Announcement. Not a Politics Service Announcement but a Parents Service Announcement, about what I will not say, you’ll have to read to find out! I hope you enjoy and learn something from my story, which warning is both gross and funny
My darling second son has always been fond of touching everything. And I mean everything. And that includes his bottom. Yes, his bottom, the inside of his bottom to be precise. This has been a problem since the moment he discovered that he could indeed, explore that part of his body. Now, I have heard that this is normal. So every night at bath time when he goes exploring I would gently remind him that it isn’t safe and he could hurt himself.
I always got the same answer. “Okay mommy. Sorry.”
But then there was one night back in October when the answer was different.
“But MOMMY. I simply HAVE TO put my finger up my butt.” (Really?!)
He was rather insistent so I clearly had to understand why it was so necessary.
“Something is stuck up there! I need to get it out.”
“Okay sweetie. Do you need to go the bathroom?”
“No. I need to put my finger up my butt.”
“Well no more sweetie. It’s not safe. Come on, time to brush your teeth.”
That conversation just did NOT settle with me that night. It just didn’t seem normal. So I called the pediatrician the next morning. With four young boys I call A LOT so let’s just say they know me pretty darn well!
“Hi Theresa (the nurse). It’s Mrs. Orange Rhino. Again. So here’s the thing. #2 (ha!) normally puts his finger in his bottom. Sorry, I don’t know how else to say it. Anyway, last night he insisted he had to get something out. Is this really normal?”
I heard my pediatrician chuckle in the back, clearly sharing my feelings of “wow, what will happen in this family next?!” and then clearly state to the nurse:
“No, this is not normal. Have him brought in immediately.”
I panicked. Really? What could it be? A tumor? Hemorrhoids?
We rushed in and my pediatrician took a swab of the area and left the room with a small smile on his face.
He returned with a large smile. Like I said, we know each other. He knows I have a sense of humor and can take the punches!
“So Mrs. Orange Rhino, the good news is that he has RECTAL STREP.”
“Huh! What? How does one…”
I couldn’t finish my sentence as #1 started chanting LOUDLY “Rectal strep. Rectal strep. You have rectal strep!” Can you blame him? It does kind of have a ring to it.
I was flabbergasted. I had never heard of it and had no idea how one would contract such a thing at this age. My pediatrician interjected my thoughts:
“The other good news is that it isn’t Worms. That would be really gross. No, this is only kind of gross, right? Just what you needed, right? More good news: antibiotics will get rid of it. He most likely had strep undetected and passed it below when wiping.”
“Okay. How long did he have it?”
“Well he had a pretty big colony in there. I’d say a few weeks. Maybe a month? You are actually REALLY lucky you caught it. Undetected strep can be dangerous to the body, including kidney problems.”
Well, well, well. I assumed my son was just being gross and difficult and stubborn about his butt exploration but no, he indeed had a problem. Good thing I called and then did further research that night. You know, search the web and pretend I am a doctor, type research. I discovered that it is actually contagious. And a light bulb went off.
#3 started potty trained in August. The last few weeks prior to his brother’s diagnosis he was having bowel accidents daily. I ASSUMED he was just regressing and not trying hard enough. When he said it hurt and he needed help I was frustrated. When he had an accident I got frustrated. When I realized SH*T he probably has rectal strep too because a symptom is hurtful bowel movements, I got frustrated.
I called the pediatrician.
“Hey, it’s me again! So #3 has the following symptoms…and #2 bathes with #3 and #4, should I bring them in?”
“Oh yes. Most definitely.”
And GUESS WHAT? We had a winner folks. #3 AND #4 also had rectal strep. As the doctor chuckled at my predicament (I now had three bottoms to lotion up twice a day and three kids to wrestle meds down, twice a day for 10 days) and wrote more prescriptions he said:
“Yeah, so probably a good idea to bring #1 in tomorrow.” (Ya think?!)
And GUESS WHAT?! Another winner. 4/4. The best part? #1 normally bathes separate but that week. THAT ONE WEEK he bathed with them once. Just once and voila. Rectal strep.
As we were leaving the office, my 4 rectal strep boys and myself, I overheard an intern say to a doctor:
“Wow. You learn something new every day. I had NO IDEA rectal strep even existed.”
Hmm. That makes two of us sweetheart! But now we both know. And now I know, or rather have been forced to REMEMBER to never assume that my kids are wrong, or what they have to say doesn’t matter simply because they are kids or because they are frustrating me. I must give them the benefit of the doubt. They may just be RIGHT.
This was not the first time I made a bad assumption about my kids or dismissed what they said. It’s easy to dismiss their actions, to assume because they are younger and “just kids” that I am right and they are wrong. Oh so unfair (how would I feel if someone dismissed my feelings? Um. AWFUL.) I used to constantly jump to conclusions that they were up to no good and yell at them only to have them turn around and hand me a beautiful picture, or show me how they were cleaning up. Yup, I’ve yelled unnecessarily before and made an a*s out of myself but more so, hurt my kids feelings. Have you ever made an assumption about your children and yelled at them only to make an a*s out of yourself?