Fatherhood Adventures

Some memories are cherished, while others not so much. The common denominator here is when they happen you understand immediately you will never forget them.

Unfortunately, an experience last Sunday falls into the memorable category for a reason not so pleasant.

It finally happened. Beckett got sick, and I mean really ill, and it had nothing to do with a sniffle or cough.

The day started out like any other, but after lunch all of a sudden he could not keep anything down and was vomiting all over everything. It was a messy situation to be certain.

I had long wondered when our first true sick experience would take place with our little boy. I knew it was only a matter of time and that we had been fortunate to this point. I no longer have to be curious because there’s no question it happened last weekend.

Over the last 18 months, he has suffered through a few colds, some allergy stuff and sinus infections, but nothing that a couple days of rest and over-the-counter medicine could not address. It was nothing overly traumatic for him or his folks.

Last weekend’s situation was a different animal. This was a “viral thing”, according to our pediatrician, and it was a fairly big deal for him and us.

One minute he was partying in the living room like he usually does. The next he was standing in the kitchen staring blankly in the distance as he vomited violently. Within a couple minutes, he went from running around the living room to not being able to drink or eat anything and barely able to hold his head up. He was a mess and it immediately knocked him out of commission.

I must admit that I had no clue what to do when all this happened and was basically in shock. Fortunately, my wife was home and her motherly instincts jumped in and took over.

I know I risk touching a nerve or three with some here, but my feeling is moms and dads are uniquely different. Each brings unique values to this parenting thing. Subsequently, I understand there are situations when a mom is needed, and others when a dad’s hand is called.

In this case, my little boy, obviously freaked out over the turn of events, needed the sensitive touch and comfort of his mom. Instead of marveling over breakfast’s stunning come back, as I did, my wife quickly began to work with my son and knew exactly what steps to take next. They eventually fell asleep together with hopes everything would be better after some rest.

That did not happen. Eventually, leaving out all the mundane and gross details, our pediatrician recommended we take him to the emergency room because dehydration had set in. I was not prepared for what unfolded there.

Within an hour of arriving, my unsuspecting son was poked and prodded several times by strangers, had blood and urine drawn and was hooked up to an IV to address the dehydration. He hated every minute of it, crying and screaming at the top of his lungs and there was nothing I could do to help him out. That’s a helpless feeling I had never experienced.

Every once in a while with parenting, there are some reminders that raising a child can be tough work. This was certainly one of those times. The sting a parent feels watching his or her child go through something painful is deep and hits the core. It was a blow that shook me to be certain and will stick with me for a long time. It will be one of those unfortunate memories.

I like to think of my son as a fairly independent little boy. He is quite accomplished at entertaining himself and often sits on his rug, flipping through books for long spells at a time. He’s not much for hand holding yet and has a bit of a rogue streak in him that I admire. He likes to do his own thing and is the antithesis of clingy. It’s just his personality, or what I make of it at 18 months.

However, seeing him stretched out on the hospital bed with nurses holding him down in search of a vein while he cried hysterically reminded me that he’s still a vulnerable little boy that needs his parents. I just wanted to scoop him up in my arms like I did when he was an infant and comfort him, anything to take away the pain and bring him some peace. Eventually, I did get to do just that and he quickly fell asleep in my arms while the IV did what it was supposed to do.

A few hours, seeming like days, passed, and a boy that was much healthier than when he left the house crashed in his own bed. His parents did not get much sleep that night as crazy and dramatic concerns danced through our head.

When morning came, we both were anxious to see if he felt better. I was first to get to him, and I immediately knew he was feeling better as the day started like any other. He was a little groggy from not eating the previous day but aside from that he let me know immediately he was well.

One of the aspects I love most about young kids is they wear their emotions and thoughts on their sleeves. It’s easy to figure out what’s going on with them, and it was wonderful to walk into his room that morning and see all was right. He looked fine and seemed stronger, but any doubt was erased when he threw a monster tantrum during a diaper change. That told me immediately my boy was going to be just fine.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.