Saturday morning I was awakened by the sound of our bedroom door opening and someone shuffling into the room. I could see that the little shadowy figure was carrying a pillow. It was Alex.
"Mom," he said, as I automatically lifted the covers so he could climb in next to me, "My ear hurts."
"Does it hurt on the inside or the outside?"
"You probably were sleeping with your ear bent over. I've done that, too, and it hurts a lot, but it'll go away."
"Mom, it really hurts. I think I need the hot water bottle."
The hot water bottle. Curer of all ills. Okay, not really. And also – it has begun to leak.
"Let's go back to your room, Alex, so Daddy can sleep. I'll bring you the hot water bottle."
We shuffled out of the room, Alex with his pillow, me with mine. I filled our other headache-helper – the floppier blue bag with the screw top that we use for ice packs – with very warm water and set it next to Alex's hurting ear. But because the rubber is so floppy on that one, it wouldn't stay put, and Alex sort of had to sandwich it between his head and the pillow. I snuggled in beside him, hoping he'd be snoring soon and I could go back to my own bed.
"Mom," he said, after a moment or two. "It still hurts."
"It's going to take a little while, Alex, so just try to go to sleep."
"I'm trying, but it just hurts."
This wasn't working.
"Okay, Alex, do you want to watch something on tv?" I figured distraction might help.
We trooped down to the basement and got ourselves settled on the couch with pillows and blankets and the remote. Found something we could both tolerate, and settled in. Oh, I also gave him some motrin, hoping that would work quickly, along with the distraction of the tv, and I could get some sleep.
We watched for about an hour, until Alex told me that leaning on me was like "sleeping on a rock." I suppose it could be worse – it could be like oh, drowning in marshmallow fluff. I asked if his ear was feeling better, and he said yes, so I headed back to bed, thinking that would be the end of it.
Upstairs, Julia had usurped my spot in bed, so I went back to sleep in Alex's vacant bed. I slept til twenty past 8, when I heard Bill coming up the stairs – with coffee, bless him.
Around ten, Alex was saying his ear hurt again, and he wasn't really describing it well, but it sounded like it wasn't just the matter of sore bent outer ear cartilage. So I called the pediatrician's office and we got an appointment for noon.
Guess what. He has an ear infection.
So now there are matching bottles of amoxicillin in the fridge.
And every night and every morning I dole out two teaspoons of pink liquid into two little purple plastic wine glasses. Yes, really. They're from a set of play dishes Julia has. I figure the wine glasses make it more fun. Yay! We're fighting germs! Cheers!
And instead of saying cheers, they both moan and groan that they don't want to take the medicine, do they still HAVE to? They feel FINE. At least, Julia is moaning and groaning. She's two days ahead of Alex. And I tell them that it really didn't matter if they like the medicine or not; they have to take it. And then I tell them that back when I was a kid (herding dinosaurs near the base of a volcano) medicine didn't taste good, and that was just TOO BAD. We took it, and that was that.
And so they quaff their pink medicine and hurry away, mostly so I won't talk any more, I suspect.