So Ben has this ear infection. It came to our attention as something that couldn’t be ignored when he woke up screaming early on Friday morning. Dom tried for more than an hour to calm him down. He’d fall asleep on Dom’s shoulder but when Dom tried to put him back into his bed, he’d start howling again. Finally my sister took over and she ended up spending the night on the couch, cuddling with my poor sick son. I felt rather helpless. Anthony was hungry and eating most of the night. I could have taken Ben but then Dom would have had to hold the other screaming boy.
Sure enough, the pediatrician said Ben’s ear was infected. I should have taken him to the doctor more than a week ago when he first started having trouble sleeping at night. But I second-guessed myself.
On Friday night Ben fell asleep on my sister’s shoulder while waiting for his sisters to finish brushing their teeth. He slept soundly until Dom woke him up to give him his medicine around 11. Big mistake. We should have just let him sleep. He screamed and screamed and screamed and once again he spent the night with my sister on the couch.
I am so grateful to my sister for taking care of him. And yet there’s a little voice in the back of my head that whispers that I’m a bad mother because when my son is screaming in pain he prefers her ministrations to mine. I feel like I’ve failed him somewhere along the line. Maybe there were too many times I didn’t respond quickly enough. Or when I didn’t understand what he needed. Maybe I said the wrong things or did the wrong things. Somehow, sometime I failed. And I kept failing. All the proof I need is the way his howling redoubled when my sister walked out of the room Friday night while I cradled him in my arms.
I know that voice is ridiculous. I know that there are plenty of times when only I will do. And yet I also know that these days there are times when poor Ben has to compromise. He wants my lap and yet Anthony is nursing and won’t easily share the space with a big brother. Oh we try to squeeze them both in; but Ben just wants it all to himself.
So I try to let that voice make me more aware. To seize the times when Anthony is not nursing to pick up my sweet little toddler boy and hold him close on my lap and cover him with kisses. To tickle him and play with him and shower him with tokens of my affection. Because I do love him so, my little Ben.