Savvy Blog

Ear Infections

Petting Zoo

I can hardly believe I’m typing this, but my boy is a year old as of yesterday. One year old. Twelve months old. Three hundred sixty-five days old. He’s also been running a fever of about 102.5 since his birthday. It’s a drag to be sick, but to be sick on your very first birthday just strikes me as deeply unfair.

A year ago, I was lying on the couch with a warm little 7-lb., 8-oz. bundle asleep on my chest, breathing its tiny breaths, just back from the hospital, just one day old.

An hour ago, I was lying on the couch with a feverish little 25-lb. person sprawled out across my entire midsection, his hot little head nestled under my chin, breathing those quick, small breaths that kiddos take when they’re sickly, every once in a while cooing, “da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da.”

Having a sick child is one of the most helpless and at the same time one of the most universally human feelings there is. But at least we know what’s wrong with our boy (ear infection) and what to do about it (give him the affordable antibiotics we conveniently picked up today at the grocery store). I can’t imagine the anguish of not knowing what’s wrong with your young one. Or knowing what’s wrong but not being able to fix it.

I know our little buddy will get better. He’s been in great spirits despite being sick. He’s been playing and laughing even though he doesn’t feel good or have much of an appetite.

We’ve been through several ear infections already. He had a few of them last winter and spring, but they cleared up in the summer. Such a crapshoot, ear infections. I think I had one, while my little brother had three rounds of tubes in his ears. I remember going to the hospital in the wee hours, then going to McDonald’s with my dad for breakfast when it was still dark out. Hopefully we won’t have to do any of that.

It’s a drag to be sick, but to be sick on your very first birthday just strikes me as deeply unfair.

On a happier note, we took him to the Arkansas State Fair over the weekend. It was a blast. The weather was perfect. We went early, so the crowds were thin. We all ate funnel cakes and corndogs and then we rode the Gravitron and the Zipper and the Mutilator and the Collapsinator.

Just kidding. We’d never feed him funnel cake. It could stunt his growth.

What we actually did was just amble around the fairgrounds on a lazy Sunday, taking in the sights and the sounds and the smells and the other smells. I hadn’t been to a fair in a good handful of years, the last instance having been a not-so-much fun experience on account of we snuck in pints of Old Grand-Dad and poured them into our fresh-squeezed lemonades and then went on a bunch of rides, which is something I do not advise.

This trip was 10 times more fun, at least in part because there was no budget whiskey involved. We watched people ride rides and our boy stared at them, fascinated. He’d reach his hand out, the look on his face leading me to believe he was thinking, “Whoa! What is that all about?”

We went through the petting zoo, which, let me tell you, is pretty exhilarating for a one-year-old. As we approached a pen with about four tiny goats in it, they ran up to the fence and stuck their wet little snouts through and he squealed with delight. We saw a camel. He stared in disbelief, eyes wide and mouth making an “O” of total amazement as the gentle creature sniffed his hand and blinked its heavy eyelids before turning away.

We saw rabbits, roosters, pot-bellied pigs, an alpaca, donkeys and a mama sow nursing several of the dozen or so piglets she’d just birthed a couple hours before.

It was the sort of really great day that you tuck away to think about the next time things get really stressful or someone is sick with a fever.

Robert Bell is a freelance writer who lives in Fayetteville with his wife and two children.
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