Thursday, July 7, 2011

Family Member Management

Sammy got sick again yesterday.  He threw up about fifteen hundred times, and covered the floor with vomit.  From a purely scientific perspective, it's actually pretty amazing how much he can hold in that thing.  But thankfully, we think we figured out what was wrong with him.  The last time we rushed him to the emergency room, it was after giving him Rice cereal; we haven't given any cereal to him in the past two weeks, and this time we also gave him rice cereal.  So either this particular box of cereal is bad, or he's got some reaction to the cereal, allergic or otherwise. 

But hey, I tried that crap - I wouldn't eat it either.

The science geek in me wants to wait another two weeks and try it again, just to see if this is what the problem is (and then perhaps switch cereals to see if it's an ingredient in the cereal).  But the father in me, especially after seeing how miserable Sammy looked yesterday, says no. 

Give it a week, and I'll probably start thinking about testing the cereals again.

But besides these vague lessons, one thing we definitely did learn was how to manage family members.  There is such a vast difference between how each of our parents reacted to the last incident:

Me: Ma - we took Sammy to the Emergency Room last night; he was throwing up like a fountain for at least a couple hours.

My mom: Oh yeah?  Well, it's good to hear that he's feeling better.

Me: What?  I didn't say he was better.  He still looks miserable and pale, and has lost a lot of weight.

My mom: Did I tell you about the time that you threw up a couple times?  It was amazing.  Also, have you given any more thought to coming up to see us?  We haven't seen our grandchild in two months! And even though I don't really do anything all day long, it's somehow your fault.  No, seriously - I really am blaming you for my not coming down to see him.  Nevermind the fact that he just threw up a hundred times, and I'm still acting as if nothing really happened.  Did you hear about my trip to the bookstore?  It was amazing.  I didn't know there were so many books published!  Your father and I must have walked out with three armfuls each.  I needed to stock up on books for my bookclub meetings!  Then we came home and had Beef Bourguignon glazed with a pinch of carmelized onions with a side of steamed carrots, and ate it on the patio overlooking our freshly groomed and pruned lawn.  Call your brother!  He misses you, and you haven't spent any time talking to him.  He's got three weeks off before he starts work, and is bored from sitting around all day, and you should really get yourself together and call him.  That reminds me, I just saw a bear on my walk this morning! 

Me: ok, bye.

And this is how the conversation goes with my wife and the in-laws:

Wife: Ma, we took Sammy to the Emergen -

MIL: DON'T say emergency room.
FIL (in background): EMERGENCY ROOM??? What's going on? Who's sick?
MIL: Oh my god, What happened? 

Wife: He thre -

MIL: He threw up everywhere?  Why didn't you called us sooner? It's because you're always drinking coca-cola, and it gets inside your milk, and then it's like he's drinking coke!  You don't feed him enough, he's all skin and bones!  How is he feeling now?  What can we do?  Do you need anything?  I can cook for you! We're on our way!
FIL: First find out where they are!
MIL: Are you at your house?  Ok NOW we're on our way!

Wife: Ok, thanks!

(three minutes pass by and the phone rings again)

MIL: I bet it's because he's not eating regular foods yet.  You should start giving him soups.  He's too skinny!  We're coming as fast as we can!
FIL: (in background) I've done a few dry runs in case this happened, and it takes me an average of 3 minutes at top speed to get to your house!  We'll be there in 49 seconds!!

(After spending some time with us, and making sure everything is ok first hand, they go home.)

(Ten minutes after they've gotten home, the phone rings again)

MIL: Is he still doing ok?  Call me with updates!!!

I actually just received a call from her saying that no one (my wife or the babysitter) is answering their phones and she assumed the worst had happened.

I've definitely decided I like the in-law's approach more, but we've come to the conclusion that we're probably going to wait until after any big events to let them in on the action.  It definitely made yesterday's experience slightly less stressful. 

I still haven't called to tell my parents. 


  1. My dad usually calls me three times a day if he suspects the worst has happened: once at 6:05 AM, once at 6:27 AM, and again at 9:00 AM if I haven't picked up by then, at which point my mom calls. If they don't hear from me for a day, they will drive over. Two hour drive over.

    My MIL, while Russian, is still a lot more chill (on the surface) which at first I was appreciative of but now I'm kind of dubious about because what kind of Russian is calm when we have emergencies like our license expiring. We specifically did not tell her about our water being off because then she would have been over like whoa.

    The list of things we haven't told my parents yet is how Mr. B had to have his entire car engine replaced 5 months ago. We're waiting until we hit the year mark, I think.

    oh god. what if they read this blog. what if they somehow read this comment via telepathy.

    we're screwed.

    Also, I'm very glad that Sammy's ok.

  2. Hope Sammy's okay now. It's highly likely the rice cereal was the culprit. Have you tried pureed fruits and vegetables?

    Your parents sound like mine. Your in laws sound like mine too. Hee hee.

  3. So glad Sammy is all better. Maybe he is just not ready for solids? And yes, those rice cereals are not very tasty.
    My MIL send my son the beautiful quilt she made for him when he was born. It arrived two weeks ago. Must be the postal office's fault.
    My family is even less involved. What, you thought that was not possible? But it is!

  4. So glad that he is feeling better. Yup, that is how my mum is as well. I tend to go with "we are doing just fine" until the worst blows over, then tell her what happened.

    It does come in handy though when super scary shit when you truly need support happens. Sometimes I have to remind myself about that :P

    And I too hope that she does not read this by telepathy.

  5. You should appoint your in laws the job of informing your parents whenever Sammy gets sick. It would help the in laws feeling like they're doing something to help, and might help your parents to understand the severity of the situation.

    Hope he's feeling better. That rice cereal IS pretty gnarly. Why do we think babies want to eat that garbage? I hope it was a "that's nasty" puke and not an "I'm allergic" puke.

  6. So you are following me on Twitter and I am wondering if you happened to read my blog, which is why you are now following me on twitter? Just curious.

    I am first generation Italian. As I read through your blog, I could easily identify with some of your parental angst! It's maddening and touching at the same time.

    May I suggest you read this post of mine: because I wonder if Russians are like this too...

  7. Oh crap, my above link didn't work. If you're interested, go to my blog, go to the Gallery tab and look for Childhood Rant.

    And Borscht, I never had it. Is it good??

  8. Dude, I like your new layout! I hope you figure out what was wrong with Sammy. Poor little guy. And I kind of love your in-laws.

    That is all.

  9. Its really a shame your prarents dont care morew about those things...soundsa lot like my mil. She tends to let her mind wander like that. Gosh i could go on. M.y mil is terribly negative. A hyper chomdriac, and makes up every excuse she can to avoid driving to florida to see us. So sorry sammy was sick again!! Terrifying when your child is sick...maybe oatmeal would be better? We skippedx rice and went strait to oatmeal. Excuse the typos...I'm on my ph and its 3 am and im pumping so im shocked this is somewhat coherent.

  10. Oh, thank you for this. This was genius. And EXACTLY like the reactions between my family and my husband's family. I can't tell my family ANYTHING.

    I mean, it's awesome that you're sharing the story, not so awesome that Sammy got sick. That kind of sucks.

    PS LOVE the new look.

  11. I'm with the suniverse and distracted by the awesome new design.

    But yea, I'm sure my dad is running test drives to our house on a weekly basis. Even though he lives 4 minutes away as is. I'll bet he's found a short cut. Because, as he would tell you, it only takes a few seconds to drown - you don't want me wasting seconds, do you?

  12. It's an interesting point of view, in my case, I am the Family Member Manager, so isn't easy to deal with all of them... it's all about patience and others elements that you only will get when you became a father.

  13. Thanks for your insight for this method great story; this is the kind of feature that continues me though out the day.


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