Eye Teeth

April 21, 2008 at 5:08 pm 12 comments

I have a confession.  I slip Polly baby Tylenol when S isn’t looking.  

After almost ten years of marriage, S and I have practically formed our own little country: Amerikraine.  Our cultural differences that caused for pathetic arguments… a skin tight rainbow striped hoodie picked out of the trash, worn while jogging (my beef about him), or picking salted, dried flesh off the bones of a fish (again, my beef, I’m sensing a trend), or, maybe, a country’s lack of deodorant (OK, I am a brat) have fizzled out over time. 

In essence, we’ve grown up together and have thrown out things from our cultures that aren’t worth keeping (here’s one of mine, simply HAVING to buy something because it is on sale, even if it’s not the right size).  We create new customs that aren’t actually Ukrainian or American.  We do things that work for us.

Except when it comes to medication.

S won’t go to the doctor unless something is falling off.  And I am all about the drugs.  When it comes to the children, he’d prefer to wait it out, “let the body fight off the infection,” he’d say.  I am running to the medicine cabinet every time I hear a wimper or a cough.

Tylenol, especially, is a big tool on my mommy belt. 

At two, Polly is not talking much.  She says “Mama”, “Papa”, “Lala” (for Lainie), an occasional “Oh oh” for Zoya, “more”, and something that sounds an awful lot like “spider.”  She is learning sign language and doing quite well.  I suspect she knows over 25 signs and has just started putting two signs together, like, “give me, please” or “all done eat.” 

She is teething. 

Now let me tell you something about teething.  Teething is the ultimate exscuse for a mother.  A kid’s cranky, he’s teething.  Not eating, teething, drooling, teething, BITING, teething.  Toddlers aren’t allowed to just have a bad day.  I wish I could exscuse my grouchiness with, “I’m sorry I am being so mean, you see, my eye teeth are coming in.”  A time of grieving sets in when our precious young finally have all of their teeth and we vigorously look around for another exscuse for our children’s behavior.

I digress. 

Like I said, Polly is teething.  She has been teething forever.  Many children with Down syndrome start cutting teeth later than their typically developing peers.  Right before Polly cuts a tooth, she won’t eat or drink, she cries, she drools.  We’ve worked on the signs “hurt” and “sick” but still have to prompt her to use them, therefore, never really knowing if she trully is sick or hurt.

And so, I give her baby Tylenol.  Of course, I don’t over medicate.  I check the bottle, find her weight and give her the right amount.  S frowns upon this.  “How do you know it’s her teeth?” he asks.  To which I reply, “She bit my shoulder!”

It’s hard for me to see Polly upset.  I have to see her frustrated daily as she tries to master a new skill.  My skin is like rubber these days.  I look away when she cries to me to save her from the evil physical therapist.  After she was born, I watched her through plastic for the first couple weeks of her life.  I was helpless, clueless on how to help her get well. 

I know the jig’s up.  S reads my blogs occasionally.  I suspect he’ll happen upon these words and take away my medicine bottle.

 But confessing always makes one feel better.  And I already have a new hiding place in mind.


Entry filed under: Culture differences, Down syndrome, Family, Grief, Marriage, Mothering, Parenting, Polly, Shopping, Sickness, Special Needs, Therapy, Ukraine.

The Mom at Gymnastics Someone’s at the door

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Meredith  |  April 21, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    How funny! While we were in Ukraine we thought the exact opposite LOL! Every time someone sneezed, blew their nose, or coughed someone handed you a note and told you to take it to the pharmacy to get that specific medication! We thought maybe they just wanted us doped up, but seriously it just came across that maybe they just medicate everthing. Who knows!!!

    And I give my kids Tylenol when I *think* they’re teething too 🙂


  • 2. Bonnie  |  April 21, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Teething bites… literally! Ella and I feel your pain and Polly’s. Luckily Kirk believes in whatever will help so I don’t see the eye rolls from him when I pull out the baby orajel swabs!

  • 3. ukrainemom  |  April 22, 2008 at 12:40 am

    That is so interesting, Merideth! I wish I was around those people when we lived there. Maybe it was b/c of the orphanage? Anyway, I did love the “apteka” where we could just go and buy whatever was needed without a prescription. Praying for Emma.

  • 4. TheRamblingHousewife  |  April 22, 2008 at 5:04 am

    I think this is so funny. Same, same, here, though both Americans. I give the kids medicine as soon as I find out the neighbors down the street are sick . . .

    And The Silent Husband gives the kids medicine just before EMS is in order! (lol)

    And as for the small, tightish, rainbow hoodie. . .

    Love that visual!!!


  • 5. jooleebrooks  |  April 22, 2008 at 7:06 am

    oh wow. You are funny!! An you keep triggering fuel for my blog. We have a whole case of medicine from the States that I brought with us here so that I could pop a pill without trying to explain my symptoms in Czech to someone behind the pharmacy counter. You can’t even buy Band-aids without asking at the pharmacy. And really the only cure for most things you get here is to stay in bed and do nothing til you get better. (Oh wait, there’s also the neck scarf…but I’ll write that in my blog sometime.) Meanwhile…hope the Tylenol helps and Polly’s teeth pop through quickly!!!

  • 6. jooleebrooks  |  April 22, 2008 at 7:07 am

    And OH, I have to add….I’m so the wrong size bargain shopper, too!

  • 7. Ginger  |  April 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Dude you are so stinkin’ funny!! Your blog made my day- I remember you telling me about the hoodie….around the time we discovered they never use q-tips. You really should submit the “teething bit” to a parenting magazine, that is so publish-able!! Funny and oh-so-true!

  • 8. alida  |  April 24, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    I love our apteka!! Keep up the tylenol!

  • 9. sergei  |  April 26, 2008 at 2:39 am


  • 10. Patheticism « Pocket Lint  |  April 30, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    […] PT left, I gave Polly her obligatory dose of baby Tylenol and then we laid on the floor whinning to one […]

  • 11. jacknbellasmama  |  May 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Very funny! I too have Tylenol on my belt at all times! I feel like Jack has been teething for his entire two years on earth!

  • […] came my old faithful standby, baby Tylenol.  Polly refusing to be put down, nestled right into the crook of my arm and played her role of […]


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