What have I DONE!?! When good mums think they’ve gone bad

My heart is aching for Beth over at BabyMac at the moment. Her wee little moppet is recovering from having her tonsils and adenoids out and while some would say pfft, routine, I would say FUCK YOU! Any operation with a child which involves post-operative pain management is officially HELLZONE.

You see, you take your cub into a big scary place where you make them wear a dress with no back in it. You’re already on the downward slide in your child’s mental list of favourite people. If you’re lucky the premed makes them all woogily and so you don’t have to endure the (often multiple) attempts at getting a cannula in or the psychologically never-able-to-unsee experience of having to pin your child to a theatre trolley with them looking at you with pure terror as you try to stay calm and reassuring and ‘oh this mask! how fun! just take some deep breaths!’ This comes in a very close third to the awfulness that is seeing your child ‘go under’ when the anaesthetic starts to work which is a very close second to actually witnessing your child stop breathing and watching a resus team work on them.

Yeah, hospital with sick kids. Such sweet sweet memories.

Anyway, Harper’s not opening her mouth for anyone or anything bar the medicine (small mercies) and some juice. It was this fact and a photo of the gorgeous cherub that bought all the memories flooding back.

It started out as one of Oscar’s routine dental procedures but some 2 1/2 hours later the dental surgeon came out saying cheerily, ‘it all went really well, we only had to extract five teeth.”


The extent of preparing Oscar for this had been something involving a hand puppet of a tiger and a toothbrush. Monumental fail.

The poor kid had gone in feeling absolutely tickety-boo to then wake up in recovery, in a dress with no back, a cannula in his arm and a mouth full of blood and stitches. To say I was the bottom of Oscar’s barrel of awful would be showing a generous heart.

I actually think he went into shock. He didn’t talk, eat, open his mouth for days.  To force in some water through a straw was akin to NATO negotiations to get humanitarian aid into Homs, borderline fruitless.

My recollection is the surgery was a Friday and he didn’t talk until the Wednesday, but that may well be traumatic memory embellishment.

I was beside myself. We’d broken him. There it was, in cold hard brutal truth before us. We had broken him. I cried and cried, buying him ridiculous treats and presents he’d barely even acknowledge. He’s just silently move about the house

There have been a couple of incidents in Oscar’s life which have rocked me, made me question why we did something or why we were doing something, made me feel the lowest of low because far out, here’s a child already carrying a heavier load of Unfair than anyone else and we just go and throw another biscuit of doom onto his cart.

But then the darnedest thing happens. They get better in their own cotton-pickin’ time. Whatever the procedure you’ve put them through damn well goes ahead and achieves what it was meant to (normally) and the self-flagellation abates ever so slowly.

I will never forget the morning after that hideous dental disaster when he came in, stood by my side of the bed and said, ‘Ogga eat?’ It’s something Oscar utters a minimum of 50 times a day but that morning, that day it was the sweetest of sounds I’d ever heard.


Thinking of you lovely lady, it will get better.




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  • trash

    I add to that the heartrending sound of your 2 yo babycrying, no sobbing, coming round from anaesthetic and the hosital staff refusing to allow you in to comfort him. Even with 10 yrs of loving and dragging around I don’t think his toy rabbit has been given as much squeezing as I did that morning.

    I regularly cling to the comfort that there is little children remember before the age of five.

    • Not pretty, not pretty at all. And there are SO many incidents and activities I am relieved I know my children will never remember.

  • My niece had her tonsils and adenoids out 2 weeks ago and it has not been easy for her or my sister and then last week they all had a vomiting wog. Poor little thing is so thin now. Nothing routine about it your own children being ill or in hospital, it doesn’t usually happen often.
    Kate recently posted..A New Direction

    • Yeah, see, the arrival of the gastro – the arch nemesis of every.single.mother – would have made me retire to the back paddock with the shotgun. Hands in the air, I’m done. And yet we do get through it, time and time again. Women, we’re marvellous creatures of strength and resilience!

  • Ah yes. Like the time we took C in to have teeth extracted and it took an hour to even get the anesthetic into him and then IT DIDN’T TAKE so I had to physically hold him down for the entire procedure, which he could feel. Good times. Still drinking myself into a coma over that one.
    Kathy recently posted..Typical Wednesday

  • The memories still make me shudder.
    You would put yourself on that metal table a million times over to spare them once.
    The previously never ever heard primal screaming/wailing that came from my five week old boy in recovery will haunt me always. Especially when I had to hand him over for a different op four months later. I heard it again – and hopefully never again.
    Bless the staff who works their butts off, but children’s hospitals make me dry retch.
    🙂 x

    • There’s a look about a mother who has been there and done that often, like a scarlet letter sewn onto her heart that shines out through every pore. It’s this sort of thing we must remember about people and the world.

  • Another fine piece of writing, Kim. You’ve been on fire of late!
    Sarah recently posted..Pictures and memories

  • It doesn’t matter what you are in for it’s bad. And the recovery is worse. I took a walking happy one year old to hospital and thought they would shoo me away because it was just teething. It wasn’t. The ICU was bad. But when she woke up she literally wouldn’t let me put her down. Not to have a shower, not to get dressed, not to go to the toilet. And she no longer had the physical strength to walk. But the worse part was that my husband couldn’t even look at her without her crying her heart out. All he wanted to do was cuddle her after the ordeal but it was months before he could touch her, let alone cuddle her.

    And now when Piper reaches out to him to be cuddled (which she does very regularly) he looks at her like it’s some kind of miracle. Riley is well over it now and he’s very much her favourite parent but I can tell he still remembers the whole thing too well.
    Zoey @ Good Googs recently posted..Favourites

  • Thank you for getting it kind lady, and for writing this. It’s always nice to know that our tears and inner turmoil are shared by others right? The amount of coin I have thrown at bribery toys/stickers/food in the past 4 days would have paid for your flights to Melbourne. And you know what? She doesn’t want any of it, just to feel better. Bring on the day that she asks to eat and looks at me again with trust and love…I know it ‘s coming and this was just the reminder I needed.

    Thank you x
    BabyMacBeth recently posted..The next bit

  • Paola

    OH, I never had to endure anything involving a hospital with Brizio, thank God I would add.
    But I sendiing my hugs over.
    And what could I say more than what you have so wonderfully described …

  • Karen

    A biscuit of doom! – priceless.

  • Tracy

    I think sometimes it works in the opposite way. Back when I was a really good person and a really nice friend, I had no friends and the friends I did have used me a lot. Now that I’m kind of a bitch, people are much nicer to me.
    Tracy recently posted..How to Choose Toys