It was a Friday afternoon and I was taking my time packing an overnight bag for a rare getaway with my husband. We had been planning the 24-hour escape -- a belated five-year wedding anniversary -- for months. The next day, my in-laws would be coming over to baby-sit the boys and we would be jetting off to Center City Philadelphia for a luxurious date: dinner at a popular restaurant where it's nearly impossible to get reservations, a stay at the Four Seasons, and his-and-her massages the next morning at a local spa.
With a preschooler and a baby of almost 8 months, who had only recently started sleeping through the night, my husband and I hadn't had time for just the two of us in ages. So I was beyond excited for the much-needed R&R.
Any parent knows what came next.
As I threw the last pair of socks in the suitcase, my 3-year-old woke from a longer-than-usual afternoon nap. With a fever.
It only snowballed from there: 101 degrees climbed to 103. By 8 p.m., he was laying in our bed watching a movie when he started projectile vomiting in various directions (getting the comforter and the carpet, which had recently been professionally cleaned).
He went to bed and threw up once more, calling, "Mom, I think I may puke up again!" It was heartbreaking. I left both his bedroom door and ours open that night; he'd call and I'd be up and running with a bucket in hand before I could think twice.
Of course, with a sick and miserable child, my husband and I immediately cancelled our kid-free night away without a second thought. But as the fever dragged on, we were stumped. My son had not once complained of anything hurting him (other than his entire body) so that ruled out a couple of things, like strep or an ear infection. But still -- was it a fever virus? Was it a stomach bug? Was my son the lucky recipient of both? After three years of parenting and all sorts of various fun viruses, we thought we had seen it all, but I wasn't really sure what to make of this.
I spent several nights standing over his bed with a wet washcloth in hand, wiping down his forehead, cheeks and arms -- a task that evoked memories of my parents having done the same to me years before.
When Monday finally came, four days into the fever, I called the pediatrician. Off we went. After a long wait and a bunch of questions that led nowhere, she decided to do a strep test. I told her about his lack of pain -- that I was certain it was not strep.
And 20 minutes later she came back to confirm that, indeed, he had a very positive strep test, exclaiming that kids can surprise you and that you "never know." Which, as an overall statement, couldn't have been more accurate.
Each child is different -- every illness, first milestone. Even with parents and friends with valued experience and an ever-expanding number of parenting handbooks available, you just never can tell what parenthood is going to be like.
The weekend reiterated the fact that with parenting, no matter how organized you are, you can never predict what the day will bring. My kids run the show; I'm simply along for the wacky, totally unpredictable and amazing ride. As my Mom always says, you have to just "go with the flow."
And for everyone wondering: My son finally improved after three days on an antibiotic, but it was at least another three days before he was "himself" again. Strep's a doozy, that's for sure. And no, we haven't been able to reschedule our night away but hope to soon!
Chic mom and smart shopper WhitneyMWS is also a Disney Family Blogger. Check out Mommy Style, where she writes about the latest products -- along with a coupon every now and then -- that help her get through the day with her two young boys.