Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 23, 2001

My new friend, the pediatrician


For a good month straight, I had a child that looked like the elephant baby.

I don't know what it is about little boys, but my son, Cameron, who is 13-months old, cannot seem to keep himself on his feet, and he's been walking for three months.

Babies are usually pretty unstable for the most part, but combine that with perpetual motion and you will get an idea of what I'm talking about.

And it always seems to happen right before an event where we want him to look nice, like Longhorn Days in Lester Prairie, which was when he decided to begin his month of disfigurement.

There we were, getting our bikes out of the garage so that Cameron, Mitch (my seven-year old), and I could go on a little bike ride before going up to the carnival. My husband was at work, so it was just the kids and me.

My kids love bike riding. Mitch is old enough to ride his own bike, and we have a bike trailer for Cam. Cam gets so excited to go that he usually jumps, head first, into the trailer before I can even get it out of the garage.

Before Longhorn Days, however, he didn't make it that far. Unfortunately, he acquainted himself with the sidewalk before he could get to the trailer.

He ended up with a scuffed forehead, cheek, and nose.

So, there we were, seeing people we hadn't seen for a while, and my son looked like he had run, face-first, into a brick wall.

And all I wanted him to look like was his normal cute, adorable self. Little did we know that that was only the beginning.

Since then, he has had pink eye, which makes the eyes red and swollen. That wasn't as bad, because a trip to the pediatrician took care of it, although, we believe that he got the pink eye from playing with the toys in the pediatrician office to begin with, when we brought him in for a well-baby check.

And at that same well-baby check, he got the usual immunizations, including measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) and a chicken pox vaccine. He ended up reacting to either the immunizations or a new baby shampoo we had just purchased, producing a rash that resembled acne.

Guess when? Right before our family fourth of July picnic.

So, we gave the antibiotics for the pink eye, let the vaccine run its course, and changed shampoos. I thought he would look more normal then.

Well, I was wrong. We brought him to Valleyfair. It was hot out that day, and the sun was bright.

Children get sunburned, especially my little albino baby, who hasn't seen more than an hour of unprotected sun in his life.

Naturally, I put sunblock on him, which I thought was the right thing to do. What I didn't think through, though, was that it shouldn't go on his hands because he will rub his eyes when he gets tired.

Yes, I did - I put it on his hands. And yes, he did - he rubbed his eyes. Imagine the terrible feeling a parent gets when they realize that they are the cause of pain for their child.

His little eyes turned bright red, and the more he rubbed, the worse it got. I'm not sure if the crying helped or hindered the problem, but there was a lot of that going on, too.

I felt terrible, and my husband was less than happy with me. The redness ended up going away before the day was through, thank goodness, but Cam didn't have much fun at Valleyfair.

When we went shopping shortly after that, Cam tripped over Mitch's feet (picture that) and fell face-first again to the floor in one of the stores.

More scuffs on the face. I was starting to believe that the poor kid would never look normal.

Last, but worst of all, we went away overnight and left the kids at my mom's house. They love going there, mostly because grandma is much nicer than mom and dad, I think.

What a surprise we had when we came to pick them up the following day, when we saw that Cam had one eye swollen shut.

We later found out that it was because of a bug bite, which he reacts to violently, and swells like a balloon. In the past, though, he just hadn't had a bite by his eye.

The ironic part of that was that my mother-in-law had, just within the last couple of weeks, told me a story about my husband as a baby that was so much like this one.

He had gotten a bug bite by the eye that swelled up like that, too. She went to pick him up in the morning from his crib only to see just one big, brown eye instead of two.

Now I know the panic she must have felt seeing that, because it was the same panic that I felt looking at my beautiful baby.

I can't help but wonder if these accidents are just a boy thing, although my friends tell me that girls are just as accident-prone as boys are. But I have never seen a kid in my life that has had such bad luck.

We are hoping that he will outgrow it, sooner than later.

Otherwise, we may be on a first name basis with our pediatrician.

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