You Give Me Fever

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Will is sick for the first time.

When I got home from work last night I immediately noticed the poor little guy was burning up just by feeling his face. He’s also congested and since last night he’s had a hard time breathing. He seems to choke on his own mucous and ends up coughing a lot.

So like a good mom, MJ told me we had to take his temperature and if it was high enough, call the pediatrician’s office. Fine with me. So I sat with Will on the couch while MJ went to get the thermometer.

I should stop here to tell you a few things. First of all, I’ve never taken Will’s temperature before. I know MJ has, but I guess I haven’t been around when she did it. Naturally, I assumed that she was getting a thermometer to put in his mouth.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It all unfolded in slow motion like a horror movie because what was about to happen didn’t dawn on me right away. She laid him on his stomach and asked me to get near his face to keep him occupied. I silently wondered why that was necessary but I obeyed. Then, when MJ took his pajamas off, I finally spoke up in confusion.

“Why are you taking his pajamas off if you’re going to put the thermometer in his mouth?” I asked.

“It’s not going in his mouth,” she said matter-of-factly.

Finally, light dawned on marble head and I realized the gravity and horror of the situation. She was going to stick that thermometer right up his butt!

I scrambled to find a good way to talk her out of it but she was in “mom mode” and was moving at lightning speed. I sat there helpless, watching her lube up the end of the thermometer with petroleum jelly, as I glanced in a panic from the thermometer to my son’s unsuspecting face. I wanted to pick him up right then and there and run screaming from the room to safety.

“Here we go. Hold him down,” she said.

I could barely watch as she crammed the thermometer into poor little butthole. The poor guy looked confused for a minute, and then his eyes bugged out of his head as his anal innocence was violated. Then he just started screaming his head off.

“Oh my God, how long does this take?!?!” I screamed at my wife, who in all fairness was just doing her part as a concerned mom. I felt physically ill as I listened to my child cry. What made it worse was watching the thermometer stand fully upright like a flagpole sticking out of his pooper. I kept apologizing to Will and by the end of it we were crying together while my wife laughed hysterically at my stupidity.

She tried to tell me that it didn’t really hurt him. That the thermometer was small. Well to a grown adult it’s small, but a baby’s anus is small also. Therefore that thermometer may as well have been the Eiffel Tower for God’s sake. Watching it sticking straight out of my son’s ass as if he was impaled in battle was almost too much for me.

He had a fever of 101.3 but it broke a short time later so no doctor visit. But frankly I’m more concerned about his (and my own) emotional well being after such a traumatic event. After the anal intrusion I made sure Will and I watched a little bit of the Red Sox vs. Rays game just to reestablish some of his shattered masculinity and shake off the effects of any lingering doubts. I know it’s silly to think a thermometer up the butt is going to single-handedly affect his sexuality, but quite honestly I’m not going to take any chances.

And this morning I’m researching other ways we can take his temperature because I don’t think I’m capable of doing that to him again.

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14 thoughts on “You Give Me Fever

  1. He was probably more surprised than anything. I’m glad his fever broke. Poor thing! Just for the record, I bet you had this done to you when you were his age….!!! LOL!!

  2. putting it in his armpit is just as effective…at least thays what my doctors do anyway

  3. I know you said it was traumatic, but that was a hilarious read!!

    Next time just take it under his armpit. I told my pediatrician that I was too scared to take a temp. anally and he said the armpit is fine! If you get an ear thermometer I believe you have to add a degree because it isn’t as accurate.

  4. You know it’s baby steps to Gayville ;). TOTALLY KIDDING. Poor little guy. I am totally going to have to do the same thing to our little man when he is born.

  5. I noticed a few people talking about the armpit method, this is just as effective but you must add 1.1 degrees to it unless you have a thermometer that if specifically for armpit temps. There are also forehead one that just rubs over their forehead (fairly expensive but that is what they use at the hospitals here) and like someone else said there are ear themometers (you do not add a degree to that though, they adjust themselves if needed)

  6. Aaron, if you’re really scarred by last night’s adventures, there’s ear/temple digital thermometers. That’s what we do! But please please please, can your dad tell YOUR story?!?!?

  7. Up the butt is most effective (that’s what she said) but we bought an ear thermometer. It doesn’t work as well, but if his fever seems high with that, then I take more drastic measures. Plus some Doctors won’t even listen to you until you take the butt temperature.

  8. Please tell me your story involves not knowing the difference between rectal and oral thermometers!!! I’ve seen the look on someones face when they found out, mid-temperature, that what they had in their mouth wasn’t supposed to be in their mouth. Classic.

    And I’m duly impressed that you found six different ways to refer to your sons hind parts, lmao!!

  9. -was one hand typing before-

    You can take the temperature in the pits or in the ear or temparual before you do rectal. Rectal gives you an accurate reading but I have NEVER done it. I took David’s temp. around 7 months at home in his armpit and it was 101.7. I took him to the ER because he had NEVER had a high temp and my hubby was away and he could barely breath from congestion. They took his temperatire rectal and it was the same exact temp. Since then, I never do rectal. I just make sure I insert the bulb area in the folds of their skin and if it ever reads more than 102-I’d check with rectum. But it’s almost never necessary. Anything above 102.5 is usually and ER visit anyway with a child so young.

    Some babies poops when you insert the thermometer which makes it hard to gauge if you are checking the poop temp or his bottom.

    Good for MJ for doing it first and foremost. I find my way just as effective and my doctor agrees an experienced mom knows when it’s high enough to call a doctor. I can gauge their temps with my lips on their forehead. Literally, accurate, .5 off at most times.

    Like you said you could tell he was burning up by touching him. Your lips are the best tester! try it! See if you can guess his temp next time he has one. 😉

  10. Okay, now I want to hear the story. No secrets Aaron! Old Guy, why don’t you just tell us! 🙂

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