This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs 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.