This month my expat life has been rather eventful. Our nanny cum maid (they’re called ‘nanas’ here in Chile) decided she wanted to bring pumpkin into the house, despite knowing my kid has an anaphylactic allergic reaction to pumpkin seeds.
I asked her to choose between pumpkin and my kid’s life. I mean come on, it’s pumpkin, not oxygen I’m asking her to do without. She can still eat her f*cking beloved pumpkin seeds at home. Sorry, excuse the language, but seriously!
It seems it was not an obvious choice for her, but for me it was. She’s gone.
So I’ve been juggling life with three kids under five. The dust was piling up, so I scheduled a day of deep cleaning help with someone else.
Baby Annabelle’s emergency
As we were playing in our apartment’s shared garden, baby Annabelle’s eye turned rather red. Recognising the signs as very similar to Rafa’s allergic reaction, I watched her with a hawk’s eye. Her eye started to swell, I spotted a rash on her chest and she started to cough (a sign that her airways were closing), so I got an ambulance.
As always, I had the EpiPen (the lifesaving drug for use in anaphylactic reactions). in my bag, but no antihistamine. Not wanting to miss the ambulance, I called my new cleaning lady to bring it down from our apartment. ‘Ohhh senora, I’m already on the metro’. She’d b*ggered off from work (very) early. So I rushed up with all three in tow and got the extra meds myself.
When it rains, it pours
The ambulance team wouldn’t let me travel with my other two kids, but I couldn’t leave Rafa alone with a neighbour who didn’t know how to use an EpiPen.
Finally after some tearful begging on my part, and a lot of screaming from the baby who hardly ever cries, we set off. I’m singing lullabies to Annabelle, all while trying to blow up surgical glove balloons to occupy my other kids.
Suddenly my eldest breaks down in tears. He won’t tell me what’s wrong. Turns out his balloon is slightly smaller than his brothers. *insert expletive*
Then my middle kid joins in the crying game.
I look into poor Annabelle’s tears, past the wires, cables and tubes and I stifle my tears too. She does not look good.
We get to the hospital and after my kids destroying three surgical instruments, and almost breaking the TV remote (thank the Lord for Peppa Pig), Annabelle is OK.
The reality of motherhood
This week I’ve learnt two things.
Mothers, stay at home dads, we’re indispensable. Sure, not everyone has allergies, special needs or life threatening situations, but every family has its own issues. There are always kinks in the road. Not everyone has the luxury, but if possible, it’s good to allow a little slack in the system.
And secondly, and most importantly: meltdowns, tantrums, crises and all, children worth it. 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am wake up calls, they’re my all.
Sure, I’ve had house plants longer than I’ve had Annabelle in my life, but I don’t just love her. I am in love with her, and for that I’m very, very grateful.