Here I am again, talking about things medically related. This winter we had quite a few visits to the doctor. But, this was a special episode. My – then – 18 month old baby girl had us convinced she had a UTI. She was acting all weird and she’d say peepee and then smack her diaper and scrunch her face as though in pain. This went on for a day or so until I, bright mother that I am, put two and two together. So, instead of simply heading to the doctor and waiting for him to tell me “it’s viral” and send me home, I decided I’d get a urine sample so he could do the test right there. We thought it could possibly save us from having to do the other UTI test that will go unnamed as it has given us horrible memories (more on that here). All I have to say is this. Wow, what a morning.
What I learned trying to get a urine sample from an 18 month old.
1) Kids are flippin’ stubborn. My mama always said, “I can’t wait until you have a daughter, I bet she’ll turn out just like you.” I, of course, took that statement to be a compliment. Now, I understand. It was neither a compliment nor an insult. It was simply a warning. My little girl has staying power. Did it matter that I’d given her two or three big sippy cups full of water, milk and juice? No. She was flat sure not going to pee just because I wanted her to. She was naked, on my lap, watching football. Wouldn’t you think she’d be distracted enough to pee? No. She probably focused specifically on not peeing, just because I wanted her to so bad.
2) They are wired not to do what you need them to do exactly when you need them to do it. Oh, you know what I mean. They know an animal noise for every letter of the alphabet and sing it all day long at home. The minute you walk in church and hope they’ll show off, they go mute. Normally, after eating, she’ll “peepee” or “poopoo” or “peepoo” (she just sort of likes to refer to them all as a hybrid) immediately. This time, with my plastic cup in hand and a determined look on my face, I waited. I waited over an hour. Over an entire hour. With a naked toddler. Refusing to pee. Would she have peed in her diaper? Yes. Shoot, she probably would have even gone in the potty. Of course, if the goal had been for her to go in the potty she would have peed in the cup. That’s the name of the game, isn’t it?
3) The funniest memories are often the ones that begin and end in utter frustration. I thought I’d blow a gasket before she peed, but as it was happening I realized that it was a memory in the making. Naked angry toddler in my lap watching football, I thought about how this memory will be one for the books. Her struggling to get away from me so she can empty her bursting bladder in peace. Me struggling to maintain composure while trying to document the scene by photo (with her dignity intact, of course). It’s those moments that we’ll remember.
4) It’s amazing what a mother will consider a victory. To a not-yet-mother or man, a full, uncontaminated container of urine would be a victory. To a mother (or to this mother) a container with more pee on the outside than the inside, quite clearly contaminated, was good enough. She peed all over me, the couch, and a pillow I had sewn. The cup was there waiting to catch the flow and, bham, she moved like a stealth ninja cat. She was angry and I was angry. But, there was just enough pee in that dadgum cup to put a litmus strip in. In my book, it was a full-fledged victory.
5) Doctors believe you mean business when you show up with a urine sample. I took that mostly empty “specimen container” to the doctor’s office with my toddler and waited with the most satisfied smirk on my face. “Try sending me home to wait now, Mr. Doctor, you can’t tell me it’s viral when I brought proof,” I said to myself. He called me in, I explained her UTI symptoms and he gave me the look. The look that says “I’m going to tell you it’s viral and you’re going to freak out.” And then, before he could say it, I pulled out the specimen up my sleeve. “Oh,” I said casually, “I have a urine sample if you think it might help.” BHAM. Put that in your pipe, doc. He laughed a little (sensing he had a very neurotic mother on his hands if she brought her own pee sample), and said he was proud of my effort to procure pee in the jar. Then he tested it. And wouldn’t you know it? Negative. No infection. No white blood cells. I spent an hour of my life watching football (and neither team was even in the SEC) with my naked baby girl kicking and screaming. I got peed on. My couch got peed on. The stinking throw pillow I had lovingly sewn (which was white, by the way) got peed on.
And wouldn’t you know it. It was viral, after all.
PS – More What I Learned posts at the archives!