Avery (age 9) has been swimming a lot lately. Both her best friends have pools, and we visit our community pools all the time, too. So she's been in the water quite a bit this summer. And the other day, she came to me complaining that her ear hurt. I didn't think too much of it at the time, and since she didn't complain about it again that day, I kind of forgot about it. (you know how it is...you get busy with all the other children, and let's face it -- the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and Avery wasn't squeaking much.) So the next day, she came to me again about her ear...but this time in obvious pain. It hurt just when I touched the outside of her ear. She was in tears. She got my attention.
Now, in our family, we don't visit the doctor's office much at all. My kids are really never that sick. Just the occassional stuffy nose, maybe a cough, or even a 24 hour flu is all that we see around here. We are pretty much a healthy bunch. But I have had an earache before, and I know how painful they can be. I sure didn't want Avery's to get to the point where she was in that much pain, but yet I knew if I took her in to see the doctor, he would more than likely give her an antibiotic to clear it up. And I do my best to steer clear of antibiotics.
Since I was pretty sure what she had was "swimmer's ear", I chose to treat it myself. With breastmilk. Yes, you read that correctly. Breastmilk. Oh, that stuff works wonders, let me tell you. Not only does it nourish our babies, but it can be used to aide in the healing of many things. I have put a few drops of breastmilk in my children's eyes when they had eye infections. Clears it right up in a day. I have put a few drops on cuts to ward off infection. Works like a charm. But I had yet to use if for an ear infection. This was new to me, so I wasn't too sure if it would work. I gave myself ONE day for her to feel an improvement. If she didn't feel significantly better in one day after treating her with my special sauce, then I told myself I'd take her to the doctor's office. We were scheduled to be in Palm Springs in just 3 days, and I didn't want her ear to be hurting while we were on vacation.
Now, the thing with Avery is this: she is extremely stubborn. If she knew that what I was putting into her ear was breastmilk, she would FREAK OUT and refuse to let me do it. So...I had to fib a little bit. Hey, I'm not one to advocate lying to your kids, but sometimes you just have to. When she asked what it was that I was putting into her ear, I told her, "It's medicine." I'm wondering, though...is that a lie? If I'm using breastmilk as a medicine, then is that really too far from the truth? Then she asked me, "Where did you get it?" and I simply said, "Oh...I already had it." Again, technically not a lie, right? She didn't ask anymore questions after that, thank goodness.
Here is what I did: every 4 hours I dropped a few drops into her ear and made her lie on her side, ear facing up, for about 5 minutes so that it would get in there really good. Then after 5 minutes, I would tell her to turn over to her other side to let it drain out. That way, it wouldn't pool too long in her ear...but yet it would be in there long enough to let the white blood cells in the breastmilk do their job. We did this about 5 times that day, and then one final time right before she went to bed.
The next morning she came running into my room and was very excited to tell me that her ear felt completely fine. It didn't hurt inside, and it didn't hurt to press on it, either. She was 100% better. So that day, we just did it a few more times for good measure. And that was that.
If you Google "breastmilk cures" you will learn of the many ways that breastmilk can be used. It's wonderful stuff! And if you're wondering where I got the breastmilk...well, Aria still nurses at night to fall asleep. Yes, I'm one of those mothers who does the extended nursing-thing.
Here are some photos of our Palm Springs vacation. It was 110 degrees there! We had a great time, as always. Our best friends, the Eisenhuts, go with us each year. We have all been doing this trip together since 2001.
We do this photo shot ever year, sitting on the same wall. This is age order with our kids and their kids. Can you pick out our kids in this photo?
And here is Avery, all smiles now that her ear is better!
Aria kept kicking away from me, so finally I just let her go. I'm telling you the truth when I say that my little just-turned-two year old swam back and forth to us all day long. Look at her go!
Afton with Aria.
Me and Kath
Here's a silly group shot of all of us. In this photo: All of my family, plus Mark and Katherine Eisenhut and their kids; Holly, Brennen, Katelyn and Michaela. We make quite a group, huh?!
And here is what a hotel room full of kids looks like. Yes, this is our reality.
We try to rest, when we can.
We always go to the same hotel each year because they have a sand beach that leads right into the pool. Our kids love to play and dig in the sand. I think Mark enjoys it as much as the kids do.
And here is this summer's group shot of our kids taken in age order, as always. It's so neat seeing how each of them has grown from year to year, or to see what new one is added to the end of the row! For the past 3 summers Aria has been at the end of the row. I wonder if there will be another sitting next to Aria one day? Who knows!