When A Sweetie Gets Sick: Adventures In Bicultural Parenting

Good day, readers and mamis! I would like to share with you a snippet from my life, a story that has developed over the past week over here in the new abode.

About a week ago, Mr. Sweetie was having a normal day, spending time with his Koolma. Playing normally, eating normally. We went home after running some errands, and proceeded into the dinnertime hours.

Suddenly, Mr. Sweetie began to get warmer, and warmer, and noticeably uncomfortable and cranky. By the time we got him into bed, he had a fever of 102.8. He woke up quickly, very irritated, very hot, and refusing his beloved boob. We tried to comfort him with cool towels on the forehead and a nighttime shower to alleviate some of the heat.

In the morning, the fever subsided.

All day, he was very unlike himself – listless, quiet, grumpy – he looked absolutely miserable. As the night approached, the fever returned – again, 102.8.

Another long night followed. Cisco became very concerned, believing that someone had given him the Evil Eye. He cracked an egg open into a container under the bed briefly, then flushed the egg down the toilet.

In the morning, the fever was gone, but poor Sweetie was even more unlike himself than the day before, progressively more weak, fatigued, and exhausted.

For a third night, the fever returned, though it had dropped to 100.9. By this time, I was already pretty sure that I had narrowed his mystery illness down to one of two possible viruses, neither of which were anything serious. One of them, roseola, produced red spots on the skin after the breaking of a fever, so I had to wait it out a little to see if I had been right.

A couple days later, while we were driving home from picking Cisco up from work, Sweetie screamed and cried the entire thirty minutes back. I was convinced that he just wanted to be held and wasn’t happy about being stuck in the carseat, not to mention that he was pretty tired. Cisco was convinced that “the worms in his stomach are dancing”. He called his sister, a madrona (similar to a midwife) in Guatemala, and she told him to rub breast milk on his back, and to put a little bit, mixed with cinnamon, into his belly button.

This led to a conversation that I am happy we had, but it was definitely not an easy one. Cisco holds many superstitious and folk beliefs due to his rural Guatemalan culture, and I, while not of the opinion that doctors know everything, am more inclined to believe that there is a simpler explanation than dancing worms, though I do think the image is kind of terrifyingly cute. Reconciling our very different beliefs regarding what was happening to our son meant me finally telling him what I had thought every time before, but never said aloud. What I had thought and felt every time that he had cracked an egg and put it under the bed, or frantically asked for vinegar and water to soak Sweetie’s socks in before putting them on, or told me that we needed protection due to a bad dream and so he was going to send some money to Guatemala to pay a sort of shaman.

I explained to him that I didn’t mind at all if he wanted to try things that he felt would work, but that I believed that there was a simpler explanation. Therefore, I said, it was not as important to me what was happening, but what we could do about it, to help make Mr. Sweetie feel better and get better. I also told him that I believed that watching our son for clues as to whether what we were doing was helping, especially until he is old enough to tell us himself, was more important than what either of us thought would work, because no one could know better than he could about how he was feeling. I told him that I was not trying to disrespect him by saying these things, but that I wanted him to know that I did not necessarily agree with him, and that that was okay.

A few days later, small red spots appeared on Sweetie’s face. It turned out that Meli, his cousin who is six days older than Sweetie and is the daughter of the nephew we moved in with, had had a similar illness recently. It was roseola, as I had suspected. At the time of this writing, it is gone.

This past week has taught me and tested me; it has been an excellent opportunity to strengthen the communication that Cisco and I have, and it has been an adventure in parenting as a bicultural couple. I have learned so much since meeting my husband, and, though our extreme differences sometimes bring up conflict, there has been nothing to date that has been impossible for us to surmount and resolve, thanks to our love and respect for one another, and our beautiful ability to talk about anything in a calm and open manner.

I still keep thinking about those dancing worms, though.


Have you experienced a difference in beliefs with your parent partner? What did you do to address it?



Encouraging Empowered Mamis Everywhere To Do What They Do


Mami is an artist, aspiring entrepreneur, and first-time, full-time mother. She enjoys long walks with Mr. Sweetie, good food and cooking, her family and dear friends, writing, arting and crafting. She doesn't know everything, but wants to learn, and loves to do research and share what she finds. She thinks life is like a box of puzzle pieces: you keep trying until it fits, because every piece has its place. She owns and operates whatever she sets her mind to, and knows that the sky is only the limit if you haven't left the ground yet.

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