Motherhood

What Has Your Child Taught You?

Anton

Last week, Anton was in the hospital…

As I mentioned on Instagram, last Sunday morning, Anton started sobbing uncontrollably saying his stomach hurt. I tried everything to console him but he was completely distraught. (And this is a little boy who, unlike the rest of his family, NEVER complains.) After an hour, I took him to the emergency room, where he continued crying and the doctors did a battery of tests. After medication and an IV, he finally felt better.

Despite all the poking and prodding, he was mostly just amazed that HIS ARM DRANK A GLASS OF WATER. As we left, he said, “I feel so bad for Toby.” And when I asked why, he said, “Because I got stickers, juice, an X-ray and arm water, and he only got to go to Coney Island.”

(My heart!)

But the next morning, the crying happened again. Over the next few days, Anton continued having hour-long episodes of intense stomach pain, which seemed increasingly worrisome. We were in and out of the hospital, and saw a million doctors and nurses. Finally, on the fourth day, an ultrasound revealed the cause! They said it would resolve on its own and that he just had to muscle through it. Luckily, the pain was already easing up.

Funnily enough, although the week had major ups and downs, the silver lining for me was getting to spend so much one-on-one time together. As a second child, Anton doesn’t often get to be the sole focus, and I’m often busy with work or Toby or life. But we spent hours in the hospital bed cuddling, reading books and playing epic rounds of Rock Paper Scissors. And giving back rubs. And seeing who could keep their eyes open longer. One afternoon, he fell asleep with his sweaty hand in mine, and I just admired his sweet rosy cheeks and long eyelashes while he slept. Overall, I’ll always remember this week as a special time, and I feel so grateful to the doctors and nurses for their gentle care.

Anton and Toby

Anyway, we got so many sweet messages, I wanted to share an update. Hope you and your loved ones are feeling well! Sending so much love to those who need it today. xoxo

P.S. Trying out slow parenting, and Anton and Toby in conversation.

  1. Courtney says...

    Poor Anton! I am a 33 year old adult and had this happen a few months ago. I was 3 months pregnant at the time so an ultrasound was done immediately to discover (thank god!!) that baby was okay but it was instead intussusception. The drs had never seen a case in an adult, let alone a pregnant female. None of the doctors could believe it. After a week I was back to normal, so I hope Anton is already feeling better. So scary any time our kids are sick and in pain but we can’t help!

  2. Anna says...

    Poor Anton and poor you, Jo! It’s always so hard when our kiddos get sick, and those hospital visits are so stressful and scary. I’m glad he’s feeling better and hope he makes a full recovery soon.

  3. Oh my goodness! My son got this at 4 months old and I was trying to be the chill first time mom who doesn’t rush to the emergency room the first time her kid is sick. We waited it out until morning at which time my pediatrician rushed us to the ER. She was about to retire and it was the first time she diagnosed it! My son ended up having surgery and they removed his appendix while they were at it. It was terrifying because you really don’t want to mess with an intestine… Glad it got figured out and that he’s feeling better!

  4. Am says...

    Ugh, I got that same thing when I was 4! (Luckily, I remember none of it, so hopefully he’ll forget it when he’s older as well.) Glad the lil guy is feeling better!

  5. Meghan says...

    I was diagnosed with lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease) about a year ago. I was 23 and had just made the move from my home state to a brand new city and job (literally – my first day of work was also the first day I noticed symptoms!) I ended up getting so sick that I had to move back home for 6 months to recover, definitely not the trajectory I was hoping for. It felt like I tentatively ventured out into the real world, only to be smacked down immediately.

    Everything about that experience was hard but I do cherish the unexpected time I got with my parents. My mom cared for me in a way she hadn’t for a long time – making whatever food I felt like I could stomach, washing my hair even as it fell out, letting me cry to her. Being that vulnerable isn’t easy but it creates space for a special type of intimacy. And to be the recipient of that kind of love and care is just pure magic.

  6. Intussception is considered very serious here in Australia. I’m surprised they said he just had to wait it out! Glad he’s feeling better

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i wish there were more of a fix! he had stomach pains last night and it’s so hard for him! xoxo

    • BKDC says...

      My young son had it twice and it was corrected with emergency surgeries both times! Amazed that he was told to tough it out, but glad he is feeling better!

  7. Marta says...

    Glad to know he’s feeling better and good that you know what was causing the pain, that type of uncertainty is the worst .
    My son is 2 years and 5 months old and he has had several health related scary episodes. Those times have been a good reminder that life is priceless, that we shouldn’t take things for granted and that the joy of seeing your child happy is one of the best feelings in the world.
    Now I try to focus on the little things and as one of your post suggested, find slices of joy everyday!

  8. I’m so glad he’s feeling better. And I’m glad during that scary time (or maybe now that it’s over) you were able to find a light during what was I’m sure anxiety producing for you! My kids call me SLM, Silver Lining Mom, because I’m always looking for what the upsides are to even difficult situations. There is always something.

    My mother passed away a few years ago, but during the few days at the end, all of the sisters slept in her room with her for three days. Of course, it was the worst time in my life, but somehow in the end, I remember all the love in the room and how nice it was for my sisters and I to have that time together because we all live in different cities now. Even though we talk on the phone, it was unusual for us to be together for so long, like when we were little. It was a gift that she gave us. That definitely is the only silver lining I can think of for that one!

    So glad Anton is ok and you are back to rushing around! Regular daily life is good!

  9. liz says...

    Anton is so considerate of his brother! Arm water – love it! Did he share his stickers?

  10. Stacie says...

    Gosh, that little smile. So glad you’re all doing well now. <3

  11. Alice says...

    Arm water! What a sweet, resilient, boy Anton is. Hope you and he have a more settled week and that he’s totally pain free. Must’ve been so distressing for him and the whole family. Love to you all x

  12. Theresa says...

    I’m so glad Anton is okay and they found the cause! How scary! Thanks for posting the cause. I had never heard of that before. Hope you all have a restful week and weekend!

  13. Jessica says...

    My son had the same thing!!! He was five when it happened and he is my third child. It was right after Halloween and I remember him saying he was sorry ( he thought it happened because he ate too much Halloween candy). I am so happy to read that your son didn’t have to have any procedure done. My son had to have an enima like procedure done with the surgeons waiting in the next room, in case it didn’t work. He is fifteen now and still remembers the experience. But I do remember the time I had just with him as well as the days after. It is such a scary time at the moment but now look back and know that it was also a precious time. So glad that your son is doing better!!!

  14. I’m so glad Anton is feeling better and that you have some answers! A few months ago, my baby son started vomiting uncontrollably and became lethargic so we took him to the ER. Thankfully, it was just dehydration caused by a stomach bug, but I immediately realized how scary and heartbreaking it is to see your child in pain – especially when it’s unclear why. Thank you so much for the update xx

  15. Mariamne says...

    Oh so glad that Anton is feeling better. Poor little guy, I’ve suffered from IBS of/on for years, and I can tell you stomach/intestinal issues are the worst! He seems like just the sweetest little boy, as does his brother.
    And could I just say sincerely that I think its so nice how happily you talk about your boys. I’ve known women who’ve complained that they had 2 boys or all boys, etc…and it makes me mad! They feel like they’ve been somehow robbed of having a “mini-me”. Unbelievable but true!
    Little boys are just a blessing to this earth! Nothing more adorable than a pair of sweet little boys. And I wish nothing but health and happiness for your 2 boys…and your family!

  16. ceciel says...

    Oh dear. When you post about your family, it truly makes this place more personal. And we all gain more compassion. Thank you for sharing. My middle child was in the hospital for a horrific virus when he was 13 months old. It was only him and his big sis then and I remember thinking, yup, you 2nd children have to work a little harder for mama’s attention, don’t you? I’m so happy you walked away with optimism (clearly Anton gets that from you) and I hope a sense of relief. I know panic can creep in when our littles are sick. I’m so so glad you’re all back together and he’s feeling well again.

  17. Stephanie says...

    So happy Anton is doing well!! So scary when they’re sick and you don’t know why. I’m glad you got the answer and he’s on the mend. Hugs to Anton (and you)!

  18. Cate says...

    My grandfather passed away last October after a 7 month battle with Leukemia. We spent so much of that time together driving to and from chemotherapy, overnight in the hospital, and finally home on hospice. Out of a lifetime of wonderful memories, those are some of my favorites. Isn’t that funny how those scary and trying times of illness become so special?

  19. tina says...

    Thank you so much for this update, Joanna!!! I’m so happy Anton is recovering well.

  20. Ana says...

    So glad that Anton is on the mend!! Reading this was so weird because of the coincidence. I was also in the ER with my five year old this past weekend due to his intense abdominal pain (he is fine now). I also surprised myself by thinking that in a weird way, despite the unpleasant circumstances, it was actually nice to have time where I could just focus on him and be together. It is such a contrast to the usual juggling act that is going on. I see I am not alone in those thoughts. Hope you are all doing better and better.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Sending you so much love, Ana! Glad your little one is better. xoxo

  21. Jennifer says...

    I’m so thankful he is better and I’m so thankful you wrote this post! My older daughter has had recurrent pain that fits this description sooooo well! The doctors have been baffled, suggesting maybe it’s dietary or hormones or any other vague thing but nothing has “fixed” it. I am going to ask about intussusception! This may be the second time I learned from you something important I was unable to learn elsewhere (the other was deep depression when I stopped breastfeeding that no one had ever explained but made me feel so much better after learning about yours!). Bless you and your sweet boy(s)!

  22. Adrianne says...

    I’m sorry Anton had to go through this, and am so glad he’s feeling better!!

    My son had a similar experience with intussusception in Dec of last year. The bouts of pain were, at their worst, very intense and frightening, and were on/off for almost a week – making it feel endless. Luckily the situation resolved itself. Our family has a new appreciation for our health!

  23. Sara says...

    Joanna,
    I’m sure your doctors are giving you the best possible medical advice, and I know that unsolicited advice is annoying, but I had an intussusception as a small child (18 months) that did not get better and ended up requiring emergency surgery. Truly not trying to fear monger; just letting you know to trust your mom instincts and take him back to the ER at any signs it isn’t going away. I have my fingers crossed that it has already fixed itself!
    While I don’t remember the surgery, I do have a nifty scar to show for it, which I loved telling my friends was due to being stabbed (!!!) when I was a child.
    Wishing you both the best!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, sara! that is so nice to hear :) PS STABBED!!!!!! love it.

    • G says...

      Yes! There are different parts of the bowel that can intussuscept and some do require more than just medicine. Never feel hesitant to contact or see a healthcare professional if you are concerned about your child’s health. That’s what we’re here for. So glad Anton is doing better. Xoxox, a pediatrics resident physician.

  24. Meg says...

    I am so happy to read that your beautiful boy is ok. As to my experience, when my oldest daughter was very young, she had respiratory issues that took years to diagnose as asthma. Many times, all I could do was hold her close in our rocking chair as she coughed and coughed all night long. Even though I often had to be at work the next day, I never worried about lost sleep or missed meetings. Instead, I looked at those long, dark hours as an opportunity. My thinking was, I am going to “bank” this time. As in, when your kids are little, it is so easy to console them, to make them feel better – safe and loved – just by being there, rubbing their back, giving them another popsicle, kissing their sweaty little heads over and over, handing out another unnecessary band aid. Because I knew that, as she grew older, her problems would get so much more complex – a broken heart, mean girls, a disappointing ACT score – big stuff. And when those times came, a band aid wouldn’t make it better. So I banked the long nights, cancelled plans, and mornings that came too soon, hoping that a part of her would always remember, and partly, to brace myself for the years ahead.

    • Jessica says...

      This is the most beautiful thing and changes how I look at some of my interactions with my almost-1-year-old son. Thank you!

    • Alison says...

      This is beautiful and such a wonderful way to think about things like that. I have found myself so rushed and frazzled lately between a new home, working full time and caring for my 4.5 year old and 7 month old baby. What a great reminder to savor the little moments and not worry about the lost sleep or missed meetings. Thank you!

    • Meg says...

      Jessica and Alison. Thank you both, that you took the time to write back made me tear up (#CUPOFJODESKCRY). She is 18 now. We are definitely facing the big stuff, and it’s been rough. Also, I wanted to correct the fact that I wrote that I “never” worried about losing sleep and all the rest. I should have written that I TRIED not to worry, because I sometimes did. But I have never regretted those hours.

    • Rose says...

      We do remember! I had a bad bellyache one time, but all I remember is my mom tapping & tapping & tapping on my back (which did make me feel better). Maybe I wondered if she’d get tired? I must have fallen asleep, eventually. But to this day I do remember how she tapped, and tapped, and tapped on my back.

  25. So scary! Glad your amazing little guy is ok.
    When I was around 5 I had a serious health scare and remember catching my parents crying a couple of time. But what I mostly remember is getting a ton of cool bandaids and being released on Valentine’s Day followed by being allowed to cake in my room.

  26. Quinn says...

    SO glad he’s doing better! That sounds awful and scary for you all. (Although Anton sounds like such a little trooper!)

  27. Myra says...

    aw my heart really went out to you (so much so that i even sent you a pm via IG offering to send Anton a card from the Netherlands, ha :).

    When my son got admitted with respiratory problems (around the same age Anton is now) I was in awe by the medical staff, my child’s resilience and my own to be fair. It wasn’t until 3 days later when he was allowed off the oxygen and we were sent home that the backlash happened for me. As he was on the up and up I couldn’t stop crying. Anyway all this to say I am glad he is ok and high five to you superstar mom <3.

    • Myra says...

      and oh he taught me that any emergency calls for playmobil and that kids in general or him specifically are/is so resilient. He was diagnosed with astma after this episode and has taken all the tests and medication into his stride in a way that I find exemplary. It is just his reality, no need to complain.

  28. Suzanne says...

    Oh, poor little guy! And what a sweet thing to be so considerate of his brother….!

    I’m so glad he’s feeling better. Love to you, to Anton and to your family.

  29. Lisa says...

    Poor baby! So glad to hear that they’ve found the cause and some good has come out of this. It must have been incredibly stressful for you all

  30. Glad to hear things are getting better. It’s very inspiring that you can find the good in a tough situation.

  31. LS says...

    My daughter 3yrs, who is my youngest also spent five days in the hospital last week. I also loved spending so much time together. Watching movies, comforting her from needles, letting her have ice cream whenever she wanted. I felt so close to her. I usually work M-F so having weekdays together was lovely. Luckily she is all better now.

  32. Leah says...

    Joanna – so so so glad they determined what was wrong with your Anton. Such a scary time not knowing. Speedy recovery to you all!

  33. Sharon says...

    I’m so glad it was nothing more serious! But I can imagine it was an emotional week not knowing what was wrong…

    Loved this post. What a special kid. How sweet (and hilarious) he was to feel bad his brother wasn’t getting to enjoy all the extra hospital perks.

  34. Emme says...

    So glad he is OK! One of the worst feelings is having a sick child and not knowing the cause.

  35. K says...

    I’m so sorry Anton went through this, but I’m so glad you figured it out (with such the right thoughts and attitude)! Well wishes for a speedy recovery to Anton.

  36. Christa says...

    What a sweet and brave boy. It is amazing that we know when something is REALLY wrong. When they are so little it is hard for them to express how their bodies feel. Good job mama!

  37. Courtney says...

    So glad you got some answers and that he’s on the mend. What a brave and sweet little guy. This is great perspective on how difficult times can lead to the most beautiful moments with your kids (and all loved ones). Thank you for the update!

  38. Lauren says...

    Arm water. <3

    So glad he's on the mend, and that you had sweet special together time.

  39. Ruth says...

    So glad they figured it out and he’s on the mend! Sending hugs to you all!

  40. whew. what a rough patch. so glad you were able to see the silver lining….and that boy’s smile. heart melting. :)

  41. Michaela says...

    I’m so glad he’s okay! What a sweet way to think of that time you spent together!

  42. Flo says...

    I’m so happy that Anton is feeling better! I love these loving posts of yours with your sons. So many things could be said about this, but suffice it to say that we should cherish time with our children.
    Big hugs from Santiago, Chile.

  43. Kate S says...

    What an scary, and ultimately, magical time for you two. I can only imagine your relief when it was figured out! Our hearts ♥️

  44. Heidi says...

    I’m so glad he’s doing well and that you received such great care! I think our children teach us to be the best versions of ourselves. We become more patient, nurturing, caring and protective when they are at their most needful and vulnerable.

  45. Laura says...

    My older son is Anton’s age and I cannot believe how big Anton looks! They have grown into boys!! Is he starting K in the fall? My son is going to transition and he’s so excited.

    I’m glad he feeling better!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, don’t you think 4 seems SO much bigger than 3? he’s starting kindergarten in the fall and is really excited too. sweet boys!

  46. Cynthia says...

    I’m glad Anton is better. It’s scary sometimes when your children are sick.

  47. Vicki says...

    So glad he is better! How scary for you! But I agree sometimes the pockets of light you find in dark times end up being cherished memories. This past summer my sister had a rough time with post partum depression, it was so hard and scary to see her struggle, but in the middle of it I took over some night feedings. I will always cherish those quiet night hours when it was just me and my sweet nephew, changing, feeding, snuggling and rocking. I got him all to myself in a way I likely wouldn’t have if my sister hadn’t had a difficult entry into motherhood. I would never have wished for that situation, but perfect moments can come out of imperfect times.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you sound like an amazing sister, vicki. i’m sure that meant so much to the whole family. xoxo

    • That sounds like wonderful bonding time; I hope your sister is doing better. I had a similar situation (except it was me with the health problems) but it meant I didn’t work for several years and got to spend so much time with my sister’s boys when they were little. I will always cherish the relationships I was able to build with them that I would never have if I’d been working FT or having my own children.

    • Vicki says...

      She is doing so much better! And Katy, I hope you are as well! I think its so wonderful to look at these times in this light as times we grew even closer, because I also know its a time when things didn’t turn out like you or she or I had pictured them. She is also a great aunt to my kids so I can also say that great sister/aunt is one if the best things

  48. Laura C. says...

    Oh Joanna, I’m so relieved, I was concerned about him! That is very painful but the best thing is that you already know the cause and you know what to do! I am very scared about health and kids, thanks God everything is OK now!
    Plus, you’re right, second-borns have it more difficult. I’m glad that this has helped you to spend mor one-to-one time with Anton. Lots of hugs for all of you.

  49. May says...

    Prayers for good health! Glad Anton is feeling better.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Its good to know about such conditions. New to me, I know to ask in the future and pass on the information.

  50. Lorraine says...

    Oh my goodness! I thought it was intussusception when I read your Instagram post, I’m a paediatric nurse and work in emergency in Sydney (Australia) I’m sorry I didn’t say anything. Often times it gets treated with an air enema, I’m glad he didn’t have to go through that and yay for feeling better ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!!

  51. Bh says...

    So, what is it that your child taught you??

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      to look for the bright side! should have made that more clear :)

  52. KY says...

    Oh, and of course, I’m happy to hear that Anton is better! :)

  53. KY says...

    I don’t have children and I always find it a bit hard to relate to parents when they talk about their joys and worries, but this really gave me goosebumps and literally had me “awwww”. <3 And this is also why I love your blog so much – I don't have to be a parent or necessarily be into the one or the other topic, but I love reading almost every post because they really expand my horizon! Thank you!

    • Sharon says...

      I could not agree more! I do not have children and often feel lost/disinterested with so many parenting quotes. But Joanna and COJ always seems to hit the spot that everyone can relate to.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that means a lot. thank you so much for saying so.

  54. So happy to hear! Hope you’re feeling better sweet Anton!

    xo Lendy

  55. Tracy says...

    That sounds SO scary!! I am so glad your son will be OK – and, that you both got some good memories out of the experience.

  56. Liz Brown says...

    This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing. I love that an otherwise unpleasant and worrisome situation can have such moments of beauty and appreciation sprinkled throughout!

  57. Heidi says...

    I had a similar experience to myself last week! Tuesday afternoon I was struck with intense stomach pains that would not go away. Finally at 9:30 that night I went to the ER and so began the tests and blood being drawn to confirm what my mom had diagnosed from 2,000 miles away. My gallbladder had to come out. Thankfully my twin sister lives here in Brooklyn with me so I wasn’t on my own and by 12:30 pm Wednesday I was taken in for surgery. I’m on the mend now and as much as it hurts to sneeze or laugh I’m so relieved I won’t have to deal with those pains again. Glad to hear little Anton is feeling better!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, heidi!!! i’m so glad to hear you’re on the up and up. i’m so sorry to hear about all you went through, especially out of seemingly nowhere!

  58. Lindsay says...

    Oh, goodness! So glad Anton is on the mend! Big hugs to him and to you, brave boy and mama! Xoxo

  59. APaige says...

    Bless his sweet heart, and yours, Jo! What a wringer you were all put through. I am so glad to hear that Anton’s recovered and has such a sweetly positive take on things. To be able to find the silver lining like that is a trait that will serve him so well his whole life long!

  60. Esther says...

    What an ordeal! Thanks for doing an update. I was wondering what was going on with Anton! Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  61. Mina says...

    I am so glad Anton is feeling better and you found out about the cause. Thank you for the update.

  62. Larsey says...

    Hope you are feeling much better Anton and family! Thinking of you!

  63. Cynthia says...

    Arm water hahahah I am dead! Stuff like this is exactly why I want to be a pediatrician

  64. Natalie Avery says...

    Oh, gosh! Poor Anton! I’m glad he’s better now. And glad you two had some one on one time. I’m looking forward to having that with my second when my first goes to preschool this fall.

  65. Cali says...

    I’m so glad they figured it out and he’s on the mend! I hope you and Alex are getting all the support you need!

  66. Alston Williamson says...

    sooooo glad Anton is ok!!! Phew. Thank is scary. And I second your sentiments around 2nd children… we often don’t get that 1:1 time with them and it is incredibly special when we do.

    ARW

  67. Meghan says...

    Poor dude! This exact thing happened to my niece! It took them forever to figure it out :(

  68. Dawn says...

    Oh my gosh – how scary! So glad Anton is ok! I know it must have been so stressful for you also! Sending you hugs!

  69. Emily says...

    I’m glad it was nothing serious and that Anton took it well, he’s such a sweet boy. My 2 year old is going to have to undergo a (minor) surgery in the next few months and I’m terrified to have to put him through that. I’d love any advice on how to help a child (and his mother!) through a surgery.

    • Michelle says...

      Ah, so hard. My daughter had a bunch through 16 months. I’d say do your best to make it familiar beforehand. Maybe go wander around the hospital lobby with him. Usborne books has “The Complete Book of First Experiences” that has a really straightforward and not-scary story about your first hospital visit. 2 feels so young but they understand a lot!
      You may be able to scrub up and go back into the operating room with him while they put him under. I was physically prepared for this but it emotionally wrecked me – but I knew it made her feel safer to have me there.
      Don’t be afraid to ask the nurses twelve million questions. And ask to stay an extra night if you’re nervous about handling the recovery on your own. And take advantage of grubhub while you’re at the hospital!
      Hope all goes well <3

    • Emma says...

      I’m a pediatric nurse and I recommend asking to speak to the child life specialist at the hospital! They are trained to help explain what will happen to your child in an age appropriate way and help them work through any discomfort or anxiety. For a two year old, don’t over explain what will happen. Show them how a mask will go on their face and they will wake up in a different room. You can even “play” doing this together!

      For mama anxiety, please know there is ZERO shame in crying and feeling helpless. If you have a trusted partner or friend, have them go with you. Buy some fun magazines and snacks to help you pass the time until he is with you again. Don’t be afraid to ask the nurses a lot of questions – like what the numbers on the monitors mean, what are the medicines we give doing, what can we do for his pain, etc. That is why we are there! Good luck to you and your sweet boy :)

    • Laura says...

      My son was diagnosed with cancer at 15 months and went under over 25 times for procedures. It was scary but we got through it. The best think to do (I think) is to request for you or your SO to go back with your child when they put them under. Some hospitals fight this, but remind them that it’s child/family Centered care. Then, you can either hold them in your arms when they go under or hold their hand and be in their face and sing to them. It can really scaryou for toddlers and it’s quite scary to see, so if you want to hold them to see ask to sit down in a chair next to the OR table. Then head to the coffee or cafeteria for a distraction. Good luck!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      these are amazing tips! emma, i love that you mentioned the child life specialists. before last week, i had no idea that job existed! it’s so incredible. a child life specialist came to our hospital bed on the fourth day and she said she had heard anton likes dinosaurs, so she bought him three dinosaur toys to borrow and an iPad with the movie The Land Before Time. he couldn’t believe it, he was so cheered up and ended up relaxing enough to fall asleep. :) what an incredible gift to these patients and their families!

    • KB says...

      Laura, did your child have retinoblastoma?

    • G says...

      Child life specialists are truly amazing people and are an excellent resource for patients, caretakers and even the staff. I would also recommend making a game of or “practicing” the pre-op procedure (getting a special gown, using a mask to breath “funny air,” seeing people in funny hats and masks, etc.) The pediatric anesthesiologists I work with have told me this significantly reduces anxiety because the process of undergoing anesthesia will be familiar to your kiddo. Hope this helps. Xx

    • Nancy says...

      Child Life Specialists are also great at talking kids through getting an IV or PICC line, learning to swallow pills and so much more. They also usually have a stash of special rewards for being brave for those who are finding it particularly hard. You can also ask if your kids hospital uses Bravery Beads where they earn a special bead for each procedure. It’s a tangible reminder of what they have endured and overcome, and when faced with yet another procedure, that they have done it before and can do it again, (even though they really, really don’t want to.) It helps to build resilience. – Glad that Anton is feeling better and that you have found the silver lining in the midst of a painful chapter.

  70. J Laughren says...

    So glad Anton is okay!

  71. Amoreena says...

    Thank you for keeping us updated! So glad sweet Anton is ok!

  72. Allison says...

    “Love to all those who need it” – what a kind sentiment that I share without knowing how to express it. Thank you for your thoughtful words!

  73. Hi Joanna, So happy he is OK! Such a sweet boy. xx

  74. Addie says...

    Oh my goodness! That happened to my one year old right before a three week trip to Japan. The ER told me there was a slight chance for reoccurrence so I was totally freaked out she’d get it again on the plane or somewhere! Luckily it was a one time thing. So painful!

  75. Sharon says...

    I am the youngest of three and one of my favorite childhood memories is getting chickenpox and laying in bed with my mom all week. We did crafts and played games and ate all of our meals picnic style. Even though I was itchy, I loved having her to myself so much I never wanted to get better.

  76. Lynn says...

    So glad he’s feeling better! Totally get it about the one on one time. I always feel a bit guilty about it, but I kinda love my kid’s sick days!

  77. Jackie Korey says...

    aw joanna- the best part is he is going to look back fondly on this and remember the good times with you! when I was 16 I needed an emergency appendectomy- and I still remember so fondly getting to spend a whole week hanging with my mom and dad while they took care of me!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, that is so sweet, jackie.

  78. Ruth says...

    Anton is so brave! Glad to hear he is on the mend.

  79. Lena says...

    My second was hospitalized for a week a few years ago and since he recovered well, we both mostly feel fondly about that week for the same reasons. I’m glad your second is ok too!

  80. Emily says...

    Such a sweet, brave face. Anton, you’re doing such a great job. xo

  81. No joke, after seeing your instagram post, I guessed intussusception. My husband is a pediatric GI. I feel so bad right now because I was going to suggest it and I was going to suggest consulting with my husband. Ugh! I’m so happy he’s better and that it isn’t something worse.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, it’s so funny, nina, because another instagram friend suggested it in a direct message, and i looked it up. i had it in the back of my mind the whole time, and when the drs suggested it, i already knew exactly what they were talking about. the power of the internet!!!

    • Mimi Konitzer says...

      I thought the same thing when I saw it on Instagram! Glad your sweet kiddo is on the mend.

  82. Louisa says...

    After a medical scare (12 years ago now), I wouldn’t stop talking about just what an incredible gift this is – that here, just a few miles from you, is someone with rich expertise in exactly this rare problem you’re about to have. There’s an ambulance prepped – gasoline inside, EMTs trained, dispatcher by the phone. There’s a clean bed waiting. There are sanitized needles at the ready. There’s medicine prepared and ready to go. There’s even a gift shop with fuzzy teddy bears. It’s like, “Way to go, society!” This isn’t serendipity – this is society doing its job really well.

    (I’ve given to Doctors Without Borders ever since. )

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!! and even a café with yummy soups and sandwiches, and little TVs next to each bed where you can watch peppa pig. going to make a donation right now, thank you so much for the suggestion.

    • bisbee says...

      Louisa, we don’t often realize how incredibly lucky we are. Doctors Without Borders has been one of my favorites for a long time. It breaks my heart and makes me crazy at the same time that we have many in our own country too who don’t have the same easy access to good medical care that you and I have!

    • Christina says...

      Yes, this exactly! I went to grad school right down the street from a huge children’s hospital in Atlanta. Every time I saw the specially painted children’s helicopter or giant tank-like neonatal ambulance off to the rescue, I felt just so grateful and proud that our society has these things. Like, if you are in serious trouble, they can send a *helicopter* to get you!

  83. Lilly says...

    Thank you so much for the update. After reading so much about your kids you feel you know them. And I was genuinely concerned about Anton. I always worry so much when my kids complain about anything. My brain starts thinking of the worst scenarios.

    I’m happy he was diagnosed and that things will be all better. The times I’ve been in a hospital the nurses are my favorite part.

  84. Lucy in England says...

    Oh sweet Anton! So glad he is feeling better and like himself again.

    I hear you on the second child- my fierce bright oldest takes up so much of my attention and my happy go lucky second born often gets by on crumbs of Mama during the day. But we bed share (he’s 1) and the midnight snuggles and early morning kisses he doles out are just lovely.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is the sweetest, lucy.

  85. Michelle says...

    So happy to hear Anton is on the mend! And thanks for sharing the silver lining with us, so sweet <3

  86. TJ says...

    I love your lemonade from lemons approach, Jo. It is amazing that during those kinds of stressful times you begin to see the whole, complete, beautiful, and complex person your child is and will become, and it’s amazing. ❤️

  87. Sonja says...

    Sending heartfeltwishes for a speedy recovery.

  88. Nina says...

    What my boy has taught me – to look for the good. He is totally the boy who cried wolf Nd complains like a pro with anxiety out the wazoo but everyday he asks “so how was your day?” “What was your favorite part of your day?” “What was your favorite part of that movie/book/play?” I like to let things percolate and it’s annoyed me sometimes that as we walk out of a movie he’s asking me but I realized I need to appreciate when he’s looking for the good and focus on that.

  89. Nina says...

    Oh my – how scary! As a single parent that is my hardest thing to cope with alone – medical issues. I’m glad he’s feeling better and what a sweet sweet boy.

  90. Emily says...

    Sweet babes. Little boyz steal my heart (as a mother of three…). I’m glad you are relishing them.

  91. Becky says...

    Feel better Anton!

    My younger brother, also one to never complain, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as a kid. Years later he was diagnosed with a benign tumor, which caused the hydrocephalus. We had no idea he was experiencing headaches for years. It became his norm. he didn’t even know! He had a rough patch for a while as a kid but really solidered through. He has been through so many needles, tests, and surgeries. One time he came with me to get routine blood work because I was scared of needles (I have a history of fainting) and he was my cheerleader telling me it would be ok (he is just like my dad). A few years ago unexpectedly his shunt malfunctioned and required several emergency surgeries to get it right. He never asked why me. He has never really asked that. He really is amazing. This is a life long condition for him and he really is one of the bravest people I know.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, becky, he sounds like an amazing person.

  92. Sarah says...

    Ugh, that’s painful just looking at the illustration – poor Anton! Hope none of you have to experience that again.

  93. Charlotte K says...

    So glad they’ve found the cause and that Anton is feeling better. Must have been very frightening for you and your husband!

  94. Michelle says...

    My older daughter was diagnosed with a cluster of birth defects when she was a few hours old and we spent the first 16 months of her life in and out of the hospital for surgeries and procedures to correct them all. It was obviously SO stressful for us as parents, but I totally get what you’re saying about the special place it has in your heart. We loved every doctor and nurse that took care of her, and I even have fond memories of sleeping on the hospital room couch and waking up in the middle of the night to help the nurses care for her. It’s just one of those intense experiences that embeds itself in your brain and heart like most day-to-day things can’t.
    So glad he’s feeling better and you guys are home and getting some rest and comfort!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh, michelle, that sounds so so hard. i’m so glad you’re out the other side!

  95. Oh goodness! What a sweet response he had. I’m glad he’s ok, but I’m anxious to hear it’s all resolved!

  96. Thanks for the update! I was worried about him! Very glad to hear that he is feeling better.

  97. Sarah S says...

    I’m glad they figured out what was going on! And may I say happy nurses week to my fellow nurses! It’s not an easy job but it is certainly worth the work :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the nurses were THE BEST last week. our final nurse, Anna, was like our best friend the final day. she brought us sandwiches and ginger ale, made jokes to lighten the mood, and asked anton all about dinosaurs. plus, of course, she took such good care of him and did the tests as gently as possible. we hugged her when we left and i wish i had told her how much she meant to us.

    • Lisa says...

      You nurses are wonders! My daughter was very ill when she was born and spent time in the NNU. It was the scariest time of my life, and I don’t know if I annoyed them and got in the way, but the nurses were so lovely, so encouraging and understanding and I think the last one who looked after her for my baby to be put into the ward with me when she was safe to be moved, rather than moved onto another hospital. It meant that we got to spend two nights together getting to know each other before we were discharged, in a place where she could still receive treatment and be safe. I will always remember that kindness.

  98. Larissa says...

    I’m so glad he is ok!! My little one had intussusception as a baby when we were visiting Hong Kong several years ago and it was terrifying!

  99. Libbynan says...

    Bless the doctor or nurse who told him that his arm was drinking water! So much less scary than “putting in an IV.” He actually felt bad for because Toby wasn’t so lucky. So cute and sweet and funny. I’m very glad all is well.

  100. Michele says...

    I have been following your updates on Instagram … so happy to hear Anton is okay!

  101. Cara says...

    I am so glad that Anton is starting to feel better and they were able to identify a cause! I think it is amazing that you took Anton seriously and didn’t just write off his pain (it could be easy to just say it is a stomach ache or constipation, etc). What a little gift it turned out to be to spend so much time together. The biggest thing I’ve learned from my daughter (who is 11 months old), is to greet each day with a smile. She always lights up when I go to get her ready for the day each morning. Even on the worst mornings (a leaky diaper, or a snotty nose), she always manages a smile or a giggle! She makes it seem like the best part of her day is seeing me – I hope I’m returning the favor!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet, sweet approach, cara. your daughter sounds wonderful.

      and yes, i knew to take it seriously because he is SO stoic always, so when he complains, i know it’s real. he is like the opposite of the boy who cried wolf. :)

  102. Lindsey says...

    Thanks for the update. Glad to know all is well. Sweet Anton! What a love.

    The few times my almost-4-year-old has been ill are cherished memories for me for similar reasons. :)

    My spirited kid has reminded me to let myself actually feel my Big Feelings. I’m committed (borderline obsessed?) to helping him become emotionally aware and as I find myself saying, “It’s ok to be angry. It maybe feels like fire in your belly! It maybe makes you want to bash over a house! And it makes you crazy!” In my own head I’m like, “IT’S OK TO BE ANGRY!” Haha. We’re working together on how to let ourselves feel angry without letting anger become the boss of us (whether we realize it or not). “You’re the boss of your emotions. They may think they are in control, but we’re going to learn how to be the boss. Together.” Xox

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that, lindsey!!! “you’re the boss of your emotions.” love that.

    • Kate says...

      I think that is gonna be my new mantra!
      Actually, I think I’ll start use “You’re the boss of …” for other things that I struggle with, too.

  103. Lindsey says...

    Poor baby and poor mama! I’m glad he is on the up and up. Xoxo

  104. Millie says...

    Isn’t it amazing how much you appreciate doctors and nurses when you need them?! I remember being so incredibly grateful for my nurses after I had babies and just amazed that someone was willing to do this work day in and day out. So glad that Anton was well taken care of.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i wanted to hug every single one!

  105. The exact same thing happened to me as a child! I was four or five and I have very vague memories of being in the hospital. Mostly, I remember that I got to eat fruit loops for the first time. I’d never heard of them before or knew cereal came in rainbow colors. I’m sure I was in some pain, but I can only remember the fruit loops and their wonder.

  106. Sof says...

    SO glad to hear he is ok, what a sweet take away from a hard week ❤️ Your blog is a breath of fresh air, thanks for sharing it with us all.

  107. Lana says...

    Omg!!! My best friend had this exactly a year ago! She kept having these awful stomach pains and doctors kept telling her it was anxiety until she collapsed on the floor!
    Apparently it’s super rare in adults but she said it was worse than unmedicated childbirth and she has had four kids (one set of twins!!!). Poor little Anton. Glad he’s on the up and up.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh! poor her!

    • Nina says...

      This happened to me, too – and it was absolutely worse than unmedicated childbirth! Poor little guy.

  108. Mama says...

    Am so glad to hear you’re feeling better, sweet boy. Had never even heard of such a thing, ouch, poor you xxx

  109. Jamie White-Farnham says...

    Poor baby! What an awful sounding thing! Glad he is okay.

  110. stefana says...

    I’m sure there’s more to it than meets the eye but your boys just feel like a continuous flow of amazingness. I love how much they care for each other (me and my brother are like that and it’s one of the best relationships one could ask for) and their gentle and full of wonder approach to life. this might not make a lot of sense because I just wanted to blurb out that you are doing a great job and since giggling at the computer isn’t cutting it (yet) I wrote this xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, you are the sweetest, stefana. thank you so much. they definitely are nuts/rowdy/grouchy/at odds a lot of the time, but i feel so lucky to have them. :)

  111. Jenny says...

    I know exactly what you mean about looking back on the time in the hospital as special. It seems so strange but I think it just highlights to you how precious the kids are and what really matters in our busy lives.

    I had a very similar experience with my daughter – also second child – spending the day in the ER and suspected Intussusception. An ultrasound and x ray revealed it not to be the cause but we are still searching. She has episodes like this of varying intensity about every other week. Now I’m wondering since Anton’s wasn’t caught on the first ER visit, could ours be the same. Did they do an ultrasound or x ray on Anton’s first visit?

    I’m so sorry he has to just muscle through but it is good that you know the cause of the pain and more importantly that it will go away. It’s so hard to see these kids in pain. Here’s hoping Anton recovers quickly!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, jenny! they did an ultrasound the second hospital visit (we went four times), and they didn’t see anything. but finally the fourth day, they saw it at the beginning of the ultrasound and then not at the end (a half hour later). my understanding is that it’s because the intestine is slowly going in and out like a telescope, so if you don’t do an ultrasound during the “in” part, you can miss it. i hope that helps! i’m so sorry that your daughter is going through this!

    • Jill says...

      Yes! I DM’ed you on insta last week about HSP. When my daughter had HSP the actual cause of the pain was intusseception that was being caused by the HSP and we had the same experience of multiple ultrasounds and enemas to try and untelescope the intestine but it didn’t completely resolve until they gave her steroids to take down all the inflammation. I hope hes all healed up and it’s all behind you guys. My daughter still looks back at that time in the hospital as special bc we had sleepovers every night!

  112. Liz C says...

    What a story! So happy everyone is doing better!! Xoxo

  113. Jill says...

    Glad he is feeling better! A funny thing about Intussusception: symptoms usually present in little boys During Spring Time. How strange is that?!

  114. Amber says...

    Thank you for this update! I’ve been thinking of and praying for you all. So glad to hear all is well. <3

  115. shade says...

    How scary and sweet and beautiful all at once. My heart explodes <3 Anton is so sweet!