My mom and sister Liza arrived a couple weeks after Dietrich was born, which meant I was recovered enough to be up for outings during the week my mom was here. Our first outing was to the ruined castle in Lörrach, which was one of the first places we had visited together as a family on arriving in Germany, so it made a good choice for sharing with our visitors.
We decided we wanted to add a small hike onto the beginning of the outing, so we drove to a Parkplatz in the woods and parked the van so that we could walk through the forest to the castle. We got all unloaded, put Dietrich in the moby wrap, packed up our lunch and got ready to head out. At that moment Seth began complaining that his ear hurt. He had apparently told someone this earlier in the day, but hadn’t made a big deal out of it, so we hadn’t been worried. Now he said it hurt very bad and of course we had no pain medication to give him.
I had bought some gummies as a special treat for after lunch, so we stashed a few of them in a pocket and told him these were medicine if he chewed them slowly enough. We started off, Seth happily chewing a gummy worm. Unfortunately as soon as the gummy worm was gone, he started crying about the pain again. We had not made it very far, so we paused and held a consultation. John decided to head back to the van. He’d drive it to Lörrach, find an Apotheke and buy some pain medication for Seth, and then meet us at the castle. I wanted to send Seth with him so that he could get his medicine quicker, but he promised he wouldn’t cry on the hike if we’d let him go with us, so against my better judgement I agreed.
We split up and headed on again. The woods were lush and green. The temperature was perfect for hiking, not too hot, not too cold. It really was beautiful. But it was hard to enjoy as Seth became harder and harder to distract from his painful ear. Once we were out of gummy worms and pointing out slugs on the trail no longer interested him, his wailing became louder and more constant. By the end of the hike I was dragging him by one hand (because he didn’t really want anyone else) while he wailed in an imitation of a fog horn. It was not our finest moment.
And then the castle came into sight and with the trees with elaborate exposed root systems that the kids love. And around the corner of the castle wall came the familiar form of John. Seth was rescued by a dose of pain relief and the distraction of climbing and clambering through the roots. And that was it. He never complained again of his ear hurting. There were no more needed doses of pain medication, and no more tears shed. Thankfully despite the bad timing of his episode, we greatly enjoyed our outing.