What Matters Most~ Chapter Six

Marah tried to focus tired eyes on the glowing red numbers on the clock with no success.  She just knew that she must have walked the floor holding Danielle for hours.  Her arms felt like they were made of lead, what she could feel of them that is.   The little girl made a small whimper when Marah moved to shift the little girl to her other shoulder.  When no further sound came Marah let out the breath she wasn’t aware she had been holding.  She didn’t know if she could take another hour of crying.

“Is she finally down for the night?”

Marah looked over at a tired and disheveled looking Tony.  He had taken the first shift when it became clear that Danielle wasn’t going down easy and from the looks of it he hadn’t slept since she took.  “I think so.  What time is it?  Why aren’t you sleeping?”

Tony yawned while raking his hand through his hair before pinning her with an incredulous look, “Three o’clock.  And you know why I’m not sleeping.  Why don’t I hold her and you go rest, you need it more than I do.  Does she feel warm to you?  I can’t tell anymore my arms are literally numb.”

Tony reached out his arms, “Here let me take her.”  After settling her against his bare chest Tony had to admit she felt a little warm.  He looked at his wife’s anxious face.  She had settled down some since the big blowup in the kitchen but he knew without a doubt if Danielle got sick she would blame herself.  He had to tread lightly, “What does the baby book say about taking temperatures?”

Marah rushed out the door before he even finished asking the question.  Tony looked down at Danielle, “You sick little one?  Let’s just hope Marah can get through this without thinking our baby is better off living with wild dogs than with us as parents.”

Just as fast as she left Marah returned waving a thermometer in the air and carrying a book under her other arm, “We haven’t gotten around to buying an ear thermometer so we’re going to have to use this digital one.”

Tony raised an eyebrow.  He may not be an expert on children but this seemed a little difficult for an infant. “Um, where am I supposed to use this exactly?  It’s not like Danielle can hold the thermometer on her own.”

Marah waved the book she held in her other hand, “This book says that under the arm works fine for infants.  Just be lucky we don’t have to take it the other way.”

Tony eyed her suspiciously, “You mean?” At Marah’s slight nod his face turn from suspicion to horrified,  “Well that’s just WRONG!  You can’t do that to a baby!”

Tired, frustrated, and more than a little worried Marah waved off his rant, “Tony I am tired.  We need to see if she is sick.  Would you just take the damn temperature?”

Tony laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder, “Baby it’s not your fault.  Michelle said she thought Danielle was coming down with something.”

Marah nodded but still looked doubtful. “I know.  Just take the temperature.  Please?”

Tony gently moved the little girl’s arm out of her sleeper which caused Danielle to resume crying in protest.  Tony held out his hand, “The sooner we get this done the sooner we can all ger some sleep.”

They both stood anxiously while waiting for the thermometer to do its job.  When it beeped Tony looked down then back at his wife’s worried face. “I’m no expert but we might want to call Rick.”


It only took minutes for Rick to determine the source of Danielle’s discomfort. “Looks like our little Danielle here has an ear infection.  That explains the fussiness and fever.”

Marah stood nearby wringing her hands in worry and panic.  Danny and Michelle were a half a world away and she broke their kid. “I gave her medicine just like Michelle said.”

Rick looked up from packing up his medical bag, “It’s not your fault.  You’d be surprised how many babies get ear infections, almost half.  And it’s more common in bottle-fed babies.  I gave her some children’s Motrin to ease the discomfort and wrote you out a prescriptions for some antibiotics.  I’m sure knowing Michelle she left you all the information so you won’t have any trouble filling it, but call me if you do.  But that should clear it up in a couple of days.” He laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder, “You did good.  A lot better than some first time parents I’ve dealt with.  Now get some sleep, you both look like you’ve been through the ringer.”


Tony climbed into bed after seeing Rick out. “Man it really pays to know people in this town.  Can even have your doctor make a house call.”

Marah held up a restraining hand when he would have leaned in to kiss her. “Do you hear that?”

He listened but all he could hear was the dog softly snoring at the foot of the bed, “Hear what?”

Marah let out a sigh of contentment, and spread her arms open wide on the mattress. “Silence.  Blissful, peaceful, silence.”

Tony laughed at the look of rapture on his wife’s face, “Ray warned us it was going to be a crash course in parenting.   Between the frying of the DVD player, exploding spaghetti sauce, and Danielle’s ear infection I think we are up for anything.”


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