Before having children I remember people muttering that it is really awful when your children get ill but it’s only now that I realise just how much truth there is in that. Really awful doesn’t cover it actually, I think it’s worse than that.
When they are really poorly you are worried sick about them. You spend your time holding them, watching them fitfully doze and wishing you could take their pain away. Sun had swine flu over Christmas 2010 and it was heartbreaking to watch him become a shadow of himself, without even the energy for television when he was at his worst.
Then at the other end of the spectrum is the common cold. At the moment both of my children have a cold. It’s not serious, they don’t have a fever or a hacking cough, just a lot of grim snot. This kind of illness does not come with the stomach-churning worry but it has its own negatives, which I’m trying desperately not to let get me down today.
When Shine has a cold she becomes Velcro baby. She doesn’t want to sleep anywhere but on me so I can’t get anything done and she’s constantly having her sleep disturbed because she sleeps so lightly. So she’s constantly tired as well as feeling like rubbish, only adding to her general air of grump. When she’s awake, if I try to unpeel her and put her down for a second she stiffens up and starts this shrieking cry that you can feel at your very core. It’s mighty effective.
When Sun has a cold, rather than curling up on the couch under a blanket and quietly watching a DVD, he rampages around the house like a squirrel on speed. He is delirious at times repeating utter nonsense. This morning it was a line from Tree Fu Tom. There will never be Tree Fu Tom on in our house again, let me tell you. If I hadn’t seen him go into this state every time he has a cold I would take him to the GP and demand he undergo urgent psychiatric evaluation. He turns into an intolerable nutter. Everything is met with an argument. UN Negotiation skills are no match to his feisty ways when he’s snotty. He acts out physically as well, as if inflicting pain on me can somehow ease his pain.
We’re on day 5 of cold in our house and I’m just managing to keep it together. It took all my strength not to package them up and post them to my mother in Australia when I was at the Post Office this morning. I’m also living with the fear that every slight tickle of my throat or watering of my eyes is the start of it for me too. If I get it I doubt they will tolerate me stomping round the house scowling and shouting ‘no’ to every one of their polite requests. No, I will have to act like an adult, suck on a lozenge and carry on as normal. Damn it.
Right, moan over, I feel better now I have that off my chest. I can return to nursing them back to good health and covering them with maternal sympathy in the form of cuddles and kisses.