Porthos came down with a bad wheeze and cough in the middle of the night, threw up over the sofa this afternoon, and has been out of sorts most of the day. So let’s just say it hasn’t been a fun day for me.
But such is life that it is against grey skies that a ray of sunshine is most apparent. Here was a conversation that just happened at bedtime.
Athos: Porthos can open my Christmas presents.
Pilgrim Mom: OK. Why?
Athos: Because he is sick and that will cheer him up.
Bless his little heart.
The worst is over. Although coughs and runny noses persists, the boys are no longer feverish. I can finally get back to a semi-decent sleep pattern. But just as an indication of the madness that is a household of sick people:
The boys have been falling sick one by one – symptoms include some combination of high fever, phlegmy cough, stomachache, headache, dizziness and runny nose. According to the doctor and several colleagues with children, there’s a nasty virus going around which causes long and high fevers (5-7 days of erratic temperatures going as high as 40 degrees), causing much havoc and misery. We even brought Athos for a blood test….
Life has been an endless cycle of temperature-taking, medicating, cold compresses, feeding, hydrating and soothing. I don’t mind so much in the daytime, but in the night it is torture. Aramis is the latest to fall ill, and he wants to be carried all the time, even at night. I’ve taken to sleeping semi-upright, with him against my chest.
Now Pilgrim Dad is sick too…. And me, I feel the walking dead. I was talking to Athos just now and actually fell asleep mid-sentence!
Being a parent is hard enough work in health. But it’s in sickness that parental love meets its challenger, and by God’s grace, finds its deepest expression.
Pre-motherhood, I used to wonder about the idiom “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” It didn’t make sense to me because, for heaven’s sake, why would anyone cry over spilt milk? Unless you lived in crushing poverty, just wipe it up, get a new glass, or drink OJ….
Of course, that was then. When Athos was born, I experienced huge difficulties with breastfeeding. One night, during a period when my milk supply was very low, Athos woke up in the middle of the night to be fed. To give me some rest, Pilgrim Dad did the honours. He went to the kitchen, warmed up some expressed breastmilk, brought it to the bedroom, whereupon in his bleary half-awake state he knocked over the bottle and spilled half the contents. When I saw the precious stuff all over the floor, I promptly burst into tears. And Pilgrim Dad, the dear (barely awake) man, responded “Don’t cry over spilt milk. Haha.”
Suffice to say he will eternally regret the joke.
Anyway, all this is simply to say I now have an intimate and intuitive understanding of the idiom. And I’m also starting a new category called “Spilt Milk” for about the travails of motherhood. We read to know we are not alone.
Our new year began not with a bang but with a whimper.
Several whimpers, to be precise.
It started with Aramis and his midnight feed. His lower front teeth are just about to break through so he nurses more intensely these days – Athos has christened him “Suckzilla”! – So even though he was done with his feed, he would wake every time I tried to unlatch. It was frustrating.
He finally slept, and I crawled gratefully back into bed. But just as I was about to fall asleep Porthos stomped in – it seemed a mosquito had decided to use him for target practice and he was itching in several places. So I bring him back to his room and dutifully help to scratch him here, there and everywhere. He kicked and fussed, tossed and turned, and after what seemed like an eternity, he finally calmed down and fell asleep.
Again I crawled back to bed, thoroughly exhausted by now. And again just as I’m about to fall asleep, Athos comes in saying that he’s wet himself. I couldn’t believe it. After settling him, I went back to bed, and before I could sleep, Aramis awoke for his next feed. By the time I was done, it was 4am and I hadn’t slept at all.
I can see why sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture…. Amid the festivities, it’s a good reminder to me of what I should be prepared for in the new year.
As far as motherhood goes, this past week was rough. I’m sure there were good, even transcendent, moments, but the ones that really stand out are: Continue reading
Last night was one of those nights that remind me why people stop at two.
After several glorious nights of sleeping in 6-hour stretches, Aramis (aged 5 months) decides to go back to a two-hour schedule. So there I am, bleary-eyed, at 2:30am…
I feed him lying on my side in bed because it’s just too tiring to sit up. And most of the time I’m somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.
Then it happens. Without warning he stops suckling. He looks at me intently. He gives The Grunt. And then he smiles a slow happy smile and continues to suckle.
And as for me, I smell something that makes me less than happy. Not wanting to look but having little choice, I lean over as far as I can without disturbing his breakfast, and confirm my worst fears. A spreading goo trickling out of his diaper onto the sheets. No, no, no….
I struggle upright, and the cleaning begins. I try not to wake Pilgrim Dad. Pulling off and washing bedsheets is not my idea of how to start the day right. Not when I’ve barely slept. I’m feeling very sorry for myself.
But then I see him – the little guy fed and diapered, and perfectly, happily, sound asleep. And for a few brief moments, sleep is a mere commodity, something I am glad to trade for another thing of infinitely greater value.