I had five kids here today (four plus Ron) and every single one has the same head cold. (I have it too, naturally. At this stage in my pregnancy I’ve got the welcome mat out for every bloody germ, plague, and discomfort going).
It is, I hasten to add, a real bitch of a cold. It starts with that painful stinging sensation in the back of the throat that always means nothing good. There is then a 24 hour period of sinus blockage, one so brutal that I actually unbent on my No NetiPot Ever Because Squirting Warm Saline Up Your Nose Is Gross rule. (Not only did it dislodge exactly nothing, it actually made me vomit. That was fun.) Anyway, after that comes the runny nose stage, which soon morphs into the hacking horrible gut-rending cough stage.
Currently, I’ve got kids here in all stages of whatever the hell this plague is.
Monkey is the most actively sick; her nose is running like a faucet and as the afternoon wears on I’m detecting a wheeze in her breathing. Plus she’s coughing pretty well continually. Unfortunately she’s also the one who never gets kept home unless she is at death’s door because neither one of her parents get paid sick leave… or even unpaid leave without huge pressure and upset from their bosses. The world is not kind to the working poor, especially if they have young children. Having been in that situation myself when Harry was young – and I had no paid sick time and no last-minute backup available – I try my very best to accommodate them… but it is hard.
Pixie’s sleep schedule is all messed up. Last night when her dad picked her up he asked that she not be allowed to nap mid-afternoon because then she doesn’t go to bed until late. (I’m not sure how I’m supposed to keep an exhausted 18 month old awake. Nor do I have any interest in finding out.) This afternoon when her mom dropped her off she said she needed a nap. Apparently I am in the middle of an overlapping shift power struggle; Pixie’s dad works a conventional 8 – 4:30 shift and (understandably) doesn’t want to be up with Pixie until 9 or 10pm; whereas Mom works 2 – 9 and likes to be able to sleep later in the mornings. Trying to find the balance, I cuddled with her nice and early this afternoon, hoping that she’d get a short nap and be able to be pleasant until pick up time. Turns out she needed the sleep; she passed out cold and stayed down for two hours. Oops. BUT she also has the cold. She’s in the dry cough every time she lays down to sleep phase. So I let her snooze for the whole two hours. I just can’t in good conscience wake up a sick baby who is finally getting some good, healing rest.
Arthur’s state of mind was much better today; apparently my efforts at keeping him happy & thoroughly entertained yesterday worked, because he came this morning with nary a whimper. He’s also in the dry cough stage. He went for his nap at the usual time – under protest – and then slept for nearly three hours.
VQB is in the disgusting runny nose stage, wherein he wipes his nose with the back of his hand and then smears it up into his hair. He went for his nap without complaint and was still dead asleep when his mom arrived to pick him up two and a half hours later.
Even Ron – who long since spurned the nap as being for losers – crawled up into my much-diminished lap for a rock and a cuddle. I think he would have napped too except Harry arrived home from school with his usual slam of the front door and then half-tumble down the stairs.
Tomorrow is the Very Busiest Day of The Week – the day when I have all the big kids and Monkey, but no Pixie for Monkey to play with. Adding to the fun, tomorrow night is Harry’s Christmas concert, and my mom is coming by here for dinner before we go to the concert. Given that the whole day will be nutso, I’m glad we had the extra sleep today. I have a feeling we are all going to need it.