Ok, so let me start by saying that my young family, for the better part, are mostly healthy and happy. I am grateful they we don’t often get struck down by ghastly viruses or bugs, but let me tell you, when we do, I’ve learned that it’s time to batten down the hatches and get ready for the crazy ride that is better known as having “three kids sick at the one time”.
Our most recent bout of illness came into fruition after my middle (and toughest) child complained of feeling hot. I knew something was amiss because she would never ordinarily forego an opportunity to stay up late and eat crackers and cheese in front of Masterchef. What ensued was days upon days of fevers, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea, which our trusty GP assured me would get better with ‘plenty of rest and fluids’. Without fail, and despite my attempts to quarantine her and sanitise every surface my can of Glen 20 could reach, the virus spread. Before I could mutter the words ‘don’t drink from THAT drink bottle’, two more sleepy eyed children appeared in the darkness of my bedroom at 2.30am complaining of sore tummies.
So here, my friends, is my honest illustration of what having three poorly kids in my house looks like.
Three sick children means playing bed swap – continuously and feverishly, and usually in an attempt to avoid mysterious, vomit smelling patches on doonas that haven’t made it to the washing pile yet.
One load of washing on, one out, and three more backed up in the laundry – all sporting above mentioned mysterious wet patches.
Using wet wipes to haphazardly wipe up missed attempts of hugging porcelain, vowing to ‘get to that when I have time’.
Discarding countless toothbrushes, towels and pillow cases to piles that are also given the ‘I’ll get to that’ promise.
Frantic runs to the chemist in pyjama pants.
Taking much needed micro sleeps whilst holding someones hair back.
Making irrational, moody phone calls to hubby complaining about how he luckily ‘gets to go to work all day’.
Making soup for all poorly children, who don’t want to eat soup for dinner, but who will later request some at 4.45am because they might be feeling better now.
Revisiting said soup half an hour later in a bucket beside your child-ladden bed.
Barking orders like a veteran Emergency Room Surgeon. “Hydrate”, “2ml syringe” and “Stat” now make up 85% of the conversations had with immediate family members.
Cancelling all plans to collect mail for the next week. Perhaps two.
Asking for descriptions of poop way more often than anyone should ever admit to.
Holding one’s eyes and mouth closed after being coughed on and praying those little wet splatters weren’t snot.
Realising that bed socks have become an integral part of daily fashion, and that bras and hair brushes are now deemed completely unnecessary.
Giving up on all hopes of sleeping for longer than an hour at a time, and relenting to the fact that the moment you do fall into a slumber, someone will probably poke you to tell you about their poop.
Reheating a tea four times, and then giving up, downing it cold.
Watching countless episodes of Peppa Pig, and grumbling frequent and sympathetic remarks about how hard poor Miss Rabbit works.
Failing to open curtains in most rooms for days on end. The neighbours have discussed sending in a search party.
Giving up on coffee, wine and chocolate. Making do with an expired muesli bar discovered at the back of the pantry.
Pffftttt. Showering? You’ve got to be kidding.
Sneering enviously at anyone who dares to walk past the house in full health. Or fully clothed…in you know, day time clothes.
Realising that anatomically, three kids was a massive mistake. Two hands to pat, two knees to sit on, two shoulders to cry on… not nearly enough patience/stamina for all this. Decision on which one to put back still pending. (Of course all of these delirious thought processes are sincerely regretted and taken back once more than four hours sleep is granted…)
Promising half-heartedly that everything will be okay, when deep down you have lost count the days and are beginning to think this nightmare may in fact last forever.
Wondering how on earth we manage on so little sleep when we bring our precious little newbies home. And then vowing to never have ovary-induced clucky attacks EVER AGAIN.
Falling madly in love with your children all over again, hating their pain and their total vulnerability, but adoring that you are the only person that could ever give them the love and the gentleness (and the clean sheets) that they need right now.
Despite the exhaustion, the worry and the endless work load, I am the mother of three sick children, and you had better believe that I rock at it. (I may burst in to tears and wipe my snotty nose on your shoulder if you don’t.)