|Hasn’t been changed in weeks.|
Over the course of the past week, I experienced my first full-on Sicky since becoming a parent. We’d all been ping-ponging the same sniffles and such back and forth, but on the rebound I apparently caught them straight in the jugular.
I woke up one morning freezing cold, achy and bruised, swollen and stuffed o’ face, and not really “awake” at all. The kind of sick where you can’t even imagine sitting straight up, let alone going to put on some Day Sweatpants. The beginning of the kind of illness where you weep in the general direction of blankets and chairs- or really even the floor- all day long.
I felt awfully sorry for myself, the way I’ve done in the past whenever feeling Godawful.
Except this time, I was in charge of a perky infant and a toddler already in the process of dumping the entire contents of her closet onto her head. And apparently, they needed food. Something to drink. Maybe a diaper change. And another diaper change. And a third- COME ON, GIRLS.
I spent that first day in a sort of incredulous stupor. When was someone coming for these children? I could barely manage holding my vibrating head still- there was no way I could handle anything other than batting at the Wii mote to start yet another TV marathon on Netflix.
I’m not gonna say that Nora watched TV all day…but it’s a fair bet that she knows the entire catalog of PBS, short of Masterpiece Theatre and Antiques Roadshow.
The next day was worse. I couldn’t remember if I had nursed Suzy. Nora had oatmeal in her sticky-up hair until she was changed out of that day’s pajamas into that evening’s. P.J. fielded phone calls punctuated by snarfy deep sighs and unrestrained sobbing. We ate bland mashup dinners, seasoned and microwaved by a gal with no ability to taste, smell, or stir. I couldn’t even handle being inside my own skin, so I felt an overwhelming amount of guilt over not being a good parent to the two healthy Littles in my house. (Heck, I was barely being a parent.)
And I felt guilty for getting sick. Like I had let everyone down. We ended up staying home from Nora’s gymnastics class- sure, she had been up from midnight to 4am for no good reason and had completely overslept anyhow, but the weight of that still fell on my [melodramatic and achy] shoulders.
We’ll never leave the house again, I thought.
I’m relegating the girls to a life of Emily Dickinson-esque confinement, I bawled.
There is food on the floor yet none in the fridge, I whined.
The Fischer-Price people are attacking my face, I fevered.
But I got better. By the next day, even. Because, after barely two days of drowning in an abyss of chills and delirium, I realized that This Was Utterly Ridiculous.
So I mopped the floors. Cleaned the bathrooms. Built a block tower. Found the last puzzle piece. Made some salmon. (For Lent.)
Bathed the children, bathed myself (twice), cleaned the bathrooms again, finished some completely overdue writing…
…And put the darned TV back on.