All the kids have a cold and so does Dom. I’m the only one not coughing and sniffling. Which means I should be in bed; but I’m emotionally exhausted and really need some quiet recharge time before I crawl into bed. I crave the time to read and write and have been getting far too little of it of late. I miss writing in this space. For every blog post that I’ve put up recently there have been four or five ideas for blog posts that I never found time to write. The same goes for emails and comments on other people’s blogs. I feel like I’ve been engaged in a rather scattershot approach where I just write whatever seems easiest and ignore the real substantial emails and comments and posts because I just don’t have time and energy. Which is totally out of whack in terms of my real priorities; but it is what is is. I suppose one could argue that the real real priorities are being met: spending time with my family, cooking healthy meals, keeping my house from descending into total chaos (I won’t say keeping it clean because that would be a damned lie). But I do miss the community here and the people I know online.
I can’t imagine that anyone will want to actually read a play by play account of the spread of illness in the Bettinelli family; but it’s what I’m itching to write an this blog is above all my personal journal. Feel free to skip this post and scroll down to look at cute pictures of the kids when they weren’t feeling terrible. I’ll try to post more cute pictures soon as well as something more interesting.
So back to being the plague house. I don’t know why I’m not sick. Perhaps I did get a touch of it earlier this week and my immune system successfully fought it off? I was feeling prickly and under the weather on Wednesday and afraid I was coming down with something. Was that it? Or am I going to get hit like a ton of bricks in a day or two? I can’t tell. All I know is that on Thursday morning Bella had a sore throat. And then Anthony had a runny nose. Poor baby was miserable Thursday night and could hardly sleep or nurse. He fell asleep sobbing on the bed next to me a couple of times and I felt so absolutely helpless that I couldn’t do anything to make it all better. My best weapon of comfort, nursing, was unavailable since he was really too congested to nurse himself to sleep.
On Friday Ben and Sophie started to sniffle and cough too. We went to the library in the morning but by nap time things were falling apart. It was clear that there was no way I was going to be able to cook dinner without just totally ignoring a bunch of whiny sick kids. So I texted Dom asking him if pizza was ok for dinner.
Poor Anthony had just sobbed himself to sleep next to me on the bed when the pizza guy showed up. I tried to slip away without waking him but he woke and screamed. Poor stuffy nosed baby! But I did finally get him down right about the time that Dom came home. I ate some cold, soggy fish and chips and then we rounded the big kids up for bed. I got them all down, wonder of wonders, and immediately went to take my shower so that when Anthony woke I could just turn in for the night with him. But he didn’t wake up after that so Dom and I watched Monday’s episode of Castle. Anthony was still asleep when that was over but then around 10 Ben woke coughing and screaming. It took forever to even figure out what was wrong. Finally I got him to swallow some tylenol by bribing him with a lollipop (it was a vitamin C and zinc lollipop, a sort of cough drop on a stick for kids). I propped him up on the futon in the living room with a sippy cup and his blankies and a tissue and went to finish getting ready for bed. By the time I was done with all that Ben was calm and half asleep. I decided to slip into bed and try to sleep even though I was feeling rather uncomfortably engorged (for the first time since right after Bella was born, I might add). After a couple of nights of Anthony’s non-stop nursing for comfort I guess I’d ramped up milk production. Ouch.
I thought it was going to be a hellish night but it wasn’t too bad. Except that when Sophie woke up screaming at about 1 am I lost it and started screaming back. I’d already resettled her twice, tucking in her blankies and giving her some cold water and I’d noticed both times that Anthony was still out cold but I was really loathe to wake a soundly sleeping baby when I feared that once awake he’d not be able to get back to sleep. So at 1 I was starting to get a bit desperate for him to wake. When Sophie startled me out of a deep sleep the front of my nightgown was soaked with milk and I was feeling very uncomfortable indeed. I was nervous that she’d wake up both Ben and Anthony then I’d have to figure out how to deal with three crying children who all refused to let their father be the one to tuck them back into their beds. So yeah, not my most glorious mom moment but I did recover my calm and apologize to poor sick Sophie and gave her a little cuddle before putting her back to bed.
Then I returned to my room and scooped up poor sleeping Anthony and practically force fed him. I don’t think he really woke up at all though he did latch on and nurse vigorously for a long, long time. I put him back into his bed and he didn’t even stir. I think he slept for another couple of hours before he woke again. Sophie was up again at five and I tucked her in again. But Ben never stirred until after 7.
Anthony woke at his usual time, around six. I lay in bed letting him crawl all over me as I tried to wake up. He kept having these violent coughing fits that ended with a spew of milk. I think he threw up about ten times. I was starting to get worried. Finally Sophie came in at a quarter to seven and cuddled for a bit before demanding breakfast. I left Anthony with Dom and they both went back to sleep while I cooked some toast for Sophie and oatmeal and hot tea for me and Dom, who had told me he had a scratchy throat.
Today was one of those days where just making sure everyone’s nose was wiped and clothes were clean was a major accomplishment. Neither Dom or I felt up to cooking and we were neither of us relishing spending 24 hours cooped up in a house with four sick kids, so we piled them all into the car and went out for lunch. Maybe it was a poor judgment call but we were pretty desperate. The kids all loved it and we were lucky enough to get a table in the far corner of the back room where we were well isolated from everyone else. Lunch was overpriced and mediocre quality; but I think it was worth it just because I didn’t have to cook it.
After lunch we drove around for a while and all the kids fell asleep in the car and so did I and poor Dom really wanted to have fallen asleep but couldn’t because he was driving. When we got home I put Ben to bed and plopped the girls in front of the tv with a You Tube playlist of their favorite music videos. I was too tired to muster anything else and Dom had to work on a presentation he’s giving this week. I tried to think about writing but ended up mindlessly reading blogs and checking my email and generally wasting time. Then I listened to Dom rehearse his presentation. By which time we both realized it was too late to really make dinner so he heroically went out to pick up some pho.
I’m still not feeling sick. All four kids went to bed pretty easily after being well dosed with painkillers and zinc-infused lollipops. Ben had to be bribed to take his ibuprofen and then when the girls saw his lolly, they wanted some too. Plus I had hopes the lollies might actually help make them sleep a bit better too.
Will Anthony have another night of marathon sleeping? I don’t dare to hope. I do think that getting all of us to Mass tomorrow is a doubtful proposition. So we’ll probably go in shifts. Of course my sister would be gone this weekend or else we might have just done some variation of leaving the sicker kids with her.
Anyway, I’m not sure what the point of all this rambling has been except that sometimes when things are chaotic I find that just putting it all down on paper, a dry account of what happened when to whom somehow makes it all seem a bit less messy. It makes me feel a little less guilty for the house that looks like it was hit by a tornado because I can see in black and white what it is I’ve been doing. It’s not so much that the kids being sick is more time consuming but that it is emotionally draining. They are whiny and needy and clingy and unpredictable and I feel tapped out.
I should be in bed but I don’t want to sleep. I want to have a sick day just for me. One of those days I used to be able to have back before the kids came when I’d spend all day in bed with a good book, sipping tea and eating chocolate and toast spread with nutella. And since I can’t have that kind of day I’m going with second best which is staying up too late wasting time on the internet. I don’t have a book going now that is really good for that kind of malingering. Somehow neither the biography of Catherine of Siena not the Natural History of Trees will cut it. The Pope and the CEO is interesting but not a malingering sort of book and Amy Welborn’s Wish You Were Here is the kind of book that must be savored in very small nibbles because it is too good to be gulped in one go. I need a novel to drown myself in and I don’t have one available. So self-indulgent blog posts is the next best thing.
But now I’ve remembered a few comments I wanted to leave at random blogs. The downside of reading blogs on my iPhone is that most of the time it’s just too awkward to leave a comment but then I still have all the things I would have said saved up in a little file drawer in my mind. Does anyone else do that?
So here’s hoping I won’t regret this too much in the morning. Goodnight, blog readers all. I hope you all have a lovely night.