We are all sick in the Baby Squared Household. But Elsa and Clio are sickest. (See picture of them sprawled on the couch, asleep, today. And note the bulky Christmas sweater Elsa chose to wear, thus undercutting my daily prayers to the weather gods to please, please, PLEASE grant us some spring weather.)
Clio stayed home from school on Monday, and we actually spent a rather cozy morning, the two of us, alternately snoozing and reading books and drawing, while lounging on the couch. Later in the day, she coughed so hard, she actually made herself throw up. (Weird!!) She seemed to rally a bit on Tuesday, but backslid yesterday. And as of yesterday late afternoon Elsa was all-out sick, too: feverish, exhausted and a font of mucous. Clio, meanwhile, was suffering from a persistent cough and severely chapped/sore lips and nose.
Between five-thirty yesterday (when the babysitter left) and seven-fifteen (at which point the girls were in their PJs and I was reading them a story, for an early bedtime) the girls literally just moaned and groaned and cried. Almost non-stop. Such was the depth of their misery. Elsa stopped moaning, briefly, before dinner, to tell me that she wanted red sauce on her tortellini. It takes a lot to quash the girl’s appetite.
I really feel for the little kiddos. They can’t take any heavy-duty decongestants or other cold medicines like us grownups get to take. They would freak OUT if I tried to help them use my neti pot. (I don’t know if it’s even advisable for kids to use neti pots).
And they haven’t quite caught on to the concept of blowing their noses. They just sort of dab futilely at them, or inhale instead of exhaling. They also don’t understand the concept of using a tissue more than once. It is not unusual to go into the girls’ room in the morning and find that Clio has a pile of approximately 15 tissues in a pile on the floor next to her bed, barely even crumpled because, as mentioned, she doesn’t really know how to blow her nose.
But can I make a strange confession? Which I hope doesn’t make me sound like the mother in The Sixth Sense who poisons her own children? I actually feel like my fondness for the girls ramps up a little when they’re sick. It’s like all my nurturing, motherly instincts kick into overdrive. And I suddenly feel extremely competent — something I don’t always feel when it comes to other areas of parenting, notably discipline. I’m feeling foreheads and dabbing Vaseline on chapped upper lips, filling up the vaporizer and propping up pillows. Administering Advil and pushing fluids.
And I feel so acutely for them. I want so much for them to feel better. I suspect it goes both ways, too: they are at their neediest and most vulnerable around me. Hence the two hour groan-and-moan-fest last night. (Alastair didn’t happen to be home.)
BUT I am also hoping that the girls (and I) start to feel better over the next couple of days. Because it’s supposed to get up into the sixties over the next few days here in Boston. That is, if the weather gods haven’t been dissuaded by the Christmas sweater. (Pay no attention to the Christmas sweater, gods! She is sick and, moreover, she is four! She knows not what she does! Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaase!)
Read about my forthcoming novel, EDEN LAKE.